Ask Andrew: Waddle Or Smith If Birds Go WR?
As we approach the heart of the pre-draft process and the oft-scrutinized Pro Day numbers trickle in, mock drafts and big boards alike will shift and opinions will be revised. In an effort to streamline all draft-related questions and interact with you, we’ve hatched the concept of Andrew’s Draft Mailbag. Let's get to the questions!
From Twitter: Sean Woolford (@seanwoolford)
Hey Andrew, can you rank the following hybrid DB's in this draft? Elijah Molden, Aaron Robinson, Trill Williams, Shaun Wade, Israel Mukuamu.
A: Personally, I have them: Molden, Robinson, Williams, Wade, Mukuamu. Molden is among my favorite players in this draft class; what he lacks in measureables he more than makes up for with toughness, football intellect, versatility, and ball skills. Think new-age Tyrann Mathieu.
Robinson is a riser who I believe will ultimately come off the board earlier than expected. At 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, he has the flexibility to play inside or outside, though his best fit will likely be in the slot at the pro level. Robinson can also play in man or zone-based schemes. I’m much higher on his upside over, say, Shaun Wade's.
Williams is another DB I’m partial towards. NFL frame and athleticism who demonstrates good recognition and anticipation and plays with a physical, blue-collar mentality. Some injury concern, however. Intriguing Day 3 prospect.
From Twitter: Leo Pien (@Chilei76)
I'll start with a question everyone seems to be wondering about. How do you rank these offensive weapons: Chase, Smith, Waddle and Pitts? If we take "expected fit for the Eagles/Hurts/Sirianni" into consideration, will your ranking differ from the previous one?
A. Hi, Leo. I like how you used the term offensive weapons. I’d personally rank them: Pitts, Chase, Waddle, Smith.
Pitts offers incredible valuable to any offense, in that he can be moved around as a versatile chess piece to capitalize on mismatches. He can impact the short-to-intermediate passing game or stretch teams vertically. That tight end label makes me cringe a bit, because Pitts brings such a diverse skill set to the table.
My Waddle-over-Smith ranking may raise some eyebrows, but it’s easy to forget how productive Waddle was before an injury limited him to just six games in 2020. He boasts a bulkier frame, electrifying speed, and explosive traits.
If we’re talking best skill player available at No. 6, to me, it’s Pitts. In regards to which is the expected fit for Sirianni’s offense, I'd still lean Pitts. The Colts utilized a plethora of tight ends last season and Sirianni schemed ways to accent each's strengths. Should the team bring in Pitts to pair with Goedert, the Eagles’ offense suddenly has tantalizing options.
Question from Twitter: Matty B (@M_Bavus):
Why are people sleeping on Waddle so much as a fit for Philly? With Waddle and Reagor on the field, the offense to me would be truly dynamic and could resemble KC’s offense.
A. That’s a fair question, although Waddle has been gaining traction throughout the pre-draft process. It’s easy to overlook Waddle, who was limited to just six games last season, after the prolific season that DeVonta Smith had in 2020; everyone else paled in comparison, after all.
However, Waddle is undeniably the more explosive player and has a frame better suited to withstand the rigors of a full NFL season. I think selecting Waddle at No. 6 would be a tad rich, but I think the Eagles could feasibly move down two spots and still snag him. The other Alabama receiver would be a fantastic complement to Jalen Reagor, giving the Eagles a dynamic set of fleet-footed pass-catchers for Jalen Hurts to grow with.
Question from Twitter: Kirby (@kirby_sprinkle):
What do you think is the better option at #6: trade down say to 8-12 or stand Pat and take BPA. To me it’s not worth it to move down for a mid-rounder and a future second and miss out on a Kyle pitts or devonta smith. And if chase is there trading down shouldn’t even be a thought.
A. Well, assuming the board shakes out as anticipated, the Eagles should have their choice of skill players if they hold firm at 6. That said, the draft hardly ever unfolds as expected, so a trade-back wouldn’t shock me. But, in order to come away with a blue-chip offensive weapon, they can’t afford to drop past No. 8.
My opinion: Hold firm at 6, add your blue-chip talent. Overthinking things can be detrimental, especially when the Eagles have little margin for error.
Question from Twitter: Alex Rowe @LeedsSeoulVan:
Last year we heard it was a historically great WR class. What is the strongest position group of this class?
A. You’re likely to hear differing opinions on this, as this particular class is fairly well-balanced, but I’d say wide receiver and cornerback.
Sure, you’re well aware of Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, and DeVonta Smith, but prospects such as Rashod Bateman, Elijah Moore, Amon-Ra St. Brown, D’Wayne Eskridge, and Tylan Wallace are just a handful examples of high-upside talent beyond the cream of the crop.
Cornerback, same thing; this class has much more to offer beyond Surtain, Farley, and Horn. Northwestern’s Greg Newsome II is a starting outside corner, and Georgia’s Eric Stokes and Tyson Campbell will be high-end starters. Then there’s Asante Samuel Jr., Elijah Molden, Aaron Robinson, Ifeatu Melifonwu, Paulson Adebo, etc. There are corners of all shapes and sizes and scheme versatility in this class.
– Andrew DiCecco (@ADiCeccoNFL) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com. Listen to the latest Inside The Birds with Adam Caplan and Geoff Mosher here: