With only two weeks until the NFL draft, it’s time to bring out mock draft 1.0.
I will be making these picks based on the players, and trades available for the Eagles according to nflmockdraftdatabase.com‘s simulator. Going into the draft the Eagles hold picks 10, 30, and 62 in the first two rounds.
Trade! 17. Bijan Robinson RB Texas
In the few times, I ran the simulator one team consistently sent a good offer for the Eagles’ number 10 pick and that was the Steelers. In this mock trade the Steelers are trading the 17th pick in 2023, the 32nd pick in 2023, the 120th pick in 2023, and a 2024 second-round pick for the 10th pick. With both Will Anderson and Jalen Carter going in the top 10, this would be a no-brainer deal for the Eagles.
Bijan Robinson is a hot topic right now in Philadelphia. One side tells you that you do not take a Running Back in the first round no matter the circumstances. The other side will tell you that with two first-round picks, taking an impact player to add to a Super Bowl-caliber offense is worth the investment. This reminds me of the Devonta Smith discussion before the 2021 draft. Many people argued that you can not take a Wide Receiver in the top 10, especially after you took a Receiver in the first round the year before. Now, Devonta is breaking franchise records and had a 100+ yard game in the Super Bowl. No one would go back to that pick and not choose Devonta. Elite players win.
I fall on the ladder of the argument. In any other year, I would say no you can not take a Running Back in round 1. It is a waste of resources. But this situation is different. The Eagles have two first-round picks, and an opportunity to win now. Miles Sanders touched the ball over 300 times last season and replacing his production will not be easy. The Eagles’ offense is centered around the running game, and adding Robinson to it could take them over the top. One of the reasons that they lost the Super Bowl was that they were unable to run the ball. The Eagles need to be operating in a 3-year window. While Running Backs tend to fall off by the time they hit their second contract, if the Eagles get 5 years of top-three Running Back production, no one will look back and say it was a bad pick.
Many people will point to Saquan Barkley or Ezekiel Elliott for examples of why not to take a running back in the first round. While those are good examples of why you should not do it, the difference is that neither of those teams was ready to win when they took the back. Neither of those teams had good Quarterbacks, and they drafted their player to carry their offense. The Eagles do not need Bijan to come in and carry their offense, he would be plugged into a Super Bowl-ready offense.
Another reason Robinson makes sense is Jalen Hurts. The Eagles are going to give Hurts a massive contract this summer, and Robinson can help keep Hurts healthy for years to come. The Eagles rely so much on Hurts’ legs, and while he will still run, they can give Robinson some of those carries instead and can help keep Hurts upright.
The Eagles have not taken a Running Back in the first round since 1986. Of course, this trade is hypothetical and there is a very real chance the Eagles will have to pick a player at the 10th pick. With a trade back gaining two second-round picks, he is worth the risk with their first pick.
Many NFL Draft experts have Robinson ranked as a top 10 player in this year’s draft. In 2022 Robinson rushed for 1,580 yards while scoring 18 touchdowns. He is extremely shifty with cuts that can make any defender miss a tackle, and elite speed to turn any hole into a possible home run. Robinson has the profile to become one of the best backs in the NFL in year one and whether it is the Eagles or someone else, he will go in the first round.
Most of the players available at number 10 did not fill the holes the Eagles currently have.
30. Brian Branch S Alabama
One of the Eagles’ biggest holes on the roster is Safety, and Branch can come in and fill that hole from day 1. Branch fits the type of hybrid player that the Eagles love to use at Safety. He can play both the Cornerback and Safety positions just like ex-Eagle C.J. Gardner-Johnson. In his last season with Alabama Branch had 58 solo tackles and 3 sacks. He is a hard hitter who can make open-field tackles. One of the few weaknesses of the Eagles’ secondary last year was their tackling, and Branch can come in and help in that department. His size and speed allow him to be good in coverage and also have the ability to rush the passer. NFL.com lists his player comparison as Minkah Fitzpatrick.
The Eagles lost both Marcus Epps and C.J. Gardner-Johnson in the offseason and while they signed some players in the offseason, none of them are needle-moving players. To add a young, cheap, and extremely talented player who fits the mold of what they like at the position just makes too much sense.
32. From PIT. B.J. Ojulari EDGE LSU
While this is a hypothetical pick in a hypothetical trade, with the Eagles owning the 30th pick Ojulari is in play for the Eagles at 30. With Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett both set to be free agents next offseason, the Eagles will have a hole opening up at the edge rusher position. While he may not project to be a starter, the way the Eagles rotate those players will not matter much.
Ojulari, who is the younger brother of Azeez Ojulari, had 5.5 sacks last season at LSU. He earned First Team All-SEC last season and has visited the Eagles. He had an injury early in the year last season but has been a productive sack guy for the Tigers in each of his 3 years. He has great speed to get a Tackle on their heels, and then he uses his technique to get past them. He is great at chasing down mobile Quarterbacks and finishes when he gets there.
The Eagles love to build through the trenches and whether this hypothetical trade happens, or at their pick at 30, Ojulari could be a good pick for the Eagles
62. Joe Tippmann OL Wisconsin
Here is your now annual second-round offensive lineman pick for the Eagles. With Jason Kelce’s retirement looming, Cam Jurgens will eventually take over the Eagles’ center position. But when then happens the Eagles will have a hole at guard. Enter Joe Tippmann. While Tippmann played Center at Wisconsin, he projects as a Guard in the NFL. At 6′ 6″ and 313 pounds, Tippmann is rated as the most athletic Center in the 2023 draft class according to NFL.com. He reminds me of Pro Bowl Guard Landon Dickerson. Dickerson was also a bigger, more athletic Center in college that the Eagles transitioned into a Guard.
Tippmann fits the profile of a lineman the Eagles like, and you never know, maybe he beats out Jurgens for the starting Guard spot. Jurgens is more of an undersized Kelce-like player who the team wants to take over once Kelce is gone. So there is a chance Tippmann could play his rookie year. Whether or not he would play his first year, I trust Jeff Stoutland to turn his talent into a good NFL player.