May 1, 2021   3 MIN READ

Back To Basics: Birds Day 3 Emphasized Front Seven


Day 3 of the NFL Draft felt, for the Eagles, like a draft from a decade ago.

This year’s Eagles haul, in general, had the feel of Andy Reid presiding over the picks, with his typical focus on building from the inside-out.

On the final day, Howie Roseman and his staff drafted a cornerback in the fourth round, a running back in the fifth, two defensive linemen and safety-turned-linebacker in the sixth, and a linebacker-defensive end ‘tweener in the seventh as part of an overwhelming haul on defense.

Of the nine total selections over the three-day event, seven have origins on defense, giving new defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon plenty of fresh faces to integrate, and four of the last seven picks addressed the front seven.

Roseman, the team’s executive vice president of football operations, also swapped a sixth-rounder and seventh-rounder to Washington for a 2022 fifth-round pick.

Here’s a snapshot of the six total prospects taken by the Eagles on Day 3:

Memphis product Kenneth Gainwell, an Eagles fifth-round pick, is known for his burst and pass-catching acumen.

Fourth Round, 123rd overall
Zech McPhearson, CB, Texas Tech
Started career at Penn State and graduated early before transferring to Texas Tech … 120 tackles, 14 PDs, 4.5 TFLs, 4 INTs, 3 FR in 46 career games starts at Penn State and Texas Tech … Blocked two kicks as a senior … Personnel source likes eye discipline, ball-attacking but said McPhearson needs to be coached up and developed.

Fifth Round, 150th overall
Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis
Put up 2,212 all-purpose yards in 18 games at Memphis, opted out of 2020 … Rushed for 1,550 career yards, totaled 662 receiving yards, scored 17 career TDs … set Memphis freshman record with six straight 100-yard rushing games… Cousin of Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox…Greg Cosell called him “best receiving running back in the draft.”

Sixth Round, 189th overall
Marlon Tuipulotu, DT, Southern California
Started 29 of 33 career games at USC … Logged 104 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 3 PDs, 2 FFs … Named All-Pac 12 first-team … Can play nose and 3-technique.

Sixth Round, 191st overall
Tarron Jackson, DE, Coastal Carolina
In 48 career games, compiled 195 tackles, 44/5 TFLs, 26.5 sacks, 6 FFs, 3 PDs, 1 FR … led Sun Belt Conference in 2019 with 10 sacks, a school single-season record … Logged 14 TFLs and 8.5 sacks his senior season … Lacks natural bend but possible move inside for nickel pass rush.

Sixth Round, 224th overall
JaCoby Stevens, LB, Lousiana State
Played strong safety at LSU but listed by Eagles at LB … Three-year starter at LSU who finished with 190 tackles, 21.5 TFLs, 19 PDs, 9.5 sacks, 4 INT, 4 FR, 1 FF in 42 games, 30 starts … As a senior, tallied 63 tackles, 6 TFLs, 4 PDs, 3 sacks, 3 FRs, 1 FF … Was a top-25 high school recruit coming out of Oakland H.S. in Tennessee.

Seventh Round, 234th overall
Patrick Johnson, LB, Tulane
Two-star H.S. recruit became three-time All-American Athletic Conference selection … Earned first-team all-conference as a senior, tying for second in FBS with 10 sacks, tying for eighth with 14.5 tackles for a loss, to go along with 2 FFs in 11 starts … Set school record with 24.5 career sacks.

– Geoff Mosher (@geoffmoshernfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for

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