Top Targets for Eagles in Day Two of the 2020 NFL Draft
To start this off, it is evident that who the Eagles select on the second night of the draft with their second and third-round selections (picks 53 and 103) are completely dependent on who is chosen with their first-round pick. I am going to assume that General Manager Howie Roseman and his staff are going to do what almost every fan of our beloved Birds wants him to do and draft a receiver. Whether it be trading up to get one of the top three wideouts on the board, Jerry Jeudy, Ceedee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs III, or drafting someone from the next tier like Justin Jefferson or Denzel Mims, I believe the Eagles will be drafting a wide receiver with our first pick.
However, who we draft in the first round is not the only important selection of the weekend. The second day of the NFL draft, rounds two and three, has arguably been more valuable to the Eagles in the decade. The list of players the Eagles have selected in the second and third round since 2010 includes Nick Foles, Zach Ertz, Jordan Hicks, Vinny Curry, Mychal Kendricks, Dallas Goedert, and Miles Sanders, all of whom, with the exception of Goedert and Sanders, played a key role in the team's 2017 Super Bowl victory.
It is apparent that Howie thrives off these two rounds where he can spot hidden talent in players who will contribute immensely for years following. This is why I believe that in this draft specifically, coming after comments from Howie about how he wanted to infuse this team with youth, the second and third rounds will be where Howie makes his mark. Without further ado, here are the top targets for the Philadelphia Eagles in the second and third rounds.
Malik Harrison | ILB | Ohio State | 6'3, 247 lbs | Sr.
Harrison is, to me, a younger, slightly more athletic Nigel Bradham - a guy we just let walk. Although Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz prefers his linebackers to be fast and athletic, what Malik Harrison can bring to the run game and the MIKE linebacker position, in general, will make him a top prospect at linebacker for the Eagles. He is a physical thumper in downhill situations and does a wonderful job stuffing up blocks and keying opportunities to stack/shed or shoot gaps and attack the mesh point. An early-down player for most teams but with more development from our defensive staff in zone he could see his snap share raise in time.
Antoine Winfield Jr. | S | Minnesota | 5'9, 203 lbs | So.
Before I get into how much I love the way Winfield Jr. plays football, I will say that he had an injury problem in college which may discourage Howie from taking a chance on him. However, if he falls to us in the second round I would be surprised if we don't take a chance on him. Even with our recent adjustment of Jalen Mills from cornerback to safety, Winfield can fill the spot that Malcolm Jenkins left as a tough, inside the box, man-to-man defender for our defense. What he lacks in straight away speed, he makes up for in foot quickness and impeccable technique. He was healthy in 2019, and finished with 83 tackles, three sacks, two fumbles forced, and an impressive seven interceptions, one of which he brought back for a score. Winfield Jr. was Pro Football Focus's highest-graded safety in the Big 10 in 2019 with an 88.1 overall, as well as a great 89.2 mark in coverage. He spent 399 snaps playing deep, 283 in the box, and 85 in the slot. I would love to see him flying around in the backend of our defense.
Matt Hennessy | C | Temple | 6'4, 307 lbs | Jr.
First off, who doesn't love when the Eagles draft a local college player. Better than that, Matt Hennessy fits perfectly with offensive line schemes. Jason Kelce, our current All-Pro center has been rumored to be considering retirement for the past few years and, even if he plays next year, the time will come when we need to find someone to fill his shoes. Hennessy is a technically-refined, mobile, smart and controlled blocker that profiles as a starter in a zone-blocking scheme. That sounds exactly like the player Jason Kelce is today. From his hand usage, bend, footwork and processing skills, there’s an obvious polish in the way Hennessy plays the game. He isn’t the biggest or strongest blocker which does box him in as a center that doesn’t offer much in the way of position flexibility or appeal in gap blocking run schemes. Hennessy has a chance to make a legitimate impact and projects as a long-term fixture as a starter.
KJ Hamler | WR | Penn State | 5'9, 178 lbs | So.
With all of the troubles our offense faced this past season, Howie goes out and not only gets us one top receiver, but TWO top wide receivers. I do admit, Hamler will be a project coming out of college as he is barely 175 pounds, however, he could excel as a complementary wide receiver. He will most likely settle in as a primary slot receiver, but there's never been a better time to be a slot in the NFL. Hamler has the route running and run after catch skills to command a high percentage of targets in an NFL offense and his short-area quickness will make him a handful to account for on routes run near the sticks. Adding him alongside DeSean Jackson, Zach Ertz, and possibly Justin Jefferson makes an exciting group for Carson Wentz to throw to. Oh, and he went to nearby Penn State.
Jonathan Greenard | DE | Florida | 6'3, 263 lbs | Sr.
We all know how important the defensive line is to Howie Roseman. With Brandon Graham getting older, we are going to need to add an outside pass rusher opposite Derek Barnett. Jonathan Greenard is that guy. There isn't a player I love more in this draft than him. He may not be the most athletic guy, but has all the intangibles to be a tough battle on the defensive line. He projects as a starting base defensive end at the NFL level. With a powerful punch and great length, Greenard has a knack for setting the edge. Greenard pairs that stout presence with an effective inside set of counter moves as a pass rusher. He doesn't illustrate the ideal bend of the edge, but Greenard has the ability to collapse edges enough to soften his rush lane and be a persistent presence in the passing game from the outside. If he falls to the Eagles third-round pick, this will be the steal of the draft.