Six weeks in quarantine. Hibernation beard looks like an abandoned bird nest. Overdosing on frozen pizza. Sweat pants are screaming to be washed. Neighbor’s AC unit rattles like a jackhammer around the clock. Hey, the NFL Draft starts in a few hours. That’s nice. Here are the guys I want the Eagles to take. No, I don’t give a shit if anyone agrees. Also, it’s dark and I’m wearing sunglasses.
The Pipe Dreams
CeeDee Lamb (WR, Oklahoma) – Have you heard the Eagles wide receivers are more putrid than baby diarrhea? Well, they are. DeSean is fantastic (when he actually suits up), but he’s 34 and coming off a season in which he started and finished one game. After him, the depth chart is laughably atrocious. Will Lamb fall to 21? Hell no. Will Howie trade up to get him? Probably not since the cost will be too much. There are at least six teams ahead of the Birds who should or could draft Lamb. That said, if any receiver can be another Nuk Hopkins, it’s Lamb. Decent speed, awesome hands, savvy route-runner, and loves to compete. Sadly, he’ll likely end up a Jet or Raider. Bummer.
CJ Henderson (CB, Florida) – Loved the Darius Slay move. He’s a legit shadow corner who has had success trailing number one receivers, including in 2019 when he battled hamstring and ankle injuries. The other outside corners are either on the trading block, busts in waiting, or not big enough to get the job done. Henderson is a man-cover specialist with long arms and ballhawk tendencies. Can he tackle? Uh, not really. Therefore, he’s not a Jim Schwartz guy and has zero chance of wearing midnight (or Kelly) green. Plus, there’s no way he slides out of the Top 15. Whatever. I still think he’ll be a dynamic starter in the pros.
Andrew Thomas (OT, Georgia) – The Andre Dillard “might be bad” buzz is concerning. Maybe there’s a reason he slid down the draft board in 2019? One would think if Jeff Stoutland can mold Big V into a capable spot starter for a Super Bowl-winning team, he should have little trouble morphing a superior athlete like Dillard into a solid starting left tackle. Right? Regardless, don’t be surprised if Howie nabs a tackle in the 2nd or 3rd round. It won’t be Thomas, who might be the first tackle selected on Thursday night. He was a four-year starter and can play on either side. Great athlete with a little JP in him. If the Giants were smart, they’d take him with the 4th pick. They won’t.
The Usual Suspects
Justin Jefferson (WR, LSU) – The hype on “Jefferson to the Eagles” has reached DEFCON 1. I have a sneaking suspicion he’ll be gone before 21. Now, if Howie really covets the former bayou Bengal, he probably has enough ammo to jump a few spots. Of course, the Vikings and Saints might attempt to do the same. I’m not convinced Jefferson can win outside versus man coverage, but there is no doubt he can use his superior route-running prowess to create space and make plays. He also has the kind of brash attitude I like in a wide receiver. Confident without being overly cocky or Antonio Brown level insane. I think he’d immediately become the Eagles best receiver. Worst case he’s a better version of Agholor. Best case he’s Reggie Wayne. Alas, my gut tells me another team scoops him up.
Cesar Ruiz (C, Michigan) – Jason Kelce is probably gonna hang it up after the 2020 season. He’s mulled retirement the last two years and he’s reaching an age where decline normally rears its ugly head. Maybe they shift Isaac to his spot. I’m not too crazy about that idea, especially if he continues to improve at LG. The best solution is to draft a replacement. Ruiz has the same type of athleticism and nimble feet at Kelce. He’s also considered to be smart and instinctive, two qualities every NFL center should possess. Yeah, he’s not a sexy pick and I’m sure most fans will take to Twitter spewing vitriol if he ends up being the first-round pick. I wouldn’t take him at 21, but if Roseman trades back, Ruiz makes a lot of sense in the late 20s.
Kenneth Murray (LB, Oklahoma) or Patrick Queen (LB, LSU) – LOL. Just kidding, There’s no way the Eagles are selecting a linebacker in the first round. Unless, everything goes to shit, they trade back twice, and the good receivers are gone. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.
Henry Ruggs (WR, Alabama) – I personally don’t like speed guys who didn’t produce in college. I know, I know, he scored 24 touchdowns in three years. Meh. Everyone scored on Bama’s offense. He’s not Tyreke Hill, folks. Fingers crossed he doesn’t fall to 21. If he does, Howie will be forced to pull the trigger (I guess). In three 2018 and 2019 playoff/bowl games, Ruggs totaled 9 catches for 114 yards and one TD. Not great. To me, he’s a second-round prospect masquerading as an elite talent.
Trevon Diggs (CB, Alabama) – If all the receivers with first-round grades on the Eagles board are gone (a distinct possibility) by 21, cornerback is the next position they should target. If the DE class wasn’t so weak, I’d say they go that direction. Diggs is big enough to battle with the league’s hulking receivers and is physical at the line scrimmage (i.e. Jim Schwartz guy). He would be the perfect corner to start opposite Darius Slay. If he’s still available at the start of Day 2, Howie would be wise to move up to snatch him. Seems like he’s going overlooked by a lot of draft pundits.
Pretty, Pretty, Good
Denzel Mims (WR, Baylor) – Size. Speed. Physical. Big play threat. Mims blew up the combine and shined at the Senior Bowl. What’s not to like? Well, his route tree at Baylor was severely limited and his hands are inconsistent. He’s either going to be good David Boston or bad David Boston. I lean toward the former.
Laviska Shenault (WR, Colorado) – Only saw action in 27 games in three college seasons. Scored 17 total touchdowns, but 7 came as a runner. Versatility is a positive, but a lengthy injury history raises a giant red flag. Obviously, the Eagles don’t need more injury-prone players, in particular at wide receiver.
Jeff Gladney (CB, TCU) – Say hello to 27 combined pass breakups in 2018 and 2019. He just gets his hands on the ball frequently. And he has massive guns, unlike string bean Sidney Jones.
Antoine Winfield, Jr. (S, Minnesota) – Not very big, but like his old man, Winfield is a ballhawking spark plug who isn’t afraid to lower the boom on backs and receivers. Screw the stupid Jalen Mills experiment — draft this guy instead and watch him climb the safety depth chart with ease.
Devin Duvernay (WR, Texas) – A one-year wonder with the Longhorns, Duvernay strikes me as a bigger version of DeSean. He’s a blazer who can dominate from the slot once the ball is in his hands. Coming away with a one-two WR punch of Mims and Duvernay could solve all the Birds’ receiving woes in one draft.
Matt Peart (OT, UConn) – Massive small school tackle project reminds me of a little of Todd Herremans. Give him a year to marinate and he could end up being a valuable swing tackle in the same vein as Big V.
Cam Akers (RB, Florida State) – My favorite running back in the entire class is Akers. He’s essentially a Miles Sanders clone in that he can do everything as a three-down back. Appears to be flying under the radar because the Seminoles have been a burning trash heap since 2017.
Curtis Weaver (DE, Boise State) – The level of competition wasn’t elite, but 34 sacks in three seasons cannot be overlooked. I place Weaver in the same category as Joe Ostman. He gets the job done with a quick first step and a tenacious attitude. Projects as a 3-4 OLB because he doesn’t rush from a three-point stance, so it’s unlikely the Eagles are interested. Watching hm and his dad bod crush quarterbacks is still fun as hell.