Eagles 7-Round 2020 NFL Mock Draft: Version 1.0

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Now that the NFL Combine is in the books, it is time for Eagles 2020 NFL Mock Draft: Version 1.0. 

Before we dive into the picks, here are a few thoughts: 

** The Eagles clear needs heading into the draft are receiver, defensive line and cornerback. 

** It seems like they will be addressing the need at corner in free agency and still have some young players on the roster, making it seem unlikely they will go cornerback heavy in this year’s draft. 

** Pass rusher or defensive tackle at No. 21 is certainly a possibility, but it is hard to find a natural fit at that spot from the defensive linemen projected to go in the first round. 

** Moreso than past years, this teams needs could dramatically change by the time the draft comes around, considering how much cap space they enter free agency with. 

Round 1, No. 21: Grant Delpit, S, LSU: The Eagles would love to land one of the top-three receiver prospects in this year’s draft. To do so they will have to trade up into the top 15, and that shouldn’t be ruled out. If they don’t trade up and stick at No. 21, however, Delpit makes a ton of sense for a team that could be losing both of their starting safeties and have not really invested in the position in years. 

Delpit can do it all and projects to be the next stud secondary player from LSU. He could be used to replace Rodney McLeod next season if he leaves in free agency, as he has experience playing the single-high safety role and has the athleticism to be a playmaker in that role. What makes Delpit such a special prospect is his versatility, which will definitely be catching the Eagles’ attention if they need to replace Malcolm Jenkins. Delpit spent time in man coverage as a slot cornerback last season and in the box, playing at a high level in both roles. 

Chances are the Eagles will have either Jenkins or McLeod back next season. The chances both are back feel slim. Delpit projects not only as a player that can eventually replace either, but can also contribute right away in a number of different roles. 

Round 2, No. 53: KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State: Eagles fans won’t be happy if Day 1 of the NFL Draft ends without a receiver. Their spirits should pick up if the Eagles land Hamler in the 2nd round. Where Hamler goes at this point is a bit of a mystery since he didn’t work out at the NFL Combine. How he performs at his Pro Day could put him out of reach with the 53rd pick. In other years he would likely be a slam-dunk to be a first-round pick, but by coming out early and into a loaded receiver class, he should be available in the second round. 

Hamler caught 56 passes for 904 yards and eight touchdowns last season, an average of 16.1 yards-per-catch, with an average of 16.9 yards-per-catch overall during his time at Penn State. Hamler is electric after the catch and should have the speed at the next level to stretch the field. 

Hamler isn’t a slam-dunk prospect, but he does have a high ceiling and fits exactly what the Eagles are looking for. Plus, the Eagles have likely seen plenty of him after heavily scouting Miles Sanders — Hamler’s best friend — prior to the 2019 NFL Draft.  

Round 3, No. 85: Jonathan Greenard, DE, Florida: Each year Derek Barnett looks more like just an average player as opposed to a difference maker the Eagles’ need at defensive end grows bigger. Ideally the Eagles will be able to add a pass rusher in free agency, but they also need to address the position through the draft as well. Greenard is an interesting prospect, standing 6-foot-3, 262 pounds with a good collection of pass rush moves. He finished with 9.5 sacks, 32 hurries, 18 quarterback hits and 47 total pressures last season in just 12 games for Florida. He was also effective against the run, totaling 15.5 tackles for a loss. Unlike Shareef Miller, Greenard should be able to come in right away and play, pairing up with Josh Sweat to give the Eagles a promising set of backup defensive ends. 
Round 3 (compensatory, projected No. 103): Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas: Duvernay projects as the perfect player to step in right away next season and start in place of Nelson Agholor, who will likely be departing in free agency. Duvernay was a big-play threat out of the slot for Texas, totaling nine touchdowns and 721 yards of YAC last season. Duvernay has great hands, dropping just four of his 250 targets during his time in college. As a four-year player at Texas, Duvernay is a polish route runner and is far less of a project than a player like Hamler is. Duvernay should fit in perfectly as the starting slot receiver next season opposite DeSean Jackson and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. Beyond 2020, Hamler, Arcega-Whiteside and Duvernay can be the Eagles’ starting receivers of the future.
Round 4, No. 124: Larrell Murchison, DT, NC State: The Eagles’ defensive tackle position is an underrated need. Fletcher Cox is coming off of a bit of a down season, Malik Jackson is coming off of a major foot injury and there isn’t much else on the depth chart. Murchison isn’t going to be ready to start right away but is strong enough as both a pass rusher and against the run that he should be able to contribute right away while also having the potential to turn into an every-down starter. Murchison finished with 13 tackles for a loss, 23 pressures and seven sacks last season, showing he is consistently able to make plays behind the line of scrimmage. 
Round 4 (compensatory, projected No. 140): Jason Strowbridge, DT, North Carolina: Strowbridge, like Murchison, is solid against both the run as pass, although seems to be a little more developed against the run at this point. Strowbridge finished with 10 tackles for a loss last season and 16.5 overall over the last two seasons. He was still able to be productive as a pass rusher, however, finishing with eight sacks and 30 pressures in 12 games last season. With Murchison and Strowbridge the Eagles will have two young defensive tackles to develop for the future, while also giving them great depth behind Cox and Jackson. 
Round 4 (compensatory, projected No. 146): Markus Bailey, LB, Purdue: The Eagles will be hoping-and-praying that TJ Edwards is ready to be the starting middle linebacker next season after moving on from Nigel Bradham. Still, they need to come out of the NFL Draft with a linebacker, and Bailey checks off a few key boxes. First, he has the ability to play both middle and outside linebacker. Second, he has great instincts, football intelligence and leadership qualities. Finally, he has suffered two torn ACLs. The health concerns are obvious, but when he is was on the field in college, Bailey consistently made big plays —13.5 sacks, six interceptions, 26.5 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles in four seasons. He could be a steal in the fourth round for the Eagles if he stays healthy. 
Round 5, No. 166: Dane Jackson, CB, Pittsburgh: How high the Eagles draft a cornerback will have plenty to do with what they are able to accomplish in free agency, where they seem set on spending big money on Byron Jones. Jackson could be a player they target either way. A four-year starter at Pittsburgh, Jackson has plenty of experience playing in both man-and-zone coverage as well as lining up both in the slot and on the outside. He is a bit undersize at 5-foot-11, but he has shown the ability to make plays on the ball, knocking away 46 passes in four years. Ideally the Eagles won’t need to play Jackson right away and can develop him to starter in 2021. 
Round 5, No. 168: Quez Watkins, WR, Southern Miss: Speed, speed, speed. The Eagles need it, and although he is far from a perfect prospect, Watkins has it, running the second-quickest 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine this year (4.35 seconds). Watkins’ speed was on display during his time at Southern Mississippi, averaging 9.0 yards after the catch last season and consistently being targeted down the field. Watkins’ biggest issue? His hands, as he dropped eight passes last season. Still, Watkins’ stock is on the rise after the Combine. If he is available this late, the Eagles should absolutely take a chance on him, trusting Doug Pederson to be able to take Watkins’ elite speed and make him a playmaker at the next level.
Round 6, No. 190: Steven Montez, QB, Colorado: The Eagles only have one quarterback under contract next season, a less-than-ideal situation for a number of reasons. It is unlikely the quarterback they draft will be the top backup, but it would be surprising if the Eagles made 10 picks and didn’t end up drafting a quarterback. Montez checks off a number of boxes the Eagles look for in a quarterback. To start, he has great size at 6-foot-4, but is still a good athlete that can make plays by moving out of the pocket. Montez has a cannon for an arm and has shown the ability to make tough throws on the move even when he isn’t able to plant his feet. The issues with Montez are actually pretty similar to the ones Carson Wentz has — accuracy from the pocket and footwork. Montez is definitely a player worth developing into a backup for the Eagles. 
You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!