In the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles got their guy, with an unexpected assist from the Dallas Cowboys.
By trading up to draft DeVonta Smith with the No. 10 pick, the Eagles gave Jalen Hurts another young weapon to look for down field. Philadelphia opted not to address the cornerback position on Day 2, adding center Landon Dickerson and DT Milton Williams instead.
On Day 3 of the draft, the Eagles finally filled one of their most pressing needs at cornerback, drafting Zech McPhearson out of Texas Tech. They added running back Kenneth Gainwell, defensive tackle Marlon Tuipulotu, defensive end Tarron Jackson, safety JaCoby Stevens and linebacker Patrick Johnson in the final rounds.
Here's a recap of the Eagles' draft:
Eagles close out their draft with a linebacker
With their final pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Eagles selected Patrick Johnson, a linebacker out of Tulane.
Johnson, at 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds, recorded 10 sacks as a senior, second most in the FBS, and finished with a school second of 24.5 in his career. He also had 135 tackles, 40 of which were for a loss.
Six of the Eagles' final seven picks were used on defensive players.
Eagles pick hybrid safety/linebacker in sixth round
The Eagles used their sixth-round compensatory pick on JaCoby Stevens, a safety out of LSU at No. 224.
At 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, Stevens is a hybrid/tweener at safety and linebacker who can also shift towards the line of scrimmage and rush the passer or defend the slot. In four years at LSU, which included a national championship in 2019, he totaled 190 tackles (21.5 for a loss), 9.5 sacks and four interceptions.
At No. 225, the Washington Football Team selected Michigan long-snapper Camaron Cheeseman with the pick they received from the Eagles in an earlier trade.
Eagles deal two picks to Washington
The Eagles have pulled off yet another draft-day trade with an NFC East rival.
The Eagles sent two of their 2021 draft picks, a sixth rounder (No. 225) and a seventh rounder (No. 240), to the Washington Football Team for a 2022 fifth-round pick.
That leaves the Eagles, who in the first round swapped picks with the Dallas Cowboys to take DeVonta Smith, with two 2021 picks remaining: No. 224 and No. 234.
Eagles use two sixth-round picks on defensive line
The Eagles added to their defensive line with two of their sixth round draft picks.
They used the No. 189 pick to select Marlon Tuipulotu, a defensive tackle from USC, and their No. 191 pick that they received in a trade with the Carolina Panthers to take Tarron Jackson, a defensive end out of Coastal Carolina.
Tuipulotu, who had 104 tackles, 8.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in his career at USC, gives the Eagles a player to develop behind Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave. Jackson finished his college career with 26.5 sacks, including 8.5 last season, which was tied for eighth in the FBS while being named first-team Associated Press All-American and Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year.
Eagles draft Gainwell in the fifth round
With the No. 150 overall pick, the Eagles added the best running back available, Kenneth Gainwell, to their roster.
Gainwell opted out of the 2020 season at Memphis, but put up 1,459 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns in 2019. The Eagles brought back Miles Sanders and Boston Scott for the 2021 season, and Gainwell will be a solid addition to Philadelphia's group of RBs.
Eagles select Zech McPhearson at No. 123
The Eagles kicked off Day 3 of the draft by filling a major hole in the defensive backfield.
Philadelphia used the No. 123 overall pick to select Texas Tech CB Zech McPhearson. The 5-foot-11, 196-pound corner had 104 total tackles (89 solo) and 4 interceptions over the past two years with the Red Raiders.
Eagles pick Williams at No. 73 after trading at No. 70
With the 73rd pick, the Eagles selected Lousiana Tech DT Milton Williams after trading the 70th pick to the Carolina Panthers for picks No. 73 and No. 191.
The 6-foot-3, 284-pound defensive tackle was named first-team all-conference in 2020. He recorded 10 tackles for loss with 4.5 sacks and 44 total tackles in 10 starts with Tech last season. "He uses his hands really well, which makes his size less of a problem to me," an AFC team scout said of Williams.
Williams will be a versatile option for the Eagles at defensive tackle alongside Fletcher Cox next season.
Eagles select Dickerson with second-round pick
The Eagles got Jalen Hurts a deep threat in the first round, and some pass protection in the second round.
With their second round pick (No. 37 overall), the Eagles selected Alabama center Landon Dickerson, the Rimington Trophy winner as the best center in the nation. The 6-foot-6, 333-pound lineman brings strength and versatility to the Eagles' O-line, having played at each position on the line in college. Had he not suffered a torn ACL in the SEC championship game against Florida, he likely would have been a first-round pick.
Despite having Florida State's Asante Samuel Jr., Washington's Elijah Molden and Kentucky's Kelvin Joseph still available, the Eagles opted not to address the cornerback position in the second round.
Cowboys use No. 12 pick on Micah Parsons
After making a last-minute deal with their division rivals, the Cowboys used the No. 12 pick they received from the Eagles to select Penn State's Micah Parsons, the first linebacker off the board. Linebacker was one of the Cowboys' biggest needs, and they get arguably the best one in the draft with Parsons, who at 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds, and with a 40-yard dash time of 4.39 seconds, combines size and speed.
Eagles trade up to No. 10, select DeVonta Smith
The Eagles initially traded down in the draft from No. 6 to No. 12. Then at the last minute on draft day, they traded up from No. 12 to No. 10 in a deal with the Cowboys.
They used that pick to take Alabama's DeVonta Smith. It was the second straight season the Eagles drafted a wide receiver in the first round, with Smith set to play alongside Philadelphia's 2020 first-rounder Jalen Reagor. Smith gives Jalen Hurts a dynamic deep threat, and the two are somewhat familiar with one another, having combined for 12 catches during the 2017-2018 season at Alabama.
LSU's Ja'Marr Chase was the first wide receiver off the board, going No. 5 to the Bengals. Smith's Alabama teammate Jaylen Waddle then went No. 6 to the Dolphins.
In exchange for the No. 10 pick, the Eagles gave the Cowboys the 12th overall pick and a 2021 third-round pick. The Eagles had a league-high 11 picks entering the draft, and they are now down to nine. We'll see which positions they address the rest of the way.
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