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Eagles find a long-term solution at CB in mock draft

Eagles find a long-term solution at CB in mock draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The NFL is taking over Indianapolis this week for the annual Scouting Combine, which is just one stop along the way to the 2024 NFL Draft.

Plenty will change over the next couple of months but mock drafts are fun. So it’s time to take a look at a full first-round mock draft.

As a reminder, the Eagles have pick No. 22, although Howie Roseman is never shy about making a trade.

1. Bears: Caleb Williams, QB, USC

It seems like this is the way it’s going to go. The Bears have the No. 1 pick but a huge decision to make because they already have Justin Fields. I think I’m higher on Fields than most. You can win with that guy with a better structure around him. But if the Bears feel like Williams is a can’t-miss then they have to go for it. This will then result in a trade of Fields.

2. Commanders: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

If the Bears aren’t sold on Williams, then the door is open for the Commanders to trade up and get him. But if the Bears stick at 1, then the Commanders can take the next best quarterback. That’s Maye. Now, some will make the case for Jayden Daniels but I have the Commanders sticking with the big Tar Heel, who they hope will become the type of franchise quarterback they’ve been missing.

3. Patriots: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Here’s where things get tricky. The Patriots are entering the post-Bill Belichick Era and they can take the best player on the board or they can find their next quarterback. Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe aren’t the answer. And if the Patriots think Daniels can be the guy, then they have to do this. The Heisman Trophy winner is a true dual-threat who is a bit erratic but has major upside.

4. Cardinals: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

There’s a strong case to be made that the son of Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison is the best overall prospect in this draft class. If the Cardinals are going to run it back with Kyler Murray, then Harrison gives him a legitimate No. 1 option in the offense.

5. Chargers: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

If the Chargers want to go with a receiver, they have a couple of options here. I gave them Odunze (6-3, 200), who had a tremendous career for the Huskies. In 2023, he had 92 catches for 1,640 yards and 13 touchdowns and averaged an impressive 17.8 yards per attempt. Michael Penix Jr. became a Heisman finalist throwing to Odunze. The Chargers drafted Quentin Johnston in the first round last year and he had an OK rookie season. But adding Odunze to the mix gives the Chargers some options if it’s time to move on from Mike Williams and/or Keenan Allen.

6. Giants: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

As we get into the thick of draft season, you’re going to hear about how hard it is to place Bowers in this first round. The reason for that is his position but Bowers is clearly one of the best players in this entire draft. Bowers is arguably the best player on the board here and having Darren Waller isn’t a reason not to take him.

7. Titans: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

This one just makes sense and there’s a reason you see it in pretty much every mock draft. The Titans desperately need to get a left tackle to protect Will Levis and Alt is likely the top tackle in this class. Could the Titans like a different tackle better? Sure. We’ll find out what happens over the next couple months but if the Titans have their pick of the group, they’d be pretty excited.

8. Falcons: Dallas Turner, Edge, Alabama

The Falcons could really use a foundational piece to rush the passer and if it shakes out this way, they’ll have their pick. Turner (6-4, 242) is looking like the top edge rusher in this class. He should put together a strong performance at the Combine.

9. Bears: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

The Bears used that No. 1 overall pick to land their quarterback so it’s time to find a weapon to give him. Nabers could be the second receiver off the board after an 89/1,569/14 season in 2023. Nabers is a huge YAC receiver with big-play ability.

10. Jets: Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State

Another year of the Jets trying to solidify their offensive line. The Jets still need to figure out their left tackle of the future and if just one goes before they pick, they can run up the selection of Fashanu (6-6, 321). He was a dominant tackle at Penn State and could become a cornerstone tackle in the NFL.

11. Vikings: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

The Vikings have a definite need to improve their secondary so getting their pick of a pretty impressive cornerback class is a nice luxury. For the most part, Arnold is considered to be the CB1 of this class but there are plenty of options. Arnold (6-0, 195) had five interceptions and 17 PBUs in 2023.

12. Broncos: J.J. McCarthy, QB Michigan

It’s always tricky trying to figure out where to put quarterbacks because a team really has to be in love to draft one in the first round. But the Broncos have been clear that they’re ready to move on from Russell Wilson. And Sean Payton is ready to fall in love again. Yes, this is probably taking McCarthy too early. But if the Broncos get their quarterback, it’s worth it.

13. Raiders: Byron Murphy II, DT, Texans

If the Raiders don’t like any of the quarterbacks in this area, they shouldn’t force the issue. Instead, they can add the best interior defensive tackle in this draft. Murphy (6-1, 308) has huge upside in the NFL as a 3-technique and he showed that potential for the Longhorns in 2023.

14. Saints: Jared Verse, Edge, Florida State

If the Saints don’t get their quarterback, then grabbing a defensive stud makes sense. Verse (6-4, 260) fits the prototype for the Saints at the position and could eventually replace aging star Cam Jordan. Verse had a couple of great seasons for the Seminoles the last two years. In 2022 and 2023, Verse had 18 sacks and 29 1/2 tackles for loss.

15. Colts: Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

Sure, the Colts have recently added Julius Brents and Nick Cross in recent years but they could still use some more help at cornerback and Wiggins seems like an ideal fit.

16. Seahawks: Troy Fautanu, OT, Washington

Fautanu played mostly left tackle at Washington but also played some guard for the Huskies and plenty of folks think Fautanu (6-4, 317) might be best utilized as an interior offensive lineman at the NFL level. The Seahawks also just hired Ryan Grubb as their OC and are hiring Scott Huff as their O-line coach. Both coached Fautanu at Washington.

17. Jaguars: Jackson Powers-Johnson, iOL, Oregon

The Jaguars have the ability to draft Powers-Johnson (6-3, 334) to play either center or guard and solidify their offensive line to protect Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars desperately need help on the interior of their line and Powers-Johnson is a mauler who is worthy of this pick.

18. Bengals: Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

The Bengals could lose right tackle Jonah Williams in free agency so drafting Fuaga is a way to replenish quickly. Fuaga (6-6, 334) could be a plug-and-play guy for the Bengals in what they hope will be a resurgent season.

19. Rams: Laiatu Latu, Edge, UCLA

The medical check at the Combine will be a big deal for Latu, who previously retired for medical reasons after suffering a neck injury in 2020 at Washington. But he transferred to UCLA and returned to action for 2022 and 2023. He is definitely a first-round talent. Latu (6-4, 261) had 23 1/2 sacks over the last two seasons and 34 tackles for loss. The Rams could defining use a boost on the edge.

20. Steelers: Cooper DeJean, DB, Iowa

DeJean (6-1, 207) reportedly won’t test at the Combine because of an injury this past season so teams will have to wait a little longer to see some of his physical gifts. Because he definitely has athletic gives that show up on the field. We’re listing him as a DB because some think his best position might be safety; but corner is a more valuable spot and DeJean played it really well at Iowa. He’s also a heck of a return man. Pairing DeJean with Joey Porter Jr. would give the Steelers a great starting duo.

21. Dolphins: J.C. Latham, OT, Alabama

Even though Terron Armstead is reportedly expected to play in 2024, the Dolphins’ using a first-round pick on an offensive tackle is still in play. Not only do they have to worry about Armstead’s future but Austin Jackson is set to be a free agent too. Latham (6-6, 359) is a big and powerful lineman who was a two-year starter at right tackle for Nick Saban.

22. Eagles: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

The Eagles haven’t drafted a cornerback in the first round of the draft since Lito Sheppard in 2002. But maybe Mitchell can be the guy to change that. The Eagles have some young and intriguing cornerbacks on their roster with Kelee Ringo and Eli Ricks but Darius Slay is well over 30 and James Bradberry is coming off an awful season and might not be here in 2024. So the Eagles need to get younger at this very important position.

Mitchell (6-1, 200) dominated in the MAC with 6 interceptions and 37 pass breakups over the last two seasons. And if you’re worried about level of competition, Mitchell proved himself at the Senior Bowl in Mobile and also proved that he can play some press-man too after playing a ton of off coverage at Toledo. Expect Mitchell to go to Indianapolis and put on the type of show that might take him off the list of options for the Eagles at 22.

23. Texans: Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

The Texans already have Derek Stingley to lock down one side but they can add another starting CB with McKinstry. The long cornerback was a two-year starter at Alabama. While his teammate Arnold might end up getting drafted higher, McKinstry appears to be a worthy first-rounder too.

24. Cowboys: Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

Tyron Smith still played at a really high level in 2023 but he’s 33 now and a pending free agent. Even if Smith returns for the 2024 season, drafting a future starter in Round 1 definitely makes some sense. Guyton (6-7, 328) was the Sooners’ right tackle. He has the measurables and the upside to be a first-round pick and having him learn for a year under Smith isn’t a bad idea either.

25. Packers: Graham Barton, OL, Duke

Barton (6-5, 311) finished his career at Duke as a left tackle but played some center earlier in his career. He might be a better fit as an interior lineman at the next level but definitely offers some versatility. The Packers might have a couple openings on their offensive line so getting a versatile player like Barton allows them to find his best spot and plug him in.

26. Buccaneers: Chop Robinson, Edge, Penn State

It seems possible that Shaq Barrett might be a cap casualty this offseason and it’s a good time to replenish with a young pass rusher. Robinson (6-3, 250) had 9 1/2 sacks in his two years at Penn State after transferring from Maryland. That production isn’t going to blow you away but he has the athleticism and the rush savvy to be a first-round pick.

27. Cardinals: Jer’Zhan Newton, DT, Illinois

The Cardinals landed Harrison Jr., who might be the best overall player in this class, so now they can find a defensive stud. The Cardinals need some help up front. They could opt for an edge player here but Newton could be the best DL option available.

28. Bills: Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU

The Bills are about to watch Gabe Davis become a free agent and Stefon Diggs is now over 30 and won’t be around forever. You don’t want the well to dry up while Josh Allen is in his prime and there are still some receivers worthy late in the first round. Thomas (6-4, 205) could become the same type of deep threat the Bills are preparing to lose in Davis. He averaged 17.3 yards per catch in 2023 and caught an astounding 17 touchdown passes.

29. Lions: Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB, Missouri

Even if the Lions address corner in free agency, it’ll probably still be a need and Rakestraw seems like a perfect fit. Rakestraw is a long and physical cornerback at the line of scrimmage. He seems like exactly what the Lions should want at the position.

30. Ravens: Darius Robinson, Edge, Missouri

After a strong performance at the Senior Bowl, Robinson is a potential first-round pick and has a lot of attributes that should be appealing to the Ravens. Robinson is 6-5, 286 and offers some position flexibility as a power rusher.

31. 49ers: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

It’ll be fascinating to see where Mims ends up in this draft because something tells me he’s going to hear his name way before No. 31. That’s a lot of projecting for a player who had exactly eight career starts at tackle in college. But if he can join the 49ers and learn from Trent Williams for a year or two, Mims has the potential to be a great player in the NFL.

32. Chiefs: Jordan Morgan, OT, Arizona

Yes, the Chiefs need to upgrade their receivers corps again but they can do that in a later round. Andy Reid knows how important the trenches are. It’s unclear if Wanya Morris is the left tackle of the future and Donovan Smith is set to be a free agent. Morgan might be a tackle in the NFL but some see him as a guard, which is another spot the Chiefs could use help.

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