It’s once again MOCK DRAFT TIME Ladies and Gentlemen!
With the NFL Scouting Combine taking place this past week we are inching closer to our final destination on the road to the 2022 NFL Draft.
Now while most mock drafts that take place before the combine are generally a case of ‘what I think will happen’ — after everyone has the chance to congregate in Indianapolis, we obtain a clearer picture of what some general mangers and coaches are thinking and how exactly the draft may play out.
So with that in mind, we present this week’s 7-Round Eagles Mock Draft on The Philly Blitz, by Mar’Quell Fripp-Owens
Round 1 – Pick 15: David Ojabo (EDGE), Michigan
Okay you guys got me, I’ve finally cracked. While I have no doubt that Ojabo has all of the traits to become a high quality pass rusher through development, I have significant questions about his abilities to be an instant impact player as a rookie. Mostly due to his lack of both work and impact as a run defender — as noted Michigan clearly didn’t trust him in these circumstances.
Maybe… just maybe, Philadelphia is the perfect spot for an Ojabo to land of course with the exception of Baltimore for obvious reasons. Well why the sudden change of heart? Well, as I said I doubt Ojabo can make much of an significant impact in terms of being a three down player on day one, but Philadelphia doesn’t necessarily need him to do so.
With Brandon Graham currently slated to return following his season ending injury, assuming Fletcher Cox may be back and of course Josh Sweat filling the other end, and Tarron Jackson filling in from time to time, Ojabo would essentially be delegated to a sub package pass rushing role as a rookie. This gives him more time to be the sponge that he is, once again Ojabo may not have had any sacks heading into this past season but finished the year with 11. That had a lot to do with the plethora of pass rushers he had the chance to watch before him. Now, with the chance to soak up knowledge from Graham and Cox, there’s only more to add to an already impressive repertoire. With Sweat and Ojabo locked in as the EDGE’s of the future, quarterbacks will soon beware of an Eagles pass rush that only had 29 sacks in 2021.
Round 1 – Pick 16: Andrew Booth (CB), Clemson
I said it once and I’ll say it again — this is the most underrated cornerback in the entire class. Being honest, even I am guilty of this. It’s so easy to get caught up in some of the top guys in the class especially after the combine where Booth didn’t perform due to a quad injury. However, do yourself a favor and turn the tape back on, you’ll quickly remember why Booth is my current CB3 in this class. I really wish he would have had the chance to perform in Indianapolis and looking forward to his Pro Day because the athleticism really jumps off the screen when you watch him play.
He tracks the ball like a wide receiver, can make plays on the ball from a multitude of positions, and he’s just really freaking fun to watch. Now how does he fit in Philadelphia? Seamlessly. You see, no one knows what the future has in store and Howie Roseman has literally admitted that the team has defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon on a rental. He also stated that you don’t draft players for one particular personnel but just in the old saying ‘draft good football players.” With Booth, you have the best of both worlds. Having the opportunity to pair Booth with Slay gives the Eagles a pair of shut down man cover corners (let’s not forget Slay was the best CB in single coverage via PFF).
Booth is physical, never really out of position athletic freak. But what makes the selection even better is, because while Slay is a veteran and can execute whatever he is asked to do, zone coverage is Booth’s forte, which is what Gannon LOVES to call. Going from a predominantly zone cover collegiate scheme to a predominantly zone cover pro scheme seems advantageous. Now Gannon doesn’t run as much Cover 3 as I’d like to see Booth in which makes sense give he’s a two high acolyte. That said he showed the willingness to go to single high looks such as Cover 1 and the aforementioned Cover 3 when needed, could personnel have played a part in this? Probably, but that’s why we’re here with Booth to improve the personnel — sometimes you just have to draft good football players and he has the potential and traits to become a perennial shut down corner in this league.
Round 1 – 19: Tyler Linderbaum (C), Iowa
Let me start by saying I personally don’t believe the Eagles will be selecting three times in the first round. No one likes to use the term rebuild especially for a team coming off a playoff appearance but realistically speaking, the roster is in a decent position but has some work to be done. So if you’re going to be selecting three times in the first round, which Roseman was reminded that history wasn’t too kind in this aspect — you might as well make it count.
Now, remember that conversation we had about positional value with Tyler Linderbaum? I emphatically believe he’s a top ten talent in this class, but it’s almost impossible to take a strictly center that high. So once you get to a specific point in the first round where it’s plausible to take one most teams don’t need one which is why we see guys like Creed Humphrey in the second round. Taking that with the fact that Linderbaum is labeled by some as a scheme-specific based player and he could be looking at a long tumble. Lucky for Linderbaum there is a team in Philadelphia who not only is one of the scheme specific teams we’re talking about when it comes to Linderbaum, but they almost certainly will have a need at center in the near future.
Jason Kelce has been the heart and soul of the offensive line for years now and it’s almost hard to imagine an Eagles offense without him not just because of nostalgia but because of his importance to Philadelphia’s blocking scheme. The Eagles are well known for getting ahead of the curve and filling holes before they become those and doing so with value. Having a prospect who is almost a carbon copy in terms of size and mobility of Kelce to learn from the Philly Goat himself could be well worth the wait given Linderbaum will be rendered almost useless as a rookie. Yet just imagine a front line of Mailata, Dickerson, and Linderbaum — I don’t think Jeff Stoutland would ever retire.
Round 2 – Pick 51: Chad Muma (LB), Wyoming
This is where things get a bit interesting. The Philadelphia Eagles have an obvious need at linebacker. Howie Roseman has emphasized the need himself as to how the position is valued within defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon’s scheme. Philadelphia recently signed TJ Edwards to an extension, but Edwards alone is not enough to carry the weight with the direction the league is headed. With Muma you have a the chance to find the next great linebacker based on traits and direction the league is headed. While Dean and Lloyd get a bulk of the love and for good reason, Muma is probably the next best thing in terms of the idea mike linebacker across the league.
He’s an outstanding athlete (4.63 forty yard dash, 40” vertical, 4.28 20 cone shuttle) that has a nose for the football. Like he has a target attached to his helmet that helps him locate ball and get after it with relentless pursuit. A terrific tackler, if he catches you in space you’re not getting away. I love what he provides in terms of pass coverage, an instinctive player who understands his role in the zone but processes what’s going on around him. Personally, I think if Muma attended a CFB blue blood, he’d be viewed in the same light as some of his peers but has the opportunity to become a legit threw down linebacker in the league with his all around abilities. He’s going to make a team really happy come day two—preferably the Philadelphia Eagles.
Round 3 – Pick 83: Jeremy Ruckert (TE), Ohio State
My absolute favorite pick of the entire draft, talk about a perfect scheme fit! It’s no denying that the Eagles could use more help at tight end outside of Dallas Goedert, the team ran 25% (300 snaps) aligned out of 12 personnel and 8% (94 snaps) of their plays out of 13 personnel. Even after moving away from Zach Ertz during the trade deadline, Philadelphia continued to use 12 as a pillar — now with Tyree Jackson likely to be on the shelf for most of training camp, the Eagles will likely have to make an addition to the position if they plan on sticking to the itinerary.
Insert Ruckert who was very much underutilized as a receiver during his time in Columbus. Which made sense given the abundance of talent in Ohio State’s wide receiver room but he has shown the ability to make plays as a pass catcher especially in the red zone or on money downs. He possesses a really good set of hands — they’re huge (10 1/8”) and he even has a few one handed highlights to his name. Despite his limited usage as a receiver, Ruckert was able to make a living in the Buckeye offense lining up in a multitude of positions to be used as a lead blocker or setting the edge. A nice do-it-all — team first kind of guy. Ruckert fits in like a puzzle piece to the Eagles offense and allows the team another weapon while keeping defenses honest no matter the personnel.
Round 4 – Pick 122: Alec Pierce (WR), Cincinnati
Somebody made themselves a lot of money in Indianapolis — the same way they did in Mobile and the same way they did all season long in Cincinnati. Heading into the combine, I had Pierce listed as my WR12, but following his 4.41 forty yard dash and his 40.5 vertical jump, the product of Glen Ellyn, Illinois is sure to be climbing big boards. A featured member of Bruce Feldman’s ‘Freaks List’, at 6-foot-3, with 33” arms, and dynamic speed, Pierce offers opposing defenders problems. He’s probably the most all around wide receiver outside of the early tier of guys. He’s a quality route runner for his size who takes pride in running his route which is seen from his physical release to how he sells the route tree, and his separation ability. He shows some stiffness getting in and out of breaks at the top of the route, but has shown a willingness to make a play across the middle of the field.
He’s exactly what the Philadelphia offense needs. Much has been made of wanting to get Jalen Hurts a receiver with a massive catch radius. Between size, catch radius, and phenomenal body control, Pierce is a handful with the ball in the air. He has the versatility to operate from both the X receiver and the slot receiver alignments which allows the Eagles to be personnel versatile hunting for mismatches. The best part about this prospect is that he presents value on special teams which he has done since his arrival in Cincinnati. A willing and impressive run blocker will fit right into the Eagles run centric offense.
Round 5 – Pick 153: Thomas Booker (IDL), Stanford
Just when you thought Howie Roseman was done, he always finds a way to get back to his roots — and with Thomas Booker this is certainly a Roseman guy! A super smart football player, who is just as impressive on the white board as he is on the field.
A versatile player, that has the ability to play literally any position across the line. He displays good change of direction and pursuit of ball carries. I would like to see him be a bit more consistent which is worrisome for a three year starter. Still, Booker has decent traits and should fit in seamlessly in to Philadelphia’s defensive line rotation. He possesses a high motor — a true play to the whistle mentality. His first step explosion is where he generally makes his money, but if he doesn’t win initially 9/10 times he’s going to lose that rep — doesn’t really have many counters moves in his arsenal. Mostly a rotational piece at this point but with both Hargreaves and Cox in place that gives Booker at least one season to continue to refine his game.
Round 5 – Pick 161: Hassan Haskins (RB), Michigan
The Eagles don’t necessarily have a need at running back. Sure Jordan Howard is a free agent, Miles Sanders is heading into the final year of his rookie contract, and behind that is Boston Scott, Kenneth Gainwell, and Jason Huntley. Okay that doesn’t really sound ideal, but we saw this past season that it almost didn’t matter who Philadelphia put behind that offensive line, good things were bound to happen. However, what if you could throw in a bit more consistency in to the rotation? Philadelphia has already shown that they value a committee approach to the position and with Sanders heading into a contract year, why not keep as much tread off his tires as possible (probably the best idea for both parties in terms of a contract extension)?
Well, the former three star prospect from St. Louis, MO is your guy. Talk about an all around solid football player, Haskins became the heartbeat of the Michigan offense to finish the ‘21 season. With 20+ carries in each of the final four games of the regular season, Haskins proved his worth as a bell-cow. This is important to note because he spent most of his career in a committee set as well. My favorite trait is his willingness in pass protection and he has some really good stuff on tape in this department and isn’t afraid to put his body on the line for the sake of his quarterback (‘21 vs. Penn State). There’s no denying that while Sanders is an ultra explosive player, the Eagles offense saw much more success with Jordan Howard and his ‘just fall forward’ mentality. Well, Haskins is a bowling ball. He led all running backs with 27 reps on the bench press and it shows on tape. He shows patience, vision, and almost never sways from play design. He isn’t super fast but doesn’t really get caught from behind. It probably was a great idea not to run the 40-yard dash in Indianapolis.
Round 5 – Pick 165: Bailey Zappe (QB), Western Kentucky
Zappe is in line to have a long NFL career, that said I don’t believe he has the abilities to become consistent NFL starter. If I had to give a comp to him coming out he reminds me a lot of Case Keenum. He only spent one year at Western Kentucky where he threw for an eye popping 5,967 yards and 62 touchdowns this past season. His decision making is interesting to say the least. He seems to understand what was asked of him in the offense and where to go with the ball, which caught my eye because he’s always seemed pretty reckless with the ball prior to this season (10 ints as a freshman, 13 ints as a sophomore, 15 as a junior — each season at Houston Baptist). While Zappe still tossed 11 interceptions this past season it’s worth noting his TD-INT ratio has made a drastic shift over the last two seasons.
As I said, he had a solid understanding of the offense. Now, that’s much easier to do when you spend four years under the tutelage of the same offensive coordinator. But it will be interesting to see how he fairs in a new offense and how long it takes him to settle in. In the same breathe, his comfortability allowed him to showcase some good traits like throwing with anticipation and maneuvering the pocket, but trust himself a bit too much which showcases gunslinger traits with only a modest arm. But again we’re talking about a high quality backup quarterback on a rookie deal that should soon be able to step in for a game or two without much drop off. If Philadelphia considers dealing Gardner Minshew during the off-season this should be where the look in terms of his replacement.
Round 6 – 192: Luke Tenuta (OT), Virginia Tech
Jeff Stoutland’s next project! The son of a coach, Tenuta has been around the game forever and at 6’8 and 319 pounds, he has really solid lateral mobility which is something you can’t teach for his size. The best trait and the one that should appeal mostly to Philadelphia is his versatility. He’s a proven an option as a swing tackle as he’s played right tackle from ‘19-‘20 and then moved to left this past season.
Now with all this being said and massive and imposing as Tenuta may seem, there are some questions about his abilities to garner leverage and get underneath defenders pads which are both related to length and size. Not really a people mover but solid at the point of attack, and could definitely improve his base. Pass sets are uninspiring but again, it has a lot to do with his size and lack of abilitiy to gain leverage. He’d probably one of Stoutland’s tougher assignments but I think under his tutelage, Tenuta could become a sufficient swing tackle for Philadelphia and another accomplishment on Stoutland’s already impressive resume.
Round 6 – Pick 204: Verone McKinley III (S), Oregon
McKinley is one of the more interesting prospect in the entire class. As seen by his workout in Indianapolis, McKinley displays smooth hips both in the backpedal and when rotating to mirror receivers. A ‘21 AP All-American selection, McKinley is just a damn good football player. The problem is he’s not what many teams look for in terms of measurements. At 5-foot-10 and 198 pounds, McKinley is a bit undersized for a safety and that is noticeable on film. Particularly in the run game where there are some reps you can tell if his arms were just a tad bit longer than the 30 & 5/8 inches they came in at in Indianapolis, a play would have been made. Now don’t let the measurements fool you, as I said McKinley is a damn good football player — plays with that ‘dawg’.
He isn’t afraid to come down to make a play on the perimeter and as noted, may not always make that play but slows you up for the next guy. A true ball magnet, McKinley has 11 career interceptions, including six of those in ‘21. he shows good short area quickness and closing speed on receivers in the short and intermediate areas of the passing game. He isn’t quite your everyday single high safety due to his limited range but offers some versatility in terms of usage—good against TEs and slot receivers and has good understanding of the sticks to play a split safety type of role. For a Philadelphia team that only had 16 total takeaways last season, surely Gannon could find a role for this playmaker.
Cover Image Credit: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images