We spend weeks projecting everything that’s going to happen on NFL Draft weekend, and yet it’s still filled with shocks and surprises.
After the first few picks, it never goes the way anybody expects. All it takes is one blockbuster trade or one pick out of the blue to shake up every pick that follows.
With that in mind, we’ve got five bold Eagles 2021 NFL Draft Predictions. Are they long shots? Sure. Are most of them unlikely? Sure.
Are they possible? Absolutely.
1. They’re going to trade up from 12 and draft a quarterback: OK this sounds crazy. Why would the Eagles trade out of 6 – where they could have taken a quarterback – and then trade back up and take one? Because they could wind up with more assets and a QB through multiple trades. It was clear in Howie Roseman and Nick Sirianni’s presser that the Eagles are certainly not committed to Jalen Hurts as their quarterback, and if they’ve decided that either Trey Lance or Justin Fields (or Mac Jones if the 49ers take Lance) is going to be a star, I wouldn’t be shocked if they do try to move up to No. 8 – perhaps using Zach Ertz as part of the offer - and make a deal with the Panthers. Howie has said he regrets that quarterback factory quote, but that is how he thinks. He may like Hurts, but I think he wants a franchise QB and I think they’ll do anything they can to get one.
2. They’re going to get back into the 1st round from 37: The Eagles have to get out of this draft with a cornerback who can start from the jump, and there’s only four of those in the draft. Patrick Surtain II will be gone by 12 and Jaycee Horn may be as well. That leaves Caleb Farley and his back issues and Greg Newsome, who may have overtaken Farley as the No. 3 corner in the draft. If one of those corners starts to drop into the 20s, expect the Eagles to try and pounce. It sounds like teams in the 20s are looking to get out – there’s a perception that there’s equal value from the 20s into the 40s – and the Eagles could benefit from that. There’s a good chance Farley is the only one of those corners the Eagles could move up to get, and four years after the Sidney Jones debacle would they trade up to take a corner coming off back surgery? They just might.
3. They’re going to take a Day 2 running back: Running back wouldn’t be considered one of the Eagles’ most pressing needs. Miles Sanders looks like a budding star, Boston Scott is a capable and versatile backup and the Eagles added veteran Jordan Howard earlier this month as well. But Nick Sirianni is going to run the ball a lot more than Doug Pederson, and more teams are going to co-No. 1 backs. Scott is talented but he’s not a high-volume runner. Sanders has been banged up, and the Eagles need to keep him healthy. All the best Eagles recent RBs have come in the second or third round – LeSean McCoy, Brian Westbrook, Duce Staley, Sanders – and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they use one of their 3rd-round picks on a RB with receiving skills. Kenneth Gainwell anybody?
4. They won’t take a WR until Day 3: I have a hunch that the Eagles like their young wide receivers more than anyone else does and they don’t feel like they have a desperate need for early-round wideouts. The theory is that last year was a such a disaster in terms of play calling, quarterback play and offensive line health that it’s impossible to truly evaluate kids like Jalen Reagor, Travis Fulgham, Quez Watkins and John Hightower. I won’t throw J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in there because I think we’ve had plenty of time to evaluate him, but in general I believe the Eagles feel like they have a decent nucleus and that with a new head coach with a background as a WR and a second year with WRs coach Aaron Moorehead they’ll be able to develop some of these young receivers into productive players instead of replacing them.
5. They’re going to trade Dillard as part of a move up: I just can’t figure where Dillard fits in. I don’t think he’s necessarily a bust. He wasn’t bad at all in his three 2019 starts at left tackle. But the reality is Jordan Mailata is better, Dillard doesn’t have a second position and it doesn’t make sense to have a former 1st-round pick who can only back up one spot. I don’t think Dillard has a ton of value, but I do think the Eagles will be able to use him as part of a package to move up somewhere along the line over the weekend.
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