The Eagles can get a star CB in round one of the 2021 NFL Draft
By: Jacob Keppen
The Eagles fanbase have made up their minds once again on who they want to see drafted in the first round. The two players the fanbase had their hearts and minds dead set on at 6 were LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase and Florida tight end Kyle Pitts.
Those hopes were dashed with a trade back with the Dolphins, and a new receiving hope was born. The Eagles faithful have locked on to bringing in one of the top receivers from Alabama to help out their former teammate Jalen Hurts.
Both Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle would both be good additions to this offense, but I believe that taking one of the top cornerbacks is a smarter pick for the Eagles moving forward.
As mentioned before when making sense of the trade, the Eagles have a desperate need at cornerback. The cornerback position has been a massive weak spot for the team over the past few seasons, a need only forgotten due to the attention being placed on Philadelphia’s quarterback controversy.
In his first year with the Eagles, Darius Slay had his ups and downs. He played well against Washington, holding Terry McLaurin to only 61 receiving yards. This was miles ahead of the two 100 yard performances “Scary Terry” had against the Birds last season. Team’s really overmatched Philadelphia over the middle of the field in the first part of the season, utilizing the clear advantages their tight ends had over Philadelphia’s lackluster linebackers. Things would start to look a little worrisome for the Eagles new corner when faced with a stretch of elite receivers late in the season.
The wheels started to fall off a bit against Seattle though. Seattle receiver DK Metcalf . Metcalf did whatever he wanted against Philadelphia, racking up 177 yards. The next week against the Packers, Davante Adams had 120 yards and two touchdowns against the Eagles this past season. Of course that was mere child’s play to the 180 yard performance he had in week four the season prior, but still a massive game for the star receiver. Michael Thomas had a solid game for Thomas standards, with 8 catches for 84 yards. As bad as that stretch was, it would get even worse over the next two games with Slay out due to injury.
Undrafted rookie Michael Jacquet had the daunting task of going up against DeAndre Hopkins, who a lot of experts consider the best receiver in the league. Jacquet battled but ultimately Hopkins finished with 169 yards and a touchdown. The next week against Dallas was even harder to watch, with both Michael Gallup and Amari Cooper tallying over 100 yards. The gameplan for Andy Dalton and the boys was pretty much to just target Jacquet. A sad graphic popped up on the screen, “Michael Jacquet. Thrown at: 9. Catches Allowed:7. Yards: 182” that’s how bad it was.
These are the Eagles outside corners heading into next season. Slay still has his great moments due to his phenomenal technique and experience, but he is 30 now. More two high looks might help prolong how good he will be for Philly, but it’s definitely time to start finding a successor. Next to him is a who’s who of names that would stump even the most hardcore fan. There are two phenomenal top end cornerbacks in this draft in South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn, and Alabama’s Patrick Surtain. Both are great athletes, showed out against elite competition, and are worthy of the selection at 12.
Jaycee Horn is a hyper aggressive cornerback who carries himself with the swagger of an elite cornerback. Attitude reminiscent of Jalen Ramsey, Horn is the type of cornerback who will let the opposing receiver know that he’s going to lock them up. There is no cornerback in the world better than him, and that’s the mentality I want in my cornerbacks.
The son of former Pro Bowl wide receiver Joe Horn, Jaycee has fantastic ball skills, able to punch the ball out of receivers hands. He’s athletic enough to run with almost anyone he’ll encounter.
Patrick Surtain is almost tailor made for the Eagles system. If Philadelphia runs a primarily two high system, then Surtain makes a ton of sense to be the selection. Surtain has all of the tools and traits that you can’t teach. He is big and long, and has great athleticism.
On top of the things you can’t teach, Surtain is so advanced in the things that you can teach. He is great at staying square and getting hands firmly on the receiver. You aren’t getting to bully Surtain at the line of scrimmage. His feet are really good, and so are his eyes. He can tackle, as well as challenge receivers in the air with great ball skills. Surtain’s going to disrupt you at the line of scrimmage, and if you somehow collect yourself after his jam, he’s going to run with you and disrupt you in the air. He’s physical, technical, and pretty much what you’d expect from an elite level Alabama cornerback.
The fanbase wants a pass catcher, and that’s fine. Everyone wants the flashy pick. The flashy pick can be nice to add to a team in need of just that extra spark to really help put them over the edge. That is not this Eagles team. This Philadelphia team needs help everywhere, and the best place to start is the cornerback position that has been holding back the defense for years now. No more ignoring the problem or patching it up with duct tape. It’s time to get an elite piece in Jaycee Horn or Patrick Surtain.