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2021 NFL Mock Draft: First-round picks for all non-playoff teams

Who should the Eagles take?

NCAA Football: Rose Bowl-Notre Dame vs Alabama Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports

Mercifully, the Eagles 2020 season is over. Philadelphia goes into the offseason with a million questions they need to answer, but nothing is more clear than this: They need an infusion of young talent on this roster. The Eagles are old, slow, expensive and injury prone. The whole offseason will hinge on getting younger and more athletic on both sides of the ball. A high pick for the Eagles is a great way to start. Before free agency, athletic testing and all the madness this offseason will likely incur … here is how the first 18 picks of the NFL draft should shake out.

1 - Jacksonville Jaguars - Trevor Lawrence, Quarterback, Clemson

This is the most obvious pick of the young decade. Trevor Lawrence is the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck and can turn the Jaguars around from day one.

2 - New York Jets - Justin Fields, Quarterback, Ohio State

The Jets desperately need hope at signal caller and Justin Fields is the clear choice. In any other draft, the athletic, strong armed quarterback would be the top pick. This year, the Jets get lucky he falls to two.

3 - Miami Dolphins (From Houston) - Penei Sewell, Offensive Tackle, Oregon

The Dolphins have a dream scenario with the third pick in the draft from Houston. They get to add an elite talent to a team that won 10 games. Protecting their quarterback is crucial and Penei Sewell will be an immediate impact player.

4 - Atlanta Falcons - Zach Wilson, Quarterback, BYU

Atlanta is a weird position given Matt Ryan still playing very good football. However with a new regime coming in this offseason, bringing in a gifted young passer makes a ton of sense to set Atlanta up for the future. Zach Wilson has all the tools of a franchise quarterback and could put Atlanta in a good position for the next decade when Matt Ryan hangs it up.

5 - Cincinnati Bengals - Ja’Marr Chase, Wide Receiver, LSU

Makes a little too much sense to reunite Joe Burrow with the guy he threw 20 touchdowns to in 2019. Ja’Marr Chase will fit in with Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd to give Joe Burrow an explosive trio of receivers.

6 - Philadelphia Eagles - DeVonta Smith, Wide Receiver, Alabama

Without knowing whatever craziness the next four months have in store, DeVonta Smith makes the most sense as the clock strikes triple zeroes on this season. DeVonta Smith was the Crimson Tide’s leading receiver in 2019 when he was splitting targets with Henry Ruggs III and Jerry Jeudy, yet he decided to come back to school. That turned out to be a great idea as he is probably going to win the Heisman after catching 20 touchdowns and being one of the most dynamic receivers in the country this season.

Smith gives the Eagles a true number one wideout after they’ve missed out the last two years looking for receivers in the draft. He can be the top target from day one, giving Philly’s quarterback a dependant, consistent player who can turn any target into a touchdown. Smith’s presence should also take some pressure off of Jalen Reagor and hopefully allow him to develop as well. Given the dearth of playmakers on the Eagles offense, DeVonta Smith makes the most sense.

7 - Detroit Lions - Trey Lance, Quarterback, North Dakota State

The Lion will likely be moving on from the Matt Stafford era as they transition to a rebuild. Trey Lance is another extremely talented quarterback who dominated the FCS levels. Detroit will bet on his upside as they search for their next franchise passer.

8 - Carolina Panthers - Patrick Surtain II, Cornerback, Alabama

If a quarterback isn’t here, the Panthers should upgrade the back end of their defense. Patrick Surtain II is a physical specimen at cornerback and would bring much needed toughness to the Panther secondary.

9 - Denver Broncos - Rashawn Slater, Offensive Tackle, Northwestern

The Broncos have a lot of talent at the skill positions, but they could stand to upgrade their offensive line. Rashawn Slater is an athletic, physical and technically sound blocker who could make life a lot easier for the Broncos quarterback. Whoever that will be

10 - Dallas Cowboys - Kwity Paye, Defensive Lineman, Michigan

The Dallas defense was a disaster this year (unless they were playing the Eagles). They need help all over, but that help should start up front. Kwity Paye is a versatile, athletic defensive lineman who can disrupt from all over the formation.

11 - New York Giants - Micah Parsons, Linebacker, Penn State

The Giants haven’t had good linebacker play in years and every draft people seem to mock them a linebacker. So let’s do it again! Parsons is athletic and a true defensive quarterback. He would solidify the middle of the New York defense. He will need to answer some off-field questions this spring, but from a talent angle he would be a welcome presence in New York.

12 - San Francisco 49ers - Caleb Farley, Cornerback, Virginia Tech

A year after playing in the Super Bowl, injuries and poor quarterback puts them at pick twelve in the draft. The Niners could do a lot here, but they’d be happy to land a cornerback like Caleb Farley.

13 - Los Angeles Chargers - Wyatt Davis, Offensive Line, Ohio State

The Chargers have to be quite pleased with Justin Herbert smashing all types of rookie records. He is clearly set to be the guy in Los Angeles for a long time. Wyatt Davis is a versatile lineman who could be a massive upgrade at guard as the Chargers continue building around Herbert.

14 - Minnesota Vikings - Gregory Rousseau, Edge Defender, Miami

The Minnesota Vikings had an uncharacteristically bad defense this year and it started with their inability to rush the passer. Gregory Rousseau gives the Vikings an supremely talented defender who can help revitalize their defensive front.

15 - New England Patriots - Kyle Pitts, Tight End, Florida

The Patriots desperately need weapons in their passing game for whomever is their quarterback next year. Kyle Pitts is a dangerous matchup nightmare who can line up in-line, in the slot or even on the outside. Pitts is a touchdown machine and that is exactly what New England needs.

16 - Arizona Cardinals - Jaylen Waddle, Wide Receiver, Alabama

The Cardinals need to continue surrounding their young quarterback with weapons. Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins were a dangerous combo this year, but it’s clear they need some running mates. Jaylen Waddle’s unreal speed would be a welcome addition to an offense with so much explosive potential.

17 - Las Vegas Raiders - Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia

The Raiders need a pass rush. Period. They only sacked the quarterback 21 times this season and it played a big role in their late season collapse. Azeez Ojulari’s upside is sky high and those are the types of bets the Raiders need to make to revive their defense.

18 - Miami Dolphins - Rondale Moore, Wide Receiver, Purdue

The Dolphins barely missed the playoffs but look to be in good shape for the next few years. Adding Rondale Moore to their offense would bring some much needed explosiveness to the passing game. Between injuries and a Covid-shortened season, we haven’t seen Moore truly dominate since his freshman year in 2018. However, Moore has flashed a special type playmaker whenever he’s touched the ball since.