In case you hadn’t heard, the NFL Draft begins Thursday night (8 p.m.) with the first round. It continues Friday (7 p.m.) with rounds two and three then concludes on Saturday (noon) with rounds four through seven.
I do only one Eagles mock draft, and I don’t factor in trades, though I suspect the Eagles will try to move back in the first round to get a third-round choice.
Here’s my stay-put version:
25: Chris Lindstrom, OL, Boston College (pictured above). The Eagles have said they will take the best player available. Well, that could be Lindstrom, because the most popular picks among the local beats seem to be Clemson defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence and Oklahoma receiver Marquise Brown and I think both will be gone at this point.
Don’t be frightened by the misfire on Dany Watkins eight years ago. This is a different Howie Roseman, now.
The 6-4, 310-pound Lindstrom checks a couple of boxes the Eagles’ executive vice president of football operations likes – versatility and a true passion for the game.
Lindstrom has played right tackle and right guard during his career at BC, and could even settle at center. Also, he comes from a family of football players. His father, Chris Lindstrom, Sr., played 19 games in the NFL as a defensive end. He has an uncle who played at Boston College and a brother who was a teammate on the offensive line this past season.
Certainly the Eagles could use an offensive lineman after releasing Stefen Wisniewski this offseason and the possibility that Brandon Brooks may not quite be ready to return from an Achilles tear suffered on Jan. 13. Lindstrom can step in right away for Brooks if Brooks is not ready and he can challenge Isaac Seumalo to start at left guard, leaving Seumalo in a super-reserve role similar to Halapoulivaati Vaitai.
Down the road, Lindstrom could even take over for center Jason Kelce, who has been flirting with retirement that past couple offseasons.
Here is analysis from NFL analyst Lance Zierlein:
“Lindstrom is one of the most athletic interior linemen in the 2019 draft with a rare ability to match movement quickness with anyone across from him. His quickness can place him in position to make blocks on both the first and second levels and he has an impressive ability to cover lateral space and protect his gaps as a pass blocker. Lindstrom is scrappy at the point of attack but lacks the length, mass and strength some teams will want. His final destination could be as a guard/center in a zone scheme where he can become a long-time starter.”
53: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame. There is a good chance Tillery could be gone by now. I’m willing to gamble he won’t be, based on two factors.
First, he had shoulder surgery in March. It has been reported that Tillery will be ready to practice in July. Still, it is a red flag. Second, there are some lingering off-the-field issues. As a freshman, Tillery was suspended for unspecified rules violation. As a sophomore, he went on Twitter to lobby for the firing of Irish coach Brian Kelly and endorsed fired LSU coach Les Miles to take over. Also that year, Tillery had difficulty controlling his temper in a loss to USC when he kicked a Trojan player in the head and stomped on the leg of another USC player.
The 6-6, 295-pounder, though, can play, and he would be a big boost in stopping the run for a defensive line that must face Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott and New York’s Saquon Barkley twice a year in the NFC East.
Plan B: Dre’Mont Jones, DL, Ohio State or Zach Allen, DL, Boston College
57: David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State. This might be a little high for Montgomery, but without a third-round pick, the Eagles may have to reach. It will be difficult to pass on a 5-10, 220-pound back that excels in both the run and pass game, loves the game, and is of high character. On the field, he ran for nearly 3,000 yards (2.995) in three seasons with 26 touchdowns. As a receiver out of the backfield, he had 71 catches in three years for 582 yards.
Plan B: Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis
127: Mecole Hardman, WR, Georgia. He may be gone earlier, but if not, grab him. At 5-10, 187 pounds, he has the speed the team desires, blazing a 4.33 at the NFL Scouting Combine.He needs to improve his pass-catching consistency, but, while he does, he brings the added value of returning punts. He led the nation in punt returns of 20-plus yards with seven as a sophomore then did it again last year with eight, including one for a touchdown. Last year, he had 35 catches for 543 yards and seven touchdowns.
Plan B: David Sills, WR, West Virginia, or Miles Boykin, WR, Notre Dame
138: Mike Bell, S, Fresno State. He has good size at 6-2, 210 to help match up with bigger receivers and tight ends, and scouts say he is faster than his disappointing 4.83 combine time in the 40. Last year, he had 87 tackles with eight passes broken up and three interceptions. He is capable of playing either strong or free safety.
Plan B: Chase Hansen, LB/S, Utah
163: David Long, LB, West Virginia. The Eagles have a history with WVU players, but Long is undersized at 5-11, 227 pounds. The Eagles don’t seem to mind that sort of size in a linebacker (Fromer Eagle Mychal Kendricks is 5-11, 138). Long was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year with 111 tackles, 19 for loss, and eight sacks.
197: Shareef Miller, DL, Penn State. This 6-4, 254-pound Nittany Lion, who went to George Washington High in Philadelphia, is still learning the fundamentals of the position. Still, he had 7.5 sacks last year, and is good at setting the edge on running plays.