PHILADELPHIA (CBS)- We’re almost there Eagles fans. In one week, the NFL Draft will begin and the rumors, speculation and constant obsession over which prospect Howie Roseman and company will select will receive an answer when the Birds go on the clock with the No. 12 overall pick.
There are still plenty of rumors flying around about potential moves up and back and which position the team will focus on next Thursday. As Roseman and head coach Nick Sirianni said at a press conference Wednesday. Any position is in play.READ MORE: Philadelphia Mother Pleading To Find Driver Who Struck Son In Hit-And-Run, 'Guardian Angel' Who Found Him
With that in mind, let’s sort through the mock drafts that have been released and get a feel for what the experts at CBS Sports and ESPN think the team will do with their first pick.
Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
A pair of CBSSports.com’s experts are on the Devonta Smith to the Eagles bandwagon. The Heisman winner put up a prolific 2020 season with 117 catches for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns. He added a punt return touchdown to the mix as well. Smith’s route-running ability has drawn a lot of praise through the draft process, allowing him to separate from corners through fluid breaks in an out of routes.
His weight, recently reported as 166 pounds when he weighed in at the Scouting Combine, has been a question in regards to durability. But, when you consider that he never missed a game in each of his final three seasons, it’s hard to ask for much more durability wise. Smith is also familiar with Jalen Hurts of course, the two having played together during Smith’s freshman season in Tuscaloosa. One odd quirk that has been talked about plenty, the Eagles have not selected a player from Alabama during the course of Nick Saban’s tenure. That could change this season if either of these experts or our next is right.
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Expert: Todd McShay, ESPN
Waddle was part of the ridiculous 2019 Alabama receiving corps and was well on his way to a dominant junior campaign when he suffered an ankle injury that kept him out the rest of the regular season. He returned for the title game but was still more decoy than fully healthy. In the six games he did play, he caught 28 passes for 591 yards and four touchdowns posting an absurd 21.1 yards per catch.
Over his three years in Tuscaloosa, Waddle average 17 or more yards per catch and was a terror on punt and kickoff returns adding three touchdowns to his resume in that area. As McShay puts it: “Waddle is the most dangerous player in the class with the ball in his hands.”
Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Expert: Pete Prisco, CBSSports.comREAD MORE: Philadelphia's Evil Genius Beer Company Giving Out Free Beers To Those Getting Vaccinated In May
Wide receiver is a big area of need and corner opposite Darius Slay is as well. Here’s the Eagles would snag Horn, considered to be arguably the best cover man in this year’s class. The 6’1″ 205 pound junior piled up 23 passes defensed
and had 101 total tackles to his credit in his Gamecocks career.
Horn had a standout pro day, running a 4.39 40-yard dash while adding a 41.5″ vertical, an 11’1″ broad jump and 19 reps on the bench. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah has him ranked as the No. 16 prospect in the class and notes the following:
“Horn is a big, physical cornerback with plenty of speed and instincts. He’s physical with his hands to consistently re-route in press coverage. He is fluid when he opens up and can run/stay in phase with vertical routes. His short-area quickness is good for a big cornerback. However, he has some bad habits to break in off coverage. He catches and grabs too much. He will draw a lot of flags at the next level if that doesn’t get cleaned up.”
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Expert: Chris Trapasso, CBSSports.com
Eagles fans might be familiar with this name if they’re also fans of the Nittany Lions. Parsons was a 5-star recruit coming out of high school and made an immediate impact in his freshman season, totaling 82 tackles, 4 for loss and 1.5 sacks as a freshman. In 2019, he built on that strong start by tallying 109 tackles, 14 for loss and five sacks along with five passes defensed and four forced fumbles. He opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID concerns.
He put on a show at Penn State’s pro day, running a 4.39 40 while weighing in at 246 pounds. His Relative Athletic Score, comparing his times, height and weight to other prospects at his position saw Parsons check in with a 9.59 out of 10. As Jeremiah points out, it’s hard to find a weakness in his game.
“Parsons has a big, athletic frame and possesses excellent speed and versatility. He is quick to key/read before attacking the line of scrimmage. He can defeat blocks with his hands or use his quickness to slip past them. He has the speed to make plays sideline to sideline, although there were a few occasions where he overran the football in the games I studied. He also had some issues sniffing out the ball on zone reads. He’s very gifted in coverage versus tight ends and running backs. He has timing and burst as a blitzer off the edge. Overall, there aren’t many holes in Parsons’ game. It’s difficult to find linebackers with his size and ability to impact the passing game.”MORE NEWS: Friday Night In New Jersey Looks Like Something Out Of 2019 As Restrictions Eased
There is one caveat to this pick. The Eagles front office has historically not used much of their draft capital on linebackers. The highest they’ve selected one in recent years was in the third round last year with Davion Taylor. That could change for a prospect like Parsons who can do so many different things but, history would say otherwise.