Eagles reach and make uncharacteristic choices in Mel Kiper’s mock draft

Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh Panthers (Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh Panthers (Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports) /

As thrilling as the prospect of an NFC Championship Game at Lincoln Financial Field is, there’s a bit of an aftertaste in our mouths, and it’s bittersweet. Don’t get us wrong. We’re truly excited. Two more wins will give the Philadelphia Eagles their second Vince Lombardi Trophy in franchise history, but that will also put a bow on the season.

That means no more Birds games until August. We’ll manage somehow, but we aren’t looking forward to having to wait. Maybe the USFL and XFL will provide some entertainment, but here are a few things that we can look forward to: the Senior Bowl, Pro Days, the NFL Combine, and the NFL Draft. It appears that some are already in full swing.

Mel Kiper releases his first mock draft of 2023. They reach on one prospect and make an uncharacteristic move with another.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. released his first NFL Mock Draft of the Season. This one dropped on ESPN+ and sits behind a paywall, so we won’t share any quotes, but he has the Eagles selecting defensive tackle Calijah Kancey (Pittsburgh Panthers) at the tenth-overall selection. Brian Branch, a safety from the Alabam Crimson Tide, is Philadelphia’s selection at 30… yes, 30…

Apparently, he has the Eagles losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl. We disagree.

Here are a few things to keep in mind.

While Kipers’ draft is interesting, here are two things of note:

1. With all due respect, Calijah Kancey isn’t a top-ten selection and probably won’t be the second interior defensive lineman that comes off of the board. Despite being 280 pounds and undersized, he might wind up being seen as one of the five highest-rated defensive tackles in this draft. Pro Football Focus already has him ranked there, but we believe Jalen Carter (Georgia), Mazi Smith (Michigan), Zacch Pickens, (South Carolina), Siaki Ika (Baylor), Gervon Dexter (Florida), and Tyler Davis (Clemson) should all be ranked higher.

2. We actually like the Brian Branch selection. The question is this. Would the Eagles spend a first-round draft choice on a safety? Philadelphia has taken three defensive backs in the first round in total. The most recent was Lito Sheppard more than 20 years ago. Roynell Young (1980) and Ben Smith (1990) were the other two.

We know they really liked Sauce Gardner a year ago, but it’s hard to believe the Eagles would go all in on a safety that early. Howie Roseman would probably just trade for one late in the offseason.

Hot. 2023 prospects worth studying immediately. light