After an offseason that saw the team trade away Carson Wentz, the Eagles are in flux. They have serious needs on both sides of the ball, and luckily, they have plenty of draft capital to address some of those needs. There is no doubt that the Eagles must hit on many of their 2021 NFL Draft picks. What grades did the Eagles 2021 NFL Draft selections earn?
Eagles draft picks in 2021
- 10th Overall Selection (R1-P10, from Dallas): DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
- 37th Overall Selection (R2-P5): Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama
- 73rd Overall Selection (R3-P9): Milton Williams, DT, Lousiana Tech
- 123rd Overall Selection (R4-P18, from Miami): Zech McPhearson, CB, Texas Tech
- 150th Overall Selection (R5-R6): Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis
- 189th Overall Selection (R6-P5): Marlon Tuipulotu, DT, USC
- 191st Overall Selection (R6-P7): Tarron Jackson, EDGE, Coastal Carolina
- 224th Overall Selection (R6-P40, compensatory pick): JaCoby Stevens, S, LSU
- 234th Overall Selection (R7-P6, compensatory pick): Patrick Johnson, EDGE, Tulane
Who did the Eagles draft on Day 1?
The Philadelphia Eagles traded the 12th overall pick and the 84th overall pick to the Dallas Cowboys for the 10th overall pick. With the 12th overall pick, the Eagles selected Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith.
Philadelphia Eagles grades for 2021 NFL Draft
The Eagles traded with their division rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, to select Smith with the No. 10 pick.
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Eagles needed to add wide receiver help in this draft badly. With their rivals the New York Giants in their path, they leapfrogged them to go up and add Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith out of Alabama. Dazzling with his routes and releases, Smith is one of the best pure technicians to come out of the draft in recent memory.
For only a modest cost, Smith will come in and be the alpha receiver for former Alabama teammate Jalen Hurts. Smith is a guy who can play through contact and press coverage better than his slim frame would tell you. That weight concern will be his biggest question mark, but Smith should be a wonderful cornerstone for the Eagles.
Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama
The Eagles are a team that had a bevy of needs even after getting Smith. However, the offensive line was spotty, and Landon Dickerson is a first-round talent. The value from tape is right there for the taking, and it certainly should give the Eagles a certain attitude upfront to protect Jalen Hurts. If the medicals work out, and that is a big if, this is a home-run pick, but that is the main reason why it should give pause. Otherwise, this is a great pick.
Milton Williams, DT, Louisiana Tech
The Eagles are adding a defensive tackle depth in Milton Williams. He lacks length, but he is a guy that has strong lower body explosiveness out of his first step. With strong, quick hands, Williams should bring immediate help against the run. However, he does not have a tangible toolbox as a pass rusher. If Williams wants to meet his ceiling, he must add another dimension as a pass rusher. Nonetheless, this is still decent value.
Zech McPhearson, CB, Texas Tech
With great body control, fluidity, and aggressiveness at the catch point, Zech McPhearson is a talented cornerback. There are concerns with his backpedal and recovery speed, however, McPhearson is good enough to compete for starting reps right away.
Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis
The Eagles’ running back room is one that has Miles Sanders as an elusive option and the shifty Boston Scott, but it is understandable that they would want to add a dynamic receiver in Kenneth Gainwell. While it does dispose of potentially adding a safety, tight end, or linebacker, Gainwell is great value here and will add a certain dimension to the offense with Jalen Hurts.
Marlon Tuipulotu, DT, USC
The Eagles add in a stout, heavy-handed run defender in USC’s Marlon Tuipulotu. Tuipulotu is a skilled run defender with enough flexibility and quickness to get some pass rush. While he does not have a ton of explosiveness, Tuipulotu will be a potential Day 1 contributor as a solid rotational run defender.
Tarron Jackson, EDGE, Coastal Carolina
Tarron Jackson is an explosive, laterally quick edge rusher who can penetrate through gaps. He does not have great flexibility and plays a little upright, thus causing him to lose the leverage battle at times. However, Jackson could be decent depth as a high motor, fundamentally sound edge rusher.
JaCoby Stevens, S, LSU
A physical leader who has a well-built frame, JaCoby Stevens comes into Philadelphia on Day 1 and could give them quality play as a sub-package safety and linebacker hybrid. He is a bit overaggressive and can play wild at times. However, Stevens has the athleticism and upside to be a worthy pick this late.
Patrick Johnson, EDGE, Tulane
A physical football player with great hands and reactive quickness, Patrick Johnson should add a relentless pass rusher. While he lacks the mass to kick inside and his lack of length will hurt him, Johnson could grow into something if he shows up as the tough player he is in training camp. He may never be a starter, but Johnson could be a rotational backup.
Philadelphia Eagles Overall Grade: B+
Overall, the Philadelphia Eagles added talent at multiple positions of need. They fortified the team around Jalen Hurts with Landon Dickerson and DeVonta Smith.
While there are still concerns on defense, Milton Williams, Zech McPhearson, and Marlon Tuipulotu have upside to their pick. On Day 3, they found solid value. There are still a lot of concerns in that secondary, which is what knocks this down a little bit, but overall, this is a nice draft for Howie Roseman.
Team needs for Philadelphia coming into the NFL Draft
Will the Eagles go cornerback or wide receiver with their first-round pick?
The Eagles have had problems at cornerback for years at this point. Darius Slay is not getting any younger, and behind him, there is not much to write home about. It would implore the Eagles to try and get a starter opposite of Slay, and perhaps even draft two cornerbacks with their multitude of selections.
Top draft selections in JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Jalen Reagor have not shown nearly enough promising returns thus far. The Eagles still have significant questions up and down their receiver depth chart, so it stands that they should address this early in the draft.
The Eagles have an aging player in Brandon Graham and could use another alpha pass rusher off the edge. While this one might not be absolutely urgent, if the value is right, the Eagles could stand to add an edge rusher early in the draft.
Another place in the secondary that is just a mess. They added Anthony Harris to the group this offseason, but there are still significant questions across the defensive backfield. The Eagles could add one here with one of their picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Zach Ertz is on the trading block, and that means the Eagles will need to add a tight end. Nick Sirianni loves to run 12 personnel, so Dallas Goedert will need a suitable running mate to let this offense truly work under a new guide.
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