If you’re like the rest of us, despite months of speculation about whether or not Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner would fall to the Philadelphia Eagles in Round 1 of the NFL Draft and all of the hullabaloo about whether or not this team would actually take another wide receiver in Round 1, it just sort of felt like Jordan Davis was going to be the first player the Birds took, didn’t it?
No, seriously… How many of you guessed right on that one? Most of us didn’t go so far as to make a wager, but if we were asked to put our money where our mouths were, we most certainly would have gone with the 2021 Outland Trophy Winner.
Something about a six-foot-six, 340-pound defensive tackle that ran the 40-yard dash in 4.78 seconds just screams ‘Howie Roseman pick’. Davis is an Eagles type of selection. His resume speaks for itself.
One of the important cogs in the Georgia Bulldogs’ College Football Playoff National Championship-winning squad, Davis was a Unanimous All-American, a First-Team All-SEC nod, and the winner of the Chuck Bednarik Award, so again, for a team that likes to build in the trenches, if you were a gambling man or woman, it would have made sense to put all of your chips on the Eagles selecting a huge and athletic defensive tackle.
Here’s what’s funny. We haven’t played a down of football in the 2022-2023 NFL regular season, and in some of our conversations, we’re already talking about what Philly might do in the next draft, one scheduled for April of 2023.
Some people are already making a few guesses, and take our word for it. Many of them are interesting.
Might the Eagles buck tradition and draft a cornerback during Round 1 in the 2023 NFL Draft?
As mentioned earlier, leading up to the most recent selection meeting, the theories about what the Birds might do were all over the place. Some hoped a top-five would fall to them. Some would have taken Davis’ teammate at UGA, Nakobe Dean, in Round 1 (we still can’t believe he fell to Round 3 and the Eagles still got him).
There was interest in Devin Lloyd and Jermaine Johnson. As you can see, that didn’t happen either.
The Lloyd theories were silenced relatively quickly. After all, the Eagles haven’t taken a linebacker in the first round of any draft since 1979, but since we’re talking about old habits and their tendency to die hard, the Eagles don’t take cornerbacks in Round 1 either.
Throughout their history, Philly has taken three corners in Round 1: Roynell Young (1980), Ben Smith (1990), and Lito Sheppard (2002). That’s it. That’s the list. Conversely, they’ve drafted 19 defensive linemen in Round 1, but that doesn’t stop Oliver Hodgkinson from rolling the dice in a recent 2023 two-round NFL mock draft and naming a corner as one of Philly’s pair of first-round choices.
He sends another Georgia star to the Birds at 12. This one’s cornerback Kelee Ringo. He mocks Myles Murphy, an EDGE star from the Clemson Tigers, to Philly at the 13th-overall selection. Cameron Ward, a quarterback from Washington State, is his selection for the Birds at 45, during Round 2 of the draft.
It doesn’t look like they see Philly making the postseason, do they? That’s another story for another day. In the meantime, here’s what Hodgkinson says about those Ringo and Murphy selections. We begin with the skinny on Ringo.
The presumed motive behind the Philadelphia Eagles’ trade of one of their three first-round picks last April was that they’d position themselves for a quarterback next April. While that might be the case, the oddsmakers clearly feel that Jalen Hurts might not do a bad enough job this upcoming season, once again placing themselves in a strange QB purgatory in the mid-range of the first round of this 2023 NFL Mock Draft. Although they added James Bradberry on a one-year deal, the Eagles still need to add a long-term playmaker in the secondary. Kelee Ringo could be that playmaker for them…
Here’s Hodgkinson’s take on Murphy:
Continuing with defensive improvements, the Eagles add Myles Murphy. The Clemson EDGE is a 6’5, 275-pound wrecking ball who brings the size and strength to be a disruptive force off the edge at the NFL level. With Brandon Graham now in his mid-30s and out of contract at the end of the year, Murphy could step straight into his shoes as the Day 1 defensive end for the Eagles in 2023.
Both picks make a lot of sense. Based on the business model, Murphy’s addition makes more sense than the possible selection of Ringo. The Eagles have assembled a talented roster for the 2022-2023 NFL campaign, but past this season, there’s uncertainty.
Philly only signed James Bradberry for the coming season. As is the case with Fletcher Cox. Brandon Graham and Javon Hargrave are at the end of the current deals, and so far, neither man has signed an extension.
With that being said, you can see the argument for Philadelphia potentially having an interest in Myles Murphy, but if the decision is to move on from Graham, Cox, and Hargrave, conventional thinking would suggest they’re probably going to steer clear of a defensive back and go the route of drafting a defensive lineman again. That’s our story, and for now, we’re sticking to it.