The Philadelphia Eagles completed this season at 4-11-1 but managed to stay in the playoff race until the end. In this 2021 Eagles mock draft, we look toward the future of the team.
Head Coach Doug Peterson was let go after five seasons and a Super Bowl win. Nick Sirianni was hired to replace Peterson after serving as the Indianapolis Colts‘ offensive coordinator for three seasons. Sirianni is bringing along a new coaching staff, so expect some major shakeups on the roster as well.
Carson Wentz, who signed a four-year, $128 million contract in 2019, found himself benched late in the season in favor of rookie Jalen Hurts. Holding such a large contract and not playing, the Eagles are likely to move on from Wentz soon and build around Hurts.
Miles Sanders is the only RB who started last year that is currently on the roster. On the other hand, all of the receivers are returning. They weren’t the best or healthiest group in the league and the defense is aging in some aspects. There is a lot of work to be done on this roster and we dive into solving these issues with an Eagles mock draft as we enter the offseason.
2021 Eagles Mock Draft Selections
Round 1: Ja’Marr Chase
One of the biggest and clearest issues was the WR position. Part of the problem was a slew of random injuries and lack of quality depth. Another part was young and inexperienced starters mixed with average veterans. Regardless of what the real underlying issue was, a change is needed and an instant starter is an answer. Ja’Marr Chase showed in LSU that he can be the key, which is why he’s the first pick in this Eagles mock draft.
DeVonta Smith might have won the Heisman this year but Smith’s size is a question mark for some scouts. Chase’s impressive 2019 season with 1,780 yards on 84 catches and 20 TDs are the type of stats that Jalen Hurts needs in a WR1. He can create separation from coverage and be a legit red zone threat. There’s no real injury history so that’s a major plus as well.
Rookie Jalen Reagor and veteran Alshon Jeffery will remain starters with Ja’Marr sliding into either slot ahead of DeSean Jackson or switching Reagor to the slot. Travis Fulgham and Greg Ward, both who stepped up last year in wake of injuries, can be quality rotational depth. Rounded out by Quez Watkins and JJ Arcega-Whiteside, this unit looks more productive already. Selecting Chase in the Eagles mock draft makes sense for Philadelphia.
Chase is a great choice as he can draw the double coverage, yet still, get production. Paired with Jalen Hurts, Chase’s speed can add major YAC and get those chains moving. Speed is one attribute, but the ability to catch and make plays adds a whole other level. The Eagles have a good offensive structure but Chase can be the backbone along with Hurts.
Round 2: Trey Smith
The second-round pick of this Eagles mock draft is focused on the offensive line. Philadelphia allowed a league-high 65 sacks last year. To put that in perspective, Washington was 2nd with 50. Jason Kelce is nearing retirement, while Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks are over 30 and banged up. It doesn’t help that Johnson and Brooks were given hefty contracts in 2019 either.
Despite the clear talent on this offensive line, the injuries plagued them as well (14 different combinations of starters through 16 games). It may look like a unit in shambles but there was great development produced from the younger guys like rookie Jack Driscoll and Nate Herbig. Tennessee’s Trey Smith can bring fresh talent to Philadelphia, making him the perfect choice for the Eagles mock draft.
Smith started as a left tackle in college before finding his sweet spot at right guard. The power he brings can overtake Brandon Brooks for the starting role. However, this is a risky pick with a nice reward. Brooks has suffered two achilles injuries and Smith can dominate defenders with his pure strength.
There is a lack of flexibility and smooth motion from the O-line group though. The strength is there but would be challenged at times with hip adjustments. Smith also suffered from a blood clot issue in 2018 that could be an underlying issue in the future. His fundamentals are easily coachable but the Eagles have to know how to use Smith to reap the benefits of this pick. There is a ton of value in taking Smith here in this Eagles mock draft.
Round 3: Rodarius Williams
The Eagles have an interesting situation at CB. Darius Slay was brought in via trade and signed a decent extension. He’s their best option against WR1s but is 30 years old now and taking up a lot of cap on a rebuilding team. Avonte Maddox is a good slot corner that is being mishandled as the outside back. Meanwhile, Nickell Robey-Coleman was picked apart by opposing QBs and had trouble tackling all year. Rodarius Williams is someone who’s been projected all over the board but is considered a steal for the Eagles mock draft.
Rodarius Williams was a fifth-year senior who benefited greatly from the additional reps. 2021 saw most players take a step backward but Williams improved in strides and became a legitimate NFL prospect. One of his main attributes is his length and wingspan. He can shadow a receiver quite well and has the ability to jam them earlier at the line. Williams has a slow pedal to his speed and it comes from being too cautious in being hit with a double move on a route or complex jamming system on a play.
Robey-Coleman is on his way out or should be, at the very least. Maddox should go back to the slot position and let Slay continue being the top guy. Williams can contribute well as a 3rd-best CB on the field but should be able to see some looks going against the possession receivers. He’s a great value selection in this Eagles mock draft.
Round 5: TE Hunter Long
Drafting a tight end is a must for this Eagles mock draft. Zach Ertz is bound to be traded this offseason. His production has dipped and missed several games in 2020 due to injury. The cap hit to bring him in next year is over $12 million but the team could use that money elsewhere. Dallas Goedert is a reliable TE but not a real playmaker. Boston College’s Hunter Long is a well-rounded TE that can challenge Goedert while also contributing immediately.
Long may seem underrated, especially since he led all college TEs in targets and receptions. For a big man, he can run fluid routes and has decent hands. Long is the whole package as he’s an all-around player. Still, he could benefit from running crisper routes and tune his fundamentals as a playmaker. This could wind up being a solid steal on day three, especially in the Eagles mock draft.
Round 5: DE Victor Dimukeje
Philadelphia has two picks in the fifth round this year and some would question why the Eagles would look towards DE rather than other needs. Their defense was third in the league in sacks with 49, which is quite impressive for a four-win team.
However, Brandon Graham is over 30 years old and may start to decline soon. Josh Sweat is a solid playmaker but entering the last year of a rookie deal and is expecting a payday. Also, Derek Barnett is due to be paid $10 million on his fifth-year option. Most of the depth players behind these three are easily replaceable. Victor Dimukeje is young, cheap, and consistent, making him an excellent choice for the Eagles mock draft.
Playing at Duke, Dimukeje has been under the radar. He racked up 21.5 tackles in four years with the Blue Devils. The issue that can halt his progress is that his physicality is limited and he isn’t a real dominant pass rusher. There is still potential to be a starter but he can serve as depth for now until that opportunity comes around.
Round 6: Rakeem Boyd
As I mentioned earlier, Miles Sanders and Jason Huntley are the only RBs under contract. Boston Scott and Corey Clement could be brought back. Between the two, Scott is more likely to come back since he started four games and was able to be productive at times. Rakeem Boyd‘s 4.56 speed can make him a nice sleeper pick in the Eagles mock draft.
Boyd has the abilities as an RB but it is a specific skill set. He can be a competitive, fast, yet patient runner. His pass-catching is limited and so is his pass-blocking. Boyd is a true straight-line runner and that’s all the Eagles need from him. Sanders and Scott can handle the bulk of the load while Boyd is inserted on 2nd and long situations.
Round 7: Marcus Murphy
Rodney McLeod is returning from an ACL tear last year and may not be ready for the start of the season. Jalen Mills is a versatile defender on a fairly decent deal. Marcus Epps has upside and some potential but it couldn’t hurt for an upgraded backup. Marcus Murphy has had a rocky college career but his potential is worth the risk of a 7th round pick for this Eagles mock draft.
Between suspensions from violating team rules and several personal tragedies, Murphy was never able to play to his full capabilities. He could have stayed in college another year to really help his value but his speed and instincts make him an acceptable prospect. At worst, he can add depth on the roster and be a speedster on special teams.
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