Final Eagles Mock Draft: Birds Grab CB, WR in First 2 Rounds
Draft week is finally upon us, which means teams are finalizing big boards and spending their final hours strategizing their plans to acquire their desired targets.
There’s no telling how this unprecedented draft cycle will unfold in the coming days, but for now, I pieced together my final 2020 Eagles mock draft.
(For or my 1.0 version, click here. For my 2.0 version, click here.)
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(LSU corner Kristian Fulton becomes the apple of the Eagles’ eye in the first round after an early run on the top wide receivers forces the Birds to go elsewhere).
Round 1, Pick 21: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
I anticipate there being several surprise selections dispersed throughout the first round, and this could be one of them. As the draft draws near, there is a growing sense that Justin Jefferson, the prospect most-often mocked to Philadelphia, may not make it to the 21. So, for this exercise, I have the Eagles addressing another area of need and reaping the benefits of a historically deep receiving class in round two.
At 6-0, 197 pounds, Fulton would give new defensive backs coach Marquand Manuel a lengthy boundary cornerback with decent athleticism to develop. Fulton is a fluid, fundamentally sound defender, and his physical style at the line of scrimmage is complemented by his ability to match-and-mirror receivers off the ball and use his length to attack the catchpoint.
Fulton is a pro-ready prospect that, paired with Darius Slay, gives the Eagles a formidable tandem on the boundary.
Round 2, Pick 53: Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
Had it not been for the pre-draft core muscle surgery, Shenault is likely long gone at this point. Much to the Eagles’ delight, however, the Colorado product should be there for the taking.
Shenault gives the Eagles a dynamic receiving option who can work all three levels and should be an early contributor as a rookie if he’s healthy. Shenault is at his best manufacturing yards after the catch and operating in space, where he resembles a running back in the open field. Though not as nuanced of a route-runner as some of his counterparts, Shenault is a convincing route salesman in his own right, with a special knack for manipulating defensive backs with subtle movements.
The Colorado star would be a welcome addition to an Eagles’ offense in dire need of explosive playmakers.
Round 3, Pick 103: Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian State
Like Shenault, Davis-Gaither underwent pre-draft surgery and will likely come off the board later than his talent would indicate.
Davis-Gaither, the 2019 Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year and Senior Bowl standout, is slightly built at 6-foot-1, 224 pounds, but his athletic skill-set figures to translate well to today’s NFL. Though he will never be confused as an early-down run defender, Gaither-Davis boasts enticing sideline-to-sideline speed for a second-level defender along with the coverage acumen, length, and range to match against athletic tight ends and running backs. In addition to his linebacker duties, Davis-Gaither offers range as a pass rusher. A moveable chess piece, the Appalachian St. product represents the new-age NFL defender.
Round 4, Pick 127: K’Von Wallace, S Clemson
The top-three safety spots have been penciled in, but it is imperative that the Eagles invigorate the position with youth and upside sooner than later.
Wallace could be the final piece who completes a largely revamped safety room. Compactly built at 5-foot-11, 206 pounds, Wallace possesses the versatile skill-set to fill myriad roles on the back end, and, paired with his physical mentality, should quickly endear himself to Eagles fans. While he likely won’t have an integral role as a rookie, Wallace will serve as a core special teams performer for Dave Fipp’s unit.
Did you miss the ITB TV interview with Utah cornerback Jaylon Johnson? It’s right here:
Round 4, Pick 145: Quartney Davis, WR Texas A&M
Due to sheer depth at wide receiver this year, talent will inevitably be pushed further down the draft board.
Texas A&M’s Quartney Davis, who’d be an earlier pick in other years, has an intriguing set of intangibles with which to work. For one, his crafty route-running is among the best in the class. He has an innate ability of creating separation at the top of his routes. While the A&M offense didn’t use Davis as a vertical threat, he proved to be effective racking up yards after the catch, reminding me of Deebo Samuel with the ball in his hand. The former Aggie can be re-routed and struggles with occasional concentration drops but should develop a more well-rounded game in an NFL system.
The Eagles conducted a virtual meeting with Davis earlier this month, which is particularly interesting, considering Eagles wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead was Davis’ position coach at A&M (2016-17) before moving onto Vanderbilt.
Round 4, Pick 146: Alton Robinson, DE, Syracuse
The Eagles must bolster their pass rush in order to support a retooled secondary. While getting a healthy Malik Jackson in the mix and adding Javon Hargrave certainly help on the inside, the team must find ways to generate consistent pressure off the edge.
Syracuse’s Alton Robinson, a raw but intriguing edge rusher, could be of assistance. Robinson, 6-foot-4, 264 pounds, had a fairly quiet season in 2019 (4.5 sacks) after emerging in 2018. He made his presence felt at the Senior Bowl, however, notching two sacks in the game.
He lacks the desired length for his position and will need to continue to hone his pass rush moves when his initial plan is thwarted, but he has a lightning-quick get-off and tremendous bend. He needs some polish, but Robinson has the speed, athleticism, and play-strength to earn his way onto the field in sub-packages as a rookie.
Round 5, Pick 168: Jake Luton, QB, Oregon State
Though I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the Eagles adding a veteran arm following the draft, there is a need for a long-term developmental backup behind Carson Wentz. Nate Sudfeld is on a one-year deal and Kyle Lauletta is a Giants castoff who spent the 2019 season toiling on the Eagles practice squad.
Luton (6’6”, 224) boasts prototypical size for the position and comes from a pro-style system at Oregon State. He has an above-average arm and fits the ball into tight throwing windows on intermediate routes. In 2019, Luton threw for 2,714 yards, 28 touchdowns, and three interceptions.
Luton is known for taking care of the football. He threw 42 touchdowns against just 11 interceptions in his three years with the Beavers, and while he doesn’t have a ton of experience on his resume (20 starts), he has the intangibles to become a high-level backup in time.
Round 6, Pick 190: DeeJay Dallas, RB, Miami
The Eagles nab the Miami bruiser with their final selection to complement Miles Sanders and Boston Scott. Dallas (5’10”, 227), originally a wide receiver for the Hurricanes before making the switch to running back in 2017, is one of the draft’s more punishing runners.
Armed with innate instincts and outstanding contact balance while navigating through traffic as a runner, Dallas has yet to scratch the surface of how good he can be. The ball security issues that plagued Dallas in 2018 appear to behind him, as Dallas shouldered a larger workload in 2019, carrying 115 times for 693 yards and eight touchdowns.
-Andrew DiCecco (@ADiCeccoNFL) is a contributor to InsideTheBirds.com. He also writes for Pro Football Network.
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