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NFL Draft Mailbag: Fixing the Eagles’ defense?

Weekly Q&A

Philadelphia Eagles v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Welcome to the 2021 NFL Draft Mailbag Series! Every week I will be answering your draft-related questions. If you have some, send them over to BGDMailbag@gmail.com and they will be answered!

“How come nobody is talking about fixing the defense?” - Gabriel

The Eagles defense has been simultaneously frustrating and over-performing for the last few years now. Every season it feels like the personnel deteriorates through injury and yet somehow the unit always ends up being okay, at least.

This season, a lot of problems in the back seven were mitigated by the productivity of the front four. Of course, with Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham getting up there in age, it is hard to expect the defensive line to keep being the engine of this defense. At least as it currently stands.

The defense needs upgrading and not a single level of that side of the ball doesn’t need to be addressed. However, with the dreary output from the Eagles on offense over the last two seasons, it is easy to overlook the needs the Eagles have on defense. This offseason and draft, defense should demand resources, but it is hard to validate using the Eagles first pick on a defender when there are elite offensive players who will be available.

“What are the early evaluations on Kadarius Toney?” - Ray

Kardarius Toney enjoyed a phenomenal senior season and played a huge part in Kyle Trask almost coming up with the Heisman. Toney is a highly athletic receiver who is most dangerous after the catch. He scored this year as a receiver, a rusher and a returner; a testament to his ability with the ball in his hands.

Toney is dynamic and his playmaking ability should put him in the conversation to be a top fifty pick. However this draft class is deep at receiver, once again. Toney doesn’t have the polish or complete resume as some of his 2021 draft class peers. His lack of production before the 2020 season creates some question if he is a one year wonder. It is not something I am too worried about, but when you’re weighing a bunch of very good players against each other, the small things make a difference.

For the Eagles, Toney or Chris Olave are in the second tier of receivers this year. If they decide to go elsewhere with their first pick in the draft, they should be focused on drafting one of those two with their second one.