The midpoint of every April feels the same year-in and year-out for Philadelphia Eagles fans. You’re on one side or the other. You either see NFL mock drafts as a cool conversation piece and you’re still clicking on each one you find like it’s the first one you read, or you’ve hit the wall and feel like the next mock you see will send you over the edge.
Those are the choices. Everyone is on one side or the other. There is no in-between stance. ‘Bring on the draft already’! How many times have you said that?
The most recent Super Bowl feels like it was six months ago, but once it wrapped, the best time of every year for many of us was ushered in. There’s nothing like the spring, and there’s nothing like the Senior Bowl, the NFL Scouting Combine, Pro Days, and the NFL Draft.
The National Football League might be the best professional sports league at making everything feel like an event. Philly has two first-round selections, and everyone has their opinion on what they think they should do with them. One recent theory is a head-scratcher though.
NFL draft analyst suggests the most unlikely of hauls for the Eagles in Round 1.
As another work week began, NFL.com’s Chad Reuter dropped a few theories on what every NFL franchise might do with their first two selections. He has the Birds taking Georgia Bulldogs defensive tackle Jordan Davis in Round 1 and Notre Dame Fighting Irish safety Kyle Hamilton as the choice three spots later at 18.
Both guys are talented, but this is highly unlikely, right? Philly has some glaring holes, and they have at least four needs that are more pressing that drafting a defensive tackle who’s immovable as a run defender but, at the same time, someone we don’t expect to be a dominant pass rusher at the NFL level.
Most would rather see an edge rusher, wide receiver, linebacker, or cornerback be the choice at 15. They’re relatively stocked at defensive tackle with Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, and Milton Williams. They also have young depth options like 2021 draftee Marlon Tuipulotu and two newly acquired prospects, Marvin Wilson and Renell Wren.
In terms of the Hamilton choice, there isn’t a Birds fan walking that wouldn’t take Hamilton in a second, but there’s no way he goes undrafted through the first 17 picks right? Most draft pundits see him as a top-ten choice. Some see him as a top-five, but Reuter is a very reliable voice about these things. It’s good to read what he has to say. Here’s how he justifies the take.
"I expect GM Howie Roseman to follow his trade with the Saints, in which the Eagles gave up one of their three first-round picks in exchange for future draft capital, by moving up this year to select a top prospect. One of his targets could be Davis, a massive lineman who would automatically improve one of the league’s worst run defenses. The secondary instantly becomes a strength if Hamilton quiets those doubting his ability to consistently affect games from the safety position."
There’s nothing wrong with the theory, but again, there are more pressing needs than defensive tackle. Most would rather an edge rusher be the choice. It’s also hard to imagine Hamilton being ignored 17 times. This also goes against what we’ve seen from the Eagles historically.
Remember, they passed on Earl Thomas for Brandon Graham. B.G. wound up being the better long-term choice, but when Philly traded up in Round 1 many moons ago in 2010, many thought they were doing so to take Thomas who could have been the Brian Dawkins replacement that they had been unable to land.
There was a point, particularly when Philly still had three draft choices, when we thought the drought of ignoring linebackers would end. Many Eagles fans are in love with Nakobe Dean (Georgia Bulldogs) and Devin Lloyd (Utah Utes). It feels like there’s this feeling that they won’t be the guys at 15 or 18 though.
But, still, while we’re on the subject of trends, here are two more to mull over. One, Philly likes to invest in defensive linemen. Second, they take defensive backs as seldomly in Round 1 as they take any of the other neglected positions.
The last time Philly took a cornerback in Round 1, Lito Sheppard was the choice in 2002. They’ve only taken a linebacker in Round 1 on two other occasions: Ben Davis in 1990 and Roynell Young in 1980.