I feel like I was just sitting in my living room on a Sunday night watching the Eagles tank away a Week 17 game against Washington. Somehow, the pre-draft process has felt infinitely long, and simultaneously it flew by in an instant. Ahead of the first round tonight and a long weekend of freaking out over every single move, here are seven Eagles-specific draft predictions from me. (Make sure you also check out Ben Natan’s league-wide bold predictions.)
The Eagles will draft a quarterback on Day 3
The day Howie Roseman mentioned the “quarterback factory” will live in Philly sports infamy, but it does point towards an inarguable organizational philosophy. While I don’t believe they’d target one in the first round after trading out of the top 10, Day 3 feels like the sweet spot for them to nab a developmental QB.
With just two quarterbacks on the roster in Jalen Hurts and Joe Flacco, the Eagles will surely want to find a new one as a third-stringer. Some guys who intrigue me:
Sam Ehlinger: Kind of a wild card who reminds me of Carson Wentz when he plays erratically. His maneuverability may appeal to the Birds. It’d be great to have an excuse to play that “Longhorn Nation... we’re baaaaaaaaaaackkk” video too.
Kyle Trask: How far will he fall in the draft? If he’s sitting there in the fifth round, will the Eagles be tempted to grab him? There’s an obvious connection there given that new quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson held the same role (and the offensive coordinator title) with Trask at Florida in 2020.
Jamie Newman: I legit think this guy should go Day 2. To me, he’s the best QB outside of the first five projected to go on Day 1. If he’s somehow available in Round 5 or 6? Take a swing!
Ian Book: I’m not sure he can play in the NFL, but my dad loves Notre Dame and I’m sure the Irish Catholic contingent in the Philly area would lose their minds if the Eagles select him.
Zach Ertz will be on the Buffalo Bills by Saturday night
When I go over the Eagles roster in my mind (I do that at 3 a.m. every night when I can’t sleep), I forget that Ertz is still on the team. It’s felt like a foregone conclusion for so long that he won’t be here for the 2021 season. Whatever the Eagles get back for him, it won’t be for as much Eagles fans would want, but that’s the nature of dealing with an aging veteran in a contract dispute.
I’m predicting the Birds will send the 37th pick (second round), the 225th pick (sixth round), and Ertz to the Bills for the 30th pick. If the Eagles go receiver at 12, I expect them to target a cornerback at 30 and vice versa.
Jaycee Horn and Terrace Marshall Jr.? DeVonta Smith and Greg Newsome II? Sign me up. Ertz is an Eagles legend who should have his Super Bowl-winning touchdown immortalized as a statue outside the Linc, but it’s time for both parties to move on.
The Eagles will draft at least one player named Jalen (or Jaelan or Jaylen or Jaelon)
Jalen Mills is gone, but Jalen Hurts and Jalen Reagor remain. To keep going with the Jalen-centric team-building style, the Eagles are going to add more to the roster.
Here’s an incomplete list players with some variation of Jalen as their name along with their Predictive Big Board ranking from The Draft Network:
Jaylen Waddle (8), Jaelan Phillips (15), Jalen Mayfield (69), Jay Tufele (100), Jaylen Twyman (113), Jaelon Darden (194), Jaylon Moore (224)
One of those dudes (maybe more than one!) will be wearing an Eagles hat in the next couple of days.
The Eagles won’t draft a linebacker until Day 3
My brand is definitely anti taking a linebacker early, but this actually feels like a year I’d be cool to spend a second-round pick on one. With holes galore and Eric Wilson on a one-year deal, however, the Eagles will punt on making a premium investment into the position for at least one more year.
If Davion Taylor could’ve played more than 32 defensive snaps in 2020, maybe the Eagles wouldn’t be in such a dire future with the second level of their defense, but Wilson and Alex Singleton will at least bring competency to the unit in 2021.
The Eagles will add a minimum of 3 defensive backs
I’m down to use three of the Eagles’ first four picks on DBs. I’d definitely double up on corners given that there’s only one guaranteed playable CB on the roster in Darius Slay. Who knows how the new defensive coaching staff feels about Avonte Maddox?
They could come out of the draft with two corners from the following group:
Jaycee Horn (South Carolina), Greg Newsome II (Northwestern), Patrick Surtain II (Alabama), Asante Samuel Jr. (Florida State), Ifeatu Melifonwu (Syracuse), Paulson Adebo (Stanford), Elijah Molden (Washington). Tyson Campbell (Georgia), Trill Williams (Syracuse)
That’s a haul!
It’s not a strong safety class, but Indiana’s Jamar Johnson excelled in a good secondary for the Hoosiers and brings that versatility you want in a modern player at the position. He’d be great at 84 and I’d be okay with him even at 70.
The Eagles will draft an Alabama player for the first time since 2002
Back in 2002, the Eagles used a fifth-round pick on Alabama wide receiver Freddie Milons, who never played a snap in the NFL. Since then, Alabama has returned to its glory days and morphed back into the powerhouse program in all of college football. How many players from ‘Bama, a school oozing talent, have the Eagles drafted since Milons? ZERO!
It legit doesn’t make any sense. It defies logic, rationality and even the laws of physics. How dare the Eagles add someone who balled out on the best teams and played against premier competition?
It stops here. Howie Roseman cuts the bullshit. They’re coming away with at least one Alabama player.
Perhaps it’s one of the big three in the first round between Smith, Waddle, and Surtain. Maybe offensive linemen Landon Dickerson and Deonte Brown are appealing on Day 2. Heck, would we even be that shocked if the Eagles took defensive tackle (and Neumann-Goretti grad) Christian Barmore at 12? That’s such an Eagles pick!
Watch the Eagles, in a clear troll move, take one in the seventh round just to mess with everyone and break this streak. It could be tight end Miller Forristall.
Funny story: Forristall was a former quarterback at Cartersville High School in Georgia. The entrenched starter, Forristall began sharing time at QB with a much-hyped underclassman, who eventually took over the job. Forristall moved to tight end and then found success at Alabama. That quarterback who leapt him on the depth chart? Some dude named Trevor Lawrence.
Eagles fans will still come away this weekend angry at the team
What else did you expect? Even if DeVonta Smith ends up in midnight green, it’ll (fairly) be chalked up as an obvious pick and won’t do much to change Howie Roseman’s favor in the city. Smith would be a slam dunk first-round pick, but I’m sure the Birds will find some way to bungle the draft come Day 2 or Day 3.