Many expect the Philadelphia Eagles’ first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to be a cornerback or a wide receiver. 37 out of 41 mock drafts in our final roundup have them going in that direction.
And for good reason! It makes sense. The talent at those positions conveniently lines up with Philly’s biggest needs.
But, deep down, you know it’s not going to be that simple, right? Because it never is with the Eagles. As we wrote about back on April 4:
I can’t shake the feeling that all this talk about wide receiver and cornerback is going to be for naught. Deep down, we all know the Eagles are actually going to draft an offensive or defensive lineman, right? That’s the direction Howie Roseman has gone in with seven of his nine first-round picks since 2010. Carson Wentz and Jalen Reagor were the only non-trench players. We should probably be talking about the likes of Slater, Penei Sewell, Alijah Vera-Tucker, and Kwity Paye as the most likely options for Philly’s pick. In terms of realism, at least, and not necessarily preference.
If you’re (reasonably) worried about the Eagles outsmarting themselves once again, well, you might not find the following transcript very settling. Reporting live from the NovaCare Complex in South Philly, Stacey Dales of NFL Network had the following to say on Thursday evening:
They’re going to be prepared to move up, move down — as far as trades are concerned —, or stay right there at 12. I talked to a couple people within the building and they believe this thing runs 16, 17 deep. So, yes, they’re going to go through their 1 through 12. Not a mock draft, necessarily, but their board, based upon their grades. And if somebody’s there at 12, they’ll be prepared to strike.
And I leave you with this: we all talk about wide receiver and cornerback being huge positions of need, but don’t be surprised if it’s somebody else. It may not be the perfect position, I’m told, it’s going to be the player. It may not be the position everyone thinks based upon the biggest need at the moment, but it’s going to be a really good player at a position this franchise needs in 2021, 22, 23, 24, and beyond.
“It may not be the perfect position, it’s the player.”
That’s something that’s not hard to imagine Howie Roseman saying after the Eagles make a controversial pick later this evening.
Hopefully, that’s not the case and the Eagles don’t manage to overthink it. Taking one of the top three receivers (Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle) or one of the top two cornerbacks (Patrick Surtain II, Jaycee Horn) seems to make the most sense.
But apparently, a pick in the trenches (or elsewhere?) is very much in play.