Ja’Marr Chase is gone.
For the sake of argument, Kyle Pitts is, too.
And now it’s the Eagles’ turn on the draft clock with the sixth overall pick on April 29.
There are still quarterbacks available. Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson went 1-2, then Chase went to the Dolphins, Pitts to the Falcons, and Penei Sewell to the Bengals.
If you’re the Eagles, Justin Fields could certainly be in play, but, oh, those Big ten quarterbacks. They’re more prone to wash out than success, Drew Brees and Tom Brady from earlier this century notwithstanding.
There’s also Dwayne Haskins to consider when evaluating Fields. Haskins is a QB who came from the same system Fields played in at Ohio State and is already out in Washington, which took him in the first round just two years ago with the 15th overall pick.
“It could (impact how teams feel about Fields),” said ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper, Jr. during a 90-minute call with the media on Monday afternoon. “He (Fields) is mobile. Dwayne is a pocket guy.”
Kiper then went on to defend why he has Fields rated as the second-best QB in the draft and said that if the Eagles evaluate him as such and he’s available then they should take him. Or if they are happy with Jalen Hurts then get him a weapon.
I’m sticking with my smokescreen theory that the Eagles let it be known they will look at a quarterback in the draft, because, well, they never let anything known about how they regarding the draft, so let’s go the weapon route in this scenario.
With Chase and Pitts gone and assuming they don’t trade down – again, for purposes of this exercise - the pick figures to come down to a pair of wide receivers from Alabama – Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle.
Smith separated himself by winning the Heisman Trophy by turning in one of the best seasons any college pass-catcher ever had.
But, had Waddle not gotten hurt, perhaps things would have gone differently for both WRs.
Maybe Waddle’s presence takes away some of Smith’s targets and maybe Waddle is being considered the better player at the moment.
As it was Smith caught a ridiculous 117 passes for an even more ridiculous 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also averaged 21.5 yards on 11 punt returns, one of which went for a touchdown.
“When (Waddle) went down, he just made me want to set the role to do more, just feeling that it’s a big player that we lost, and I just wanted to do more for the team, do whatever I can for the team,” Smith told the media late last season. “He’s helped me a lot, just with the things that he sees when he’s at the game. He talks to me about things that he sees. He’s still on the sideline helping us with the offensive things like that, and just being here in the film room, just on the things that he sees. So, he helps me and the other players a lot.”
A good segment of the Eagles’ fan base is salivating over the Eagles’ possibly taking Smith with the No. 6 pick in the draft.
They don’t seem to care that his legs and ankles look more like toothpicks than actual legs and ankles. Or that he weighed 164 pounds at the end of Alabama’s long season, which should be noted, isn’t nearly as long as a pro season.
Waddle, meanwhile, missed half the season after suffering an ankle injury on the opening kickoff against Tennessee in the fifth game of the season.
Waddle, who is 5-10, 183, was off to a flying start for the Crimson Tide, topping 120 receiving yards in four consecutive games to start the year. Through four games, he'd totaled 557 yards on 25 catches and a 22.3 yards per catch average to go with four touchdowns.
“In terms of Smith and Waddle, Smith, 50 percent of his catches came inside at the slot, 50 percent of his catches outside,” said Kiper. “When he needed to return a punt, he took one for a touchdown. He just had a phenomenal year. Waddle had the ankle injury on the opening kickoff against Tennessee. He came back and he did contribute - he had three catches in that championship game when he was limping, one of which was a key third-down reception. What a competitor.
“Both of those guys love to play the game. Both very competitive players. Both very versatile. I like Smith a little bit better, but Waddle is right there. If it had not been for the ankle, we might have been having a really good debate there … Both are going to be really good players.”
So, Smith or Waddle, who you taking?
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s EagleMaven. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.