Who’s Up Next?
Potential Birds targets for Day 3
The Eagles entered draft weekend with ten selections at their disposal but have only made three selections throughs the first three rounds. However, the consensus is that the team has aced the test thus far.
The first splash came nearly an hour and a half into opening night, when Philadelphia traded picks 15, 124, 162, and 166 to move up two spots to secure disruptive, space-eating defensive tackle Jordan Davis out of the University of Georgia.
Shortly after, word of the Eagles trading for Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown sent shockwaves throughout the Delaware Valley and took the NFL world by storm. The Eagles, who sent its No. 18 and No. 101 picks, respectively, to Tennessee in return, promptly reached agreement with Brown on a 4-year, $100M extension, with $57M guaranteed.
In Brown, who comes to Philadelphia with 185 receptions, 2,995 yards and 24 touchdowns on his resume, the Eagles land an immediate reinforcement at a position of need, and the ideal complement to second-year pass-catcher DeVonta Smith.
On Friday evening, the Eagles stood firm at pick No. 51 and stayed true to its longstanding blueprint of fortifying the trenches, selecting Nebraska center Cam Jurgens. Though Jurgens isn’t likely to help the Eagles this season, the 6-foot-3, 303-pound lineman was selected to be the eventual successor to Jason Kelce.
In the third-round, Eagles Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman appeared to have pulled off another masterstroke, ending linebacker Nakobe Dean’s inexplicable freefall. While questions surrounding Dean’s durability and slight build loom large, the former Georgia standout is an explosive and twitchy second-level defender who can get to the quarterback, as evidenced by his six-sack season campaign in 2021.
So, where does that leave the Eagles entering Day 3? Well, the team still has glaring needs at cornerback and safety, but as of this moment, only two picks – a 5th (No. 154) and a 7th (No. 237) – remain, barring a trade.
Let’s take a look at some Day 3 defensive back prospects who could be a match when the Eagles are on the clock.
Josh Jobe, Alabama
Of the cornerbacks not named Zyon McCollum, Tariq Woolen, and Coby Bryant, Jobe represents the best-of-the-rest. Jobe is a willing tackler and plays the game in an aggressive manner despite his build (5-11, 182), but he’s coming off an underwhelming final season in Tuscaloosa. In 2020, playing opposite Patrick Surtain, Jobe accounted for 55 tackles (2.0 for loss), 11 passes defended, two sacks, and two forced fumbles. His exceptional anticipation, coupled with his lack of top end speed, could earn him some looks at safety.
Damarri Mathis. Pittsburgh
Mathis was clocked at a 4.39 in Indianapolis but doesn’t play to that speed. Instincts, toughness, and football intellect are his calling card, but due to his compact frame (5-11, 196) and untimely coverage lapses, Mathis is best-suited as a sub-package defensive back.
Kalon Barnes, Baylor
While Barnes lacks the ideal frame for what the Eagles need (5-11, 183 pounds), the Baylor product clocked a blistering 4.23 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, which is the fastest time clocked by a defensive back at the combine in 19 years. Barnes’ track speed, coupled with his 31 3/4 -inch arms, and developmental traits would make him an intriguing add at No. 237. Registered 69 tackles (2.5 for loss), 14 passes defended, three interceptions, and a forced fumble over four seasons.
Joshua Williams, Fayetteville State
At 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, Williams sports the prototypical size for what teams look for in an outside corner. Williams’ skill set is still rather raw and needs refining, but he plays with patience, uses his length to affect the catch-point, and runs well for his size (4.53 40-yard dash in Indianapolis).
Tariq Castro Fields, Penn State
Castro-Fields, a lengthy, 6-foot-1, 197-pound cornerback, is custom made to thrive on the perimeter. Athletic prospect with little wasted movement in and out of his back pedal, fluid hips, and the length to narrow throwing windows. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Castro-Fields ran a 4.38.
Tycen Anderson, Toledo
Anderson, a three-year starter for the Rockets, is a 6-foot-2, 209-pound safety who boasts sideline-to-sideline range and instinctiveness. He does an excellent job using his length to his advantage and should be a core special teamer. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Anderson recorded a 4.36 40-yard dash and a 35.5-inch vertical.
Dane Belton, Iowa
Last season, Belton showcased his ball skills – five interceptions – but the former Hawkeye offers limited range and instinctiveness. His eye discipline is one of the traits that stood out, and he plays the game with physical demeanor, but he’ll be a work in progress wherever he lands.
Percy Butler, Louisiana
One of my favorite late-round defensive backs, Butler will need to develop his play strength to carve out a prominent role, but his positional versatility and football IQ are his dominant traits. The 6-foot, 194-pounder collected 60 tackles (6.0 for loss) four passes defended, three fumble recoveries, and in interception last season for the Ragin’ Cajuns. Likely a core special teamer who should thrive as a gunner almost immediately.
Smoke Monday, Auburn
At 6-foot-3, 199 pounds, Monday offers the length and versatility to thrive in any scheme with improved fluidity and range in coverage. While Monday doesn’t boast prototypical size for the position, he plays the game with an aggressive, downhill mentality. He’s at his best attacking the line of scrimmage, but with some refinement, Monday could develop into a quality rotational safety and special teams ace.
Markquse Bell, Florida A&M
The Eagles could take a late-round flier on the 6-foot-2, 212-pound Bell. A Bridgeton, N.J. native, Bell totaled 95 tackles, a pair of sacks, and an interception over 12 games last season for the Rattlers. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Bell turned in a 4.41 40-yard dash and logged a 36.5-inch vertical. Given his intriguing size and athleticism, Bell would have a shot at a depth role.