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NFL Mock Draft Roundup: DeVonta Smith is the most common Eagles pick heading into draft week

Mock draft madness.

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Heisman Trophy Presentation Photo by Kent Gidley/Heisman Trophy Trust via Getty Images

The 2021 NFL Draft is only 4 days away! Let’s pass the time until then by looking at who mock drafts have the Philadelphia Eagles taking with the No. 12 overall pick.

DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama — SB Nation (Brandon Lee Gowton)

The Eagles should be thrilled to see DeVonta Smith on the board for them here. He was a potential consideration before they traded down from No. 6. Had Jaylen Waddle been on the board, choosing between the two Crimson Tide pass-catchers wouldn’t have been easy. Smith is ultimately the pick, though, because there isn’t a world where the Eagles passing on the Heisman winner works out for them. Put simply, Smith is a stone-cold baller. Couldn’t care less about his weight. This is a complete receiver who dominated the SEC. Coaches, teammates, and opposing players alike have raved about his skill, football IQ, and will to win. Outlier physical frame be damned, he feels like a prospect worth betting on.

DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama — Underdog Fantasy (Hayden Winks)

By trading down, the Eagles likely won’t have to decide which pass-catcher to take. That decision was made by the Bengals and Dolphins earlier in the mock draft, leaving the 2020 Heisman in Jalen Hurts’ lap. Smith can be a volume receiver with underneath and intermediate ability while Jalen Reagor can focus on winning vertical routes. Whiffing on Reagor over Justin Jefferson shouldn’t make them afraid of drafting a receiver in this draft. That’s just playing scared.

DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama — Sports Illustrated (Jenny Vrentas)

Big decision here for the Eagles: receiver or cornerback? When they traded down from No. 6 to 12, they made clear they were not taking a QB this year, but knew they’d still be in good position to take one of the top players at their positions of need. If five QBs do in fact go in the top 10, it’s possible the Eagles could get a steal with one of the two Alabama receivers. This would make two straight years for Philly taking a receiver in the first round, but the need is so acute, especially if they want to give Jalen Hurts a fair shake this season.

DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama — The Athletic (Zach Berman)

The Eagles would have a decision to make with Smith, Jaylen Waddle and cornerback Jaycee Horn on the board. Although Waddle might be viewed as a better prospect than Smith, the Heisman Trophy winner’s prolific production, route-running and hands should be too appealing to pass up for a team that needs to hit on this position. Horn would address a major need at cornerback and would be a sensible pick at No. 12. Pay attention to the possibility of an edge rusher considering the way the organization values the position. Michigan’s Kwity Paye could be a target, especially if the Eagles traded down a few spots.

DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama — CBS Sports (Josh Edwards)

Philadelphia was able to trade back, acquire future picks and still land one of the premier pass catchers in this draft class.

DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama — CBS Sports (Jared Dubin)

Philly moves down from No. 6 to No. 12 and still lands perhaps the same player. Not bad for a trade’s work.

DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama — CBS Sports (Tyler Sullivan)

The Eagles tipped their hand that they weren’t going for a QB in the draft after they traded down. That means it’s the Jalen Hurts Show heading into next season and Philly does what it can to ensure it kicks off successfully by bringing in one of the more talented receivers in this class.

DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama — CBS Sports (Ryan Wilson)

Cornerback could be an option here but with Surtain and Horn gone, the Eagles reunite Jalen Hurts and DeVonta Smith.

DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama — USA Today (Nate Davis)

Another former Crimson Tide quarterback, Jalen Hurts in this instance, gets to team anew with one of his Tuscaloosa targets. Smith, last year’s record-setting Heisman Trophy winner, could thrive in an offense given opponents can hardly afford to double cover him given the running threat posed by Hurts.

DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama — LA Times (Sam Farmer)

The Eagles traded back, an indication they’re not dying to replace Jalen Hurts. But they need capable targets.

Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama — ESPN+ (Todd McShay)

Philly can exhale: The Eagles moved back to No. 12 and still got one of the top four pass-catchers. Waddle is the most dangerous player in the class with the ball in his hands.

Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama — Blogging The Boys (David Howman)

Don’t be surprised if the Eagles make a jump into the top 10 for a quarterback, but Philly still has a big financial incentive to at least see what Jalen Hurts can do. So it makes sense to pair him with a former teammate in Jaylen Waddle, a ridiculously versatile weapon who could make life easy for the Eagles’ new starting quarterback.

Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama — CBS Sports (Cody Benjamin)

With Smith and the top two corners off the board, the Eagles consider a move down before taking their second first-round WR in as many years, banking on Waddle as an instant upgrade on the outside. It helps that Jalen Hurts is familiar with the new target.

Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama — NBC Sports Philadelphia (Adam Hermann)

HOWIE! After trading down six spots, the Eagles move back up four spots from No. 12 to No. 8, sending their 2022 second-round pick and 2022 fifth-round pick to jump up and grab their wide receiver of choice. Ultimately, they still have three first-round picks in 2022 (if the Colts’ Wentz pick conveys) and they add a dangerous playmaker in Waddle, who immediately becomes the Eagles’ most exciting wide receiver on the roster.

Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama — Sports Illustrated (Gary Gramling)

The Eagles don’t have to throw in the towel on Jalen Reagor by any means, but they also can’t bank on him becoming a No. 1 receiver. So, in their never-ending search for a No. 1 receiver, they turn to the best one left on the board.

Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama — Sharp Football Analysis (Ryan McCrystal)

In this scenario, Philly’s decision almost certainly comes down to Waddle and Jaycee Horn. The edge probably goes to the player who will help Jalen Hurts develop.

Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina — Underdog Fantasy (Josh Norris)

The Eagles have searched for an alpha corner for years. Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, Ronald Darby, Darius Slay. Horn definitely has the mentality and frame to match the league’s top wideouts. From Kyle Pitts to Elijah Moore to Devonta Smith to many more — he has been tested to a staggering degree.

Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina — NFL.com (Chad Reuter)

Another physical corner, Horn solidified his spot in the top dozen picks with an outstanding display of athleticism at his pro day (4.40 40-yard dash, 41.5-inch vertical leap). The Eagles need multiple cornerbacks, and will likely pick two in the first three or four rounds.

Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina — PFF (Steve Palazzolo)

The Eagles have been one of the best pass-rushing teams in the league since 2015, but the biggest difference on their Super Bowl team in 2017 was in the secondary. Horn adds an aggressive man corner who gets his hands on the ball as well as any cornerback in the class. He does his best work in press, but he’s a natural playmaker who broke up 19.5% of his targets, good for the 95th percentile compared to recent NFL prospects. For the Eagles, adding Horn to the mix with Darius Slay on the other side is a necessary move, especially in the NFC East, where the opposing receiving rooms continue to improve.

Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina — CBS Sports (Pete Prisco)

Horn is a top cover player who some in the league think is the best corner in this class. The Eagles have a major need, so it works.

Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama — DraftTek (Broz)

I know most football fans are suffering from extreme 2021 Draft fatigue at this point. Don’t despair, though; in a little more than a week, you can start devoting your lives to more important things...namely, the 2022 Draft. Over the last couple of years, the Eagles have really prioritized athletic measurables in their top draft picks. With the three top WRs once again gone this week, the Eagles add Patrick Surtain II to their extremely-depleted CB group. Surtain certainly will satisfy the dorks in the Eagles’ Analytics Dept: his Relative Athletic Score (RAS) was calculated to be 9.97, which is good for seventh-highest of ALL the corners drafted in the last 35 years!!!

Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama — Sporting News (Vinnie Iyer)

The Eagles are a candidate to trade up for Pitts or catch a falling wide receiver, but they can’t go wrong with the size and shutdown pedigree of Surtain to boost their secondary and help clean up their cornerback mess.

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre DameBehind The Steel Curtain (Geoffrey Benedict)

Eagles need a cornerback and a linebacker. . . so they draft a guy who can do both. “Joker” brings a major upgrade to the Eagles pass defense and is an easy choice for this spot.

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame — Pro Football Network (Nick Farabaugh)

The Eagles have blatant holes on their roster, that much is certain. However, the linebacker room is not talked about as much. Howie Roseman has shied away from addressing the position this early before. Yet, when a freak like Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah comes along, that might just be enough to make him reconsider it. With Owusu-Koramoah on the roster, the Eagles get a WILL linebacker, safety, and slot cornerback all in one player. He can be the basis of a revolution on Philadelphia’s defense.

Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State — CBS Sports (Chris Trapasso)

Parsons can be the quarterback of Philadelphia’s defense. He provides significant edge-rushing talent too.

Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon — Pro Football Network (AJ Schulte)

Trade! The Philadelphia Eagles send picks 12, 84, 123, and Indianapolis’ conditional second-round pick in 2022 to the Detroit Lions in exchange for pick 7. It’s a double-whammy of GMs here. Howie Roseman has always been aggressive to get his guys, while Brad Holmes comes from the Rams, where first-round picks are usually never made without a trade of some kind. As such, I think this is a perfect trade spot. Roseman gets to leap all of Carolina, Denver, Dallas, and the Giants to take the best tackle in this class. There are rumors out there that the Chargers are also in the hunt for Penei Sewell. Philly has the edge in terms of total capital and picks one spot higher than the Chargers. I know Philly needs a CB. I know about their WR situation. However, that offensive line has plenty of health questions. Jordan Mailata showed flashes at left tackle, but Sewell is quite handily better right away. Mailata can move around as the team’s swing tackle or perhaps move inside. Lane Johnson has combined for 19 games in the last two seasons. Brandon Brooks missed all of 2020. With Philly seemingly pressing the reset button all over the roster, getting the offensive line sorted out is important. Nabbing Sewell is a damn good start to doing so.

Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC — NFL.com (Peter Schrager)

Philadelphia trades back three spots, picks up another Day 2 pick (No. 46 from the Patriots) and still gets one of the top offensive linemen in the draft. The Eagles have so many picks in the next two drafts that they could be in Best Player Available mode, even if they end up staying at No. 12.

Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia TechPro Football Network (Mike Tanier)

You may be looking at this pick and wondering, “does the writer of this mock draft really think Howie Roseman is that incompetent, or did he stack this draft board specifically to troll Eagles fans?” Frankly, I don’t know anymore, either. Christian Darrisaw provides insurance if Andre Dillard, the left tackle the Eagles drafted 22nd overall in 2019, turns into vaporware. He helps Roseman resist the urge to re-sign Jason Peters for his 94th NFL season for a contract that would string the Eagles’ cap woes out until 2029. Darrisaw is a better prospect at his position than Jaylen Waddle and Micah Parsons are at their positions, no matter how much the Philly Faithful may prefer those two. Plus, Roseman likes “Hog Mollies” almost as much as Dave Gettleman does. He just doesn’t have a corny name for them. Furthermore, the Giants aren’t the only team that will spend the next decade trying to figure out how to block Chase Young.

Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan — The Draft Network (Benjamin Solak)

The Eagles have long been investors in the trenches under Howie Roseman, and if they’re unable to get a trade back up into the top 10, they are nicely in the EDGE territory in this draft. Brandon Graham is 33 years old, Derek Barnett is just a solid player at EDGE2 and approaching a contract year, and Josh Sweat—the exciting developmental EDGE3—has injury concerns. EDGE is not strong in Philadelphia—so bring in an athletic ironman in Paye. Paye has a similarly dense build and aggressive run defense to Graham, who was another Michigan EDGE, Roseman draft pick, and nearly 10-year player for the Eagles. He doesn’t deliver huge sack numbers, which is the problem with Graham, but the Eagles seem OK with low-sack, high-pressure players.

SUMMARY

WR DeVonta Smith - 10
WR Jaylen Waddle - 6
CB Jaycee Horn - 4
CB Patrick Surtain II - 2
LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah - 2
LB Micah Parsons - 1
OT Penei Sewell - 1
OT Alijah Vera-Tucker - 1
OT Christian Darrisaw - 1
DE Kwity Paye - 1

WR - 16
CB - 6
LB - 3
OT - 3
DE - 1

Offense - 19
Defense - 10

THOUGHTS

  • Billionth week in a row where Smith, Waddle, and Horn finish as the top three most common picks. The cynic in you tells you the Eagles will draft none of them, right? But maybe the Eagles are more inclined than usual to go chalk this year? At least, one would hope after watching them outsmarting themselves on more than one occasion.
  • The gap between Smith and Waddle has been much smaller in recent weeks. This is the biggest lead Smith has had in the roundup in some time. Here’s hoping the Eagles don’t talk themselves out of the Heisman Trophy winner.
  • Forgot to include this in my Smith post: the fact he can now wear No. 6 in the NFL is huge. Lock for a Hall of Fame career, according to #JerseyNumberAnalytics.
  • I know I harp on this a lot but the Eagles have really struggled to draft and develop receivers under Howie Roseman. I feel like their best chance to reverse that trend is by taking one early, not counting on Nick Sirianni to suddenly work magic with someone drafted later on. I wouldn’t force a pick at wide receiver at No. 12, to be clear. But I do feel like either Smith or Waddle will likely be the best player on the board. And I don’t love the idea of merely nabbing a receiver at No. 37. Teams will be looking to trade up ahead of Philly’s pick knowing they’re probably targeting a pass-catcher. Then again, the Eagles could always trade back into the end of the first round. Still, prefer getting a receiver at No. 12. The Eagles have done nothing (outside of overpaying Joe Flacco and re-signing Jordan Howard, who might not even make the roster) to address their offense. Give us some excitement to work with! Also maybe try using your most valuable resources on problems you struggle to fix?
  • Interesting: Surtain II only appears twice in the roundup but has the shortest odds to be drafted by Philly. Sucker’s bet?
  • The trade up for Sewell is more expensive than the Eagles should be comfortable paying.
  • I hate how Schrager’s mock draft has the Eagles trading up out No. 12 with Smith on the board! But I don’t hate going offensive line in a trade down that returns strong value. The Eagles getting No. 46 (440 points) for dropping down three spots (150 points) is a no-brainer.
  • We all know Solak’s pick is the one that’s actually going to happen, right?
  • I’m going to try to do one last mock roundup before Thursday night. One that covers the eleventy billion mocks (including my own!) bound to emerge this week.
  • Who do you want the Eagles to draft?