My approach for this was to be aggressive in pursuing franchise cornerstones and impactful players. I was hesitant to make two trades but for the results, it was most definitely worth it. Here’s the first five picks of a dream-like draft for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Eagles trade up to pick #8 with the Panthers using pick #12, #70, #123:
- 8th overall selection: Kyle Pitts, TE Florida
The Eagles make some noise and somehow get back up in the top 10 and land their guy while also having added an extra first round pick in 2022. This pick will have the fanbase in complete euphoria. The team has not had elite level talent on the offensive side of the ball since the days of LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson (first stint), and Jeremy Maclin. Just imagine what Coach Sirianni could draw up with Pitts, Reagor, Sanders and the other young weapons on this team.
2. 37th overall selection: Eric Stokes, CB Georgia
The Eagles strike again with another premium talent at a position of need. They may have missed out on Jaycee Horn but in my opinion, Stokes is a nice consolation prize. The Eagles have been in dire need for talent at cornerback and watching the likes of Michael Jacquett and Avonte Maddox try to cover WR2’s has been insufferable in recent years. Stokes is a physical and quick footed corner who can take care of his man. Eagles fans would love this pick. His size-speed combo is also a major bonus here and why I picked him over a guy like Asante Samuel Jr. Coach Gannon loves this type of DB and this will definitely help jumpstart this new look defense opposite Darius Slay.
Eagles trade pick #150, #224, and a 2022 3rd round pick to the Texans and get back into the top 100
3. 67th overall selection: Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
One of my absolute favorite prospects from this draft. The Eagles absolutely need a LB who can make plays and Cox is that guy. He is an excellent athlete who seems to be around the football at all times. He routinely makes big plays and is a team captain type of player. He has solid coverage skills (no more Nate Gerry please)…and has all the tools to be a great linebacker in the NFL and leader for the Eagles. This is the kind of pick that screams “we’re gonna get this right” for the Eagles brass. And at this spot, adding a premier talent to one of the team’s biggest weaknesses can’t be a bad thing.
4. 84th overall selection: Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis
The Eagles have Miles Sanders and just resigned Jordan Howard to a one year deal. However, Gainwell is such an excellent fit into this offense and Coach Sirianni would do wonders with him in space. Gainwell can step right into the RB2 spot in 2022 should the Eagles opt to let Jordan Howard walk, giving them a lethal 1-2 punch with Sanders and Gainwell. Sirianni had Johnathan Taylor, Nyhiem Hines, and Marlon Mack in Indianapolis and put together a very strong running game. The Eagles have had one of the leagues most unbalanced offenses under Doug Pederson and Coach Sirianni is sure to bring some balance back into the fold to alleviate some pressure off of Jalen Hurts’s shoulders.
5. 189th overall selection: Deonte Brown, OG, Alabama
This pick may not be the sexiest but it is definitely necessary given the recent injury history across the Eagles offensive line. Brown is projected to be taken around #184 so there is certainly some value here. He may need some time to develop and does not have ideal size but given the Eagles history of drafting along the offensive line, Brown can definitely be coached up and utilized. He will fit right into the locker room and can be a starter at guard with Jason Kelce’s retirement looming and rumors circulating that Issac Seumalo could be moving to center when that happens. Brandon Brooks may also be on the way out within the next year and this pick could line up perfectly with the immediate future of the offensive line in Philly. Offensive line coach, Jeff Stoutland is one of the strongest position coaches and I have great confidence that Brown will pan out in this group.
To wrap up, the later round picks were left out but may be used as depth pieces at positions of need like safety, nickel corner, EDGE, or an additional WR, with potential for a future backup QB. However, with these first five picks my goal was to get the best value and best talent to help provide key pieces for this team in 2021 and 2022. In the case of Brown and Gainwell, they are likely to contribute more in Year 2 based on current roster construction and probable 2022 departures including Brooks, Kelce, and Howard. Kyle Pitts, Eric Stokes, and Jabril Cox would be home run picks for this team and could be Day 1 starters at three positions of need. Here’s to hoping we get some version of this in reality!