Last week Daniel Jeremiah released his first mock draft and had the Eagles passing on DeVonta Smith to take Patrick Surtain instead.
Surtain is a stud, and the Eagles need a corner, but you don’t pass on the Heisman Trophy-winning receiver if he’s available at #6 overall. Howie Roseman would be run out of town if that happened.
He should also be run out of town if Mel Kiper Jr.’s first mock draft plays out like this:
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
2. New York Jets – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
3. Miami Dolphins – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
4. Atlanta Falcons – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
5. Cincinnati Bengals – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
6. Philadelphia Eagles – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The Eagles had a disastrous 4-11-1 season, with quarterback Carson Wentz regressing and getting benched for rookie second-rounder Jalen Hurts. And yes, Wentz was not very good, but his receivers didn’t exactly give him much help. The Eagles got only 20 total catches from veterans Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson due to injuries, and 2019 second-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside barely got on the field. So even though Philadelphia drafted Jalen Reagor in Round 1 a year ago, I still see this as a hole in the offense. Waddle, one of the fastest prospects in this draft, could be the go-to target in new coach Nick Sirianni’s offense. He was one of college football’s most electric receivers over the past three seasons, even if he was overshadowed at times by teammates Henry Ruggs III, Jerry Jeudy and DeVonta Smith. His ceiling at the next level is as a No. 1 pass-catcher.
First things first –
Waddle is damn good. He played four games to begin the season with 100+ yards in each of those, catching four touchdowns. Then he broke his ankle in the Tennessee game and didn’t return until the national championship, where he seemed a bit “limpy” and was obviously not 100%. At full health, he’d be a great player for the Eagles, and he returns kicks and punts, but the consensus right now, pre-combine, is that he’s the third receiver off the board in this draft.
The question is whether or not #6 is too high to take the third receiver, considering that you’re going to have other options there. If Justin Fields and Trey Lance are both on the board, you can trade back for picks. Or, if another team likes those QBs even more, they could trade into the top five and push somebody like Penei Sewell down the board. Micah Parsons will be there at #6, along with Surtain, so the “optionality” you’d have with that pick should allow you to either draft a stud or collect some extra assets.
Personally, I think Chase is the best fit for the Eagles. He’s built a little larger, while Smith and Waddle are slightly undersized, though obviously fantastic players. If Jalen Reagor ends up figuring it out in year two, then a Chase/Reagor combo at WR 1 and WR 2 just feels less redundant than a Reagor/Smith or Reagor/Waddle combo.
They really can’t lose at #6 overall, but this feels slightly underwhelming as of 1/26/21.