The NFL Draft is rapidly approaching and with the Carson Wentz saga now finally in the rear-view mirror, our attention can be turned to the future. This is an important offseason for the Eagles. With nine picks in this years’ Draft, they have to provide Nick Sirianni with a strong foundation to begin building his legacy on. How can they do that? Here’s one possible outcome.
Round 1, Pick .6: TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
The debates surrounding Kyle Pitts will rage on all offseason. Is he ‘just’ a tight end, or is he this super-human 20-year-old who can line up anywhere, move like a running back, and catch like a wide receiver with the frame of a tight end? I vote the latter.
The issues Eagles fans have with selecting Pitts largely revolve around the fact Ja’Maar Chase and the other top wideouts in this class should still be available. Those debates ignore the fact that Pitts may well have the highest upside of any skill-position player in the Draft.
The Eagles drafted Jalen Reagor one year ago along with two other wideouts. The only offensive coach retained not named Jeff Stoutland was WR coach Aaron Moorehead. The front office clearly believes in his ability to develop talent, so why put a cap on Reagor’s ceiling after one year?
As a player, Pitts is a dream to watch. A monster in the red-zone, a crisp route-runner, and a YAC machine, replacing Zach Ertz (and maybe Goedert after next year) with an elite TE prospect makes sense both financially and logistically when rebuilding this offense.
Are the odds of Kyle Pitts landing in Philadelphia high? It’s hard to say. But it may be worth keeping an eye on the market using a smarkets promo code here.
Round 2, pick 37: CB Eric Stokes, Georgia
The Eagles really need a cornerback over 6’0 who is comfortable in man and zone and has the deep speed to hold his own outside. Not only for the huge CB2 vacancy, but to become an heir to Darius Slay’s throne. If they’re not taking Patrick Surtain, Stokes is the guy.
At 6’1, 185 lbs, Stokes is a zippy corner with remarkable footwork. This enables him to mirror receivers well and ensures he very rarely gets left for dead. He only allowed one touchdown all season (to DeVonta Smith of all people).
He’s not the most technically sound and can get very grabby if beaten off the line, but discipline can be taught, while raw traits cannot. The good news is that the Georgia product has them in abundance.
A physical corner with a nose for the ball, the concerns surrounding Stokes typically involve the fact that most of his interceptions rarely involve him contesting the catch at the high-point. This, again, can be coached. But swagger, physicality, and sheer athleticism cannot. Stokes has all three going for him and might be able to finally stop the bleeding at CB2 in Philadelphia.
Round 3, pick 70: LB Cameron McGrone
The Eagles need a MIKE linebacker and with a lot of rubber left on the tires, McGrone could be a snug fit here. The risk is that he only has 19 games of experience and his 2020 tape wasn’t as impressive as his 2019 breakout in lieu of injuries, but there’s a lot to like from a developmental standpoint.
He showed plenty of potential as a penetrative linebacker last year and his tackling is fundamentally sound (!!!). He would need to see some exposure to coverage snaps in order to ensure there’s no glaring weakness in his game, but as someone who can blow up screen passes, hit the line with assertion and isn’t afraid to get aggressive with the opposing OL, McGrone could be a name worth watching in Philadelphia.
Round 3, pick 85: S, Andre Cisco, Syracuse
A true boundary safety in every sense, Cisco is an absolute ballhawk. Through only 24 games, he amassed 13 interceptions and 14 passes defensed. It’s worth noting he missed most of 2020 with an injury sustained in practice.
The Syracuse product isn’t the most secure tackler and that will be problematic, especially in run defense. His angles are very all-or-nothing, as is a lot of his play, but it’s a price worth paying when there’s such an instinctive and rangy playmaker available.
Cisco not only has the speed to keep up with twitchy slot wideouts, but the agility to recover from a poor position. A fluid athlete who can keep the cap on centerfield through an impressive nose for the ball who can burst down onto a crossing route to cut it off, or flip his hips with grace to carry a route downfield.
Cisco could be the long-term replacement for Rodney McLeod while K’Von Wallace is the swiss-army knife used closer to the line of scrimmage.
5th round, pick 134: DE Jonathon Cooper, Ohio State
Being an Ohio State DE these days comes with a hefty reputation and Cooper lives up to it. He may not be the next Chase Young, but he’s an interesting prospect who may well tempt a value-hunting Howie Roseman.
Cooper had to miss his 2019 season due to injury and his jump to the NFL was delayed as a result. 2020 offered a shot at redemption and he took it, rallying to 3.5 sacks and just as many tackles for loss in the shortened campaign.
His get-off is absolutely exceptional and he has a vast array of counters up his sleeve, but he doesn’t have the bend to really hold his own just yet. This is worrisome against the run. It’s clear he has the tools to develop into an impressive edge rusher, but he’d be a great addition beneath Josh Sweat on the depth chart while he learns…and hey, he has to be more productive than Shareef Miller, who was drafted one round earlier…
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