Eagles Mock Draft Monday 2.0: Florida State is the new Georgia

Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman watches during an NFL football practice, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, in Philadelphia.
AP Photo/Chris Szagola, File

The NFL draft is just over two weeks away as patience for all those draft nuts out there begins to wear thin. There aren’t many questions about the top selection in this year’s draft, as the Chicago Bears are widely expected to draft USC quarterback Caleb Williams as their franchise cornerstone, but what happens after that could be anyone’s guess. However, expected trends may favor the options the Philadelphia Eagles may be presented with.

There is a certain expectation that the first round will be quite heavy for the three positional groups. No fewer than four quarterbacks are expected to be selected in the top 10, while as many as six could go in the top 20. There are also three wide receivers, all of whom have their argument to be the top receiver selected, expected to go around the top 10, and finally, offensive line prospects plenty, who are expected to fill in most of the remaining top 20 selections.

Eagles Mock Draft Monday 2.0

With that in mind, what is the strategy of the Philadelphia Eagles? Who will they turn to on draft day? Here’s the latest Mock Draft Monday from Philly Sports Network:

*TRADE* Round 1, pick 17: Jared Verse, Edge, Florida State

FILE – Florida State defensive lineman Jared Verse (5) rushes the passer against Syracuse during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Syracuse, N.Y. Jared Verse was named to The Associated Press preseason All-America team, Monday, Aug. 21, 2023.AP Photo/Joshua Bessex, File

Speed, power, determination. These are three words that define Florida State edge rusher Jared Verse. After transferring to Florida State in 2021 following an FCS All-American stint at Albany, Verse put on a showing of production, racking up nine sacks in each of his two seasons with the Seminoles.

A powerful and intimidating rusher, Verse can fluctuate between speed and power at will, making him an especially difficult matchup. His measurables aren’t mind-blowing, and he’s still a bit light, but after putting on 40 lbs during his COVID-19-shortened Freshman year, there’s little doubt he will have trouble building mass in an NFL environment.

With the expected run on quarterbacks, receivers, and offensive linemen in the first round, there is the potential to land a top-tier defensive player. Verse is undeniably that and could immediately impact an Eagles team that needs a sense of certainty on the outside.

True, they could sit back and bank on the potential of a player like Chop Robinson. Still, if the Eagles want more immediate production without the medical history of other prospects, Jared Verse is the consensus top option in their range.

Round 2, pick 50: Braden Fiske, DT, Florida State

Already a run on Florida State prospects as Braden Fiske is selected here with the 50th overall pick. He’s a bit long in the tooth as a draft prospect, aged 24, but that plays a large role in Fiske being potentially available this late in the draft.

His measurables aren’t ideal for the position, so he may be a bit limited as a pass rusher, but his speed, strength, and agility will certainly help mitigate that. Drawing comparisons to Milton Williams, Fiske’s athleticism adds a bit of versatility to his game. While he’d be taxed a bit too much if asked to play on the outside of a 4-3, there are situations under Vic Fangio’s defensive scheme where Fiske could be moved around the interior defensive line.

*TRADE* Round 2, pick 62: Christian Haynes, G, Connecticut

Trade details: Philadelphia receives the 62nd and 93rd overall selections, Baltimore receives the 53rd and 210th overall selections.

The Philadelphia Eagles will wait to address their need for a right tackle to take over once Lane Johnson retires. In fairness, there is not yet a set date, so while it could be as early as the 2025 season, he could continue to dominate the right side. Where the present is less certain for the Eagles’ O-Line is at right guard.

Last season’s starter, Cam Jurgens, is expected to move to center and do his best to replace Jason Kelce. Currently slotted to take his place is last year’s 65th overall pick, Tyler Steen, but if the Eagles either have doubts about him as the full-time guard moving forward or if they prefer him as a position-flexible lineman, the opportunity for a starting guard spot could be had.

Christian Haynes is the top guard in the entire 2024 NFL Draft. Over his four seasons as a full-time start at UConn, Haynes showed a level of athleticism that fits Philadelphia’s philosophy like a glove. He’s not much of a mauler, but he can certainly get to the second level efficiently.

Round 3, pick 93: Brenden Rice, WR, USC

Wide receiver 3 is an overstated need for the Philadelphia Eagles. Devante Parker may not be the answer, but Paris Campbell should provide enough capable play for an offense featuring Jalen Hurts, AJ Brown, Devonta Smith, Saquon Barkley, and Dallas Goedert.

Rice is most known for his family lineage, but he is a talented player in his own regard. While he isn’t a master of any singular area, he boasts a well-rounded game with NFL-ready speed, route running, and general football IQ. He may not be the flashiest receiver in the draft, but the Eagles have enough flash on the offense; they need a reliable young receiver to add to Brown and Smith moving forward.

Round 3, pick 96: Jarrian Jones, CB, Florida State

Yes, the third Florida State player on this draft has arrived, and Florida State has become the new Georgia for the Eagles. Jones was a solid performer at best before transferring to Florida State, but with the school change came a positional change as well, moving from the outside to the slot. This made the difference for Jones and his position as a draft prospect.

The Eagles notably reunited with Avonte Maddox, but only on a one-year deal. Young corner Kelee Ringo projects as an outside corner, and while the team likes some of the other corner youth they currently roster, Jones has the potential to secure the starting nickel role for years to come.

Round 5, pick 161: Trevin Wallace, LB, Kentucky

Eagles fans would certainly like the organization to show a bit more concern over the linebacker position and target either Payton Wilson or Edgerrin Cooper, but that remains an “I’ll believe it when I see it” scenario. Still, the team could certainly do worse than Trevin Wallace.

More of a finesse player than a thumper, Wallace’s athleticism would play a key role in his coverage ability, two things the Eagles are sorely lacking at the linebacker position.

*TRADE* Round 5, pick 171: Trade out

Trade details: Philadelphia receives a 2025 fifth-round pick (via Chicago), Chicago receives the 172nd overall selection.

The Eagles have their fair share of holes across the roster but it would also be unlike Howie Roseman to have eight picks and not acquire any more for the future. The Chicago Bears have the fewest selections in the 2024 Draft with four and could certainly use as many as they can to surround expected quarterback Caleb Williams. Moving off of a future pick, in the same round at that, would be a no-brainer for the Bears.

Philadelphia, meanwhile, gets to punt their pick into next season and potentially move up about 15 spots when that day comes.

Round 5, pick 172: Tyrice Knight, LB, UTEP

Double-dipping at linebacker in the fifth round? Considering the players in question here and the lack of importance the Eagles’ have placed on the position, it wouldn’t be exactly shocking on Day 3.

We’ve already taken a look at Trevin Wallace; now it’s for Tyrice Knight. Had he played for a more notable program, Knight would be projected at least two rounds higher. Instincts, discipline, and general IQ are his strongest traits. While he’s not the most physical or athletic linebacker, Knight knows how to work smarter and still manages to work harder than the competition.

Assuming he can keep up physically, he could become a Philadelphia favorite. At worst, he’d be a hard-nosed contributor to the special teams unit.