What an NFL Scouting Combine! We met new stars. We got to know a few prospects better than we knew them a few weeks ago. Then, there were those phenomenal showings of athleticism. The verticals… The drills… 4.3-second showings in the 40-yard dash event are more common now than ever. Humanity has evolved again. The Philadelphia Eagles now turn their attention to attending Pro Days ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft so they can make determinations about what they should do with a pair of Day 1 selections.
The Birds, as you know, select tenth and 30th overall. They’ll have plenty of options in terms of available talent with both choices. The tough part is making the RIGHT decision in an environment where there are no guarantees. As you know, every selection meeting is a crapshoot, and it’s of the utmost importance that Philly’s leadership structure nails both selections.
Who are the best players at each position? How might the Eagles spend those first-round choices? Those are among the popular questions. Theories are plentiful. Let’s span the globe and see what the experts are saying.
Here’s what the experts and NFL Draft pundits believe the Philadelphia Eagles will do with those first-round selections.
Expect to see a ton of mock drafts between now and the end of April. We shared one ahead of the NFL Scouting Combine, and guess what? A day later, we were already changing our minds about a few things we said.
That’s okay. That’s part of the deal. Just ask any draft expert. Speaking of which, here’s what a few of them are stating as we approach March’s midpoint.
Doug Farrar offers his theory with a nice read on USA TODAY’s Touchdown Wire. He adds a defensive lineman, Myles Murphy, and a running back, Jahmry Gibbs, to the nest. Here’s Farrar’s opinion on both.
10th-overall selection: Myles Murphy, defensive lineman, Clemson Tigers
The Eagles have to make decisions on 20 impending free agents. That includes six defensive linemen. That’s obviously where Murphy fits in. Here are Farrar’s thoughts.
"The defending NFC champs have a lot to think about along a defensive line that seemed to sack opposing quarterbacks on half their snaps in 2022. Free agents include Brandon Graham, Javon Hargrave, Fletcher Cox, Ndamukong Suh, and Linval Joseph. So, let’s give them Murphy with the 10th pick — at 6-foot-5 and 268 pounds, he can stone offensive tackles with speed and power, and he can kick inside for a bit more versatility as a pass-rusher and in the run game. A perfect fit for a team that loves to throw different fronts and stunts at you."
30th-overall selection: Jahmry Gibbs, running back, Alabama Crimson Tide
A running back in Round 1? It isn’t a popular move, but it’s one that we’re hearing more and more often. Here’s more from Farrar.
"The Eagles had the NFL’s most effective and diverse run game last season, and with no offense to Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell, and Boston Scott, imagine what that would look like with the addition of Gibbs, who reminds me (and many others) of Alvin Kamara with his combination of speed, agility, surprising power for his size (5-foot-9 and 199 pounds), and receiving ability on anything from swings and screens to a full route package when he’s aligned in the slot and out wide."
It makes sense in a lot of ways. How close do you think this is to what the Eagles are thinking? We’ll soon see.
The Draft Network
When it comes to pre-draft content, it’s hard to find a better way to quench one’s thirst than The Draft Network. Jaime Eisner’s mock is one worth checking out. Philly addresses two defensive needs, and there wouldn’t be many fans who turned off the television in a foul mood if the Eagles did what he suggests.
10th-overall selection: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois Fighting Illini
Just in case you haven’t been paying attention, Devon Witherspoon is a popular choice among the fans and much of the media. Eisner’s take is spot on.
"Devon Witherspoon would be a great fit for the city of Philadelphia and for the NFL team that calls it home. Witherspoon is a tone-setter who isn’t afraid of the man-to-man spotlight. He can have success outside or inside and will allow the Eagles to keep a talented secondary on the field despite the number of free agents to be as we sit here pre-free agency."
30th-overall selection: Calijah Kancey, defensive tackle, Pitt Panthers
Philly doesn’t take defensive backs in Round 1 often. In truth, it’s only happened three times. Taking a defensive tackle seems like it’s more in line with what Philly does. At ten, Eisner gives Philly one of the class’s popular guys.
"Sit back and think about pairing Calijah Kancey with Jordan Davis on the defensive front and what that means for opposing offensive lines. Yeah, that’s exciting. Kancey would see a ton of one-on-one blocks and can use his athleticism to the fullest extent."
Kancey made himself a lot of money at the NFL Scouting Combine. We’ll have to wait and see if he’s firmly on Philadelphia’s radar.
The stars of NFL Network have been busy. Daniel Jeremiah added Devon Witherspoon (10th) and Kansas State EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah (30th) to the Eagles’ nest on February 21st. Bucky Brooks went with Ohio State offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr. (10th) and Iowa Hawkeyes EDGE Lukas Van Ness (30th) one week later on February’s final day. With the NFL Scouting Combine behind us, Lance Zierlein hands us his take.
If you know anything about Inside The Iggles, you know that we’re huge fans of Zierlein and reference his theories on where prospects rank even after they have entered the league.
He sends Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez to the Birds at ten and adds Alabama defensive back Brian Branch with the 30th-overall selection. Those are two solid choices that would solidify Philly’s secondary for years to come.
Pro Football Network
They say variety is the spice of life, and Pro Football Network‘s Dalton Miller provides some. He adds two more defensive stars to the Eagles’ young nucleus in his mock draft.
Cornerback Joey Porter Jr. from Penn State gets his name scribbled on a draft card at ten. Bryan Bresee, an interior defensive lineman from the Clemson Tigers, is the selection at 30.
Porter, as you know, is the son of a Steelers legend and a 2022 First-Team All-Big Ten nod. Bresee earned Second-Team All-ACC honors in 2022 after landing on the first team in 2020 and the third team after the 2021 NCAA season. Keep your eyes on all of these guys that were mentioned as we move through the pre-draft process.