We are just over a month away from the 2021 NFL Draft where the Eagles will be drafting top 10 for the first time since 2016. The Eagles will be in prime position to come away with their franchise cornerstone of the future. One of the highlights of this draft class is the QB position, which has led to a discussion about the potential of Jalen Hurts. Did Jalen flash enough potential during the 2020 season to earn a bigger chance in 2021? It’s been a polarizing discussion among Eagles fans as we count down the days until the Eagles make the sixth pick. I saw enough from Jalen in 2020 to think he deserves that shot to prove himself in 2021 so my drafting will assume he’s the starter.
The Eagles had one of their worst seasons in the last decade as they went 4-11-1 and finished dead last in the division. We saw an old, expensive roster struggle to stay competitive in the NFL’s worst division which is concerning to say the least. Howie Roseman will have his hands full as he goes into this offseason with limited cap space and an aging roster that is starved of premium young talent. The main goal of the offseason and on draft night should be to acquire as many draft picks as possible. As it stands now after compensatory picks, the Eagles have ten draft picks including two thirds, two fifths and three sixth round picks. I would expect the Eagles to make at least one trade before the draft, which could push that number to 12 or more.
Option 1: Trading back
The top 15 of this draft is very deep so I would shop the pick and see what teams are offering. Roseman should be trying to get as much young talent as possible and trading out of the top 10 would be the quickest way to do that. In the scenario above, we trade back to 12 with San Fransisco while they also send their second and third round picks from this year. The Eagles would walk away with Rashawn Slater, who’s still a premium talent in the trenches plus five more top 100 guys. With value like that available, I could see the Eagles trading back all the way to 15 with New England. In the past, teams have even been willing to part with future first round picks in order to grab a player they really like. If a team like the Patriots is offering a future first to get into the top ten then the Eagles should be all ears. The Colts pick from the Wentz trade is conditional, which means it could turn into a first round pick as well. The thought of going into the 2022 draft with three potential first round picks should be very intriguing to the Eagles front office, especially if Jalen Hurts were to struggle in 2021. I would give Jalen a shot in 2021 and if he struggles then you have the draft capital to go get your guy in 2022. However, he could also prove he’s your franchise guy and now you’d have three first round picks to build around him. I think multiple teams will call about the sixth pick and the Eagles should be listening to all offers.
Option 2: Staying at 6
There is plenty of elite talent available in the top six picks of the draft at a plethora of positions . If the Eagles decide to stay put then they should have their choice of a franchise altering talent. The Kyle Pitts hype train has been gaining steam as of late and I can’t help but punch my ticket to get on board. NFL media such as Field Yates has said that if he had to bet who makes the Hall of Fame from this draft then he would choose Kyle Pitts. The tools he possesses for his 6’6″, 240 pound frame are just unheard of and would give the Eagles a matchup nightmare on offense. The Eagles lack a true X wide receiver with the likely departure of Alshon Jeffery and the slow development of JJ Arcega-Whiteside. Pitts would give Sirianni a player that could line up at the X, slide inside to the slot or line up as a TE. The former Florida star could also be on the field at the same time as Goedert, who is more of a traditional in line TE. With Pitts in the fold, the opportunities are endless for the Eagles offense and that’s why he makes sense at the sixth overall pick.
In this scenario, the Eagles are lacking in quantity of talent like they would if they traded back. However, when you’re getting a player like Kyle Pitts those concerns don’t loom as large. Howie Roseman would still be adding four top 100 players to the roster and a game changing offensive weapon in Pitts. After I selected Pitts, I moved my focus to fixing the secondary which desperately needs an infusion of young talent. I selected LB Zaven Collins with our second round pick, which could be wishful thinking considering the Eagles draft history at LB. If I had to guess, I would say the Eagles are more likely to take a CB or interior OL in the second round but I’m still holding out hope for a premium pick spent at LB. I could’ve taken a CB at 70 or 84 but I didn’t think the CB talent available was as good as the safety talent on the board. With Holland and Nasirildeen in the fold, the Eagles have two players that Gannon can move around the formation on the back end of the defense. When you add K’Von Wallace to the mix then the Eagles would be set at the safety position for years to come.
The Eagles are lacking young talent which makes this draft even more important for them to overhaul their aging roster. However, this won’t happen in one year so the Eagles need to be patient and not reach for players. I would trust the board that your scouts put together and take the best player available as much as possible. There are holes all over the roster so it should be easy for the Eagles to adopt the best player available strategy.