Eagles finish out 2021 draft haul on defensive run originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The Eagles finished out their draft on a run of defensive players capped by Tulane’s Patrick Johnson in the seventh round with No. 234.
Johnson is the fourth straight defensive player drafted and makes it six of the Eagles’ final seven picks on the defensive side of the ball.
While Johnson (6-2, 240) was listed as an edge player, the Eagles called him a linebacker when they announced the pick.
Johnson has what can definitely be considered a tweeter body type, but he did have a ton of success as a standup rusher in college. It’ll be interesting to see what the Eagles’ plans for him are because he wasn’t an off-ball ‘backer for for the Green Wave.
"For me, it’s whatever the coaches are going to need me to bring to the table, I’m going to bring," he said. "I’m a very versatile player. I’ve done a little bit of both. When I talked to the coach and the GM and stuff, they said they want me to be a guy that can come in there and be a good edge rusher for them and sack the quarterback, get some hurries and rushes and stuff."
So it sounds like the Eagles are calling him a linebacker but still want him to rush the quarterback.
But Johnson was a productive pass rusher in college, with 24 1/2 sacks in his final three years with 6 forced fumbles and 39 tackles for loss.
Interestingly, Lance Zierlein from NFL.com listed Johnson’s NFL comparison as Eagles defensive end Derek Barnett, who was an undersized but productive DE when the Eagles used a first-round pick on him back in 2017.
Here’s what Zierlein wrote about Johnson:
“Projects as a rugged stand-up rush linebacker who plays the game with his mad face on. Johnson possesses the compact frame, play strength and hand usage to set strong edges and hold his own when the running game rolls downhill at him. He lacks desired length and explosiveness as a rusher, but varies his angles and targets the blocker's edge to help make up for those deficiencies. While he definitely smells blood once he's in the pocket, he's more likely a hard-hat rusher than a highly productive sack master on the next level. He should come into the league as a solid backup at 3-4 outside linebacker with the potential to become a rotational defender or eventual starter down the line.”
The Eagles ended up drafting nine players in their 2021 class, with six on the defensive side of the ball.
Here’s the final haul:
1-10: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
2-37: Landon Dickerson, iOL, Alabama
3-73: Milton Williams, DT, Louisiana Tech
4-123: Zech McPhearson, CB, Texas Tech
5-150: Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis
6-189: Marlon Tuipulotu, DT, USC
6-191: Tarron Jackson, DE, Coastal Carolina
6-224: JaCoby Stevens, LB, LSU
7-234: Patrick Johnson, LB, Tulane
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