What history tells us the Eagles will do with the sixth overall pick

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ARLINGTON, TX – JANUARY 01: Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the College Football Playoff Semifinal Rose Bowl Game between Notre Dame and Alabama on January 1, 2021 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire)

The NFL Draft is rapidly approaching and when discussing what the Eagles might do with the sixth overall pick, it just feels like there isn’t enough time in the day. From taking the best player available to craving toxicity and drafting another quarterback, every possibility has been explored by now. But which is the most likely when looking back down memory lane?

It is important to note that the Draft is very much like a roulette wheel. Just because something has happened a few times before, it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen again. Every Draft and every team is different, but there are patterns that can be drawn. For instance, we all know the Eagles like to pretend linebackers don’t exist, therefore writing off an early-round option is logical.

How have the Eagles spent top-10 picks in the past?

Here is a look at every top-10 selection made by the Philadelphia Eagles dating back to 1983.

2016: QB Carson Wentz (R1 P2)
2013: RT Lane Johnson (R1 P4)
2000: DT Corey Simon (R1 P6)
1999: QB Donovan McNabb (R1 P2)
1995: DE Mike Mamula (R1 P7)
1991: OT Antone Davis (R1 P8)
1987: DT Jerome Brown (R1 P9)
1986: RB/TE Keith Byars (R1 P10)
1985: OT Kevin Allen (R1 P9)
1984: WR Kenny Jackson (R1 P4)
1983: RB Michael Haddix (R1 P8)

Quarterback (2)

Understandably, the most valuable position on the roster is featured twice with Donovan McNabb and Carson Wentz. As teams scramble to find a QB to hang their hat on, the price continues to increase. It feels like there are leading signal-callers taken within the first few picks of every Draft nowadays, which for the Eagles means that there is at least a chance they explore one of the bevies of options available in this QB-heavy class.

Offensive line (3)

We know the Eagles like to build through the trenches and that’s reflected by a trio of offensive tackles being selected inside the top 10. While that is unlikely to increase to 4 this year, it wouldn’t be the most shocking thing in the world.

Defensive line (3)

Right on cue, the Eagles have added just as many defensive line weapons as they have players on the other side of the line. Interestingly, they do need to explore long-term DE depth and this isn’t the class where that’s viable inside the top 10. If they traded back into the mid-teens or early twenties, however, buckle up.

Skill positions (2)

The last time the Eagles drafted a wide receiver in the top 10 was 1984. Is that alarming or simply coincidental? The stars are definitely aligned for that to change this offseason, with three very viable options teasing the Eagles as game-changers available by the time they’re on the clock.

I am tempted to count Keith Byars as a TE just so we can talk about Kyle Pitts.

If they draft a running back the City will implode.

The history of the sixth overall pick

2020: QB Justin Herbert
2019: QB Daniel Jones
2018: OG Quenton Nelson
2017: S Jamal Adams
2016: OT Ronnie Stanley
2015: DE Leonard Williams
2014: OT Jake Williams
2013: LB Barkavious Mingo
2012: CB Morris Claiborne
2011: WR Julio Jones
2010: OT Russell Okung
2009: OT Andre Smith

Quarterback (2)

Justin Herbert and Daniel Jones were both selected with the sixth overall pick and while one has significantly more upside than the other, they were both taken in drafts where at least one QB was taken inside the top 5. That seems destined to happen again in 2021 and may well tempt the Eagles to hop on the ‘fomo’ train, especially if there is any lingering doubt that Jalen Hurts isn’t the guy – a notion the team is working hard to dispel.

Offensive line (5)

By far the most popular way to spend the sixth overall pick in recent years has been to find a cornerstone along the offensive front. All five of the players selected have proven their worth, but the only way the Eagles follow suit here is if the Bengals somehow decide that protecting their young franchise QB, who got absolutely obliterated during a rookie season that was cut short by an ACL tear, is somehow not as important as a shiny new receiver.

Defensive picks (3)

I did find this very interesting. Only two defensive picks have been made with this selection since 2009. Both were absolutely stellar and both were made by the New York Jets.

Possible candidates this year include cornerbacks Patrick Surtain II and Caleb Farley, who are both absolutely logical given the dire need for CB2 help. However, the only CB selected with the sixth overall pick since 2009 has been Morris Claiborne…who was a bust in Dallas.

Wide receiver (1)

It’s a small sample size, but landing Julio Jones, one of the most dominant receivers of an entire generation, has to count for something…right? With three receivers all in play for the Eagles, there’s a chance that they do become the first team since 2011 to take a receiver with the sixth overall pick, but finding a player of Julio’s level would be a dream come true for fans who haven’t really witnessed a ‘star’ at the position since the days of DeSean Jackson’s first rodeo.

Again, the NFL Draft is nothing more than a roulette wheel, and trying to predict it is anything but a science. But if we are to follow trends, the chances of the Eagles picking on the offensive side of the ball are very high (Sorry Surtain fans!), with QB and WR being the two positions most likely to see an upgrade this offseason.

Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire