NFL mock draft 2022: Fixing the defense and adding an elite WR in Eagles-only mock

NFL mock draft 2022: Fixing the defense and adding an elite WR in Eagles-only mock

Listening to Howie Roseman and Nick Sirianni speak at the owners meetings this past week finally convinced me once and for all that the Eagles really aren’t drafting a quarterback in the first round.

I do believe they had serious interest in Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson and Aaron Rodgers – who were all always longshots, especially Watson and Rodgers – but at this point it seems almost a lock that Jalen Hurts gets 2022.

Especially after their trade with the Saints on Monday.

If you remove quarterback from the 1st-round equation, where does that leave the Eagles? They’re not going to draft a running back or tight end in the first round, and there’s only one possible safety and he might even be out of range of a trade up. So what’s left? Both lines, linebacker, wide receiver and corner.

So that’s where I started when I sat down to put together my 2022 Eagles-only mock draft. Even with their trade Monday with the Saints, the Eagles still have two top-20 picks for the first time since 1973 and five picks in the first three rounds for the first time since 1995.

With that in mind, here’s my 2022 Eagles-only mock draft. Hurry up and read it before Howie starts trading these picks away as well!

1-15: Jermaine Johnson II, Edge, Florida State

Johnson elevated himself into the first half of the first round with his monster performance at the Senior Bowl, and the team that drafted Jon Harris, Jerome McDougle, Marcus Smith and Derek Barnett tries again with a 1st-round defensive end. And don’t think that signing Haason Reddick changes the Eagles’ enormous need for pass rushers. They were so bad last year – 29 sacks was the fewest in franchise history – that one productive rusher won’t solve their problems. Johnson is a polished and relentless pass rusher with a wide variety of moves but he’s also a monster run defender despite his lanky frame at 6-5, 265 pounds and more of an every-down player than Reddick, who will likely line up at SAM linebacker most of the time. The Eagles have drafted six defensive ends in the first round since sacks became an official stat in 1982, and none of them has ever had 10 sacks in a season. I’m betting Johnson ends that streak.

1-18: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

If one of the top WRs is there when the Eagles pick, how on Earth can they pass him up? I don’t care how many times Nick Sirianni and Howie Roseman tell us the Eagles are fine with DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, Zach Pascal and Jalen Reagor. They’re nop. They need more, and some intriguing options will likely be staring them in the face. A wide receiving corps led by Olave and Smith would definitely give Jalen Hurts the weapons he needs to have a fair chance to prove his worth in 2022. Olave caught 65 passes for 936 yards and 13 touchdowns in an offense that also had Jaxon Smith-Nijgba and Garrett Wilson, and his 32 TD catches over the last three years are 2nd-most in the BCS behind DeVonta Smith’s 35 in just two years. Then he went and ran 4.39 at the Combine. I’m so tired of writing about how the Eagles missed on DK Metcalf and Justin Jefferson. They can’t miss again. Do it, Howie!

2-51: Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor

After a whirlwind on Day 1, we can all catch our breath until Day 2 rolls around, and what better way to get back into action than taking a future starter at safety. Pitre is a versatile and productive safety who had a good week at the Senior Bowl, where he answered questions about his coverage ability, and backed it up with a solid Combine. Pitre had a ridiculous 18 ½ tackles for loss last year – most in the BCS by a defensive back – as well as 3 ½ sacks and a couple interceptions. The Eagles haven’t drafted a legit blitzer from the secondary since Dawk, and Pitre will get after the quarterback. He’s only 6-0, 200 pounds, but what he lacks in size and elite athleticism he makes up for in intelligence, instinctiveness and explosiveness. Would the Eagles really take a safety in the second round? It worked with Wes Hopkins, Dawk and Michael Lewis.

3-83: Greg Dulcich, TE, UCLA

The Eagles have quite an underrated need at tight end behind Dallas Goedert. Tyree Jackson and Jack Stoll are interesting prospects – Jackson as a receiver and Stoll as a blocker – but they’re both undrafted and unproven, and Nick Sirianni would love to have a second receiving tight end to have the flexibility to use 12 personnel. After the Zach Ertz trade, Eagles tight ends other than Goedert caught seven passes for 44 yards in 12 games. Dulcich has been one of the more productive tight ends in college football the last two years, with 68 catches for 1,242 yards and 10 TDs the last two years and 42-for-725 and 5 TDs last year. At 6-4, 240 pounds he got good size, and he ran a 4.70 at the Combine (Goedert ran 4.68 at his pro day). Dulcich needs to get stronger, and he’s a willing blocker but needs to be more consistent on the line of scrimmage. But definitely an intriguing prospect who won’t have to come in and worry about being No. 1.

3-101: Brian Asamoah, LB, Oklahoma

Full disclosure: In my initial Eagles-only mock draft – written before the trade with the Saints Monday afternoon – I had the Eagles taking Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd with the 19th pick. So much for that. But I still expect them to take a linebacker at some point, and Asamoah is a heck of an athlete who’s under-sized at 6-0, 230 pounds but should be able to come in from Day 1 and be a wrecking crew on special teams while taking some time to get a lot stronger, which he’ll have to do became a factor on defense. But there’s a lot to like about Asamoah, starting with his speed. He ran a 4.56 at the Combine, and he’s a guy who’s generally around the ball and has the athleticism to cover a little bit, too. Asamoah’s Achilles heel is his lack of strength, and it shows up in his tackling. He’s generally in position but just doesn’t have the oomph to finish a lot of those tackles. Get him in the weight room for a year and you might be onto something.

4-124: Max Mitchell, OT, Louisiana

No way Howie Roseman can get through a draft without taking at least one offensive lineman. The Eagles have had good success drafting o-line in the middle and late rounds (Isaac Seumalo 3rdJack Driscoll and Todd Herremans 4thBig V and Dennis Kelly 5thJason Kelce 6thJordan Mailata 7th), and Mitchell is a 6-6, 310-pounder who’s got the size, athleticism and effort but just needs to get stronger and continue to improve his technique. Mitchell has experience playing both left and right tackle, and no better place for a young offensive lineman to learn the NFL game than at Jeff Stoutland University. With Andre Dillard’s future here up in the air and Driscoll a possible future starter at guard, the Eagles could use a young prospect to groom in the Big V role as a backup swing tackle, and Mitchell is a strong candidate.

5-154: Haskell Garrett, DT, Ohio State

Garrett is a little undersized for the NFL at 6-2, 300 pounds, and has average measurables, but he’s a high-effort guy with some upside, and I like him here in the 5th round. Garrett barely played his first four years in Columbus – 21 games in four years – but the production was there last year for the Buckeyes with 7.0 tackles for loss, 5 ½ sacks and a 32-yard fumble recovery return touchdown against Minnesota. Garrett did get a ton of attention in September 2020 when he played in OSU’s opener less than two months after being shot in the face while trying to diffuse a domestic violence incident. The big thing with Garrett is that he has to get a lot stronger because the technique and desire are there. The Eagles don’t have a lot behind Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave and Milton Williams, and Hargrave and Cox are both only signed through 2022. Garrett may never be an NFL starter but if he can add some strength he could grow into a rotational lineman at the next level.

5-162: Velus Jones Jr., WR, Tennessee

In his 6th year of college football, Jones (first name is pronounced VAY-less) finally got a chance at significant playing time on offense and caught 62 passes for 807 yards and seven TDs. Jones spent four years at USC – Sam Darnold was his QB his first two years – but caught just 27 passes for the Trojans before transferring to Tennessee in 2020. The 6-0, 200 pounder has always been a good kick returner. He averaged 24.0 yards on 81 returns at USC and 27.3 yards last year in Knoxville – 8th-best in the BCS. He’s just a long-range project as a wide receiver. But he’s already an exceptional special teamer and can provide immediate help in the return and coverage games while learning how to be an NFL receiver. Jones’ limitations on offense and his age – he turns 25 next month – are negatives, but if the Eagles address WR earlier in the draft they’ll have the luxury of bringing in a guy like Jones purely as a returner and gunner while trying to develop his raw receiving skills.

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5-166: Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama

I don’t have the Eagles taking a corner in the first round, but I do think it’s possible. But there’s actually a very good corner depth throughout the draft, and Jobe is a raw project who has some intriguing upside. Jobe, 6-foot, 180 pounds, has a lot of work to do to clean up his coverage technique, but there is raw ability to work with. He’s a tough, physical player who has good speed and likes to support the run. The Eagles are stockpiling young corners and trying to develop them and see if one of them sticks. I still think there’s a good chance they’ll re-sign Steve Nelson to start opposite Darius Slay, so a guy like Jobe can come in and learn how to be an NFL cornerback and possibly spend the season on the practice squad and maybe develop into a player down the line.

6-237: Bamidele “Bam” Olaseni, OT, Utah

There’s really only one good reason for the Eagles to take a late-round flier on Olaseni. He’s 6-8, 350 pounds. Olaseni is a raw long-term project who grew up in London and didn’t play football until he was 17. Whatever team he winds up with is going to have to start from scratch with his technique and form. But he is a strong, powerful guy who has some tools to work with and two years of experience as a starter at Utah. A 6-8 guy from another country who picked up football later in life and is starting from the ground up trying to figure out how to be an NFL offensive tackle? It’s worked once for the Eagles. Olaseni is even more of a longshot than Jordan Mailata was, but there aren’t many 6-8, 350-pounders around, so it’s worth a shot.

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