Last Thursday, the 2021 NFL Draft took place in Cleveland, Ohio. The highly anticipated selection process featured all quarterbacks being taken with the first three picks. After those picks, the draft was uncertain, and none of the chosen were considered a lock. Leading up to the draft, Eagles fans everywhere were very skeptical about what general manager Howie Roseman was going to do with the first-round pick and the draft overall. Given his recent track record of going against what most fans and experts had anticipated and missing on high picks, Eagles fans had every right to be skeptical for 2021. It was just last year when Roseman passed on wide receiver Justin Jefferson with the 21st pick, who most fans wanted and what most mock drafts had the Eagles selecting, and instead went with TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor who wasn’t even projected to be a first-round pick. Who was picked 22nd overall? Justin Jefferson, by the Minnesota Vikings.
Roseman’s decision immediately backfired as Jefferson went on to have a historic rookie year breaking the record for most receiving yards by a rookie in NFL history, recording 1,400 yards, and making a Pro Bowl appearance. On the other hand, Reagor struggled to acclimate his rookie year fully and finished with 31 catches and 396 yards. The jury is still out on him for whether he can be an impact player for the Eagles. Due to this, the Eagles needed a wide receiver heading into the draft.
With the 12th pick in the 2021 draft, the Eagles were likely to choose one of the top receivers, but more likely the latter of the top three, given that two would probably go before the Eagles picked. That is precisely what happened. When it got to the ninth overall pick, LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle had already been selected. Holding pick number 10 was the Dallas Cowboys, followed by the New York Giants at pick 11 and then Eagles. Rumors were swirling before the draft that Giants would be very interested in taking wide receiver DeVonta Smith, the Heisman Trophy winner out of Alabama, with their pick after it was widely assumed the Cowboys wanted a defensive player. Before the Giants could even get the chance to pick Smith, Howie Roseman came to his senses. He negotiated a trade with none other than Jerry Jones to receive the Cowboy’s 10th overall pick in exchange for the Eagles’ 12th overall pick and a third-round pick. With the 10th overall pick, the Eagles indeed selected Smith, the former Alabama teammate of the projected 2021 starting quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Howie Roseman finally provided Eagles fans something to celebrate instead of despair in an NFL Draft. Smith brings a different dimension to the Eagle’s wide receiver room that they haven’t had in a long time. He will immediately become the number one receiver on the team thanks to his elusive speed, route running and ability to catch the ball. Smith will always face questions about his size, 170 pounds, but make no mistake — Eagles fans can now rest knowing they now have a receiver with legitimate Pro Bowl potential who will contribute right away. At least rest for the first round.