Eagles Mock Draft 1.0: Birds Tab LSU Star in Round 1
In what’s seemingly become commonplace post-Combine, prospects shift up and down draft boards, and new rankings are established.
Desired targets are often deemed out of reach, while overlooked prospects begin to rise, effectively elevating their draft stock with strong testing numbers. Though free agency will often alter draft needs, I put together my first Eagles mock draft. (Note: Compensatory picks haven’t yet been announced and won’t factor into this mock draft).
Round 1, Pick 21: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
The Eagles land a pro-ready pass-catcher to grow with Carson Wentz. Jefferson, a polished receiver with exceptional college production, is poised to become a reliable security blanket at the next level. Known for his elite body control and coming down with contested catches, Jefferson has an innate feel for spacing while working from of the slot. Though not nearly as effective as a perimeter threat, the former LSU standout does possess some inside-outside versatility, but is at his best in the slot.
Round 2, Pick 53: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
The Eagles cornerback woes have been well-documented at this point, and an upgrade at the position is paramount for future success. Though Terrell is coming off an abysmal performance in the National Championship, there’s a lot to like about his body of work. He offers the desired length (6-1, 195) for the perimeter and good hand usage to go along with fluid hips and sound technique. With the futures of Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills uncertain, the Eagles need to address the cornerback position early.
Round 3, Pick 85: Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
Regardless of how the situation plays out with Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod, the Eagles must get younger at safety. While blue-chip talent Kyle Dugger will be long gone by this point, Chinn isn’t a bad compromise. At 6-foot-3, 221 pounds, Chinn has the size and athleticism to essentially play anywhere on the second and third levels. The Southern Illinois alum would give the Eagles an enforcer on the back end while maintaining the ball production and techniques of a cornerback. I expect his stock to continue to rise in the coming weeks, so the Eagles might need to trade up to secure him.
Round 4, Pick 117: Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB Appalachian State
A top-90 prospect by my estimation, Davis-Gaither likely slips due to the late stress fracture surgery that is expected to keep him out of commission for 6-8 weeks. When healthy, Davis-Gaither embodies the new-age NFL defender in that he possesses the innate athleticism, range and coverage prowess to match up against athletic tight ends and running backs out of the backfield. At 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, Davis-Gaither is on the smaller side but can be moved around formations as a versatile chess piece. With only Nate Gerry, T.J. Edwards and Duke Riley assured a spot on the 90-man offseason roster, the Eagles will need to bolster the position, and could opt to do so in the mid rounds.
Round 5, Pick 148: McTelvin Agim, DT, Arkansas
When assessing team needs, interior defensive line depth is near the top of the list. Agim is a talented, albeit raw, defensive tackle who has spent the majority of his Razorback career at defensive end. The Arkansas product was so dominant during Shrine Bowl practices that he earned a Senior Bowl call-up – where he again made his presence known. An athletic 6-foot-3, 309 pounds, Agim has an explosive first-step off the ball, lateral agility, and plays with good pad level. The best part? He’s still learning the intricacies of the defensive tackle position. His best football is ahead.
Round 5, Pick 150: James Morgan, QB, Florida International
Morgan has capitalized on a quality pre-draft cycle, beginning with a banner week in St. Petersburg at the East-West Shrine Bowl and finishing strong at the NFL Scouting Combine. The 6-foot-4, 229-pound passer can fit the ball into tight windows and possesses pro-level arm strength. With Josh McCown and Nate Sudfeld currently unsigned, the Eagles could benefit from adding a developmental backup with one of their picks, and Morgan is a late-round signal-caller who I’m particularly high on.
Round 6, Pick 170: Tyrie Cleveland, WR Florida
Here, the Eagles finally add their burner. Cleveland represents one of the more curious cases of this draft class. One of my top wide receiver sleeper prospects, Cleveland has the requisite size (6’2”, 209), and downfield speed (4.46 40-yard dash) that typically thrives at the collegiate level, but instead he was often the forgotten man in a crowded Gators receiving corps. In fact, Cleveland only mustered 79 catches over four seasons. The Florida product has the speed to win downfield, an impressive catch radius, and provides special teams experience as a gunner. Given the Eagles’ speed deficiency, and Howie Roseman’s affinity for Florida players, this feels like the perfect spot to take Cleveland.
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