Eagles Outlook: Todd McShay’s first 2023 NFL mock draft has Philly landing standout RB at fifth overall
Although the Philadelphia Eagles hold the best record in football at 12-1 and are primed for a deep playoff run, Howie Roseman and Co. still have a high first-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft thanks to the New Orleans Saints.
Leading up to the 2022 NFL Draft, Howie traded the No. 16 overall pick, the No. 19 overall pick, and a 2022 sixth-round pick to New Orleans in exchange for the No. 18 overall pick, a 2022 third-round pick, a 2022 seventh-round pick, along with the Saints’ first-round selection this year and their second-round pick in 2024.
The trade has already paid dividends, with New Orleans sitting at 4-9 on the season. If the season ended today, the Saint’s first-round selection would be fifth overall.
With how this season has gone thus far, Philadelphia can really do whatever they want with that fifth overall pick.
ESPN’s infamous NFL Draft insider Todd McShay finally dropped his first 2023 mock draft on Tuesday, where he had the Eagles taking Texas’ All-American running back Bijan Robinson at No. five.
As we all know, the Eagles have arguably the most lethal running game in the NFL. They average 4.9 yards per carry (fifth in the NFL) and 162.2 yards per game (third). Miles Sanders is also in the midst of a career-year, surpassing the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his four-year career.
Of course, Sanders is also set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. Howie Roseman has always been stingy about paying RBs, and even though Sanders has proven himself as a legitimate RB1 in 2022, it doesn’t mean Roseman will automatically go into a bidding war with another team in free agency for him.
Simply put, the Eagles organization doesn’t value the running back position as highly as other priority positions (i.e. offensive line, defensive line, secondary).
McShay’s explanation on the Eagles taking Robinson
“However, Miles Sanders is set to be a free agent, this offense leans heavily on the run (433 rushes, second most in the NFL), and Robinson is a special prospect with elite size, speed, power, and elusiveness.
I know the ‘it’s too early for a running back’ arguments are coming, and I agree 99% of the time. But why spend heavily on re-signing Sanders or bringing in another back in free agency when Robinson — who is an upgrade — is available here on a rookie deal? Robinson cruised to 1,580 yards and 18 TDs on the ground this season while breaking 91 tackles. Dropping him into the league’s best offense would be scary for every other team. Philly also has another first-rounder down the board …
McShay isn’t wrong with his analysis here. Robinson is the consensus RB1 in this year’s NFL Draft and the prospect of placing him behind this Eagles offensive line is certainly enticing.
Looking ahead to the offseason, while running back will be a question mark if Sanders isn’t re-signed, the Eagles may have more pressing needs to address at fifth overall.
Edge rusher, for example, is the much more likely route for Howie and Co. Not only because the organization obviously values that position more than running back, it could be a legitimate need once the draft rolls around.
Derek Barnett, Robert Quinn, and Brandon Graham could all be gone next year. Barnett and Quinn are essentially foregone conclusions. BG may want one more crack at it next year, but if the team takes home the Lombardi Trophy in February, it wouldn’t surprise me if Graham decides to walk away.
There are also a handful of impact pass rushers projected to go in the top-10 of next year’s draft. Alabama’s Will Anderson, Clemson’s Myles Murphy, Georgia’s Nolan Smith, and Florida State’s Jared Verse, just to name a few.
Not to mention, Roseman has never selected a running back in the first-round during his tenure as Philadelphia’s GM. I doubt he bucks that trend next year, especially as high as fifth overall.
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Mandatory Credit: ESPN