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Eagles 2024 NFL Draft grades: Philadelphia adds slot WR behind A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith with fifth-round pick

The Philadelphia Eagles are entering a pivotal draft, looking to improve a roster that lost six of seven to close the season. The Eagles have a few needs at key defensive positions, as they are searching to reshape the defense in Vic Fangio’s image. 

While the most pressing needs for the Eagles are cornerback, linebacker, safety and an additional edge rusher on defense, the Eagles could search for more depth at wide receiver, pick a long-term replacement for Lane Johnson at right tackle, and find a starting right guard early in this draft. Philadelphia signed its productive young players to long-term extensions this offseason, searching for the next group of players to join a core group that has already been to a Super Bowl.

The Eagles added Saquon Barkley, Bryce Huff and brought back C.J. Gardner-Johnson to highlight the free agent signings. Now the attention turns to the draft to find productive starters, especially with Quinyon Mitchell at No. 22 and Cooper DeJean at No. 40. The Eagles traded up in the second round and back in the third round twice, stockpiling picks on Day 3.  

This is a pivotal time for the Eagles, so you won’t want to miss a second of the action over the three-day spectacle. Here is every single selection the Eagles own for the 2024 NFL Draft: 

Round Overall Pick Grade

1

No. 22: CB Quinyon Mitchell (Toledo)

B+

2

No. 40: DB Cooper DeJean (Iowa)

A-
3 No. 94: EDGE Jalex Hunt (Houston Christian) B-
4 No. 127: RB Will Shipley (Clemson) C+
5 No. 152: WR Ainias Smith (Texas A&M) A
5 No. 155: LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (Clemson) A

5

171 (compensatory pick)

5

172 (compensatory pick)

Round 1 (No. 22 overall): Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo 

Mitchell was the first cornerback taken in the NFL Draft, falling to the Eagles at No. 22 overall. Setting school records for passes defended in a season (25) and career (52), Mitchell has the athleticism to match up with any receiver in man or zone coverage. He had 43 passes defended and 6 interceptions over the last 27 games he played. 

Mitchell is a Day 1 starter in the NFL and should challenge for a starting spot immediately, even with Darius Slay and James Bradberry there. He had the most passes defended in FBS (37) over the past two seasons. 

Pete Prisco’s grade: B+

“The Eagles wait and get the best corner in this draft. That’s smart. There was talk of them trading up, but now they land a player who fills a need with age creeping into their defense. Nice pick.”

Round 2 (No. 40 overall): Cooper DeJean, Iowa

The Eagles traded up to No. 40 and selected DeJean out of Iowa, a player they originally coveted at No. 22. They traded both their second-round picks (No. 50 and No. 53) and a fifth-round pick (No. 161) to move up 10 spots in the draft. The Eagles acquired the No. 40 pick (which they used to select DeJean), a third-round pick (No. 70) and a fifth-round pick (No. 152) from the Commanders. 

DeJean is a hybrid player in the secondary who can play outside cornerback, the slot and safety. While the Eagles are settled at cornerback on the outside with the selection of Quinyon Mitchell, DeJean can play the slot or line up next to C.J. Gardner-Johnson at safety in 2024. He’ll have a major role in the secondary. 

DeJean only allowed one catch of 15-plus yards last season and is rarely out of position. He also had 3 pick-sixes last season for the Hawkeyes and is an excellent gunner on special teams. The Eagles have a do-it-all player. 

Chris Trapasso’s grade: A

“Howie Roseman strikes again. DeJean is a fine tackler, dynamic athlete who can align anywhere and provides plus return ability. Fills a need in this secondary that needs reworking.”

Round 3 (No. 94 overall): Jalyx Hunt, Houston Christian

The Eagles traded back twice in the third round to settle on Hunt, another big edge rusher at 6-foot-4 and 252 pounds. More of a developmental prospect who can get bigger, Hunt can learn in a pass rush behind Bryce Huff, Josh Sweat, and Nolan Smith. 

A former safety, Hunt has a closing burst that is excellent at showing up quarterbacks. He needs more moves on the edge, but will get bigger with more time in the weight room.

Chris Trapasso’s grade: B-

“Former Cornell safety turned small-school dominant edge rusher with tantalizing traits. Showed impressively advanced hand work despite being new at the position, but still a work in progress. Size, length, burst, bend are there. Will take time to acclimate to better competition. Pick is all about upside.”

Round 4 (No. 127 overall): Will Shipley, Clemson

The Eagles get a No. 2 running back behind Saquon Barkley in Shipley. A former five-star recruit at Clemson, Shipley shines in the screen game and had 33 rushing and receiving touchdowns for the Tigers over the last three years. Injuries affected his production, but Shipley makes defenders miss on his cuts. Also an excellent kick returner as well. 

Chris Trapasso’s grade: C+

“Jack of all trades master of none. Works diligently between the tackles and has decent wiggle. Not overly elusive. Speed is a plus. And he’s very useful out of the backfield as a receiver.”

Round 5 (No. 152 overall): Ainias Smith, Texas A&M

Listed as a wide receiver, but he’s more of a “gadget” player. He can be used to carry the football on outside zone runs or sweeps and doesn’t play outside receiver much. Nearly 70% of his snaps came in the slot in 2023, which may be where he fits in Philadelphia. Another outstanding returner as well.

Chris Trapasso’s grade: A

“Experienced, older prospect with YAC juice and plus contact balance. Slot, possession type and plays bigger than his shorter size, but he comes with a compact frame overall. Catch radius is very tiny. Will take time to become a quality route-runner. Gadget-y type in college. Dynamic honed skills.”

Round 5 (No. 155 overall): Jeremiah Trotter Jr., Clemson

The son of Eagles legend Jeremiah Trotter — and Philadelphia native — stays in Philadelphia. Trotter plays like his father in terms of how he attacks the ball carrier, but has limitations in coverage. He has the natural fit as a MIKE linebacker and Trotter Sr. has always claimed Jr. is better than him. Trotter Jr. will be a fan favorite. 

Chris Trapasso’s grade: A

“Young, super-smart reasonable athlete at the off-ball LB spot. Speed can be special once he gets into top gear. Blitzing is a speciality. Active but not someone who plays at full throttle every play and tackling reliability could improve. Knows how to defeat blocks en route to the RB. What I love most are his ball skills and coverage chops underneath and at intermediate level.”

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