The first mock draft I completed was published before the Eagles traded back with the Miami Dolphins and acquired the 12th overall pick. Since that first mock draft, the team has added talent at safety, linebacker, and quarterback. The roster still requires an influx of young talent to help forge a new era in Philadelphia Eagles football. Let’s draft:
Round 1, Pick 12: CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
With Virginia Tech cornerback, Caleb Farley’s recent back procedure, I now view Horn as the number one cornerback in this draft. The physical and aggressive outside corner fills an immediate need, as he slots in as the number 2 corner across from Darius Slay. Horn amassed 2 interceptions and 23 passes defended in 3 years of play at South Carolina.
Horn brings something that the Eagles defense has missed at the position for a few years. He brings a toughness and alpha mentality to the cornerback room. The Eagles land a day one starter with their first pick.
Round 2, Pick 37: WR Terrace Marshall, LSU
Marshall is a 6’3 monster. He’s very adept at using his size and length to his advantage. Marshall possesses the ability to win at all 3 levels (underneath, intermediate, and downfield). He’s also a deceptively fast receiver for his size. He understands leverage and how to use space to his advantage. Marshall’s releases are technically sound.
Marshall offers versatility, as he can play both inside and outside in an offense. He offers the Eagles a different body type than the receivers currently on the roster, outside of Travis Fulgham. Marshall can utilize his long catch radius and go up over the top of defenders or get vertical and stretch field. He possesses a unique size-speed combination. He’s incredibly athletic for his 6’3, 200 pound frame. Marshall’s game has very few holes. The main negative with Marshall are concentration drops.
The Eagles coaching infrastructure in the wide receiver room is built to develop and mold young receivers. Nick Sirianni has helped grow the game of receivers like Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, and Dontrelle Inman. Kevin Patullo has a relationship with Aaron Moorehead, as both coached at Texas A&M in 2017. During their time, the two coaches helped to develop Christian Kirk, a second-round pick (47th overall) by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2018 NFL Draft. With the current offensive staff, Marshall would be in great hands.
Round 3, Pick 70: IOL Quinn Meinerz, Wisconsin-Whitewater
Quinn Meinerz is one of the most interesting prospects in the entire 2021 NFL Draft. The Wisconsin-Whitewater product is an interior offensive lineman who wasn’t highly recruited out of Hartford, Wisconsin. Meinerz has played snaps at both guard positions and center during his career. Meinerz is reminiscent of a former interior offensive lineman who (like Meinerz) experienced a sort of, ‘meteoric rise’ during the draft process, that being Ali Marpet. Marpet was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 draft out of Hobart College.
The 6’3, 320 pound Meinerz is a surprisingly athletic offensive lineman, who carries himself with a bit of a mean streak on the football field. Meinerz flat out dominates defensive lineman. He possesses active hands and is a violent finisher. Meinerz can also get down the field in a hurry. With the Eagles, Meinerz would enter a situation where he likely wouldn’t have to play right off the bat and would have the opportunity to learn from 3-time All-Pro and 4-time Pro Bowl center Jason Kelce, who is operating on a year-to-year basis in terms of his playing days. Meinerz has traits that may allow him to become a starting center in the NFL for the next 10-12 years. Of course there is the competition flag that some may wave, but the film Meinerz put on display should help dispel any concerns. In addition to this, the situation Meinerz goes to will have a more impact than usual on the player he turns out to be. In this case, there legitimately may not be a better spot than with Eagles offensive line coach, Jeff Stoutland.
Round 3, Pick 84: LB Cameron McGrone, Michigan
McGrone was a pick in my first mock draft. I view him as a nice fit for Jonathan Gannon’s defense at linebacker. He can rush the passer or drop into coverage and be very effective. McGrone was described to me as a ,”seek and destroy” type of linebacker. He excels as a run-and-chase style linebacker.
Having only played 19 career college games, McGrone’s experience is a knock on him. He’s started 15 games, but has displayed desirable traits as a linebacker. He has ability as a blitzer, having played in Don Brown’s aggressive Michigan defense. McGrone is a fluid and aggressive mover. He displays good athleticism in coverage but is a bit raw. At 6’1 236 pounds, McGrone’s measurables profile similarly to Colts linebacker, Darius Leonard, who is 6’2 230 pounds. Jonathan Gannon was on the staff that selected Leonard in the 2nd-round of the 2018 draft. McGrone projects as a MIKE linebacker in the NFL. The Eagles would be getting a stable, talented, and young face at the linebacker position in McGrone.
Round 4, Pick 123: DE Patrick Jones, Pittsburgh
Patrick Jones is one of the best pure pass rushers in this draft. He is a legitimate man mover. Jones is a firm defensive end, who racked up 21.5 sacks and 32 tackles for a loss in four years (five games played in freshman year). Jones would be a welcome addition to an Eagles defensive line group which currently consists of an aging Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett who is in a contract year, and Josh Sweat, who isn’t a three down defensive end. As an Eagle, Jones would immediately become a rotational piece with upside to develop into a starter.
Round 5, Pick 150: RB/WR Demetric Felton, UCLA
Felton is the definition of versatility. He can line up in the backfield or in the slot. The 5’9 189 pound running back/wide receiver is a hybrid player. Felton is explosive with the ball in his hands. He’s very detailed from a route running standpoint and is an instinctual runner with the ball in his hands.
Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel, Andy Weidl outlined that versatility is a trait that may give prospects a leg up on others. Felton personifies versatility. He accumulated 2,059 scrimmage yards in 3 years at LSU. If drafted by the Eagles, Felton can operate as someone who is useful across multiple avenues at the NFL level. A comparable player for Felton is Colts RB Nyheim Hines. Eagles head coach, Nick Sirianni coached Hines in Indianapolis and has experience planning on how to deploy an offensive weapon like Felton.
Round 6, Pick 189: CB Camryn Bynum, California
Cam Bynum is a physical and aggressive cornerback. He plays with active hands and quick feet, evidenced by his 28 pass break-ups during his career at California. Bynum’s aggressive nature fits in with Jonathan Gannon’s profile for defensive backs. He isn’t afraid to stick his nose in and get physical as a tackler, as he accumulated over 180 tackles during his collegiate career. Bynum doesn’t have the long speed to run with quicker receivers that some scouts and fans may desire, but he does possess quick and twitchy feet. In addition to this, he also plays with nice technical prowess and has the the ability to re-route and disrupt receivers.
Bynum’s long speed is the major knock against him, but in the right defensive system, that can be masked. Bynum started 38 consecutive games while at Cal. He’s played a lot of snaps and gained valuable experience. With that experience comes football IQ. For players like Bynum, who don’t necessarily have the most dynamic athleticism, they have to make up for it with acute football knowledge and IQ. Bynum passes that test. In Jonathan Gannon’s defensive system which will likely implore more zone coverage looks with two high safeties, Bynum would fit in nicely as a developmental number two corner.
Round 6, Pick 224: S Damar Hamlin, Pittsburgh
The Eagles current depth chart at safety is headed up by veterans, Rodney McLeod and recent acquisition, Anthony Harris. Hamlin’s play style can be summed up in one word: aggressive. The 6’1 200 pound safety is fearless when coming downhill and making tackles. After redshirting his freshman year at Pittsburgh, Hamlin amassed 275 total tackles, 10 sacks, 6 interceptions, and 21(!) pass breakups in 4 years.
Hamlin is an experienced safety having played in the box, from the slot, and as a deep safety (in single high shells and two high coverage shells). He’s at his best when he can keep the action in front of him. Hamlin isn’t the most athletic defensive back, but he makes up for what he lacks in athleticism with keen football IQ. He doesn’t possess the best vertical speed, but Hamlin processes fast and is consistent. Hamlin is at his best in zone coverage due to his short area quickness and decisiveness. With the Eagles, Hamlin would have the opportunity to learn under the two veterans while honing his craft and developing his array of consistent and reliable traits.
Round 6, Pick 225: TE Nick Eubanks, Michigan
Nick Eubanks is a physically imposing football player. At 6’4 245 pounds, Eubanks moves well for his size. The Eagles are reportedly shopping Zach Ertz and after Dallas Goedert, the only other tight ends on the roster are Caleb Wilson and Jason Croom. Eubanks has the potential to be a high end TE2.
Eubanks is a hard worker, who competes every time he steps on the field. He moves deceptively fast for his size and displays capable agility after the catch with the ball in his hands. He utilizes his 79 inch wingspan to pluck balls out of the air with his wide catch radius. He’s a quality athlete, an ample receiver, and a willing blocker. Eubanks has a lot of high quality traits, but his overall game could use some refinement.
Round 7, Pick 234: DT Mustafa Johnson, Colorado
After redshirting his freshman year, Johnson accumulated 100 total tackles, 26 tackles for a loss, and 15 sacks over three years at Colorado. Johnson is also a versatile and athletic player. He’s played defensive tackle as well as defensive end. The main drawback for Johnson is his frame. At 6’0 290 pounds, he is bit undersized in terms of defensive tackle weight. But that frame may be looked at as a positive by some teams due to his positional versatility.
Johnson had his best production in his sophomore year (playing defensive end) with 15.5 tackles for a loss and 7.5 sacks. Johnson is a relentless pass rusher, who’s legs are always churning. Some teams may view him as a defensive end with the ability to play defensive tackle in sub-packages. Johnson brings what many other picks in this draft do: the ability to be used multiple ways. Johnson would fit in as the Eagles third defensive tackle, as well as providing defensive end depth.
Round 7, Pick 240: OT/OG Royce Newman, Ole Miss
Royce Newman played guard, in addition to offensive tackle while at Ole Miss.
Newman played 768 snaps at left guard, 141 at right guard, and started at right tackle during the 2020 season. He is a nice sized offensive lineman at 6’5 310 pounds. Newman is a decisive blocker in terms of his play strength. One thing that stuck out to me when watching Newman was his ability to shoot his hands and get contact on the defensive lineman first. In my opinion, his punch is his best trait as a player. Newman is strong once engaged as a blocker. He gets movement as a run blocker and is athletic enough to get to the second level.
With the Eagles, Newman slots in as a depth piece along the offensive line that desperately needs young faces. Nate Herbig is an adequate (and versatile) back-up offensive lineman, but along the interior, the team needs more help. Newman has a lot of traits that, if developed properly, could yield a future starter or backup swing tackle in the NFL.