The NFL Draft is just eight days away and it’s time for one last bite of the ‘Mock Draft’ Apple before we all fall inevitably wrong and watch Howie pull off something only Howie could. Before crossing that line, here’s one last attempt at predicting how this will all pan out.
This wide receiver class is simply sensational, but it’s split into tiers. You have your top 3 guys, your ‘value’s a plenty at 20’, and then the fringe first-rounders. There’s also a LOT of slot guys in the heart of the draft, which means if the Eagles are going to double-dip, it makes sense to get a bonafide star on the outside, leaving them to reap the rewards of depth on the inside.
Denzel Mims would be great and Jalen Reagor is a stud, but both, in my opinion, shouldn’t be the option at 21. Mims’ route-running leaves a lot to be desired and he’s very much the DK Metcalf of his class. This isn’t a bad thing, but the Eagles need separation specialists. As for Reagor, I love him, but if it comes down to taking him at 21? That may be a little too high.
Instead, Howie licks the stamp and goes full-send on a trade with the Oakland Raiders in order to climb the ladder to pick 12 and snatch a receiver from their clutches. To do this, they’ll give up:
Pick 146 (Rd 4)
Conditional 2021 fifth-rounder
CB Rasul Douglas
The Raiders needed a cornerback almost as badly as the Eagles this offseason. In fact, they were in on all the same players as the Eagles, including Darius Slay. They were left with Eli Apple. Don’t laugh.
A trade would be welcomed by Rasul Douglas and the Eagles have already entertained at least one offer from an NFC outfit. Shifting him on draft day makes far more sense and it means they can draft this man…
Round 1 Pick 12: Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
There really isn’t much to say here outside of “prepare to get flustered”. Running a 4.27 40-yard dash and jumping 42 inches at the combine, Henry Ruggs is the perfect candidate to come in and give Carson Wentz a weapon for years to come.
He’s not quite as twitchy as some of the other wideouts in this class, but will make you miss all the same…and good look recovering when he breaks free. His breaks are as crisp as can be and although he may not have a diverse route-tree, is it really needed? The man is a human version of Sonic the Hedgehog…just let him fly.
This pick allows the Eagles to tap into the slot market in the heart of the NFL Draft, as well as finding the heir to DeSean Jackson’s throne who is best poised to fill the role perfectly.
Round 2 pick 53: Ashtyn Davis, Safety, Cal
I have mocked this man to the Eagles three times and I refuse to stop now.
McLeod, Mills, and Parks are all on short deals. 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). This allows Will Parks and Jalen Mills to play in the box and arguably help negate the lack of depth at linebacker, with more 6-7 DB sets.
Round 3 Pick 103: Tyler Biadasz, Center, Wisconsin
He’s not the most athletic center available, but he will at least provide Jeff Stoutland with a project to groom over the next two years behind one of the best to ever play the position. Stoutland has brought along the likes of Vaitai, Seumalo, Pryor, and Mailata. He’d have a field day with a prospect like Biadasz, who has started in 41 straight games for the Badgers.
Biadasz makes up for his lack of athleticism with some really sound anchoring and a whole lot of power. He’s a gritty center with a solid base allowing him to play like an immovable object. He’s fun to watch against bull-rushes and I think the Eagles could definitely get the most out of him.
Round 4 Pick 127: Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas
I’ve made it widely known that I’m in love with Devin Duvernay at this point. His route-running is a little stiff, but with mitts so soft and that much speed, it’s hard not to see the appeal.
If you could imagine Greg Ward Jr. (similar size at 5’11, 210 lbs) but zippier, that’s Duvernay. The man is just electric as a route-runner, but projects to be a day-two pick due to some rawness in his game. His hips are a little tight and every cut seems to be like a jagged stab as opposed to fluid motion.
However, his lightning speed, ability to pick up YAC, and nasty mentality to defeat tacklers more than make up for that. He’s not quite there yet as someone ready to start day one, but if you want a secret weapon, his 1,386-yard season speaks for itself.
Round 4 Pick 145: James Morgan, Quarterback, FIU
I really can’t see Morgan sliding past the fourth round. He’s 6’4, has a cannon for an arm and is sneaky athletic. Morgan also completed 61.5% of his passes with 40 touchdowns and 12 picks during his two-year stint with FIU. After missing woefully on Clayton Thorson (because the Chargers snagged Easton Stick one pick before), the Eagles need a project arm.
I feel there’s a real lack of trust in Sudfeld. If there wasn’t, he wouldn’t be the chief handoff machine whenever dropped into live-action outside of week 17 games. The fact that Josh McCown was able to keep the QB2 role when Sudfeld came back says a lot, and I think he may have hit his ceiling in this system. It’s time for some competition and Lurie wants to draft a QB every year.
Round 5 pick 168: Justin Strnad, Linebacker, Wake Forest
If the Eagles do draft a Safety early, don’t expect a linebacker to be taken anytime soon. However, another late-round project could be the aim here and if that’s the case, friend of PSN, Justin Strnad could be the guy.
In 41 career games, he produced 244 tackles, 22.5 for loss, 8.5 sacks, and four interceptions. He has a really high IQ, was the leader of the Wake Forest defense, and can cover exceptionally. If the Eagles are looking for a name to grow into a MIKE role, I think Strnad has a moldable enough skillset to become an intriguing round 5 option.
Round 6 pick 190: Jonathan Garvin, Defensive End, Miami
This pick is a risk. Garvin is such a perplexing prospect to watch. His size is terrifying for a DE at 6’4, 238 lbs, and his explosion off the line of scrimmage is ridiculous…when he wants it to be.
Garvin just looks like he can’t be bothered at times, while absolutely ripping offensive lines to shred at others. In 2018 he started all 13 games, racking up 17 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks, so he’s clearly got the juice in him, but it’s just not always visible on tape.
Garvin’s a slippery edge-rusher who’s able to slide past linemen with ease with some smooth hand usage and pretty footwork. There is a nasty side there, but he’s so elegant it’s almost like watching a theatrical performance…which also explains why watching him just go ‘meh’ is so annoying.
With a new defensive line coach in town, Howie looks in his direction and says ‘hey, here’s your long-term project. Make this kid a star’.