Eagles Mock Draft, Edition One has Surprise Trade

Ed Kracz

The NFL’s Scouting Combine begins on Tuesday, at which time Eagles general manager Howie Roseman and coach Doug Pederson will take the podium and talk to reporters.

Roseman is tentatively scheduled for 1:30; Pederson at 1:45.

They are both then supposed to spend another 10 minutes or so speaking off-podium to mostly Eagles reporters who will be in attendance.

The nation’s best college prospects will filter in and out throughout the week for various testing, drilling and interviewing.

What better time than to lift the lid on my first mock draft; call it my Pre-NFL Scouting Combine mock draft.

I will do two more of these, one after free agency and another just prior to the draft, so I tried to have a little fun with this one and made plenty of assumptions but give my reason for doing so. For the sake of length, I only went three rounds.

Here goes:

FIRST ROUND, No. 21

If the Eagles want one of top three receivers in this draft – CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy or Henry Ruggs - they will probably need to find a way to move up, though some mock drafts have Ruggs lasting until this pick.

Not NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah.

“I assume that Henry Ruggs will be long gone as well (in addition to Lamb and Jeudy),” Jeremiah said on a conference call with reporters on Friday. “But that to me, if you were to say home run pick for the Eagles, who is it, it's Henry Ruggs, just because of how much speed and juice he would give to that offense.”

I agree with Jeremiah. The top three will be gone.

It's not out of the question for Roseman to move up in the first-round if one of those receivers begins to slip.

Roseman did it last year when he jumped up three spots, going from No. 25 to No. 22, to land left tackle Andre Dillard. That leap cost Roseman his pick at 25, a fourth-round pick (No. 127 overall) and a sixth-round pick (No. 197 overall).

Roseman likes having 10 picks this year, after consecutive years in which they had just five picks each, but I don’t think he takes 10 new players. Eight feels right, so a deal will likely happen at some point in the draft.

Question is: Will it be here or somewhere down the line?

I say the Eagles stay put.

The pick: C.J. Henderson, cornerback, Florida

Why: I think the Eagles will bring back Jalen Mills and continue to cling to the hope that Sidney Jones can become the cornerback they hoped he would when they took him in the second round of the 2017 draft. I also like Trevor Williams, an under-the-radar corner the Eagles signed to a future/reserve contract on Jan. 10.

Acquiring Henderson will make the corner group better and deeper.

“I think he's the second-best corner in the draft,” said Jeremiah. “I think he'll be the second one to go. He's just really explosive. He can play press. He can play off. He's real loose and fluid. He shows the ability to play the ball down the field.

“Can be a little bit inconsistent there. The main knock on him is just tackling. He's just missed way too many tackles. That's kind of the flaw. But he'll put on a show in Indy. He's going to test very well, very athletic. And I think he'd be a good fit provides he cleans up some of the tackling.”

FIRST ROUND

What’s that, another first round pick?

Yep, I’m going out on a limb and predicting a trade to acquire the San Francisco 49ers' first-round pick, the 31st overall. The 49ers have this pick then they don’t have another one until the fifth round. The guess is they’ll be looking to get another one or two.

A quick glance at the NFL’s Trade Value Chart shows the Eagles must make up 230 points to move into pick No. 31, which their second-round pick at No. 53, a third (No. 53) and a fourth (No. 117) would come within five points of satisfying.

The Eagles are expected to have a compensatory pick in the third round and two more in the fourth. 

They can be traded, but they have yet to be awarded so no points can be assigned for them, yet.

When they do get announced, perhaps one or two of them can be dealt, allowing the Eagles to keep their own picks in each round and surrender one or two comp picks to San Fran.

Whatever the cost, the Eagles could do it.

In this case…

The pick: Ross Blacklock, defensive tackle, Texas Christian University

Why: The Eagles prioritize linemen – both offensive and defensive.

The last defensive tackle they took in the first round was Fletcher Cox. That was in 2012, which makes Cox 29 years-old. Malik Jackson is 30.

What better way to start building your future on the line than taking a 6-4, 305-pound player with a mean streak from a school that you have a history with, and one who can learn from the veterans?

The Eagles drafted offensive linemen Halapoulivaati Vaitai (2016) and Matt Pryor (2018) from TCU.

THIRD ROUND, COMP PICK

With their pick at No. 85 (maybe) packed to San Francisco, the Eagles still have one third-round pick for losing Nick Foles. The pick has yet to be announced, but it is believed to be No. 103.

The Eagles could still use a receiver and a safety.

Clemson safety K’Von Wallace might still be around, but Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield probably won’t be.

There will still be receivers that can help the Eagles, so…

The pick: K.J. Hill, receiver, Ohio State

Why: I like that he spent five years learning his craft in a big-time college program and is still just 22. He is the all-time receptions leader for the Buckeyes with 201, so we know he can catch. Jeremiah called him, “a really crisp route runner and just really good after-the-catch guy.”

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