Perfect Picks: Philadelphia Eagles
With the NFL Draft approaching we will be looking at each team and evaluating where they need to improve. In this particular series we will run a seven round mock using the Draft Network Mock machine and find the ‘Perfect Picks’ for each franchise.
We will highlight four players that could help each team. This will feature picks 1 and 2, a mid round gem and a late round sleeper.
Head Coach Doug Pederson brought a Super Bowl to Philly but the 2020 season was the final act for both him and quarterback Carson Wentz. Both roles will now be filled by two men with a major lack of experience. Nick Sirianni, at 39 is one of the younger head coaches in the league and second year QB Jalen Hurts could hardly have expected to be anointed starter even though he was drafted in the second round.
The pair will look to hit the ground running and with eleven picks in this year’s draft, GM Howie Roseman must find a way of surrounding Hurts with enough talent for him to learn on the hoof. Offsetting his lack of experience with his electric athleticism.
Round 1 - Pick 12 - Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
The Eagles acquired Darius Slay from the Lions last season and he currently remains the only big name cornerback in Detroit. Avonte Maddox is undersized and his PFF grade of 37.8 shows the difficulty he is having in the NFL. Having traded down to the 12th pick the Eagles are in prime position to grab one of the headline corners in this class.
With Patrick Surtain likely already taken and Caleb Farley’s injury concerns, it would be no surprise to see Jaycee Horn come off the board with this pick. Horn, son of former Saints receiver Joe, is a tough, physical defender who excels in press man coverage. While he will need to refine his play to avoid the wrath of NFL officials his style will be ideal in the NFC East. The Eagles need to find answers to the likes of Terry McLaurin, Kenny Golladay and Amari Cooper, Horn gives them a chance to do so.
Round 2 - Pick 37 - Terrace Marshall Jr, WR, LSU
The Eagles spent last year’s first round pick on speedster Jalen Raegor, but a misfire when picking JJ Arcega-Whiteside with a second rounder in 2019 leaves the position undermanned. Particularly in terms of a bigger bodied, number 1 style receiver. If Terrace Marshall were available early in the second round, or even late in the first, you can imagine Philly using some of their draft capital to move up and grab him.
Marshall was third fiddle behind Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson in LSU’s National Championship winning season. That is looking like good pedigree after Jefferson’s exceptional rookie year and the likelihood Chase could go in the first 10 picks this April. Last season, should have been Marshall’s chance to shine but the upheaval of a Covid affected year and the exodus of talent from Baton Rouge, meant Marshall was a mid-season opt out.
When you turn on the 2019 tape you see a player waiting to breakout as a number 1 receiver. Tall, long limbed and still amazingly fast, Marshall has all the traits to make him a nightmare cover. He has an excellent catch radius and ability to high point the football. While still somewhat raw he would compliment what the Eagles already have nicely.
Mid Round Gem - Pick 70 - Quinn Meinerz, C, Wisconsin Whitewater
Despite being 33, Jason Kelce continues to be one of the more reliable centers in the league. Paired with Isaac Seumalo and Brandon Brooks, it gives the Eagles a strong interior offensive line. That’s not to say they couldn’t add depth as well as developing a long term replacement for Kelce.
Wisconsin Whitewater’s Quinn Meinerz fits the bill perfectly. While the limited tape available might not scream day 2 pick, his Senior Bowl performance did. Meinerz spent the 2020 season not playing but developing under offensive line guru Duke Manyweather. During that time he learned how to play center and grabbed his opportunity to replace the injured Landon Dickerson in Mobile. Meinerz’s game showed marked improvement and while he will benefit sitting behind the experienced group in Philadelphia, he projects to be the long term answer at center.
Late Round Sleeper - Pick 224 - Justin Hilliard, LB, Ohio State
The Eagles will likely address the linebacker position earlier than this but as we know the draft doesn’t always fall that way. They will certainly be looking to improve on the current combo of TJ Edwards and Alex Singleton, who are serviceable at best. Finding Ohio State’s Justin Hilliard in round six could prove a steal.
While Pete Werner and Baron Browning will likely get taken on day 2, their Ohio State teammate Hilliard may have to wait longer. In part that will be down to his lack of playing time at the college level. Hampered by injury issues that could prove to be a red flag it wasn’t until last year that Hilliard shone. Ultra athletic, with good sideline-to-sideline ability, Hilliard is as strong tackling downhill or dropping in coverage. His 6’1 frame could put some suitors off but it would be no surprise if Hilliard makes great strides with extra game time.
Draft In Full:
12. Jaycee Horn, South Carolina (CB)
37. Terrace Marshall Jr, LSU (WR)
70. Quinn Meinerz, Wisconsin-Whitewater (C)
84. Jaylen Twyman, Pittsburgh (DT)
123. Demetric Felton, UCLA (RB/WR)
150. Richard LeCounte, Georgia (S)
189. Camryn Bynum, California (CB)
224. Justin Hilliard, Ohio State (LB)
225. Gerrid Doaks, Cincinnati (RB)
234. Kylen Granson, SMU (TE)
240. Josh Ball, Marshall (OT)
formerly writing for the inside zone, rory will be breaking down college tape and keeping you up-to-date with all things CFB for the touchdown. an avid bengals fan, you can also find some of rory’s work at stripehype.com.