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Eagles News: NFL executive believes DeVonta Smith “was the best player in the draft next to Trevor Lawrence”

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 5/8/21.

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NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Ohio State vs Alabama Columbus Dispatch-USA TODAY Sports

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

NFL execs unfiltered on 32 NFL Draft classes: Justin Fields better than Zach Wilson? Did the Eagles miss an opportunity? - The Athletic
The number of attractive options at six is large enough for critics to look back three years from now and pick an alternate scenario that panned out as well or better than the path Philly ultimately chose. But the Eagles could not select all the possible scenarios. They had to choose one, and in landing Smith at 10 for the price of a 2021 third-rounder sent to Dallas in the move up from 12, the team held onto the 2022 first-rounder acquired from Miami in the trade-down from six, while gaining 33 spots in the middle rounds. “I thought DeVonta Smith was better than Jaylen Waddle,” an exec said. “I thought he was the best player in the draft next to Trevor Lawrence.”

Giants said to be “livid” when Eagles drafted DeVonta Smith - Big Blue View
The New York Giants were “livid” when the Philadelphia Eagles jumped them to select Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith, according to an SEC coach. [ESPN Insider only] An SEC defensive coordinator told ESPN that “The Giants wanted DeVonta bad. They were pretty livid when Philly moved in front of them.” The Giants, of course, reacted by making the first trade down in Dave Gettleman’s nine drafts a general manager, moving from No. 11 to No. 20 and selecting wide receiver Kadarius Toney. That, too, surprised some college coaches.

2022 NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Who the Eagles might take with 3 first-round picks - BGN
How Jalen Hurts performs in 2021 will obviously go a long way in determining whether the Eagles select a quarterback or not next year. The feeling here is that Hurts can’t leave any doubt. If he’s anything less than convincing as a franchise quarterback, I fully expect the Eagles to pivot to a new signal-caller.

Evaluating the Giants, Cowboys, and Washington draft classes - BGN Radio
Jimmy Kempski and Brandon Lee Gowton further analyze how the Eagles’ NFC East rivals fared in the 2021 NFL Draft. Did Dallas go too heavy on defense? Does Dave Gettleman actually know what he’s doing?! And is Washington stuck spinning their wheels?

An Interesting Comp - Iggles Blitz
You can see similarities in their games. Both guys move incredibly well. Both have very good motors. Both are strong for their size and know how to use that strength. Malik Jackson was a key part of great defenses in Denver and Jacksonville. His ability to pressure up the middle and be disruptive was hugely valuable. The Eagles will be very happy if Milton Williams can be a similar type of NFL player.

Valuing the Top Trade Ups in the 2021 NFL Draft - Over The Cap
10. Eagles Select WR DeVonta Smith — $1.491 Million Given Up. The Eagles are one of the smarter teams in the NFL and this move fits that mold giving up under $1.5M to make a bit of a leap in the first round for basically a 3rd round pick. By taking a receiver they take a premier position which is a decent use of the trade up. A $1.5 million leap is more or less the difference between Tyler Boyd and Corey Davis, so not something where we would require a massive jump in performance to make the trade worthwhile. Basically they need him to be a top 20 receiver to make this fair.

Reich says Hurts wasn’t the reason for Wentz’s meltdown - NBCSP
“I think it’s complicated,” he said. “I think it was a lot of different dynamics. Win or lose in this league, everybody should share in the success and everybody should share in the blame, but it usually doesn’t work that way. The quarterback, head coach, GM, whoever, is usually the focal point. Carson took his share of being the focal point of the blame and that’s part of the process of being a quarterback in this league and you’ve got to be a big boy and be able to take it. But now it’s an opportunity to hit the reset button and it’s an opportunity for the Eagles to set the reset button.” The “big boy” quote is interesting since it was clear Wentz did not handle the criticism and benching the way you’d want a pro to handle it. So while Reich is taking some of the responsibility off Wentz for the way he performed, he’s also saying Wentz could have handled things better.

2021 NFL Draft class rankings: Bears, Chargers, Jets top the board - NFL.com
8) The Eagles ultimately landed one of the top three receivers in the class, but what a long, strange trip it was. The team initially held the No. 6 overall pick, prime position to atone for last year’s lamentable Jalen Reagor-over-Justin Jefferson decision by scooping up Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle or Smith. But then the Eagles moved down to No. 12 in the back end of Miami’s late-March trade two-step, throwing many Philly fans into a tizzy by seemingly exiting the range to nab one of this draft’s elite talents. Then the draft gods smiled upon the City of Brotherly love. When the top two cornerbacks exited stage right before Dallas’ No. 10 pick, the Cowboys immediately looked to trade down with somebody, anybody — even a hated divisional rival. The Eagles, clearly surmising that the Giants were planning to select Smith at No. 11, leaped at the opportunity leapfrog Big Blue and take the reigning Heisman Trophy winner for themselves. Strange bedfellows teaming up to stab a common NFC East foe in the front? Apparently the draft’s a delicious, prime-time soap opera! That wasn’t the only spicy selection by the Eagles, either. In Round 2, Philly grabbed some much-needed O-line help with Dickerson, who could’ve been the first interior offensive lineman off the board if he hadn’t torn his ACL in last December’s SEC title game. The injury history’s lengthy and concerning, but Dickerson’s mix of athleticism and joyful destruction is the kind of stuff that makes an O-line coach fan his collar. And four straight middle-round selections caught my eye as potential value picks: Williams, McPhearson, Gainwell and Tuipulotu.

A post-draft bonus? Eagles claim former second-round pick RB Kerryon Johnson off waivers - PE.com
This is a move worth paying attention to. The Eagles are being aggressive, keeping their eyes open, and their options the same as they look to add talent across the board on this roster. Kerryon Johnson has talent; nobody doubts that. Maybe the move to Philadelphia in this new Eagles offense will be the kind of jolt he needs to get his game on the track it appeared to be after his fine rookie season in 2018. If nothing else, it’s more competition in the Eagles’ backfield, and that’s always a good thing.

Former Lions RB Kerryon Johnson claimed by the Eagles - Pride Of Detroit
A day after the Detroit Lions officially parted ways from former second-round pick Kerryon Johnson, the 24-year-old running back was claimed by the Philadelphia Eagles, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter via Johnson’s agent Drew Rosenhaus. Because the Eagles claimed him, they absorb the final year of his rookie contract, worth around $1.4 million in salary for 2021. Johnson will join former teammates Darius Slay, Travis Fulgham, Jason Huntley—who he will once again share a backfield with—and Aaron Siposs in Philadelphia.

Micah Parsons has an idea for how the Dallas Cowboys plan to use him - Blogging The Boys
Some people on the internet took Parsons’ comment about the Cowboys base defense to mean that the team is going to be running a base 3-4. While that is literally true, the context is very necessary and it should be said that Dan Quinn himself specified when he met with the media following the draft that while that is again literally true, the Cowboys will be in nickel with a four-man front more often than anything (he specified most NFL defenses are in it 60-70% of the time) so that is effectively their base. Semantics and what not. Ultimately, though, this is all very good to hear is it not? As always, time will tell on how things work out, but this is a serious investment for the club and if they plan on capitalizing on Parsons’ strengths then they are going to have to have a solid plan in place to do so.

Will Geron Christian and Troy Apke be packing their bags soon? - Hogs Haven
It was reported today that two veteran free agents recently cut by their respective teams, Charles Leno of the Bears and Bobby McCain of the Dolphins, will visit the Washington Football Team facility next week as Ron Rivera continues to strengthen and deepen the Football Team roster in an effort to repeat as NFC East champions. This could end the Washington careers of two 2020 Week 1 starters, LT Geron Christian and FS Troy Apke, both of whom were benched midseason by head coach Ron Rivera.

The Aaron Rodgers 2021 Offseason Tracker - The Ringer
Is the reigning NFL MVP about to be traded? Could he become the next full-time host of ‘Jeopardy!’? And what’s next in his relationship with Shailene Woodley? Let’s run through all of the developments in the quarterback’s offseason for the ages.

Players’ association fires back at NFL’s voluntary offseason workout policy following Ja’Wuan James’ injury - ESPN
The Denver Broncos and tackle Ja’Wuan James have become the focal points in the growing acrimony between the NFL and the NFL Players Association over attendance of players at voluntary offseason workouts. That relationship grew even more strained on Thursday when the players’ union fired back to its membership its response to a memo from the NFL’s management council to team executives and head coaches earlier this week. In a wide-ranging email to players, which was read to ESPN, union officials devoted a section to the season-ending Achilles tendon injury James suffered earlier this week while working out away from the Broncos’ complex. In the email, union officials said: “It was gutless to use a player’s serious injury as a scare tactic to get you to come running back to these workouts.’

2021 NFL Draft Special #10: A Six-Pack of Fantasy Impact Draft Takes - The SB Nation NFL Show
Michael Kist and Kate Magdziuk break down how the 2021 NFL Draft impact the fantasy landscape for the upcoming season with a 6-pack of takes and one major gripe! [BLG Note: Kist starts this show off with an Eagles-related rant!]

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