With free agency still a few weeks away, it’s probably a little premature to dive into mock drafts, but it’s a lot of fun. Last year, my first Mock Draft had the Eagles taking Andre Dillard in round 1, so maybe that luck will carry over into this year. The Birds are projected to have ten selections this Draft but for the sake of simplicity, we won’t be orchestrating trades just yet.
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scold me tell me who you would draft in the comments!
Round 1 pick 21: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
It’s not a wide receiver, I know. But the truth is that even if the Eagles part ways with Alshon, they have a near-identically built wideout in JJAW and still have a speedster in DeSean Jackson. Sure, an instant star would be amazing, but this is an insanely deep class and the Eagles can use that to their advantage.
At defensive end, Derek Barnett is entering a crucial year while Brandon Graham isn’t getting any younger. It’s not clear if Vinny Curry will return and the names behind that trio all have question marks.
When I was watching tape on Shareef Miller last year, it was really hard to focus because on the other side of the field, this man was wreaking havoc. That dominance continued into 2019, where the stunningly sized 6’5, 264 lbs, DE rallied to 9.5 sacks.
What I love most about his play is patience. While his overall reading of the play could use some improvement Gross-Matos eyes the ball well and his instinct to slow down and follow the play that makes him so dangerous. He’s like a Bowling ball sized magnet. This can work against him at times, but when he’s right to wait, it shows.
With quickfire hands, an array of pass-rushing moves at his disposal, this is a DE who could easily be groomed to replace one of the Eagles starters in the next two years, possessing a ridiculous first step, a strong tackling foundation, and a lot of speed on stunts and bullrushes.
The Eagles love their defensive linemen, and I love this pick.
Round 2 pick 53: Ashtyn Davis, S, Cal
Rodney McLeod is a free agent and Malcolm Jenkins rightly wants a new deal. Whatever happens, it makes sense to groom an eventual replacement and Ashtyn Davis would be a snug fit here. Here’s what I wrote on him after breaking down tape ahead of the Senior Bowl:
His positioning is excellent and he can manipulate his zone to keep the QB hesitant just long enough for the pass-rush to get home. There’s clearly a great schematic understanding and it’s backed up by a thunderous hitter (that can miss and take bad angles), and someone that can act on those instincts around the ball, making some eye-catching plays in 2019.
Davis isn’t going to be an ideal run-defender due to his tackling, but as a nickel corner or a single-high safety, there’s definitely room for this 6’1, 207 lbs, DB to grow.
Davis may be the prototypical safety to play over the top, bringing some fairly consistent ball-production to the table (to a team lacking turnovers in the secondary) while Malcolm Jenkins cleans up underneath.
Round 3, pick 85: Kamal Martin, LB, Minnesota
There are some really intriguing linebackers in this class, but finding the right fit for Schwartz is hard. Martin projects to be a 4-3 OLB which would give them an insurance policy behind Bradham if the team opt to part ways in free agency.
Martin is more of a technician than a ruthless tackling machine – a Kurt Angle over a Brock Lesnar, if you will. His football IQ can be a little worrisome at times and like Shaq Quarterman (remember the name), he can get dragged down in play-action looks. But if he’s given a man-to-man assignment, he carries well vertically and is a very secure tackler. If he’s asked to blitz, good luck defending him. Martin crashes into lanes and can block-shed with ease due to those long arms.
At 6’3, 245 lbs, he’s got great range and a stirdy frame that make him a menace when closing downhill. He’s not a finished product by any means and isn’t a freak athlete with super sideline-to-sideline speed. But he’s consistent, rangy, and hard-hitting…and that’s exactly what the Eagles need.
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