We finally made it! The NFL draft starts on Thursday and by the end of the weekend the Eagles will have a new group of young men trying to help fill roster holes. All the mock drafts will come to a stop, as we will see the real thing happening on TV with all general managers participating from their respective homes. Before the start of the draft though, there is one more mock draft roundup that will give Eagles fans an idea of who they should expect the team to focus on in round one.
In mock draft 1.0, all draft experts were predicting the Birds to grab a wide receiver at #21. In mock draft 2.0, most analysts were projecting the team to grab a receiver again, but also mixed in a cornerback (before the Darius Slay trade). In mock draft 3.0, experts started mixing in a new receiver into the mix as well as a linebacker. Now in the last mock draft roundup, it looks virtually the same as some of the previous ones. Here's who the experts have the Birds picking at 21st overall, along with their commentary, in mock 4.0:
21. Justin Jefferson, LSU WR
"Time for a celebratory drink for Carson Wentz with the selection of Jefferson in Round 1."
21. Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State WR
"Aiyuk didn't take part in the Senior Bowl because of injuries, but he's a YAC monster who also excels as a returner. Philly would be best-case-scenario as a landing spot that would best utilize his skill set."
21. Jerry Jeudy, Alabama WR
"Opinions are all over the board on Jeudy. Some believe he'll go to Denver or Dallas well before the Eagles are on the clock. Others believe he'll slide down. I try to identify some surprises in my mock, so I'll say Jeudy falls a few spots like Marquise "Hollywood" Brown did last year. The Eagles luck into finding a very talented receiver at 21."
21. Patrick Queen, LSU LB
"Everyone's thinking wide receiver -- no matter what -- at No. 21 for the Eagles, but that's not how Howie Roseman typically rolls. Queen is viewed even higher than Kenneth Murray on some teams' boards, and I could see Philadelphia going with an immediate game-changer on defense. Despite just one big season at LSU, Queen tore it up, and can roam sideline to sideline with ease. This would be a big swing -- especially with Justin Jefferson still on the board -- but I think the linebacker group is a lot thinner than the receiving corps."
21. Henry Ruggs III, Alabama WR
"The Eagles need more speed and explosiveness in the passing game. Ruggs is a big-play threat with the capacity to score from anywhere on the field."
21. Xavier McKinney, Alabama S
"With the top four receivers off the board, perhaps theEaglesopt for the No. 1 true safety in this year's class. Philly lost Malcolm Jenkins in free agency, and McKinney could become the steady force on the back end like the trusted veteran had been the last six seasons."
21. Henry Ruggs III, Alabama WR
"Maybe Eagles GM Howie Roseman will find a taker for Alshon Jeffery and his hefty salary (maybe by paying a good chunk of it), or maybe the Eagles have to play with Jeffery and his injury bug for one more season; when he’s on the field he’s effective if not a star. But the thing I heard about the Eagles in the last few days is, Henry Ruggs will not get past 21. So here we are. Ruggs and his 4.27 40-speed are obviously tempting, and 24 touchdowns on only 98 career catches is explosive stuff. But a couple of things make me wonder. Three years, 41 games, 2.4 catches per game, 41.9 receiving yards per game. The most dangerous weapon in your offense gets 42 yards a game? The other side of that is some very smart offensive minds—Sean Payton, Andy Reid—love Ruggs. He’s competitive, and he doesn’t drop many. If he goes to Philadelphia, he’ll be the deep weapon Carson Wentz has imagined with DeSean Jackson."
21. Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma LB
"Under Howie Roseman, the Eagles traditionally draft the best player available at a position of relative need in the first round and Murray fits that criteria. He can be late to sort at times, but his play speed and competitive energy will quickly make him a fan favorite in Philadelphia."