The Eagles added a new defensive player into the mix, selecting LSU linebacker JaCoby Stevens with the 224th overall pick.
While Stevens was listed as a safety, the Eagles listed him as a linebacker when they announced his selection. The last player the Eagles did that with was Nate Gerry, which was… something that we should leave in the past.
Stevens, standing at 6’2″ and weighing around 230 pounds, had 63 tackles in 2020. He also had three sacks and three fumble recoveries. Over his college career, Stevens totaled 9.5 sacks, four interceptions, and 190 tackles.
Stevens Brings Versatility, But Has Difficulty With Tackles
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com gives a scouting report on Stevens:
“Stevens is in a precarious position as either an undersized linebacker with just average toughness at the point of attack or an oversized safety lacking instincts and coverage speed. He played heavier in 2020 and simply didn’t look as quick or as agile as he did in 2019. He displays some of the downhill run-defending characteristics teams will look for as a box safety but will need to lock in against tight ends to add legitimate coverage value. Determining his scheme fit and finding his optimal weight will be critical for him to have success on the next level.”
Stevens’ downsides include him not being a “clean fit” at either of his positions, an occasional lack of instincts, and missed tackles in open space. That last negative might hurt- after all, the Eagles just got rid of a terrible tackler in Gerry.
Below is Stevens spider graph and measurements (via MockDraftable):
This is an interesting pick. While Gerry didn’t pan out the way Philadelphia hoped, that doesn’t mean Stevens can’t. The end of the sixth round is the time to take developmental prospects, so it’s hard to be too critical of this one.