It’s been some time since the Eagles traded back from pick 6 to 12 in the 2021 NFL Draft. We can now move forward and look at potential draft prospects that could be taken in the draft. Using The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator, I ran through one scenario thinking how I believe the Eagles will while still making a small portion of fans happy.
Round 1 – Pick 12
Jaycee Horn CB – South Carolina
Measurements: 6’1 – 205 pounds
In the simulation there were quite a few choices available but in the end I settled on a prospect that the Eagles have recently met with. Horn fills an immediate need at the cornerback position opposite Darius Slay and stabilizes the spot for the time being. He showed off his athleticism at his pro day. Horn put up a 41 1/2-inch vertical and had an 11-foot, 1-inch broad jump. He also ran a 4.37 40-yard dash according to South Carolina’s timing.
On top of his elite level athleticism, Horn proved to be a strong coverage guy lining up across many of the nation’s top pass catchers in the SEC like Kyle Pitts from Florida. While he has displayed the ability to be a good aggressive cover man corner, Horn shows a tendency to get a bit grabby. This is something he’ll have to work on in order to be consistently successful at the next level. In all, this would be a high upside pick and given this new staff’s emphasis on developing talent, would get the fanbase excited.
Round 2 – Pick 37
Zaven Collins LB – Tulsa
Measurements: 6’4 – 260
Eagles get incredibly lucky and have Zaven Collins fall right into their lap at 37. I know it’s not a flashy WR or an exciting RB but, the Eagles have been starved for good linebacker play and they could actually get it in Collins.
Collins played as a stacked backer in Tulsa’s 3-3 defense, handling traditional off-ball responsibilities and contributing as a rusher at times. Collins is a big outside linebacker with the ability to do a little bit of everything on the field. He has shown fluid lateral movements that help him against both run and pass assignments. Furthermore, he’s a big strong LB that can actually take on a block and shed it to get to the ball carrier. I can already hear everyone asking, “how does he fit” or saying “he’s not a fit for a 4-3” But if we look back at Jonathan Gannon’s mentor, Mike Zimmer, he took Anthony Barr who played the 3-4 OLB early in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft and helped him be successful in a 4-3. Collins has a similar athletic profile as Barr but with much more experience as a stacked backer.
Round 3 – Pick 70
Amon Ra St Brown WR – USC
Measurements: 5’11 – 195 pounds
“Not another Pac 12 WR,” Hear me out, St. Brown is not the biggest or fastest but he gets the job done. He can move all around the field, having played outside and inside at USC, and shows solid route running prowess and the ability to track the ball well downfield. St. Brown ran a 4.5 at his pro day, but still shows a smoothness when route running that is valuable in Nick Sirriani’s offense. Overall he is a solid wide receiver who could come in and compete for the slot position while also contributing outside.
Round 3 – Pick 84
Payton Turner Edge – Houston
Measurements: 6’5 – 270 pounds
This pick may seem odd since the Eagles still have Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat and Derek Barnett, but Graham is heading into what we believe is his last few years as an Eagle, Sweat is heading into his final season under his rookie contract and Barnett hasn’t been given a new deal. I did not know much of Turner until he was brought to my attention by TPB‘s own Pierre Baptiste. He is a big, long Edge with good get off, physicality, power, hand-combatting skills, and motor. This seems like someone who the Eagles would bring in to learn from BG and potentially take over a starting spot when he retires. The biggest worry would be lack of production in college but that very well could be attributed to deployment at Houston.
Round 4 – Pick 123
Kylin Hill RB – Mississippi State
Measurements: 5’10 – 214 pounds
The Eagles end the first four rounds by getting another offensive player to add Nick Sirriani’s offense. This may be a slight surprise as the team already has Miles Sanders but the Eagles were reportedly interested in JK Dobbins before selecting Jalen Hurts in the second roundest year. With that in mind, and the fact Sanders has battled some injuries in his first few seasons, they still may look to add another back to take some of the physical toll the position can have on a player off of Sanders. Hill is a tough and versatile back who is good at getting North and South quickly. He is also a solid receiver out of the backfield, giving him the ability to be on the field any down. He does not show game-breaking speed but that’s what Sanders is for. Together they could create a solid one-two punch for the next few years.
Overall, the Eagles picked two potential defensive cornerstones in Horn and Collins, offensive contributors in St. Brown and Hill and an edge with potential.
It may not be a start to the draft that fans had hoped for but it would be able to improve the team as a whole.