NFL Draft 2021: Eagles’ best options in latest mailbag

Dave Zangaro
·5 min read
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Eagles mailbag: Best options for Eagles at No. 12 originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

We’ve finally made it to April, which means the draft is this month!

That’s pretty exciting and that’s where we’ll start with the first question today:

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

I like these sort of hypotheticals. I definitely think all those players you mention are in play but they’re all not going to be available when the Eagles pick at 12. That will actually make their decision easier. I totally get your point about the cornerbacks. The Eagles’ trade down, at least to me, signaled that they almost expect to get one of those top defensive players instead of a skill guy. And you’re on the money about coming back and getting a receiver in the second round. I think the hit rate would be higher going CB-WR instead of the other way around.

Here’s how I’d rank the options if they were all still available:

1. Patrick Surtain II

2. Jaycee Horn

3. Jaylen Waddle

4. DeVonta Smith

5. Micah Parsons

To be clear, I think any of those five would be worth the No. 12 pick. And the Eagles might think that too. After all, they had to feel comfortable with the idea of getting a good player at No. 12 when they made the trade down.

Why did I put them in that order? Well, I like the idea of going defense in Round 1 and coming back to get offense later. And of this group, I’m really enamored with Surtain, who would step in immediately and play at a high level. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Surtain’s intelligence and NFL readiness. Horn might have a higher ceiling but I feel confident that the bust rate is much lower on Surtain. After that, I actually like Waddle more than Smith for the Eagles. I like his explosiveness and some folks might roll their eyes if the Eagles take a guy coming off an ankle injury, but there’s a chance that if Waddle stays healthy, he wins the Heisman in 2020. I put Parsons last because I like the player but I’d rather have a cornerback if I were to go defense. I think more of linebackers than the Eagles might but I still think corner is a more premium position.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

This is a fair question. Because you might be looking at this and think, “What if some team became desperate to get a QB on draft day and wanted to move up?”

The problem was that the Eagles were really the third team in this trade. The 49ers wanted to move up from 12 to 3 and the Dolphins were only comfortable doing that if they could then get up higher than 6. It’s not a knock on the Eagles but they let the other teams dictate the timing of the trade. The Eagles were comfortable doing this because they got a really fair return.

Now, you can still argue that the Eagles shouldn’t have traded down. I think it was a mistake if they miss out on Ja’Marr Chase or Kyle Pitts. But if the Eagles think those two guys will be gone (they might go 4-5), then the trade down makes a ton of sense. And if they didn’t pull the trigger now, they might have lost the opportunity because the Niners and Dolphins wanted to get it done.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Maybe this comes back to bite me … but I don’t think so. I just looked at a similar mock draft that had the Eagles similarly picking Justin Fields at 12. My problem with this idea is that I think the Eagles view the quarterback position differently than others. So if they were in love with Lance or Fields, then they probably would’ve stayed at No. 6 and just drafted them.

I don’t think the Eagles would just be opportunistic and take a QB because he falls to them later than he was expected to go. I guess it’s possible. But I think if the Eagles liked a QB enough to take him in the first round, they would have done all they could to draft him already. And the fact that the Eagles traded down already signals that they aren’t going to make that move.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

This is tough to answer because there’s a new coaching staff in town and I’m not sure how they view LeBlanc. And remember, the Eagles were willing to risk losing him at the beginning of last year with the old coaching staff too. But I’d want him back. I know LeBlanc has struggled to stay healthy but he’s played pretty well and we’re talking about a minimum deal here. The last time I checked in, there was some interest from a few teams but no decision had been made. Because it would take a minimum deal to sign him, part of me thinks that if the Eagles wanted him back, it would already be done.

For what it’s worth, I’d sign him. The Eagles’ cupboard at cornerback is pretty bare. And, no, LeBlanc isn’t a great nickel corner, but he’s an experienced veteran and the Eagles need something at the position.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

That is a question. Don’t think I’d be very good at it.

Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast:

Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | Watch on YouTube