Dynasty fantasy football is a year-round affair. A sharp manager will be thinking about all aspects of the dynasty season at all times. Those managers who are keen enough to look ahead will be the ones that can grab themselves an edge over the competition. A large portion of the dynasty off-season will be spent discussing incoming rookies and the related topic, the NFL draft.
It is easy for us to fall in love with the next workhorse running back or prototypical alpha wide receiver, but a manager that is in tune with the entire draft class as a whole will find themselves ahead of the game. Whether scouting the next road-paving interior offensive lineman or genetic freak edge rusher, we can find ourselves at quite the advantage in April by building an entire picture of how the 2022 class will play out. Those that prepare ahead will not be often surprised at the outcomes.
The draft order used in this article reflects the order before the Championship games began. Credit for the mock draft simulation goes to The Draft Network, and team needs are also generated from this site. Compensatory picks have not been assigned and will not be included in this exercise.
The Elephant in The Room
While the season ultimately ended in playoff disappointment in Tampa Bay, few teams in the league did a better job than the Eagles of establishing a physical identity. Philadelphia outperformed expectations in 2021, making the playoffs following a 4-11-1 season that led to the firing of HC Doug Pederson.
Nick Sirianni was hired as HC, and QB Carson Wentz was sent to Indianapolis, paving the way for Jalen Hurts to take over as the starter. While passing efficiency was highly inconsistent, the Eagles led the NFL in rushing in 2021 and closed the season 7-3 behind stellar offensive line play and Hurt’s running ability. That identity fell flat against the NFL’s best rushing defense and the once immortal Tom Brady, but that isn’t an appropriate measuring stick for an ascending team. However, the question will loom all offseason; Can Hurts take this team to the next level?
Sooner or Later
The Eagles have three first-rounders, all located in the upper teens. With several holes on defense and an organizational commitment to winning in the trenches, the Eagles have an opportunity to add multiple starters at priority positions on the first day of the NFL draft.
GM Howie Roseman and the Eagles brass may have made up their minds on Hurts. Roseman publicly voiced support for Hurts as the starter in 2022. The Eagles have a surplus of draft capital, and if the plan were to replace Hurts in the draft, they would have to move up the board. Roughly half of the teams picking ahead of Philly have immediate QB need, so all three Eagles picks are currently beyond the projected range for top passer Kenny Pickett.
Trading on or before NFL Draft Day will be an option if QB is the target for Philadelphia; however, it was not an option for me for this exercise. With that said, I think it’s a possibility worth mentioning before we go through the picks. If the Eagles decide that investing at QB is the route they’d like to go, trading up in the 2022 Draft is an attainable goal and would provide immediate satisfaction. Deferring assets into the 2023 Draft class would be another option and likely would yield similar results in a potentially higher graded QB class.
However, if the Eagles choose, as I did, to lean into and accentuate their current identity, this is a roster that can rapidly develop into one of the NFL’s best.
1.15 Kenyon Green, IOL Texas A&M
Another year, another stud SEC offensive lineman heads to Philadelphia. Veteran OG Brandon Brooks has recently retired, and C Jason Kelce may be off-roster next season. 2021 second-round rookie Landon Dickerson has the versatility to play any of the interior line spots, but there will be playing time available for another talented rookie.
Green is a highly impactful second-level blocker and plays with tremendous bend and balance. Primarily still a finesse player winning on athletic ability, Green playing between bruisers Jordan Mailata and the previously mentioned Dickerson would allow his strengths to shine. Green adds athleticism and pass-protecting ability to a perfect organizational philosophy match to an already talented run-blocking unit.
1.16 Devin Lloyd, LB Utah
Here is a luxury pick for a team with the luxury to make it. Lloyd, by raw talent, is a top-10 player in the class, but he plays a less than premium position in a class with depth at linebacker. TJ Edwards was an excellent find for an Eagles roster struggling at LB over recent years. Still, with Alex Singleton’s underwhelming play and restricted free agent status, Lloyd dramatically improves the flexibility and speed of the Eagles’ front seven.
Lloyd doesn’t have any significant flaw in his game. He is fluid dropping in coverage, rarely misses tackles, and plays sideline-to-sideline. However, his best strength is his ability to blitz and affect the pocket. This strength validates this pick as DC Jonathan Gannon looks to become more multiple in fronts and blitz packages. Lloyd may not be the same elite athlete as former top-five blitz-first LB Devin White, but that is the best comparison I have to play style at the next level.
1.19 Jaquan Brisker, S Penn State
The Eagles reach marginally here, but on a talented player of need. Safety may be the most top-heavy position in this year’s class, and that may necessitate a slight reach with a long and lean frame with good above-the-rim ball skills. Brisker profiles best as a traditional free safety. He is a highly instinctive and explosive athlete. His fearlessness at the tackle point also allows him to excel in the run game. Maximizing this pick will come through a team’s willingness to use Brisker in various roles and alignments. With Anthony Harris and Rodney McLeod set to hit free agency, the Eagles land a third NFL-ready player at a position of need.
2.51 Trent McDuffie, CB Washington
The Eagles secondary took a step forward in 2021. The offseason signing of Darius Slay and the continued ascension of Avonte Maddox have solidified the two outside CB spots. Enter Washington’s McDuffie, one of the feistiest defenders in the draft. We should not limit his skillset to exclusive nickel duty. However, playing nickel will offer an NFL team the most plus traits. McDuffie shows tackling and pursuit skills primarily reserved for safeties and linebackers. Despite being slightly undersized (5’11”, 195), few players are more competitive in coverage. His combination of foot quickness and this physical mindset should translate well against most NFL slot weapons and TEs.
3.83 Amare Barno, EDGE Virginia Tech
Since DC Jonathan Gannon took over, becoming more multiple in fronts and blitz packages has been a point of emphasis. However, personnel dictates formation, and the Eagles were too limited in this area in 2021. Developing a player that allows the Eagles to swap from odd to even fronts should be prioritized. Barno has that developmental upside. At 6’6” and comfortable rushing from a 2- or 3-point stance, Barno has both the speed and strength to transcend this role eventually. Undersized by weight at just 235 lbs., the most exciting part of watching Barno at Tech was how well he plays under his pads and holds up against the run. Barno punched his ticket to the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL. Given the traits and length, a strong performance in Mobile could boost Barno into Round 2.
4.120 Breece Hall, RB Iowa State
Finally, a little fantasy fun! Miles Sanders once again was unable to grab a firm hold on the lead role in Philly, failing to score a TD in 12 games despite playing on the top rushing offense. Hall is the antithesis of Sanders. Polish, and not athleticism, is Hall’s calling card. Hall has the vision, contact balance, and pass-pro skills Sanders has never mastered. He can manufacture tough yards and the lateral explosion to break 20+ yard gains, and he is overlooked in this class. Hall has limited long speed and is unlikely to test through the roof. Sanders is another example of why testing remains a small portion of the total evaluation. Hall is a three-down contributor and a steal in the fourth round.
5.152 Greg Dulcich, TE UCLA
A personal favorite TE in this class, Dulcich, is where the modern-day TE position is moving. Flexible in alignment and a versatile playmaker, Dulcich would make an excellent complement to newly minted starter Dallas Goedert. Dulcich is most useful in the short-intermediate areas of the field, where his after-the-catch skills and tackle-breaking ability show out. While he generates minimal separation downfield, his lower body strength gives him excellent body control at the catch point. My TE3, Dulcich, is another Senior Bowl participant looking to use a standout performance to springboard him into Day-2 of the Draft.
5.160 Dontario Drummond, WR Ole Miss
You’ve heard the expression “it’s a copycat league.” That copycat mentality is most typically applied schematically through formations and play concepts. However, the NFL also has a copycat mentality on the personnel side of the equation. Deebo Samuel’s meteoric ascension will force NFL GMs to consider; who is the next prospect that could fill that role? Kyle Shanahan’s offense has already been copied across the league, and teams are now looking to match the personnel. In this sense, Drummond has humongous appeal, both to the Eagles and as a league-wide prospect.
While hardly an efficient route runner, Drummond has shown in his time at Ole Miss the tackle-breaking and motion exploitation that highlights Deebo’s 2021 eruption. The vertical aspects of the Eagles WR core are well represented. DeVonta Smith and pseudo breakout Quez Watkins offer enough downfield playmaking. However, a player to compete with first-round disappointment Jalen Reagor in this tertiary jet role should be a priority for Philly. If utilized correctly, this pick could be the piece that puts the Philadelphia offense over the top.
5.164 Haskell Garrett, DT Ohio State
Let’s lean into the organization’s strength at this stage in the draft. Garrett has some limitations as a run defender. Due to his above-average upfield burst for a DT, Garrett regularly finds himself in the backfield. Unfortunately, just too often beyond the ball carrier. In a system with veterans like Fletcher Cox and Josh Sweat to teach technique, a player with Garrett’s penetrating skillset has a chance to develop into a starter long term. Philly does well with this pick to improve its developmental upside at defensive tackle. The Eagles build to win in the trenches, and the good years remaining for current starters may be limited.
6.193 Blaise Andries, OT Minnesota
Even at 6’6” and 335 lbs., it’s easy to get overlooked standing behind Minnesota teammate Daniel Faalele (#78 pictured above). Andries (#77) deserves more hype and respect for what he’s accomplished for the Gophers. Incredibly versatile, he started games at every spot except center in his time in the Twin Cities. He offers that same versatility as a depth lineman at the next level. Andries has enough size and length to provide depth at tackle. Additionally, he has the lower body power and, more importantly, the nastiness to flourish inside. Depth and flexibility will be what makes him most appealing to GMs. However, by the end of his rookie contract, Andries has enough talent to develop into a competent NFL starter.
6.205 Connor Heyward, FB Michigan State
How else could you wrap up an 11-pick mock draft but with a fullback? Heyward isn’t just any fullback. He is the son of NFL FB legend Craig “Ironwood” Heyward. Although Heyward profiles as a modern-day FB, the same ruthless aggression shows up watching the Spartans. He is a skilled pass catcher and is an exceptional athlete for the position. Heyward transitioned from RB to TE in 2021 and has seamlessly fit. Better things are ahead as he continues to beef up. The Eagles find another chess piece to emphasize their strengths as a dominant, physical football team.
A large portion of Philadelphia’s draft-day plan will fill defensive holes and build the offensive and defensive lines. Most fantasy assets will already be in place for Philly before the draft. Smith was selected at 10th overall in 2021 to give the offense a go-to weapon. Goedert was signed to a multi-year extension to solidify TE into the future. While we did add a few secondary options on the third day of this mock draft, it’s unlikely the Eagles make a meaningful investment at pass-catcher early.
However, I think it is likely with 11 total picks that the Eagles address RB at some point in the draft. Sanders’ dynasty value is already at an all-time low, and he wouldn’t see a massive value depression if Philly selected a top RB, as I did here with Hall. However, this Eagles backfield does represent one of the more optimal landing spots for runners in the upcoming class. Whether Hall or another rookie runner, there should be a fair amount of dynasty interest in any primary runner who can grab this backfield by the feathers.
Jalen Hurts Fantasy Outlook
The real dynasty question in Philadelphia continues to revolve around Hurts. Time will tell if Philadelphia plans to replace Hurts or build behind an offense that accentuates his best traits. However, as a dynasty manager, I don’t believe that is the right question related to his dynasty value. Whether Philadelphia drafts a QB or not, I think it should go without saying that even despite the struggles, Hurts has done enough to prove he’s one of the best 32 quarterbacks in the NFL.
The Eagles have a track record for building in the trenches, dominating the line of scrimmage, and being active in the trade market at quarterback. Wentz, Gardner Minshew, Sam Bradford, Joe Flacco, and Nick Foles are amongst the list of players the Eagles have traded away or traded for at QB over the recent Roseman era. If Hurts isn’t going to be the starter in Philly, I think it’s rational to believe that Hurts and the Eagles will have little trouble finding a trade suitor that will keep Hurts in dynasty lineups in 2022. The cloud of uncertainty surrounding Hurts has made him a dynasty buy for me. Buy the dip before anyone remembers he finished as QB8 in 2021.
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