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APC Community Mock Draft 2022: The Eagles are set to pick again at No. 18

The Eagles are on the clock again after the Chargers selected Trevor Penning with the 17th pick

NCAA Football: Murray State at Cincinnati Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

The Chargers prioritized Justin Herbert’s protection and selected Trevor Penning with the 17th pick. Penning has a lot to clean up in his game but has a nastiness that head coach Brandon Staley will welcome as the team looks to contend this year.

The Eagles selected Drake London with their last pick, marking the 3rd time in as many years that they’ve drafted a first-round receiver. The pick fills a glaring need for the team and immediately makes them more dynamic on offense. This move should give them all the tools needed to evaluate Jalen Hurts for the future.

Many of you may be wondering why Ahmad Gardner is on the board this late. The simple answer is I messed up the board and crossed him off at the 9th pick. However, the Seahawks ended up with Malik Willis at that spot, leaving us with this predicament. So we’re going to write Gardner in as an option for the Eagles here. On the plus side, this means Gardner was not available for the Vikings at 12. So at least something positive came from this. Obviously, Gardner would be a slam dunk pick this late. He is a long, physical corner with a nose for the ball and would be a stalwart on the Eagles’ defense opposite Darius Slay. The pick would be the right blend of planning for Slay’s future while making a big upgrade at CB2 and trying to contend in the present.

While the Eagles signed Josh Sweat to an extension and signed a big fish free agent in Haason Reddick, it’s possible they still choose an edge rusher early in the draft. GM Howie Roseman values getting pressure more than any other component of his defenses and the Eagles need to look to the future. Brandon Graham is 34 years old and the team will need a succession plan. George Karlaftis would make sense for a team that was near the bottom of the league in getting after the QB last year.

The Eagles pursued big names in free agency to fill their hole at safety, but came up empty-handed, ultimately re-signing Anthony Harris. The back end lacks playmaking right now and Daxton Hill, a safety/nickel out of Michigan, could fix that issue. He is a scheme versatile defender with the ability to play outside in limited snaps.


Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

The consensus top corner in this year’s draft, “Sauce” Gardner saw his stock rise in a magical Cincinnati season that saw the team make it to the College Football Playoff. At 6’3”, 190 lbs., the standout corner excels at using his length to jam receivers at the line and shut down a play before it begins. He famously did not allow a single touchdown in his college career and has said he has no plans to give one up in the league. That sort of cockiness defines how Gardner plays, as he aggravates receivers at the line and down the field. His length, timing, and fluidity all blend together to create a corner who will be a day 1 starter on the outside.

George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue

Despite his first taste of football coming at age 13 after moving to Indiana from Greece, Karlaftis exploded onto the scene with a breakout freshman year in 2019. After missing time in 2020, he returned in 2020 to post five sacks and three forced fumbles in 12 games, receiving third-team All-American honors along the way. At 6’4”, 275 lbs., his sheer size should provide some versatility to play inside. His lack of bend is noticeable but could be offset by solid hand usage and raw athleticism. Karlaftis may be raw, but he already possesses a level of power and refinement to his game that should serve him well from day 1.

Daxton Hill, S, Michigan

Hill was a first-team all big 10 selection in 2021 as he recorded 70 tackles, two interceptions, and nine pass breakups. A versatile defender, Hill has spent time at both safety and nickel and is smooth in his movements due to fantastic athleticism and a 4.38 40 time. He is able to anticipate routes and close quickly on routes from the free safety spot. Hill is a willing tackler and will impress teams with his competitive toughness. His speed and explosiveness combined with his range and versatility should get his name called fairly early this April.


Poll

Who will the Eagles select at no. 18?

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
    (245 votes)
  • 14%
    George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
    (47 votes)
  • 9%
    Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
    (32 votes)
324 votes total Vote Now

That does it for the Eagles’ second pick of the first round. Ahmad Gardner is an obvious choice here with the shutdown ability he brings at corner. Be sure to check back later today for the Saints’ pick at 19 and don't forget to vote here and on Twitter (@acmepackingco).