The 2021 NFL Draft is now in the books. As teams across the league bring their rookies in to prepare for the upcoming season, the biggest question is how do the Philadelphia Eagles match up? And not just against 31 other teams, but alongside their rivals in the NFC East.
NFC EAST DRAFT GRADES
DALLAS COWBOYS: GRADE C
The best selection of the night by Dallas was by far linebacker Micah Parsons. Though Parsons sat out of the 2020 season, he finished 2019 with 109 total tackles, 14 tackles for a loss, five sacks, and four forced fumbles. He was the best linebacker in college football that year, and Philadelphia’s biggest rival snagged him.
Dallas’ other top picks of the night were linebacker Jabril Cox and wide receiver Simi Fehoko. Cox played three years between North Dakota State and LSU. He finished his collegiate career with 241 total tackles and 10.5 sacks. Fehoko was one of the most athletic receivers in the class, clocking a 4.44-second 4-yard dash and a sub-6.9 three-cone.
Despite a few reputable picks, Dallas went heavy on the defense, drafting eight defensive players out of 11 picks. Though they missed out on two top corners in the first round, they selected three throughout the course of the draft — a bit excessive, seeing as they all won’t make an immediate impact.
Selecting Josh Ball may also be accompanied by drama, as he’s accused of domestic violence.
- 12 (Round 1): Micah Parsons, Linebacker, Penn State
- 44 (Round 2): Kelvin Joseph, Cornerback, Kentucky
- 75 (Round 3): Osa Odighizuwa, Defensive tackle, UCLA
- 84 (Round 3): Chauncey Golston, Defensive end, Iowa
- 99 (Round 3): Nashon Wright, Cornerback, Oregon State
- 115 (Round 4): Jabil Cox, Linebacker, LSU
- 138 (Round 4): Josh Ball, Offensive tackle, Marshall
- 179 (Round 5): Simi Fehoko, Wide receiver, Stanford
- 192 (Round 6): Quinton Bohanna, Defensive tackle, Kentucky
- 227 (Round 6): Israel Mukuamu, Cornerback, South Carolina
- 238 (Round 7): Matt Farniok, Guard, Nebraska
NEW YORK GIANTS: GRADE B+
New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman wasn’t always known for trading during a draft, but this year was a bit different. In the first three rounds, the Giants made trades, and their first rounder was a win. The Giants moved down nine spots from No. 11 to No. 20. They acquired a fifth-round pick for 2021 and a first-round and fourth-round pick for 2022.
Kadarius Toney will be another playmaking option for Daniel Jones and if their No. 50 pick, Ojulari, stays healthy, he will add speed and versatility to the defense.
Adding two cornerbacks, which seem to be the hot ticket this draft, Aaron Robinson is physical in coverage and effective in the run game.
- 20 (Round 1): Kadarius Toney, Wide receiver, Florida
- 50 (Round 2): Azeez Ojulari, Defensive end, Georgia
- 71 (Round 3): Aaron Robinson, Cornerback, UCF
- 116 (Round 4): Elerson Smith, Defensive end, Northern Iowa
- 196 (Round 6): Gary Brightwell, Running back, Arizona
- 201 (Round 6): Rodarius Williams, Cornerback, Oklahoma State
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: GRADE B+
Philadelphia earned a higher grade simply for taking wide receiver DeVonta Smith. Once the cornerbacks (their most needed position) were off the board, they traded up with the Dallas Cowboys, acquiring the No. 10 pick. The Heisman Trophy winner will be able to get the ball in his hands, and he was a solid pick as the team builds around second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts.
However, the Eagles lose points for waiting until their fourth pick to secure a cornerback, and they only drafted one.
What the Eagles did do was select competitive powerhouse players (Dickerson, Williams, Gainwell, and Jackson) rather than athletic guys who scored high.
Though questions remain about the health of some rookies, this draft was much different than in previous years. Perhaps fewer fans were annoyed with general manager Howie Roseman this past weekend.
New head coach Nick Sirianni wanted a battle, and it looks like he’s going to get it. Philadelphia also chose players that are buildable for the future. Maybe 2021 will be the year of the Eagle?
- 10 (Round 1): DeVonta Smith, Wide receiver, Alabama
- 37 (Round 2): Landon Dickerson, Center, Alabama
- 73 (Round 3): Milton Williams, Defensive tackle, Louisiana Tech
- 123 (Round 4): Zech McPhearson, Cornerback, Texas Tech
- 150 (Round 5): Kenneth Gainwell, Running back, Memphis
- 189 (Round 6): Marlon Tuipulotu, Defensive tackle, SCU
- 191 (Round 6): Tarron Jackson, Defensive end, Coastal Carolina
- 224 (Round 6): JaCoby Stevens, Safety (marked Linebacker), LSU
- 234 (Round 7): Patrick Johnson, Defensive end, Tulane
WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM: GRADE C
Washington’s biggest downfall here was that the team needed a quarterback. And they didn’t select one. They didn’t even try to trade up to obtain one. Though they won the NFC East last year, Alex Smith has since retired, and they must rely on Taylor Heinicke or Ryan Fitzpatrick.
With ten picks available, they didn’t fulfill their biggest weakness, and they selected a long snapper.
Alternatively, adding Jamin Davis, Sam Cosmi and Dyami Brown to their team was a success. As a linebacker, Davis encompasses instinctive coverage and earned a max athleticism score (99). Cosmi is one of the most athletic linemen in his NFL class and started in 35 games over three years. Likewise, Brown has the ability to become a threat early on. He will give Washington the opportunity for playmaking once he joins Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel.
- 19 (Round 1): Jamin Davis, Linebacker, Kentucky
- 51 (Round 2): Samuel Cosmi, Offensive tackle, Texas
- 74 (Round 3): Benjamin St. Juste, Cornerback, Minnesota
- 82 (Round 3): Dyami Brown, Wide receiver, North Carolina
- 124 (Round 4): John Bates, Tight end, Boise State
- 163 (Round 5): Derrick Forest, Safety, Cincinnati
- 225 (Round 6): Camaron Cheeseman, Long snapper, Michigan
- 240 (Round 7): Will Bradley-King, Defensive end, Baylor
- 246 (Round 7): Shaka Toney, Defensive end, Penn State
- 258 (Round 7): Dax Milne, Wide receiver, BYU
A NEW LOOK IN 2021
After one of Philadelphia’s worst seasons in history, the draft served as a new beginning, and the Eagles are hoping not to fall to the bottom of the conference (and league, for that matter) again. Philadelphia’s grade isn’t perfect, but it’s a respectable start.