By David Caraviello | | 4 mins
Philadelphia Eagles Odds For 2022 NFL Draft Favor Defensive Approach
When it comes to the Philadelphia Eagles, all the conversation is about the quarterback position. But when it comes to the team’s top selections in the upcoming NFL draft, the most likely choices are on the defensive side of the ball.
The Eagles’ pressing needs on defense figure to influence Philadelphia’s picks in the first round of the NFL draft, set for April 28 in Las Vegas. The Eagles pick 15th and 18th thanks to trades with Miami and New Orleans, and Bookies.com handicapper Adam Thompson projects corner Trent McDuffie of Washington (+450) and linebacker Devin Lloyd of Utah (+500) as the Eagles’ most likely primary targets for their opening selection.
Getting defensive in the draft’s first round would be music to the ears of Eagles supporters who watched Philly finish in the lower half of the NFC in sacks and takeaways last year. “I want to see defense,” said Sean Brace, program director and host of “The Daily Ticket” on The Gambler 102.5 FM and 1480 AM, a Fox Sports Radio affiliate in Philadelphia.
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“Devin Lloyd, the linebacker I like, there's a couple of cornerbacks, Sauce Gardner (of Cincinnati), anything on defense I'm sold on,” Brace said in an interview with Jasmine McKoy of Bookies.com. “I think that there's some really good talent in that first round, late first round. And as far as offense is concerned, I'm always a fan of keeping it plain and simple in the draft—an offensive lineman, something along those lines. The Eagles have drafted a ton of wide receivers over the years and except for DeVonta Smith, they haven't really panned out. So with that being said, the defensive side of the ball in this NFL draft, please!”
The quarterback conversation, though, will percolate in Philadelphia even after a 2021 season where Jalen Hurts passed for 3,144 yards and 16 touchdowns to nine interceptions, leading the Eagles to victories in their final three regular-season games to clinch an appearance in an NFC Wild Card playoff game.
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They lost 31-15 to Tampa Bay—and Hurts tossed two picks. According to DraftKings, the Eagles have +2000 odds of getting either of the draft’s top two quarterbacks, Kenny Pickett of Pittsburgh or Malik Willis of Liberty, with Carolina the odds favorite (at +150 and +250, respectively) in both cases on NFL betting markets.
“I like Jalen Hurts, I do. He's going to get his opportunity to show us that he improved this year. And whether that's fair or not, it's the realization of the NFL - it's a what have you done for me lately league, especially at that quarterback position. Jared Goff took a team to the Super Bowl. Two years later, he's in Detroit. Jalen Hurts has an opportunity to show us this offseason that he has made the changes. I don't know if he could strengthen the arm, but you can get better accuracy. You can improve as a passer,” Brace said.
“He's a phenomenal football player. He's a great runner. He's an awesome leader. I love Jalen Hurts. But when you talk about winning a Super Bowl, you have to have a quarterback that can make those throws down the stretch. Look what we saw last year. Look at we saw the last three years. So that's where I stand on Jalen Hurts, and he's going to get his opportunity to do that this year. No excuses.”
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Thompson lists the four most likely selections for the Eagles at No. 15 as McDuffie, Lloyd, linebacker Nakobe Dean of Georgia (+550) and defensive tackle Jordan Davis of Georgia (+550). The first non-defensive player in his hypothetical NFL odds market is wide receiver Jameson Williams of Alabama (+650). Brace holds out hope that the Eagles could trade for star wideout DK Metcalf, who has been displeased with Seattle moves that include trading quarterback Russell Wilson to Denver.
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“I still believe DK Metcalf will get traded, and I definitely believe that the Eagles are there,” Brace told McKoy. “They were there for Calvin Ridley, and unfortunately he can't play this year. But you know, just with DK Metcalf, I would like to see them get a wide receiver that's already been in the league. So you bring him in, that can help Jalen Hurts, and then get help on the other side with those two picks (in the first round).”
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