One of the most electrifying days of the year, where fans all around the world find out who their teams are adding to the roster. Some teams draft very well, and see a ton of production from players right out the gate. Other teams aren’t as lucky, whether their players don’t see as much game time in their first season or they don’t produce or live up to the expectations.
The Philadelphia Eagles would fall into that second category, where they haven’t had the best drafts in recent years. However, all of that is out the window, as 2021 can be the year that Howie Roseman and company get back on track and bring in great talent in this year’s draft.
As finding players presents one question, the tougher task is how to prioritize the draft picks. With 11 picks this year, the Eagles have needs all across the board on both sides of the ball. At the risk of over drafting or taking a luxury pick, we’re going to take a look at how the Philadelphia Eagles should prioritize their draft picks this year. Here are the top three positions that should be prioritized in the 2021 NFL Draft.
When you look at the last time the Philadelphia Eagles had a solid linebacker core, they won the Super Bowl. Sure, Jordan Hicks was out with injury for most of the year, but they still had prime Nigel Bradham and Mychal Kendricks manning the middle of the defense. Those players are long gone, and the position as a whole has been neglected for too long. They still have breakout linebacker Alex Singleton, but the rest is still a question mark. Eric Wilson is here on a one year deal, but could easily leave after 2021. Shoot, they drafted Davion Taylor in the third round last year, but he’s still a super raw player who has barely played the position in his entire life. The Eagles need to invest a Day 2 pick into the linebacker position. A guy like Jabril Cox or Chase Surratt could be plugged in to the defense today and be one of the best linebackers on the team. It’s been long enough of this position being neglected. Go get your linebacker of the future in this year’s draft.
2. Wide Receiver
Here is where the debate kicks in. For the last two years, we have been screaming for the Philadelphia Eagles to acquire an impact receiver, whether it be in the draft, free agency or trade. They have had to rely on practice squad and late round receivers for what feels like forever. Like 2020, this year’s draft class is loaded. Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle are all going to be Top 15 picks. Terrace Marshall and Rashod Bateman could also slide their way into the first round. Any of these players mentioned would be great pickups and immediate help for the Eagles in 2021 and beyond. With all of these guys in the first round, it’s possible that the Eagles could also find great value in the second round on a wide receiver. Guys like Elijah Moore, Kadarius Toney and Rondale Moore are great receivers coming out, but depending how the board falls, they could find themselves in the second round. With a high second round pick this year, the Eagles could address a bigger need in the first round and snag one of these players in Round 2. If they don’t want to wait, they have the draft capital to go back up into the first round and find their next star receiver. However they do it, the wide receiver position needs to be addressed early in this year’s draft.
When you look at the current Philadelphia Eagles cornerback room, it’s not very promising. It’s Darius Slay and a bunch of slot corners. The way the Eagles approached this position heading into the 2020 season last year was managed very poorly. They cut bait with a pair of high draft picks in Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas, and decided to roll the dice with Avonte Maddox as CB2 on the outside. When Maddox went down, it came to the point where a collection of practice squad players in Kevon Seymour, Trevor Williams and Michael Jacquet, which showed how depleted the cornerback room was. This can’t happen again, and we would hope the team knows it and plans to address it early. With new defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, the hope is the team finds a young talent at cornerback for Gannon to groom and put in the best position to succeed. At 12th overall, the Eagles have a great opportunity to take one of the top two cornerbacks in the draft in Patrick Surtain or Jaycee Horn. One of them should be there at 12, but if they need to trade up to secure one of them, they need to do so. Especially if your division rival is eyeing one of them, you need to get the player you want and take it from them. Like the wide receiver position, the cornerback position has been neglected and mishandled way worse. The drop-off in cornerback talent is much greater than the wide receiver position as well. Guys like Tyson Campbell, Asante Samuel Jr. and Eric Stokes would be good second round picks, but it wouldn’t be the same as securing one of the top two guys in the draft. The Eagles need to address this position first in the draft, and secure their next CB1 for 2021 and beyond.