Eagles Mock Draft: Expecting the unexpected and loading up the offensive line

Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, center, stands with defensive end Brandon Graham (55) offensive tackle Lane Johnson (65), defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, and center Jason Kelce (62) after the NFC Championship NFL football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, in Philadelphia. The Eagles won 31-7. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Philadelphia Eagles have a ton of holes on the defensive side of the football heading into the 2024 NFL Draft. Linebacker, safety, and cornerback are arguably the franchise’s three biggest needs, but this a team that likes to zig when everyone expects them to zag. Look for them to buck the trend once again.

The Eagles seem poised to slide Cam Jurgens over to center in place of retired legend Jason Kelce, leaving the right guard spot open for a friendly competition at training camp. Tyler Steen will get the first crack at the job, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them draft someone to push him, maybe even in the first round.

In my latest mock draft, the offensive line takes top priority amid more pressing needs see upgrades elsewhere. The Eagles have always valued the trenches and the ability to replenish the offensive line — remember, Lane Johnson is nearing the end of his Hall of Fame career — might prove too tempting to ignore.

Round 1, Pick 22: Amarius Mims, T, Georgia
Analysis: The 6-foot-8, 340-pounder checks all the boxes. He’s got big hands, great length, smooth body control, and a towering frame that is best suited for the right tackle spot. The fact that he starred for the Georgia Bulldogs — their offensive line ranked first in the SEC and seventh nationally in sacks allowed — could be the tipping point for taking him at No. 22.

Round 2, Pick 50: Edgerrin Cooper, LB, Texas A&M
Analysis: Cooper is the definition of a thumper with scouting reports salivating over his “passionate run-and-hit mentality.” He is an underrated playmaker who needs to improve his run fits, but his raw talent is droolworthy as evidenced by an impressive 40-yard dash time (4.51 seconds). He registered 84 tackles and 8 sacks in 2023.

Round 2, Pick 53: Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas
Analysis: The Eagles need to solve their problem at slot receiver so drafting one of the best pure route-runners in this year’s class would be a sneaky good fit. At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Mitchell can go up and get contested balls in short space while leaking out as a vertical threat on crossers and slants.

Round 4, Pick 120: Javon Foster, OT, Missouri
Analysis: Wait, why draft another tackle this early? Because this three-year starter and team captain at Mizzou possesses all the traits the Eagles covet. His enviable size (6-foot-5, 305 pounds) and athletic ability scream left tackle in the NFL, although it wouldn’t be shocking to see a team move him inside. Right guard could make a lot of sense in Philly.

Round 5, Pick 161: Kalen King, CB, Penn State
Analysis: A lackluster 2023 campaign in State College, coupled with a poor showing at the Senior Bowl, plummeted his draft stock. That’s okay. The Eagles could pounce on this feisty playmaker — 3 interceptions, 18 pass breakups in 2022 — in the later rounds. There is a feeling among some in the know that King should move to safety. Best-case scenario: he’s the second coming of Avonte Maddox.

Round 5, Pick 171: Jaylin Simpson, S, Auburn
Analysis: A natural ballhawk with insane closing speed (4.45 seconds in the 40), Simpson could come in and immediately push Reed Blankenship for the starter’s role. His 4 interceptions ranked 16th in the country last year including a 50-yard return for a score; Simpson also has experience playing cornerback.

Round 5, Pick 172: Jordan Magee, LB, Temple
Analysis: Howie Roseman loves to go bargain hunting when it comes to the linebacker position and using a late-round pick on a guy who honed his skills in the Eagles’ backyard screams high-ceiling reward. Magee (6-foot-1, 228 pounds) has great sideline-to-sideline speed, perfect for jumping in on special teams.

Round 6, Pick 210: Nathan Thomas, OT, Louisiana-Lafayette
Analysis: Would the Eagles take a late-round flier on a massive human being with starter potential at left tackle? Yes, especially if they’re thinking “best available” over “best fit.” Thomas was an elite run blocker in 2023 — 80.0-plus run-blocking grade on gap-scheme runs, according to Pro Football Focus — and has a nasty, physical edge that bodes well at the next level.

How do you feel about this Eagles mock draft?

AP Photo/Matt Slocum