On the clock: NFL Draft Pick No. 10: Philadelphia Eagles – Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa
Mock Draft 1.0 – Tuli Tuipulotu, EDGE, USC
The Philadelphia Eagles had a lot of free agents hitting the market but did a good job of retaining a lot of key personnel. They kept Brandon Graham but didn’t retain Robert Quinn, so they could take advantage of this early pick and a deep pass-rusher class to build for the future.
Lukas Van Ness was a glaring omission from my first mock draft, so better late than never to put him in. He distinguished himself at Iowa, recording 36 tackles and six sacks.
A strong NFL Combine has really put Van Ness on the map, no mean feat given the talented defensive ends in this draft. While Van Ness is a bit raw, his physical talents show a lot of room for growth and makes perfect sense for an excellently coached Eagles team that can afford to develop him properly.
While Van Ness is far from the finished product, it’s clear why teams are falling in love with him. He has a wicked first step, with the burst to get to the point of attack first and the strength to take advantage of it. Blockers in the NFL have to be careful to not allow Van Ness to get the first point of contact and beat them to the punch, because he’s an athletic freak who will take full advantage every time.
Inexperience and the need to improve his pass-rushing repertoire means he’s still a work in progress, but the Eagles are by far the best fit for him to realize that potential.