After having to sit through yet another brutal loss on Monday night, some fans are likely hoping this Eagles season would finally just come to an end.
The good news — if it did, the now 3-7-1 Eagles would hold the No. 6 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
That is really the only positive to take from the team’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks. As the losses keep coming, the chances of them making the playoffs keep getting lower, and their pick keeps getting higher.
In fact, with just three wins and a tough three game stretch coming up, it is possible the Eagles could end up with a top-five pick, which would be the highest they have drafted since 2016 — when they traded up for quarterback Carson Wentz.
Although there is still football to be played, there is no getting around the fact that it is time to start giving some attention to the draft. Who could the Eagles target with their (likely) premier pick? What positions will be available? Which positions should they target? Who will be making the pick for the Eagles?
Here is an early look at the top 6 players that could interest the Eagles at No. 6:
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon: It wouldn’t be an exciting pick, but it could be a franchise-altering one. The Eagles need help along the offensive line. That is clear every week they play. Although Jordan Mailata has shown some promise, the Eagles are currently set to enter the 2021 season with an unproven Mailata, a disappointing Andre Dillard and 31-year old Lane Johnson coming off of a two-year that injury that caused his ankle to collapse. Add it all up and offensive tackle is a major position of need for this team moving forward.
Sewell, 6-foot-6, 331 pounds, has allowed just one sack over 1,376 snaps during his time at Oregon. Unlike Dillard, the left-tackle is equally good in run blocking as he is protecting the quarterback, and would give the Eagles the best offensive tackle prospect they have had since they took Johnson at No. 4 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama: The Eagles have some major questions at cornerback moving forward. How much longer can they count on soon-to-be 30-year old Darius Slay be a lockdown cornerback? Who will line up across from him in 2021?
Surtain could help to answer both of those questions.
Surtain, 6-foot-2, 202 pounds, is arguably the best cornerback in the 2021 NFL Draft. He has the size the Eagles lack at the position and would bring a physical presence the Eagles currently don’t have at cornerback. Surtain could not only start at cornerback opposite Slay in 2021 (and beyond), but he could eventually take over for him as the No. 1 cornerback once Slay’s deal expires, making him a pick that would help the team both immediately and solve a future problem.
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU: Could the Eagles pass again on an elite-level receiver out of LSU?
They might not be able to after watching Justin Jefferson tear up the league this season, but the reality is that there would be some complications in taking Ja’Marr Chase, the player that is certain to be near the top of every Eagles’ fans wish list.
Chase, 6-foot, 208 pounds, turned in 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns on 84 catches in 2019, an average of 21.2 yards-per-catch. He is an elite-level deep threat and a threat to take it for a touchdown every time he touches the ball. He would step on the Eagles an immediately be the best receiver prospect they have had in years.
The issue with drafting Chase? Jalen Reagor. The Eagles just used their first-round pick on an undersized, speed receiver. You can never have too much speed (if the players with that speed are actually good), but using back-to-back picks on receivers for a team that has so many holes at more important positions might not be the best use resources.
It is possible the team decides to take Chase anyway, trying to avoid making the same mistake in 2021 that they did in 2020 — but the mistake they made passing on Jefferson could continue to haunt this team, even during the draft.
Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami: If Howie Roseman is the general manager for the 2021 NFL Draft there is no way that the defensive line won’t be high on his list — it might even be No. 1.
Josh Sweat is really the only defensive linemen the Eagles can count on beyond 2021. Fletcher Cox will be 30 next season, Brandon Graham will be 32, Derek Barnett will be a free agent and Javon Hargrave might not be any good. For a team that prioritizes the pass rush, their lack of an elite-level pass rusher is alarming.
Gregory Rousseau could change that.
Rousseau, 6-foot-7, 265 pounds with long arms, totaled 15.5 sacks in his only full season at Miami as a sophomore in 2019. Rousseau has all the tools you want in a defensive end prospect — he is quick, he is an elite-level athlete and he is a high-effort player.
Although he has just one year of production, Rousseau projects as the top pass rusher in this year’s draft.
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State: Perhaps the Eagles have learned their lesson when it comes to not investing top-level resources in the linebacker position.
If they have, Micah Parsons will be near the top of their big board.
Parsons, 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, totaled 191 tackles, 18 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, six forced fumbles and five pass deflections over his final two seasons at Penn State before sitting out the 2020 season.
The logic behind taking Parsons is simple — the Eagles desperately need a difference maker at linebacker, and Parsons checks off all the boxes as a player that can come in and change the team’s defense.
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama: Waddle, like Chase, would instantly step on the Eagles roster and be their No. 1 wide receiver.
One difference between Chase and Waddle? Chase did it for one year in college — Waddle did it for three.
Waddle has been dominating since arriving at Alabama, bringing in at least 500 yards and four touchdowns in each of his three seasons, for a total of 1,965 yards and 17 touchdowns in 33 games. His numbers have dipped as the quarterback play at Alabama has gone down, but there is no denying the 5-foot-10, 182 pound receiver can be a difference maker.
Plus, he has experience with Jalen Hurts — which could be a major bonus for the Eagles’ offense in 2021 depending on what they do with Carson Wentz this offseason.
You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at email@example.com!