With day two of the NFL Draft just around the corner, Eagles fans everywhere are chomping at the bit see what direction the team will take with the multiple picks they hold. The Draft brings out the best and worst of the football world. For many young players, it is the opportunity of a lifetime beginning a career in the NFL. For teams, they are able to bring in new talent to hopefully compete for a Lombardi. But, it is also a time for intense scrutiny, and one ill-fated slip-up can severely impact a player’s career trajectory. With that being said, for the three days that the draft operates, football fans are given a temporary fix for the long drought that is the offseason.
By this stage, the wheels are in motion after Andre Dillard’s destiny was sealed last night. So, let’s dive into some potential day 2 Eagles picks that aren’t being talked about. These so-called ‘sleepers’ will be based off the current trends and rumors surrounding positional needs that the Eagles may look to in the draft.
Chase Winovich, DE, Michigan
Perhaps the most underrated, under-the-radar prospect on this list and maybe even the entire draft is Michigan’s Chase Winovich. The consensus evaluation is Winovich is a relentless high motor, all-effort guy on the edge but he is so much more. When looking at the film, he provides much more. His technique and array of pass rush moves are high-level, and his football I.Q is a strong asset in the run game. A foot injury that recently required surgery has hurt Winovich’s draft stock, but his value for production in the second round is undeniable. Winovich was able to record 23 sacks over 3 seasons, an impressive tally. He also posted freakish measurables at the combine, highlighted by a 4.11 20 yard shuttle (comparable to elite pass rushers like Von Miller and Khalil Mack). Adding Winovich to an Eagles D-Line that has an aging Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett coming off an injury and Chris Long still undecided about his future is a solid move.
Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
The most pressing need for the Eagles defense is LB, and whist there is some clear cut first round talent in this years class with the likes of Devin White and Devin Bush, the talent levels drops from there and the Eagles may need to search for their defensive play caller on Day 2. Whilst Wilson isn’t the all-round talent that the two Devin’s are, he is still a very good linebacker and would be great value in the second round. Wilson has been given the label of the classic, hard-hitting MLB who can lay the boom but he is sneaky-athletic and has great ball skills for the positions, evidenced by six picks in 2 seasons. He also comes from great coaching and pedigree in the Alabama defense and would be a solid starter for an Eagles defense begging for some youth and potential at the linebacker position.
JJ Arcega-Whisteside, WR, Stanford
This pick may be kind of a head-scratcher but bear with me on this one. The Eagles currently have one of the best receiving corps in the league, and when you factor in Zach Ertz as a pass-catcher it only gets better. But beyond this year there is some uncertainty. No one outside of the building can really get a feel on what the Eagles plans are for Nelson Agholor, and DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery are only getting older. Mock drafts where Eagles take a wide-out have consistently put speed-type receivers going to the Eagles. Instead, a player like Arcega-Whisteside would be a much better fit for what the Eagles try to do on offense. Arcega-Whiteside is a big body at 6’2, 226 comparable to none other than Alshon Jeffery. He has great hands, technical route running and is a strong blocker in the run game. There were concerns over his speed but, his pro-day 40 time of 4.49 was impressive. Arcega-Whiteside could serve as a strong red-zone threat and a mismatch machine if drafted by the Eagles, eventually molding into Alshon Jeffery’s successor.
Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
It will be fascinating to see the approach the Eagles take in the upcoming rounds. I’m sure I won’t be alone in following every detail that will occur over the rest of the weekend. As for the potential picks listed above, I think there is a good chance that the Eagles may select one or two of these players, as they all address roster needs and fit the culture of the locker room. Hopefully, the team can add a piece that puts us firmly in the mix for a Championship. Fly Eagles Fly!
Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports