3 Things the Eagles Should Do on Draft Day
Easily the biggest day of NFL offseason is the NFL draft.
While that is still three months away, the Eagles have the No. 6 overall pick, making this a very important draft for the team.
The Eagles are just three seasons removed from being on top of the NFL world, but after a disappointing 4-11-1 season, they appear to be in “rebuilding mode”.
Here are three things they need to look for in this year's draft.
Pick an impact defensive player at No. 6
A common opinion around the NFL is that Philadelphia needs a play-maker for Carson Wentz, and while this is true, the team has other needs that might be more pressing at the moment. The team invested a firdt-round pick in the 2020 draft on Jalen Reagor, before giving up on him, use the 2021 season to see if he can develop into a productive player. In 2019 the Eagles selected another wide receiver, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, who to this moment has been a bust. Another young player who showed some promise is 25-year old Travis Fulgham, who had an impressive 5-week stretch, catching 29 passes for 435 yards and four touchdowns, before finishing the season with just nine catches over the final eight weeks.
While there will be impact potential at wide receiver with guys like Ja'Marr Chase from LSU, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle of Alabama, the Eagles need to focus their attention at finding that type of player on the defensive-side of the ball.
Guys like Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Rodney McLeod and Darius Slay have been the leaders and top players on the defense, but are on the wrong side of 30. Its time for the Eagles to grab an impact player that new coordinator Jonathan Gannon can build around on that side of the ball.
Their spot at No. 6 is a more than an adequate position to get an impact player.
Names to watch: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama, Micah Parsons, ILB, Penn State, Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan, Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
My Pick: Surtain II. The Eagles can pair Surtain with Slay to give them a very formidable secondary on the corners. The team can look to get one more productive year from Graham and Cox on the defensive line and hope to get more development from Josh Sweat to rush the passer. Expect to see more cover-2 from Gannon and more blitzing, if that's the case cornerback will be a very important position for the Philadelphia defense, and Slay and Surtain would be a very good tandem.
Look to add a linebacker in Rd 2
The Eagles are in a great position entering the draft, with 10 overall picks, including No. 6, 37.
With plenty of questions that need to be filled, and virtually no salary cap space they cannot afford to miss on these two selections. One area that the Eagles need to focus on is linebacker. The team struggled early in the season with Nate Gerry, before finding a serviceable player in Alex Singleton. Now they need to find that impact player, who can become one of the faces of Jonathan Gannon's defense.
Nick Bolton is a 6’0”, 232-pound junior linebacker from Missouri played exceptionally well this past year and was a Butkus Award finalist. The versatile linebacker is very good in coverage and accounted for 95 total tackles (61 solo, 7.5 for loss), 2.0 sacks, one fumble recovery, one quarterback hurry and five pass breakups.
Another name to keep an eye on at No. 37 is Ohio State linebacker Baron Browning, who had a solid 2020 season, accounting for 30 total tackles (20 solo, 2.0 for loss), two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. At 6'4", 240-pounds he is an athletic, physical linebacker the Eagles have been lacking for awhile now.
Chazz Surratt from North Carolina is another interesting name to keep an eye on at the linebacker position in round two. He started his career at UNC as a quarterback, before switching to linebacker, where he became one of the best in the ACC. The 6'3", 230-pound linebacker was very impressive, accounting for 206 total tackles (15.0 for loss), 12.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, two interceptions during his two season as a linebacker.
One final name at No. 37 is Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses. An tremendous run-stopper, who has shown flashes in coverage. One concern is a 2019 ACL injury, but he showed no signs of the injury in 2020, making 80 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and three passes defended. He might have been a top-15 pick in the 2010 draft, but could be available for the Eagles in 2021 in round two.
Draft a Wide Receiver
If Carson Wentz is back at quarterback, he is going to need more weapons. The Eagles can turn things around quickly if Wentz gets back to 2017-2019 form. While the young guys we mentioned above have promise, it doesn't hurt to add more depth to the wide receiver room, especially with new head coach Nick Sirianni's background being at the position.
There are several viable candidates in round-three with pick No. 70 to keep an eye on to motivate and compete with Reagor, Arcega-Whiteside, Fulgham, John Hightower and Quez Watkins.
Clemson's Amari Rogers could be threat in the slot,at 5-foot-10, 210-pounds, he has terrific speed and could be the kind of piece Sirianni is looking for in the slot.
Other options would be UNC's Dyami Brown, who in 11 games caught 55 passes for 1,099 yards and eight touchdowns. Ole Miss receiver Elijah Moore, a 5-foot-9, 184-pound slot receiver and Oklahoma State receiver Tylan Wallace, who was very productive, catching 205 passes for 3,434 yards and 26 touchdowns during his Cowboys career.
It is a very deep wide receiving class, so the Eagles can wait til round three to add some depth at the position.
Eagles QBs Drafted Outisde Of The First Round Since 2000