Exploring Eagles’ options at LB throughout the 2021 draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The Eagles already traded down from 6 to 12 and still have 11 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.
While they might not make all 11 picks, they will have plenty of options during the three days of the draft, which begins on April 29.
Here’s a reminder of their 11 picks:
1st round: No. 12 (trade with MIA)
2nd round: No. 37 (own pick)
3rd round: No. 70 (own pick)
3rd round: No. 84 (trade with Colts)
4th round: No. 123 (trade with MIA)
5th round: No. 150 (own pick)
6th round: No. 189 (own pick)
6th round: No. 224 (compensatory pick)
6th round: No. 225 (compensatory pick)
7th round: No. 234 (own pick)
7th round: No. 240 (from 49ers as part of Marquise Goodwin trade)
The Eagles signed Eric Wilson to a one-year deal, which will help. But there are still some serious questions about the position going forward. One of the main questions is whether or not the Eagles will start putting more resources into the position with a new coaching staff.
Here are their options:
At No. 12
Micah Parsons, Penn State (6-3, 246): It’s very possible that Parsons is the best defensive player in this draft class even if he isn’t the first one to come off the board. He opted out in 2020 but was dominant as a sophomore for the Nittany Lions in 2019. Even if you don’t quite buy his 4.39 time in the 40, he’s still incredibly fast and moves the way no one at 246 pounds should. He can run sideline to sideline, cover and thump in the run. No-doubt first-round pick.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame (6-1, 221): The NFL is in a new era and Owusu-Koramoah is evidence of that. Whether you view him as a safety, a linebacker or a hybrid, there’s no denying that he’s a playmaker. In the right defense, he has a chance to thrive.
In the middle rounds
Nick Bolton, Missouri (6-0, 237): Likely a second round pick, Bolton had over 200 tackles in his last 22 college games. Bolton projects as a three-down linebacker at the next level. He’s slightly undersized but makes up for it.
Cameron McGrone, Michigan (6-1, 234): McGrone is coming off an ACL tear and a shortened 2020 season, which might have him slipping in this draft. But the year before he had 65 tackles, 9 TFLs and 3 1/2 sacks in 13 games in 2019. McGrone could go as early as the third but the knee might push him as deep as the fifth.
Baron Browning, Ohio State (6-3, 245): On a great college team, Browning never became a true star but was solid and possesses the type of body build and athleticism that will intrigue DCs at the NFL level. His upside in coverage will be attractive to many teams.
Dylan Moses, Alabama (6-1, 225): After missing his entire 2019 season with a knee injury, Moses returned in 2020 and played well. He had 80 tackles, 6 1/2 TFLs and 1 1/2 sacks. Is he still the same player from before the injury? That’s up to NFL teams to figure out. But if the medical report comes back clean, then some team will take a chance on him in a mid round, perhaps a team with a surplus of picks.
Tony Fields II, West Virginia (6-0, 222): His slight frame might scare some teams away and he’ll probably never become a thumper. But he’s athletic and instinctive enough to be a starter or at least a rotational player at the NFL level. He had a good year at West Virginia in 2020 after transferring from Arizona.
Justin Hilliard, Ohio State (6-0, 229): Hilliard has a laundry list of injuries from his time at Ohio State that includes a torn Achilles, torn biceps and more. There’s a chance he might not even be medically cleared by some NFL teams. But the Eagles have 11 picks and if they use one of their 6th or 7th round selections on Hilliard it might be worth the gamble. In 2020, he played in six games and had 33 tackles with 5.0 TFLs. Even if those injuries have hurt him long-term, he still looks like a decent player.
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