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Philadelphia Eagles NFL draft picks 2021: Analysis for every selection

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The highlights that make DeVonta Smith an elite WR prospect (1:50)

Take a look back at Alabama WR DeVonta Smith's legendary college career as he prepares to take his game to the next level. (1:50)

The 2021 NFL draft was held April 29 through May 1 and every Philadelphia Eagles draft pick has been analyzed here.

After last season's virtual draft, Cleveland played host to festivities this year with a handful of potential draft picks present and socially distanced because of COVID-19.

Here's a pick-by-pick look at how each player Philadelphia has selected will fit.

Analysis of every NFL pick | Updated NFL depth charts


Round 1, No. 10 overall: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

My take: The Eagles didn't let size scare them off of the most productive wide receivers in this draft. The reward for that leap of faith could be tremendous. Smith led the NCAA in receptions (117), receiving yards (1,856) and receiving TDs (23) en route to a Heisman Trophy last season. Concerns about his weight -- he is reportedly at 166 pounds -- affected his draft stock, as he was the third wideout taken behind LSU's Ja'Marr Chase and Alabama teammate Jaylen Waddle. While it's legit to wonder how he'll do against press man at the next level, his upside is similar to another similarly-built wideout of the past: former Indianapolis Colts receiver and Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison.

A Tide reunion: Smith is teamed up once again with his former signal-caller at Alabama, Jalen Hurts. Smith had 12 career receptions, 207 receiving yards and two receiving TDs from Hurts during their two seasons together at Alabama. Even though the Eagles haven't officially named Hurts the starting quarterback, their actions -- including this draft pick --suggest they are trying to set Hurts up for success as he tries out for the starting gig in 2021.

Instant upgrade: The Eagles' wide receivers combined for 2,082 receiving yards last season, the third fewest in the NFL behind the New England Patriots (2,063) and Baltimore Ravens (1,729), according to ESPN Stats & Information. Travis Fulgham led the Eagles in receiving yards last season with 539 yards -- the lowest by a team leader last year. Smith has a real chance to be the Eagles' top receiver his rookie season.


Round 2, No. 37 overall: Landon Dickerson, OL, Alabama

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Landon Dickerson's NFL draft profile

Check out some of the best plays that contributed to Alabama OL Landon Dickerson's impressive college career.

My take: The Eagles go to the Alabama well once again to select Dickerson, a team leader with experience at guard and center. The primary concern here is his injury history. Dickerson is coming off an ACL tear suffered in the SEC Championship in December. He has another ACL tear and an ankle injury in his past as well.

The Eagles no doubt did extensive work on his medicals, but with cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. and defensive tackle Christian Barmore available at the time, there's an argument they should have gone in a different direction.


Round 3, No. 73 overall: Milton Williams, DT, Louisiana Tech

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Milton Williams' draft profile

Check out highlights from Louisiana Tech's dominant defensive tackle Milton Williams.

My take: Williams (6-foot-3, 284 pounds) is a lighter-framed interior linemen with good footwork and strength. The Eagles believe in investing heavily in the offensive and defensive lines, so it's no surprise they would address defensive tackle, even with the presence of Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave, and Williams has the versatility to move all over the line. Still, there are more pressing needs across the roster.


Round 4, No. 123 overall: Zech McPhearson, CB, Texas Tech

My take: The Eagles finally address the corner position with the selection of McPhearson, who led his team with four interceptions last season to go with six passes defensed. A 2020 All-Big 12 first-team selection, the 5-foot-11, 191-pound McPhearson has good ball skills and a fairly high ceiling, but his game needs some refinement. Philadelphia is thin at corner and needs both a starter opposite Darius Slay and some depth at the position.


Round 5, No. 150 overall: Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis

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Kenneth Gainwell's NFL draft profile

Check out the best highlights from Memphis RB Kenneth Gainwell's college career.

My take: The Eagles needed to bolster the running back position behind Miles Sanders and add a dual threat in Gainwell, who rushed for 1,459 yards and 13 touchdowns and caught 51 passes for 610 yards for three more scores in 2019. He opted out of the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

His slashing style and pass-catching ability could make him a decent third-down back option as he develops. He'll push Boston Scott and Jordan Howard for playing time.


Round 6, No. 189 overall: Marlon Tuipulotu, DT, USC

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Marlon Tuipulotu's NFL draft profile

Check out the best highlights from USC DT Marlon Tuipulotu's college career.

My take: Philadelphia continues to invest in the interior defensive line, adding Tuipulotu after drafting Milton Williams in the third round. Tuipolotu (6-foot-2, 307 pounds) was a three-year starter at USC, posting 8.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss over the past three seasons.

He'll look to crack the rotation in a stacked defensive tackle room that already includes Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Williams and Hassan Ridgeway.


Round 6, No. 191 overall: Tarron Jackson, DE, Coastal Carolina

My take: Jackson powered his way to 18 sacks and 26.5 tackles for loss over the past two seasons. He lacks ideal bend, but the reigning Sun Belt defensive player of the year was plenty productive on the college level.

Defensive end is a sneaky big need for the Eagles with Brandon Graham in the twilight of his career and Derek Barnett in the final year of his rookie contract. If Jackson can develop into a contributor, that would be a win for Philadelphia.


Round 6, No. 224 overall: JaCoby Stevens, LB/S, LSU

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JaCoby Stevens' NFL draft profile

Check out the highlights from LSU S JaCoby Stevens' college career.

My take: Stevens, a former wide receiver, led LSU in tackles last season (63) and tied for third in the FBS with three fumble recoveries, adding three sacks and four passes defensed. The Eagles announced Stevens as a linebacker, so it will be interesting to see what defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon has in mind for him. Both the safety and linebacker positions could use some help.


Round 7, No. 234 overall: Patrick Johnson, LB, Tulane

My take: Johnson tied for second in the FBS with 10 sacks in 2018 and has 21 takedowns total over the past three years. At 6-foot-2, 240 pounds, he was projected best as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Gannon runs a 4-3, so it will be interesting to see how he is deployed -- if he finds a spot on the roster.