Who will be available for the Eagles at 12?
The last two weeks have been a whirlwind towards the top of the 2021 NFL Draft. In 30 minutes, the San Francisco 49ers traded up to the third pick, and the Philadelphia Eagles moved back to the 12th pick. With this trade, the entire draft board has changed for the Eagles, including the hopes of Ja’Marr Chase now no longer in the realm of possibility. We are just a bit over three weeks until the 2021 NFL Draft, and there are so many routes that the Eagles can go with that 12th pick. To help clear it up, here is a look at how the board will shake out for the Eagles and who is a realistic option and who isn’t.
These players will, without a doubt, not be on the board at 12. Some of these are for better or for worse for the Eagles. Probably the best is Alabama QB Mac Jones looking like a lock for the San Francisco 49ers. Mac going so high is a huge shock since he was initially thought to be selected after the Eagles drafted. Moving Mac allows guys like Kyle Pitts and Patrick Surtain to slip down the board even more.
Here is who will definitely be gone before 12:
- Trevor Lawrence
- Zach Wilson
- Mac Jones
- Justin Fields
- Ja’Marr Chase
- Penei Sewell
Some have discussed the possibility of Sewell slipping to 12 but being the generational prospect he is it doesn’t seem plausible. I do not doubt in my mind a team will trade up for him if he slips past the top ten.
Very likely gone, but slim chance:
- Kyle Pitts
Pitts is alone in this category because there is a chance the board could fall perfectly and allow him to fall to Philly. But, like the title says, this is not a high probability scenario whatsoever. For Pitts to fall, here is what would need to happen.
- QBs top three (Mac Jones third)
- Detroit and Atlanta go QB
- Sewell & Chase to Miami/Cincy
- Denver takes Slater
- Dallas and Giants go defense
- Pray Carolina doesn’t take him
This slim scenario was not helped by the Panthers trade recently for Jets QB Sam Darnold, solidifying their quarterback room and taking them out of the conversation for Lance or Fields. The first few options above are very likely. Atlanta could find their Matt Ryan replacement but have also entertained calls for the fourth pick, likely teams interested in Justin Fields.
Detroit hinges on if they like Lance enough or if Fields slips down to seven which is also realistic. The bottom half is where it gets tricky, but Dallas and New York have absolutely no need or reason to attack WR/TE in the first round. But the main reason this could happen is just how many teams ahead of the Eagles already have solidified tight ends and could pass on Pitts for that reason. Detroit has T.J. Hockenson, Denver has Noah Fant, New York has Evan Engram & Kyle Rudolph, so that is a glimmer of hope for Philly. With all that in mind, it just makes much more sense someone like Carolina grabs Pitts early like expected.
Pretty good chance they’re there, but not guaranteed:
- DeVonta Smith
- Patrick Surtain
- Micah Parsons
The beauty of trading back is some guys many fans were enamored with at six are still there following the trade. Micah Parsons is arguably the best defensive player in this draft and the best LB prospect in a long time. The question will always arise if Howie will take a linebacker so early, which fans don’t seem too confident in that decision.
Alongside that, so many teams above the Eagles could benefit from Parsons on defense. Denver could use a Von Miller replacement, and the Giants need a leader in the front seven to command their defense alongside Jabrill Peppers. For Patrick Surtain, division rival Dallas needs a cornerstone in the secondary, and Patrick fits in that slot perfectly for the Cowboys. DeVonta Smith could go to Detroit and replace Kenny Golladay for new QB Jared Goff, but there don’t seem to be many obstacles leading to Smith sliding to Philly.
With all the craziness of what could happen, it is nice to know there is a guarantee for some decent players to remain available no matter what. If these three prospects are taken ahead of 12, the positive is one of the better options above will slip to the Eagles, replacing their spot as a lock.
Many scouts and analysts say that Jaylen Waddle might be better than DeVonta Smith, and it is hard to argue against the possibility. If Waddle goes before 12, DeVonta Smith would be a lock at 12 instead, with both players having nearly identical suitors. For Jaycee Horn, Patrick Surtain would almost certainly slip or Micah Parsons if two teams need a corner ahead of the Eagles.
Northwestern offensive tackle Rashawn Slater is probably the least favorite of Eagles fans between these prospects. Eagles fans displeasure has nothing to do with Slater’s talents whatsoever. He equips all the necessary traits to be a successful offensive tackle in the league but is not on the same level as Sewell. With that said, it doesn’t make much sense for Philly to spend the pick on an upgrade that isn’t needed with everything else on the board.
This draft is going to be one of the most exciting for Eagles fans in recent memory. They will be right in the thick of it during the first round, instead of hoping for their guy to slip to them like last season. Hopefully, management makes the right call when they are on the clock later this month.
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