Draft Recap

Posted: May 1st, 2021 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 4 Comments »

The 2021 draft is over and the Eagles are a better football team. I’m not going to write super long reviews on these guys tonight, but wanted to try and put the overall class into some context.

1 – WR DeVonta Smith – Alabama – 6-0, 166
2 – OL Landon Dickerson – Alabama – 6-6, 333
3 – DL Milton Williams – Louisiana Tech – 6-3, 284
4 – CB Zech McPhearson – Texas Tech – 5-11, 196
5 – RB Kenny Gainwell – Memphis – 5-9, 201
6 – DT Marlon Tuipulotu – USC – 6-2, 307
6 – DE Tarron Jackson – Coastal Carolina – 6-2, 254
6 – LB JaCoby Stevens – LSU – 6-1, 212
7 – LB Patrick Johnson – Tulane – 6-2, 240

This group is more solid than sexy. And I’m fine with that. The Eagles went 4-11-1 last year with an aging, bloated roster. They needed an infusion of youth. They needed high character guys who would come in and battle their asses off. They needed hungry, driven players.

And talented.

All the character and effort in the world isn’t going to cover Amari Cooper or block Chase Young. You need good players for that.

Smith 

I think Smith can start right away. Jalen Reagor was an explosive athlete coming out of college. Smith is a polished receiver who understands the game at a very high level. He just had one of the greatest WR seasons in the history of college football. That didn’t happen because of a gimmicky offense, poor competiton or elite size/speed. Smith earned those catches and yards. His skills should translate to the NFL game right away.

Dickerson 

Dickerson joins the deepest spot on the team so there isn’t an obvious opening for him. He’s also coming back from a torn ACL so we’ll have to see when he’s ready. Howie Roseman said the team expects Dickerson to be ready to play this year. I think too many people saw this pick and assumed the team wanted a G/C prospect. This pick was about Dickerson himself. On the field, he is physically dominant. He is a punishing blocker that former OL all love to watch. This is their version of a super hero. Off the field, Dickerson is a natural leader and culture-setter. This is the kind of guy who helps a new coaching staff establish the right tone and get things headed in the right direction. Jeff Stoutland refers to Dickerson as special. He has Pro Bowl potential.

Williams

Great athlete. Disruptive player. Versatile defender. Williams is big enough to play DT and athletic enough to play DE. He is explosive, agile and has a good motor. He played a lot in a 3-man line at La Tech and that didn’t showcase his skills as much as a 4-man line would have. Put on the tape and you see a really talented player. His best football is definitely ahead of him. He could develop into an outstanding interior rusher. He should be a future starter.

McPhearson

The Eagles went into the draft desperate for CB help. Things didn’t work out in the first few rounds, but the Eagles got their man in the 4th round. They liked McPhearson enough that they considered trading back into the 3rd round to get him. McPhearson isn’t special in any way, but he is a good player. He can play in the slot or outside. He will tackle. He’s got good ball skills. McPhearson picked off 4 passes last year. He has starting potential. He was an outstanding STs player in college so at the least he could be a good backup and STer in the NFL.

Gainwell

Memphis has produced some really talented weapons in recent years. Tony Pollard and Antonio Gibson are talented playmakers and Gainwell has a chance to join them. He can help the Eagles as a RB or receiver. Memphis moved him around to get him into favorable matchups in the passing game. Nick Sirianni had success with a similar player in Indy (RB Nyheim Hines). The Eagles needed help behind Miles Sanders. Gainwell could be RB2. He’ll certainly be part of RB by Committee. He averaged more than 6 yards per carry in 2019 and delivered plenty of big plays. He gives Eagles coaches another weapon to work with.

Tuipulotu

I had a mid-round grade on him, but he apparently fell due to some medical concerns. He played in 12 games in 2018 and 2019 and then 5 of 6 last year so this isn’t a guy whose career was hurt by injuries. He stayed on the field and played well. Tuipulotu wasn’t much of a playmaker for the Trojans. They did some odd things with their DL and it was hard to get a feel for him. That changed when he went to the Senior Bowl. He showed the ability to beat blocks and be disruptive. Tuipuloto has a good motor and will make his share of hustle plays. He’s a powerful DT who can hold his ground and eat up blocks. He’s more of a NT type.

Jackson

I am an Appalachian State fan. Coastal Carolina is a big rival for us and I can honestly say I hated Jackson. He was relentless and had an annoying habit of making big plays at crucial moments. He drove me nuts. I’m now glad he’s on my side. Jackson has an uphill battle to make it in the NFL. He lacks ideal size and he’s not special athletically. He is tough and ultra competitive. He’s got the kind of personality and play style Jonathan Gannon will love. Jackson might remind you of Trent Cole. I don’t think he’s as quick as Cole was, but Jackson is more versatile. He showed the ability to get pressure off the edge or up the middle. Jackson had 8.5 sacks and 4 FFs last year.

Stevens

Stevens is the opposite of Jackson. Stevens is a gifted athlete from a big school. But he wasn’t the kind of consistently productive player that you would have expected from someone with his natural gifts. He played S at LSU. Stevens worked mostly at LB while at the Senior Bowl and the Eagles are expected to use him there as well. Stevens would be a WLB. He is a developmental prospect, but has the kind of athleticism you want in a back seven player. Could be a role player in sub packages.

Johnson 

Another tweener. He played LB/DE at Tulane. Sometimes they had him out in space. Other times he stood up at the LOS. Other times he was a DE with his hand on the ground. The Eagles seems to be thinking of him as a LB (not set in stone). Johnson is a good pass rusher. He had 21 sacks and 6 FFs over the past three years. Johnson is quick off the ball and has a great motor. I think he would play SAM for the Eagles. That would allow him to do a little of everything. Good athlete.

*****

The Eagles drafted multiple team captains.

They drafted 4 players from the Senior Bowl.

All of these players were productive in college. There were no underachievers.

This is a very versatile group. Tuipulotu is the only guy who is limited to one position. He’s a pure DT.

*****

I was surprised by only taking one CB. I thought for sure they would add at least a pair. It is possible this means the Eagles will target a veteran for that spot.

I was also surprised they didn’t address safety.

*****

UDFA Signings (so far)

QB Jamie Newman
OC Harry Crider
WR Trevon Grimes
WR Jhamon Ausbon
TE Jack Stroll
OG Kayode Awosika

DE Jaquan Bailey

Grimes might be the highest graded player on the list. OC Brian Johnson knew him from their time together at Florida and I’m sure that connection didn’t hurt.

Newman played at Wake Forest and then transferred to Georgia for 2020. He opted out and then had a poor showing at the Senior Bowl. That killed his value. He does have potential and is worth developing into an NFL backup.

Awosika played LT for Buffalo, but he’s a limited athlete and projects to OG in the NFL. Outstanding run blocker. Lots of fun to watch.

Bailey had 25 sacks in his career at Iowa State. The Eagles gave him a decent bonus so they must think he’s got a legit chance to make the roster or the practice squad.

_


4 Comments on “Draft Recap”

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  4. 4 The Linc - Some very high praise for DeVonta Smith said at 9:49 AM on May 2nd, 2021:

    […] Draft Recap – Iggles BlitzI think DeVonta Smith can start right away. Jalen Reagor was an explosive athlete coming out of college. Smith is a polished receiver who understands the game at a very high level. He just had one of the greatest WR seasons in the history of college football. That didn’t happen because of a gimmicky offense, poor competition or elite size/speed. Smith earned those catches and yards. His skills should translate to the NFL game right away. […]