Rewind the tape to 2017 when the Philadelphia Eagles were about 10 months away from their first Super Bowl championship in franchise history. They entered the NFL draft with a plan to address some glaring holes on the defensive end.
The Eagles selected edge rusher Derek Barnett in the first round (14th overall), then took a second-round flier on injured cornerback Sidney Jones (43rd overall). They knew the Washington product was coming off a torn Achilles tendon and may need to sit out his entire rookie year. Jones ended up playing in one game that year before getting cut in 2019. He has four career interceptions and 29 passes defensed in 47 games.
There were a ton of impact players from that 2017 draft that the Eagles passed on to take Jones. Twitter fans were gravitating toward one name in particular after Super Bowl LVI: Cooper Kupp. The Pro Bowler enjoyed one of the greatest seasons for a wide receiver in NFL history in 2021, including earning Super Bowl MVP honors. Kupp went 69th overall to the Los Angeles Rams, exactly 26 picks after Jones. The whiff didn’t go unnoticed by Eagles fans.
To be fair, Kupp wasn’t the only big name whiffed on by the Eagles in the 2017 draft. They took Jones over a slew of intriguing prospects who turned out to be certified studs, namely Alvin Kamara and JuJu Smith-Schuster. They also passed on running backs Tarik Cohen and Jamaal Willims to take Mack Hollins and Donnel Pumphrey.
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DeVonta Smith Lobbies for Veteran Receiver
The Eagles are expected to pursue a veteran receiver in free agency, guys like D.J. Chark, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and T.Y. Hilton have been mentioned as potential targets. Count DeVonta Smith among those in favor of a move happening sooner than later. The 2021 first-rounder told NBC Sports’ John Clark he would welcome a proven commodity at the position.
“I feel like it would help,” Smith told Clark, via NBC Sports Philadelphia. “Somebody that’s already been there. I know it would help for me, just being under their wing, how they operate, how they are as a pro.”
Smith was the 10th overall pick last April and turned out to be worth trading up for. Bleacher Report sent him back to the Eagles in their 2021 Re-Draft: “Jalen Hurts developed a strong rapport with DeVonta Smith, who caught 64 passes for 916 yards and five touchdowns, leading the team in all three categories.”
Nick Sirianni Happy with Current WR Group
Head coach Nick Sirianni hyped up his current group of wideouts during his end-of-year media availability. He left the door slightly open for adding another pass-catcher while praising backups J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Greg Ward. Sirianni also announced the promotion of Quez Watkins to No. 2 on the depth chart over Jalen Reagor.
“I’m pleased with this group,” Sirianni told reporters on January 19. “Again, you’re not going to have the same statistical output when you’re the type of offense that we were this year, but I am very pleased with this group. I know that this is a good group. Are we always going to look to add talent to the group and play-makers to the group? Of course.”