Eagles Mock Draft 2.0: Birds Address WR, CB Early
Much has changed since the new league year kicked off last week.
The early stages of free agency saw some of the NFL's more prominent players relocate to different teams, while some teams were merely bystanders during the initial free-agent frenzy, focusing their attention on the draft to address areas of need. The Eagles, who traded for an elite cornerback, bolstered the defensive line, and fortified the safety position, identify as the former. As the 2020 version of the roster begins to take shape, and as we inch closer to the NFL Draft, I put together my second Eagles mock draft. (Click here for my 1.0 version).
Round 1, Pick 21: Justin Jefferson, WR LSU
I was tempted to slot Denzel Mims here, but the Eagles ultimately go with the pro-ready wide receiver in Jefferson, giving the offense a polished pass-catcher for Carson Wentz to grow with. Any questions about Jefferson’s speed were likely laid to rest once he ran a staggering 4.43 40-yard dash in Indianapolis, but he also demonstrated excellent concentration and route running during the on-field portion of the workout. The former LSU star appears most comfortable in the slot, but offers inside-outside flexibility. The Eagles offense is in dire need for a reliable receiver that can consistently create separation, while having the toughness and body control to come up with contested catches. Jefferson gives them that.
1.0: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Round 2, Pick 53: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
Yes, the Eagles traded for Darius Slay just last week, but Johnson gives them a young building block at a position that has had its depth tested in recent years. The 6-foot, 195-pound defender had a strong junior season for the Utes, compiling 36 tackles, 11 pass breakups, and two interceptions (1 TD). At the NFL Scouting Combine, Johnson recorded a 4.5 40-yard dash, 36.5-inch vertical, 124.5-inch broad jump, and a 7.01 3-cone.
A 2019 first-team All-Pac-12 selection, Johnson is one of the more aggressive perimeter defenders in this class. The lengthy cornerback possesses active hands at the line of scrimmage, exceptional click-and-close ability, and explosive closing burst. Though I have him graded as a top-50 talent, a lot will depend on how the board falls. There is a chance he’s still available when the Eagles are on the clock.
1.0: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
Round 3, Pick 103: Lynn Bowden, WR, Kentucky
Lauded for his versatility, Bowden experienced success at both quarterback and wide receiver during his time at Kentucky. At 5-foot-11, 204 pounds, however, the dual-threat best projects as an inside receiver at the next level.
Bowden enjoyed a breakout sophomore campaign in 2018, producing 67 catches for 745 yards and five touchdowns. Last season, Bowden accounted for 30 receptions for 348 yards and a touchdown, while adding 1,468 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground.
The 2019 Associated Press first-team All-American all-purpose award recipient and Paul Hornung Award winner is a quick-twitch athlete who is effective in space and slippery with the ball in his hands. He has the speed and elusiveness to create mismatches, and his quarterback background should help in regards to understanding the complexities of an NFL route tree. But the Eagles, like any team, must have a plan if they select Bowden here. 1.0: Compensatory picks weren't announced at the time.
Round 4, Pick 127: K’Von Wallace, S, Clemson
With the top-three safety spots essentially etched in stone, the Eagles can conceivably afford to wait on addressing the position while still grabbing a upside-laden prospect in the fourth-round.
Wallace rounds out a unit that looks vastly different compared to a season ago. The 5-foot-11, 206-pound defensive back is a compactly built centerfielder with an aggressive mentality. The Clemson product boasts the diverse skill set to play multiple positions on the back end, but likely won’t be counted on to play right away as a rookie. He should quickly endear himself to fans with his special teams prowess, however. 1.0: Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian State Round 4, Pick 145: Jonah Jackson, G, Ohio State
The Eagles desperately need to bolster the interior of the offensive line, and Jackson is simply too talented to pass on here. Jackson, who spent four years at Rutgers before spending his final season at Ohio State, started at left guard for the Buckeyes last season, earning third-team Associated Press All-American honors last season. The 6-foot-3, 306-pound interior mauler offers guard/center versatility, and is a fluid-mover in space.
1.0: Compensatory picks weren't announced at the time.
Round 4, Pick 146: Davion Taylor, LB, Colorado
The Eagles finally add another body to the linebacker room. Taylor, a player the Eagles liked enough to spend one of their top-30 visits on earlier this month, has an interesting background.
As a high schooler, Taylor participated in football throughout the week, but was prohibited from playing in the games on Friday and Saturday, as his family observed the Seventh-day Aventist Sabbath. He then went the junior college route, where he became the seventh-ranked junior college prospect in the country, before ultimately ending up at Colorado in 2018.
Taylor parlayed his two-year Colorado career into a Senior Bowl appearance. On the heels of a solid showing in Mobile, Taylor proceeded to run an astounding 4.49 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, and managed to follow that up by running a 4.37 40-yard dash at Colorado's Pro Day. Though still relatively new to the position, Taylor offers the traits teams covet. With impressive closing speed and sideline-to-sideline range, Taylor would be an intriguing addition to the much-maligned Eagles linebacking corps.
1.0: Compensatory picks weren't announced at the time.
Round 5, Pick 168: Khalil Davis, DT, Nebraska
A Shrine Bowl standout, Davis adds depth to a suddenly formidable defensive tackle group. Davis, 6-foot-1, 308 pounds, doesn’t have the prototypical size that teams covet in interior defenders, but he wins his matchups based off of leverage, quickness, and hustle. He should thrive in a rotational role at the next level. 1.0: McTelvin Agim, DT, Arkansas
Round 6, Pick 190: Joshua Kelley, RB, UCLA
The Eagles nab a complement to Miles Sanders with their final selection. Kelley, who spent his first two seasons at UC Davis before transferring to UCLA, is one of my top late-round running backs. Though he generated some buzz after recording a 4.49 40-yard dash in Indianapolis, the 5-foot-11, 219-pound runner was remarkably productive for the Bruins over the past two seasons, accumulating 454 carries, 2,303 yards (24 touchdowns), to go along with 38 catches for 264 yards (one touchdown).
While there isn’t anything flashy about Kelley’s game, he possesses the requisite contact balance to churn ahead for yards as a downhill runner, yet has enough finesse to his game to find success on outside runs, as his vision and decisiveness allows him to find the crease and get upfield. He didn’t get much work in the receiving game, but he proved to be more than capable when given the opportunity. 1.0: Tyrie Cleveland, WR Florida
-Andrew DiCecco (@ADiCeccoNFL) is a contributor to InsideTheBirds.com. He also writes for Pro Football Network. Listen to the latest Inside the Birds podcast: