Philadelphia Eagles go heavy on defense in ESPN’s mock 7-round draft


After seeing the Eagles wrap up their 2021 season which ended with a 9-8 mark and an ugly exit from the NFC Wild Card Round, the Philadelphia Eagles have plenty of holes to fill in the upcoming NFL Draft.

ESPN analyst Jordan Reid calls on the Eagles to fill in a number of those defensive holes in his seven-round mock draft released Monday, taking seven players on the defensive side of the ball with their 10 picks overall.

First, the Eagles grab Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie at No. 15.

Time to break the streak for the Eagles? They haven’t drafted a first-round corner since Lito Sheppard in 2002. McDuffie has a lot of sense here. Although he doesn’t have the prototypical height (5-foot-11) or the length of an outside corner, he plays much bigger than his size.

He is an intense running defender and not afraid to approach the line of scrimmage and hit ball carriers. He played mostly zone coverage with the Huskies, but has potential as a men’s corner because of his quick feet, patient technique and strong instincts.

The Philadelphia secondary could use reinforcements after losing Steven Nelson in free agency. Outside of Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox, the Eagles cornerback room includes Kary Vincent, Zech McPhearson, Josiah Scott, Tay Gowan, Craig James, Jared Mayden and Mac McCain III.

The addition to Philadelphia’s defense didn’t stop there, with No. 18 pick Reid bringing Purdue defensive end from the Eagles, George Karlaftis.

Karlaftis is a tough defender with plenty of pop in his hands, but he won’t suit every defense. His versatility in minimizing the line of scrimmage will likely please the Eagles, although his edge might not be as high as some of the other top rushers in this class.

Karlaftis projects as a starter in defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon’s scheme as a base goal.

Although Reid thinks Karlaftis doesn’t fit in every defense, the analyst thinks he’s a good fit for Jonathan Gannon, projecting him as a starter as a basic defensive end.

With Josh Sweat and Derek Barnett the only comebacks who played meaningful snaps last season and Brandon Graham fresh off an Achilles injury, adding more depth to the defensive room is key this offseason.

The Eagles finally add a linebacker in Round 2, taking Alabama’s Christian Harris at No. 51. It’s no secret that the Eagles need more help at linebacker and Harris would be a great addition. in defense of Gannon.

General manager Howie Roseman is known for devaluing the second tier of defense, but Harris offers a lot of value to a team desperate for help at the off-ball linebacker.

Reid then used the first of Philadelphia’s two third-round picks on offense, adding wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson from Kentucky.

Robinson had a magical season for the Wildcats after transferring from Nebraska. At 5-foot-8 and 178 pounds, he could line up anywhere in the offense. With a creative attacking mind like Nick Sirianni, his skills could flourish.

Robinson caught 104 passes for 1,334 yards and seven touchdowns with Kentucky.

Reid returned to the defensive side of the ball with the No. 101 pick, adding Cincinnati safety Bryan Cook.

The Bearcats’ high school muscle, Cook is a physical safety that changes the outlook of a team’s run defense from the first day he’s on the field. He also has value in covering shared safety looks, which is something Philadelphia specializes in under defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon.

That would give the Eagles both a corner and a safety in the first three rounds of the draft.

As we enter the third day of the draft, we were coming back to the defensive side of the ball and the secondary. After taking a corner in round 4 last year, Reid returns them to it in round four, taking Sam Houston State’s Zyon McCollum, who clocked a third-best 40 at 4.36 seconds and finished with a career 13 interceptions. and six forced escapes.

The Eagles have three picks in the fifth round, with the first being back to the defensive line, adding Virginia Tech rusher Amare Barno. Barno had 78 total tackles (21.5 for loss) and 10 sacks in his two seasons at Virginia Tech and ran a 4.36 dash for 40 yards at the combine. At pick No. 162 in Round 5, the Eagles are finally dipping their toes into the offensive side of things, taking on Alabama running back Brian Robinson Jr. Robinson is coming off 1,343 yards and 14 touchdowns seasons, adding 35 catches for 296 yards and two scores. With their third pick in the fifth round, they add to the offensive line, with 6-foot-6, 328-pound Tennessee tackle Cade Mays, who started 10 games for the Vols at right tackle in 2021.

Finally, the Eagles don’t have a sixth-round pick, so Reid used Philadelphia’s seventh-round pick against Michigan defensive tackle Chris Hinton (#237), adding more depth inside the line Eagles defense.

The NFL Draft will take place on Thursday, April 28.

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