Eagles trade back, select DT Milton Williams in 3rd round of 2021 NFL draft

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Dave Zangaro
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Eagles finally draft a defensive player with 3rd-round pick originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Eagles have finally drafted a defensive player.

But, no, it’s not a corner.

After a slight trade down from No. 70 to No. 73 in the third round, the Eagles selected defensive lineman Milton Williams from Louisiana Tech.

Williams (6-3, 284) was a two-year starter at LA Tech and was a first-team Conference USA player in 2020. He had 10 sacks in 23 games over the last two seasons.

While Williams is undersized for an NFL defensive tackle, he has incredible athletic attributes that he showed of at his pro day this spring.

At 284 pounds, Williams ran a 4.63 in the 40 and tested well in just about every category. He has all the raw tools to become a very good player at the next level. He just needs some refinement.

Here’s what NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein wrote about Williams:

“Pound for pound, Williams can match his toughness and strength with many of the interior defenders in this draft. Determining his best positional fit will be up to the team that drafts him, but he's a good football player who understands leverage and knows how to use his hands. He'll have some bumpy snaps from time to time due to a lack of length and overall mass, but it shouldn't be debilitating for his NFL career. Williams possesses twitchy power and short-area athleticism, but needs to continue the development of working the hands and feet as one to unlock his potential. His pass rush is relatively pedestrian at this time and will need to be upgraded to become more than just a good backup. Teams will weigh the tape and testing against subpar physical traits, but the end result could land him in the middle rounds as an upside talent.”

Williams is just the second defensive player the Eagles have taken on Day 1 or 2 of the draft since 2017. The other was third-round linebacker Davion Taylor last year. Six of the Eagles last eight Day 1 and 2 picks are offensive players, including DeVonta Smith and Landon Dickerson, who were picked in Rounds 1 and 2 this year.

The Eagles were on the clock at No. 70 but traded back to No. 73 with the Panthers and picked up an additional sixth-round pick (No. 191). The Panthers took OT Brady Christiansen from BYU.

The Eagles didn’t have a desperate need at defensive tackle as they bring back Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave and even Hassan Ridgeway for the 2021 season. But the Birds obviously care about the position and are always looking to build through their lines.

It should not be a surprise that the Eagles’ second and third picks in this draft have gone to the trenches.

Here’s an updated look at the Eagles’ 2021 draft so far after their three selections and the added sixth-round pick:

1-10: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

2-37: Landon Dickerson, iOL, Alabama

3-73: Milton Williams, DT, Louisiana Tech

4-123:

5-150:

6-189:

6-191

6-224:

6-225:

7-234:

7-240:

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