Eagles News: Jalen Hurts among biggest winners from the 2021 NFL Draft

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Bleeding Green Nation 04 May, 2021 - 07:10am 19 views

Who has the first pick of the 2021 NFL draft?

Texans select QB Davis Mills with their first pick of 2021 NFL Draft. NFL.comTexans select QB Davis Mills with their first pick of 2021 NFL Draft

After several months of evaluation and speculation, the Eagles pieced together their 2021 NFL Draft class this past weekend.

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As with every year, the Eagles offered up some surprises. However, the majority of this year’s intrigue came from the Eagles sticking to their board and not forcing need picks throughout the three-day process.

With nine new players added to the fold, the Eagles offered up some major clues as to how they’ll construct their first roster under new head coach Nick Sirianni.

The Eagles waited until the fourth round to address their biggest need, cornerback, selecting Zech McPhearson to start Day 3. While McPhearson has the upside to develop into a solid No. 2 outside cornerback, the Eagles need urgent help opposite Darius Slay.

Multiple times during the draft, GM Howie Roseman acknowledged the lack of depth at the position and hinted that he will take other avenues (free agency, trades) to solve the problem.

With former Steelers cornerback Steven Nelson hanging out on the open market, he should be Roseman’s first post-draft call. While Casey Heyward and some other “names” are out there, Roseman has to prioritize price and fit. Nelson makes the most sense.

The draft weekend came and went without Ertz moving a muscle.

The Eagles want value in return for the three-time Pro Bowl tight end and clearly aren’t receiving the trade interest that they think he warrants. With no way of adding draft capital to impact this year’s roster, the Eagles should wait to trade or release Ertz, even if that’s to his detriment.

The Eagles can save $8.5 million -- as opposed to $4.95 million -- if they trade Ertz in June. At this point, their return is likely to involve a 2022 draft pick, so waiting a month to make a move is an obvious strategy.

First-round pick DeVonta Smith can play all three receiver positions, but his best fit is in space at the Z spot. Last year’s first-round pick Jalen Reagor warrants a similar description. Still, both will be on the field at the same time throughout the majority of the offensive snaps this season. So, Sirianni’s handling of the pair when it comes to play-calling will be an interesting story this year.

Along with the Smith and Reagor pairing, the Eagles need to figure out what they want in their third receiver. Travis Fulgham is probably the first man up, as he can also play all three positions and has a traditional X receiver body type to complement Reagor and Smith. There’s also Quez Watkins, who flashed toward the end of last season.

Greg Ward, John Hightower, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and others will compete for snaps and jobs.

The Eagles took a major risk by selecting Dickerson in the second round. While the lineman has first-round talent, his lengthy injury history (four major injuries in five seasons) is troubling.

The Eagles’ doctors felt Dickerson’s recent ACL surgery wasn’t a long-term problem, but his overall durability issues are worth being concerned about. The Eagles only used one pick on the offensive line, which has been a turnstile due to injuries over the past two years. If Dickerson doesn’t recover from his injury woes, the Eagles will have spent an offseason without adding talent to their second-most important group.

The Eagles allowed the most sacks (65) in the league last season. That was largely due to the rash of injuries suffered last year, so the Eagles are hoping the talent of the line -- center Jason Kelce, right guard Brandon Brooks, right tackle Lane Johnson and former first-round pick Andre Dillard -- can stay on the field this season.

The Eagles still don’t care about linebackers, even with a new coaching staff in place.

The Eagles spent their final two picks on “linebackers,” choosing to convert LSU safety JaCoby Stevens and Tulane defensive end Patrick Johnson to the position. So, the Eagles will have a pair of late-round projects supplement a position with little proven talent.

Eric Wilson, Alex Singleton and T.J. Edwards are likely to start at linebacker this year. Behind that trio, there’s a bunch of young guys who haven’t played a lot.

Davion Taylor and Shaun Bradley need to prove they can play on defense, while Joe Bachie and Rashad Smith are holdovers from last year’s home stretch. Former defensive end Genard Avery is a bit of an intriguing piece, as he could be a fun subpackage player on passing downs.

Following the draft, Sirianni agreed with NJ Advance Media’s comparison of Gainwell to Colts RB Nyheim Hines. While they were together in Indy, Sirianni made the most of Hines’ talent as a receiver out of the backfield. Like Hines, Gainwell is a mismatch weapon to use in the passing game.

Sirianni likes to hand out roles to his running backs, and Gainwell fits an important role for the new head coach. While he fell to the fifth round, Gainwell had Day 2 grades from the majority of draft pundits. If Sirianni can utilize Gainwell as he did with Hines, the Eagles might have gotten one of the biggest steals of the class.

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Analyzing the Eagles' 2021 draft class (Ep. 366)

NJ.com 04 May, 2021 - 09:20am

Finding one thing to love about each of the Eagles' 9 draft picks in 2021

Eagles Wire 04 May, 2021 - 01:40am

As the Philadelphia Eagles work to sign their undrafted free agents, fans and experts alike are giving out passing grades for a solid draft class.

The names aren’t familiar to some fans, but the production and potential speak for themselves and if Howie Roseman can hit on half of those picks, Philadelphia should be in great hands going forward.

The Eagles 9 picks all have potential and we’ve provided one thing to love about each player.

Dickerson is a road grader, whose versatility should allow him to flourish for the next decade.

Texas running back Keaontay Ingram (26) is up ended by Louisiana Tech safety L’Jarius Sneed (1) and defensive end Milton Williams (97) on a run during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Williams’ motor is attractive and if the Eagles can utilize his versatility correctly, he could be the steal of the draft.

McPhearson plays with moxie and elite ball skills.

At Texas Tech this past season, the Penn State transfer led the Red Raiders with four interceptions and six passes defended.

Oct 26, 2019; Tulsa, OK, USA; Memphis Tigers running back Kenneth Gainwell (19) runs in for a touchdown beside Tulsa Golden Hurricane safety Manny Bunch (10) during the second half at Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium. Memphis won 42-41. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The ultimate dual-threat, Gainwell provides a slashing style and pass-catching ability that should allow Jalen Hurts to flourish even more.

A new offensive weapon joins the mix.@KENNETHGAINWEL | #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/vHrN9bQjUz

— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) May 3, 2021

Strong at the point of attack, the former Trojan star offers a rare blend of power and speed.

The reigning Sun Belt defensive player of the year was productive on the college level and offers an athletic option at the defensive end.

Jan 13, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) passes against LSU Tigers safety JaCoby Stevens (3) and defensive end Neil Farrell Jr. (92) in the College Football Playoff national championship game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Swiss army knives are hard to come by, but Stevens just finished a season in which he led LSU in tackles (63) and tied for third in the FBS with three fumble recoveries, adding three sacks and four passes defended.

Dec 15, 2018; Orlando, FL, USA; Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns running back Elijah Mitchell (15) runs with the ball as Tulane Green Wave defensive end Patrick Johnson (34) defends during the first half at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

A former linebacker turned edge rusher, Johnson tied for second in the FBS with 10 sacks in 2018 and has 21 takedowns total over the past three years. Built like Genard Avery at 6-foot-2, 240 pounds, Philadelphia is hoping to transition Johnson into the supreme pass rusher.

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Howie Roseman used his second-round pick on Landon Dickerson over the weekend and one reason for Philadelphia's GM pulling the trigger is the belief that the rugged former Alabama lineman can become the next great interior stud.

While speaking to Angelo Cataldi on Tuesday morning, Roseman compared Dickerson's intangibles and physical mentality to former Eagles right tackle and Michigan star Jon Runyan.

Dickerson is versatile, tough, and a nasty player, something that resonates with fans who watched Runyan team with Tra Thomas for years.

The Eagles have addressed the wide receiver position over the past two drafts and after landing DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia can now transition towards filling their biggest need, and that's cornerback.

The Eagles may or may not have found their cornerback opposite Darius Slay in Texas Tech's Zech McPhearson, but the 2022 NFL draft offers another opportunity to land some big fish in the first two rounds.

Here's an early look at the top-15 cornerback prospects for next spring.

The Philadelphia Eagles started their rebuild over the weekend, drafting nine players to the class that will ultimately reshape the roster going forward.

DeVonta Smith is going to be a difference-maker -- I've compared his game to that of Marvin...

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Eagles draft haul lands in the top-7 for best value according to The Athletic

Yahoo Sports 03 May, 2021 - 01:00pm

Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel

The Athletic recently graded the draft haul for all 32 NFL teams and thanks to Howie Roseman getting some highly-rated guys later in the process, the Eagles had the 7th best value.

The process is important and it shows that sometimes the bigger names don’t always determine the worth of your draft. The Dallas Cowboys, who many experts thought landed some of the top names in the draft, had the 28th ranked haul, landing in the bottom six for the value of their selections.

Philadelphia Eagles' winners and losers from the 2021 NFL draft

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Philadelphia Eagles’ winners and losers from the 2021 NFL draft

Yahoo Sports 03 May, 2021 - 10:15am

Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel

Winners and losers are a yearly debate and we’ve highlighted a few Eagles who were on both sides of the outcome.

QB Jalen Hurts

Philadelphia Eagles Jalen Hurts (2) in action against Washington Football Team during an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)

Big Winner The Eagles didn't draft a quarterback, drafted the smoothest wideout in the draft and their first-round pick has played with Hurts at Alabama. Hurts is the biggest winner as the Eagles continue to build around him despite coveting Deshaun Watson. Kenneth Gainwell adds another receiving option and the Birds drafted in the trenches.

Jalen Reagor WR

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jalen Reagor (18) eludes the grasp of Arizona Cardinals linebacker Dennis Gardeck during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Winner We were tempted to paint Reagor as a loser in this situation because Smith's selection ensures that the 2021 first-round pick will never be the Eagles' top dog at wide receiver. Reagor actually wins in this scenario, because Smith now gets the pressure that he's long been accustomed to, while the former TCU wide receiver can settle in as the second or third option and make plays without the microscope.

Lose Ertz loses in this situation because he wants to move on or receive a new contract and neither scenario has happened.

Matt Pryor OG/OT

October 4, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; Philadelphia Eagles offensive guard Matt Pryor (69) before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Lose Pryor loses here because Nate Herbig and Sua Opeta are younger, less expensive options that offer the same potential. With Landon Dickerson's addition, one of the hybrid linemen will the odd man out and Pryor has had more than enough snaps to prove his worth.

Nov 1, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles linebacker T.J. Edwards (57) tackles Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Winner The Eagles drafted JaCoby Stevens to play a hybrid linebacker role and linebacker Patrick Johnson to play the edge rusher role. Neither player was among the top true linebackers on the board, thus allowing T.J. Edwards to hold on to his role as the run-stuffing middle linebacker in base schemes.

RB Miles Sanders

Philadelphia Eagles' Miles Sanders (26) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

Lose Sanders and the Eagles can start talking new contracts at any point and the 2019 second-round pick is one of the top young running backs in the NFL. It'll be hard for Sanders to get Alvin Kamara money if he doesn't produce like the Saints star running back. Sanders will lose third-down touches to Kenneth Gainwell and the lack of pass-catching opportunities for the former Pen State star could be something to watch.

Philadelphia Eagles tackle Andre Dillard (77) stretches during NFL football training camp at the team's practice facility, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Philadelphia. (Tim Tai/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, Pool)

Winner The Eagles didn't go Sewell or Rashawn Slater in the first round and they didn't draft a left tackle with any of their 9 picks. Howie Roseman knows what he has in Jordan Mailata and he's invested in Dillard, the former Washington State left tackle that Philadelphia snagged in 2019.

Lose Ridgeway and T.Y. McGill will likely lose snaps to Milton Williams at some point and If the athletic marvel can flip the switch early on, one or two veteran defensive tackles could be in trouble.

Jan 3, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (19) makes a reception in front of Washington Football Team cornerback Kendall Fuller (29) at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Lose A former second-round pick with less than 20 career catches watches his team draft the Heisman Trophy winner, then sign two tall and talented stud wide receivers in Trevon Grimes and Jhamon Ausbon.

Philadelphia Eagles draft haul lands in the top-7 for best value according to The Athletic

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