April 20, 2021
The 2021 NFL Draft is now only nine days away, and while there hasn't been any major news over the last week or so, there have been a few little things worth noting. So we'll do that here.
The players put out the announcement via the NFL Players Association:
A statement from the Philadelphia Eagles players: pic.twitter.com/uhxjqDxVXd— NFLPA (@NFLPA) April 18, 2021
More than half the teams in the NFL had already made similar announcements — and it feels like every team eventually will follow suit — so this was hardly anything groundbreaking by the Eagles' players.
Obviously, the Eagles have a new coaching staff, and it also happens to be a very young staff, so those practices likely would have been beneficial for them to get their feet wet. But otherwise, those workouts don't seem to be super beneficial to the players.
In case you're wondering what the practice schedule would have looked like had the Eagles planned on attending them, here you go:
The NFL has announced its offseason plans in a memo to teams, with four weeks of virtual work, one week of on-field teaching work beginning May 17, then four weeks of OTAs and minicamp – with only minicamps being mandatory: pic.twitter.com/S8da4aCK7k— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 14, 2021
They will have to attend a mandatory minicamp in June.
I'll publish my only full first first round mock draft on Thursday of next week, but here's where I'm at currently on the first 11 picks before the Eagles pick 12th.
1) Jaguars: Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence: Lock.
2) Jets: BYU QB Zach Wilson: Lock.
3) 49ers: North Dakota State QB Trey Lance: The 49ers gave up the 12th overall pick, a first-round pick in 2022, a first-round pick in 2023, and a third-round pick in 2022 to move up to this spot. I simply cannot believe that any team would be insane enough to do that for a player like Mac Jones, who offers very little in the way of impressive physical traits. If they already had the No. 3 pick, and they were like, "Well, we like him best of the quarterbacks," and then they just took him, then, OK. But to trade that package of picks? I just can't see it. The bet here is that they moved up for Lance, or Justin Fields.
4) Falcons: Florida TE Kyle Pitts: The Falcons basically put this pick up for auction, but if they stick and pick, they'll probably ride with Matt Ryan a while longer, and take the best player available, which unfortunately for them, is a TE.
5) Bengals: LSU WR Ja'Marr Chase: I was originally on "Team Protect Joe Burrow," but I've flipped. Chase is going to make a bigger impact over his career than any offensive lineman in this draft, in my opinion, so just take him, and build up the O-line with subsequent picks.
6) Dolphins: Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle: Take any pre-draft reporting with a grain of salt, but there's so much smoke around Waddle to the Dolphins that we'll just go with it.
7) Lions: Oregon OT Penei Sewell: The Lions feel like a strong trade-back candidate, as quarterbacks should still be available here. They have needs all over, particularly at wide receiver, but this feels a little too early for DeVonta Smith. If the Lions just make a pick, the addition of Sewell would give them a very strong line, though they'd have to figure out who would play RT, between Sewell or Taylor Decker. This is an imperfect fit, but for a team expected to be picking in the top 10 again next year, just get the most valuable player. In my opinion, that's Sewell.
8) Panthers: Northwestern OT/OG Rashawn Slater: Carolina has holes all over their line, particularly on the left side. Slater gets a chance to play LT instead of immediately moving to guard early in his career.
9) Broncos: Ohio State QB Justin Fields: The Broncos could also trade up for a quarterback, but if Fields is still sitting there at 9, that feels like a no-brainer.
10) Cowboys: Alabama CB Patrick Surtain: The Cowboys' offense has the potential to be outstanding. Their defense overall is trash, and they have a gaping hole at corner.
11) Giants: USC OT/OG Alijah Vera-Tucker: I like Dave Gettleman's chances of building along the trenches, whether that be with the first edge rusher off the board, or along the OL. Vera-Tucker is a better prospect than any edge rusher in this draft.
Should it play out like above (spoiler: it won't), the Eagles would have their choice between DeVonta Smith, Jaycee Horn, reaching for a defensive lineman, or trading back with some team that likes Mac Jones.
There has been reporting recently that the Eagles are considering all of those options. Thanks, guys.
I'm looking forward to the draft just happening already.
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