Eagles Outlook: Howie bolsters his defense in recent 2023 mock draft
We’re only four weeks into the NFL season, but it’s never too early to look ahead to draft season. Especially in regards to the Eagles, who hold two first-round selections in next year’s NFL Draft — the New Orleans Saints’ first rounder and their own.
This week, Pro Football Focus dropped a way-too-early 2023 mock draft, with the draft order based on the Super Bowl odds. As it stands, the Eagles will have the 12th overall selection from the Saints and their own selection all the way down at 30th overall.
With the 12th overall pick, PFF has the Eagles taking Notre Dame edge rusher Isaiah Foskey.
“Foskey is a long, powerful pocket-collapser who has steadily improved every year of his career. At 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds, he has the goods to continue that in the NFL. His 16 pressures in four games are already halfway to his pressure total from a season ago. He can learn from and take over for Brandon Graham in time.”
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Aside from the quarterback position, GM Howie Roseman has always prioritized the trenches over everything else. Bolstering the defensive end position in next year’s draft makes a lot of sense, considering Brandon Graham will be 35 years old and Derek Barnett will more than likely not be on the team.
PFF has Foskey ranked as their sixth-best defensive end entering next year’s draft and the 27th-best overall prospect. His 76.6 defensive grade ranks 108th out of 814 qualifying edge players in the nation, according to PFF.
Through four games this season, Foskey has tallied three sacks, two quarterback hits, and 11 hurries. The Notre Dame product jumped into the first-round conversation last year, where he accumulated 52 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, and 11 sacks.
“At his size, Foskey also brings visibly elite explosive capacity,” Ian Cummings of Pro Football Network writes. “He’s an immediate accelerator off the snap who covers ground with awe-inspiring quickness out of his stance. His fast, long strides can be very hard to match. It also helps that Foskey reacts quickly to the snap. He gears up instantly and puts sudden pressure on blocking angles.”
Given how deep the 2023 class is at the defensive end position, I’d be shocked if the Eagles didn’t take one with one of his first-round selections. If the Saints continue to lose, the team may be in a position to take a bonafide star at the position.
Down at the bottom of the first-round, PFF has the Eagles taking Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr.
“Darius Slay, who is on the books for $26 million in 2023, could very well be a cap casualty. Even if he’s not, the Eagles are in a position to be forward-thinking with their draft strategy. Porter has been lights out to start the year with only nine catches allowed on 22 targets for 89 yards in addition to an FBS-leading eight pass breakups.”
Although PFF currently has Porter ranked as the 74th-best prospect in the nation, his play this season will likely move him into the first-round discussion.
Porter, the son of former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Joey Porter Sr., has allowed just 40 percent of the passes thrown his way to get completed and opposing quarterbacks have posted a pedestrian 53 passer rating when throwing in his direction.
Standing at 6-foot-2 and weighing in at 198 pounds, Porter is bigger than your typical cornerback and his length should bode well in Jonathan Gannon’s scheme.
With Slay’s massive cap hit next year and James Bradberry’s contract expiring at the end of this year, the Eagles will need to add a corner in some form or fashion next offseason. They’ve had opportunities to take top tier corner in recent drafts, but they’ve often elected to add veterans on one-year deals or take fliers on CBs in the later rounds.
The Eagles haven’t taken a corner in the first-round since Lito Sheppard in 2002. Unless Howie manages to keep both Slay and Bradberry next offseason, that trend could change during next year’s draft.
Mandatory Credit: 247 Sports