Eagles 7-Round Mock Draft: Reloading Defense Following Free Agent Departures

2023 NFL Mock Draft, Christian Gonzalez. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
2023 NFL Mock Draft, Christian Gonzalez. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Howie Roseman, Philadelphia Eagles, 2023 NFL Mock Draft
Jan 8, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman looks on during the final seconds of a victory against the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

Now, this may not be the most realistic trade down for the Eagles, but it was offered to me when running through this mock draft on the NFL Mock Draft Database Mock Draft Simulator, so I had to accept. This is a dream scenario for Philadelphia. They get to make both of their first-round backs, netting some top talent, then trade out of the second round to gather some valuable mid-round capital.

Round 3, Pick 70: Daiyan Henley, Linebacker, Washington State

Linebacker rivals defensive tackle as the position that was hurt most by free agency departures. Both T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White have signed with new teams, leaving the Eagles in search of, likely, two new starting backers for their base defense. Nakobe Dean, who was drafted in the second round a year ago, will likely take on a much larger role in his second NFL season. Beyond that, Philly will be looking to add help.

Daiyan Henley would be a perfect candidate to come in right away and play early in his NFL career. Henley has now logged SIX college playing seasons, five at Nevada before transferring to Washington State and playing his final season there.

He actually began his college career as a wide receiver, transitioned to defense as a safety, then became a linebacker in 2020. Henley truly understands the game of football and is about as versatile as they come. He has a great blend of playing experience and potential as he continues to fine-tune his game as a linebacker.

Make no mistake about it, Henley can play linebacker in the NFL right now. His experience at safety is evident with his outstanding coverage skills. He is a very aggressive, downhill player who can break down and make a sound tackle. He has solid vision and instincts and flashes through the line as a blitzer both against the run and when rushing the passer.

If the Eagles view Dean as their MIKE linebacker, Henley would be a great complement. He can play any linebacker spot, with the coverage ability to line up in the slot. New defensive coordinator Sean Desai should love having such a versatile player at his disposal and I am confident that Henley will succeed very early on in his NFL career, given the chance.