We’re a little over two weeks away from the NFL Draft and anticipation could not be higher. The Philadelphia Eagles are primed to cause a few earthquakes when the Draft rolls around, but nobody really has any idea what’s going through Howie’s mind ahead of the big weekend. Here’s my latest guess.
Philadelphia Eagles trade Jalen Reagor and pick 15 to the Pittsburgh Steelers for Minkah Fitzpatrick & pick 52
I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out. Minkah is entering his option year and is costing the Steelers $10M. There were whispers that the Eagles were willing to pay Tyrann Mathieu around $50M on a multi-year contract. I personally don’t see the point in spending that kind of money when the team isn’t going to be competitive for at least the next year or two. If they can invest it long-term in a younger player, however, then it becomes more attractive.
The Birds do actually have some cap space over the next few years and are missing a cornerstone in the secondary. If they could lure Fitzpatrick away from Pittsburgh and give him a four-year deal worth $75M, I’m, sure Howie could find a way to make the contract an affordable one. It gives them an elite player in his prime at a relatively affordable contract in the grand scheme of things, and also moves Jalen Reagor to new pastures, giving Roseman a free shot at finding a more productive receiver.
Round 1 pick 18: Zion Johnson, G, Boston College
Yes, the Eagles have a plethora of needs and guard isn’t one of them…yet. Isaac Seumalo is in his contract year and could be bound for a Big-V type deal elsewhere, and Landon Dickerson does come with some injury reservations, while Nate Herbig is going to be a key piece moving forward. Depth behind the trio is minimal, and fielding Johnson next to Dickerson (if he moves to center) and Herbig could be a perfect way to keep the offensive line rolling.
Johnson is a monstrous athlete who can play both guard and tackle and is best-known for his run-game prowess. While there are concerns in pass-blocking, I’m sure Jeff Stoutland could iron those out…
Round 2, pick 51: David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan
21-years-old, athletic beast, 6’5, 250 lbs. Sign me up.
David Ojabo has all the right boxes ticked before he gets onto the football field, and his play only ticks more. He racked up 35 tackles, 12 TFL, 11 sacks, and 5 forced fumbles in 13 games. Being paired with Aidan Hutchinson certainly helps things, but Ojabo was a dominant force to be reckoned with by his own doing.
The fact that this class is STACKED with solid EDGE rushers means that Ojabo is going to slide when he really shouldn’t. Roseman would be right to sweep in and pick up a round-1 talent in the second, solidifying a defensive end group that had a lot of long-term question marks.
Round 2, pick 52: Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming
I’m finding it increasingly difficult not to draft Chad Muma.
The Eagles really need a linebacker who can hold his own in coverage and Muma excels in that area. There will be some concerns about his ability to adapt to the NFL level, but he’s worth taking here to strengthen a young corps in need of speed and coverage ability.
Philadelphia Eagles send Gardner Minshew, Andre Dillard, and pick 154 to Cincinnati in exchange for pick 63
The Bengals almost pulled off a miracle…but that would be the second of the 2021 season. The first is that Joe Burrow didn’t suffer a season-ending injury despite being desolated by every defensive line he faced. Brandon Allen just isn’t that guy to help a team on the fringe of greatness avoid slipping, but Minshew Mania could.
Let’s offer them some kind of protection too. Dillard could benefit from a change of scenery and they’ve just selected a versatile lineman who can play both spots. Jeff Stoutland can continue to turn water into wine, meaning the Eagles can afford to lose Dillard knowing that the machine will keep churning out talent.
Round 2, Pick 63: George Pickens, WR, Georgia
The masterplan is complete. Say goodbye to Jalen Reagor, and say hello to the receiver JJAW should’ve been.
6’3″, over 200lbs, and ran a 4.4 at the combine? Hnggg. Pickens does have some injury concerns, but the intangibles are all there. He’s very quick and has a strong resume of making contested catches. He recently drew comparisons to DeSean Jackson due to his speed…but this is a big boi who’s built like a jump-ball specialist and is a red-zone nightmare. I’m all in.
Round 3, Pick 83: Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA
The Eagles don’t need a lockdown corner…yet. Darius Slay is still going to be around for a little while and although guys like Derek Stingley are appealing, filling roster holes the right way is more important. The Eagles traded for two young corners last year and drafted another. Woolen can come in and compete for a CB2 spot behind Slay and potentially develop into that coveted CB1 over the next two years, ready for when Slay steps away.
Woolen himself is a former wideout and is 6’4 with 38-inch arms. He’s a ball-hawking transformer who runs like a zippy Z-receiver and the fact he’s so inexperienced at the position only adds to the intrigue here. He’s a little stiff in the hips and can be rigid when taking tackling angles, but this can be developed…and who better than Jonathan Gannon to get the most out of a player with bucketloads of potential?
Round 4, Pick 124: Jelani Woods, TE, Virginia
Dallas Goedert is the staple TE1 in this offense, but Tyree Jackson had a fairly underwhelming baptism to regular-season snaps as a tight end after an injury sucked momentum out of his training camp escapades. Is he ready to be devout TE2? I’m not sure.
Jelani Woods, however, is an absolute freak of nature. 6’7, 260 lbs, with a 4.61 40-yard-dash and a 6.95 three-cone drill.
He’s like Woolen in that he’s new to his position, but he still put up 598 yards and eight touchdowns in his lone season with Virginia last year.
The Eagles value run-blockers and Woods is a dominant one. But he also offers this salivating upside as someone who can just wreak havoc down the seams and when partnered with Goedert and Jackson, it could make for an elite trio.
Round 5, pick 162: Matt Araiza, P, San Diego State
I miss Cam Johnston, you miss Cam Johnston, and the Eagles probably do as well.
If Araiza is somehow on the board here, the Eagles need to…punt. He recorded 39 punts of 50+ yards last year and somehow punted over 80-yards on two occasions, while 18 flew past the 60 mark.
The Eagles offense has a habit of stalling out when relying on Jalen Hurts to throw the ball and a punter who can flip the field with ease is oh-so valuable. Arryn Siposs just didn’t cut it last year, and Araiza may be the best punting prospect we’ve seen in a long, long time.
Round 6, pick 166: Matt Henningsen, DT, Wisconsin
Carrying on with Howie’s push for athletic aliens, Henningsen recorded a 4.07 shuttle time at his pro-day, along with a 7.02 three-cone, and a 37.5 inch vertical. He’s also incredibly intelligent, having already achieved his Masters and a degree in engineering.
On the field, he’s a space-eating mauler who played a big role in Wisconsin being named the nation’s #1 run defense. He’s technically sound, has good burst off the line, and strong hand-usage keeping him engaged in matchups and tricky to move off his spot.
The Eagles have their speedy edge rushers and pass-rushing interior linemen. Henningsen can anchor the middle and open things up for guys like Milton Williams to eat.
Round 7, pick 237: Jack Coan, QB, Notre Dame
The Eagles need to replace Minshew, but why not try to push Jalen Hurts as a leader. Draft a late-round, non-threatening QB, and see what the Oklahoma product can do in terms of raising him up?
Coan is a definite sleeper. He’s confident in the picket and reads the game very well. He’s a game-managing QB who completed more than 60% of his passes in each of the last three seasons, and in his last five games, completed 68% for 13 touchdowns and just 3 picks.
He’s not going to be a rushing threat and his deep-ball is sporadic at best, but if the Eagles need a pro-style specialist to come in and manage a fourth quarter in a pinch, Coan could be a fun name to develop who boasts great intermediate accuracy.
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