Fresh off their first Super Bowl in franchise history, we’re left with quite the scene in downtown Philly. The scene even has some wondering, “did we win, or lose?” Despite the efforts of the Philadelphia PD to grease up the poles, this time using gear oil instead of Crisco, there lie a dozen poles bent out of place stretched across the confetti-snowed street. Broad Street is littered with fireworks and the remains of crushed plastic cups which once held the Pennsylvania famous Yeungling craft beer. It brings back memories of the stampede scene in Jumanji.
Alright, I may be getting a bit ahead of myself, but what fan doesn’t enter the biggest game of the year with the utmost confidence? If we’re being honest, definitely not me, but I like to think this confidence can mask all the nerves which I currently feel.
For argument’s sake, I’m predicting the Eagles to come away Super Bowl LII champions in this scenario. I thought it would make it a bit more interesting to see how they would approach the draft as Super Bowl champions, although their overall draft strategy probably wouldn’t change much, if at all. I hope you enjoy this mock draft, and there will be new installments to come following Super Bowl Sunday. Let’s start this one with a trade though…
*Pick values based on projected compensatory picks
PHI: 2nd RD (#45), 2nd RD (#56)
BUF: 1st RD (#32), 2019 6th RD
Trade Analysis: The rich get richer. After coming off a Super Bowl victory, the Philadelphia Eagles decide to attack depth in this class as they acquire a couple 2nd round picks in sacrifice of that beloved #32 pick. I think it’s all but certain we see Howie Roseman move some picks around and get back into the action on day two. Whether he packages some day three/future picks together, or gives up the crown jewel remains to be seen. However, after coming off a Super Bowl victory, this team is built quite well, and certainly in position to make a move like this in order to fill some holes formed with offseason departures.
From the Bills’ perspective, they’re in a similar boat as the Cleveland Browns last year. Going back to 2016, we saw the Browns stock up on mostly high character players, laying the foundation for their most recent rebuild. Then this past year, they went nuts in the draft, ending day one with three first round selections after trading up to #31 to select David Njoku.
If the Bills elect to bypass using their extra ammunition to trade up for a quarterback, we could see them take a very similar approach to the Browns last year. The Doug Pederson-Sean McDermott connection bodes well for this prediction as well.
Brian O’Neil is really athletic but this isn’t one of his better technical pass sets. pic.twitter.com/v33pr4SWkN
— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) January 27, 2018
Round 2, Pick 45: Brian O’Neill, OT, Pittsburgh
Let me start by saying, I’m not a huge fan of Brian O’Neill, but he holds enormous upside, and if this pick were to payoff for the Eagles, they would have potentially two of the top five most athletic tackles in the NFL on their offensive line.
I think the priority for the Eagles in this year’s draft will be to find the successor to Jason Peters. Recently Peters has spoken out and stated that he intends to return to Philadelphia next season. With Peters returning, there wouldn’t be an immediate hole to plug, which would give O’Neill a couple years to improve his technique.
As Michael Peterson put it, our senior OL scout, “Initial strike in pass pro never lands on the breastplate. Struggles to reset hands when they’re caught outside. Needs to bend knees more to win leverage battle.” O’Neill is certainly far from a finished product, but the Eagles are in position where they can take the risk.
It’s also worth noting that Big V has stepped in and played very well for Peters, albeit a little rocky at times, but overall he’s done way more than anyone could’ve expected. I hope he can solidify himself as our long-time swing tackle with Johnson and O’Neill leading the charge as our future bookends.
Andrew Brown (@DrizoBeats) with a great get off. Gets knockback on his blocker & makes the tackle!
— DLineVids (@DLineVids) January 28, 2018
Round 2, Pick 56: Andrew Brown, DL, Virginia
While doing my rounds in Mobile following practice, I got into the Ian Rapoport zone and paced around the field fiending out any player-team meeting I could come across. Of the many that I compiled, Andrew Brown and Philly sparked the most interest on my list.
It comes to no surprise, however, as during my week in Mobile I spotted at least a half dozen meetings between the Philadelphia Eagles and a defensive lineman. While I want to say that indicates their interest, we can never declare the draft strategy of an organization. Regardless, I’ll buy into the trend.
While the Eagles met with DL ranging throughout all rounds of the draft, I have a feeling they’ll be particularly high on Virginia’s Andrew Brown. The former 5-star recruit often went under the radar, playing for one of the bottom feeders in the ACC. Even teammates such as Micah Kiser and Quin Blanding seemed to garner more hype, but I can assure you that Brown is much better.
Brown turned heads recently down in Mobile at the Senior Bowl as he routinely was the first man off the line with his active get off. Brown is well-rounded and quite polished elsewhere. We saw them draft Derek Barnett at #14 last year, and I believe they’ll covet a player like Brown who enters the league with a similar skillset and background.
— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) January 25, 2018
Round 4, Pick 133: Dimitri Flowers, H-back, Oklahoma
The unsung hero of the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2017 offense was none other than Trey Burton. While Burton’s production doesn’t jump out at you, although he did score five receiving touchdowns, his versatility and balanced instilled in the offense will surely be missed. Of course, I’m assuming he dips for a hefty payday in free agency, which no one can blame him for.
That’s not to say, however, there isn’t an alternative option sitting within the 2018 NFL Draft class. Oklahoma’s Swiss Army knife, Dimitri Flowers, is the perfect player to step in from day one and inherit Burton’s role. Flowers was the trusted target of Baker Mayfield, lining up at H-back, fullback and tight end.
While not heavily utilized as a pass catcher during his college career, Flowers averaged 17.8 yards per catch and seemed to always make a big play when Mayfield needed him most. While he’s a bit more heavyset and shorter than Burton, their play styles are strikingly similar.
For what it’s worth, Dimitri Flowers was another player I observed the Eagles meeting with.
Bradley Bozeman can move. This is what I like to see from centers pic.twitter.com/AYOB3lWLAw
— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) January 20, 2018
Round 4, Pick 134: Bradley Bozeman, iOL, Alabama
The Eagles have always been a team who covet those interior linemen who can shuffle along all three inside slots. Bradley Bozeman is just that, and he comes from a winning pedigree hailing from the University of Alabama, where you know he was well-coached.
As great as Jason Kelce has been during his tenure in Philadelphia, he has maybe one more good year left in him. Now I’m not saying Bozeman is the future center for the Eagles, but he’s the type of sturdy player who can carve out a longtime swing role with some stretch years as the starter. Think Stefen Wisniewski.
Famous for his proposal after winning the National Championship back in January, where he actually got down on one knee during the team’s celebration, Bozeman is immune to the spotlight. He should have longevity in the league as he already brings solid run blocking skills and durability to the table.
— Kevin Brown (@nfldraftnik) January 10, 2018
Round 5, Pick 171: Kenny Young, LB, UCLA
As I mentioned earlier, the Eagles were incredibly active interviewing defensive linemen during Senior Bowl week; that is exactly how they were with linebackers during the week in St. Petersburg for the Shrine Game (via @TampaBayTre). Among the half dozen names, Kenny Young stood out to me as the most intriguing.
What stands out the most with Young is his durability. During his four year tenure at UCLA, he never missed a game. Along with that dependability, Young fits the “heat seeking missile” persona. He moves around quite well and can pack a punch with his compact build. Young has the sideline to sideline speed and ability as a tackler to succeed as a run and chase linebacker. He even offers some capabilities in coverage.
While he is a firecracker on the field, Young can get bullied at times, especially by offensive linemen working in the 2nd level. However, Young’s overall effort and will should combat whatever he lacks in play strength at the next level. Young’s play style is somewhat reminiscent of Mychal Kendricks, who also came from the Pac-12.
Round 5, Pick 184: Jamar Summers, DB, UCONN
Following the theme of versatility and dependability, Summers is another player who can play more than one role, while also demonstrating reliability on the field with no significant time missed due to injury during his college career. Going back to 2015 when he played corner, Summers was 2nd in the nation with eight interceptions.
The Orange, New Jersey native was actually recruited as a wide receiver, before making the transition to corner and then sprinkling in some play at safety, where he started at for the 2017 season. Summers has some serious ball skills, and brings tons of intrigue with his versatility and background. If available towards the end of the 5th round, he’s a player I’m sure the Eagles will have their eye on if they hadn’t addressed secondary sooner.
Round 6, Pick 222: Darren Carrington, WR, Utah
There are a ton of options here for the Eagles, but assuming Torrey Smith isn’t in their future plans, they could target wide receiver at this stage in the draft, even though they drafted a pair last year. While I’d like to see them go “high risk/high reward” here with a guy like Antonio Callaway, I can’t bring myself to actually making that prediction. Although, Callaway certainly has that lottery ticket potential, but the off field is way too cringey.
While Darren Carrington has some off field concerns as well, his list of incidents doesn’t even sniff that of Callaway, and he was able to keep the record clean in his lone season at Utah. Carrington has shown his ability to win with a lightning quick release, aided by his long legs and swift movements. While not as dynamic as prime Torrey Smith, Carrington excels in the intermediate range and can even take the top off the defense from time to time.
I currently have Carrington slated as a 4th round talent, but off field could force him to slip, especially with all the depth in this wide receiver class. Hopefully the Eagles sign a replacement for Smith in free agency, but Carrington isn’t a terrible backup plan. He’s quite polished, and while he doesn’t have the highest ceiling, he could come in and contribute from day one.