Philadelphia Eagles Draft: Final Seven-Round Mock Draft

Apr 28, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view of the stage and podium before the 2016 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 28, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view of the stage and podium before the 2016 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports /
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Philadelphia Eagles
Oct 31, 2015; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers defensive back Tray Matthews (28) and defensive lineman Carl Lawson (55) celebrate a tackle during the fourth quarter against the Mississippi Rebels at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mississippi won 27-19. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports /

Round 2 (#43 overall): Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn

In a loaded EDGE class with a flavor for anyone, Lawson could leave the board Top-20 and I’d look like an idiot (this would not be a new feeling). But from what I understand, his injury history (knee, hip), diminutive frame, and lack of athletic upside may scare teams off in Round 1. Should he fall into Philly’s lap in Round 2…well, ‘no-brainer’ is the phrase that comes to mind.

We’ll start with his injuries–yes, there’s reason to be concerned. Those are two important joints in general, but specifically for EDGE rushers, if you can’t consistently bend through your knees and hips, you’re in trouble. That lack of flexibility does show up on Lawson’s tape–he isn’t an elite bender, and that may contribute to his dropping from Round 1.

That being said, no Round 2 prospect is perfect–otherwise, they’d be a, uh, Round 1 player. The frame and athletic profile? Check this out:

When comparing Lawson’s Combine testing to all NFL athletes, Brandon Graham comes in as his 3rd-most similar profile, with an 85% match. Now, Graham only had measurables, a 40-yard dash, and bench press, but the Eagles’ fiery defensive end wins with his motor, linear explosiveness, and hands.

That’s exactly how Lawson wins as well, only–wait for it–I think Lawson has more refined pass-rush technique.

The Eagles may look to invest in a more dynamic, elite finisher from the Wide-9 (read: Charles Harris), but Lawson and Graham both set a physical edge, consistently generate pressure, and never quit. Lawson fits the Philly culture nicely and could round out a Top-5 NFL defensive line for the Eagles.

Alternate Realities:

1) How The Mighty Have Fallen: Derek Rivers, Youngstown State. While I’m not as bullish on Rivers as many analysts, the word is he could find himself in the back-end of Round 1 given his athletic profile and freakish tape. While there is that FCS-to-NFL leap of faith to consider, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Eagles Wentz–I mean went that direction (I’m sorry, I know).

2) They Be Reachin’: Tarell Basham, Ohio. One of my serious man-crushes in this class, a little spit shine on Basham’s game and you have an NFL edge defender. He won’t overwhelm when rushing the quarterback, and even more so than Lawson, he struggles to finish. End of Round 2 is a better spot for the all-time Bobcat sack leader.

3) Please, Dear God, Not: Tyus Bowser, Houston. Like Kevin King from a round ago, this is a freak athlete who could develop into an outstanding 3-4 rush OLB or even 4-3 defensive end in a Wide-9. Philly simply must go safer early in this draft. Bowser could do basically everything in the front seven; but will he dominate anything?

4) The Dark Horse: Dawuane Smoot, Illinois. A contested evaluation among scouts, I believe in Smoot’s run defending abilities and his flexibility. His explosion off the line is sub-par, but he’s a heady rusher who consistently demonstrates a successful counter move. You haven’t heard the hype for Smoot, so an early Round 2 selection would surprise–but I think the value is there.