With the Philadelphia Eagles 2020 season coming to an end when they play Washington Sunday Night, I thought it might be fun to do my first Eagles only mock draft. As we get closer to the 2021 NFL draft, I'll be pumping out a lot more of these and a few other, league wide, mock drafts as well. With that said, lets get to my picks.
Round 1, Overall Pick #6: Jaylen Waddle (WR-Alabama)
Photo Source: SEC, Media Portal
Because the Eagles roster is as depleted as it is, I could have gone with nearly any position with this pick. But, the Eagles wide receiver group has been anything but stellar for the past few seasons. With last year's first round receiver, Jalen Reagor, not looking like anything special, it makes sense to draft a difference-maker that Jalen Hurts could go grow with. Enter Jaylen Waddle.
Waddle is a do it all kind of receiver. He has blazingly fast speed, steady hands, and amazing length. Also, his jagged running style makes him a YAC monster that is capable of picking up yards well beyond the catch point. The only concern with him is that he's a primary slot player. But, the same criticism was leveraged towards Justin Jefferson last year, and look how he turned out. Waddle has all of the traits, tools, and competitiveness to be a star in the NFL.
Some may wonder why I decided to take Waddle here instead of LSU's Ja'Marr Chase. The answer is simple; opt-out. Chase decided to opt-out of the 2020 season while Waddle did not. It's entirely plausible that Chase had a good reason for opting out, and he most likely did. But, I'm not entirely sold on using my high first-round pick on a guy who, at the time of the draft, wouldn't have played a snap of football in over a calendar year.
Round 2, Overall Pick #37: Derion Kendrick (CB-Clemson)
Photo Source: Christian Peterson, Getty Images
For the past few years, nearly every receiver in the NFL has a career game against the Eagles. This is mainly due to a consistently underwhelming secondary that the team traditionally hasn't put many resources into. That changed, however, when the Eagles signed a top free-agent cornerback in Darius Slay. Despite Slay having a good season, the secondary was still atrocious due to bad play from their CB2 and CB3.
Derion Kendrick is an instant upgrade at the corner position. While still relatively new to the position, he has flashed in his time at Clemson. His relative inexperience at cornerback means that there will likely be some growing pains in his first year. But, nearly everyone is sold on his high ceiling and he could conceivable become Philadelphia's corner of the future. I also like this pick because the Eagles took Kendrick's former teammate, Safety K'Von Wallace, in last year's draft. So, the two can establish instant chemistry and provide much needed cohesion in the back seven.
Round 3, Overall Pick #69: Jabril Cox (LB-LSU)
Photo Source: LSU Athletics
It's no secret that the Eagles linebackers were some of the worst in the league during the 2020 season. In last year's draft, the team took a developmental linebacker, Davion Taylor, who they knew would need at least a full year, if not more, to develop into a starting linebacker. With Taylor still developing, and the need for a plug-in-play linebacker still present, the Eagles select Jabril Cox out of LSU.
Cox is a grad transfer out of North Dakota State, where he won numerous awards for being one of the top linebackers in the FCS. Transferring to LSU presented a challenge for Jabril, but he's responded well. He has some issues playing through contact, but overall Cox is a solid day 2 linebacker that will provide immediate help to a struggling position group.
Round 4, Overall Pick #145: Kylin Hill (RB-Mississippi State)
Photo Source: Keith Warren, Clarion Ledger
For most people trying to fix the Eagles roster, running back won't be priority. However, if Philadelphia decides to roll with Jalen Hurts as their starter for 2021, a solid run game will be important. With Hurts, defenses need to be kept guessing as to who may run the ball, a QB or RB. The Eagles already have an above average running back in Miles Sanders, but they lack the kind of brusing running back that can take Philly's rushing attack to the next level.
Kylin Hill is the type of running back to leave defenders with bruises the day after a game. With an extremely muscular body, Hill is able to consistently break tackles and just bulldoze opposing defenders. While he lacks the speed and athleticism to go for longer runs (20+ yards), he more than makes up for it as a reliable option on third and short. With Hill, the Eagles get a complementary back to Miles sanders that can be useful in short yardage situations.
Round 5, Overall Pick # 151: Abraham Lucas (OT-Washington State)
Photo Source: Young Kwak, Associated Press
The right tackle position isn't as solid as some Eagles media would have you believe. Starter Lane Johnson is a future hall of famer, but his age is quickly catching up to him. At 30 years old, Johnson has now dealt with a few nagging and season ending injuries that have put the Eagles in a tough spot. When Johnson was periodically out during the 202 season, rookie Jack Driscoll was a servicable backup and showed some promise. But, injuries plagued Driscoll too, and he eventually wound up on IR.
Abraham Lucas provides an additional depth option at right tackle. While not the best run blocker, he is sufficient in pass protection and has room to grow. It is also conviebale that he moves to the interior of the offensive line, should the Eagles ever need him to. O-line coach, Jeff Stoutland, is known for taking day three lineman and turning them into quality players. The hope is that Stoutland can do the same with Lucas and the Eagles get another depth option along the line as a result.
Round 6, Overall Pick #183: Quentin Lake (S-UCLA)
Photo Source: Joe Robbins, Getty Images
At some point during the 2021 NFL Draft, the Eagles have to take a safety. Last year starter, Rodney McCleod, is aging and will be coming off of his second ACL tear in three seasons. Opposite him, Jalen Mills failed to show that he is the future at the position. Rookie K'Von Wallace flashed, but it's still to early to determine his career trajectory.
Quentin Lake is an extremely athletic safety who has excellent instincts and uses that to his advantage in all aspects of the game. Some draft analysts can't wrap their heads around why Lake isn't more productive than he already is. It seems that their is something missing from his game, and with the right coaching Quentin can become a starting safety in the NFL. With a high ceiling, Quentin Lake is really good value in the sixth round.
Round 6, Overall Pick #218: James Empey (IOL-BYU)
Photo Source: Joe Robbins, Getty Images
Similiar to the Offensive Tackle situation, the Eagles interior offensive line has been wracked by injuries. At one point during the season, the Eagles were down to their fourth string option at right guard. So, extra depth at this position would come as a welcome sign for O-Line coach, Jeff Stoutland.
James Empey aligned as the center for the BYU offense. Good at dealing with bull rushes and some twists, Empey is a natural pass blocker. He can also be effective in the run game, given a good scheme. For a seventh round pick, Empey is a good depth option for the Eagles o-line moving forward.
Round 7, Pick #226: Marco Wilson (CB-Florida)
Photo Source: Courtney Culbreath, Florida Gators
Marco Wilson is another corner that can serve as a good depth option for the Eagles secondary moving forward. He has a good set of physical tools that can be "unlocked" with proper coaching. Wilson has a lot to prove, but hopefully after a few years in the league he can develop into an NFL corner.
Round 7, Pick#253: Noah Gray (TE-Duke)
Photo Source: Duke Athletics
The Eagles close the 2021 NFL draft with Noah Gray, a reliable pass catching tight end out of Duke. Gray was a "safety blanket" for Duke QB's and carved out a nice roll for himself in their offense. In order to be asuccessfult the next level, he'll need to become a better blocker and get better at separation.