2023 NFL mock draft roundup 6.0: Will Eagles reload in the trenches?
The latest Eagles mock draft roundup — Will Birds reload in the trenches? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
PHOENIX — The NFL world is taking over Phoenix again this week but the pre-draft process doesn’t pause.
We’re a month away from the start of the 2023 draft and the Eagles have two picks in the first round.
Here’s the latest stroll around the internet to see what folks think they’re going to do:
10. Lukas Van Ness, Edge, Iowa
What they said: The Eagles always focus on the line of scrimmage, and Van Ness has the versatility to play inside or outside. Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox both were re-signed this offseason, but they’re playing on one-year deals.
30. Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Edge, Kansas State
What they said: The Eagles double down on defensive linemen. Anudike-Uzomah is a gifted edge rusher and posted excellent numbers over the last two seasons. GM Howie Roseman doesn’t believe you can have too many pass rushers.
My take on the haul: It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Eagles draft an edge player in the first round. But TWO? That part seems unlikely but it is a position where it would make some sense for the Eagles to reload even with Haason Reddick, Josh Sweat and Brandon Graham under contract for the 2023 season.
It’s worth noting that the Eagles had Van Ness in for a visit last week. He’s an interesting player because he wasn’t a starter at Iowa but has serious pass rush ability and is probably just scratching the surface of his ability. Anudike-Uzomah doesn’t have a ton of starting experience either but like Van Ness, he wouldn’t be thrown into the starting mix from Day 1 either.
23. Adetomiwa Adebawore, DT, Northwestern
What they said: Adebawore seems to be the biggest postseason draft riser this year, starring at the Reese’s Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine with his elite speed (4.49-second 40-yard dash) for a 282-pounder. The Eagles could ask him to gain a bit more weight to handle inside and outside responsibilities.
30. Brian Branch, S, Alabama
What they said: The Eagles did not bring back safeties C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Epps. Branch is a sound tackler with good instincts versus the run and pass, making him an instant starter for the reigning NFC champions.
My take on the haul: In this mock draft, the Eagles traded down from 10 to 23 so the Vikings could move up and draft Will Levis at No. 10. The Eagles got No. 23, a third-rounder in this draft and a first-rounder in 2024. But this is a pretty big trade down. Among the players of note to go between 10 and 23 in this mock: Devon Witherspoon, Nolan Smith, Joey Porter Jr., Calijah Kancey. That would be tough to swallow.
As for the players Reuter gave the Eagles, Adebawore is an interesting name. He’s 6-2, 282 pounds and is a bit of a hybrid tweener. He might be able to play inside and outside on the defensive line and he tested extremely well at the combine. There are reasons to be very intrigued.
And Branch is probably the only safety in this class truly worthy of a first-round pick. The Eagles have never used a first-rounder on a safety but maybe they’d be more willing at No. 30 in a year where they’re trying to get right back to the Super Bowl. The Eagles brought in Terrell Edmunds but that shouldn’t stop them from doing whatever they think is best in the draft.
10. Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
What they said: Like nearly everybody else, I love everything about Skoronski but his arms. That said, I'm not convinced he can't stick at left tackle. If he can't, he could quickly prove to be one of the best guards in the league. Philly has no glaring needs and emphasizes the lines in the draft.
30. Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan
What they said: Last summer, The Athletic's Bruce Feldman published his annual "Freaks List," and Michigan's Mazi Smith was No. 1. He's a tremendous athlete, but, like Kancey, he's not the biggest interior lineman you'll find. Also, unlike Kancey (14.5 sacks, 27.5 TFL the last two seasons), Smith's production (0.5 sacks, 6 TFL in 30 games at Michigan) hasn't lived up to his freakishness. Still, the Eagles value their defensive line, and they value traits. I can see the Eagles taking a shot on the potential here.
My take on the haul: This is a pretty boring outcome that would really annoy fans but maybe it’s not that outlandish. We know the Eagles unapologetically build through the trenches. And having Jason Kelce last year didn’t stop them from drafting Cam Jurgens. Drafting Skoronski gives the Eagles a top-end backup at tackle and guard and a future starter at one of those positions. He and Jurgens could theoretically battle it out for the right guard spot in 2023, but this would be a pick that’s more about the future.
Smith is a name that is garnering more attention the closer we get to the draft. He’s under 6-3 but weighs 323 pounds but he moves much better than you’d expect for someone of that size. Smith is very good against the run and has potential as a pass rusher. Might not be a great fit with Jordan Davis already in the building.
Vinnie Iyer, The Sporting News
10. Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
What they said: The Eagles should be willing to take a chance on the sliding Carter to pair with Jordan Davis, the beefy Georgia defensive tackle they took in the first round in 2022. Carter, even without a Combine or Pro Day workout, has done plenty during his career to show his high upside as a dominant disruptor in the Aaron Donald mode. The Eagles have a contingency ahead of him in the short term with Fletcher Cox re-signed.
30. Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
What they said: The Eagles can't go into the season trusting oft-injured former Seahawk Rashaad Penny as a reliable lead back to replace Miles Sanders and should just make this worthy luxury pick, putting Bama's latest star back with Jalen Hurts. Gibbs blazed to a 4.36 40-yard dash at the Combine and also showed tremendous receiving skills on top of being a compact power back capable of holding up for three downs in the Frank Gore vein.
My take on the haul: If the Eagles feel comfortable with drafting Jalen Carter the person, then they should run this card up. Sure, he didn’t have a great Pro Day workout but don’t let that distract you from the fact that this dude was a dominant player at Georgia. When the Eagles drafted Davis last year, all I could think about was the possibility of adding Carter to the mix the next year. All of this is dependent on the Eagles’ comfort level drafting him given the off-the-field situation … but the player is exciting.
And the first-round running back. Probably not going to happen but much more likely at 30 than 10. Gibbs would be fun in this offense.
10. Myles Murphy, Edge, Clemson
What they said: There's a more immediate need at safety, but the Eagles can get that with their next pick, and Murphy allows them to plan for the eventual loss of Brandon Graham. Philadelphia nearly broke the NFL record for sacks in 2022, but this keeps the Eagles young at the position.
30. Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
What they said: Javon Hargrave was the biggest of the Eagles' many free-agent losses, so addressing the defensive front is a must, especially with Fletcher Cox now 32. Philadelphia drafted Jordan Davis last year, but it's enough of a need to justify first-round picks in back-to-back seasons. Safety is a more glaring hole in Philadelphia's lineup, but this isn't a great year to find answers there in the first round.
My take on the haul: Another double-dip on the defensive line. Not shocking. There was a while where Bresee was listed as an option at 10. Don’t love that but at 30 … sure. In my first mock draft about a month ago, I had Murphy to the Eagles at 10. I still think that’s very much in play. Murphy would be a rotational player from Day 1 but offers legitimate three-down potential and would grow into a starting role at some point. He also plays with the kind of effort the Eagles really like from their defensive players.
Kevin Hanson, Sports Illustrated
10. Myles Murphy, Edge, Clemson
What they said: Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon is still an option here, even though the Eagles have re-signed James Bradberry and extended Darius Slay, but Howie Roseman’s propensity to build through the trenches is reflected here. Murphy’s combination of size, power and athleticism earned him a spot near the top of The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman’s annual preseason Freaks List. He has inside-outside versatility and is a good run defender.
30. Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia
What they said: Teams can never have too many cornerbacks, but the Eagles would have the luxury of not needing Ringo to be a major contributor as a rookie, with James Bradberry and Darius Slay returning as starting boundary corners. The former Georgia cornerback is only 20 years old and possesses an elite combination of size (6'2" and 207 pounds) and speed (4.36 40-yard dash).
My take on the haul: We just talked about Murphy. The Ringo pick is fun. He has a size-speed combination that doesn’t come around every day. And with Darius Slay and James Bradberry back for the 2023 season, this is a pick that would allow the Eagles to develop Ringo for the long-term. Ringo isn’t a finished product but the ceiling is extremely high at either corner or safety.
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