Grading Every Pick of the Eagles 2021 Draft

Draft week has come and gone, and now it is time for the yearly grading of the Eagles 2021 Draft picks.


I do find it interesting how many people are very interested in draft grades, since they relatively mean nothing until 2-3 years after the draft. No one believed Brandon Graham was a good pick after his first few years, but he is still going strong now with a brand new extension.


I'm going to do it anyway.


Round 1- Pick #10: WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama

This was an incredible pick in every sense of the word for Howie Roseman. After Kyle Pitts and Ja'Marr Chase were off the board when the Dolphins were picking at 6, everyone instantly looked back at the trade Roseman made in March and thought differently then they did at the time. Being able to grab a first round pick AND the guy they were potentially going to take at 6 anyway, if they stayed there, is great value. Howie then knew that his rival GM Dave Gettleman would take Smith at 11, so a quick trade up with the Dallas Cowboys guaranteed the Eagles got the Alabama product. DeVonta Smith will be an instant game changer in this offense, and has the potential to be the best wideout in this draft class. The Eagles could not have played this any better.

Grade: A+

Round 2- Pick #37: C/G Landon Dickerson, Alabama

Although I understand the logic here, I still don't agree with the value at 37. The talent is obviously there with Dickerson, but unfortunately the injury history is as well. He has already suffered 2 Torn ACLs, and 2 other season ending ankle injuries in his time at Alabama. It just seems strange that with all the injury prone members of the current offensive line, the Eagles would take someone like Dickerson here. Especially when there were guys like Asante Samuel Jr., Trevon Moehrig and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah still on the board. Hopefully Landon can be that air apparent to Jason Kelce, but he needs to make sure he stays on the field first.

Grade: B

Round 3- Pick #73: DT Milton Williams, Louisiana Tech

This was the most puzzling pick of the entire draft in my eyes. Like I said with Dickerson, the talent is clearly there with Williams as well. He has a build that is scarily similar to Aaron Donald, and seemed to be picked right around where he was projected. But I don't understand why you go defensive tackle here? They addressed cornerback with their next pick, but with more corners sitting there on the board I don't know why you go with current depth here. Fletcher Cox is one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL, and Javon Hargrave was signed to a massive contract one year ago. They are both aging of course, but will be under contract for at least two more years. Probably my least favorite pick of the entire draft as well, just because of where they took him.

Grade: C-

Round 4- Pick #123: CB Zech McPhearson, Texas Tech

The Eagles finally addressed cornerback with the former Texas Tech corner in the 4th round. Although I already wrote an article about how I love this pick, I'll sum it up here. McPhearson is a 5'11 speedy corner with good instincts, and can play on both the inside and the outside. My guess is he would play outside his first year, as Avonte Maddox(if healthy) seems to be the guy at slot after NRC became a free agent. With every 4th round pick he has flaws, like his size maybe preventing him from ever being a true outside corner. He'll need coaching, but from watching the tape the potential is super high. The good thing is with the little talent at corner on this team, he should be able to see action almost immediately. My grade here might seem exaggerated, but I think the Eagles got away with a steal here at 123.

Grade: A

Round 5- Pick #150: RB Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis

Howie Roseman with another hit here. The Eagles needed running back depth behind Miles Sanders, and Gainwell was projected to be taken in the 4th or even the 3rd. He opted out in 2020, but his 2019 season was downright dominant. Gainwell rushed for 1,459 yards and had 13 touchdowns for the Tigers. Not only that, he had 610 receiving yards. We all know Sanders isn't the greatest pass catcher in the world, so having an option like Gainwell if he develops would be huge for this offense. This is exactly who I would have picked here.

Grade: A

Round 6- Pick #189: DT Marlon Tuipulotu, USC

I know it's the 6th round, so I will try not to be too harsh here. But, why another defensive tackle? Tuipulotu is another guy that has talent, but I just would have gone cornerback or linebacker here. Tuipulotu seems like a nose tackle in the NFL, and it will be interesting to see how Jonathan Gannon plays him. Howie Roseman has a clear pattern here, where he seems to be taking the best player available instead of needs in these later rounds. According to the draft experts, Tuipulotu was great value in the 6th round based off where he was projected to be picked. He should make the roster. Again, I'm gonna give them some slack here with my grade because of how late in the draft it is.

Grade: C+

Round 6- Pick #191: DE Tarron Jackson, Coastal Carolina

I am really intrigued by Jackson. Not knowing much about him before the Eagles picked him, I decided to watch some full game tapes of CC and I was impressed from what I saw. I think edge rusher was a position that the Eagles should have addressed earlier in the draft, but they got decent value picking Jackson here. The hard thing to judge is obviously the competition, but Costal Carolina did finish as a top team in America last year. I'd like to see him develop a more explosive first step and get better at changing direction. He'll be fighting for a roster spot with the likes of Gernard Avery, Matt Leo and maybe even Patrick Johnson(who we will discuss soon).

Grade: B+

Round 6- Pick #224: LB JaCoby Stevens, LSU

I'm sure everyone saw LSU and thought, Jalen Mills! Can't lie, I thought the exact same thing even though these are separate positions. Stevens was listed as a linebacker by the Eagles, even though he played safety more at LSU. I think the only issue with Stevens is that he is a "tweener", who has a build that is nether perfect for linebacker or safety. It is hard to judge because I am not sure where he'll play at the NFL level, but I like this as a late round pick.

Grade: B

Round 7- Pick #234: LB Patrick Johnson, Tulane

This honestly is up there with one of my favorite picks in the draft for the Eagles. DeVonta, Gainwell and McPhearson are hard to top but Johnson is right there. He has the same competition issue as Jackson, but the reps look good from what I've seen. Especially his game vs. Memphis. I know most people like him as more of an edge rusher, but I actually like the listing from the Eagles as a linebacker. From the film I've seen, he really is not polished as a pass rusher yet and I see the potential more at LB. Howie did well on his last pick in the 2021 Draft.

Grade: A-

Overall Grade

This was a much needed draft from Howie Roseman. He clearly has learned from his past drafts, and is not overthinking anything. I truly think the Eagles win total has improved at least 1 game after the draft, and I'll even argue that it's two. The only thing I would have liked is if the Eagles addressed cornerback earlier, and drafted a few more edge rushers. It seems like Howie really believes in these guys, and I think there is potential playing time for many of these picks.

Grade: B+


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