After heading into the offseason owning three first-round picks in the 2022 NFL draft, the Philadelphia Eagles made a trade with the New Orleans Saints that positioned the team to have two first-round picks for the next two seasons — while gaining an extra second-round pick in 2024. General manager Howie Roseman is searching to recapture the magic that helped the team win a Super Bowl during the 2017 season.
The Eagles are looking to win their first NFC East division title since 2019. Quarterback Jalen Hurts, in his second year as a full-time starter, enters a pivotal season. The team has shown full faith in him entering 2022, but they have also set themselves up with the flexibility to explore other options by acquiring future draft capital.
Philadelphia’s top needs are wide receiver, the secondary and linebacker, and each is expected to be a main point of emphasis for Roseman and the front office. This draft is deep at all of those positions; the Eagles have 10 selections to fill spots on the roster. There are plenty of prospects in this class that make sense for the franchise, so we created a perfect Eagles seven-round mock draft.
Two rules before we dig in:
There are no trades projected in this mock, even though the Eagles have plenty of trade capital with which to play.
We are keeping this realistic with each selection by drafting players who are ranked near the selection number on my latest Big Board.
Scroll to the bottom to see how ESPN Eagles reporter Tim McManus evaluates my mock draft. Let’s start with the No. 15 pick, where Philadelphia could go a few different ways:
After selecting Jalen Reagor in 2020 and DeVonta Smith in 2021, the Eagles select a wide receiver in the first round for the third consecutive year in this projection. Williams is a downfield threat who can open up many other options in coach Nick Sirianni’s playbook. He had four scores of 75-plus yards for the Crimson Tide last season. He is a polished route runner who also has the rare ability of making his patterns look identical. As a gear-shift runner, he can accelerate and decelerate in an instant, which is what makes him so dangerous in all areas of the field.
Williams tore his ACL in the national title game in January but could be back as early as the midway point of the 2022 season. The Eagles have shown recently that they aren’t afraid of drafting players coming off major injury; they selected Sidney Jones IV (torn Achilles) in the second round in 2017 and Landon Dickerson (torn ACL) in the second round last year.
Check out the best moments from Jameson Williams at Alabama as he gets ready for the NFL draft.
Round 1, No. 18 (via NO): Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
Darius Slay will turn 32 years old at the end of next season and the Eagles are lacking with help at outside corner opposite of him, so Booth is an ideal fit in defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon’s scheme.
Booth has the ability to crowd throwing windows, is physical as a tackler and is competitive. He still has many first-round grades from NFL teams despite being limited during the pre-draft process following a quad strain and undergoing surgery for a sports hernia.
Adding the former Clemson standout to a secondary that lacks starting-caliber talent would be the first time the franchise has selected a corner this high in the draft since Lito Sheppard in 2002. With the Eagles having a clear need at the position, Booth would be a much-needed upgrade.
Round 2, No. 51: Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC
The Eagles have been adding talent along the defensive line, ensuring they can rotate players in and out to wear opponents out. Last season, they had only 29 sacks, the second-worst number in the league — behind only the Atlanta Falcons (18). After signing Haason Reddick and re-signing Derek Barnett, the team will get its veteran leader in Brandon Graham back but is still in need of a dynamic rusher off of the edge.
Jackson fits right into what Philadelphia’s wants to do. His versatility as a stand-up rusher and as someone who can put his hand in the dirt and even reduce inside on late downs will make him appealing in a defense that thrives off of versatile first-level players. He might have the most bend of any edge rusher in this class.
Round 3, No. 83: Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State
Andersen has one of the most fascinating background stories of any player in this class. He transitioned from quarterback to running back and then finished his college career as a linebacker. It’s no surprise to see that he has a nose for the football and is savvy as a run defender and in pass coverage. His experience on the other side of the ball continues to help his transition to defense.
The second level is an area that Roseman devalues, but it’s clear the team needs help there. Andersen would provide Philadelphia with experience in the middle and on the strong and weak sides. His versatility gives the defense an instinctive and high-level performer.
Round 3, No. 101 (via NO): Kerby Joseph, S, Illinois
With Anthony Harris and Marcus Epps currently projected to be starters, it’s clear the team will likely be in search of a long-term upgrade on the back end. After losing Rodney McLeod to the Indianapolis Colts, Roseman should be active in search of a safety. The franchise has also shown interest in Tyrann Mathieu.
Joseph is an interchangeable safety who can play the high post as well as come down in the box and be a physical defender against the run. With the Eagles lacking young depth at the position, he could help fill the void left by McLeod this offseason.
Round 4, No. 124: Matthew Butler, DT, Tennessee
Long-term depth is a serious question mark as Fletcher Cox — who returned on a $14 million deal — and Javon Hargrave are set to become free agents following next season. Last year’s third-round pick, Milton Williams, was a productive addition, but continuing to add depth on the inside could be an option.
Butler has helped himself tremendously throughout the pre-draft process. Combine a breakout season at Tennessee with being one of the best overall players at the East-West Shrine Bowl, and he could be a prime interior defensive line target on Day 3.
Round 5, No. 154 (via WSH): Hassan Haskins, RB, Michigan
With Miles Sanders entering the final season of his rookie deal, Roseman could look to add another option to the running back committee. As a tough and no-nonsense runner, Haskins has three-down ability. As a former linebacker, he has a physical presence at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds when the ball is in his hands and also as a pass protector.
He has been limited throughout the pre-draft process after suffering an ankle injury during the College Football Playoff, but when healthy, he can carry a workload and be involved in the passing game as both a catcher and pass protector.
A selection that would continue to bolster the secondary, Castro-Fields is a developmental depth option who could also be a core-four special teams player. At 6-foot, 194 pounds, he is a physical corner who still needs to work on his reliability in run support. When it comes to pass coverage, though, he was exposed to all kinds of schemes — man and zone — while at Penn State.
Round 5, No. 166 (via ARI): Amare Barno, EDGE/OLB, Virginia Tech
When getting into the later rounds or the team’s last handful of picks, Roseman has shown a tendency of taking chances on high-ceiling prospects. The last two selections of this draft would qualify.
At 6-foot-6, 245 pounds, Barno ran a blistering 4.36-second 40-yard dash at the combine. He is likely a defensive end who can fulfill a lot of duties from the weak side.
A bit of a hot-and-cold player over his final two seasons with the Hokies, he wasn’t able to ever put it all together over the duration of an entire year. With his traits and size, he is the typical roll of the dice for a team that has had some success with molding prospects into complete players.
Round 7, No. 237 (via NO): Ryan Van Demark, OT, UConn
With one of the best talent developers in the NFL in offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, the franchise sticks with the trend of drafting a high-upside player that it hopes to develop.
At 6-foot-7, 307 pounds, Van Demark was among the list of players that wasn’t invited to the combine, but his testing numbers at the Huskies’ pro day caught the eye of many evaluators. His 9-foot, 4-inch broad jump and 4.50 short shuttle time were noteworthy. Van Demark has the traits to stick as a practice squad option that eventually could turn into depth as a swing tackle on either side.
Tim McManus’s take
Selecting Williams would address a need and make fellow Alabama standouts Hurts and Smith quite happy. I think the Eagles add a wideout at some point over the first two days, but does Roseman have the stomach to take a receiver in the first round for the third consecutive year? I’m guessing he invests in the trenches early (Georgia tackles Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt would have to be appealing) and waits until Day 2 for a receiver.
Jordan, you’re playing with Philly fans’ emotions by giving them two players with recent injuries in the first round. I’m with you on the selection of a corner at No. 18, though. The Eagles have kept the starting spot opposite Slay open this offseason and wouldn’t be opposed to finding Steven Nelson‘s replacement in the draft.
The position targets in the following rounds are very realistic as well. I’d be surprised if they don’t add an edge rusher at some point early on. The third round feels like a sweet spot for linebackers, they absolutely need safety help and I agree running back is in play given Sanders’ injury history and contract status. A north-south runner with some thunder in his shoulder pads like Haskins would suit coach Nick Sirianni’s offense well and would complement Kenneth Gainwell nicely.