All-in on impact players – Philly Sports

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With so many gaps to fill and a deluge of picks to do so, the Eagles’ mock drafts have been some of the most polarizing in the league. Are they building for the future and capitalizing on the deep defensive draft class, or is the team determined to give Jalen Hurts as many weapons as possible in what is shaping up to be his last chance to make his proofs? Will Howie Roseman take the shotgun approach and rack up even more picks than he already has, or will he be aggressive, trading to secure his vaunted targets? This is how I see things – and I selfishly want things – to fall apart.

Round 1 (Pick 15) – Andrew Booth Jr. | BC | Clemson

If either of the top two corners drops around the 10th pick, or if Kyle Hamilton really knocks the draft boards down, Howie could have a tough choice on his hands. However, none of these things happen in this scenario. Andrew Booth Jr. plays with an edge and has a fantastic ceiling, just needs a little refinement. In Philadelphia, he will have the chance to learn alongside Darius Slay.

Jonathan Gannon will love his quick tic and athleticism in the zone, as well as his tenacity in media coverage. At this point he may not be the true CB1 like Sauce or Stingley, but he will be a great CB2, with the ceiling of a true locking wedge.

TRADE – The Eagles send the 18th pick to Kansas City for the 29th and 50th pick.

Round 1 (pick 29) – Perrion Winfrey | IDL | Oklahoma

Although Eagles fans are clamoring for Jordan Davis, there’s a good chance he’ll be off the board at the 15th pick. Devonte Wyatt would be a fantastic consolation prize, and more likely the best fit, but instead the Eagles are trading and picking another second-round selection.

They then take an absolute game troubleshooter in Perrion Winfrey. Winning the Senior Bowl MVP was no fluke, and Winfrey has made plays on almost every Oklahoma roster. He would be a fantastic fit for Jonathan Gannon’s transition to more positionless fronts. It’s big, it’s long and it’s violent.

TRADE – The Eagles send picks 50 and 101 to Houston for pick 37.

Round 2 (Pick 37) – Jaquan Brisker | S | Penn State

Jaquan Brisker could easily sneak in the first round, but in this scenario he falls to the Eagles. I could see the Eagles being pretty happy with one of the safeties available early in the second — or could use a better streak of picks to get closer to the top of the inning if Brisker is their guy. Kyle Hamilton being seemingly the end of the safety conversations regarding this project, many names fell by the wayside – Brisker being at the top of the list. In this scenario, they’re using the draft capital they’ve accumulated going backwards to get back to the top of the second round.

Brisker has everything you want athletically out of your safeties, and playing in Jonathan Gannon’s cover 2 heavy scheme will hide the fact that he may not have a true unique high range. However, what Brisker does bring is versatility – you may be starting to see a theme. He can move in formation and is a plus in coverage, as well as a strength in running support. We know the Eagles love their guys at Penn State, and I can’t imagine Brisker being an exception.

Round 2 (Pick 51) – Logan Hall | FROM | Houston

Logan Hall may be a little schematically odd at first, but he’s the type of player you find a role for. He’s probably best suited as a 3-4 end, but there’s a world of possibility in the Eagles’ flexible front. At 6’6″, 280 pounds, Hall’s first step will shock you. He has the quickness and body control that rival some of the smaller sprinters in this draft, and yet played mostly inside for Houston.

Eagles fans will love its engine and powerful initial punch. The coaching staff will love that he can play late from 4-3 base, bump inside for obvious passes, and play 5-tech when Gannon wants to show off a 3-4 look. Philadelphia needs to restock its closets on defense, and Logan Hall fits the ticket for a bigger, stronger option opposite Josh Sweat.

Round 3 (Pick 83) – Jalen Tolbert | WR | Southern Alabama

The Eagles didn’t catch a receiver in the first round, but they need to give Jalen Hurts another option. After taking all the defense with their first four selections, the Eagles attack on the other side of the ball. There are so many solid receiving options available in the third round of this draft that the pocket offers the best value.

Jalen Tolbert is an athletic long receiver with excellent hand and body control. There are a few necessary refinements here and there, but Tolbert can run any route Sirianni can imagine. He can create separation near the line of scrimmage, but he can also beat defenders deep with surprising speed and the strength to outrun defenders at the point of leverage. I especially liked the extra level of tenacity he displays in the red zone. The Eagles lock in a fantastic second option for Hurts in the third round.

Round 4 (Pick 124) – Brandon Smith | LB | Penn State

The Eagles double down on defenders Penn State, this time taking on the athletic marvel that is Brandon Smith. Immediately, it will present itself as a great subset option, with the length and closure ability to excel in Gannon’s zone coverage. Its spatial closure ability really shines. The Birds are stocking up on athletic linebackers and Smith would fit right in, with the added bonus of being able to handle tight ends flexed into the slot.

Now, there’s some necessary refinement to his game – particularly in men’s coverage and block removal in the running game. However, he brings a lot of traits that Gannon likes, with some skills not yet in the locker room. He would be a welcome addition to the young athletic team that Philly is building at LB.

Round 5 (Pick 154) – Chigoziem Okonkwo | AND | Maryland

Okonkwo is one of the most intriguing prospects in the entire draft, and I imagine he piqued the interest of Howie Roseman. The Eagles have moved away somewhat from 12 sets of personnel under Sirianni, but it’s still something they do well and JJ Arcega-Whiteside and the promise of what Tyree Jackson might be doesn’t cut the mustard as options TE2.

Okonkwo is yards away from the catching that awaits, with impressive ball skills and big play potential as a gimmick. He did light work on defenses on screens, bypasses, and simple checks. He’s not a blocker, but the Eagles have Jack Stoll and JJAW to block. Instead, what they need is someone who can rack up some extra yards and give Hurts another legitimate threat in front of Dallas Goedert. The combination of Okonwo and Goedert would give linebackers coaches nightmares.

Round 5 (Pick 162) – Cade Mays | OL | Tennessee

Mid-range linemen are always hard to judge in terms of when they will be taken off the board. For me, Mays would be a fantastic chance at this stage of the draft. He has a big frame, a bad mood and experience in all 5 positions. Sounds like all the ingredients for another Jeff Stoutland project turning into a possible starter.

He’s not as athletic as some of the other Eagles linemen, but most of his inefficiencies can be hidden at the guardhouse. Mays would eventually become an excellent swing guard for a team that struggled to field a healthy line for an entire season.

Round 5 (Pick 166) – Hassan Haskins | RB | Michigan

While the Birds may just bring Jordan Howard back at some point, they should take the necessary steps to ensure a bigger future back. Haskins is a great short back who takes what he’s given, an incredibly tough man to put on the pitch. He will fall forward for extra yards and will rarely, if ever, be stopped in the backfield. He has a good understanding of game design and has no problem following his blocks to the second level. He doesn’t fumble, he doesn’t make mistakes and he likes to impose his will on defense – exactly the type of player you need in your backfield rotation.

When passing, he really hasn’t had much success as a pass receiver. His hands seem pretty solid, though he doesn’t offer much upside. As a pass blocker, he’s as solid as they come – although there’s some work to be done on identification. He’s Jordan Howard lite and he’s only 22 years old.

Round 7 (Pick 237) – Erik Ezukanma | WR | Texas technology

Probably my favorite diamond from the raw perspective of the entire draft. If NFL teams see what I see on Ezukanma’s tape, there’s no way he’ll be available that late. There’s no reason not to talk about him with two receivers in this class the other day. However, as of now, he has a third-day rating and could possibly fall to the Eagles in the final hours of the draft. Whichever team takes a chance on this monster man, they get an absolute steal – let’s hope it’s the birds. In this case, the Eagles do what they love to do and double down on a position of need. Howie brings not one, but two big-body receivers with reliable hands and an athletic edge to help Jalen Hurts and give him targets with massive catching rays.

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