Eagles go all-in on the defensive line in the sixth round

Sun belt
ORLANDO, FL – DECEMBER 26: Coastal Carolina Chanticleers defensive end Tarron Jackson (9) during the FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl game between the Liberty Flames and the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers on December 26, 2020 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire)

The sixth round was always going to be a big one for the Eagles. With four picks to their name, the whirlwind was always going to pick up quickly. In the process, two defensive line prospects were sucked into the eye of the storm and will play their NFL football in Philadelphia.

Eagles make a trade

The Eagles entered the sixth-round with four draft picks. Within the first few picks, the Birds traded picks 225 and 240 to the Washington Football team in exchange for a 2022 fifth-rounder. It’s hard to really fault the logic here. With a plethora of late-round picks in a weak class, it made sense to pick up a fifth-round pick for the 2022 Draft.

Marlon Tuipulotu

The first name off the board in the sixth for the Eagles was Marlon Tuipulotu. He became the second DT drafted by the team after Milton Williams had his name called yesterday, but he’s of a very different profile.

Tuipulotu stands at 6’3, 305 lbs and brings with him quite an explosive get-off. A three-down DT with strong pass-rushing traits, he is one of the most athletic DT’s in this class but does lack the technical prowess to really be taken much higher. This again fits the new mold of athletic lab-built football players with high upsides and low floors.

He ended 2020 with 23 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2 sacks and a forced fumble. He also posted a very strong 2018 campaign where he played in all 12 games, registering 33 tackles, 5.5 TFL, and 4.5 sacks.

Tarron Jackson

This round really was all about the trenches. Tarron Jackson joins the Eagles out of Coastal Carolina. The DE is the first EDGE rusher drafted by the Eagles this year, but you can make the case that Williams could well line up on the outside.

Jackson featured at the Senior Bowl, which is an area of scouting we know the Eagles hold close to their heart. Standing at 6’2, 280 lbs, he’s likely marginalized to a DE role. Coastal Cal moved him outside prior to 2019 and proved that it’s not a bad thing. He ended that year with 12.5 TFL and 9.5 sacks before posting 14 TFL and 8.5 sacks in 2020. He was an All-Sun Belt honoree two years in a row.

JaCoby Stevens

The Eagles add another versatile piece to their new-look secondary in the way of LSU safety JaCoby Stevens. At 6’1, 212 lbs, Stevens was actually announced by the Eagles as a linebacker, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given his ability to do it all in LSU’s defense. He lined up in the box, down in the slot, as a single-high, and even came off the edge at times.

Stevens amassed 63 tackles, 6 TFL, and 3 sacks during the 2020 season after being named 2nd-team all-SEC one year before. The schematic fit is an obvious one, with Stevens reigning from the Tigers’ zonal defense.

He’ll join a Safety room without much in the any of long-term depth. K’Von Wallace fills a similar role, (that of another former LSU Safety in Jalen Mills) but with Anthony Harris reigning over the top and Rodney McLeod’s injury status uncertain, it makes sense to add another body to develop just in case.

Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire