The 2023 NFL draft is rapidly approaching and Eagles fans could not be more excited. With a pair of picks in the first round and the potential for a new cornerstone player to be selected at pick #10, this promises to be an exciting Draft for the City of Brotherly Love.
Here’s my latest guess as to how the weekend will pan out.
Mock Draft 2.0:
The Eagles own 6 total picks in the 2023 NFL draft:
1st round (No. 10, No. 30)
2nd round (No. 62),
3rd round (No. 94),
7th round (No. 219, No. 248).
Pick #10: TRADE
Eagles send: Pick 10
Tampa Bay Buccaneers send: Pick 19 and a 2024 1st rounder
The latest noise involving the Tampa Bay Buccaneers involves Devin White, but that’s not the case here. The Bucs need a cornerback and with a focus on pass-rushers early, it allows Cristian Gonzalez to become attainable in an aggressive move into the top-10.
As for the Eagles, they’re able to leverage the #10 pick previously attained from the Saints and get another first-round pick out of it. This roster is already stacked and if you can keep adding first-round talents on cheap contracts, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Pick #19: S Brian Branch, Alabama
Branch is rising up boards quickly and for good reason. He’s easily the best Safety in this class, but there is a chance he’s available in the late teens, especially if the top wideouts, tackles, and corners are all taken.
He’s a smart and versatile player who high-points the ball like a corner and hits like a linebacker. The Eagles love SEC products as of late and there are few as polished or as intelligent as Brian Branch. He has phenomenal footballing instincts and his violent ability to click and close makes him a menace when playing downhill. He’s the perfect replacement for Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.
Safety is probably the teams’ biggest need and while they’ve never drafted a Safety in the first round, there has never been a better time to buck that trend.
Pick #30: Darnell Washinngton, Georgia
I pounded the table for Washington recently and I will happily do so again:
Standing at 6’7, 264 lbs, Washington is an absolute behemoth. This is especially helpful in run-blocking, where his monstrous frame is able to rip through linebackers and edge-rushers with ease. On pins and pulls, Washington is borderline unstoppable and with the Eagles having such an aggressive focus on running the ball, his dominant frame would be an excellent addition.
He does lack as a receiver, but does it really matter? Washington posted a RAS grade of 9.88 and ran a 4.65 40-yard dash…as a 6’7, 267 pounder. He’s a freak athlete and if there’s one thing that Howie Roseman loves, it’s an athletic anomaly.
The Eagles drafted Dallas Goedert when Zach Ertz was at the top of his game. Drafting a viable TE2 after a few years of developmental efforts have failed would not just be a good idea, it could well be their best one as far as enhancing the run-game and adding another offensive cornerstone goes.
Pick #62: Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa
The Eagles don’t need a pass-rushing linebacker because the idea of Desai’s defense is similar to that of Vic Fangio. The Bears ranked 29th in blitz percentage last year. Instead, let’s find a run-defense specialist who will swallow up running backs.
Jack Campbell ticks those boxes. He’s a 6’5 MIKE linebacker (with a 9.98 RAS score!) who will allow Nakobe Dean the option to flex outside. Campbell isn’t an aggressive linebacker as far as storming the trenches goes. He’s patient and secure in his tackling, which earned him a stunning 91 PFF grade last year along with 83 tackles.
His route recognition when playing zone is frighteningly good for a player his age and he has the athleticism to cover tight ends and carry vertical routes, as well as sit in a hole and trust his read-and-react instincts to wrap up ball carriers.
Campbell might just be the prototypical LB for this defense.
Pick 94: Gervon Dexter, DT, Florida
The Derek Barnett experiment might be coming to an end, but it’s time to start the Gervon Dexter era. The Eagles LOVE hyper-athletic edge rushers and Dexter has the second-highest RAS of any lineman in this class. His explosiveness is scary off the line and his 6’6, 310 lbs frame makes him a handful when engaging offensive linemen.
He’s not as polished as some of the other names in this class, but he’s been productive during his time in Florida and has the kind of athleticism Milton Williams flashed during his college days. The Eagles need some developmental depth at DT and you won’t find many prospects in this range as athletic as Dexter.
Pick #219: Andre Iosivas, WR, Princeton
The Eagles need to ideally find an upgrade over Quez Watkins and while Iosivas isn’t going to tick that box out of the gate, he has some frankly ridiculous speed and could be an impact player on special teams.
The Princeton wideout is a 3x NCAA Heptathalon Champion and ran a 4.43 40-yard dash. What’s impressive is that he did so standing at 6’3, 200 lbs. With that kind of speed and size, he could easily project as a big-slot who can still take the top off a defense provided he can work out some kinks in his route-running and understand how to leverage his speed, improving his release and ability to separate as opposed to just sprinting at the same speed. He could be a fun project.
Pick # 248: CB Jay Ward, LSU
A 7th-round LSU DB? Where have we seen this before? Jay Ward is as versatile as they come having done everything at LSU: safety, outside cornerback, nickel cornerback. He finished his college career with 164 tackles (3.5 for loss), along with six interceptions in 46 games. The Eagles love taking fliers on late-round DB’s and Ward is someone who could fill pinch-needs if injuries strike.
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