Now that the dust has settled on the Eagles draft trade last Friday, it’s time to start looking at prospects who would make sense for this team at No. 12 overall.
Many fans, including myself, were eyeing one of the top wideouts at the Eagles original draft position. They would have likely had the opportunity to select any of the top-3 wide receivers in this year’s class, Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith, or Jaylen Waddle. While at least one of these prospects will likely be there for the taking at 12th overall, there’s another position group that’s littered with top end talent in this year’s draft class: the cornerback position.
And as many draft experts predict, at least two, if not all three, of the top-3 cornerback prospects will be available at 12th overall. These prospects of course are Patrick Surtain II, Caleb Farley, and Jaycee Horn.
Cornerback is a bigger need than wide receiver
As an Eagles fan, it can feel taboo to suggest the team take any other position other than wide receiver in this year’s draft. It seems like it’s wide receiver or bust for some fans. And while I understand wanting a true No. 1 wideout to pair with Jalen Reagor, I don’t believe wideout is this team’s biggest need.
Their biggest need is at the cornerback position, where they currently don’t have anyone who can adequately fill the outside corner spot opposite of Darius Slay. Aside from Slay and Avonte Maddox — who ideally will shift into the nickel this year — the Eagles cornerback group is as follows: Lavert Hill, Jameson Houston, Michael Jacquet, Craig James, Kevon Seymour, and Shakial Taylor. Out of those players, they have a combined eight starts in the NFL.
At least the wideout position has several young players who have promising upside. Earlier this month, I wrote extensively on how much potential lies in this receiver group. Reagor, Greg Ward, Travis Fulgham, John Hightower, and Quez Watkins all showcased some of that potential last season. And now that they have a head coach in Nick Sirianni who will focus heavily on the wideout position, there’s no reason this group can’t pop next season.
If somehow DeVonta Smith falls to 12, I don’t think anyone will complain if the Eagles take him. In fact, it’ll likely be universally celebrated. But, this team has spent high draft picks on the wide receiver position for the past two seasons (Reagor and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside).
The same love hasn’t been given to the cornerback group. The last time the team took a CB within the first two rounds of the draft was in 2017, selecting Sidney Jones in the second round.
The hole at corner has been glaring for the better part of this past decade, and unless Howie decides to address it properly with a first round pick, that hole will continue to hinder the Eagles defense.
With three outstanding prospects in Surtain, Farley, and Horn possibly sitting there for the taking at 12, the Eagles may finally find their future No. 1 corner.