Soko’s Mock Draft: V2.1
After yesterdays interview with Mike Kaye, of nj.com, and Rob Maaddi, of the Associated Press, I have a renewed sense of faith that the Eagles are not going to make a total mockery of the team, much like in years past, and select a quarterback at the sixth pick. It seems as though the organization has a clear plan in place to get younger, and quick, for the run at future success. Jeffery Lurie and Howie Roseman have still yet to give a public account of their thoughts on the upcoming rebuild, but rest assured, this is not going to be a short process for the Eagles. This team needs more than one playmaker on offense, more than one playmaker on defense, more than a few splash special teams plays; this team lacks a true identity. Without an identity, your left with the ruminates of the 2020 dumpster fire that the fans had to sit through. So with that, let’s dive into a “no-trade” mock draft for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Round 1:06 – Ja’Marr Chase, Wide Receiver, Louisiana State University
It’s no secret that the Eagles lack a true X receiver in the offense. Travis Fulgham, Alshon Jeffery and Jalen Reagor all shared those duties at various points in the season due to injuries that plagued the 2020 Eagles. Getting a player like Chase allows the Eagles offense to open up and have a consistent force as the boundary receiver. Although Chase opted out of the 2020 season, he remains in constant conversation for the top wide receiver in this draft class because of everything that he does well. Route-running, hands, ball skills and post-catch ability all shined for the Tigers’ wide receiver, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t come with some question marks of his own. A lazy blocker at times with “good-not-elite” size are two of the knocks on Chase. Ultimately, the in-air body control and 50/50 wins are what will make this pick as easy as they come for Howie Roseman and the Eagles.
Round 2:37 – Nick Bolton, Linebacker, Missouri University
If you watched any form of the Eagles’ defense in 2020, you were a witness to the treachery that was the latter part of the teams’ backend of the front seven. Nick Bolton would immediately change the narrative surrounding both Howie Roseman, not valuing linebacker, and the linebacking cores’ skill. Bolton projects as a starting MIKE linebacker with a pro-ready build that he utilizes to carry confidence in traffic and in coverage. The expectation for the Eagles’ new defensive coordinator, Jonathon Gannon, is that he will run a very heavy dosage of Cover-2 that requires his linebackers to cover. Bolton’s coverage skills in zone fit the mold for the new scheme. Bolton does come with his question marks in his game, with both coverage angles and decision making ability, but he would be an immediate impact for the team’s front seven.
Round 3:70 – Carlos Basham Jr., Defensive End, Wake Forest
It’s no secret that one of the bigger question marks surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason is the non-guaranteed fifth-year option of underwhelming first round pick, Derek Barnett. Barnett has shown flashes at points in his career but has remained two things, injured and overpaid. Carlos Basham Jr. could immediately fill the role that Barnett currently holds. It’s still yet to see how Gannon will utilize the defensive line, whether he will have a “true” starting defensive line or he will utilize an approach similar to Jim Schwartz with a rotation of defensive linemen. Basham is one of the most productive pass rushers in the draft and is the opposite of Barnett. While Barnett is more of a bendy, burst pass-rusher, “Boogie” wins with raw power, technique, effort and angles. Basham does a great job to set edges in the run game and keeps contain when facing a mobile quarterback. If the team decides to move on from Barnett, or even Brandon Graham, the team would do well to consider Basham as an option.
Round 3:84 – Brevin Jordan, Tight End, Miami University
After the foregone departure of top tight end Zach Ertz, and not drafting Kyle Pitts with the 1:06 pick, the Eagles will be on the lookout for more dynamic playmakers on the offensive side of the ball to help thrust Jalen Hurts into success. Brevin Jordan fits the mold necessary to fill the void left at the position. A dynamic weapon, Jordan does everything that Pitts does, just not as well. Jordan was moved around the Hurricanes’ formation as an in-line tight end, out of the slot and even out of the backfield as both a receiver and a blocker. Jordan blends size, speed, athleticism and ball skills that makes him a dangerous receiver at all levels of the fields, and his ability to challenge the seams often opens up outside lanes for other receivers in the offense. Brevin is a capable blocker, highly competitive at block points, but would do well to add more functional strength and technique for the NFL level. Either way, a receiving core that consists of Ja’Marr Chase, Jalen Reagor, Travis Fulgham, Dallas Goedert and Brevin Jordan is sure to cause trouble for a lot of secondaries for years to come.
Round 5:151 – Darrick Forrest, Safety, Cincinnati University
Darrick Forrest is a safety that I haven’t given enough credit to throughout the draft process. A three-year starter for the Bearcats, Forrest is as disciplined and consistent of a safety as there is in the class. Although Forrest doesn’t have any single standout trait, he is consistently sound as a prospect. Forrest does well to process quickly, has urgency in pursuit and is a very strong tackler. Angles to rushing lanes and help defense in man are two of Forrest’s strongest traits and those traits are something that the 2020 Eagles lacked. Not only this, Forrest projects best as a split, cover-2 safety that would fit perfectly in the Rodney McLeod, free safety, position on the defense. It’s impossible to pick holes in Forrest’s game, because of his consistently sound techniques in all facets of his game, he just doesn’t have a singular “elite” trait. Although he may just be a name on the secondary, that identity is something that the defense will need in 2021.
Round 5:157 – Bryce Thompson, Cornerback, Tennessee University
For a fifth round corner, Bryce Thompson is a high-risk/high-reward, very green, prospect that can provide immediate impact in the NFL. Thompson has great reaction skills and good athleticism in off coverage that allows him to dive on slants and quick outs that have plagued the Eagles’ secondary for years. He still has a long way to go in his coverage skills, as he is still very young and raw as a prospect, but he shows elite ball skills when the football is thrown his way. Peeking into the backfield is something that will plague Thompson early in his career but with development and some bumps along the way, Thompson could end up being the steal of the draft. Thompson does a good job in press coverage with his hands and foot control, while having a good backpedal with fluid hips in off coverage. The ball skills really come onto display with mis-targeted passes and Thompson has the hands to make opposing QB’s pay. Although there is still a hole at the second cornerback position, Gannon would do well to utilize a group effort at this position, rather than having a set starter.
Round 6:191 – Deommodore Lenoir, Cornerback, Oregon University
Back-to-back cornerback picks? Where have we seen this experiment before? I’m pretty sure it didn’t work out well for us but after skipping on corner in the earlier rounds for bigger needs, Howie Roseman would be smart to take a chance on two very green prospects in Thompson and Lenoir. Lenoir has positional experience that Thompson does not, as he aligned as a slot and boundary corner for the Ducks. Although Lenoir isn’t considered an “exceptional” athlete, he plays the position with sound technique that allows him to mask his athletic limitations. In coverage, Lenoir has good hips with a fluid backpedal while staying very discipline in phase. Lenoir does better as a zone defender where he can utilize his elite instincts to diagnose routes and drive on the throw, but also does well to locate the football in the air with his back to football. Similar to Darrick Forrest, there isn’t a lot that Lenoir is “elite” at but is technically sound in coverage and demonstrates good willingness when tackling, another thing that has plagued the Eagles’ secondary for nearly a decade now.
Round 7:220 – Elijah Mitchell, Running Back, Louisiana-Lafayette University
In the interviews I had with Mike Kaye and Rob Maaddi, the both voiced confidence in the fact that the Eagles would be retaining Boston Scott for the 2021 season as their number two running back on the depth chart, while looking to the later rounds or undrafted free agency to fill the depth chart with. Elijah Mitchell fits the mold of a late-round thumper that would give the backfield an edge that they’ve been missing since the departure of LeGarrette Blount. While splitting time with Trey Ragas, Mitchell accounted for 46 total touchdowns and almost 4,000 yards of total offense over his four seasons with the Ragin’ Cagin’s. A dense frame with good contact balance, Mitchell fits the mold of a power runner that works in rotation, rather than having a featured role in a backfield. While Mitchell does have a good bit of power to his game, he also displayed soft hands, good pass catching ability and a willingness to pass block when asked to. However, due to his athletic profile, Mitchell will likely be a victim of positional valuations allowing the Eagles to add an important piece to their running back room to fill out their depth chart.
Round 7:228 – Chris Rumph II, “EDGE,” Duke University
If you’ve made it this far, I’m sure you’re wondering why I’ve put quotation marks around the term “edge” in the title of this pick. That’s because Rumph II, although labeled as an edge defender, isn’t simply an edge player. Rumph II moved around the Blue Devils’ defensive formation similar to what JaDaveon Clowney did for the Houston Texans in his early career. Rumph was usually utilized as a dedicated pass rusher, he moved to both sides of the formation and displayed terrific technique and effort on each down, which resulted in excellent pass rushing production. However, Rumph was also lined up along the interior of the defensive line, and as a pass rushing middle linebacker that shot through interior gaps with ease. The biggest issue with Rumph is how he projects at the next level. Rumph has a slender frame and limited repetitions as an off-ball linebacker so it’s difficult to tell if he will transition to that position full time in the NFL. However, with as dynamic as a playmaker as Rumph II was in college, this is a project, and a pick, that the Eagles should be willing to take on, given their limited production from the position.