Happy draft week!
With just one day until the draft, it’s time for my final Philadelphia Eagles mock draft. Again for this week’s draft, I used profootballnetwork.coms’ mock draft simulator. I will be making these selections based on what I think the Eagles will do this weekend. The Eagles currently hold the 10th, 30th, and 62nd picks in the first two rounds of the 2023 NFL draft.
10. Bijan Robinson RB Texas
While I made my case for this selection in my first mock draft, there have been a ton of hints over the last week that Robinson may just be the guy at 10. In Howie Roseman’s pre-draft press conference, he talked about how the Eagles have such a rare opportunity to be drafted so high after a Super Bowl appearance, and that they have to get a “unique” player in this spot. He added later that the Eagles do not plan on drafting this high for a while, so getting that unique player is even more important. Enter Bijan Robinson. If you want a unique player, he is just about as unique as you get. When Bijan visited the Eagles his pitch to the team was ” You’re not going to get a running back. You’re going to get a difference maker”. Bijan told ESPN Howie responded with “One hell of a pitch”. Bijan possesses the rare ability to run Wide Receiver routes as a Running Back, while still having the talent to be the best Running Back in the league. At Texas, they were able to use him all over the field, while even sending him on some downfield routes. If the Eagles want to get their “unique” player, Bijan is the guy.
While the Eagles have been linked to Bijan, it seems that Bijan wants to play in Philadelphia. In an interview with ESPN, he was asked besides Patrick Mahomes “If you could pick any Quarterback in the NFL, that you could line up with, and go play with, who would it be?” Bijan responded with “Jalen Hurts”. While it is worth noting that Bijan and Hurts share an agent, it is noticeable that he chose Jalen. Later in the interview, he talked about how he only took two official visits, and that the visit with the Eagles went “great”. He talked about how everyone from the GM to the janitor was super cool, and that it was an awesome visit. It seems that Bijan wants to play in Philadelphia, and the Eagles should make it happen.
A common misconception among Eagles fans is that you can not take a Running Back in the first round because of guys like Saquan Barkley. What has he won? The difference in these two scenarios is that Saquan Barkley was the number 2 overall pick, and was brought to the Giants to carry their offense. They did not have a good Quarterback, but that doesn’t matter because they believed that Saquan will carry them. Bijan Robinson does not have to carry the Eagles’ offense. The Eagles have a star Quarterback In Jalen Hurts, the only thing the offense is missing is the star Running Back. Bijan would not be relied on to carry the offense, just make it unstoppable.
With whoever the Eagles select with the 10th pick, they have to be able to come in and contribute from day 1. Coming off a Super Bowl, the Eagles have the rare opportunity to add a top 10 talent to already the best roster in the NFC. While I understand the logic of taking someone to sit, taking a stash player on a top-10 pick salary to be a backup on a Super Bowl roster would be a mistake. Howie Roseman talked in his press conference about being “open-minded” to getting a player that can impact the game, and we need to be too.
Trade! 38. Calijah Kancey DT Pittsburgh
In this mock trade, the Eagles trade the 30th overall pick to the Raiders for the 38th and 109th picks in the 2023 NFL draft. The Eagles have shown a willingness to move back into the early second round in the past, and I predict they will do it again. In a year where you are paying a top-10 pick salary, with a likely 5th-year option, it makes sense for the Eagles to get some salary relief here. The Eagles also do not have many picks in the middle rounds in this year’s draft, so getting one here is important. While Kancey may not still be on the board at this time, if he is I believe he will be a Eagle.
Kancey is an interesting prospect. At 6′ 1″ he is smaller than most defensive tackles, but he is insanely athletic. According to NFL.com, he scored a 98 on the next-gen stats athleticism test. That is first among DTs in this year’s draft. While he may be undersized, his production speaks for itself. In his time at Pitt, he recorded 15.5 sacks and 91 total tackles. With Javon Hargrave leaving in free agency, the Eagles need a Defensive Tackle that can get after the Quarterback.
While he is projected to be a late first or early second-round pick, Kancey did not go on any official visits. While this does not mean that no team has talked to him, it just means no team has brought him into their building. Pro Football Talk believes it is because he has already answered any questions teams have about him, so there is no need to bring him in. Whatever the reason is, it is something to at least wonder about.
62. Cody Mauch OT North Dakota State
While many want an Offensive Lineman at pick 10, I believe the Eagles will get one in a later round. The Eagles’ coaching staff has done a great job at taking mid-round players and transforming them into above-average starters. While selecting a player in the second round and having him sit is not ideal, the Eagles showed a willingness to do it with Cam Jurgens last year. With Kelce likely heading to retirement after this year, and Jurgens going to Center, enter Mauch.
Originally starting as a Tight End at NDSU, Mauch has good size at 6′ 5″ and 302 pounds. While Mauch played Offensive Tackle at NDSU, the Eagles would be drafting him to be the starting Guard in the 2024 season. He has just about the exact height and weight as ex-Eagles Guard Isaac Seumalo, so they should feel confident in being able to get him to learn the position. As basically a red-shirt player, he would have all of next season to work with Jeff Stoutland. One of the strengths NFL.com lists is that he is an above-average finisher as a run blocker. This would play very well in the Eagles’ offense.