Leo’s Three-Round Mock Draft 1.0: Aftermath of Trading Down.
With just about one month until the 2021 NFL Draft, Howie Roseman made a big move that shook up the draft capital for the Eagles. For this year, the Eagles now hold the #12 pick in the first round instead of #6 and pick up an extra third-rounder from Miami. On paper, moving down six spots doesn’t seem like much but in reality, it’s huge. Unfortunately, this choice means that guys like Kyle Pitts and Ja’Mar Chase won’t be available for Philly. However, that doesn’t mean the Eagles can’t land a generational talent at No. 12.
Round 1, Pick 12: WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama.
Part of my justification for why this trade is great for the Eagles revolves completely around this pick. There are projected to be many great options for the Birds at this pick that aren’t named Kyle Pitts or Ja’Marr Chase. Guys like Jaycee Horn and Micah Parsons would be great additions on the defensive side. Despite that, I have Howie sticking to the plan for the top pick, an offensive weapon of the future. The Eagles get that and more with Jaylen Waddle. Waddle is my WR2 in this draft and is heavily underrated due to the stellar season of his teammate DeVonta Smith. Waddle sits at 5’10”, 182 pounds, and runs a sub-4:35 forty-time.
Waddle spent every year at Alabama playing second-fiddle to either Calvin Ridley, Henry Ruggs III, and Devonta Smith and still put up impressive numbers. Most recently, Waddle put up an insane 25 receptions for nearly 600 yards and four touchdowns in a four-game stint that included the Georgia Bulldogs. Unfortunately, Waddle would then break his foot against Tennessee the following week, and miss the rest of the season outside of the championship game against Ohio State. Jaylen’s only flaw comes against aggressive corners. He’s struggled to battle against cornerbacks that press him and jam him from his routes. Despite that, Waddle possesses great hands, and the ability to frame his catches away from his body on deep balls. Combine that with blazing speed off the line and I have no doubt that given the WR1 status, he will dominate opposing defenses.
Round 2, Pick 37: LB Nick Bolton, Missouri.
If the Eagles stick to their guns and go for an offensive splash in the first, the next couple picks will address some heavy needs on the defensive side of the ball. One of the weakest spots for Philly last year came at linebacker. Having a starting three of Duke Riley, Nate Gerry, and Alex Singleton didn’t cut it last season. Of those three the only one to show promise was Alex Singleton, who established himself as a tackling machine. Since losing Nigel Bradham and Malcolm Jenkins in the 2020 offseason, the Birds’ defense has been in need of a strong voice on the field. That’s why the Eagles will select Nick Bolton, a powerful MIKE linebacker from Missouri.
Bolton is a bit undersized at 6 feet, 232 pounds, but makes up for it with crazy intangibles. Bolton is a hard hitter and is the most aggressive linebacker in this draft behind Parsons. His explosiveness through contact is unmatched. On top of that, Bolton has shown a unique coverage ability, especially in zone coverage. To put the cherry on top, Nick Bolton is a leader. He showed great maturity calling plays for the Tigers defense throughout the 2020 season from the MIKE position. Bolton may be undersized compared to other linebackers in his class, but his explosiveness and leadership qualities are unmatched, making him perfect for Philly.
Round 3, Pick 70: CB Tyson Campbell, Georgia.
The NFL Draft brings many tropes and narratives that are harped on from analysts to Twitter fans alike. One of those beliefs is that drafting a player from a powerhouse football program is always the smarter option. Tyson Campbell is one of those examples. Campbell sits at 6’2″, 185 pounds, and is one of the fastest cornerbacks in this year’s draft class. The junior ran a 4.34 40-time at Georgia’s pro day and is exceptional at turning his hips and staying with speedy receivers. The reason an athletic, speedy corner like Campbell is projected this far down comes for two reasons.
For one, this year’s cornerback class is loaded, with stars like South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn and Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II headlining the class. The other reason is Campbell’s stats don’t jump off the page, recording only one interception and eleven pass-breakups in his three years starting for the Bulldogs. Campbell is most certainly raw and needs a coaching staff to mold him, but his build and speed are just too much to pass on for a team in desperate need of a cornerback to complement Darius Slay on the outside.
(TRADE) Round 3, Pick 80: TE Tommy Tremble, Notre Dame.
What’s an Eagles Mock Draft without a trade on the day of? Back in the 2018 Draft, the Eagles traded with the Colts in the second round to take tight end Dallas Goedert a pick before the Cowboys. I expect Howie to pull a very similar stunt in this year’s draft, this time trading with the Las Vegas Raiders to jump the Washington Football Team. The Eagles currently hold three six-round picks and two seventh-round picks, they’ll part with one of each to swap with Las Vegas from 84 to 80. At their new pick, the Eagles will select the best blocking tight end in the draft, Tommy Tremble. Ironic that in under a week the Eagles have gone from likely to pick the best tight end prospect of the 21st century to the best blocking tight end in the draft, but Tremble is no joke.
The 6’4″ 248 pound Junior had an 83.7 run-blocking grade in his final season at Notre Dame, the best in the country among tight ends. With Zach Ertz very likely to depart this season, the Eagles need to fill the void of TE2 as Dallas Goedert assumes Ertz’s former role. Goedert has proven to be a great pass catcher for the Birds, and combining him with an elite blocking tight end will help the Eagles finally begin feeding Miles Sanders. Tremble took snaps everywhere from the slot and even fullback as a blocker, and Sirianni can utilize him in multiple packages. His only weakness is his route running, mostly due to him never being the starting tight end at Notre Dame. With the right coaching, I am confident that Tremble could even be utilized in two TE sets thanks to his reliable hands and ability to frame catches away from his body.
Mandatory Credit: CBS, Pro Football Focus, ESPN, NBC, USA Today.