Pro Football Focus’ latest mock draft is interesting. It has the Eagles selecting Ohio State offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr., at No. 10. This is one of the few mocks where Johnson dropped this far.
This pick makes sense, given the Eagles’ healthy obsession with fortifying their offensive and defensive lines. A cornerback at No. 10 would make sense, too.
But drafting Johnson and breaking him in under the tutelage of right tackle Lane Johnson and offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland could pay dividends for the next decade.
PFF says: “The Eagles have made a living out of using their priority picks in the trenches. With their bonus first-round pick, that’s where I think they look. They have Landon Dickerson and Cam Jurgens to give them depth and versatility on the interior, and Paris Johnson Jr. can do the same at offensive tackle.”
PFF draft guide bottom line: “You can expect some growing pains early on due to Johnson’s limited experience, but that’s the nature of the tackle position. If he’s dedicated to his craft, he’ll be a stud.”
PFF has Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon, an Eagles’ target, going ninth to the Cardinals, now coached by former Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon.
With the 30th pick, PFF says the Eagles will pick athletic Pitt defensive tackle Calijah Kancey.
PFF draft guide bottom line: “He may have to start off as a designated pass rusher, but he can truly excel in that role. There’s little doubt he’s going to impact quarterbacks at the next level.”
WHAT ABOUT SLAY?
On March 1, we published a top-10 moments from the Eagles’ season. Plus, we picked six honorable mentions. Here is that story: https://www.iggles.com/eagles-2023-top-10-moments0301/
Upon further review, we overlooked an important moment/moments.
In Week Two, the story to watch was how the Eagles were going to defend Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson.
Cornerback Darius Slay was the primary defender on the All-Pro receiver. Jefferson was targeted 12 times. He caught six meaningless passes for 48 yards and zero touchdowns as the Eagles won, 24-7.
Slay picked off Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins twice in the Eagles’ dominating victory.
- “The older you get, they think you’re falling off, but I am not one of those guys,” Slay said. “I’m still at an elite level.
- “He [Jefferson] is one of the best in the world. And, shoot, I’m one of the best in the world, too. I was looking forward to the match-up.”
RUNNING BACK DILEMMA
The Eagles’ issue at running back is murky. Miles Sanders likely will depart in free agency. Kenny Gainwell, who played well down the stretch and in the playoffs, remains under contract.
- General manager Howie Roseman said: “Kenny is an impressive young player. When you watch him and his skill-set, he has really good vision.
- “He has the ability to get small and get skinny and he can catch the ball, he can protect. He’s a good player.
- “We’ve also seen in this league that you need more than one. It’s hard to roll with just one running back in this league.
- “I think we’re happy with Kenny; we know also that he hasn’t hit his ceiling yet. Obviously, he had a good playoff run, but it is a position we are going to continue to add at.
- “We don’t have a lot of guys under contract right now, so we will continue to look at players at that position and a lot of positions.”
Earlier this week, we published a six-point plan on how the Eagles should approach the offseason.
Roseman spoke recently about Jalen Hurts’ contract extension and his desire to come to an agreement with his franchise quarterback.
But every time you hear about a quarterback contract dispute around the league, you wonder how the Roseman-Hurts talks are progressing.
- “Tremendous respect for him as a player, as a person” Roseman said. “Tremendous respect for the people that work with him to do this, and you go through it in a way that you want to find a win-win solution.
- “You want to find something that he feels really good about, and at the same time that we feel good about and surround him with good players. He knows that.
- “He’s a smart guy. He understands that. That doesn’t mean that it’s not going to be a tremendous contract for him because he deserves that, too.”