Grading Eagles 2021 Draft Haul

2021 Class

The Eagles once again completed a draft in which they made more picks than any single team starts with. In 2021, they made nine selections even after moving up in the first round and trading into the 2022 draft.

Opinions on their draft actually seem very positive from a national outlook, though many fans in Philadelphia are not happy.

With that in mind, a few of our writers decided to put together their grades.

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Eagles vs. Chargers Week 9 Preview

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By Connor Donald, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

History

The Los Angeles Chargers are 7-5 in series history against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles won the last game in 2017 against the Chargers 26-24.

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Philadelphia Eagles vs. Detroit Lions Week 8 Preview

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By Connor Donald, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

History

The Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions have met 34 times. The record is tied 16-16-2. The Eagles have lost the last three straight dating back to 2015.

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Preview: Eagles Host Buccaneers On Thursday Night Football

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By Connor Donald, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

History:

 

The Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have met 19 times. The Eagles own a 10-9 record against them, winning the last two straight. Both teams looked very different when they last met in 2018.

 

What to know about the Bucs?

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Eagles vs. Panthers Week 5 Preview

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By Connor Donald, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

History:

The Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers have met 12 times. The Eagles lead the series 7-5, but lost the most recent meeting in 2018, 21-17.

What to know about the Panthers:

Maybe the curse of Adam Gase is a true and real thing. Sam Darnold is looking good in Carolina. Offensively it looks like the Panthers will be without star running back Christian McCaffrey again. Overall the offense is fringe top ten across most categories, but they certainly have weapons to make things tough on a struggling Eagles defense. What is most worrisome? The Panther love to control time of possession, currently the sixth best in time of possession. The Eagles offense has struggled in that department and having the defense out longer then it has to be isn't a great combination.

The Panthers passing defense is seeing the second fewest attempts against and giving up the second fewest total yards. They have allowed a completion percentage of 58.7% by opposing quarterbacks. As much as Sirianni loves to throw the football and ignore Miles Sanders, there may need to be a shift in how he runs the offense.

Overall the Panthers defense is fairly strong, despite the rushing defense being exploited last week. They are allowing the 2nd shortest time of possession for opposing offenses and the second lowest amount of plays run per drive. Which also equates to top five defense in points and yards allowed per drive. The Eagles offense will have to bring their A game with a mix of run and pass plus effectiveness.

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The Big Red Return: Eagles vs. Chiefs Week 4 Preview

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By Connor Donald, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

History:

The Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs have met eight times. The current matchup record is 4-4 with the Chiefs winning the last two straight.

What to know about the Chiefs:

The Kansas City Chiefs 1-2 start is very unexpected, which makes this whole game even scarier to think about. The Chiefs offense currently ranks 5th in points scored and 6th in total yards. The defense on the other hand is almost the complete opposite. The Chiefs defense has given up the 2nd most points against and 3rd most total yards against.

The offense is still explosive as ever with Patty Mahomes leading the Chiefs offense to the 5th most passing yards and 2nd most touchdowns. Half of their offensive drives have ended in a score. The remade offensive line has also been fairly effective ranking 9th in pass blocking efficiency. Lucky for the Eagles after last week, the ground game has been fairly pedestrian. Despite Clyde Edwards-Helaire's first 100 yard game of the season last week, that game also produced There is no reason to believe the Chiefs can't keep this pace up against an Eagles defense that's very meh.

Defensively the Chiefs are struggling. They are allowing a score on 50% of their opponents offensive drives. They rank 2nd last against the run and 9th worst against the pass in yards allowed. They also rank 12th worst in regards to pressure % against opponents quarterbacks, including only four sacks on the season. Despite the sheer volume of yardage they are giving up they do rank 11th in forced turnovers with four. So it's not all doom and gloom. If the defense can settle down, stop giving up big yardage on each drive and apply pressure against the quarterback, things could turn around quickly.

Player to Watch:

The offense is high octane and there are so many weapons to think about. I'm going with Travis Kelce because we all know where the Eagles' Achilles heel lies. Their linebackers room. Sure the Eagles shut down George Kittle and Kyle Pitts, but they got run over by Dalton Schultz last week. Kellen Moore saw the opportunity and splashed, targeting Schultz seven times, leading to six receptions, 80 yards and two touchdowns. Travis Kelce is the top tight end in football facing arguably one of the weakest linebacking rooms in coverage. The two high safety looks Gannon loves so much will maybe help more this week than it did last week. However, Mahomes and Kelce have a chance to really exploit this weakness.

What to know about the Eagles:

Defensively if you looked where they sit overall across the league, the Eagles defense doesn't read so bad. However, a couple games against lackluster offenses in weeks one and two may have skewed the truth about this defense. Gannons unwillingness to adjust from his two high safety looks allowed the Cowboys to abuse the Eagles in the middle of the field. Chunk play, after chunk play for running backs and tight ends from opening kickoff until the final whistle. Javon Hargrave has been the MVP of the Eagles in the early going and it isn’t even close. Rodney McLeod will return this week to help a safety room that lost K’Von Wallace last week. The Eagles defense is definitely missing Brandon Graham on the edge as well. Derek Barnett and his senseless penalties and lack of pressure is causing headaches all around.

Offensively, well it has been non-existent over the last two weeks after the week one showing against the Atlanta Falcons. Miles Sanders, who was my player to watch last week, was non-existent in the game plan. So bad in fact, that the two running backs combined for three total carries. The combination of Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell looked so good in week one and then in week two saw 19 combined carries and produced 69 yards, 3.6 yards per carry. The run game needs to be used more to help control time of possession and the flow of the game. The Chiefs defense as a whole has been, not great. and the loss of Frank Clark for Sundays game should help Hurts, the offensive line and the running backs.

Speaking of Hurts, he has suffered through some tough criticism of being a one read quarterback. This has made the overall passing game suffer and he has notoriously bailed on the pass often to tuck and run. The Chiefs are giving up significant points and yards. Which includes the sixth most yards to tight ends. The tandem of Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz have been there, but frustratingly not enough and this could be a chance for Hurts to leverage the duo. Devonta Smith should continue to see his fair share of work and Reagor as well. A surprisingly efficient wide receiver who should see more work is Quez Watkins. He has an NFL leading and whopping 26.6 yards per reception, seven receptions for 186 yards total on the season. Oh and a 100% catch rate. Despite a lot of this work coming in the screen game, he opens a field up with his speed and ability to turn a screen into over 20 yards.

Player to Watch:

As I mentioned above the Chiefs will be without edge Frank Clark, which is a significant loss and point of pressure for the Chiefs defensive line. The Eagles will be rolling out their fourth starting offensive line combination in four weeks, nightmares of last year taking over my good night's sleep. The loss of Clark is a sigh of relief for this offensive line and should really keep Hurts from being under duress too much. Hopefully he can have faith in his offensive line, take time to go through his reads and be comfortable in the pocket. This should also give Sirianni the confidence to roll out his backfield tandem a little more than three times. The Chiefs defensive line beyond Chris Jones and Frank Clark isn’t putting too much fear in any team. Let's hope this turns into a positive for the Eagles offensive line.

Prediction:

I still have an overall bad feeling about this. The Chiefs are angry and looking to get on the right track this Sunday. I am going to go with a 34-21 final score in favour of the visiting Chiefs. Sure, the Linc will be rocking for Andy Reid's return, Lesean McCoy’s retirement and the prospect of having the Chiefs visit and the potential to beat them. Based on the last two weeks I cannot, with confidence, predict an Eagles win against a Chiefs team whose bound to right this ship and without mercy.


Its Cowboys Week: Eagles vs. Cowboys Week 3 Preview

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By Connor Donald, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

History:

The Dallas Cowboys lead the series against the Philadelphia Eagles 70-54. Including the Cowboys winning six of the last ten.

What to know about the Cowboys?:

Through the first two weeks of the season the Cowboys are looking similar to what we thought. Except that they are better on defense than people anticipated. This early defensive example against two high octane offenses in the Los Angeles Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

The Dak-led offense is ranking 4th in total yards, including 6th in passing. They also have the most first downs in the NFL at 55. Despite ranking 26th in average drive starting position they produce the 5th most yards per drive. Plus per PFF, their offensive line ranks 10th in pass blocking efficiency despite some early losses along the line.

The Kellen Moore offense is loaded and loves to air it out. Although Amari Cooper will be hobbled with his current injury, he proves very effective when peppered with targets. Ceedee Lamb is becoming a heavy favorite of Daks for targets. They have a solid TE Tandem in Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz. Plus two home run hitting running backs. Zeke is well known in the NFC East, while Pollard a little less. After last week if you didn't know, Pollard can do a lot with a little and will need to be accounted for when on the field.

What is most surprising is the defense! The offense should not shock anyone as this is exactly the pace they were humming at before Dak fractured his ankle in 2020. The Cowboys defense has forced opposing offensive drives to end in turnover 30% of the time this season, first in the NFL. That's six total turnovers including 4 interceptions. Trevon Diggs with his two picks, Micah Parsons with five quarterback hits and Osa Odighizuwa with a 8th in the NFL, five quarterback pressures. Just to name a couple.

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Eagles Week 2 Preview Versus San Francisco 49ers

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By Connor Donald, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

History:

The 49ers and Eagles have met 34 times. The 49ers lead the series 19-14-1.

What to know about the 49ers?

The 49ers are coming off a heart pounding victory over the Detroit Lions. They pulled out a 41-33 victory, but nearly blew the lead with many of their backup options playing the latter part of the game. A win is a win.

Last season perhaps no team was hit worse by the injury bug then the San Francisco 49ers. This season hasn't gone anymore in their favour. They were already entering the game without their starting CB Jason Verrett and starting RB Raheem Mostert. Add starting LB Dre Greenlaw and other starting cornerback Emmanuel Mosley to that list.

The 49ers aren't at a complete loss though as their offense could still give the Eagles defense a tough time. Brandon Aiyuk should slot back into a more prominent wide receiver role. Deebo Samuel is coming off a 180 yard effort against the Lions. Elijah Mitchell stepped into Mosterts role wonderfully with a 100 yard performance. Plus Trey Sermon will be back with some sort of role in Shanahans backfield. This is all before talking about the mixing and matching of Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance at quarterback and how unexpected that could make the game plan.

49ers Player to Watch?

The player to watch this week will be Nick Bosa. He will be tangling with Eagles LT Jordan Mailata. Mailata got a big money deal and solidified himself as the Eagles starting LT. Time to challenge the big dogs. We have seen him face some, but Nick Bosa is a whole other breed. Mailata will continue to improve and Bosa should continue getting stronger returning from his Torn ACL. This should be a fun battle on the left side of the line!

What to know about the Eagles?

The Nick Sirianni era has begun in Philadelphia and what better way to start then with a dominant win. The Eagles are 1-0 and in sole possession of first place in the NFC East after a 32-6 victory over the Falcons. Time to build on that momentum.

Jalen Hurts looked comfortable and the part of a franchise quarterback. Devonta Smith looked every bit the first round stud wide receiver we have been waiting for. Smith had 71 yards and a touchdown in his debut. The tandem of Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell in the backfield is looking like a nice piece of weaponry for Sirianni and his offense. Oh yeah. We also got out of the first game of the season with our offensive line healthy, in-tact and looking hard to beat.

Defensively, the Hargrave express has arrived. He wreaked havoc on the Falcons offensive line and was in Matt Ryan's face all night. Ridgeway had a nice night swapping in and out beside Hargrave and Cox. The secondary also looked really good, not giving up any major chunk plays and keeping the game in front of them. The 49ers bring a much different offense to town and will require pressure upfront and a continued focus on keeping those big play players in front of them. Aiyuk, Samuel and Kittle are naturals after the catch and Nelson, Slay, Maddox and anyone else in coverage will have their work cut out for them.

Eagles Player to Watch?

Josh Sweat was kind of quiet in the first game of the season finishing with six tackles. He did play 54% of snaps, which led all defensive ends. Something he rarely did in the last couple seasons. So, opportunity is there. And he now has a brand new fresh three year, $40 million contract as of today. The Eagles defensive line will have to apply pressure and make Jimmy G uncomfortable to slow the offense. We know what we got in Hargrave, Cox and Graham. Now it's time for Sweat to focus and turn opportunity into pressures and sacks! He was being hyped up as a potential ten sack end, a sack or two would be big against this 49ers offense.

Favorite Positional Matchup

There are so many matchups to choose from in this one. I'm going with the Eagles wide receivers versus the 49ers secondary. The Eagles wide receivers face a banged up secondary and they were quite formidable last week against the Falcons. Smith and Reagor need to continue to support Hurts and help him to push the ball downfield. This matchup falls in the Eagles court for once. The secondary can be exploited with the tandems at running back and tight end, the 49ers will have their work cut out for them all over the field.

Prediction

Just as the Eagles are everybody's favorite underdogs this week, I can't help but follow the trend. I have the Eagles winning this one 27-21. It feels weird to say, but I trust the Eagles defense to make stops and create pressure more than the 49ers defense. I think Sirianni and Hurts will control the flow of the game against the 49ers defense similar to the Falcons. I see at least one Eagles wide receiver having a big night. Also, although they were quiet last week Ertz and Goedert could see expanding roles against a team missing two starting corners and a starting linebacker


Eagles add Quarterback Depth

By Connor Donald, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

Former 49ers Quarterback Nick Mullens and the Philadelphia Eagles have agreed to terms on a one year contract. The deal comes four days after the Eagles waived undrafted free agent quarterback Jamie Newman after an underwhelming camp.

 

Adam Caplan of Fox Sports/Sirus XM had reported the Eagles were interested in bringing in a third quarterback after the Newman release and mentioned Nick Mullens as a name to watch. The Eagles were looking for a west-coast style quarterback in their search.

 

Nick Mullens comes over from San Francisco where he was acquired as an undrafted quarterback in 2018. He went on to start 16 games and appeared in 19 total, mostly in relief of oft-injured Jimmy Garoppolo.

 

In 19 games he ended up completing 64.5% of passes for 4714 yards and a 25:22 touchdown to interception ratio. He averaged 248.1 yards per game. 

 

Last season, he led the 49ers to a 2-6 record as injuries plagued their roster on both sides of the ball including starting quarterback Jimmy Garroppolo. He finished the year with a 64.7% completion percentage for 2437 passing yards and a 12:12 touchdown to interception ratio before injuring his elbow on December 20 against the Dallas Cowboys and requiring surgery.

 

Mullens joins as the third quarterback behind presumptive starter Jalen Hurts and veteran backup Joe Flacco. He will likely be a camp body, unless the Eagles opt to keep three quarterbacks on roster, which wouldn't be surprising given the state of the quarterback room in prior seasons.


Welcome to Philly: Getting to Know the Defensive 2021 Picks

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By Connor Donald, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

Part one of the Welcome to Philly series took a dive into the offensive draft picks of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles made a commitment to Jalen Hurts in the 2021 draft giving him his alpha wide receiver, a true weapon of a RB2 and, should he prove his franchise QB worth in 2021, his future center.

In part two, I will dive into the defensive portion of the Eagles draft, which was unique and characterized by a few specific words. Character. Athletic. Undersized. Versatile. All draft picks possess at least three of these traits and some are already on the Eagles depth chart at different positions than they were listed as pre-draft. The Eagles spent the majority of their draft picks on the defensive side of the ball for new defensive coordinator Jon Gannon. 

Jim Schwartz’s 2020 defense struggled mightily, ranking 23rd in takeaways, including 29th in interceptions. They gave up the 18th most passing yards and the 10th most rushing yards. The defense also ranked number one in the whole league for penalty yards that they committed. Overall, a middling defense that was partially addressed through free agency with the signings of Ryan Kerrigan, Eric Wilson and Anthony Harris. Now for the draft class.

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Schedule Release and Draft Reaction

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LJ (@ljharrell54) and Connor (@connorten) are back to react to the the schedule release and how the Eagles fared in the 2021 draft. They talk very early record projections, favorite matchups, favorite draft picks and answer some of the viewers questions!

Make sure to rate and review the show wherever you listen. And check out our written content and all the Philadelphia Sports news and content over with our partners at Sports Talk Philly. You can find them on Twitter, @sportstalkphl or on the web, sportstalkphilly.com!