Potential First Round Draft Targets for the Eagles
The Eagles' loss on Sunday night to the Washington Football Team has been met with strong opinions throughout the league and even inside the Eagles' locker room. Much has been said about whether the Eagles purposefully lost to gain an advantage in the draft. A loss gave them the sixth overall pick in the draft, while a win would've left them selecting ninth overall.
Selecting sixth gives Philadelphia much more flexibility in terms of draft capital and what they could potentially do here. There may be a team or two that calls looking to trade up to the sixth selection to select a quarterback, giving the Eagles extra picks to rebuild an aging roster that's low on available salary cap space.
Here are a few players Philadelphia should consider with their top pick in April:
WR Ja'Marr Chase - LSU
Chase opted out of the 2020 season after putting together one of the best seasons we've ever seen from a college wide receiver. The Eagles are still looking for a true #1 receiver, even after selecting Jalen Reagor in the first round last season. It's really too early to make any final evaluation on Reagor, but even if he plays well next year, the Eagles still need another receiving weapon. Chase fits the profile of the #1 receiver the Eagles should covet and he would immediately become the Eagles' top receiving threat. Philadelphia needs to give their starting quarterback next season the best chance possible to succeed with as many weapons as possible.
Chase set SEC records last season for touchdown catches (20) and receiving yards (1,780), helping propel LSU to a National Championship in one of the most prolific college offensive systems we've ever seen.
WR DeVonta Smith - Alabama
Smith has been the best wide receiver in all of college football this season, recording 105 receptions for 1,641 receiving yards and 20 TDs. Chase has been viewed as the consensus top receiver in the draft class throughout most of the draft process, but Smith is quickly catching up after such a strong season. Smith became the first WR to win the Heisman Award since 1991, when Desmond Howard won the award.
Adding a WR like Smith would be a major addition for the Eagles offense.
WR Jaylen Waddle - Alabama
Yes, another wide receiver listed here. Waddle offers a much different skill set than Smith or Chase. Waddle is your classic receiver that's labelled as an absolute burner. It's rumored he may run a sub-4.3 40- yard dash time and has elusive moves after the catch. His ability to create yards on his own is remarkable and he's a threat to score anytime he touches the ball. He may not have the skill set of a true number one receiver, but he offers a dynamic playmaker for an offense that's been mostly stagnant.
Waddle suffered a season ending ankle injury in the fifth game of the season. He hasn't had the college production anywhere near Chase or Smith, but Waddle is definitely an intriguing option due to his game breaking ability.
LB Micah Parsons - Penn State
Parsons opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID concerns, but he's still one of the most dynamic defensive players in this draft class. The Eagles typically don't draft linebackers in the first round, but Parsons could be the exception since he's not your typical linebacker. He can rush the passer, defend well against the run, and is good enough in coverage that Penn State even used Parsons sparingly in the slot during the 2019 season.
Parsons career ended with a dominant performance in the Cotton Bowl against Memphis, where he recorded 14 tackles, 3 tackles for a loss, 6 pressures, 2 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. He was so explosive, you could honestly make a complete highlight reel just off film from this one game.
Philadelphia's defense is quickly aging and Parsons could be the new defensive leader the team brings in as they look to add more youth to the defensive unit.
CB Patrick Surtain II - Alabama
Surtain II is viewed by most as the best corner in this draft class, just a bit above Caleb Farley and Jaycee Horn. Philadelphia could use another addition to the secondary to complement Darius Slay, who just turned 30 years old. It'd be wise to add some depth before Slay hits a decline in play. Slay has a cap hits of 15.75 mil (2021), 19.75 mil (2022), and 20.75 mil (2023) over the next three seasons and could eventually become a cap casualty before the contract comes to its end.
Opposing quarterbacks have completed just 42.2% of their passes this season when targeting Surtain II in coverage for a passer rating of 66.5. Oh, and he's done it against SEC competition.