Draft Season is a beautiful time of the year, isn’t it?
With the 2021 NFL Draft under a month away we’re taking our third crack at an Eagles mock draft. I decided to go defense heavy this time around, picking all defensive players with my first three selections. Although wide receiver is still a need for this team, I like the young crop of wideouts on the roster more than most, so I didn’t address that need until a bit later than some would like.
Overall, the Eagles have 11 selections heading into draft night — (1) 12, (2) 37, (3) 70, (3) 83, (4) 123, (5) 150, (6) 189, (6) 224, (6) 225, (7) 234, & (7) 240 overall. Let’s get into it.
Round 1 (pick 12)
Jaycee Horn, South Carolina CB
Son of former Pro Bowl wideout Joe Horn, South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn has been shooting up draft boards recently. Sitting at 12th overall the Eagles are in perfect position to snag one of the best corners in this draft, and Horn is obviously one of them.
I could’ve gone with Caleb Farley here (he lasted just a few picks after this selection), but I went with Horn due to his physicality and lack of injury history. Farley injured his back right before his Virginia Tech pro day, and now he’ll need surgery to repair it. He may not be ready until closer to training camp, and given the fact that he hasn’t played since 2019, Horn is the safer bet here.
Horn is the most physical corner in this draft and he plays very aggressive. Among all SEC defensive backs, Horn posted the lowest completion percentage when targeted (33.3%) in 2020, which is the fourth-lowest among 524 qualified corners (200+ snaps) in the nation. He was also top-5 in the SEC in passer rating when targeted and coverage snaps/receptions.
Horn should be the starter opposite of Darius Slay from day one if he’s drafted by the Eagles.
For our full prospect profile on Jaycee Horn, click here.
Round 2 (pick 37)
Jamar Johnson, Indiana S
While some may not say safety is an immediate need for the Eagles, Indiana’s Jamar Johnson presents so much upside that I couldn’t help but take him with the 37th overall selection. Newly signed Anthony Harris is only on a one-year deal, and Rodney McLeod, who’s rehabbing a torn ACL, will be 31 heading into next year and only has two years remaining on his current deal.
Johnson has the ability to be the future of the safety position in Philadelphia. He does well in pass coverage and isn’t afraid to mix it up in the running game. He lead Indiana in interceptions in 2020 with four, two of which came against Justin Fields and Ohio State. Johnson tracks the ball well and has a great break on throws in his direction.
Johnson did a great job roaming on the backend of Indiana’s defense as a split safety, and that’s more than likely what he’ll be asked to do if he’s drafted by Philly.
He’s a player who’s steadily improved his game each year of his collegiate career. While he may not be a starter right away, he’ll certainly be utilized in three-safety packages. He and 2020 fourth round selection K’Von Wallace could end up being the future of the safety position if the Eagles decide to snag this Indiana product.
Round 3 (pick 70)
Jamin Davis, Kentucky LB
If Jamin Davis is still available when the Eagles are on the clock at 70th overall, this selection would be a no-brainer.
Standing at 6’2”, 234 pounds, Davis is a do-it-all linebacker. He has a great instinct for finding the ball carrier in traffic and he’s developed quite a bit as a coverage linebacker over his three-year career at Kentucky. In his junior season, Davis recorded three interceptions, one of them going for a touchdown.
While Alex Singleton did flash some of his potential last season, the Eagles are still in need of a true three down linebacker. Davis could be that from day one, despite being a third round pick.
Round 3 (pick 84)
Josh Palmer, Tennessee WR
It took me until the third round to add another wideout to the Eagles, but I think Josh Palmer brings something different to this young group. Standing at 6’1”, 210 pounds, Palmer isn’t a speedster like most of the Eagles wide receivers. But, he’s still a solid route runner with strong hands who attacks the ball when it’s in the air.
While Palmer may not step in and be a starter right away, like most Eagles fans are expecting out of any wideout the team selects, he’ll provide solid depth and could find himself at the WR4 on the depth chart if he impresses during camp.
Round 4 (pick 123)
Tay Gowan, UCF CB
In my opinion, cornerback is far and away the Eagles biggest need heading into draft night, so adding two corners in the top-150 was a no-brainer. UCF’s Tay Gowan presents a lot of value at No. 123 overall, so I snagged him up.
Gowan has great size for an NFL corner, standing at 6’2”, 185 pounds. Length and size is something that defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon covets in his cornerbacks. Gowan also ran a lot of NFL coverages during his time at UCF. He lined up in press-man as well as cover 3 alignments.
When Gowan is able to get his hands on receivers, he does a great job sticking with them in coverage. When he doesn’t, Gowan doesn’t exactly have the speed and quickness to stick with faster wide receivers. He won’t be a day one starter in the NFL, so any coach who gets their hands on him will be able to develop his consistency in that department.
Overall, I think Gowan adds some great depth to a position that desperately needs it on this Eagles roster.
Round 5 (pick 150)
Chris Evans, Michigan RB
The Eagles are in need of a change of pace back to place alongside Miles Sanders and Boston Scott. Michigan’s Chris Evans fits that mold.
Standing at 5’10”, 219 pounds, Evans is a downhill runner who likes to go north to south. He’s a grind-it-out type of runner who isn’t afraid to put his nose down and fight for extra yardage on inside runs. Evans also possesses nice hands in the passing game, which is a must for any west coast offensive system.
Evans isn’t the fastest or flashiest running back, but he fits what the Eagles need in their backfield.
Round 6 (pick 189)
Chauncey Golston, Iowa EDGE
The Eagles could use some youthful depth at their defensive end position, so I went with this Iowa product in the sixth round. Chauncey Golston is far from a finished product, but he’ll have time to develop behind Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, and Derek Barnett for at least a year or so.
For a guy who’s 6’4”, 268 pounds, Golston has incredible quickness getting off the ball. He sheds blocks quickly and is always in pursuit of the ball carrier. If he develops quickly, Golston could find a role for himself as a situational pass rusher early on his career.
*TRADE* — Saints receive [224 overall] — Eagles receive [R5 in 2022]
With back to back selections at 224 and 225 overall, I decided to flip one of them for a fifth round selection in next year’s draft.
Round 6 (pick 225)
Michal Menet, Penn State C
Sadly, the Jason Kelce era in Philadelphia won’t last much longer. While the team could slide Isaac Seumalo in to take over for Kelce once he retires, I like having a natural center to fall back on. Michal Menet out of Penn State doesn’t present a whole lot of upside developmentally, but he could step in right away in 2022 if Kelce decides to hang it up after this upcoming season.
He has great size for a center standing at 6’4”, 306 pounds, and he brings a lot of power in his blocking. He’s explosive at the point of attack and he has terrific pad level on blocks. Menet is also a very smart offensive lineman — he showcases great awareness in passing off blocks and he’s done a great job quarterbacking PSU’s offensive line during his collegiate career.
I don’t view offensive line as bad of a need as some do, but the team could use another natural center behind Kelce and Menet fits that bill.
Round 7 (pick 234)
Mustafa Johnson, Colorado DT
At Colorado, Johnson played primarily defensive end in their odd front defense, but he projects more as a 4-3 defensive tackle at the next level. Behind Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave, the Eagles don’t have much youthful talent. In fact, the team hasn’t selected a defensive tackle in the draft since Elijah Qualls in the seventh round of the 2017 draft.
Johnson is a bit undersized, at 6’2” 290 pounds, but he gets creative when he sheds blocks in the running game. He also has solid quickness and lateral movement when getting after the passer.
Johnson is a high effort player who will give it his all regardless of the role he’s given. He could very well be the DT4 for this team heading into next season if they select him.
Round 7 (pick 240)
Marcelino Ball, Indiana DB
Like I stated earlier, the Eagles need any of kind of depth they can find in their defensive backfield. Coming off a torn ACL in 2020, Marcelino Ball’s draft stock has dropped quite a bit, but there’s no reason not to take a flier on him in the seventh round. He can play either safety or corner, and I’m sure Gannon will be able to find a suitable role for him.
I would’ve like to take a quarterback here, but unfortunately, there were none remaining in my simulation. So, I decided to just add more depth where the Eagles need it most.
While some will scoff at me waiting until the third round to select a wideout, I believe the first three selections (Horn, Johnson, and Davis) can all start in either their first or second year with the team. The defense in particular needs an injection of youth, so every chance I had to add some depth on that side of the ball, I took it.
Seven defensive players to just three offensive players may not be ideal for some, but the Eagles have spent the last few drafts stockpiling picks on the offensive side of the ball. The defense needed some draft love, so I gave it to them in this latest mock.
Click here to view our Mock Draft 2.0.