The Draft Simulation series is a means to explore all the different avenues for the Eagles this spring. The draft can fall a lot of ways and for a team with as many needs as the Eagles, any path is possible. This week I do a throwback to a player whose hype has mysteriously fallen off and see how the draft fell from there. (I am using the incredible draft simulator from our friends over at The Draft Network.)
Pick 6: DeVonta Smith, Wide Receiver, Alabama
I feel like people have gotten bored talking about how good DeVonta Smith. Only weeks after winning the Heisman, I see people talking about him like he is the fourth or fifth-best receiving option in this class. Craziness. Smith might not have the upside of some of his peers, but he is the day one difference maker that the Eagles desperately need. Assuming Jalen Hurts is the starting quarterback, giving him a reliable target who can damage a defense from anywhere on the field is a no-brainer.
Pick 38: Trevon Moehrig, Safety, TCU
This feels like a second-round favorite for the Eagles. Trevon Moehrig is a smart defender who can quarterback a secondary and play multiple safety positions. Ideally, Moehrig would be the perfect single high for the Jonathan Gannon defense. However, his size, athleticism, and football IQ can make a difference anywhere on the field.
Pick 70: Elijah Molden, Cornerback, Washington
Elijah Molden is one of my favorite players in this draft. He is small, sure, but he is a scrappy and physical player who will make receivers’ lives hell while also contributing as a run defender. He is the perfect slot defender for the Eagles’ rebuilding secondary.
Pick 84: Jabril Cox, Linebacker, LSU
The Eagles continue their run on defense by adding an athletic linebacker to a group that desperately needs it. The Eagles linebackers were vulnerable against the passing game last year and routinely looked overmatched against the run. Jabril Cox gives them a defender who runs fast and plays faster. He could start as a nickel defender but develop into an every-down contributor for Philly.
Pick 151: Chuba Hubbard, Running Back, Oklahoma State
Running back is a luxury pick for the Eagles with Miles Sanders set to be an offensive centerpiece next year. At this point in the draft, adding a talented back like Chuba Hubbard to the backfield feels like giving the Eagles a high-upside reliever for their running game. Hubbard was a home run hitter in college, not because he is overwhelmingly athletic, but because he has great burst, vision, and patience to create within the first five yards of a run. Giving him 10 carries a game to spell Sanders means the Eagles running game will always be dangerous.
Pick 157: Shaka Toney, Edge, Penn State
The Eagles go back to defense here with Shaka Toney. Toney’s athleticism and ability to rush the passer is his big selling point. He has plenty of room to grow, both physically and as a complete defender, but betting on high upside role players is what the late rounds of the draft are for.
Pick 191: Bryce Thompson, Cornerback, Tennessee
The Eagles desperately need more cornerbacks who can play on the outside. Bryce Thompson was versatile at Tennessee, playing in every cornerback alignment, but he played his best football as a boundary defender. Thompson will probably win some hearts and minds considering he played through the 2020 season despite dealing with serious injuries to his pectoral muscles and his hamstrings. Even hampered by upper and lower-body injuries, Thompson was easily the best defender on The Volunteers. With an offseason to get healthy, Thompson could compete for time in the Eagles' thin, young secondary.
Pick 220: Cade Johnson, Wide Receiver, SDSU
One day I will run one of these simulations without Cade Johnson in it. Today is not that day. While the Eagles got a potential star in DeVonta Smith, there are still so many question marks for their group of receivers. Cade Johnson’s big-play ability is no joke and would allow him to push the other young wide receivers while he could carve a role out for himself on special teams. Johnson has the upside to be a role player in an NFL offense and taking a chance on him at this point is a great bet.
Pick 228: Jaelon Darden, Wide Receiver, North Texas
Jaelon Darden was one of the most dangerous players in the country last year. He was a one-man wrecking crew for the Mean Green, catching 19 touchdowns in only nine games. Darden is a smaller receiver, but his speed and knack for the end zone should have the Eagles interested.