2021 Eagles 7-Round Mock Draft

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The 2020 NFL Draft is over, but that won’t stop me from doing at least one more mock draft. 

Even though it is a year away, and plenty can change, here is a way-too-early 2021 NFL Mock Draft, with an emphasis on positions the team could need to address: 

1st: Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford 
The Need: The Eagles made a big splash at cornerback in free agency when they traded for Darius Slay. The move showed they are serious about wanting a No. 1 cornerback, something that wasn’t as clear over the past few seasons. Slay is still an elite-level player, but he will be 30 by the time the next NFL Draft is held, and isn’t exactly a five-plus year starter. Opposite of Slay right now is a combination of Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones and maybe Rasul Douglas, none of which are sure things for 2020, let alone 2021. A cornerback in the first round checks off two boxes — a potential replacement for Slay down the line, and an immediate fix opposite Slay if the trio the Eagles have now don’t work out. 
The Player: Standing 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, Adebo has the size to be a nice fit with Slay on the opposite side. He also knows how to make plays on the ball, picking off four passes each of the last two seasons, brining his total to eight in 22 games. 
2nd: LaBryan Ray*, DE/DT, Alabama
The Need: It was surprising to see the Eagles not address the pass rush earlier on in the draft. Brandon Graham will be 33 for the 2021 season. The Eagles picked up the fifth-year option on Derek Barnett, but the jury is still out on whether he can be an impact starter. For a team that really values the pass rush, it is surprising how sketchy their long-term plan at the defensive end position is. The need is so big that it is very possible they go defensive end in the first round. 
The Player: Ray missed the majority of the 2019 season with a foot injury, otherwise he likely would have been in the 2020 NFL Draft. Ray, 6-foot-5, 292 pounds, has 4.5 sacks and 10 tackles for a loss in 21 games for Alabama. He could work his way into the first round with a strong season. 
3rd: Josh Pederson, TE, Louisiana-Monroe  
The Need: The Eagles clearly value the tight end position, and enjoy playing two tight-end sets more than any other team in the league. They are all set for 2020 with Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, but like defensive end, the position is a little murkier going forward. Ertz is in line for a very expensive new contract. Goedert has two more years remaining on his rookie deal, and by the time 2021 gets here, will have just one year left. The chances both Goedert and Ertz are here in 2022 seem slim. Drafting a tight end prospect early on in 2021 to develop and get ready to take over for either Ertz or Goedert makes sense. 
The Player: Pederson, 6-foot-5, 232 pounds, has improved each season and finished last year with 43 catches for 567 yards and nine touchdowns. He has the size, hands and playmaking ability to be a starting tight end in the NFL, and is the perfect player for the Eagles to develop fr a starting role down the line. 
5th: Charles Snowden, LB/Edge, Virginia
The Need: The Eagles’ are without a fourth-round pick due to the trade for Genard Avery this past season. This season will show if that trade was worth it. Unless Avery turns into an impact player, however, the Eagles are going to need to continue to add depth to their pass rush. Picking two edge rushers with their first four picks would not be surprising at all. 
The Player: Snowden is an elite-level athlete, standing 6-foot-7, 235 pounds. Unlike Davion Taylor, the Eagles’ third-round pick this year, Snowden has the production to back up his athleticism, totaling nine sacks, 20.5 tackles for a loss and two interceptions in three seasons.  
5th: Tyler Vaughns, WR, USC
The Need: The Eagles picked three receivers in the 2020 NFL Draft, so chances are they won’t be prioritizing the position in 2021. Still, two of the three they drafted were in the later rounds, so they might take another swing late in 2021 on a receiver — especially with DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery likely not back in 2021. 
The Player: The Eagles went for speed in 2020, so in a classic overcorrection move, they will likely be looking for big receivers in 2021. Vaughn, 6-foot-2, 190 pounds with long arms, fits the mold of a J.J. Arcega-Whiteside/Alshon Jeffery replacement. He has been extremely productive in college, finishing with at least five touchdowns in all three seasons at USC. 
6th: Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State 
The Need: As mentioned above, the cornerback situation beyond 2020 is a concern, and after drafting none in 2020, they could definitely take two in 2021. 
The Player: The name alone will catch the interest of the Eagles. He hasn’t been able to pick off passes at the rate his dad did, with just one interception in two seasons, but does have 23 pass deflections in two seasons. 
7th: K.J. Costello, QB, Mississippi State 
The Need: The Eagles have said they are going to draft a quarterback every year, and after taking Jalen Hurts in the second round this year, they are clearly serious about that. 
The Player: Maybe the Eagles are changing what they look for in a quarterback after drafting Hurts. But at 6-foot-5, 222 pounds, Costello checks off all the boxes the Eagles have looked for in the past at the position. 
** Hat tip to www.draftsite.com for help with the prospects and current projected round ** 
You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!