It’s finally arrived as the 20th pick is held by our Philadelphia Eagles. While it’s still very much up in the air whether the team will still be at this exact selection we’ll go with the assumption that they remain at 20. The way this offseason has gone anything is really in play with Chip calling the shots. Outside of all the Marcus Mariota talk we’ll focus on the positions most likely in play with the first round pick. Offensive line, wide receiver, cornerback and safety are the four top priorities I see for the team. It remains unclear whether Evan Mathis will be an Eagle come Week 1, but I believe he’ll be the starting left guard. I see the team addressing the interior offensive line need during the middle rounds of the draft. Jake Fisher could have been a potential fit, but the Texans selected him at 16 in our mock draft. The other options left seem to be more of a fit for the tackle position which the Eagles are more than adequate at currently. Chip seems to be cut from the Belichick mold of placing less emphasis on drafting wide receivers high in the draft. Even with options like Breshad Perriman, Jalen Strong, and Nelson Agholor on the board I expect round 2 to be the target for wideout. Agholor especially if he lasts until round 2 could be a candidate for trade up ala Jordan Matthews in 2014. The front seven seems to be pretty set for the Birds while the future of Mychal Kendricks is up in the air I don’t envision a first round pick being used on a position with Kiko Alonso and DemecoRyans also on the roster. The safety depth in this particular draft is not considered to be strong with Landon Collins of Alabama considered to be the top guy. Many mock drafts have Collins slated at 20 to the Eagles, but other writers argue Collins is not a fit at all for what the Eagles look to do defensively. I expect the same will go with the safety position as the offensive line which is being targeted in the middle to later rounds. Cornerback is the expected route the Eagles will go in my opinion. Even after the signing of Byron Maxwell and Walter Thurmond, there is still playing time up for grabs. I expect we will see Brandon Boykin moved during the draft weekend creating another open roster spot. Some of the names rumored to go in this range include Byron Jones, Marcus Peters, Jaelen Collins, and Eric Rowe. With the 20th selection in the 2015 Birds Scoop Mock Draft the Philadelphia Eagles select…
Byron Jones- Cornerback (Connecticut)
Jones has risen up draft boards in the recent weeks with his excellent workouts and Combine performance. He’s met and visited with the Eagles as well which makes him a potential candidate for this 20th pick. Jones missed the last five games of 2014 for Uconn with a shoulder injury. This could be a concerning injury, but scouts have raved about his toughness along with his willingness to play through injuries and inspire his teammates. That sounds exactly like the type of “culture” guy Chip would be looking for. Jones was also a team captain during his time in college as well. Jones is a very smarty and instinctive player on the field along with his 6’1 frame that makes him an intriguing prospect at the corner position. He is not praised for being a physical type player, but he is generally a solid tackler. His footwork and ability to change direction is worrisome to some scouts. Jones was previously a safety at Uconn before being converted to a cornerback for the 2013 season. It could possibly be in the plans for the Eagles to transition Jones back to free safety, but some around the league vary on if he has the physicality to play the position. By all accounts it sounds like Byron Jones would be the perfect type of player Chip is looking to build this program around. He also has the build and fits a need that the team definitely needs to address after the last few seasons. While guys like Marcus Peters and Jaelen Collins probably have higher upsides they also carry other question marks that Jones does not.
Impact on the rest of the Eagles Draft
The selection of Jones in the first round would almost certainly pave the way for a wide receiver to be selected somewhere in round 2 by the Eagles. I think passing on a wide receiver in this round would be a mistake no matter the depth of the position in this year’s draft. There could be a significant amount of wide receivers chosen in round 1 which could alter the 2nd round plans for Chip and company. I personally would go cornerback in round 1 and then focus on the wide receiver position in round 2. If for some reason a player falls that plays outside linebacker I would consider using the pick there as well.
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