The Philadelphia Eagles haven’t been as active in free agency as in previous years, most notably because the franchise has a rare opportunity to set the direction of the franchise for the next decade in the NFL Draft. Philadelphia has two first-round picks in the draft, both of which are in the top 20 (the Eagles initially had three first-round picks prior to a trade with the New Orleans Saints).
There’s a chance for the Eagles to find two bonafide starters for a playoff team that has a lot of pressing needs heading into 2022. Philadelphia had a surprising 9-8 season last year that led to a playoff berth, which wasn’t expected for a team in transition. The next step for the Eagles is to make the playoffs again and win a playoff game — showing that the franchise is building toward becoming a Super Bowl contender. Those first-round picks will make the difference in determining the Eagles’ status as a contender, selections with which general manager Howie Roseman has to find two impact starters.
Not only does Philadelphia possess two first-round picks, but the Eagles have five picks in the top 101 and 10 selections overall. The Eagles can find quality starters and valuable depth for a roster that appears to be on the verge of contending, while still trying to move on from players that helped the team capture a Super Bowl title five years ago.
Roseman will move up or down the board at some point in the draft as a way to stockpile more picks in future years, quite potentially moving one of those first-round picks in the process. In this mock draft for the Eagles, all the selections will be used with no trades in place. Let’s see what Philadelphia can add to its roster using all 10 selections.
No. 15 overall: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
Lloyd is the prototypical fit for the Eagles at linebacker, a former safety in college before transitioning to a position he excelled in for the Utes. A player the Eagles can use in pass-rush situations, Lloyd has a knack for finding the football and getting to the quarterback (his 31 pressures were sixth amongst linebackers last year). An excellent tackler in the box, Lloyd plays downhill and locates the runner well.
Lloyd’s tackling in space needs improvement, but he proved last year he can stay on the field on passing downs. He’s a prototypical middle linebacker in today’s NFL.
No. 18 overall: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
For the third consecutive year the Eagles select a wide receiver in the first round, and for good reason. Williams is too good to pass up with this first-round pick, especially after the Eagles took care of linebacker on defense with their other first-round selection.
A smooth route-runner with the ability to go vertical, Williams is the big-play wideout the Eagles need in the passing game — a perfect compliment to DeVonta Smith. Having Williams at the other wide receiver spot allows Quez Watkins to become a threat in the slot with his breakaway speed as the No. 3 wide receiver.
1,329 of Williams’ 1,561 receiving yards came when he was deemed open (per Pro Football Focus), as his 9.3 average yards after the reception was fourth in the nation. Williams can get open and create a big play once he gets the ball in his hands. The ACL injury may delay William’s debut, but he’s worth the wait for Philadelphia.
No. 51 overall: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
The Eagles address the No. 2 cornerback in the second round with McCreary, who is excellent in man-press coverage. McCreary does an excellent job in reading the quarterback, which allows him to track the ball and create turnovers — a huge plus for Jonathan Gannon’s defense.
Opposing quarterbacks completed just 45.3% of their passes targeting McCreary, as his 20 forced incompletions led the nation. McCreary also is great it limiting yardage after the catch as an excellent tackler in space. Learning from Darius Slay will only benefit McCreary going forward, giving the Eagles two starting cornerbacks that will immediately improve the secondary.
No. 83 overall: James Cook, RB, Georgia
Taking care of two positions on defense with their first three picks allows the Eagles to add more weapons to the offense, and Cook is too good to pass up early in the third round. The brother of Dalvin Cook, James Cook has the same running style — using his vision and reading the blockers to set up the lane before bouncing off his defenders and using his second-level speed to gain big yardage.
Cook can also catch passes out of the backfield and in the slot, making his style a plus in the passing game. He rushed for 728 yards (6.4 yards per carry) and seven touchdowns as the featured back for the Bulldogs, while also having 27 catches for 274 yards.
No. 101 overall: Cole Strange, G, Chattanooga
The Eagles add depth to their offensive line by adding an experienced starter in Strange, who started 41 of 44 games in college. A tenacious blocker who has a competitive edge, Strange also has the lateral movement to thrive in any offensive scheme, and is an excellent asset in the screen game — helping the Eagles passing attack.
Strange needs to get bigger, but can start for any team if called upon. Fortunately for the Eagles, they have the ability to develop him and add depth on the interior of their offensive line.
No. 124 overall: Isaiah Thomas, EDGE, Oklahoma
The Eagles add more depth on the edge by using their fourth-round pick on Thomas, who played both three and five technique for the Sooners. Thomas can line up on the interior, but is a stronger fit on the edge.
Thomas has a motor like the energizer bunny, making him a strong fit in an edge rotation like the Eagles use. He’ll be a third-down pass rusher in year one and can find ways to create snaps for himself with his versatility along the line.
No. 154 overall: Dare Rosenthal, T, Kentucky
Rosenthal is quick and powerful at the point of attack — a player who can easily start on the Eagles offensive line in a few years. At 6-foot-7 and 327 pounds, Rosenthal has all the physical traits to succeed in the NFL — yet needs a lot of work in pass protection.
Getting Rosenthal under Stoutland’s tutelage will be worth it, especially since he’ll need a few years of seasoning before becoming an impact starter. For now, this is a developmental pick for Philadelphia.
No. 162 overall: David Anenih, LB, Houston
Anenih provides another option in the pass rush as Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon can line him up in a three-point stance and attack the edge. Explosiveness is Anenih’s biggest strength, even if he needs to improve on play recognition.
There’s a lot of upside with Anenih here, especially given he’s still scratching the surface of his potential in coverage. Another physical player, Anenih will be a major asset for a defense that needs to get to the quarterback.
No. 166 overall: Matt Araiza, P, San Diego State
Arryn Siposs was disappointing down the stretch for the Eagles, forcing the organization to bring in an improvement at punter. While it’s unconventional to draft a punter, the Eagles decide Araiza is worth using a fifth-round pick on.
Nicknamed the “Punt God,” Araiza had 18 punts of 60-plus yards in 2021, including two at 80-plus yards. He can completely flip the field position battle, yet needs work on his touch and limiting his touchbacks. Araiza can also kickoff if needed, showcasing how powerful his leg is.
Araiza is also a good tackler and physical when the returner comes in his range. He’s an upgrade over Siposs.
No. 237 overall: Amari Carter, S, Miami
An aggressive safety and hard hitter, Carter is known for hitting the ball carrier with a vengeance — which draws a lot of flags. Needing to possess a higher football IQ in order to contribute in the league, Carter needs to exhibit some patience when bringing down a defender — yet can play safety, linebacker, and even rush the passer in a positionless defense.
The Eagles need good tacklers and hard hitters on special teams, which Carter will provide immediately. Carter needs to be more productive in coverage, but asking him to be a fourth safety in year one helps the Eagles special teams — which is why they are drafting him in the first place.