NFL Draft 2021: Eagles' options at wide receiver

Dave Zangaro
·4 min read
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Exploring Eagles’ options at WR 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)

Receivers is one of the Eagles’ biggest needs heading into this draft. Yes, they took Jalen Reagor in the first round last year but he had a disappointing rookie season and the Eagles don’t really have any proven players in their group.

Here are their options:

At No. 12

DeVonta Smith, Alabama (6-0, 170): Assuming LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase is off the board before the Eagles pick, then the next two receivers will likely be the Alabama prospects. Smith is the Heisman Trophy winner after an incredible 2020 season. He caught 117 passes for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns. Some are worried about his slight frame but Smith dominated the college level in the SEC. But he’s explosive and accomplished and will likely be a high first-round pick.

Jaylen Waddle, Alabama (5-10, 180): Speaking of explosive, Waddle has often been compared to Tyreek Hill. While he isn’t quite Hill, it’s hard to ignore Waddle’s gifts as a playmaker and athlete. Had Waddle not broken his ankle, perhaps he would have been the Heisman winner this past season. Nick Sirianni likes to get the ball in his playmakers’ hands and he’d have that chance with Waddle.

In the middle rounds

Terrace Marshall Jr., LSU (6-2, 205): Marshall is a bigger target than some of the early first-round options but still has 4.4 speed and was a two-year starter at LSU. In seven games in 2020, he had 48 catches for 731 yards and 10 touchdowns. Likely a second-round pick.

Elijah Moore, Ole Miss (5-9, 178): Another guy who will go in the second-round, Moore is one of the most fun players to watch in this draft. He’s dynamically fast and has the ability to make tacklers miss. In 2020, he played in just eight games but still had 86 catches for 1,193 yards and 8 touchdowns. Drafting Moore would give Sirianni and the offensive coaches a chance to stretch their creative wings by lining him up all over the field, evening the backfield.

Rondale Moore, Purdue (5-7, 181): Another undersized player with explosive traits. In his only full college season in 2018, he had over 1,200 receiving yards with 12 touchdowns. He’d immediately step into the slot position and if he ends up with the right coaching staff, could become a YAC master in the NFL.

Dyami Brown, North Carolina (6-1, 189): Maybe Brown doesn’t have one exceptional trait but there’s no arguing about his overall ability. He put up back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2019 and 2020 and also had 21 career touchdowns. He also averaged 18.7 yards per reception, so he has the ability to make big plays.

Simo Fehoko, Stanford (6-4, 222): Before you start complaining about the smaller receivers on this list, here’s Fehoko, who has a unique blend of size and speed worthy of a mid- to late-round pick. He’s still somewhat raw but he averaged 18.5 yards per catch at Stanford and has tools worth a draft choice.

Late-round sleeper

Jaelon Darden, North Texas (5-8, 174): You can worry about his size but unlike someone like Smith, you’re not spending a first-round pick on Darden. If anything, you’re waiting until the 6th or maybe even 7th. Despite his stature, he had a huge 2020 season: 74/1,190/19 and was a YAC machine. We’ve learned about Sirianni that he doesn’t care if explosive plays come from downfield throws or YAC and Darden offers explosive plays in a late-round pick.

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