Philadelphia Eagles: Early look at 2021 NFL Draft position needs

The Philadelphia Eagles select DeVonta Smith at No. 16 in this 2021 NFL mock draft (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
The Philadelphia Eagles select DeVonta Smith at No. 16 in this 2021 NFL mock draft (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /
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The Philadelphia Eagles are likely to dip into another deep receiver class in the 2021 NFL Draft
2021 NFL Draft prospect Ja’Marr Chase. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

Philadelphia Eagles 2021 NFL Draft top needs: Wide Receiver

Yes, the Philadelphia Eagles went receiver in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft and while Jalen Reagor failed to match the output of his rookie counterparts like Justin Jefferson or Chase Claypool, he looks to have a strong future in Philadelphia. The Eagles have plenty of problems offensively and ranking as the sixth-worst passing offense in the league, the blame cannot solely be placed on the quarterback position.

The Eagles have moved on from Pederson and while it looks likely that Wentz will remain the starter, the Eagles must do more than just make a staff change. At 31 and 33, it is unlikely the Eagles retain Alshon Jeffrey or DeSean Jackson beyond the final year of their contracts, expiring after the 2021 season.

While that will certainly free up cap space, the Eagles will be left with a lack of production at the position where Greg Ward, Travis Fulgham, or J.J. Arcega-Whiteside do not inspire much confidence.

The 2021 NFL Draft class is once again deep at the receiver spot, allowing Philadelphia the flexibility to go outside the position in the first round while still grabbing a talent with either their second or third round selections. While Alabama Heisman trophy winning DeVonta Smith looks to be a logical pick to Miami at third overall, the Philadelphia Eagles could potentially draft 2020 hold-out Ja’Marr Chase at six.

Despite all of Smith’s accolades, Chase’s 2,093 receiving yards last season exceeded Smith’s total, and both produced a total of 23 receiving touchdowns. While the Eagles would miss out on top prospects Smith, Chase, Waddle by drafting outside the receiver position in the first round, Rashod Bateman or Rondale Moore could be early day two prospects whereas Amon-Ra St. Brown or Amari Rodgers could be third-round options.


It was inevitable to not at least touch on the quarterback position. The Philadelphia Eagles do not need to draft a quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft, despite their high draft pick putting them in a position to do so. The Eagles absolutely need to resolve both the ongoing quarterback controversy and poor play at the position from the last season. That begins with the head coaching hire.

Philadelphia ranked third-worst in the NFL in turnovers, where their 29 trailed only Denver’s 32 and San Francisco’s 31. The 20 interceptions thrown between Wentz, Hurts, and Sudfield, again only trailed Denver’s 23. Wentz has regressed from his former MVP-level form but with the four remaining years on his contract carrying over an average of $33 million per year, he looks set to be the starter in 2021 and beyond.

It is to be seen how much Wentz’s contract impacts how attractive of a position the Eagles head coaching job is. Wentz’s decline in play and contract could result in an early exit for the next coach if an immediate fix cannot be found and with concerns on the line and at the skill positions, could be a difficult task. The Eagles could potentially trade Wentz and take a first-round quarterback, but his value has likely fallen after the 2020 season and the cap hit would still leave the Eagles in a difficult position financially.

What’s further unlikely than both moving Wentz and drafting a quarterback would be the return of Hurts as the starting quarterback. After using a second-round pick last spring, Hurts will certainly return as the back-up, but again it would be unlikely a new coach would take the job with the intent to name Hurts the starter over Wentz or “their guy”.

Solidifying the starting job and focusing on surrounding Wentz with a younger line and skill positions, should be a priority entering the 2021 NFL Draft.