Top cornerback prospects in draft detail their Eagles visits

Top cornerback prospects in draft detail their Eagles visits originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

It wasn’t very surprising this week to find out that Howie Roseman was making phone calls to lay some groundwork of potential trade-ups in the first round on Friday.

Who might the Eagles be targeting?

Well, if they want one of the top two cornerbacks in this year’s class — Terrion Arnold from Alabama or Quinyon Mitchell from Toledo — they’re probably going to need to move up from 22.

At a community event in Detroit the day before the draft kicks off, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark caught up with both Arnold and Mitchell to ask them how their visits to Philadelphia went this spring.

“It was great, man,” Arnold said. “The visit went really, really well. Great guys, great organization and my boy DeVonta Smith pulled up over there. It was great all around.”

Arnold, 21, didn’t arrive in Tuscaloosa until after Smith had already left as the No. 10 overall pick to the Eagles in 2021. While Arnold knows Smith from Smith’s trips back to campus, he never got much of a chance to compete with him.

The idea of facing Smith in practice every day is an exciting one.

“I didn’t really get those matchups against him at Bama,” Arnold said. “So getting those matchups against him in the NFL, it would be amazing. I’m one of those guys, I’m ready to compete with him, A.J. Brown, it would just be great.”

Many list Arnold (6-0, 189) as the top cornerback in this draft. In 2023, he started all 14 games for the Crimson Tide and had 5 interceptions, 17 pass breakups and 6 1/2 tackles for loss. He was a first-team All-American.

Arnold said he wanted to get a cheesesteak while in Philly but the timing of his arrival didn’t make that possible. But he did give a tip of the cap to the Eagles’ cafeteria.

Mitchell, 22, is the other guy who has a real claim as the top cornerback in this year’s class and the Eagles also had him in for a visit at the NovaCare Complex.

“It went good,” Mitchell said. “Coach (Jason) Candle and the head coach (Nick Sirianni), they’re best friends. So I was talking a little trash to him. So it was really good.”

Sirianni and Candle were teammates at Mount Union and then were on the coaching staff together under Larry Kehres.

Mitchell dominated in the MAC for Toledo. But then if there was any stigma about playing in a non-Power Five conference, Mitchell erased it with a stellar performance at the Senior Bowl and a great showing at the NFL Combine.

The Eagles have definitely shown interest in him this spring.

“Yeah, they brought me on a visit and the visit went great, just meeting everybody there,” Mitchell said. “I think it went good.”

The Eagles haven’t drafted a cornerback in the first round under Howie Roseman and the organization hasn’t drafted one in the first round since 2002. But some of that is just a coincidence.

And with aging cornerbacks like Darius Slay and James Bradberry, cornerback is a long-term need for the franchise. The Eagles have some young players like Kelee Ringo, Eli Ricks and more in the building but adding a premier talent at an important position makes a lot of sense.

If they want either Arnold or Mitchell on Thursday night, they’ll probably have to go get them.

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