Having been to the promised land of Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine and seen with my own eyes the talent in this class, I still have no idea who the Eagles will select with the 10 picks they are expected to have when the 2020 NFL Draft is held in Las Vega from April 23-25.
Maybe, though, my week has given me a better idea who the Eagles might want, so I will attempt to make all 10 picks in my post-Combine mock draft.
Denzel Mims, Receiver, Baylor. I’m done overthinking it and have come around, at least for now, believing the Eagles will take a receiver in this spot. Two raised their draft stock quite a bit during the Combine. Mims is one, the other is LSU’s Justin Jefferson.
Most of Jefferson’s damage last season came in the slot, so I’m going with the outside threat in Mims, who is 6-3, 207. He ran a 4.38 in the 40 with a nice vertical leap of 38.5 inches. He has never returned punts or kicks but I’m not going to hold that against him. Besides, that skill will arrive later in this mock draft.
Kyle Dugger, Safety, Lenoir-Rhyne. And here he is, the punt returner. Dugger averaged 14.6 yards last year on 12 punt returns and 17.6 on 31 punt returns as a junior. Of course, he can do much more than that.
Division II Lenoir-Rhyne, located in Hickory, N.C., has never had a player drafted, but Dugger is an athlete who could step right in the starting lineup on day one if necessary. He is 6-1, 217, ran a 4.49 in the 40 with a vertical jump of 42 inches and capable of filling a stat sheet with tackles, forced fumbles, and interceptions.
The Eagles haven’t had much luck drafting safeties. Since 2010, they’ve taken six and just two have had a modicum of success and both came in 2010 – Nate Allen (second round) and Kurt Coleman (seventh round). Otherwise, they struck out with Jaiquawn Jarrett in 2011 (second round), Earl Wolff in in 2013 (fifth round), Ed Reynolds in 2014 (fifth round), and Blake Countess in 2016 (sixth round).
Jeff Gladney, Cornerback, TCU. With the expectation that the Eagles will sign a corner in free agency, this need gets pushed down the board just a little bit, but if Gladney is still here, the Eagles should take him. He can play press or zone and has good closing speed. At 5-10, 191, he ran a 4.48 in the 40 during the Combine. Eagles offensive linemen Isaac Seumalo and Matt Pryor came from TCU.
THIRD ROUND (COMP PICK)
Troy Dye, Linebacker, Oregon. Capable of playing inside and outside, Dye's future is likely as an outside linebacker due to his lean, 6-3, 231-pound frame. He could be in line to replace Kamu Grugier-Hill, who is a free agent. In 48 games at Oregon, Dye made 234 tackles with 13 sacks and five interceptions. His athleticism is such that he does a good job getting underneath inside receivers and can cover tight ends down the field. Dye did not work out at the Combine.
Nick Harris, Center, Washington. Some may think he’s tool small at 6-1, 302, and maybe they will be proven right. How well Harris is able to anchor and thwart a bull rush from a defensive tackle that has 40 pounds on him remains to be seen, but he certainly seemed confident in his ability to shut that kind of rush down more often than not when questioned about that very thing at the Combine.
Harris has athleticism that reminds many of Eagles center Jason Kelce, who has the ability, like Harris, to get to the next level of blockers. One downside is that Harris offers no flexibility as a guard, and probably why he is still on the board at this point, but playing guard is something he can likely be taught to play.
Kalija Lipscomb, Receiver, Vanderbilt. Here is where the receiver depth in this draft will pay off and do so in the form of a versatile player who can line up inside and outside. New Eagles receivers coach Aaron Moorehead will be delighted to pick up one of his former pupils, after Moorehead spent the previous two seasons in the same position with the Commodores.
Lipscomb has good size at 6-0, 207 pounds and speed with a 4.57 time in the 40. As a junior he led the SEC with 87 receptions for 916 yards and nine touchdowns. His numbers dropped last year with 47 catches for 511 yards and three scores. He is also capable of being used in the run game averaging 5.4 yards per carry on 14 carries as a junior and 13.0 yards per run on four rushes last year.
Raquan Williams, Defensive tackle, Michigan State. Solid career for the Spartans and ended on a strong note with 48 tackles, 7.5 for loss, five sacks and two pass breakups last year. At 6-4, 308, he ran a 5.04 at the Combine and has a good bull rush that could translate to the NFL but will need to get stronger and diversify his pass rush moves.
L’Jarius Sneed, Safety/Cornerback, Louisiana Tech. Ran the third fastest time at the Combine, clocking a 4.37, but speed isn’t the be-all-end-all in the recruiting game and there are some limitations with Sneed. What I like is the flexibility he offers, with the ability to play both corner and safety.
Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana-Lafayette, Running back. At 5-11, 220, Mitchell is a hammer between the tackles and the Eagles could certainly use one. He can also catch, making 10 receptions for 70 yards last year while averaging 5.8 yards per carry for 1.092 yards and 15 touchdowns. Two years ago, Mitchell, who was not invited to the Combine, averaged 6.7 yards per carry with 13 touchdowns and had 20 catches for 349 yards and three scores.
Kevin Davidson, Princeton, Quarterback. The Eagles like them big at this position and Davidson fits the bill at 6-4, 224. He will need to be developed, but that is what the Eagles are looking for at this point.
He has the frame and accuracy to become at minimum a decent backup. Davidson became Princeton’s full-time starter as a senior, completing 66.8 percent of his throw for 2,569 yards with 20 touchdowns and six interceptions as the Tigers went 8-2.
RECAP: Denzel Mims (WR), Kyle Dugger (S), Jeff Gladney (CB), Troy Dye (LB), Nick Harris (Center), Kalija Lipscomb (WR), Raequan Williams (DT), L’Jarius Sneed (S/CB), Elijah Mitchell (RB), Kevin Davidson (QB). That is five picks for the offense and five for the defense.