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Eagles win yet another NFL draft

The Eagles did it again.

Through some combination of a Jedi mind trick and a Vulcan mind meld, Birds executive vice president Howie Roseman got not one, but two of the best players at a position they targeted with their first pick of the NFL Draft.

The Eagles picked Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell with the 22nd pick and Cooper DeJean of Iowa at pick 40. These are two of the consensus top three defensive backs in the entire draft.

Mitchell is the fastest of the elite cornerbacks and DeJean is the most versatile, according to the league’s college scouts.

After last year’s collapse, which had much of its roots in the failure of the defense, specifically the secondary, the two newest top draft picks should and could become the foundation of a younger, better defense.

Darius Slay is 33 years old and in his final seasons as an elite corner. James Bradberry is 31 and most likely headed for a job elsewhere. Mitchell and DeJean will be on your television screens on Sundays for the foreseeable future.

The very fact that the Eagles got a double dose of top draft picks shows the Eagles’ biggest strength.

Howie Roseman knows how to read a draft room. While the rest of the NFL was panic picking quarterbacks and wide receivers, Roseman was waiting.

The Eagles stayed put — uncharacteristically — to get Mitchell in the first round. When the opportunity came to get DeJean, the Eagles traded their two second-round picks to move up.

That’s when the NFL Draft started for real for the Eagles.

The Eagles began the three-day draft extravaganza with eight draft picks. By the time it was over, the Eagles made eight trades to get control of a total of 21 draft picks. Ultimately, those original eight picks turned into nine players, plus three extra 2025 draft picks.

Even while standing pat on Day 1, the Eagles made an NFL-record eight trades. Mitchell and Michigan guard Trevor Keegan (at pick 172) were the only two original picks that the Eagles actually drafted.

Outside of Mitchell and DeJean, there is absolutely no guarantees that the Eagles’ other seven picks last weekend will be good NFL players, or even make the team, for that matter.

The Eagles picked two cornerbacks, an edge rusher, two wide receivers, two offensive linemen, a running back and Clemson linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr.

And that’s why months and months of mock drafts are almost completely wrong. The final mock draft that appeared here a week or so before the draft got only two players right.

Even then, DeJean was picked in the second round, not the first. And Trotter slipped 35 spots from our projection into the fifth round.

Trotter is, or course, the son of beloved Eagles linebacker Jeremiah Trotter. He grew up in Hainesport, just across the river in Burlington County, went to St. Joseph’s Prep and was one of the most highly recruited scholastic players in the country.

With any other name, Trotter would be an undersized linebacker with some potential upside as a developmental project who could eventually be a starter.

Probably the only sure thing is that Trotter won’t be his father. Whether that’s ultimately a good thing won’t be settled for a quite a long time.

That goes for each of the other Eagles draft picks. The names Jalyx Hunt, Will Shipley, Ainias Smith, Johnny Wilson, Dylan McMahon, Keegan and Trotter could end up as all-time greats.

Or not.

The Eagles are a much better football team after the draft, we just don’t know how much better.

The preseason begins on May 20.

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