The NFL Draft is just two days away, and the question on the minds of everyone in Philadelphia is the same — What will Howie Roseman and the Eagles do? There have been rumors of trading up, trading back, and there have even been rumors about potentially targeting a quarterback — #QBFactory2022 — which would indicate the team is less than committed to starting quarterback Jalen Hurts. While that could very well be the case, I believe the current QB smoke is just — well, smoke.
Howie Roseman is well-known for considering himself the smartest person in the room, and on occasion, that actually holds true. One could make the case that the pageantry surrounding the Eagles’ interactions with the 2022 QB prospects is all an illusion designed to drive up the price should one or more QBs fall — which they likely will, but more on that later.
Going into the draft, here are the Philadelphia Eagles’ current picks:
Round 1-18 (from New Orleans)
Round 3 – 83, 101 (New Orleans)
Round 5-154 (Washington), 162, 166 (Arizona)
Round 7-237 (New Orleans)
Here’s my take on how this could all go down.
Pick 15: Chris Olave – WR – Ohio State
What were you expecting, a trade? That comes later. While many are clamoring for Kyle Hamilton or Jameson Williams — and for good reason — Howie Roseman will avoid those tempting prospects for a player who could be equally special without the need for further draft capital.
Chris Olave is a special player, there is no doubt. As a route-runner, he’s like a surgeon on the field, methodically moving towards his goal. While his partner in crime at Ohio State, Garret Wilson — who has also been linked to the Eagles — is the more “electric” prospect, Olave is significantly more well-rounded, which would be an immense benefit when it comes to the development of Jalen Hurts.
Eagles send 18, 237, and a 2023 3rd round pick
Lions send 32 & 34
Now, remember way back when how I mentioned the idea of taking advantage of QB needy teams? Well, here’s the payoff. The Detroit Lions are in desperate need of a new leader under center but are reportedly hesitant to do so with the second overall pick — understandable considering the QB class.
As we reach the second half of the first round, however, it becomes much more palatable for Detroit to consider a move for a new signal-caller. The Lions send the Eagles picks 32 and 34 for 18, 237, and a 2023 3rd-round pick giving them a chance to draft one of the top remaining QB ahead of other interested parties like the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Pick 32: David Ojabo – Edge – Michigan
Howie Roseman gets his man in after all as the Philadelphia Eagles select David Ojabo with the 32nd pick. The uber-athletic edge-rusher has fallen down draft boards due to a torn Achilles he suffered at Michigan’s pro-day. While some are hesitant about drafting a player with a significant injury in the first round, many are optimistic about Ojabo’s odds of making a full recovery. He may even be able to play this season.
While he is extremely raw, the incredible upside of David Ojabo is just too much to turn down for Roseman and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Pick 34: Jalen Pitre – S – Baylor
One of the biggest holes on the entire Philadelphia Eagles’ roster is at the safety position. The team is currently heading into the 2022 season with a tandem of Anthony Harris and Marcus Epps leading the way, which would have anyone fan, coach, or otherwise uneasy about the outlook.
Jalen Pitre is a perfect candidate to solve that problem. His versatility is impressive, but it’s his ability to read an offense that sticks out. It is almost a certainty that Baylor product will be a playmaker at the next level. There have been some premature comparisons between Jalen Pitre and Tyrann Mathieu; considering the rumors of Mathieu bleeding green soon, Philadelphia’s safety situation could explode on the scene next season.
Pick 51: Roger McCreary – Corner – Auburn
Roger McCreary is a jack-of-all-trades, but he is certainly no “master of none.” While he’s effective in zone coverage, it’s in man coverage — both inside and outside — that McCreary thrives. While his measurements have many worried about his ability to remain outside long-term, McCreary’s athleticism, flexibility, and technique should more than mitigate that risk.
Pick 83: James Cook – Running Back – Georgia
This isn’t about missing out on the chance to draft his older brother Dalvin… Okay, it’s a little bit about that, but James Cook brings plenty to the table in his own right. He’s not as big as his brother, but many of the skills that made scouts fall in love with Dalvin, James also possesses — great footwork, vision, pass-catching ability.
With the future of running back certainly in question for the Eagles, James Cook would be a wise move as he can play a change of pace/complementary role this season and likely take over as the future back thereafter.
Pick 101: Coby Bryant – Corner – Cincinnati
While there is plenty of confidence to be had in Roger McCreary, his size concerns matched by the lack of depth in the Philadephia secondary are enough to rationalize doubling down on corners. Coby Bryant has the length, athleticism, and ability to become a starting outside corner in the NFL. His IQ and playmaking ability are some of his true highlights when looking at his ability.
Coby Bryant was, in fact, named after Lower-Merion star Kobe Bryant and while his parents changed the spelling so he could carve his own path, Coby still shares a similar intense competitive nature that made his namesake so unique.
Eagles send 124 and 166
Falcons send 114
Pick 114: Brandon Smith – Linebacker – Penn State
The Eagles addressed their dreadful linebacker situation this offseason by adding Kyzir White, and while he is certainly an improvement, there is more work to be done. Brandon Smith is far from a finished product, but as far as an athlete, there are few, if any, linebacker prospects who can compete with him.
Brandon Smith is the ultimate “low-floor, high ceiling” pick at linebacker. There’s a lot to work on with Smith from a technique standpoint — a LOT — but the potential upside is unreal, and if Howie Roseman is confident in his coaching staff,
Pick 154 – Tyreke Smith – Edge – Ohio State
Once expected to be the star of Ohio State’s defense, Tyreke Smith is one prospect that really hasn’t lived up to expectations. It’s not that he’s not talented; quite the opposite, actually. Smith actually meets or exceeds expectations in almost every way for an edge prospect — good length, flexibility, burst, even his hands are active and powerful. The problem with Smith is that despite all of this, he found himself unable to put it all together at OSU.
One would be quick to think it’s a matter of motor or heart; well, even that’s not the case. Considering that, the odds of Smith being a better pro player than a college player are high enough to be worth the risk.
Pick 162 – Alec Lindstrom – C – Boston College
Alec Lindstrom is an absolute DAWG. When you talk about competitive toughness, Alec Lindstrom is at the top of the list because he put himself there. He has a lot of — are you ready for this? — Jason Kelce in him, maybe not as much as Tyler Linderbaum, but enough to make him worth the Eagles taking a flyer on.
It’s his competitive nature mixed with his fantastic lateral mobility that really sells Lindstrom’s case. The biggest thing he’ll have to work on at the next level is his leverage. As someone who wouldn’t be mistaken for a mauler, Lindstrom must maximize the impact of his feet and balance to carve out an NFL career for himself.
Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire