The 2023 NFL draft is now just days away 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.
Eagles Mock Draft 3.0:
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, pick 50, & 2024 5th rounder
Howie Roseman is playing chess when the rest of the world is playing checkers. This isn’t a Devin White trade, but I promise you, it’s just as important. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers see 5 quarterbacks go inside the top 7 picks and decide to storm up the board to secure their future CB1.
As for the Eagles, they drop back 9 spots and more importantly, still have two first-rounders. They’re able to leverage the #10 pick previously attained from the Saints and pick up some much-needed ammunition for another trade. We’ll get to that one a little bit later…
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 and while it would be dreamy to snag him at 30, is it really worth risking missing out for the sake of 10 spots? The main thing here is that the Eagles fill the safety spot with a long-term cornerstone.
I wrote this in my previous mock draft:
Brian Branch is 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.
I am not coming off this hill. Brian Branch to the Eagles would be a dream fit in so many ways and it’s about time the Birds find a safety they can hang their hat on.
Pick #30: Trenton Simpson, LB, Clemson
I would love Darnell Washington or Michael Mayer here, but there is a process to trust. Trenton Simpson is another player whose draft position varies from first-rounder to second-rounder depending on which mocks you read, but the Eagles know their second-round picks are going elsewhere, so it’s time to get aggressive.
Simpson is an athletic monster who is basically the linebacker Howie hoped Davion Taylor would become. Ridiculously agile and with a nose for the football, Simpson would have a chance to blossom. He’s the kind of playmaker the LB position in Philly has been crying out for.
Eagles send: Pick 50 (from TB), pick 62 (PHI), and a 2024 4th rounder
Titans send: Derrick Henry
Hahahahaha. I win. I have won the NFL Draft. I’m an actual genius.
The Tennessean suggested that the Eagles would send a pair of third-rounders (2023 & 2024) in exchange for Derrick Henry and a late-rounder in 2023. It’s the Draft. The Eagles have passed on Bijan Robinson and now the leverage has slowly shifted in the way of the Titans…or so they think.
The Eagles happily part with a second-round pick and one gained from Tampa Bay, which is basically a freebie considering the Eagles get the premier safety in this draft class anyway, and their current 2nd for Derrick Henry.
The team can afford to rework what’s already an affordable contract and he isn’t going to be given the same workload he has in Tennessee. It will be behind a better o-line, with more backs behind him to share the load, and arguably the most dangerous rushing QB in the entire NFL.
Pick 94: Zack Kuntz, TE, Old Dominion
The Eagles need a TE2 and they don’t come much more appealing than Zack Kuntz.
6’7, 255 lbs, and a freak athlete.
He doesn’t have the deepest resume in the world and has only made 15 starts at the collegiate level, but he’s also only 23 years old. Teams are going to fall in love with his physical traits and while he does lack as a run-blocker and has a pretty marginal game as a receiving threat, he still possesses some monstrous upside if he can be allowed time to grow.
Kuntz isn’t going to be a TE1 for a few years, which gives Dallas Goedert all the time in the world to finish his story as an elite tight end. Kuntz can grow under the radar and learn from one of the premier run-blocking TE’s in the game who just also happens to be a brilliant receiving threat. It’s a great situation to be drafted into.
Eagles send: Quez Watkins & pick 219
Browns send: Jordan Elliott, DT, & 6th rounder in 2024
Randy Gurzi of Dawgpounddaily.com mentioned him in a piece citing Browns players who could be on the trade block and the Eagles should absolutely be interested.
Elliott was selected in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft and could really benefit from a change of scenery.
He had his best year in 2022, with a pair of sacks and 36 tackles, but his PFF grade of 40 told a very different story. It should be noted though that Cleveland’s entire defense was a train wreck and it’s continued to go through changes that haven’t really changed much.
At the end of the day, he’s 6’3, 300 lbs, has great speed, but is very much a depth piece for the Browns.
I don’t think Quez Watkins has a realistic shot of beating out Olamide Zaccheaus for the WR3 spot and he has a better shot of beating out *checks notes* Donovan Peoples-Jones, who will likely be moving to the slot after the Elijah Moore trade, and a group of players around his skill level.
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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