The 2020 NFL Draft is quickly approaching barring any postponement due to COVID-19 restrictions. Howie Roseman and the Eagles Coaching Staff’s hands are full with this year’s class of plentiful talent. Here is my ideal and realistic 2020 draft which was simulated on The Draft Network’s Mock Draft Simulator:
Round 1, Pick 21: Patrick Queen, LB (LSU)
Junior | 6’1” | 227 lbs
NFL Draft Comparison: Deion Jones (ATL), Roquan Smith (CHI)
I know what you are thinking: we need a WR in the 1st Round. The trio of Ruggs, Jeudy, and Lamb will be far gone before the Eagles’ first selection in the 2020 Draft with the 21st pick. I also feel like the remaining crop of wide receivers are not worth reaching for due to the amount of deep talent at the position this year. The Birds haven’t had the chance to draft a dominating defensive force like Queen in over a decade. There is not a linebacker on the Eagles roster that has more upside and untapped potential than Patrick Queen. He is a one of a kind sideline to sideline LB and all NFL defensive trends are pointing toward the direction of rangy, athletic backers that can drop into pass coverage and run with RBs and TEs.
- Recognition & Football IQ: Queen excels at beating his blocker to the spot and it’s because of his ability to read, react, and get downhill to fill gaps. He was also at the helm of a National Championship winning program which exemplifies his ability to communicate and understand pre-play adjustments.
- Footwork & Lateral Quickness: Queen makes up for his smaller frame with his agility and quickness. He has tremendous footwork and consistently plays with a strong linebacker base that allows him to be fluid in pursuit to the ball.
- Tackling: He is very lengthy and it shows in open field tackling. Queen also has a knack for plugging gaps and bringing blockers into the ball carrier. He may not put a stout RB on his back, but he gauges his leverage very well and rarely lets a ball carrier break through an initial hit.
- Pass Coverage: As mentioned above, Queen can run with the best of them in man to man coverage. He also possesses the ability to read the Quarterback while gaining depth in coverage which boasts his ability to play zone at the next level. Here is a video that breaks down his impressive interception against Alabama last year:
- Experience: Even though Queen is a Top 3 LB in the Draft, he did not beigin the season at LSU as a starter. Queen is also foregoing his Senior season and had only started a total of 16 games at LSU. His talent is evident, but some slight mistakes he had made were due to the lack of experience and reps he had over the span of his quick LSU career.
- High Pads: Queen sometimes attacks the ball with high pads and this leaves him susceptible to yards after contact. Although he was able to out hustle and muscle players in College ball, that won’t fly at the next level.
- Overly Aggressive: This is not necessarily a bad trait to have, but Queen would be so aggressive to the football that his pursuit angles were sometimes flat. NFL skill-players will capitalize on these moments, so he needs to reel in his aggression at times.
Round 2, Pick 38 (via CAR): Brandon Aiyuk, WR (ASU)
Senior | 6’0” | 201 lbs
NFL Draft Comparison: Robert Woods (LAR), Cordarrelle Patterson (CHI)
The Eagles and Panthers complete a trade that allows the Birds to move up from the 53rd pick to the 38th slot and they pick up a multi-faceted Aiyuk. The Panthers are in desperate need of secondary help and the Eagles are looking to trim some fat off of their crowded group of cornerbacks. They swap 2020 2nd Round picks (38th for 53rd), and the Panthers also receive cornerback Sidney Jones and a 2021 3rd Round pick in next year’s draft. Now, this may not be completely necessary as Aiyuk could possibly slide all the way to the 53rd pick. However, the Eagles shouldn’t take any chances at getting a young threat that tore up the Pac-12 last season.
- Route Running: Aiyuk has displayed an expansive route tree, specifically when his opposing CB gives him some cushion at the line of scrimmage. His ability to stop and start on vertical stem routes allows him to create expansive amounts of space in the open field.
- Catching & Body Control: He has very active hands and will quite literally pluck balls out of the air. Aiyuk can get vertical and high point balls while maintaining complete body control, especially when near the sidelines.
- Running After Catch: Not only is Aiyuk a threat after the catch, but he is also a freak of nature in the kick return game. He is very comfortable in the screen game and will cause havoc in this facet at the next level.
- Speed & Explosive Nature: I alluded to it above, but Aiyuk can get moving. Both in the return game and as a vertical threat, once he gets a head of steam it is something to watch. His long strides combined with his explosiveness will give #2 CBs hell in the NFL.
- Blocking: Laslty, Aiyuk is not afraid to invite contact. He has an underdog mentality to him that he must have learned in JUCO when no other Division 1 schools were ready to give him a shot. He leans on his defender downfield and helps spring RBs passed the second level with his effort and blocking skills.
- Press Coverage: Aiyuk struggles with press coverage at the line of scrimmage and does not possess a lot of hand techniques to ward of defenders within the first five yards. He seemed to lack the ability to get where he wanted when being pressed and played physically.
- Contested Catching: Aiyuk has a tendency to let the ball come to him rather then he attack it sometimes. His skill set allows him to thrive in the open field, but in close quarters his rangy acrobatic hands do not always haul in the tough catches in crowded windows.
- Minimal Experience: Like I said before, Aiyuk is a JUCO product at ASU and did not contribute much up until his Senior season. Although his play this year was indicative of his talents, it may take some time for him to become acclimated to the speed of the NFL.
Round 3, Pick 103: Damien Lewis, IOL (LSU)
Senior | 6’2” | 329 lbs
NFL Draft Comparison: Larry Warford III (NO), Gabe Jackson (OAK)
Two of the first three Eagles in this draft are former LSU Tigers. Damien Lewis is an absolute monster and has impressed scouts since the All-American Bowl where he had a solid all around showing. He’s a fireplug that has some of the most raw power found in this draft. He won’t need to make an immediate impact, and will be able to learn under the guidanc eof a few legednary Eagles’ IOL.
- Power: As stated earlier, Lewis can move big defensive lineman. He played in the SEC, which is known for having some of the best DL in the country. He is girthy but plays at a very in-shape and controlled weight.
- Good Hands: Lewis is very active with his hands being that he does not have the most reach. He is strategic in his hand placement and gets belly to belly with DL who he then bullies with his power and strength.
- Run Blocking: LSU ran behind Lewis all year and especially own the stretch when hunting for a National Championship. He is a bulldozer that initiates the contact and is able to move defenders downfield. He also has a knack for seeking out linebackers and delivering blows that they remember for the rest of the game.
- Size & Reach: Lewis is a bit undersized and his reach is well below the league average. He will have to find ways to make up for it because NFL DL aren’t going to feel bad for him.
- Lateral Quickness: He doesn’t move side to side very easily, and he lacks a fluent pull-game which the Eagles expect out of their IOL. Hopefully a year or two developing under a group of Pro-Bowlers will help him get better at his lateral movements.
- Blitz Recognition: Lewis is not completely comfortable with blocking packages that are popular at the next level. He was a JUCO player prior to LSU, and did not see the same stunts at the highest speed and this set him back a bit.
Round 4, Pick 127: Devin Duvernay, WR (Texas)
Senior | 5’11” | 202 lbs
NFL Draft Comparison: Deebo Samuel (SF), Stefon Diggs (BUF)
Devin Duvernay is so underrated coming into the Draft because of the loaded WR class and the misconception that someone his size can’t have an immediate impact on an NFL roster. If the Eagles were to snag Duvernay in the 3rd round, I still would be ecstatic. The kid can flat out ball, and he’s a dark horse. This slot speedster is exactly the type of player the Birds need to complement the likes of Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery, and Brandon Aiyuk.
- Speed: The kid is fast, really really fast. He continuously blows by defenders with his blistering speed in straight lines. Once cutting is involved, he tends to slow down.
- Hands: This is by far his best trait, and Duvernay has the hands of a seasoned veteran. His reaction speed mixed with his aggressiveness to go get the ball is almost unmatched in this WR class. Check this out:
- Running After Catch: Duvernay, like said above, can run all day long. He puts himself in the perfect positions to ultimately have enough open space to make a play downfield.
- Physicality: Although he is a smaller WR he is the most physical and rarely shys away from contact. My favorite play after watching all of this Draft film is when Duvernay ran over Grant Delpit with ease:
- Route Running: Duvernay struggles when asked to run routes where he has to slow himself down just to start back up again after stemming or breaking a route. In order for him to contribute in the NFL right away, he must work on his route tree, cue DK Metcalf.
- Agility: As alluded to above, Duvernay has a very stiff lower body and it effects his ability to break down his feet and change directions, which is something a NFL Slot WR must be able to do.
Round 4, Pick 145: Antoine Brooks Jr., S (Maryland)
There isn’t a more physical Safety in this draft than Antoine Brooks Jr. His tape is awesome to watch if you love battering ram type of hits, but it was evident that he was not the best in coverage. I could see him being a big contributor on Special Teams and working his way up to the Defense.
Round 4, Pick 146: Anfernee Jennings, EDGE (Bama)
Jennings is a born again Kyle Van Noy, and he could make an impact on the team this year. His only issue is the amount of work his pass rush needs at the EDGE position, and that is vital in today’s NFL.
Round 5, Pick 168: Myles Bryant, CB (Wash.)
Myles Bryant emulates that of Budda Baker. He is a raw cornerback that needs tons of work, but I could eventually seeing stepping into the role of Slot cornerback. He is very agile and maybe he can learn a thing or two from Robey-Coleman.
Round 6, Pick 190: Patrick Taylor Jr., RB (Memphis)
Taylor is a bigger back and would serve as a great third compliment to Miles Sanders and Boston Scott. He will be able to endure the NFL physicality and tone of hitting, and he could contribute on Special Teams.
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