Soko’s Mock Draft 2.0
I came into this draft with one word in my mind: value. Get as much value as possible in any circumstance. Whether that meant trading back to gather more picks, trading up to get a value that has fallen through their projected floor, or just taking the best player available. I followed my board and went with what I thought Howie and the Eagles could utilize the best for Nick Sirianni and his staff as they transition to a new front. So without further ado, here’s Soko’s Mock Draft 2.0.
1:06 – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
As no brainer of a pick as the Eagles can make. Ja’Marr Chase went off the board at #3 overall to the Miami Dolphins and DeVonta was there for the taking. The reigning Heisman Trophy Winner is coming off a season where he finished with 117 receptions, 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns in route to a College Football Playoff National Championship for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Not only did he have an outstanding 2020 season, Smith has proved to be productive with other receiving options available to the quarterback. Smith played with current NFL receivers Henry Ruggs III and Jerry Jeudy, along with having to share targets with teammate, and NFL Draft hopeful, Jaylen Waddle as well. Smith projects as an ideal “Z” receiver but has shown that he can play boundary ball as an “X” receiver as well. His most ideal fit comes in a West Coast offense that allows him to utilize his quick feet and explosive route running to get open quickly and operate with the ball in his hands to exploit his YAC ability.
*TRADE: Eagles trade pick 38 to the Pittsburgh Steelers for picks 56, 129, 209 and 240.*
2:56 – Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
Next to the DeVonta Smith pick, this may be the easiest selection the Eagles could make. Not only do you benefit from the trade down, and receive excellent compensation along the way, but the best free safety in the draft falls into your lap in the process. Moehrig is a “do-it-all” type of safety that delivers excellent ball skills, the speed, athleticism and tackling ability to play in a single high safety set, and the ability to cover slot receivers at the line of scrimmage. For those wondering how well his coverage was, Moehrig, and teammate Ar’Darius Washington, had the highest coverage rating among all college safeties from 2019 through the 2020 season. This fills a void that will inevitably be left by Rodney McLeod in the near future and allows K’Von Wallace to play his natural position as a strong safety as well.
3:70 – Cameron McGrone, LB, Michigan
It’s no secret that the Eagles linebackers are some of the worst to touch an NFL field. Even standout, and former CFL linebacker, Alex Singleton would have a hard time seeing the field on most teams. Given the round and trades that were offered to us, we chose to decline and select McGrone. McGrone projects as a three-down MIKE linebacker who can play in both coverage and heavy blitzing schemes. McGrone plays with a lot of natural ability, hip fluidity and instincts that would rival anyone else in the draft. So, why does he fall to us in the third? McGrone is just a red-shirt sophomore and has only played in 19 games for the Michigan Wolverines and had a slightly down year for the Wolverines in 2020. Thinking with perspective though, the Michigan defense led the Big Ten Conference in downs played and time of possession against, so being on the field more translates to tired play. McGrone will be a steal for the Birds at 70 and fill a huge need.
*TRADE: Eagles trade picks 129, 209 and 220 to the New York Jets for pick 86.*
3:86 – Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina
As I sat and watched how the board fell, I saw Javonte Williams, as my #31 rated prospect, topple down the board. I contemplated taking Williams at 70 but saw the opportunity to fill a bigger need at linebacker and opted towards that decision. Then I saw the opportunity to strike a deal with the Jets to jump up and swipe the Eagles a TRUE complement to Miles Sanders and sent picks I had acquired via the Pittsburgh trade to move up. As needy as the Jets are, they were willing to strike a deal for the extra capital. Javonte is as close to an all around running back that you will find after the top two backs (Etienne and Harris) go off the board. A big, physical, downhill runner that can catch passes is exactly what the Eagles’ offense is missing. Additionally, Williams presents one cut explosion with compact elusiveness that allows him to rip off big run, after big run. The only question mark surrounding Williams’ game is how he will fare without the benefit of the Tar Heels’ explosive playmakers.
5:151 – Ambry Thomas, CB, Michigan
Ambry Thomas is one of those corners that you have to be comfortable with his prior tape, as he opted out of the 2020 CFB Season to prepare for the NFL Draft amid COVID-19 concerns. However, Thomas fits the prototype of what new Eagles’ Defensive Coordinator Jonathon Gannon is looking for in his cornerbacks. A long, physical corner, Thomas excels in press man coverage where he can get physical with the receiver at the line of scrimmage and disrupt the route concept. Additionally, Thomas does well in flat zone concepts where he does well to keep the play in front of him and does well to minimize tackling mistakes. Overall, Ambry could be the guy that we’re watching lineup outside, opposite Darius Slay, for years to come due to his physical nature and ability to use his body like Gannon envisions.
5:155 – Brady Christensen, OT, BYU
Ideally being utilized as the sixth offensive lineman, and swing tackle for injuries, Brady Christensen spent the last four seasons protecting projected second overall pick Zach Wilson. Christensen plays the game with decent athleticism and did an outstanding job of holding opponent edge rushers to minimal success. A lot of the value that Christensen presents is his positional versatility, as he has played every position along the offensive line, except center. Although he aligned at left tackle for the Cougars, a move to right tackle may be in order for Christensen to mask his limited athletic ability. Given Lane Johnson’s age and injury concerns, drafting someone early to be his successor may be in order.
6:192 – LaBryan Ray, DT, Alabama
LaBryan Ray wasn’t the best decision to make here but he will be able to fill a need that the Eagles will have after the release, or trade, of Malik Jackson as the rotational defensive tackle behind Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave. Ray is a thickly layered defensive tackle that possesses a lot of armor. He doesn’t impress much with his get off at the line of scrimmage but he does well to maintain leverage in hand fights at the point of attack. He can play in both a 3-4 or 4-3 but his value comes directly as a run defender, as he will maintain gap discipline, but has limited value in rushing the passer.
7:228 – DJ Daniels, CB, Georgia
Another cornerback that echoes the prototype that Jonathon Gannon is in need of. A long, tall, physical corner who is not afraid to take a wide receiver to the concession stand when he pins them to the outside in his route disruption. After being selected as the best cornerback at the Senior Bowl by his opposing receivers, Daniels’ name has been echoing in a lot of scouts’ ears. Daniels has very good reactive agility in coverage and does a good job to hand fight through to feel the route concept develop. He does a tremendous job of staying in phase while in coverage and is willing to come off his assignment to make a tackle on ball carriers. Daniels could do better to consistently get his hands on the football, but ball skills can be developed as he improves. Ideally, Daniels will start out as a sub-package corner on defense and special teams gunner.
7:240 – Chris Rumph II, DE, Duke
An absolute steal at the position that he’s being drafted, Chris Rumph II is as versatile of a rusher as you will find. Duke lined him up in a variety of positions, including as a traditional edge rusher, rushing from the outside linebacker position, and an interior blitzer from the MIKE linebacker positions. Rumph II does a tremendous job at processing plays quickly with tremendous technique and effort on every play. Rumph has a lean frame for the NFL, comparable to when Brandon Graham entered the NFL, but that can be fixed with a proper diet and NFL level trainers. A complete transition to an off-ball linebacker may be in order for Rumph II if he does intend to keep his lean frame, but it’s difficult to project that with such little tape with that available. Ideally, Rumph II can come in as a rotational pass rusher that can work on his craft as an off-ball defender as his time progresses.
So there it is. My Mock Draft 2.0 is in the books. Trades were made, we got some tremendous value and we filled a lot of positional needs, while maintaining some prototype players that Howie Roseman likes to utilize. As always, follow 4th and Jawn on all major social media platforms and follow me on Twitter at @SokoNFL for all your latest NFL Draft and offseason content.