The Philadelphia Eagles are heading into the draft with a league-leading eleven picks. Who will they draft? Who SHOULD they draft?
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#6 Seed: Zach Ciavolella
From the receiving core to the secondary to the linebacking corps, the Philadelphia Eagles need talented playmakers. Even when you get past that, the team needs depth/developmental prospects for both the offensive and defensive lines, as well as running back.
Then there’s the ever-looming threat of adding an arm to the “quarterback factory.” The Eagles could easily ride into the season with Jalen Hurts, surround him with young talent and see what they have, then reevaluate next season (with their three first-round picks*) and decide if an upgrade is needed then. That doesn’t sound like Howie Roseman’s “master plan,” though however and it’s not out of the realm of possibility for the team to draft a quarterback in the first three rounds.
What exactly will the Eagles do? What should the Eagles do?
We can’t expect Howie Roseman to just suddenly change his nature (or Jeffrey Lurie either, for that matter), but we can hope for a blend of Howie’s draft strategy and some sensical picks as well. That being said, here is my first/last mock draft for 2021.
Eagles Mock Draft Round 1
Pick 21 (Colts) – Caleb Farley – CB (Virginia Tech)
The Eagles once again trade down, this time from 12, all the way down to 21. Landing one of Patrick Surtain, Jaycee Horn, or Jaylen Waddle hinges on Mac Jones being drafted ahead of their pick. While word is that the San Francisco 49ers are enamored with the Bama QB, it’s hard to believe they would pass up on either Justin Fields or Trey Lance. Even more, so considering they probably could have drafted Jones at their original spot (12). So, to summarize, Surtain, Horn, and Waddle may all be off the board, leaving the Howie Roseman with Devonta Smith.
That sounds like an easy slam dunk pick, doesn’t it? Not for Howie. There are some legitimate concerns surrounding Smith’s game will translate to the next level considering his size or lack thereof. Between those concerns and the fact that the team drafted WR Jalen Reagor in the first round last season, Howie could decide to move back and continue to stockpile picks.
The Indianapolis Colts may have the eyes set on Left Tackle Christian Darrisaw after the sudden retirement of longtime blindside protector Anthony Castonzo. Trading the 21st and 54th picks for the 12th pick (Darrisaw) and TE Zach Ertz checks two big boxes for the Colts and gives Howie another second-rounder.
Now that the explanation is out of the way let’s talk about Caleb Farley.
He may not have the most experience at the position but what Farley has shown in his short time at corner is truly special. A brilliant combination of size and length that fits perfectly with a Jonathan Gannon defense, Farley also brings extreme athleticism to the position.
He’s able to leverage his physical traits and his strong mental traits into incredibly sticky coverage and has shown the potential to develop into a true ball-hawk, something Eagles fans are starving for.
He’s primarily a man-cover corner, but with more reps/experience, there’s no reason he can’t be special in both man and zone coverages. What may discourage some is that you’re looking at more potential than year one production as opposed to other corners due in part to Farley’s inexperience and his injury history.
Farley tore his ACL in 2017 and suffered from back spasms in 2019, which plagued him for the entire season (and led to back surgery in late March), and then sat out the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns. There’s not a ton of tape, and that’s a concern in addition to the injuries, but it’s exactly that which allows a special talent like Farley to fall to 21, which could be an easy decision for Howie Roseman.
Eagles Mock Draft Round 2
Pick 37 – Terrace Marshall Jr. – WR (LSU)
The other LSU wideout, Terrace Marshall, may not be the name that Ja’Marr Chase is, but he could still prove to be a perennial Pro Bowler. Marshall was oft forgotten because he was overshadowed by Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson during the 2019 season and had to deal with the three QB circus that was the 2020 LSU Tigers. Marshall took in all in stride, though, and showed that he could still be a top wideout at the next level.
There is no limit to Terrace Marshall’s scheme flexibility; he’s able to comfortably play at the X, Y, and Z positions. He operated out of the slot for most of last season, but that was purely out of necessity. Marshall’s ability to separate is what, well, separates him from other receivers who played in the slot. He’s not a “slot receiver”; he’s a “featured receiver.” Just look at what The Draft Network’s Joe Marion had to say about him:
“Marshall can play any receiver position and is a threat to produce at all levels of the field. He can execute a full route tree, get open deep, and uncover quickly in the short areas of the field. Marshall has almost no experience playing special teams in college and has no experience as a kick or punt returner.“
Marshall may fall to the 37th pick, but the Eagles would be foolish to wait if they think another team will scoop him up. It may also be worthwhile to trade back into the first round to land the fifth-year option for Marshall.
Pick 54 (Colts) – Alex Leatherwood – OG/OT (Alabama)
If you thought the Howie Roseman would make it more than three picks into the draft before addressing the trenches, well, you don’t know Howie. With the second pick acquired in the trade with the Indianapolis Colts, the Philadelphia Eagles add the ever-versatile Alex Leatherwood.
He can play guard, he can play tackle, he can play left, he can play right. Anything but center is on the table of the Alabama lineman. That type of versatility would prove very useful to a team that has future needs at potentially every guard/tackle position.
While the Eagles line may have decent depth, there’s little in the way of top-end talent. Leatherwood could serve as the heir apparent to Brandon Brooks or replace Isaac Seumalo (should he move to center or the team part ways). Oh, and by the way, he’s an athletic freak.
Eagles Mock Draft Round 3
Pick 70 – Carlos Basham Jr. – Edge (Wake Forrest)
Keeping things in the trenches, it’s now time to address the other side of the ball. The Eagles look to have no long-term plan at defensive end. Derek Barnett is in the final year of his deal, Josh Sweat, while young and impressive, can only play so many snaps, and even though Brandon Graham will likely be here until he retires, that may not be too far away.
He may not be the explosive beast that many want out of an edge rusher, but he perfectly fits the M.O. of what the Eagles like. He’s more of a technical expert. He combines the power he does have with a hardworking effort to get to the QB, but where he really makes his bones is in his technique. He boasts a bevy of rush moves that allow him to make up for his lack of initial burst. He’s also not slow, which is important to distinguish. While he may lack the first step, you want to see he is able to get going (assuming he gets past his man).
Pick 89 (Browns) – Olaijah Griffin – CB (USC)
Attention regulators, the Eagles, have moved down (again) in an attempt to maximize their next two picks by trading the 84th and 123rd picks to the Cleveland Browns for the 89th and 110th picks. At 89, the team doubles down at corner by selecting USC defensive back Olaijah Griffin. Son of Rapper/Producer Warren G, Olaijah Griffin is well on his way to making his own name as an NFL cornerback.
Griffin doesn’t do any one thing in spectacular fashion, he’s more of a jack-of-all-trades. He’s solid in both man and zone coverage, he’s a willing tackler, and he has solid ball skills. Where he really thrives is in his competitive nature. Griffin is a fighter; his competitive nature will certainly help him at the next level both in pass defense and in the run game.
Even though he’s not stellar in any one area, he doesn’t have a hole in his game, and his motor (the Eagles love their motor guys) will help him elevate his game at the next level.
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Eagles Mock Draft Round 4
Pick 110 (Browns) – Kyle Trask – QB (Florida)
Here it is. The inevitable has come to pass. Howie Roseman (or Jeffrey Laurie) will almost certainly draft a quarterback; the hope for Philly fans is that this doesn’t happen in three first three rounds. Ideally, it won’t happen until the final three rounds (or not at all) but if Kyle Trask is available here, then expect him to reunite with the Eagles’ new QB coach, Brian Johnson.
Essentially the anti-Jalen Hurts, Trask is a big “in the pocket” QB who will aim to win games purely with his arm. That arm, while impressive, thrived last season in particular under Brian Johnson. Trask doesn’t have the track record deserving to be picked in the first three rounds, but he’s admittedly good value in round four even though it’s tough to win in today’s NFL with an immobile QB.
Eagles Mock Draft Round 5
Pick 150 – Marvin Wilson – DL (Florida State)
Back to the trenches go the Philadelphia Eagles as they look to add some youth to the defensive line. There may be some wishful thinking surrounding this pick, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Wilson is available early in Round 5.
The Eagles need some sort of a future at defensive tackle, and Marvin Wilson could be a good start. He’s not an incredible athlete, but he’s a more than capable pass-rusher thanks to his hands. Quickly and violently, Wilson’s hands attack the opposing line. This is what makes him so special. His hand movement and the moves associated with cover up his sins which are things he can work on additionally.
For one, he’s not unathletic, but his body has been described as “top-heavy”. Once again let’s visit Joe Marino and what he had this to say about Wilson:
“It’s apparent that Wilson has natural athleticism and power, but his body composition and playing with inconsistent leverage rob him of those qualities. He would be well-served to clean up his frame to allow his natural gifts to shine with more consistency.“
If Wilson does work on his body, there’s no reason why he can’t become a quality NFL starter.
Eagles Mock Draft Round 6
Pick 189 – Joshua Kaindoh Edge (Florida State)
Florida State, the school that brought the NFL Brian Burns and Josh Sweat, boasts another pure athlete at the edge. An absolute specimen of an edge rusher, Joshua Kaindoh is an athlete worth taking a flyer on in the sixth round. With measurables comparable to Jadeveon Clowney, the Eagles would be foolish to not bank on the upside of this young man.
Kaindoh is not just a freak athlete though, he is an extremely tough competitor who knows how to use his hands…at least for the first move. His counters could use some work, but the Eagles would be drafting him as a developmental player, not a day 1 starter.
Pick 224 – Shaun Beyer – TE (Iowa)
With Zach Ertz being dealt to the Colts in the earlier deal, the Eagles have a need at tight end. It’s not likely for a team to be able to draft a TE2 in the sixth round; at least he won’t be that from day 1. However, Shaun Beyer is a high upside prospect who could be groomed as a TE3 while the Eagles add another tight end through free agency (anyone for a reunion with Richard Rogers or Trey Burton?).
He hasn’t even caught 20 passes, but Beyer has flashed enough to earn interest from NFL teams. He has a pretty solid catch radius and really knows how to get up there for the “50-50 balls”.
He’s a fine athlete, but where Shaun Beyer makes his bones is his competitive toughness. He will beat you out, and if he doesn’t, well, he’ll do it next time. Quit is not a word in Shaun Beyer’s vocabulary, and it’s that type of hype competitiveness that could help Beyer at the next level, much like it did another Iowa TE.
Pick 225 – Chris Evans – RB (Michigan)
At Pick 225, the Philadelphia Eagles select… Captain America? Or is it the Human Torch? No, it’s not that Chris Evans, but there’s still plenty to be excited about with the running back out of Michigan. He has a low center of gravity, allowing him to burst through tackles unless you get a body on him. His vision is keen, his footwork is brilliant. So what is he doing in the sixth round?
Well, Evans has dealt with a variety of issues from academic suspension to the ever worrisome “fumblitis.” All this has culminated into Evans plummeting down the draft board, much to the Eagles’ pleasure.
Eagles Mock Draft Round 7
Pick 234 – Trey Norwood – CB (Oklahoma)
With Nickell Robey-Coleman‘s tenure with the Eagles likely over, it looks as though Avonte Maddox is set to return to the slot. While that likely solves the issue for this season, the future is still a question mark. Maddox has spent time at both corner and safety, and he’s performed fairly well at the latter. To put a second wrinkle in things, Maddox is also a free agent after this season.
The Eagles may need a new nickel corner as early as next season, so drafting a player who could develop into just that is a wise idea.
Trey Norwood displays the scrap that made fans fall in love with Cre’Von LeBlanc. He’s tenacious, aggressive, and a fighter to the end. There’s no question as to whether or not Norwood wants that smoke. He’s not just all talk either (as corners tend to be); Norwood has terrific instincts and displays quick reaction times that allow him to keep up with his man.
A torn ACL in 2018 has kept him in the slot where he shined, but there’s no reason to doubt that he could fill in on the outside in a pinch.
Pick 240 – Samuel Cooper – IOL (Maine)
Because why not more offensive line depth? As mentioned earlier, the Eagles offensive line will be going through a transition period soon enough, and in three years, it could look like almost a completely different line. Howie and Jeffrey will desire to have those spots filled, so there’s a seamless transition.
Samuel Cooper provides versatility, as does Alex Leatherwood, but Cooper could play center in addition to guard. That could become a necessity as Jason Kelce’s tenure with the Eagles seems to be living on borrowed time.
A fierce competitor who is extremely strong at the point of attack, Samuel Cooper could find a different type of success at center from what we have seen from Jason Kelce. Cooper is technically proficient, too, as he understands how to use his leverage to best assist when blocking.
Cooper is admittedly undersized, but the Eagles are no strangers to undersized centers, and his strength makes up for what he loses in height. He could stand to sure up his hands, but there are some great bones to a potentially long NFL career.
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