Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU — CBS Sports (Josh Edwards)
Philadelphia has some big changes to make and that includes clearing up the wide receiver room. Ja’Marr Chase can be a big part of that offense moving forward with or without Carson Wentz.
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU — The Big Lead (Ryan Phillips)
The Philadelphia Eagles have big needs at linebacker, along the offensive line and in the secondary, but wide receiver has been a huge problem for the franchise for years. It’s time to get whoever is at quarterback in Philly a bona fide No. 1 target. Ja’Marr Chase fits that description. The 2019 Biletnikoff Award winner sat out 2020 after setting SEC records in receiving yards (1,780) and touchdowns (20) during a national championship season in 2019. At 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, he’s got good size and athleticism. With excellent hands, route-running skills and above-average speed, he’s in a dead-heat with Smith as the top receiver in the class.
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU — NJ.com (Zack Rosenblatt)
The Eagles should have their pick of two of the Smith, Chase or Jaylen Waddle trio. It’d be hard to go wrong with any of them — though don’t put it past Howie Roseman to pick the wrong wide receiver. It’s kind of his thing. Chase didn’t play in 2020, but he was utterly dominant in 2019, out-producing even Justin Jefferson ... who already looks like an NFL star.
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama — USA Today (Nate Davis)
He spent much of 2020 gliding through opposing defenses to the tune of 117 catches for an Alabama record 1,856 yards and those SEC record 23 TDs. Teaming him with 2020 first-round WR Jalen Reagor could be the optimal way to get QB Carson Wentz back on track in 2021. However Smith will have to prove his 170-pound frame can hold up in the NFL and that he can deal with stronger corners who will doubtless try to jam him at the line ... unlike, say, what he encountered against Ohio State in college football’s championship game.
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama — Sports Illustrated (Ric Serritella)
Some caution his thinly built frame but Smith is an electrifying talent who could restore hope in the Carson Wentz reclamation project.
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama — ESPN+ (Mel Kiper)
The Eagles had a disastrous 4-11-1 season, with quarterback Carson Wentz regressing and getting benched for rookie second-rounder Jalen Hurts. And yes, Wentz was not very good, but his receivers didn’t exactly give him much help. The Eagles got only 20 total catches from veterans Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson due to injuries, and 2019 second-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside barely got on the field. So even though Philadelphia drafted Jalen Reagor in Round 1 a year ago, I still see this as a hole in the offense. Waddle, one of the fastest prospects in this draft, could be the go-to target in new coach Nick Sirianni’s offense. He was one of college football’s most electric receivers over the past three seasons, even if he was overshadowed at times by teammates Henry Ruggs III, Jerry Jeudy and DeVonta Smith. His ceiling at the next level is as a No. 1 pass-catcher.
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama — Pro Football Network (AJ Schulte)
I went back and forth on which WR to take here for Philadelphia. Head coach Nick Sirianni has worked with players like Mike Williams, Michael Pittman, and Tyrell Williams, who are bigger targets. But he’s also worked with Travis Benjamin, T.Y. Hilton, and Parris Campbell. As a result, I decided just to take the player who ranked higher on my board. Even though the Eagles just drafted Jalen Reagor, that shouldn’t discourage them from adding Jaylen Waddle to their inconsistent-at-best receiving room.
Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida — Bleeding Green Nation (Ben Natan)
I recently wrote about Kyle Pitts being a great fit for the Eagles. The Philadelphia native would be a matchup nightmare in Nick Sirianni’s offense. He and Goedert would move all over the formation and give Carson Wentz or Jalen Hurts or some other quarterback two huge, dynamic pass catchers to work with.
Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida — CBS Sports (Ryan Wilson)
Carson Wentz appears to have won the power struggle with Doug Pederson, which means that the team almost certainly won’t be in the QB business this spring. And while pass catcher is high on the to-do list, that doesn’t necessarily mean a wideout here. In a few years’ time, we could be talking about Pitts as the best receiver in this class. He reminds us of Darren Waller and — with Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert both potentially entering the final year of their deals in Philly — restocking the position makes sense.
Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama — The Draft Network (Jordan Reid)
Eagles fans, take a deep breath. The NFL draft is longer than one round. Not selecting a WR here may be a bit of a surprise, but with the upcoming class being strong throughout the first two days, packaging Surtain II plus a wideout on Day 2 makes a lot of sense for a team that desperately needs help at both positions. The franchise hasn’t selected a defensive back in the first round since 2002 (Lito Sheppard). Surtain II snaps a streak that has almost lasted for two decades.
Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama — Sporting News (Vinnie Iyer)
The Eagles had all kinds of secondary issues away from veteran Darius Slay in 2020 and need a big shakeup at cornerback to help their defense under a new coach. Surtain, with his pedigree, size and ball-hawking skills, has the potential to be a true shutdown player.
Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia — Pro Football Focus (Steve Palazzolo)
Farley is the best combination of size, athleticism and production at cornerback in this draft class, and he adds to an Eagles secondary that has struggled ever since the 2017 Super Bowl run. Farley posted a 90.5 coverage grade while allowing a passer rating of just 26.8 in 2019, and lining him up opposite Darius Slay gives the Eagles an outstanding foundation on the back end.
Zach Wilson, QB, BYU — DraftTek (Broz)
If you’re an Eagle fan, you’ve probably spent the last couple of weeks reading about the 98 different head coach candidates the team was rumored to be hiring. Now, finally, the Eagles’ coaching staff has mostly been formed. All eyes will now be on QB Carson Wentz, how the new coaching staff deals with him, what the front office does with him, etc. It will be fascinating how that whole dynamic plays out. Though less likely now than it was a few weeks ago, it’s not out of the question than Wentz could still get traded. New coaches do like brand-new, sparkly QBs, and Wentz seems to want some guarantee that he’ll be handed the starting job regardless of his horrible 2020 play. This will be one of the top storylines league-wide over the upcoming months. So, in this CMD, we will explore the scenario where the Eagles do find a trade partner for Wentz, and a deal is worked out. If this happens, the chances of the Eagles targeting a QB in RD1 obviously skyrockets. I mentioned in the last CMD that I thought BYU’s Zach Wilson wouldn’t make it out of the Top 3 picks. I now feel strongly that Wilson will be the second pick of the Draft...either by the Jets, or by some team they trade with. Wilson may not have the pure cannon of a Justin Fields, however his “arm talent” is superior. He can throw at different levels, different angles or trajectories...he just has mastery over the football, and is one of the most creative throwers you’ll see. With 3,700 Pass YDS, 33 TDs, and just 3 INTs, with 10 Rushing TDs and tape like THIS, Zach Wilson is the #1 pick in a whole lot of drafts that don’t include guys like Andrew Luck or Trevor Lawrence.
Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State — CBS Sports (Chris Trapasso)
The Eagles aren’t totally ready to hitch their wagon to Jalen Hurts yet, are they? At the very least, I think they’ll want to give him legitimate competition, and Fields would absolutely provide that.
WR Ja’Marr Chase - 3
WR DeVonta Smith - 2
WR Jaylen Waddle - 2
TE Kyle Pitts - 2
CB Patrick Surtain II - 2
CB Caleb Farley - 1
QB Zach Wilson - 1
QB Justin Fields - 1
WR - 7
CB - 3
TE - 2
QB - 2
Offense - 11
Defense - 3
- Clearly no consensus pick for the Eagles coming out of the Senior Bowl. Chase and Smith are going to be popular options we discuss ad nauseam leading into late April. There’s no guarantee both players will be on the board, though. Some mocks have both SEC receivers getting picked before No. 6.
- In the event that both Chase and Smith aren’t available, that’s where Waddle could come into play. Seems a little bit rich, though.
- I’m not among those on board with Pitts being the pick. Occasional BGN contributor Patrick C. recently had a relevant Twitter thread about him:
- Cornerback seems reasonable if both of the top two receivers are gone.
- Hard to know exactly what to make of the Eagles’ quarterback situation. Nick Sirianni wouldn’t even commit to Carson Wentz definitely being on the team in 2021. I hardly think the Eagles are itching to get rid of him at all costs. Seems to me like they’re open to moving him but they know they might be stuck with him. If Wentz is back, I can’t see them adding yet another passer to the mix despite being a self-proclaimed QB factory.
- Who do you want the Eagles to draft?