Mock Draft season is always fun, but it’s an intense cycle. With new mocks dropping constantly from the moment the season ends, right up until draft night, fans are often overloaded with speculation and opinion on who their team should, or shouldn’t draft. When it comes to the Eagles, there are some very clear holes that need filling. Now, trying to work out which will be filled first is the fun part, but what if we flipped that on its head?
What if, instead of drafting by need, we took the Eagles current list of roster holes and flipped them, so that the team would fill their biggest areas of improvement at the end of the draft? What would we learn? Would the class actually be considered successful? Let’s find out…
Round 1 pick 25: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
Could an injury to ‘Hollywood’ Brown see him drop to the bottom of the first round? Potentially. If he does, this reverse mock could see the Eagles salivating over not only a new WR2, but a flashy pass-catcher who can finally take the top off a defense.
The 5’10, 168 lbs, wideout is a decorated athlete that isn’t just dominant at the point of the catch, but more importantly in gaining separation. His 1,318 yard, 10 touchdown season that helped Kyler Murray secure the Heisman didn’t exactly come as a surprise considering he helped Baker Mayfield do exactly the same in 2017, hauling in 51 passes for a further 1,095 yards.
Is there a potential diva problem here? It’s probably too soon to say, but Brown has a dream skillset that would leave Pederson purring and stunningly, this reverse mock draft isn’t off to the worst of starts…right?
Round 2 pick 21: Devin Singletary, RB, Florida Atlantic
I still stand by the fact that round 2 is probably a little bit high for Singletary, but in this reverse mock, we’re looking for the best value in the smallest need. There needs to be a centerpiece to build around in an Eagles backfield going through a transition and I believe that ‘Motor’ could be exactly that.
Everyone’s favorite draft crush is really picking up steam, but the combine will be crucial. Singletary’s numbers are just ridiculous. Since 2016, he has the most rushing yards (4,459) and touchdowns (66) in FCS/FBS. His cuts are insanely quick and he reminds me a lot of Tarik Cohen. If the Eagles want to go all-in on a committee backfield, they really need to find a player to replace Sproles who can maybe pick up slightly more of the workload. FAU’s Singletary has the balance, elusiveness and burst to be the perfect fit in this offense.
Long speed would hurt, but who cares when you’re literally a human video game?
Round 2 Pick 25: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
Wilson plays with a high motor, but his skill set is a little rawer than some of the linebackers projected to go higher than he is. However, his incredibly athletic makeup means his ceiling is arguably a lot higher.
The Eagles love linebackers who can stuff the run and have the Football IQ to make those instinctive decisions on option looks or can provide immediate support for the guys wreaking havoc up front, before showcasing an ability to get outside or drop back deeper to pick up receivers and backs.
Wilson’s tackling isn’t the most secure and against much bigger backs, he often struggled to finish his plays and bring the ball-carrier down. He plays extremely aggressively and that could be why his technique isn’t as sound as it could be when he’s so focused on knocking seven rounds out of the opponent. He’s all-in on every decision, but if at any second that decision is wrong, the room for recovery is wrong.
He may not be expected to start straight away, depending on how the team views Kamu Grugier-Hill, and that could be a real blessing to develop behind the likes of Nigel Bradham and Paul Worrilow. Wilson is the prototypical fit for this Jim Schwartz defense, he just needs some chiseling before he’s ready to be relied upon as a starter.
Round 4 Pick 25: Shareef Miller, DE, Penn State
At 6’5″ and 260 lbs, Miller has the size that defenses covet in their edge-rushers and during his time at Penn State, Miller grew into one of the team’s biggest leaders. The attention given to him last year following a strong breakout enabled Yetur Gross-Matos to explode onto the scene, but that didn’t stop him from having success of his own. 15 tackles for a loss and 7.5 sacks headlined another strong season.
The issue is that Miller is very one dimensional. He doesn’t have a vast array of pass-rushing moves and plays at one speed once his impressive first step and burst is behind him. He’s quick, has an impressive ability to bend and really drive lineman around the arc, but what he has in finesse, he’s missing in those technical intricacies that have seen this class receive such astonishing praise. Miller would be a great compliment to an Eagles defensive end group that just needs to build from the bottom of the depth chart out, and would grant him the opportunity to hone his craft during his first few years in the league.
Round 4 Pick 37: WIll Harris, S, Boston College
At 6’2, 210 lbs, you may think Will Harris is a hard-hitting safety, or at least someone with a strong frame and you’d be right. But it’s not what stands out most. Harris is so smooth in his breaks that it’s mesmerizing and when asked to come and contribute in run support, he doesn’t hesitate. He led the nation in fumble recoveries in 2017 and emerged as a reliable tackler for the Eagles during his time there, totaling 75 last season. Harris does lack some long speed and it hurts when he lines up in the box or is asked to play man-coverage against quicker wideouts, but his tackling angles are solid.
The Eagles need a third safety, badly and will eventually need to think about life after Malcolm Jenkins. If they can snag Harris and nurture that silky-smooth play and a nasty streak when tackling into a reliable NFL Safety, then by the time Jenkins does move on, the Eagles will be ready.
Round 5 Pick 25: Demarcus Christmas, DT, Florida State
Christmas comes early for the Eagles with this pick, as they find a defensive lineman to replenish the stout run-stopping efforts behind the starting tandem. Christmas doesn’t bring an array of pass-rushing moves to the table, nor an ability to disengage blocks with ease and harras quarterbacks, but if you’re looking for a guy to clog lanes and maul running backs for fun, this 6’4, 309 lbs, monster is the man.
Round 6 Pick 24: Oli Udoh, OT, Elon
A true small-school sleeper, Udoh stands at 6’5, 327 lbs…although he was close to 400 lbs during his final season. The man is a total monster who blew up after an impressive Shrine Game performance, earning a Senior Bowl nod in the process. Udoh has the raw power to sustain blocks and the size to compliment. Another developmental talent for Jeff Stoutlant to mold…but this is where the reverse draft is beginning to struggle because the Eagles need a fringe-starter here.
Round 6 Pick 34: Iman Marshall, CB, USC
This is actually the perfect spot for this pick. Marshall is a zippy corner (an improvement already for the Eagles) and he’s most effective either at the point-of-the-catch, or when asked to play downhill in off-coverage and blow up a play. He doesn’t have the desired length (6’0, 205 lbs), but his hip fluidity and ability to feel his way down the route tree makes up for it.
Playing press is a problem, however. Marshall is too inconsistent at the line and when asked to wrap up a receiver as opposed to making a play on the ball, he can often be very grabby and sporadic because of the lack of length. He has great upside as a corner who can fly around, close off routes and shows a willingness to play angry, but his flaws will hold him to a special teams ceiling for now…which is kind of what the Eagles need anyway given how much depth they have at the position.
Round 6 Pick 36: Easton Stick, QB, North Dakota State
Well, quarterback may actually be a need after all. If Nick Foles is all but certain to waltz into the sunset, we’re forgetting that Nate Sudfeld is a restricted free agent. If the Eagles bring him back, their progression system has worked perfectly and they’ll need a new developmental arm to sit behind Carson Wentz and ‘Nate the great’. Meet a former apprentice of Wentz, Easton Stick.
Stick is a dual-threat QB that like Wentz, helped obliterate the FCS level of college Football. Significantly shorter than Wentz, Stick is also more inaccurate and used to show a tendency to want to do it all. However, that’s not so much the case anymore. He’s proven that he can make all the throws in the book, is very athletic and has a strong pocket presence, but completing 61% of passes will have scouts guessing.
Stick is a true developmental talent and the Bison offense carries many of the same traits that Pederson’s does. With familiarity with Wentz a focal point, why not groom the next backup by rekindling some Deja Vu?
Is this draft class really that bad? Could the Eagles still tick all of their boxes in this instance? Potentially. The big thing that stood out was that when looking into the mid rounds for trench support, the well begins to dry up when you’re looking for guys who can make an impact right away. This draft format would’ve probably been perfect one year ago, but as of right now, the need for starting quality at those key holes is too heavy.
Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports