2022 Eagles draft sleepers: Five players to keep an eye on as the draft approaches
While draft experts focus on the order of the potential first-round picks, some exciting players would suit the Birds on Day Two or Day Three.
Some of these 2022 Eagles draft sleepers could fill vital positions of need, like a linebacker, which I guarantee we will not address in the first round. So, here are five prospects in this year’s draft that I think could either be great developmental pieces or perhaps have a chance to make an impact right away.
1. LB Troy Andersen, Montana State: 6-4, 243 pounds
The Dillon, Montana native, remains one of the freakier athletes in this draft, still flying under the radar. At Montana State, Andersen played both running back and linebacker and became the quickest freshman to rush for 100 yards in a game for the Bobcats. He later went on to quarterback the team in 2018 in 11 of 13 games and scored 21 rushing touchdowns that season which is a Montana State single-season record.
The accolades continued on defense as he was named First-Team All Big-Sky playing linebacker, nickel corner, and overhang safety while remaining in the backfield at fullback and running back. In his final season at Montana State, Andersen earned the FCS ADA Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the 4th player in school history to earn those honors. If there was one name to pay attention to on Day Three as one of the premier Eagles draft sleepers, it’s the man from Montana.
2. CB Mario Goodrich, Clemson: 6-0, 176 pounds
Goodrich has been falling down draft boards with a disappointing showing at the combine. He has a slender frame weighing 176 pounds, is not particularly lengthy with under 31″ arms, and only posted a 4.52 forty-yard dash. However, if Howie isn’t able to obtain Derek Stingley Jr or Andrew Booth Jr, the other Clemson cornerback makes for one of the prime Eagles draft sleepers.
While some aspects of the NFL Combine remain essential, many elite prospects have fallen into Day Three picks because they simply don’t test well. Despite his lack of size, the first thing that pops on Goodrich’s tape is that he plays way larger than his frame suggests. He’s fluid in his coverage and possesses excellent defensive instincts, earning Clemson’s highest coverage grade last season at 83.5, according to PFF.
3. EDGE Alex Wright, UAB: 6-5, 271 pounds
The PFF Conference USA Player of the Year makes for an enticing late Day Two or early Day Three selection. He has the long frame and athleticism that teams covet in an edge prospect. However, Wright is still a raw player and needs to work on adding strength, recognizing offensive schemes, and improving his technique at the next level.
The UAB product finished with the 2nd highest PFF pass-rush grade (91.1), total pressures (51), and win rate (23.8%) in the Conference USA last season. His 23.8% pass-rush win rate stands second behind Trey Hendrickson (26.3%) as the two highest ever recorded by PFF in C-USA history. Again, his stock his rising as the draft nears but if his name is available on Day Three, he’s one of the few Eagles draft sleepers that could make an immediate impact as a role player.
4. WR Bo Melton, Rutgers: 5-11, 189 pounds
The Rutgers product game-breaking ability with his speed and quickness make him one of my favorite Eagles draft sleepers. Measuring an official 5-foot-11 at the NFL Combine, Bo has no problem against larger cornerbacks on the outside. He spent 422 snaps out wide compared to 135 in the slot. The former Scarlet Knight has those afterburners that would make him a nightmare in the slot and give the Eagles a chance to look at Quez Watkins on the outside for one more season. Melton could go higher than his draft projection so the Eagles could use one of their third-round picks on another dynamic weapon.
While his college numbers won’t overwhelm you partially due to his situation at Rutgers, he did rank 19th in the Power Five in deep receptions (15) while having the second-most uncatchable deep targets in 2020. Melton’s speed and explosiveness are on full display watching his tape, helping him create a ton of separation despite not being the most polished route runner.
5. OG/FB Jason Poe, Mercer University: 6-1, 300 pounds
Never leave an Eagles draft sleepers blog or mock draft without mentioning an interior offensive or defensive linemen you know Howie will fall in love with. Especially a bully weighing over 300 pounds who can move down the field like Jason Kelce AND can play fullback.
In the limited tape I could get on Poe, he did not impose his will on defenses for such an intimidating figure against lesser competition. His gap awareness also stood out, but the Georgia native can attribute many flaws to his lack of experience.
Focusing on basketball throughout high school, the multi-sport athlete switched to football and made the journey from a junior college fullback to a D2 All-American offensive lineman to an All-Conference D1 offensive lineman. Jason Poe’s become one of the most exciting draft prospects, so sign me up for a late-round flier on this guy simply due to his work ethic.
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