With the 224th pick in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Eagles selected linebacker JaCoby Stevens out of LSU.
A three-year starter, Stevens finished his Tigers career with 190 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, four interceptions, and four forced fumbles. He was named a second-team All-SEC selection by the coaches following his junior year. He followed that up by leading the Tigers with 63 tackles last season.
"It was a dream come true. I was actually sitting down and talking with my trainer and just talking about the moves that were being made. We saw Philly's pick was coming up and my phone started to ring, and I saw the area code and I said, 'Man, this might be it,'" Stevens said during a virtual conference call. "He was happy. He walked off, and literally as soon as I got off the phone tears just came out of my eyes. I'm just really excited. It's a dream come true I'm able to come to Philly and play in front of some really loyal and really good, supportive fans. I'm ready for it. I'm ready to tackle and contribute any way that I can."
Cited for his toughness, LSU Head Coach Ed Orgeron called Stevens one of the strongest players pound-for-pound on the team. A versatile chess piece, the 6-1, 212-pound Stevens lined up as a safety, linebacker, and dime back on the defensive side of the ball. He also started a game as a freshman at wide receiver as he was splitting time between that and safety before moving full-time to the defensive side of the ball.
"At the end of the day, my thing is about coming in and being able to contribute any way possible. So if they have me come in and want me to play linebacker or safety, regardless of what position they want me to play, my job now is to contribute to the Philadelphia Eagles defense," Stevens said.
Noted for his leadership on and off the field, Stevens wore the famed No. 7 jersey that has been sported by NFL players such as Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu. Stevens was nominated by LSU for the 2020 Good Works Team. He participated in a drive that gathered much-needed supplies for people affected by Hurricane Laura. He also registered the entire LSU team to vote as part of a social justice initiative.
"Culture is everything. If you don't have a belief system, core values, we're just a bunch of guys out there playing for ourselves, and that's never good. I don't care how much talent you have on there, that's never good. So establishing a culture and a core belief within the team is a really big deal," Stevens said.
"What you do off the field when the cameras aren't around is important. Literally, my high school secretary is here to celebrate getting drafted with me just because it's how I carried myself, how you treat people and in return people will treat you with respect if you give it. I'm big on carrying myself in the highest manner, because I'm not only doing that for me, but I'm doing it for the last name on my back, and I'm also doing it for the organization that chose for me to represent them."
The 22-year-old Stevens was a five-star recruit and the No. 1 safety in the country coming out of Oakland High in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
"Played safety and linebacker. We saw him in Mobile. Played linebacker. Another guy that we were fortunate enough to spend time with in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, took advantage of the opportunity. He's a very productive blitzer. He's a very productive tackler. He's tough, he's physical. And he's a guy we're excited to add," Andy Weidl said.