April 06, 2021
On Monday, we published our fourth Philadelphia Eagles-only mock draft of the offseason. Today we'll take a peek around at some of the national guys and see who they have going to the Birds at 12th overall, with only a few more weeks until the draft.
Let's start with the bad news: As we thought might be the case, the Eagles miss out on the top four pass-catchers in the class after their trade out of No. 6 overall. That's a problem. The WR room has Jalen Reagor, Greg Ward and Travis Fulgham as the top three options, not leaving QB Jalen Hurts in the best position to find success in an evaluation period. But here's the good news: The Eagles hold 11 picks this year (the most in the NFL) in a draft with a deep receiver class, the 2022 first-rounder received in the trade will certainly prove valuable, and Philly can still land a guy like Parsons here. He can do a little bit of everything in the middle of this defense.
#JimmySays: The way that the board unfolds in the first 11 picks before the Eagles are on the clock is the worst-case scenario for them. All four quarterbacks are gone, the top three WRs went off the board, bang-bang-bang, at 5-6-7, Kyle Pitts is gone, and both Patrick Surtain and Jaycee Horn are gone.
What's left for the Eagles is either one of the two top offensive linemen (Penei Sewell or Rashawn Slater), Parsons, or the Eagles' pick of a weaker group of edge rushers, with Kwity Paye likely being the top guy.
I believe this is a rare scenario in which you try to move out again, ideally with a team that badly needs offensive line help. But if they have to stick and pick, while I believe that the possibility of a linebacker is higher than it has been in the past (they'll likely have higher importance in Jonathan Gannon's scheme), I still believe it is not a priority for the front office.
The bet here is that the Eagles would just do what they always do when in doubt, which is to build in the trenches.
Moving back and grabbing Jalen Hurts' former Alabama teammate is a strong play. Waddle can help open up the offense and threaten with yards-after-catch throws underneath.
#JimmySays: We had Waddle as the pick in our Eagles-only mock draft, version 4.0, however, as we noted therein, it's probably more likely that DeVonta Smith will be available at 12.
The Eagles could pick one of the Alabama receivers here but Horn's outstanding pro day and game tape may force their hand. Philly needs his size, speed and tenacious attitude on the outside in a bad way.
#JimmySays: This was a four-round mock draft. Here were the Eagles' other picks:
• Round 2: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
• Round 3: Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State
• Round 3: Rashad Weaver, DE, Pitt
• Round 4: Kary Vincent Jr., CB, LSU
That's all fine. The one thing I'll nitpick is that as Reuter notes, Waddle and Smith were still on the board when he took Horn. While I believe that Horn is worthy of the 12th overall pick, I'm not passing on either of those receivers for him.
Mock drafts tend to have Chase, Waddle and Smith off the board before this pick, but I’m rewarding Philadelphia for trading down from No. 6 to No. 12. While the three wide receivers might rate higher than other prospects, football-building 101 and history suggest their stocks will drop by draft day. It’s possible the 175-pound Heisman Trophy winner slides further if teams shy away from the minute playmaker, and if so, there aren’t teams in the Nos. 13-19 range overtly seeking wide receivers. Who is? Philadelphia.
#JimmySays: Standig and I are on the same page in our belief that at least one of those receivers should slip to 12.
This would be a good result after the Eagles slid down from No. 6. The son of former Saints receiver Joe Horn could be earmarked as a Day 1 starter opposite Darius Slay and has the length and athletic twitch to handle talented NFC East receivers such as CeeDee Lamb and Kenny Golladay.
#JimmySays: Slay got bullied by bigger receivers like DK Metcalf and Davante Adams last season. Horn is better equipped to handle those more physical types of receivers.
DeVonta Smith makes sense here, but with the WR class being deeper than the O-line group, the Eagles go with Slater, who can step into a starting role -- either at tackle or inside -- on Day 1.
#JimmySays: Assuming Jordan Mailata, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, and Lane Johnson are all able-bodied and good to go, Slater can step into a starting job on Day 1 at what spot?
Much better chance GM Howie Roseman goes corner here than linebacker given his draft history.
#JimmySays: Heeeeyyyy they're learning!
Philadelphia slid back from No. 6 to No. 12 overall and still has a chance to add one of the draft's top wide receivers. It would not be a surprise to see them take a cornerback or edge rusher either.
#JimmySays: I think edge rusher is probably the most underdiscussed possibility. Nobody in this mock roundup has the Birds taking a DE, but if we know their history...
They have to get better in the passing game and Smith would help do that. Jalen Hurts looks like he's their quarterback, so why not get him some help?
#JimmySays: Thanks Pete.
Even though I have Smith going in the top 12, I still feel like I am underappreciating him. Smith is an outstanding receiver prospect possessing very good speed, hands, and ball skills while also having outstanding separation quickness. Smith will be a No. 1 receiver almost immediately and is exactly what the Eagles have been looking for. Surrounding Jalen Hurts with as much talent as possible would be wise so that the team can properly evaluate him as a potential franchise quarterback.
#JimmySays: This pick is fine, but I can't get on board with that reasoning, which I've seen quite a bit recently. You don't pick a player at 12th overall to better evaluate some other guy on your roster. You pick the player who can best help your team, long-term. Also, evaluating quarterback play absent quality wide receivers isn't that difficult. For example, we could all pretty clearly see the difference in Carson Wentz's play in 2019 and 2020, even though he had crappy receivers both seasons, right? It's not rocket science.
Philadelphia considers a quarterback with this pick. Ultimately they decide to add more weapons to further the development of Jalen Hurts. They select Hurts’ former teammate, Jaylen Waddle. Waddle brings the type of dynamic threat Philadelphia has not seen since DeSean Jackson was healthy.
#JimmySays: I do think that DeSean is a good comp for Waddle.
Beyond Darius Slay, the Eagles are very thin at the cornerback position. Avonte Maddox currently projects to be their No. 2 option outside, but he’s coming off a 2020 season in which he earned a 37.8 overall grade in that role.
Horn pairs high-end athleticism with a physical, in-your-face mentality that you love to see at the cornerback position. No game showcased that better than his 2020 matchup with Auburn and Seth Williams, where Horn came away with two interceptions and five pass breakups on 10 targets.
#JimmySays: The Eagles could still add a Band-Aid corner between now and the draft who will project as a starter opposite Slay, but obviously, Linsey is correct here that the Eagles depth chart at CB is ugly.
Few are sold on Jalen Hurts as the quarterback of the future for the Eagles. However, after Philadelphia’s trade back to No. 12, one thing is clear — they aren’t aiming for their quarterback of the future in this draft class.
Instead, they’ll likely sit at No. 12, let the board play out ahead of them, and simply take the best player available. Here, the Eagles have a few quality choices, between Patrick Surtain II, Jaylen Waddle, and Micah Parsons.
Parsons, on the other hand, might not provide the immediate coverage consistency that the Eagles need, and Howie Roseman might not look to add another receiver in Round 1 after last year. Surtain is a nice compromise. He’d fit very well into the Eagles’ new zone-coverage schemes adopted from the Colts, and he gives Philadelphia an immediate starter opposite Darius Slay.
#JimmySays: Of all the players in this mock draft roundup, I believe Surtain is the least likely to make it to pick No. 12. There are just too many teams ahead of the Eagles that badly need CB help, and Surtain feels like the clear consensus No. 1 CB.
The Eagles are in a position to take the ransom’s pick on the board. In this case, they go and add some swagger and playmaking ability to their secondary. Jaycee Horn is a dynamic player who was lights out at his pro day. With a 4.32 40-yard dash time and an overall freak show display, Horn is only climbing up draft boards. The Eagles may have picked their future lockdown cornerback.
#JimmySays: The final tally:
• Jaycee Horn: 5
• DeVonta Smith: 4
• Jaylen Waddle: 2
• Patrick Surtain II: 2
• Micah Parsons, Rashawn Slater: 1 each
This would be a dream scenario for the Eagles. After trading down to No. 12, they still land the top cornerback in the draft.
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