Philadelphia adds a game-changing pass rusher
Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has always been aggressive when it comes to trading for or trading away draft capital. Despite having a few rough drafts in recent years, Roseman is considered one of the best general managers in the league because of his blockbuster trades and Super Bowl victory. Over the last two offseasons, he has stockpiled a bunch of draft capital to potentially rebuild this team. However, after making the playoffs last season, he may try to package his assets to draft a player that could make a major impact on his roster right away.
Philadelphia could pounce on the opportunity to add a pass rusher like Kayvon Thibodeaux if he begins to fall down the 2022 NFL draft board. It is almost a guarantee he will not make it to the Eagles’ first of two first-round picks at pick #15. However, there is a lot better chance that he falls to the sixth overall pick that is currently owned by the Carolina Panthers. If that were to happen Philadephia should call Carolina about possibly coming up to the sixth overall pick to take Thibodeaux. Despite possibly being the third pass rusher taken in this year’s class, Thibodeaux is arguably the most talented. When he is playing at his best Thibodeaux has a case to be the best player in this entire draft and has the potential to be one of the league’s best pass rushers.
He would have the opportunity to learn from a veteran like Brandon Graham who is in the final year of his deal. Thibodeaux would pair up with Josh Sweat to give the Eagles the fastest duo of edge rushers in the league. Adding Thibodeaux to a defense that already added pass-rushing linebacker Haason Reddick earlier this offseason would help Philadelphia improve one of the worst defenses in the league at creating sacks last season.
It would likely take the Eagles parting ways with the 15th overall pick along with one of their third, fourth, and fifth-round picks to convince Carolina to move down from 6th overall. Depending on how the 2022 NFL Draft board falls, the Panthers may be desperate to move down the draft board considering they likely don’t want to take a quarterback with the 6th overall pick. They would also rather assets for this year’s draft as opposed to next year because of the uncertainty surrounding this current regime being around next season. Carolina would also like to add draft capital in the 2022 NFL draft because they are without a Day 2 selection following the Sam Darnold and C.J. Henderson trades.
The Panthers may feel more comfortable taking a potential franchise quarterback with the 15th overall pick of this draft. Their target would be none other than Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett. There are many connections between Pickett and the Panthers franchise. Panthers head coach Matt Rhule recruited him to Temple back when he was in high school. Also, Panthers owner David Tepper is a University of Pittsburgh alumni who may be intrigued with the idea of a quarterback from his alma mater starting for his team. Finally, Pickett is the most pro-ready of all the quarterbacks in this class and would have the best shot at being an upgrade over Sam Darnold right away.
Carolina could target Chattanooga interior offensive lineman Cole Strange with Philadelphia’s third-round pick. Strange could compete with Bradley Bozeman for the team’s starting center job or with the multiple veterans who are expected to compete for the left guard job.
Western Kentucky pass rusher DeAngelo Malone could be a target for the Panthers if they were to acquire Philadelphia’s fourth-round pick. Malone is a stand-up edge rusher who could possibly fill the role occupied by Haason Reddick on this defense last season who had 11 sacks last season.
A high upside player that Carolina could look at in the fifth round is LSU linebacker Damone Clark. Earlier in the offseason, Clark was considered a possible day two selection and one of the top five linebackers in this year’s class. However, after having spinal fusion surgery, Clark is expected to miss all of his rookie season and has fallen down draft boards. Carolina could take a chance on Clark in the fifth round with the hopes that when he returns healthy he could emerge as a possible starting linebacker for this defense next to Shaq Thompson in the long-term future.