Eagles Mock Draft: Zay Flowers drops down the board, Trades galore

FILE – In this Sept. 1, 2016, file photo, Philadelphia Eagles’ Howie Roseman holds a football as he talks before a preseason NFL football game against the New York Jets in Philadelphia. Quick fixes are not part of the plan for the Eagles this offseason. After finishing 7-9 under first-year coach Doug Pederson with rookie quarterback Carson Wentz starting every game, Roseman made it clear the goal isn’t to build a team that just makes the playoffs. (AP Photo/Michael Perez, File)

It’s been fun putting on the general manager cap for the Eagles and playing the role of Howie Roseman in mock drafts this offseason. There is no shortage of options for the Philadelphia Eagles up and down the board, including a surprise pick at No. 30.

In my latest draft simulation, via Pro Football Network, the Eagles send pick No. 10 to the New Orleans Saints who take quarterback Will Levis there. Philadelphia receives pick No. 29, No. 40, plus a 2024 second-rounder (via Denver). If it seems a bit lopsided, wait and see how the board shakes out at the end of the first round. This year’s draft class is loaded with value.

Round 1: Pick No. 29 (acquired from New Orleans): Nolan Smith, edge rusher, Georgia
Analysis: Smith has been a popular pick for the Eagles due to his freakish athleticism: 4.39 seconds in the 40, 41.50″ vertical, 10’8″ broad. He posted the second-fastest time for a defensive lineman since 2003. The 6-foot-2, 238-pounder checks every box, plus he was teammates with Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean at Georgia.

Round 1: Pick No 30 (own pick): Zay Flowers, wide receiver, Boston College
Analysis: Do the Eagles necessarily need to take a wideout this high? No, absolutely not. However, if Flowers – a guy who ESPN expert Mel Kiper Jr. keeps hyping up – falls to the end of the first round, then Roseman has to pounce. The 5-foot-9 target is sneaky fast and insanely athletic, perhaps the perfect choice to supplant Quez Watkins as the new vertical slot receiver.

Round 2: Pick No. 40 (via New Orleans): Jahmyr Gibbs, running back, Alabama
Analysis: Throw on Gibbs’ tape and you see a poor man’s Bijan Robinson. That’s not a knock on him considering Robinson is being billed as a generational talent. The Eagles would be extremely lucky to see the Alabama standout on the board in Round 2. He was a dual-threat playmaker in Tuscaloosa: 926 rushing yards, 444 receiving yards, 10 total touchdowns, with 4.36 speed.

Round 3: Pick No. 65 (acquired from Houston): Antonio Johnson, safety, Texas A&M
Analysis: Surprise, surprise, another trade! The Eagles send picks No. 62 and No. 248 to the Houston Texans in exchange for No. 65, No. 219, and a 2024 fourth-rounder (via Cleveland). They essentially move down three spots, missing out on LSU edge rusher B.J. Ojulari but grabbing a plug-and-play starter in Johnson. He’s a slot corner and split zone safety, with outstanding tackling and ball skills. And the text-book replacement for C.J. Gardner-Johnson.

Round 3: Pick No. 94: Jaelyn Duncan, offensive tackle, Maryland
Analysis: The Eagles are rumored to be looking at offensive tackles in the first round, which would be the typical Roseman move. In this scenario, they wait it out and use a third-round pick on an intriguing four-year starter at left tackle. There are question marks – passive finishes and lack of length – but there is plenty to love, especially his “near-elite” athleticism. Jeff Stoutland could certainly mold him into a starter.

Round 6: Pick No. 219: Shaka Heyward, linebacker, Duke
Analysis: Linebacker is another area of concern in Philly after the team let T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White walk in free agency. They have talented players who can compete for starting jobs at training camp, but stacking depth at the position would be wise. Heyward (6-foot-3, 235 pounds) has been called a “thumper” by scouts. He’s also excellent on special teams.

Who’s your favorite pick for the Eagles?

AP Photo/Michael Perez