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Weapon X Mailbag: Who are your top-3 NFL Draft targets?

Plus: can you rock plaid-on-plaid?

College Football Playoff National Championship - Clemson v LSU Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

Get ready for the first mailbag in the Nick Sirianni era!

@rickyurban21: Who are the top 3 guys you want at No. 6?

I’ve done a variety of mock drafts over the last month or two for NBC Sports Philly, changing up my top pick at 1-6 numerous times for the sake of avoiding redundancy and spicing things up.

Right now, here’s how I’d go:

1. Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

2. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

3. Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama

I did a mock earlier this week and had the Eagles taking Fields (in the simulator I used on The Draft Network, Chase was gone, but Smith was still on the board). People were not happy, but a quarterback of Fields’ talent on a rookie contract merits a serious discussion. I’ve been effusive in my praise for Jalen Hurts in this here mailbag over the course of the 2020 season, but it looks like he may not play as significant of a role in the Eagles’ future as I ultimately hope.

I wrote about Fields in a mailbag on December 30:

If the Eagles were in a position to draft Trevor Lawrence, that would obviously be a no-brainer. Justin Fields seemed to be QB2 throughout the college football season, but it looks like Zach Wilson is making a late case for that billing. I’m taking Fields if he’s on the board when the Eagles are up though. I’ve written that Hurts has upside as high as Russell Wilson, but Fields feels much more likely to hit his upside (2015 Cam Newton?) than Hurts.

As much as I like Fields, Chase feels like a generational player at wideout, the type of player the Eagles passed on in D.K. Metcalf and Justin Jefferson the last two years. I simply cannot take watching piss-poor receiver performance anymore even if that means missing on Fields. Chase feels that potent.

A lot of Eagles fans would be irate if the team drafted Fields over Smith and I certainly get that contingent, but it’s just one man’s take over here! I’m going to be ecstatic if Smith is in midnight green in 2021, but looking at how this season’s playoffs have worked out, it’s aggravating to not have an elite quarterback in Philadelphia.

@rebelgabe: How come nobody is talking about fixing the defense? Specifically the secondary, it’s been bad for 10 years.

On a macro level, offense is more important than defense. Look at the four teams who made the AFC and NFC Championship this year. Dominant quarterback performance carried them there. The rules are set up as such to favor offense and high-scoring affairs. Offensive success overall is much more sustainable from year-to-year with the right talent than a stingy defense too.

Saying the secondary has been bad for 10 years is a gross overstatement. Here’s how the Eagles finished in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA during Jim Schwartz’s time as defensive coordinator:

2016: 4th

2017: 5th

2018: 15th

2019: 19th

2020: 15th

The Eagles have been, at worst, a slightly above-average unit and, at their peak, one of the best defenses in all of football the last handful of years.

It’s not like the team hasn’t poured in big resources to the defensive backend either. They gave up draft capital for Darius Slay and signed him to a contract with more than $26 million just last offseason. Slay was an above-average corner last year and guess what? It didn’t really matter! The Eagles were a decent defense team and still sucked shit because their offense was atrocious.

Until the Eagles find stability at the quarterback position and a cohesive offensive system with talented skill position players, they are still going to be stuck in the mud of crappiness.

@TehJ357er1: On a scale from 1 to 10, how nervous should we be as fans about the state of the franchise?

Oh, my. 9.3? I’ve written about it in the last couple of mailbags, but this team has me so friggin’ miserable.

I wrote:

When your team is devoid of young talent (and increasingly lacking in older talent too...), it’s hard to get amped up throughout the offseason. I mean, I’m going to still be bringing it and writing and recording and I’ll be rocked up before kickoff in Week 1, but who (or what) do we foster our hopes upon right now? I got nothing!

@philatticus: Why?

I hate everything!!!

@_Ben_11: Can you pull off plaid on plaid?

Little known fact: I worked for several years in the fashion industry in the advertising department at the Urban Outfitters headquarters in South Philly. If you see some of the videos I post on Twitter, you know I have a wide variety of fits I can pull off.

As for plaid-on-plaid, Sirianni had a violation going with a plaid jacket and a plaid shirt. There are other ways he could’ve done plaid-on-plaid. He could’ve done the plaid jacket with a basic white dress shirt and then a plaid tie. That would’ve worked. It wouldn’t have been appropriate for a new NFL head coach’s introductory press conference, but going no jacket and then plaid shirt with a plaid tie (paired with a slick pair of khaki chinos) can work if you have enough confidence and it’s the right setting. That was a frequent look for me when I was a barback at Smokey Joe’s Cafe in college. The compliments always rolled in.