2024 NFL Draft: Top five candidates for Eagles’ first-round pick, including several star Alabama products


The 2024 NFL Draft is upon us, and there may be no team more likely to upset the first round with a trade than the Philadelphia Eagles, who have advanced in three straight drafts in the first day.

Which prospects are most likely to be on the Eagles’ radar? Whether the team stays at 22nd overall, trades up, or even moves down to raise additional draft capital, these five players register as strong candidates to hear their name called by Philadelphia on Thursday night:

It’s no secret that the Eagles could use some cornerback help in the short and long term, with starters Darius Slay and James Bradberry already in their 30s. And they have confidence in the Alabama pipeline, as evidenced by their recent initial investments. Arnold would almost certainly need a move from No. 22, but he has the raw speed and ball skills to compete for an immediate role under new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

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If the Eagles can’t make a deal to draft Arnold, the consensus top corner in the class, they could easily pivot to their top running mate in Alabama. What McKinstry lacks in Arnold’s pure athleticism, he arguably makes up for with a more stable track record, and his key traits – composure and intelligence – seem like perfect matches for a Fangio defense that prioritizes big game prevention. He’s also a much safer bet to be available at No. 22 or later.

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There’s a reason DeJean has already been one of the most popular projections for the Eagles. While he doesn’t have the Crimson Tide seal of approval, his play production at Iowa suggests he could be a do-it-all chess piece on defense and special teams. Instinctive and explosive with a nose for the ball, he could potentially compete for top corner, safety and/or kick and punt return roles as a rookie.

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Another Alabama product? Just look at general manager Howie Roseman’s draft history. Latham could go much earlier than the 20s, but in a deep tackle class he could also fall into their current range. Regardless, even with Jordan Mailata and Lane Johnson, the Eagles have reason to prepare for Johnson’s eventual retirement (he’s 34), and Latham is a huge prospect (6-6, 342) who could also play guard.

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In fact, you can basically go with any Edge Rusher here, whether it’s Penn State’s Chop Robinson or UCLA’s Laiatu Latu. Latu and Verse may well need a step up, but the idea here is that the Eagles can never have enough passing depth. Verse, in particular, is more of the steady, rugged type that Fangio might prefer — a potential complement to the explosive Bryce Huff and post-2024 insurance for Brandon Graham’s eventual retirement.


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