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2021 NFL Draft: Grading Eagles’ 6th-round selections of JaCoby Stevens, Tarron Jackson, Marlon Tuipulotu | Did moves make sen


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2021 NFL Draft: Grading Eagles’ 6th-round selections of JaCoby Stevens, Tarron Jackson, Marlon Tuipulotu | Did moves make sense?

Updated May 01, 5:59 PM; Posted May 01, 5:42 PM
Fiesta Bowl: JaCoby Stevens tackles Marlon Williams

LSU safety JaCoby Stevens was the Philadelphia Eagles' final pick in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.Getty Images


The Eagles made three selections in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft on Friday.

After trading a pair of late-round picks to Washington for a 2022 fifth-round pick, the Eagles chose to address their defensive line, taking USC DT Marlon Tuipulotu (189th) and Coastal Carolina defensive end Tarron Jackson (191st) with their first two sixth-round picks.
Then, with the 224th overall pick, the Eagles selected LSU safety Jacoby Stevens.
Here’s our evaluation of the picks:
189th overall: Marlon Tuipulotu, DT, USC
Quick Thoughts: After selecting Milton Williams in the third round on Friday, the Eagles went back to the defensive tackle well with Tuipulotu. Like second-round pick Landon Dickerson, Tuipulotu has a well-documented lower-body injury history. He only played in 30 games at USC but offers versatility as an interior lineman. He can play nose tackle and three-technique.
1. Need. The Eagles didn’t have much behind Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave entering the draft. However, with Williams and Tuipulotu being added to the fold, at least there’s some upside behind the starting veterans. Tuipulotu is likely to be stacked behind Hargrave at nose tackle as a rookie.
2. Talent. While his college career was impacted by injury, Tuipulotu’s versatility makes him valuable as a sixth-round pick. The Eagles clearly coveted versatility in all of their picks this weekend, and Tuipulotu fits the mold. He has some pass rush talent as well, notching 8.5 sacks during his college career.
3. Value. Tuipulotu was praised by Daniel Jeremiah during the NFL Network broadcast, as the draft analyst said he was his number four defensive tackle. Tuipulotu was The Athletic’s Dane Brugler’s third-ranked defensive tackle. Brugler projected Tuipulotu as a second- or third-round pick, ahead of Williams.
Final Grade: B
191st overall: Tarron Jackson, DE, Coastal Carolina
Quick Thoughts: The Eagles surprisingly chose to wait to address the defensive end position during draft weekend. Instead of investing a top pick, the Eagles took a worthwhile flier on Jackson, an undersized, uber-productive pass rusher from Coastal Carolina. With limited depth at the position, this seems like a solid but forgettable pick.
1. Need. The Eagles only had five defensive ends on their roster prior to this pick. Typically, the Eagles have 5-6 defensive ends on their 53-man regular-season depth chart. So, the Eagles had to address the position at some point. With only Joe Ostman and Matt Leo behind Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett and Josh Sweat, Jackson should have a strong shot at seeing playing time this season.
2. Talent. At just 6-foot-2 and 245 pounds, Jackson is very light for a defensive end. However, he was an absolute force at Coastal Carolina, producing 188 tackles (42 for loss), 24.5 sacks and six forced fumbles during his college career. Given his build, he probably would be a strong option for special teams work as well.
3. Value. The Eagles are in the lottery zone of the draft. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler had Jackson as a sixth-round pick and that’s exactly where he went. The value in this pick is all upside.
Final Grade: C+
224th overall: JaCoby Stevens, LB, LSU
Quick Thoughts (UPDATE): The Eagles were in need of some reinforcements at linebacker. Stevens was announced as a linebacker by the team. He played safety at LSU, but is evidently headed toward a position change. The Eagles have a history of converting college safeties into NFL linebackers so this isn’t particularly surprising.
1. Need. The Eagles had a strong need at linebacker. While they signed Eric Wilson in free agency, the group was lacking in upside behind the projected starting trio of Wilson, Alex Singleton and T.J. Edwards. Stevens is likely to be a project player behind the starters and compete on special teams.
2. Talent. Stevens has good size for the WILL linebacker spot at 6-foot-1 and 212 pounds. He runs a 4.58 40-yard dash and has good length with 32-inched arms. During his five-year career at LSU, he produced 190 tackles (21.5 for loss), 9.5 sacks, 19 pass breakups and four interceptions. Stevens’ blitzing ability and ball skills should help him stand out in the preseason.
3. Value. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler had Stevens as his 22nd-ranked safety. He was projected as a sixth- or seventh-round pick. Ultimately, that’s the range that Stevens was selected in. He should be a solid contributor on special teams and could rise up the depth chart like fellow former LSU safety Jalen Mills did in the past.
Final Grade: B-


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