If the 2021 season ends today, the Philadelphia Eagles would be doing pretty well in the 2022 NFL draft. The multitude of moves the team has made over the past off-season – many were viewed as questionable at the time – put them in a prime position to rebuild in a hurry.
That assumes that Nick Sirianni’s squad continues to lose. Ditto for the Miami Dolphins (1-4) and Indianapolis Colts (1-4). The Eagles (2-3) own the No. 5, No. 6, No. 10 picks in the next April draft based on the current NFL rating (via Tankathon).
The fifth overall pick comes courtesy of Miami after jumping six places back on March 26th to get it on March 26th. No. 10 is your own choice
All of the above results are of course subject to change. The Eagles could see a wild streak of victories mid-season to ruin their draft position. With the combined record of their standout opponents 28-32, this is not a far-fetched suggestion.
The toughest remaining games are: vs. Tampa Bay (4-1), in Las Vegas (3-2), vs. LA Chargers (4-1), in Denver (3-2), vs. New Orleans (3- 2), against Dallas (4-1). Jalen Hurts kept them in games, a trend that is unlikely to change against softer defenses.
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Loading assets is great, but using them with the right staff has long been a problem in Philly. Can General Manager Howie Roseman turn trash into gold – a happy retirement, Marc Zumoff – and break the chopping cycle? Here’s a look at some potential first-round options for the Eagles:
Derek Stingley, CB, LSU: He is the highest rated player in his position and is expected to be one of the first six players off the board. The 6-foot-1,195 pounder was the second in the nation on passes defended (15) in 2019, recording six interceptions. Yes, a foot injury sidelined him at the moment, but it’s not meant to last. He could jump in immediately and start against Darius Slay. Remember, Steven Nelson only signed a one-year contract.
Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan: The Eagles have never been shy about physical edge rushers, especially Michigan guys. With Brandon Graham’s future pending and Derek Barnett unimpressed, Hutchinson makes sense. The 6-foot-6,265-pounder has the highest pass-rush win rate in the country (via Pro Football Focus) and has 4.5 sacks in six games.
Christian Harris, LB, Alabama: Roseman was tough on Alabama players in last year’s draft (see: DeVonta Smith, Landon Dickerson) and the trend could continue if – and this is huge if – they do Impact linebacker. It is an emergency, but one that is largely ignored. The Eagles haven’t drafted a linebacker in the first round since 1979. Harris (6-foot-2,232 pounds) could be a steak breaker given his big play ability and downhill speed.
Malik Willis, QB, Liberty: There have been several reports from the training camp that the organization is not being sold to Jalen Hurts. If the dual-threat quarterback stumbles on the track, Willis brings along similar athleticism and a bigger arm. He has already scored 498 yards and seven touchdowns this season while throwing an additional 1,327 yards and 13 scores. He also does Highlight reel games on the regular.
Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame: The best security in college football, hands down. Hamilton (6-foot-4, 219 pounds) has three picks in six games for the Fighting Irish, along with 32 tackles in total. CBS Sports sent him to Philadelphia in their 2021 mock draft, comparing him to Hall of Famer Ed Reed. The Eagles certainly have to look to the future as Rodney McLeod is aging and Anthony Harris is not thrilled. K’Von Wallace remains a huge wild card.
The Eagles completed a third round aviator in 2020 with former Colorado linebacker Davion Taylor. He was used sparingly in 2020 – a total of 210 snapshots, mainly in special teams – and struggled with a calf injury during training camp in 2021. However, Taylor finally looks sane and ready to contribute. In week 6, he saw 24 career-level defensive snaps and recorded three tackles.
“His playing time is getting longer and it shows that he did a really good job at training camp,” said defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, “and then he got injured and we want to keep trying to maximize his skills and get him.” in the game as much as possible in certain packages, if it suits him and us. Satisfied with him. He did a really good job. “