It’s the bye week and the Eagles are 5-4, second in the NFC East. A Cowboys loss versus the Vikings on Sunday would mean a tie at the top of the division, with the Cowboys owning the tiebreaker.
With the season very far from being over, it’s hard to pinpoint where the Eagles may be drafting. At 5-4, they can be drafting anywhere from 13 to mid-late 20s (hopefully 32), with top ten being very unlikely. But for the sake of this article, I will be highlighting five names that I believe the Eagles should trade up for and address dire needs.
With Nelson Agholor on his way out as a free agent and Mack Hollins a candidate to be cut, the Eagles will be left with Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside at wide receivers under contract in 2020. The Eagles have not drafted a wide receiver in the first round since Chip Kelly did in 2015 (Agholor) and hadn’t done so prior to that since 2009 (Jeremy Maclin). The 2020 draft might be the year to give up the assets to move up to grab a play maker, and there are two names worth watching.
Jerry Jeudy – Alabama
This one might be a pipe dream, as he is projected to go top seven in the draft, but Jeudy might be well worth the move up for the Eagles. So far this season in eight games, Jeudy has 52 receptions for 682 yards and eight touchdowns. He is averaging 13.1 yards per reception. In 2018, he averaged 19.3 YPR with 1,315 yards receiving. He is an absolutely dynamic play maker and has been compared to Julio Jones. Check out #4 on Alabama in the highlights below:
No Tua this weekend, but that didn't stop Jerry Jeudy from showing how complete of a WR he is— Connor Rogers (@ConnorJRogers) October 30, 2019
YAC ability, intermediate game, vertical TD with burner speed + tracking to cap it off pic.twitter.com/nPW5TrFwnp
CeeDee Lamb – Oklahoma
A receiver averaging 22.7 YPR on 36 receptions? Sign me up. CeeDee Lamb may not have the most blazing straight line speed, but his game speed is just what the Eagles need. He has 11 touchdowns on the year, matching his total from all of 2018. Lamb also has punt return experience, something the Eagles will be looking for with Sproles likely to retire and Corey Clement a free agent. Lamb might not be too far away from the Eagles but they’ll likely still need to trade up for the potential number one receiver.
For a glimpse at what Lamb can do, check out the play below:
CeeDee Lamb ends Oklahoma's scoring drought. pic.twitter.com/yz35QEM14i— ESPN (@espn) October 26, 2019
The Eagles’ cornerback situation this season has been…rocky. They are getting healthier but that doesn’t change the fact that opposing receivers have had great games against them. The Eagles may lose Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby next season to free agency, and quite possibly Sidney Jones to roster cuts, so addressing a corner in the first round is definitely possible. However, drafting a corner in the first round hasn’t happened for the Eagles since 2002 (Lito Sheppard). Could 2020 be the year of the corner for the Eagles? Here’s two names to watch.
Jeff Okudah – Ohio State
Another player on this list that the Eagles would have to trade into the top seven for, Okudah is worth the move. If the Eagles are going to keep Schwartz and his zone coverage around next season, Okudah can help out the “sticks defense” tremendously. He’s been able to recognize route concepts and can close on receivers quickly. The Eagles need a playmaker in the secondary, Okudah can be just that.
Trevon Diggs – Alabama
Another corner for the zone concept, Diggs may be the better fit for the Eagles in a multitude of ways. The brother of Vikings’ receiver Stefon, Trevon is a former wide receiver turned corner and has been very good in Alabama’s secondary. He has three interceptions on the season and has drawn comparisons to Darius Slay, who was a popular topic for Eagles fans’ at the trade deadline, now imagine having a younger version. He has experience in both man and zone, and can also return kicks/punts. Diggs is has been projected as either the first or second CB off the board in the draft, but the Eagles may only have to trade up a few spots to grab him.
Second straight week with a defensive touchdown for Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs https://t.co/yn0YMqH9CO— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) October 27, 2019
The Eagles haven’t drafted a linebacker in the first round since 1979. They also have Kamu Grugier-Hill as a free agent next season. Nigel Bradham and Nate Gerry have been abysmal at tackling this season. Out of 90 qualified linebackers, they rank 87th and 82nd in tackling efficiency according to ProFootballFocus. Gerry has also been mediocre in coverage this season. The Eagles desperately need a linebacker who can cover the underneath routes and who can tackle with authority. Here’s one name I would like to see the Eagles trade up to draft.
Kenneth Murray – Oklahoma
If you don’t know who this guy is, familiarize yourself. He had 155 tackles in 2018, including 28 in one game. He flies all over the field and is very good in zone coverage. Murray has also shown the ability to excel in closing in on pass coverage, something an Eagles linebacker needs. He currently has 55 tackles through eight games, including seven and a half for loss and two and a half sacks. Watch his technique on the tackle below, it’s beautiful. The Eagles may have to trade into the top ten for him, although there’s a chance he slips. If he does, the Eagles must make a move for him.
This tackle by Kenneth Murray is one of my favorite plays of 2019.— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) October 5, 2019
And a proper breakdown tackle, didn’t use momentum but lowered pads, snapped hips, drove legs on contact.
Beautiful stuff. Textbook stick!! pic.twitter.com/h2PyAHD8J7
What say you, Eagles fans? Anyone out there in college football catching your eye? Look out for another set of five prospects to watch later in the season!
Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports