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Philadelphia Eagles 2021 NFL Draft Recap

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The Philadelphia Eagles came into the draft with 11 picks and ended with nine, while also picking up a fifth-rounder for 2022. They addressed one of their biggest needs in the first round after trading up with the Dallas Cowboys to get their man in receiver DeVonta Smith. In doing so, they also stole Smith away from division rival New York Giants. Overall, they filled a lot of positions of need, while getting some great value picks and depth for the roster. They added talent that could make an immediate impact and players who will be solid for the future if they can tap into their potential.

Make sure to check out all of our 2021 NFL Draft Team Recaps.

Best Pick: DeVonta Smith (Round 1, Pick 10)

As I mentioned, the Eagles traded up with a division rival to jump another one to take the second-best receiver in this class. While there are concerns with Smith’s weight (166 lbs), it really isn’t as much of a concern people are making it out to be. He addresses the huge need for the number one receiver. Reuniting with his former Alabama teammate Jalen Hurts is an added bonus. The 2020 Heisman winner is a playmaker and will pair well with Jalen Reagor and Dallas Goedert in the passing game. Picking up an extra first-round pick next year in their trade-back with the Miami Dolphins and still getting Smith is an added bonus.

Grade: A+

For more on Smith, check out our scouting report here.

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Worst Pick: Zech McPhearson (Round 4, Pick 123)

The Eagles really didn’t have a “bad” pick in this draft, as they did a great job of building for now and the future. They are, in fact, a rebuilding team, and only time will tell if these players will work out. For the sake of this, though, their worst of their picks was McPhearson. It was surprising to see them wait until the fourth round to address such a big need for a cornerback. I would have rather seen them take Robert Rochell, who went seven picks later, but it was still a solid choice. The former Texas Tech corner has the versatility to play outside or in the slot. He should compete to start as a rookie. McPhearson isn’t the certain number two corner that Philadelphia needed opposite Darius Slay, but filling the other needs in earlier rounds was done well. Expect them to add another cornerback in free agency.

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Grade: B+

Sleeper Pick: JaCoby Stevens (Round 6, Pick 224)

The Eagles finished off day three getting a couple of steals in Stevens and Patrick Johnson. Stevens played safety at LSU, but the Eagles announced him as a linebacker when they drafted him. He was considered a box safety who could also play on special teams. He is a hard-hitter tackler with some speed to his game (4.58-second 40-yard dash). Getting Kenny Gainwell was also a big steal in round five, but that was an obvious one. The uncertainly with Stevens and his tweener skills make him more of a sleeper. But he is most of the time the toughest player on the field and doesn’t take a play off. That is something the Eagles need right now and could really improve their linebacker room. As long as he doesn’t turn out to be another Nathan Gerry.

Summary

This was easily one of, if not the best draft for the Eagles with Howie Roseman as general manager. They did a great job of combining current value with future value while addressing all their needs. They had a lot of focus on defense, as three of their picks were on the offensive side (Smith, Gainwell, Landon Dickerson). Once Eagles fans realize this team isn’t going to win anything this season, they will see that this was a great draft. There is still a lot to do with this team until they can get back to being successful. But for now, this was as good a draft they could have had.

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Overall Grade: A

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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