Eagles Mock Draft 2022
Nick Sirianni’s Philadelphia Eagles exceeded all expectations. A roster expected by many to occupy the basement of the NFC East this fall, a 9-7 finish, a wild-card exit, and three pending first-round picks has placed a ray of optimism over the Eagles as they officially prepare for the offseason. While many questions loom around the quarterback spot and current signal-caller Jalen Hurts—who the jury is still out on when attempting to solidify his status as the Eagles’ next franchise signal-caller—the Eagles, behind an impressive front five, 2021 first-rounder DeVonta Smith, a bevy of backfield talent, and an above-average front four, have found themselves in as opportune a spot as general manager Howie Roseman could hope for as the button-pusher for a roster with youth-infused, high-impact talent needed in abundance.
With three first-round picks scheduled before day one is through, Philadelphia represents the belle of the draft ball as we approach the divisional round. A team in need of immediate defensive pop and fresh legs in the trenches, a draft headlined by the defensive side of the ball should prove fruitful for a unit that finished above .500 for the fourth time in the last five campaigns.
Using our Mock Draft Machine, I looked at which prospects the Eagles could target this April when the annual NFL draft rolls around. Here is my seven-round mock, including scheme fit, on each prospect:
Round 1 (No. 15 overall): Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
As the Eagles search for their future defensive cornerstone, Booth Jr. represents everything that is Philly. An in-your-face shutdown talent with exceptional ball skills, excellent man cover ability, and an unrelenting motor, Booth, opposite 2021 Pro Bowler Darius Slay, could quickly progress into one of football’s elite boundary defenders. Within a division loaded with pass-catching talent, the onus on Roseman to get this pick right is paramount. With Booth, it’s a home run.
Round 1 (No. 16 overall): Tyler Linderbaum, IOL, Iowa
With Jason Kelce nearing the tail end of his career, I envision Linderbaum stepping in right away to take over duties as the nucleus of Philadelphia’s offensive line. Arguably the top pound-for-pound prospect in the entire class, Linderbaum has the chance to be an All-Pro from the onset of his NFL tenure. While the initial plan was to move Landon Dickerson back to center once Kelce is gone, the unit of Dickerson, Linderbaum, and a healthy Brandon Brooks could progress into one of the league’s best interior units. A prospect with elite athleticism for the position, a nasty streak, and a wrestling background that saw him pin current Tampa Bay Buccaneers RT Tristan Wirfs in high school—no, seriously—Linderbaum is everything you’d hope for in a center on Sunday and a talent that will allow Sirianni to extend his playbook. He’s a culture changer.
Round 1 (No. 19 overall): Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
With Alex Singleton (‘WILL’ LB) set to enter free agency, it was a win-win situation here with both Dean and Utah’s Devin Lloyd both available. A modern-day sideline-to-sideline defender who would immediately fill the role of Singleton as the weakside linebacker within Jonathan Gannon’s defense, his play in the CFP semifinal against Michigan and dominant impact for a historic Georgia unit against Alabama speaks for itself. He’s the alpha of alphas who would provide a sense of identity within the nucleus of Philadelphia’s front seven.
Round 2 (No. 51 overall): Myjai Sanders, EDGE, Cincinnati
An edge threat with the ideal measurables Roseman desires in his 5-tech rushers, Sanders is an exciting prospect with a deep bag of pass rush moves and an improving ability to stack and shed offensive linemen to plug the run. With young talent in Milton Williams, Javon Hargrave, and Josh Sweat providing an enticing group of pocket-pushers, adding a guy who can wreak havoc as often as Sanders is crucial with an aging Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, and UFAs Derek Barnett and Ryan Kerrigan.
Round 3 (No. 83 overall): Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati
Back to the Bearcats well here. A 6-foot-3 talent, Pierce boasts a long and athletic frame that will make waves during the pre-draft circuit. A supremely gifted athlete who is expected to open eyes in the 40-yard dash and other short-area explosion drills, Pierce earns his money primarily within the vertical third of the field, using his straight-line speed and length to pop the seal off the top of defenses. While he needs work within the intermediate areas of the offense that he will ultimately face on Sundays, he does tout the ability to elevate and extend to work through contact, which masks his limitations as a pass-catcher over the middle of the field.
With Smith representing the team’s WR1, he needs help opposite. Jalen Reagor has been a massive disappointment, and while Quez Watkins has been a nice surprise, an upgrade is needed. Pierce’s skill set is one of the more underappreciated of any wideout in the entire class.
Round 4 (No. 120 overall): Nick Cross, S, Maryland
A versatile, high-IQ center field defender, Cross’ ceiling remains as high as any apex defender in the class. His ability to work down near the LOS to cover tight ends and wideouts in man coverage should see his skill set translate nicely into Gannon’s defense. A willing tackler who has improved his eye discipline and recognition skills during his tenure in College Park, working behind a front four that is able to create pressure will aid his ability to remain a versatile impact defender at the next level. While DeMarcco Hellams would have been the ideal selection here, he announced his intentions to return to Alabama next fall. Cross, however, is by no means a consolation prize.
Round 5 (No. 152 overall): Jesse Luketa, LB, Penn State
We all know how much Roseman values the trenches, but a hybrid defender like Luketa could offer both an early-down edge presence and a subpackage linebacker to fill in as a high-motor defender who touts excellent length and open-field ability to track down ball-carriers. Versatility remains king and Luketa has a boatload of room to improve his enticing array of traits.
Round 5 (No. 160 overall): Bailey Zappe, QB, Western Kentucky
Competition breeds success, and for Roseman, if the gunslinging talent in Zappe is here on day three, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s the pick. A proven passer who’s shown the ability to dissect defenses from inside the pocket, while he presents a drastically different skill set under center in comparison to Hurts, his arm talent and ball placement are hard to ignore with Smith and Goedert hungry for targets within Sirianni’s offense.
Behind a dominant front five and an impressive ground game to boot, all that’s missing is a dynamic passing game in Philadelphia. Zappe, even with his limitations as an athlete, could earn himself an opportunity to compete if the Eagles opt to bring in a body to compete under center.
Round 5 (No. 164 overall): Jack Jones, CB, Arizona State
A former 5-star recruit, Jones would be an immediate upgrade over Avonte Maddox and 2021 selection Zech McPhearson. A high-level athlete who has some of the most impressive film as an inside/out versatile corner, what Jones lacks in vertical prowess he more than makes up for in ball skills, play recognition, and truly elite versatility. A best-player-available approach here, Jones also fills a need at nickel.
Round 6 (No. 193 overall): Eric Gray, RB, Oklahoma
Gray is an absolute steal here on day three. If he slips to No. 194, Roseman should sprint to the podium to turn in his card. While he’s a risk to return to school and masthead the Oklahoma run game, Gray is an elite ball-carrier who would challenge the oft-injured Miles Sanders and versatile Kenneth Gainwell for a major role in Philadelphia's offense. While they could opt to re-sign Boston Scott, Gray could serve his role while providing an increased punch in the run game. Like Scott, he’s a sub-6-foot back, but he has the necessary body armor to harness contact and blow through arm tackles. Can’t get much better value here.
Round 6 (No. 207 overall): Dare Rosenthal, OT, Kentucky
Jordan Mailata was outstanding this fall, as was Lane Johnson when healthy, but behind them, it’s the injury-prone Andre Dillard, aaaaaaaand... no one else. Rosenthal would provide ideal depth and could start if need be. A transfer from LSU, Rosenthal touts heavy hands and a mean streak, similar to Mailata, where he looks to punch and staple defenders to the dirt. He’s an excellent fit for what the Eagles look to do in the run game.