Scratch wide receiver off the list. The Philadelphia Eagles are heading into Day 2 of the NFL draft with arguably their biggest need in tow. Now it’s time to go get a future shutdown cornerback who can lock it down for years to come.
DeVonta Smith was the first name to come off the Eagles’ draft board. He’ll join a loaded young pass-catchers group in Philly that includes Jalen Reagor, Travis Fulgham, Greg Ward Jr., John Hightower, Quez Watkins, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. His role is yet undetermined.
“I can do everything,” Smith told reporters on Thursday night. “I can play inside, outside, special teams, you can put me in the backfield; you can do whatever with me.”
Attention now turns to other positions like cornerback, a position the Eagles haven’t been able to hit on in recent drafts. Other major needs include offensive tackle, defensive end, linebacker, tight end. They will likely draft a developmental quarterback at some point, too. Yes, the depth chart needs an upgrade across the board.
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Top 5 Best Fits for Eagles in Second Round
Asante Samuel Jr.: There had been rumors that the former Florida State cornerback would go late in the first round. He didn’t. Which is good news for the Eagles who could potentially trade up to grab the son of two-time All-Pro Asante Samuel. The 5-foot-10, 183-pounder is rated as the best corner left in this draft, per ESPN, and the eighth-best player on the board. Samuel Jr. recorded four interceptions, 29 pass breakups, 97 tackles in three collegiate seasons. His dad was one of the best to ever do it — the definition of ball-hawk, borderline Hall-of-Famer — so the genes are there.
Christian Barmore: Eagles GM Howie Roseman joked about making it a point to draft more Alabama players this year. He held true to his word in Round 1, maybe the streak continues with the addition of the Defensive MVP from last year’s national championship game. Barmore (6-foot-5, 310 pounds) has been called a “beast” on the interior of the defensive line. He tallied eight sacks and 37 tackles (9.5 for loss) with three forced fumbles in 2020 for the Crimson Tide. He’s also a Philadelphia native who attended the same high school as Sylvester Stallone (Neumann Goretti).
Nick Bolton: The Eagles probably won’t take a linebacker in the second round, but if they wanted one … this is the guy. Bolton (6-foot, 231 pounds) was a two-time All-SEC selection at Missouri where he earned a 91.1 from Pro Football Focus, making him the SEC’s top-graded linebacker. He finished with 220 total tackles (17.5 for loss) plus two interceptions, 12 pass breakups, one fumble recovery in three years. Bolton projects as a Day 1 starter and an impact player at the MIKE linebacker spot. He’s drawn NFL comparisons to Danny Trevathan and Anthony Hitchens.
Creed Humphrey: Yes, Jason Kelce is coming back for the 2021 campaign but there’s mounting evidence it could be his swan song. Why not draft his replacement at center this year? Humphrey is the guy if they want to get ahead of the curve. The Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year started all 11 games last year for the Sooners while never giving up a sack. His “outstanding leadership” has been praised as much as his blocking on the field. That sounds familiar. Humphrey also knows Eagles starter Jalen Hurts from hiking him the ball when the two were teammates at Oklahoma.
Carlos Basham Jr.: Edge rusher is a wild card on the Eagles’ depth chart. Derek Barnett is back on his fifth-year option but he has a lot to prove. And Brandon Graham just turned 33 years old. Behind them, there is rising star Josh Sweat and a bunch of unknowns. Basham Jr. (6-foot-3, 281 pounds) could come in and compete right away for a rotational pass-rushing role. The Wake Forest product had 19.5 sacks and 173 tackles (35.5 for loss) in four collegiate seasons. He destroys interior gaps as a left defensive end, per scouting reports.
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