Yesterday, Philadelphia made a big move. The Eagles traded their sixth overall pick to the Miami Dolphins for the 12th overall pick and an additional 2022 first-round pick.
Mock drafts had the Eagles picking among wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and tight end Kyle Pitts. The two, however, are unlikely to be available by the time the Eagles make their selection at No. 12.
Below is a look at possible draft picks who will still deliver top talent if chosen to wear midnight green:
DEVONTA SMITH, WIDE RECEIVER
From Alabama, 2019 was Devonta Smith’s breakout year. Despite playing alongside fellow draft prospect Jalen Waddle, Smith led with 1,256 yards and 14 touchdowns.
In 2020, he was the Heisman Trophy winner — someone Philadelphia hasn’t acquired since 1965. He completed the season with 1,856 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns.
Entering the 2021 NFL Draft as the seventh overall prospect, he ended his collegiate career with 3,965 receiving yards, 235 receptions, and 46 touchdowns. Although Smith lacks the size most teams are scouting, he embodies body control, speed, and the ability to calculate separation between his opponents.
For the Eagles specifically, the addition of Smith would provide familiarity to second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts (who will likely start ahead of veteran Joe Flacco). The two have played on the field together, completing 12 passes and one touchdown for 213 yards.
JAYLEN WADDLE, WIDE RECEIVER
Waddle, also from Alabama, finished his collegiate career with 1,999 receiving yards, 106 receptions, and 17 touchdowns. Statistically, Waddle is behind his fellow teammate Devonta Smith; however, he didn’t have the opportunity to finish the 2020 season due to an ankle injury. In four games before his inactivity, he averaged nearly 140 yards and one touchdown per game.
Many often debate that if he wasn’t injured, the Heisman Trophy might have been his.
Jalen Hurts, who played with Waddle at Alabama, has stated, “The things he can do with the ball in his hands. His speed, athleticism, high-pointing the ball, all that, there’s not anything he can’t do.”
Notably, his elite speed could replace that of wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who the Eagles released last month.
CALEB FARLEY, CORNERBACK
Historically, the Eagles focus on offensive players in the draft; however, Philadelphia’s secondary could use some help.
From Virginia Tech, Farley originally intended to be a wide receiver. In 2018, he was converted to defense, finishing the next two seasons with 56 tackles, six interceptions, one sack, and one touchdown.
After losing his mother to a battle with cancer, Farley opted out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, he also underwent microdiscectomy surgery.
Though he was stricken with injuries and possesses a health risk, Farley remains one of the best corner prospects.
Farley himself has stated, “I don’t think the NFL knows how good I’m going to get at cornerback. In the next five, ten years, if I’m not one of the best corners to play the game in a long time, I’ll feel like I’ve wasted what I’ve got.”
RASHAWN SLATER, OFFENSIVE LINEMAN
The Eagles’ offensive line, consisting of big-timers Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, and Brandon Brooks, should be on the lookout for a new prospect. A younger addition would have the opportunity to learn from Philadelphia’s veterans.
Slater, a Northwestern product, offers position flexibility. Though he opted out of the 2020 season, he displayed exceptional lateral blocking range and continuous motion.
MICAH PARSONS, LINEBACKER
Philadelphia’s newest defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon is familiar with a 4-3 defense, making Parsons just what the Eagles need.
From Penn State, Parsons became the first freshman to lead the team in tackles with 82. He finished his collegiate career with 192 total tackles and 6.5 sacks in two years, as he opted out of his junior year and will now enter the draft one year early.
He’s fast, he can cover, and he’s able to maneuver himself out of situations. The Eagles typically pass on linebackers in the first round, but he could significantly impact to the position.
THE NO. 12 POSITION
It’s clear that No. 6 may have produced a “better” pick, but the Eagles haven’t lost anything yet. Historically speaking, essential players have carried the No. 12 draft pick title — Deshaun Watson (2017), Odell Beckham Jr. (2014), and the Eagles’ very own Fletcher Cox (2012).
Starting with No. 12, Philadelphia has 11 overall draft picks, leading the NFL with the most selections.
The 2021 NFL Draft is less than five weeks away, beginning on Thursday, April 29.