The Eagles’ first-round picks are a mixed bag. Landon Dickerson, Kenneth Gainwell, Nakobe Dean, and D’Eric King all have good numbers, but are they enough to make the team? Let’s look at the pros and cons of each of these players and decide which one fits best with the Eagles’ needs. Then, check out my thoughts on the next three picks.
The Eagles are making a bold move in taking offensive lineman Landon Dickerson with their first-round pick. The Eagles had a deep need in the interior of their offensive line, but Dickerson’s injury history is a concern. He tore his ACL in his right knee as a freshman at Florida State, and has since suffered several other injuries, including a season-ending ankle injury. Despite that, Dickerson was able to play through his pain and help Alabama win the national championship.
The Eagles did not rush Dickerson into the NFL. Though the Eagles are confident Dickerson will not need a redshirt season, they don’t want to rush his rehab. They also signed backup Jonathan Dean, who was expected to redshirt for the 2020 season. Although he’ll probably remain a backup at the three interior offensive line positions this season, Dickerson is expected to push for a starting role by 2022.
The Eagles passed on a number of talented players in the second round, but drafted center Landon Dickerson as their top pick in the 2021 draft. Dickerson was a first-team All-American and first-team All-SEC center during his last year at Alabama. Dickerson has already made the fans in Philadelphia happy, thanks to positive reaction on social media. So, how did the Eagles make a bold move in selecting Landon Dickerson?
Although Dickerson played center last season, he has the versatility to play other positions, including guard and left tackle. Despite this, he has a history of injuries. In his college career, he suffered season-ending ACL injuries and ankle sprains. But the Eagles still have high hopes for him. The two players have developed a strong friendship over the past few years and could form a formidable offensive line duo.
Aside from Landon Dickerson, the Eagles could also double dip by selecting two players from the University of Georgia. A pair of players from Georgia was drafted by the Eagles last year and another two in 2018. The Eagles haven’t had a great draft experience in Tuscaloosa in decades, but the selection of Landon Dickerson is an encouraging sign. The Eagles are committed to finding the best players at all positions.
The Philadelphia Eagles selected running back Kenneth Gainwell in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. He will likely complement Miles Sanders and should help the Eagles’ offense. However, he does not have the stats to rival other NFL running backs. In his senior season, he rushed for 1,459 yards and 13 touchdowns while catching 51 passes for 610 yards and three touchdowns.
Though not expected to be the starting running back on opening day, Gainwell has flashes of raw talent. He needs more time in the NFL to fully develop his talent, but he should be a serviceable backup in his first season in the NFL. Gainwell will not receive a high volume of touches behind Boston Scott, Jordan Howard, and Miles Sanders. He is an undersized back with a limited number of measurables.
The Philadelphia Eagles selected Memphis running back Kenneth Gainwell with their fifth round selection. He was the last player on Daniel Jeremiah’s top 100 list. This is a great pick for the Eagles, who have a need for running backs. Gainwell has a great upside and the Eagles should make sure they get him a good contract. Just like the Eagles picked Gainwell, the Memphis running back can play both sides of the field and is a great fit for Nick Sirianni’s offense.
Though he may not be a huge athlete, the 5-8, 201-pound stud has overcome adversity outside the game. Gainwell’s older brother, Curtis, had a stroke when he was just 13. He required three lifesaving surgeries in one day, and is still struggling with the effects of the stroke. While football is Gainwell’s joy, he always remembers his family when in a bind.
The Eagles have traded up to take two linebackers in the draft, selecting DeMarcus Ware, Nakobe Dean, and Damarious Randall. Both are three-down linebackers and can bring some juice to the middle of the field. Dean, a five-star recruit out of Horn Lake, Miss., fell to the Eagles in the third round due to injury concerns. It’s not clear how long he’ll be out of action, but there is some hope that he’ll recover.
Demetrius Dean, a mechanical engineering major with a 3.55 grade point average, has already shown some promise. The athleticism and football smarts of Dean are being talked about by scouts. He has a fast second-level release and a superior ability to run to the ball. Dean’s quickness and acrobatics have been noted by NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah. Dean will have the opportunity to play with some of the best in the NFL.
Demetrius Dean and Nakobe Johnson both had high draft stock. Despite their youth, both are expected to make a big impact immediately. While he’s still a rookie, he’s likely to be a starter by the end of the season. Although he’ll likely share the field with Mike Davis, Dean is a great fit for the Eagles. The Eagles may have to settle for a different defensive scheme, but they’re bringing an explosive offensive line that will be a force to be reckoned with.
While Nakobe’s height and weight aren’t comparable, he has the versatility and athleticism to be a valuable player in the Eagles’ secondary. Dean has excellent speed, despite being a true freshman. The two players are expected to develop into elite defensive lineman. The Eagles’ first round picks will be able to protect the middle of the field.
The Eagles have a glaring need for defensive lineman. Dean played at Georgia and is considered to be one of the top college prospects in the 2020 NFL draft. Although he slipped to the third round due to a shoulder injury, his presence at the combine has the potential to be valuable for the Eagles. With his winning mentality and focus on the community, Nakobe Dean is a great fit for the Eagles.
D’Eric King, the second of the Eagles’ first-round picks, is an athletic quarterback with above-average arm strength. His arm strength flashes in short and intermediate areas but his deep ball falls short of the target and lacks top-end velocity. If the Eagles draft him, they should expect to give him some carries and help them move the chains on offense.
The Philadelphia Eagles did not draft a quarterback in the first round in 2013, although they had multiple first-round picks in the 1999 draft. However, the team drafted multiple quarterbacks in the later rounds, including QB Tommy McDonald from UNLV. The Eagles should also watch Tyler Van Dyke, who took over for D’Eric King last season. The 6’4″, 224-pound quarterback needs to improve his consistency.
Adding defensive tackle Tra Thomas to the Eagles’ first-round selections can make or break the team. His height and size make him a prototypical rock at right tackle. King has since become an important piece of the Eagles’ defense. However, the Eagles must be wary of rookie cornerbacks. It’s important to note that the Eagles took the 26th pick in the draft, and they may be better off trading that pick if he’s not as good as originally thought.
D’Eric King and Andrew Booth are arguably the best first-round picks of the 2000 draft, and are a combination of athleticism and talent. While they are not exactly superstars, they have shown great promise and can be valuable assets to the Eagles’ offense. While the Eagles did not choose the best quarterback in the draft, it’s hard to blame them for making this mistake.
The Eagles don’t have to pick a quarterback in the first round. They can get a defender and a pass rusher in the second round. This could be a good way to improve their offensive line and make them a better team in the playoffs. The Eagles are also in desperate need of a running back and the draft allows them to do so. They should make a move in the fourth round, and this draft is an excellent time to take one.