Eagles load up on defense in new 2022 NFL Mock Draft

Image of Philadelphia Eagles NFL draft

The Philadelphia Eagles currently own three first-round picks in the 2022 NFL draft thanks to some serious wheeling and dealing by general manager Howie Roseman last offseason. Roseman traded quarterback Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts for their 2022 first-rounder, and secured one of the Miami Dolphins’ 2022 first-round picks by swapping 2021 firsts last year. The Eagles have their own pick, too.

If you’re keeping score, that means Philadelphia picks 15th, 16th, and 19th overall, and in the latest 2022 NFL mock draft by USA Today, the Eagles bolster their defense with all three selections.

At No. 15, USA Today’s Luke Easterling has the Eagles picking Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean. At No. 16, it’s Purdue edge defender George Karlaftis. And at No. 19, Philadelphia lands a potential lockdown cornerback in Clemson’s Andrew Booth Jr.

All three picks would serve as instant-impact rookies, but it’s the idea of Karlaftis going to the Eagles that has me really excited. Arguably the biggest offseason need facing Philadelphia is an edge defender, and if Karlaftis drops to any of their three first-round picks, he’d be a massive — MASSIVE — steal.

Karlaftis’ film is, in a word, impressive. His burst off the line of scrimmage is just as good as players like Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux, and while his ability to bend the edge may not be on their level, his intense style of play — combined with his top-shelf strength — makes him just as exciting of a pass-rushing prospect.

In fact, depending on how well he tests at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine, there’s a chance he’ll end up with a higher final grade in our rankings than both Hutchinson and Thibodeaux. Sure, that sounds crazy right now because of the general opinion that’s crystalized around the 2022 NFL draft class. But teams will value — highly — the kind of on-field style of play that Karlaftis brings. He never quits; he’s aggressive and violent; and most of all, he’s very productive. His game is tailored for the NFL and it won’t take long for him to become one of the top young edge players in the league.

Adding Dean and Booth Jr. to Karlaftis would make the 2022 NFL Draft class a truly special one for the Eagles. Dean is a rangy sideline-to-sideline missile and Booth may just be the best pure cover guy in the nation. It’s crazy to think, but Philadelphia — with a draft class like this — could lock up more than 25% of its starting defense in just one round.

Bryan Perez

Bryan is the founder of Pro Football Draft. His work has been featured on The Draft Network, NBC Sports and USA Today. Former CFL scout.

Follow him on Twitter: @BryanPerezNFL