NASHVILLE, TN (CBS 3)- After moving up in the first round to select Washington State offensive lineman Andre Dillard with the 22nd pick in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft on Thursday night, the Eagles have two more picks to add to their team when the second round gets underway this evening. The team holds the 21st (53rd) and 25th (57th) overall picks in Round 2 and there are some strong prospects left on the board.
Executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman has been aggressive in filling some of the team’s perceived holes this offseason, and fans expect nothing less this evening holding two picks in the round. With the selection of Dillard, the offensive line was further fortified, now the biggest holes appear to be at linebacker and in the back end of the secondary.
Last year’s starting linebacker Jordan Hicks left in free agency while the team’s safety group, led by Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod, could use some younger reinforcements. Defensive line is also a possibility as it is a deep position in this year’s draft class and in today’s NFL you can never have too many guys who can get after the quarterback. With these things in mind, let’s look at some of the top prospects that could still be on the board when the Eagles are back on the clock according to CBSSports.com’s prospect rankings.
Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
Wilson isn’t as heralded as some of the recent linebackers to enter the league from Nick Saban’s defense. But, he’s expected to be a more than capable three down linebacker in the league. Wilson showed the ability to make an impact both against the run and pass for the Tide in his two seasons as a starter. His ability to cover running backs and tight ends in space is exactly what the team needs following Hicks’ departure.
There is some concern about his instincts as he made only seven tackles for loss over the last two seasons from his inside linebacker spot in Alabama’s defense. Ranked as the 54th best prospect on the board by CBSSports.com, Wilson could certainly still be available when the Eagles come on the clock for the first time tonight.
Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia
Thornhill’s name got lost a bit in a big class of safeties this year but he is coming off the best season of his college career as a senior. Standing at 6-foot and weighing 205 pounds, Thornhill made 98 tackles for the Cavaliers this past season while collecting six interceptions and seven passes defensed. He was a three-year starter for Virginia with his production improving each season.
He has shown the ability to make plays deep down the field, challenging receivers to make difficult catches. His play against the run has been a concern, but if the Eagles were to select him, he would have the chance to learn from Jenkins and McLeod two of the better safeties against the run in the league. He’s rated as the 49th best prospect by CBSSports.com, so the Eagles may have to hope he falls a bit in order to get him.
Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
The latest Alabama safety to enter the draft, Thompson became a full-time starter last season for the Tide and garnered 78 tackles, two interceptions, six passes defensed and four forced fumbles as a junior. He is a heavy-hitting safety more than willing to get his hands dirty in the run game. But, at just 195 pounds, that could work to his detriment in the league.
Still, as evidenced by his numbers, he has a knack for finding the ball and breaking up plays. He did get beat several times against Oklahoma and Clemson after jumping routes, which could give some fans nightmares of Jalen Mills biting on double moves. That said, he has the tools and length to be an impact player at safety and like Thornhill, he could learn from the veterans already on the roster. Rated as the 57th-best prospect, he’s more likely to still be available for the team’s second pick of the round.
Elgton Jenkins, OL, Mississippi State
While Dillard addressed the succession plan for left tackle Jason Peters, the team still has some question marks on the interior of the offensive line in that regard. Jenkins, rated the 61st overall prospect, would address that issue. The 6’4″ 310-pound center started the last two seasons at center for the Bulldogs and showed himself to be one of the better athletes at that spot in the SEC. With Jason Kelce reaching the stage where he is debating retirement during the offseason, bringing in Jenkins could allow for a smooth transition whenever he decides to hang it up.