Back again and answering your 2021 NFL Draft questions. Have some? Send them over to BGDMailbag@gmail.com to get them answered in next week’s article!
“At #6, Penei Sewell would be a solid pick with Jordan Mailata sliding down to the second unit and Andre Dillard possibly playing left guard. Maybe Isaac Seumalo second unit left guard or backup/future starting center. There’s no way Dillard is beating out Mailata for starting left tackle in camp ... Brian Baldinger’s assessment seems spot on with Mailata. It would be a bummer if Sewell was drafted since Mailata worked hard enough ... and Dillard seems a bit emotional at times and wouldn’t like the change either since being drafted as Jason Peters’ replacement. Rashawn Slater from Northwestern can play left tackle but is possibly more suited for left guard. Knowing how the Eagles love versatility with their OL, Slater is a perfect fit while Dillard and Mailata battle for left tackle in camp. But at #6, is Slater a reach? Is it advantageous to have two guys with relatively little/no NFL experience playing next to each other?” - Anthony
There’s a lot of good commentary in there Anthony, so I’m going to try to go through it and address your points.
To me, Sewell is an elite player in this draft. His athleticism, size, and polished skill set in run/pass blocking makes him a rare prospect at only 20 years old. However, he is purely a tackle and I don’t think he could slide down to guard, as you inferred. I also think Andre Dillard is best suited at tackle, too, as his struggles with stronger defenders will only be magnified if he is moved inside.
I don’t think the current roster should preclude any team from drafting Sewell. He is a blue-chip player. You draft those and figure out what to do with the roster next.
Slater definitely projects as a very good guard while his prospects at tackle have a lower ceiling. However, I don’t think he is the type of player you draft in the top 10. Guards are important, make no mistake, but it is easier to find players with the skillset to play guard than it is to find those who can play tackle at a high level.
As for experience, I’m not worried about that in a vacuum. The Eagles are on a new timeline after a 4-11-1 season. They could stand to get younger in basically every way. Starting young, talented offensive linemen is worth the early rough waters so they can gel into a unit with long-term potential.
Should the Eagles draft Penei Sewell?
This poll is closed
“If Najee Harris is available in the second round do we take him or is management too afraid of deja vu (Wentz/Hurts)? Is this organization snakebitten? FYI love Miles Sanders but we do have a need for a second back.” -Tyrell
First off, I think the impact of drafting another running back high is much different than drafting Jalen Hurts. Running backs are bound to share touches no matter what and bringing in someone who can complement Miles Sanders and give the Eagles flexibility with him could help the team (and Sanders).
Najee Harris would be an excellent number two back in Philadelphia. Harris, despite being built and running like a power back, has the ability to contribute on passing downs as well. This keeps the offense unpredictable no matter who is lining up in the backfield. Like was mentioned before, the Eagles could stand to use Miles Sanders in the passing game even more and move him around the formation. Harris being a true threat in the backfield while having Sanders shift around feels like a great advantage for Nick Sirianni’s offense.
The only question is whether or not the Eagles would value a number two back that highly. There are some solid options to be rotational backs in the mid-rounds and I question whether the team would want to use a high pick on someone who wouldn’t be a primary offensive weapon.