What we can learn from the Eagles pre-draft meetings: Defense edition

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The outbreak of COVID-19 may have plunged a thorn into the side of draft preparations, but it hasn’t stopped teams from doing as much homework as possible on potential prospects. The Eagles are no exception, but reports of players they’ve met have been hard to find all in one place. With that in mind, here’s a look at every player to have communicated with the Eagles so far and some analysis for each position group. After yesterday’s article focusing on offense, it’s time to take a look at defense.

Defensive end

Bradley Anae – Utah – Senior Bowl – Proj. Rounds 3-5
Trevis Gipson – Tulsa – Senior Bowl – Proj. Rounds 5-6
DJ Wonnum – South Carolina – Senior Bowl – Proj. Rounds 5-6
Terrell Lewis – Alabama – Top 30 – Proj. Rounds 2-3

It’s not surprising to see the Eagles meeting with a flurry of late-round prospects here, but the intrigue in both Anae and Lewis stands out. Derek Barnett is entering year 4 of his rookie deal and there isn’t much in the way of secure depth at the position right now. Developmental talent makes sense if Miller and Sweat make a jump, but somebody more secure also makes sense…which is why there’s been so much hype around Ngakoue. Don’t be surprised to see the Eagles take a DE.

Defensive tackle

James Lynch – Baylor – Top 30/Facetime Proj. Rounds 5-7
Leki Fotu – Utah – Senior Bowl/Top 30 – Proj. Rounds 4-6
Benito Jones – Ole Miss – Senior Bowl – Proj. Rounds 5-6
Larrell Murchison – NC State – Senior Bowl – Proj. Rounds 5-7
Justin Madubuike – Texas A&M – Facetime – Proj. Rounds 2-3

I can’t see the Eagles taking a DT highly now, especially after the Javon Hargrave signing. But it’s nice to see Howie performing due diligence at the position as always. If the Eagles do want to add a sizable project pass-rusher to their stable, it will be someone built in the mold of Murchison who can dominate the A-gap, relieving Hargrave rotationally. Someone that would likely compete with Anthony Rush.

Linebacker

Michael Pickney – Miami – Shrine game – Proj. Rounds 6-7
Logan Wilson – Wyoming – Top 30 – Proj. Rounds 3-4

Davion Taylor – Colorado – Facetime – Proj. Rounds 4-5
Patrick Queen – LSU – Facetime – Proj. Rounds 1

It’s highly disappointing (but also expected) to see the Eagles meet with only four linebackers. There had been reports that the Eagles also met with Kenneth Murray, which would oddly lift the LB hotspot to a round 1-3 selection. The last time the Eagles selected a LB not-named Marcus Smith in round 1 was 1979. Could this be the time it changes? Potentially, but it’s not likely.

Cornerback

Dane Jackson – Pitt – Senior Bowl – Proj. Rounds 5-6
Amik Robertson – Louisiana Tech – Top 30 – Proj. Rounds 3-4
Darnay Holmes – UCLA – Top 30 – Proj. Round 3

It’s interesting that the Eagles have met with a cluster of mid-round picks. Knowing that they own three selections in the fourth round, it’s likely that they draft another DB. However, most of the names they’ve met with outside of the 6’1 Taylor, are projected nickel DB’s and the Eagles already have a plethora of those. But with two top-30 spots spent at the position, they’re doing more than just homework…

Safety

K’Von Wallace – Clemson – Senior Bowl – Proj. Round 3
Jeremy Chinn – Southern Illinois – Facetime – Proj. Round 3

Just the two prospects here and both sit in the third round. I’m not overly sure how likely the Eagles are to take a Safety that high after refusing to pluck Chauncey Gardner-Johnson last year and adding Will Parks and Jalen Mills this offseason. Doesn’t seem to be too much attention paid here.

Takeaways:

  • It’s concerning that so few linebackers have met with the team.
  • Another nickel cornerback could well be on the way.
  • A late-round DT makes sense and this follows that trend.
  • Don’t be surprised to see the Eagles spend rounds 3-4 on Defense and the rest on offense.

Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports


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