Have you read Part 1?

It’s the long awaited sequel! Sometimes sequels are just better….Terminator 2? The Dark Knight? Bad Boys II? The Godfather Part 2? Empire Strikes Back? Top-30 Visits Part 2? The list is endless..Let’s go!

Brenden Rice – WR – USC

6’2 208lbs

Jerry Rice’s Son, Brenden. Has anyone mentioned this? He’s the son of Hall-of-fame WR Jerry Rice.. Anyway…

Besides the impressive lineage, Brenden played his junior and senior seasons at Southern Cal after transferring from Colorado. The enticement of playing for Lincoln Riley’s offense with consensus 1.01 draft pick Caleb Williams under centre seemed like a great decision for the WR trying to play up to the name on the back of his jersey. His first year at USC was staggeringly average as he hauled in 39 catches from 62 targets for 611 yards and 4 touchdowns in Caleb Williams’ Heisman-winning season. To be fair to Brenden, this was the year of Jordan Addison who was later drafted by Minnesota 23rd overall and is currently continuing his trajectory in the pros.

In his senior season Brenden saw a slight up-tick in targets and a huge uptick in scoring with 45 catches from 70 targets for 791 yards and 12 touchdowns in a relatively down-year for the trojans offense where offensive line struggles hampered Caleb and by extension, Brendan’s production.

In a stacked WR class Brenden may be lost in the crowd however there is plenty of upside from a prototypically sized WR with the natural instincts and ball-skills he possesses. Brenden became somewhat of a safety net for Williams in 2023 and is a vertical threat repeatedly taking the lid off defenses with 6 of his 12 TDs coming from deep passes.

Projected: 3rd Round

PFF Big Board: 95

Dane Brugler Big Board: 97

Cooper Dejean – CB – Iowa

6’0.5 203lbs

Unanimous All-American cornerback (and B1G award winning return specialist) Cooper DeJean is a versatile weapon in the defensive secondary having played meaningful snaps outside, in the slot and as a box safety. In his breakout sophomore season Cooper allowed 34 recs on 66 targets for 407 yards and made himself known as a playmaker with 4 interceptions and 5 PBUs during the regular season, capping it off with a pick 6 in Iowa’s bowl game where Cooper was named MVP. Success continued into his junior year where he predominantly played outside CB with a passer rating allowed of just 37.8 over the course of the season, quarterbacks decidedly opting not to throw the ball his way, Cooper recorded 2 interceptions, 4 pass break ups and did not allow a single touchdown.

Cooper DeJean is an impact player who can perform at a high-level in various spots on the defense, which can only increase his value and intrigue. Draft analysts are having great difficulty ranking Cooper in a fairly deep CB class where he is being considered as a CB/S hybrid. Cooper can look somewhat clumsy in man coverage with his size and frame which may translate into flags flying in the NFL. Needless to say Cooper is an excellent athlete who possesses ball-skills and physicality to succeed at the next level….and possibly return a kick-off or two with the new XFL rule introduced for the 2024 season….

Cooper returns punt for TD

Cooper in man-coverage

Projected: 1st Round

PFF Big Board: 8

Dane Brugler Big Board: 23

Ainias Smith WR – Texas A&M

5’9 190lbs

A Texas native, Ainias played 70% of his snaps lined up in the slot over the course of his college career with the Aggies. in 2023 he hauled in 53 receptions from 78 targets for 795 yards and 2 touchdowns in an under-performing offense in which head coach Jimbo Fisher was eventually fired after 10 games. Ainias bread-and-butter is between the numbers where in short passing situations he gained 252 yards, 144 of which are yards after the catch (YAC) , exemplary of his running style and downfield vision (Kick returns anyone??). Ainias is also accomplished as a deep threat with 240 yards on the season and a receiving grade of 98.1 per PFF.

Ainias has the potential gadget type receiver who the Eagles perhaps thought they had with Quez Watkins. A field-stretcher who isn’t afraid at the catch point, is willing to block and slippery in space.

Projected: 4th Round

PFF Big Board: 121

Dane Brugler Big Board: N/A

Edgerrin Cooper – ILB – Texas A&M

6’2 230lbs

Linebacker alert, sound the alarm. The Eagles are bringing an LB into the building and by most estimations is the top inside linebacker in this year’s draft. I wonder if Edgerrin will carpool with Ainias to the Novacare…

Another consensus All-American, Edgerrin rose above the parapet in 2023 to become the nation’s best linebacker accumulating 84 tackles, seventeen tackles for loss, 10 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. Phew! Edgerrin has an elite burst which showed up at the NFL scouting combine with a 40-yard dash time of 4.51 and 10yd split of 1.54, both in the 90%-ile bracket in his position group that will translate into the NFL with quick reaction and side-line to side-line coverage ability. As well as his coverage prowess (132yds allowed in 2023) Edgerrin plows downhill like a runaway locomotive in pass rush situations with elite closing speed and his ability to finish, perfectly summarised with his 17 TFLs and 10 sacks.

Could Edgerrin and Nakobe become the Eagles future pairing? At face value they seem to compliment each other perfectly with Edgerrin’s speed and agility paired with Nakobe’s field general and high football IQ. The Eagles have two shots in the second round and a hole in the roster at this position, despite the signing of Devin White on a 1-year deal in free agency.

Projected: 2nd Round

PFF Big Board: 62

Dane Brugler Big Board: 42

Khristian Boyd – DL – Northern Iowa

6’4 317lbs

In 2023 as a fifth year senior, Boyd played 631 snaps for the Panthers as a gap-stuffing run stop nose-tackle adding 29 tackles and 24 stops. As a pass rusher, he tallied 30 total pressures, which included 18 QB hurries, 9 QB hits, and 3 sacks on the season.

Khristian is a high-upside NT who could provide value as a rotational piece with Jordan Davis’ snaps due to increase again in 2024

Projected: 5th Round

PFF Big Board: N/A

Dane Brugler Big Board: N/A

Laiatu Latu – DE – UCLA

6’5 259lbs

Forget it. Eagles don’t have a shot at Latu. I’ll write it up anyway but believe me, Latu is DE1 in this draft class. (Verse is close 2nd). The reason Latu has potential to fall in the draft is due to his brief medical retirement from football in 2020 after he suffered a neck injury. Shortly after his retirement, Latu transferred to Chip Kelly’s UCLA and dominated almost immediately terrorising quarterbacks in the PAC-12 and beyond with 62 total pressures including 15 sacks, 11 hits and 36 hurries over the 13-game season in 2023 setting up a pass-rush win rate of a staggering 24.6% (best in FBS) and grading out at 94.3 in pass rush and 96.3 overall. Laiatu likes to get the quarterback off their spot and forces errors out of structure in an instance with his elite toolbox as a pass-rush technician.

Laiatu lacks chops in run defense however if the Eagles are serious about replacing Hassan Reddick this off-season then Latu could be top of Howie Roseman’s shopping list.

Projected: 1st Round

PFF Big Board: 20

Dane Brugler Big Board: 22

I hope you enjoyed this article, please if you have any feedback, be sure to let me know @MikMcGiv on Twitter/X