Eagles mailbag: What’s the Eagles’ plan at cornerback in 2021?

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Dave Zangaro
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Eagles mailbag: What’s the Eagles’ plan at cornerback in 2021? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Let’s finish off the mailbag strong today.

Over the weekend, I already answered a bunch of your questions in two separate chunks.

Here’s Part 1 and Part 2.

Here’s Part 3:

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Yeah, the Eagles are in need of cornerbacks. They will return Darius Slay, who will obviously be CB1. I think they need an upgrade at CB2 for Avonte Maddox, who is better suited to play nickel CB or even at safety. But if the Eagles fail to bring in a decent outside corner, then Maddox might be forced to play there.

Remember, the only other corners on the roster are Michael Jacquet, Kevon Seymour, Craig James, Jameson Houston and Lavert Hill. The Eagles need to bring in more corners.

With 11 picks in the draft, I think there’s a very good chance the Eagles pick a couple next month. And I think there’s also a very good chance the Eagles use their first-round pick or their second-round pick on a corner. In the first round, the three players in that range will be Jaycee Horn, Patrick Surtain II and Caleb Farley. There will also be decent options in the second round at No. 37. One player I have my eye on in that range is Georgia cornerback Eric Stokes.

The Eagles had a visit scheduled with Adoree’ Jackson before he signed with the Giants, so they might still be looking at the free agent market. If the Eagles still want to try to sign a corner, there are a few interesting names still available: Gareon Conley, Steven Nelson, Brian Poole.

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As far as what they’ll prioritize in the middle rounds, I’m not honestly sure. I think they’ll just be looking to get the best players at the best value. They have so many needs, it would be silly to limit themselves.

But I really want to answer your second question. Even before the trade down from 6 to 12, I thought there was a chance the Eagles would try to sneak back into the first round. Now, I think there’s an even better shot.

The Eagles have the 37th pick and they also have two third-rounders, a fourth-rounder and a 5th-rounder in 2021. They have the ammo to get back into the first round and double dip this year. And they will likely end up with three first-rounders next year. So there’s a chance the Eagles could take five players in the first round over a two-year span. That’s a good way to build a team. And aside from the potential to get a first-round talent, taking a player in the first round also gives teams that fifth-year option season at the end of their rookie contracts. So the team gets an extra year of that player’s rights if they want it.

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I’ll give you three names: Jalen Reagor, K’Von Wallace and Davion Taylor. I left off Jalen Hurts because that’s pretty obvious. But those other three were draft picks in the first four rounds of last year’s draft. Reagor was a starter last year but struggled to stay healthy. He’ll have a chance to play a ton in 2021 and has potential. Even with the addition of Anthony Harris, Wallace will get his chances. Remember, Rodney McLeod is coming off an ACL injury and even when he’s healthy, Wallace will still see time in the dime package. And I don’t know if Taylor is ready to play but I think the Eagles ought to throw him into the fire. What’s the point of drafting someone in the third round if he isn’t ready to play a decent role in Year 2? I understand that he’s raw but in a rebuilding season, let him learn on the field.

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Yeah, they’ve just gone with the wrong guys. It’s too early to say that definitively about Reagor over Justin Jefferson, but it’s looking that way. The Eagles were split and chose the wrong one. They also chose incorrectly with JJAW a few years ago. But that is not a reason to stop picking receivers. Gotta keep shooting and just try to learn from past mistakes.

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