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Eagles News: DeVonta Smith says he would love to play with Jalen Hurts again and in front of Philly fans

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 4/29/21.

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NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Alabama at Florida Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...

“I Am the Storm”: DeVonta Smith Is Coming - GQ
When I arrived in Tuscaloosa, there were tornado warnings across the county, but as we left the practice field one last time, the skies began clearing. The sticky air penetrated the building and wrapped us in a thick blanket of heat and humidity inside. DeVonta ripped off his shirt and walked around half naked. I asked him if he thinks he owns the place. “Yeah! Why not?” he laughed. “It’s hot as hell out here; don’t make no sense to put no shirt on.” He darted away to his old, greying Nissan Altima and zoomed home to meet Sanders, who just got into town. I thought about a moment from earlier in the week, when a friend of his worried about the tornado warnings over FaceTime while we sat in ‘Bama’s facility. DeVonta’s response was to tell the friend he wasn’t scared. Then he puffed his chest out and loudly proclaimed the truth he had been desperately trying to get across to the whole football world: “I am the fuckin’ storm!”

NFL draft 2021 rankings: Todd McShay’s final top 350 prospects, plus grades and position ranks - ESPN+
6. DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama (Grade: 93). Height: 6-0 | Weight: 170. What stands out most about Smith are his instincts and elite-level savvy as a route runner. He explodes off the line with top-end initial burst, and he is sudden and crafty enough to beat press-man coverage. Smith is smooth getting in and out of breaks, and he consistently gains separation at the top of his stem versus man-to-man coverage and has an outstanding feel for locating soft spots in zone. He occasionally gets outmuscled during his routes by bigger corners, but he rarely drops a catchable ball, and he does a very good job tracking the ball vertically.

Top Prospects Of The 2021 NFL Draft - The Onion
The Heisman Trophy winner, All-American and national champion has been sliding down draft boards in recent weeks because all these motherfuckers have no idea what they’re talking about.

NFL Mock Draft 2021: Final 7-round picks for the Eagles - BGN
I already wrote about how the Eagles shouldn’t talk themselves out of Smith if he’s available at No. 12. The weight concerns are overblown. This is a player who hasn’t had durability issues and regularly excelled at getting off press coverage in the nation’s top college football conference. The Eagles have never successfully drafted and developed a wide receiver under Howie Roseman. There’s a good chance Smith is a solution to their long-time problem at that position. Smith can line up at multiple positions in Philly.

NFC East Mixtape Vol.2: Who do you want your rivals to draft? - BGN Radio
Brandon Lee Gowton (Bleeding Green Nation) and R.J. Ochoa (Blogging The Boys) are joined by special guest Ed Valentine (Big Blue View) to discuss the division’s outlook heading into the 2021 NFL Draft. Who do we want to see our rivals take? Which rival picks would scare us the most? All that and more in this week’s episode!

Eagles mailbag: Zach Ertz’s likely landing spots, comparing 2020-2021 WR prospects, and trade talk - PhillyVoice
The three years prior, they consistently and repeatedly whiffed on draft picks, free agent acquisitions, player trades, and contract renegotiations, detailed here. Those misses resulted in the old, bad, expensive roster that is going to take multiple years just to tear down before they’re in a good position to fully rebuild. There’s no question that Howie did an outstanding job taking a team in bad shape after the Chip years, and quickly building a Super Bowl winner. Since then, he has indeed been a bad GM. So, respectfully, I would say that it’s less of a “lazy take,” and more just an obvious conclusion based on the results of the last three years.

2021 Eagles Draft Preview - Iggles Blitz
WR DeVonta Smith. Smith is my favorite college player from the 2020 season. He posted gaudy statistics and the game tape was equally impressive. Whatever Smith did, he did well. Good receiver. Good blocker. Good on special teams coverage. Good punt returner. Smith lacks ideal size, to put it mildly. He’s not a dynamic athlete. What he is…a damn good football player. He is a smooth route runner who knows how to get open. He has great hands and incredible body control. Smith combines ability, skill, brains and an ultra-competitive spirit. Smith would be a terrific addition to the Eagles receiving corps. Beyond that, he’s also the kind of guy you want when you’re trying to turn a team around. He is the kind of foundational player that a new coaching staff wants to work with.

GamePlan: Scouting Reports on the Expected First-Round Quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft - MMQB
Would the Eagles take a quarterback if one fell in their lap? Some teams think so. (Even though they’ve been outwardly corner hungry, and I’ve heard them connected to other position players, like Jaylen Waddle and Kwity Paye.)

Why Chris Simms has fears about Eagles’ 1st-round favorite - NBCSP
“I’m not the biggest Jaycee Horn fan individually,” Simms said on the Eagle Eye podcast this week. “Listen, I think he’s a good player. Do I sit here and think he’s a top 20 pick? For my money, no, I do not. I value a little bit more raw speed and the ability to play on an island maybe more than most. And Jaycee Horn is a big, physical guy, who, yes, can jam you at the line of scrimmage but I worry about his ability to stay with the faster, quick receivers in football. I do. I think that’s going to be an issue for him. Because of his size and just how big of a human being he is at that position, when you get into the Odell Beckham Jr.s of the world, the Tyreek Hills of the world, you’re a top 20 pick at corner, I expect you to cover them a lot man-to-man during a game. And that’s where I question Jaycee Horn. I do think he’s a holder, a pass interference penalty waiting to happen.”

4 takeaways from exclusive Roseman, Sirianni interview on eve of the NFL Draft - PE.com
2. If you think the Eagles are “one position upgrade” away from winning the Super Bowl, well, it doesn’t quite work that way. The Eagles want to improve their roster across the board and so the process is likely to canvass the position rooms. By the end of the weekend, and this includes the valuable undrafted rookie class, you’re likely to see help at every position. The Eagles are “transitioning” this roster, and we’ve seen by their actions in the offseason to date – they have signed five unrestricted free agents, all to low-risk, one-year contracts, retaining a handful of veterans – that they want a blend of capable veterans to bring along the young players the roster is going to add.

Which teams would try to trade for Deshaun Watson? - PFT
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle recently identified eight teams that were interested in Watson before the lawsuits were filed: the Jets, Dolphins, Panthers, Broncos, 49ers, Patriots, Bears, and Washington. At this point, the Jets and 49ers likely wouldn’t be interested, given their draft plans. The rest likely would be. Another team that wasn’t listed by McClain could be waiting for the right time to make a move — the Eagles.

2021 NFL Draft: Who do you want to see NFC East teams take in the first round? - Blogging The Boys
It is easy to pick some of the worst possible players in this draft and say that we want to see them land in the division, but we are also trying to be real here and inject a large sense of practicality. Philadelphia reportedly “loves” Michigan edge rusher Kwity Paye which feels like the best possible pick for them as far as the Cowboys are concerned. The Eagles are a prime landing spot for one of the elite receivers in the draft like Jaylen Waddle or DeVonta Smith, so watching them devote a pick in the top half to someone other than them would feel like a step backwards for our bitter rivals.

NFL Draft rumors: New York Giants would consider move up for Penei Sewell - Big Blue View
Could the New York Giants make a splash move Thursday night in the NFL Draft, perhaps going all in to upgrade their offensive line? ESPN is reporting that the Giants are a ‘sneaky contender” to move up from No. 11 for the Oregon left tackle, should he fall past the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 5. The ESPN report says the Giants have “done a ton of legwork on Sewell, including last-minute virtual calls.” A move up for Sewell, considered by almost all analysts to be the best offensive lineman in the draft, would be a dramatic one for the Giants. New York drafted left tackle Andrew Thomas No. 4 overall a year ago. The Giants also drafted tackle Matt Peart in Round 3 and guard Shane Lemieux in Round 5. GM Dave Gettleman has been adamant that he believes Peart is a starting-caliber player.

5 bold predictions for the 2021 NFL Draft - Fake Teams
Rashod Bateman goes ahead of Devonta Smith. There’s no denying what Devonta Smith can do on a football field—and to be honest, he’s my top receiver in this class—but so much has been made about his size recently, clocking in at 6-foot-1, 166 pounds, that there’s reason to think teams might be cooler on him come draft day than we initially anticipate. We’ve certainly seen this story before where a player’s draft stock drops due to concerns over his size. Meanwhile, Rashod Bateman has more of the prototypical size that teams look for at the position and he offers much more than just a big body. Bateman is an extremely talented receiver and I wouldn’t be surprised if he emerged as one of the best pass catchers from this class given his sure hands and graceful route running.

2021 NFL Draft sleepers: Day 2 standouts, Day 3 hidden gems - NFL.com
The modern-day NFL cornerback must have ideal athletic traits to mirror in coverage, enough length to match up against the league’s bigger receivers and disrupt passing lanes, and tape that shows the player can put it all together. Stokes fits each part of that description. At 6-foot and 194-pounds, with 32 and 3/4-inch arms, Stokes ran a 4.29 40 at Georgia’s pro day, fast enough to be ranked as the second-fastest time among the 265 scouting combine invitees from this year’s class, behind only Auburn receiver Anthony Schwartz (4.25 seconds). While size and speed are some of the traits that often make for a successful cornerback, the ability to make plays on the football is a desirable skill set no matter the defensive system. Stokes finished his junior season with a team-high four interceptions, including two returned for a touchdown. Out of all of the corners in this year’s class, Stokes has the highest probability of making a Pro Bowl within his first three seasons – ahead of two of our can’t-miss prospects, Jaycee Horn (27 percent) and Patrick Surtain II (24 percent).

How Much Can You Really Develop a Quarterback in the NFL? - The Ringer
Josh Allen just had a historic season that nearly earned him MVP honors—but before that, many believed he’d be a bust. Is a leap like Allen’s replicable in the NFL, or was it one of a kind?

Which glorious prospects make the NFL Draft ‘All Name Team’? - SB Nation
Anyone can order the best players in the draft and make an “All Draft” team based on talent, but that’s boring. We’re not here to put Trevor Lawrence and Kyle Pitts on a team, that’s passe. No, we’re taking a DEEP dive into the players who were gifted with physical skills, sure, but even more so blessed with parents who had the foresight to give them incredible names. This is a purely subjective effort, I know. Maybe you really think “Justin Fields” is a great name, but it doesn’t tickle my fancy.

Inside the War Room w/Mike Tannenbaum - The SB Nation NFL Show
Rob “Stats” Guerrera sits down with former NFL executive Mike Tannenbaum to talk about how front offices prepare and execute the NFL Draft! [BLG Note: Tannenbaum named a surprising former Eagles player as “The one that got away.”]

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