2021 NFL Draft rumors: Todd McShay sees Jaylen Waddle in Top 10, Eagles going defense

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Adam Hermann
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Draft expert expects Eagles to pick 1 of these 4 players originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Eagles' decision late last week to trade down to No. 12 in the 2021 NFL Draft split the fanbase, with some glad that general manager Howie Roseman is amassing assets to restock a talent-less team, while other were angry that Roseman opted out of one of this year's elite pass-catchers at No. 6.

A month out from the draft, and with years until we see how the players pan out, it's hard to know if Roseman should be roundly criticized or applauded.

But if you're an Eagles fan who was hoping the trade down would still allow Roseman to choose a game-breaking wide receiver at No. 12, you might be in for a tough draft night.

That's according to ESPN draft expert Todd McShay, who in a live stream Tuesday afternoon on ESPN's YouTube channel broke down how he sees the Top 12 picks playing out.

Where the Eagles would've had a shot at one of Ja'Marr Chase, Kyle Pitts, Devonta Smith, or Jaylen Waddle at No. 6, now McShay thinks they won't have a chance at any of them.

"I think Kyle Pitts, the tight end from Florida, Jaylen Waddle as I mentioned, Devonta Smith from Alabama, and Ja'Marr Chase from LSU are all going to be off the board in the Top 10 picks."

Ouch. Not great for a team trying to surround a young quarterback with enough weapons to determine whether he has a future as a solid starter in this league. There were (and still are) some who want Waddle to fall to the Eagles, but McShay is unconvinced.

So who does McShay think the Eagles will end up selecting at No. 12?

Here's how he sees things playing out:

"I think the focus for Philly now shifts to the defensive side, and the focus becomes, go get the best defensive player available. If it's a corner, then it's Patrick Surtain from Alabama, and if not him then it's Jaycee Horn from South Carolina, or Caleb Farley, the corner from Virginia Tech. 

"And also keep in mind, they have linebacker needs. Micah Parsons, in my opinion, is the best defensive player in ths year's draft class. He ran in the 4.3s, he's 6-3, he's 246 pounds, and he's so exploive as a pass rusher, cover guy, and sideline-to-sideline run defender. I think it's probably going to be one of those four guys, at corner or linebacker, who they pick at No. 12."

Eagles fans know the defense needs to be touched up at a number of positions, including cornerback opposite Darius Slay and basically all three linebacker positions (Alex Singleton's upside notwithstanding).

The Eagles have selected a defensive player with a first round pick just three times in the last 10 drafts, so this would certainly be a different approach. Their success with those picks is extremely varied: Fletcher Cox in 2012 was a home run, Marcus Smith in 2014 was a complete bust, and Derek Barnett in 2017 is a good, not great contributor who made huge contributions in the Super Bowl run.

The fact is that the Eagles need to add good players on both sides of the ball, so shooting down a defensive first-round pick would be silly, but it's always easier to sell the fanbase on an offensive contributor, particularly in the offense-first modern NFL.

We'll see if Roseman is done dealing, or if he's really okay missing out on adding a potentially elite playmaker to his team for the next decade.

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