Eagles' strategy after DeVonta Smith deal becomes clear in this 2024 mock draft

The Eagles are going to need to draft well on defense for the foreseeable future.
Philadelphia Eagles, DeVonta Smith
Philadelphia Eagles, DeVonta Smith / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday, the Philadelphia Eagles extended wide receiver DeVonta Smith on a deal that will pay him an annual average of $25 million, just like fellow wideout A.J. Brown's deal.

After the Smith extension, the Eagles' top six contracts are all offensive players, making it pretty clear what they're going to have to do in order to compete going forward.

Starting in the 2024 NFL Draft, Philadelphia is going to have to draft especially well on defense. It was a unit that took a step back in 2023 and must improve this coming year if the Eagles will do anything of merit.

In this 2024 NFL mock draft, the Eagles kick things off on defense with the DeVonta Smith extension in mind

Nate Wiggins. Nate Wiggins. . 1. . . player. 432. Nate Wiggins. CB

With their first pick coming at no. 22 overall, the Eagles select the best available cornerback which happened to be Clemson's Nate Wiggins. Philadelphia still has a need at cornerback, therefore grabbing Wiggins makes a ton of sense and could give them a long-term starter.

Wiggins stands 6-foot-1, possessing good size but even better speed, having run a blazing 4.28 in his 40-yard dash at the Combine. He has tremendous length and is smooth with his footwork, allowing him to keep up with receivers in and out of their breaks. Wiggins has a high football IQ and bundles that with his ability to rarely get beaten. If he is beaten, it doesn't take long for him to recover. The Eagles get themselves a legitimate starter in Round 1.

Kingsley Suamataia. player. . . OT. 540. 2. Kingsley Suamataia. Kingsley Suamataia.

The Eagles could still afford some help at offensive tackle, and it so happened that the best player on the board in Round 2 was BYU tackle Kingsley Suamataia. He should be able to become the next man up, should Jordan Mailata or Lane Johnson end up going down to injury, or if either wind up out of Philadelphia in the future.

Suamataia is probably the best of any Round 2 tackles outside maybe Amarius Mims, should he fall. But, the Eagles now have a legitimate starting candidate and cannot afford passing on the 6-foot-5 standout.

Jonah Elliss. . EDGE. Jonah Elliss. . 843. 2. player. Jonah Elliss.

After a rare offensive pick, the Eagles go right back to the defensive side of the ball, where they will need to draft extremely well over the next few years, again. This time, later on in the second round, they go with Utah pass rusher Jonah Elliss.

Although he's a little undersized at 6-foot-2, 248 pounds, Elliss makes up for that by playing with an unstoppable motor. He is absolutely relentless in his pursuit, and possesses one of the best spin moves in his class. Elliss might have a tougher time against the stronger tackles, but if he's able to win the low battle, he'll be just fine. The guy plays with his hair on fire.

LB. . Tommy Eichenberg. 490. . 4. . Tommy Eichenberg. player. Tommy Eichenberg

Philly doesn't pick in the third round, so when it comes time for their next selection, coming in the fourth, they stay on defense and go with Ohio State linebacker Tommy Eichenberg. The Buckeye standout comes into the league as someone who specializes against the run. He isn't quick enough to handle too much in coverage, but Eichenberg can be a problem near the line of scrimmage.

Like Elliss, Eichenberg plays with a relentless spirit. He's a tough, physical player who prides himself on that brand of ball. He'll fit in nicely and, at the very least, become a special teams staple from the get-go.

. TE. Dallin Holker. 5. Dallin Holker. . player. 503. . Dallin Holker

Beyond Dallas Goedert, the Eagles aren't necessarily too sure what they have in the tight end room, so adding some talent here will be good competition, at the very least. Colorado State's Dallin Holker is the pick here in the fifth round, and he'll give the Eagles another pass-catching option at the position.

Holker won't be too intimidating as a blocker, but if you ask him to make catches in traffic, he'll show out. Again, he's going to be more of your receiving specialist with great hands, long arms and someone who can navigate traffic well.

player. . Malik Mustapha. Malik Mustapha. 5. . 448. S. . Malik Mustapha

Later in Round 5, the Eagles add some competition to the safety room with Wake Forest's Malik Mustapha. Having known he's been undersized for a few years, Mustapha worked hard to add roughly 25 pounds of muscle to his frame during college, which only added to his play style.

He isn't going to blow you away with coverage skills, nor is he overly quick. However, as someone who can play closer to the box, Mustapha is going to make an impact in the run game and even as an additional blitzer.

Jalen Coker. player. 2464. . WR. . 5. Jalen Coker. Jalen Coker.

With their third pick in the fifth round, the Eagles go out and grab a guy who has been climbing up draft boards as of late in Holy Cross wide receiver Jalen Coker. Here's all you need to know: Coker stands 6-foot-1 with a vertical of 42.5 inches and immaculate ball skills. His hands are top notch. He will fight for the football and, more often than not, come down with it.

Giving the Eagles a competitive guy in the wide receiver room to help take pressure off Brown and Smith will be crucial for this offense. Coker has been turning heads the closer we get to the draft, and Philly strikes first here.

. Gabe Hall. Gabe Hall. 6. player. Gabe Hall. . . DL. 460

Finally, the Eagles take a polarizing defensive tackle out of Baylor in Gabe Hall. He has a ton of physical tools to love. He's a towering 6-foot-6, 291 pounds and has above-average quickness. The guy can fly around. But, his production has never been equal to his potential.

With the right coaching, Hall could wind up developing into a strong rotational lineman. In that same room as Jalen Carter and Jordan Davis, you better believe they'll get the best out of someone like Hall.