Kind of feels weird to be looking at mock drafts for the Philadelphia Eagles right now when we’re still waiting to see what becomes of Carson Wentz. Will the Eagles acquire an extra first-round pick? Do they plan on drafting a quarterback at No. 6 or maybe even trading up for one? There are questions to be answered.
While we (not so patiently) wait for that Wentz situation to play out, let’s kill some time by looking at the latest 2021 NFL mock draft from ESPN’s Todd McShay. He previously had the Birds taking Micah Parsons at No. 6, which just isn’t happening. McShay’s most recent pick is more realistic and popular:
6. Philadelphia Eagles — Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The Eagles’ wide receivers room ranked No. 30 in yards this season (2,082), and they were one of three teams to catch fewer than 60% of their WR targets (56.3%). Those numbers came even after drafting Jalen Reagor in the first round last April. The Eagles need to give quarterback Jalen Hurts — who is taking the reins as the team moves on from Carson Wentz — tools to succeed, and that of course starts with a game-breaker on the outside. Chase vs. Alabama’s DeVonta Smith is a tough call, but I think Chase might have slightly better traits and certainly more size at 6-0 and 200-plus pounds. You might have forgotten because he opted out in 2020, but Chase had 20 touchdowns and nearly 1,800 yards in 2019. It’s win-win for Philadelphia if both receivers are still on the board, but the LSU product gets the call here.
As the write-up notes, McShay had the Eagles picking between Chase and Smith at No. 6 since he had four quarterbacks (!) and Penei Sewell going off the board in the top five. If the Eagles aren’t interested in drafting a quarterback, this would be the ideal scenario for Philly.
When it comes to the Chase vs. Smith debate, Eagles fans seem to prefer the former:
Chase was an absolute beast in 2019 before opting out of the 2020 season. He amassed 1,780 yards (21.2 average) and 20 touchdowns on 84 receptions as a 19-year-old sophomore. There’s ample reason to feel inspired about his potential. So he took a year off? That’s just less wear-and-tear on his body.
Here’s what BGN’s Ben Natan previously wrote about Chase:
Chase is a create a player from a traits standpoint. He is fast, agile, strong-as-hell with a great vertical and ball skills. The big questions for him on field is consistency. Despite his crazy numbers, Chase did leave some on the field in terms of drops. This is not a major concern, because the volume of passes he saw in contested situations means that drops or “losses” are inevitable. However, there is always going to be a want to see more when he seems can flip a switch and dominate whoever is in front of him. Another question will inevitably be rust, whether fair or not. Ja’Marr Chase has been working off the field despite not playing with LSU this year, but over a year without live football will raise questions about immediate impact. However, with someone as talented as Ja’Marr Chase, I will take a few games of shaking rust off for what should be a long career as a playmaker.
And here’s what former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah wrote about Chase in June 2020:
Biggest takeaway: As I was studying Chase, I couldn’t help but notice how many quality cornerbacks he dominated last fall. The SEC is littered with NFL-caliber defensive backs, and he got the best of almost every single one. His competitiveness is off-the-charts impressive. He just refuses to give himself up. You never see him run out of bounds with the ball in his hands. He will lower his shoulder against defenders and, like most outstanding wide receivers, he can find another gear when he needs it. Once the ball goes up in the air, you can see him accelerate and separate. He’s a special, special talent.
He reminds me of: I can’t pick only one guy here for a comp, because I saw glimpses of several different players when I studied Chase. His competitiveness and run-after-the-catch ability reminded me of guys like Steve Smith Sr. and Anquan Boldin. They have different builds, but they play with the same nasty/physical demeanor with the ball in their hands. There are also times when Chase does things that remind me of JuJu Smith-Schuster. Both guys can access another gear when needed, and they seem to relish working in traffic. In my opinion, Smith and Boldin are both future Hall of Famers and Smith-Schuster is one of the best young talents in the NFL. Chase has that type of upside.
Drafting Chase would give the Eagles a much-needed “answer” at receiver. It’s not like you can truly feel amazing about any of the other options at that position. There might be hope for Jalen Reagor, yeah. Maybe there’s an emergence from one or two of the other young guys. None of them possess Chase’s ceiling, though, and he can be a long-term piece to pair with Hurts or another quarterback in the future.
Grade Todd McShay’s mock draft pick (Ja’Marr Chase at No. 6) for the Eagles
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