NFL Draft: Would the Eagles go Defensive Line at #12?

Detroit Free Press via USA Today Sports

Let’s get it back to the Eagles.

As we peruse the web for Birds nuggets, we come across an interview with Daniel Jeremiah on 94 WIP. Jeremiah was a former Eagles scout, so we put a little more weight and consideration into his words.

Here are a couple of interesting quotes from the appearance, talking about needs other than receiver and corner (transcribed by Jack Keffer):

“I think more defensive line than offensive line. I think there is a strong belief in Jordan Mailata inside the building there. I think some people look at the offensive line as needs to be addressed because they didn’t play well last year, but I think there is some belief that if they can keep people healthy, and that’s a big if, but they feel a little bit better internally about their offensive line than maybe people do on the outside.

“A defensive lineman would make some sense. Maybe they would feel comfortable with Jaelan Phillips. If they did, he’s a freak show talent. Could go Kwity Paye or something like that.”

First things first – do the Eagles even need a defensive lineman?

The answer is yes, because they could use help and then depth almost everywhere. On the interior, they’ve got 30-year-old Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave. 33-year-old Brandon Graham is on one end and Derek Barnett, in the final year of his contract, is on the other. Beyond that, it’s Josh Sweat, Hassan Ridgeway coming off injury, and not much else. It might look fine for now, but there is a very brief shelf life for that defensive line as currently constructed.

If you ask Eagles fans, they’ll probably say that there are other positions of need that should be addressed before defensive line, but knowing how the Birds have valued the d-line over the years, would any of us be surprised to see them use pick #12 on one of these guys? Even in a draft that does not have a consensus top-10 d-line guy?

For what it’s worth, I have not seen any pass rushers mocked to the Eagles. Paye seems to be the consensus #1 EDGE this year and some people see him going to the Raiders at #17 or the Chargers at #13. Jaelen Phillips is being projected to go in that 20-30 range, so it would seem as though drafting either of these guys at 12 would be a reach, considering the fact that the Eagles are probably going to get a shot at one of Patrick Surtain, Jaycee Horn, DeVonta Smith, or Jaylen Waddle. It’s just hard to see them going d-line in their current position. If they traded back, got an extra pick, and then went d-line, it would be infinitely more palatable.

The other thing worth touching on is Jeremiah mentioning that there’s a “strong belief” in Mailata, which is good to hear. Thank God we’ve moved on from Jason Peters after kicking the left tackle can down the road. If Mailata pans out, and Andre Dillard is able to be moved to right tackle eventually, or traded, or whatever, then the Birds look okay on the offensive line. Still, if they took Rashawn Slater or Penei Sewell fell all the way to 12, we couldn’t be deflated by one of those picks.

Here’s the full interview:

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