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Grading the Eagles Draft

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Grading the Eagles Draft

Eagles new running back Miles Sanders breaking away from the defense in college.

Eagles new running back Miles Sanders breaking away from the defense in college.

Patrick_Mansell

Eagles new running back Miles Sanders breaking away from the defense in college.

Patrick_Mansell

Patrick_Mansell

Eagles new running back Miles Sanders breaking away from the defense in college.

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 The NFL draft is one of the most exciting times of the NFL offseason. 252 former college athletes are drafted by the 32 NFL teams.  After making the playoffs last year and a mega Carson Wentz extension on the horizon, the Eagles are desperate for cheap, young talent. Here are the grades for each of the players the Eagles took in the draft:

Andre Dillard, OT, Washington. St (Rd. 1, Pick 22)

Josh’s Take: OT was one of the Eagles biggest needs coming into the draft. With Jason Peters getting older, the Eagles needed to find his successor  and Dillard will fill that role. He will learn from the one of the best while already bringing enough talent to make the o-line in the present. Not to mention, he can help protect franchise QB Carson Wentz. In the future, we will see a tackle tandem of  Lane Johnson and Dillard keeping Carson Wentz upright. Grade: A

Matt’s Take: Sometimes the draft requires a little luck, and the Eagles got just that. They traded up three spots to pick 22, and selected Andre Dillard from Washington State. Many analysts and scouts had him as the top pass protecting tackle in the draft, and was considered a top 12 talent. In his college career, he allowed only 1 sack in over 600 pass attempts. He is athletic and smart, and should take over for Jason Peters after this year. The combo of Dillard and Lane Johnson has the potential to give the Eagles bookend tackles for the next decade. Grade: A-

Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State (Rd.2, Pick 53)

Josh’s Take: While the Eagles traded for Chicago Bears RB Jordan Howard earlier in the offseason, he is a free agent at seasons end. With three inconsistent halfbacks behind him, RB for the future was a big need. Cue Miles Sanders, a fast, shifty back from Penn State. Sanders is just the change of pace player the Eagles needed, while even featuring the ability to be a receiver as well.  We will now see an RB tandem of Howard and Sanders for the 2019 season and I couldn’t be more excited. Grade: A-

Matt’s Take: Halleluyah! The revolving door at running back is over.  Miles Sanders gives the Eagles a dynamic, three down back. He has very little wear and tear on his body, because he sat behind Saquon Barkley for 2 years. He has the ability to make people miss and develop into a dynamic pass catcher. Early in the year he will share carries with Jordan Howard, but will probably push for more carries towards the end of the season. Howie Roseman said that Sanders reminded the team of other backs they have had around before (Duce Staley, Brian Westbrook, LeSean McCoy).  Grade: B+

JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford (Rd. 2, Pick 57)

Josh’s Take: I would say many Eagles fans expected the Eagles to draft a linebacker or safety here, but I, for one, am not disappointed. Arcega-Whiteside,  is a big WR with huge hands, a nice complement to Alshon Jeffery. He will provide Wentz with another weapon in the offense and will be a red zone threat. Grade: B

Matt’s Take: I expected the Eagles to draft a receiver, but not one with Whiteside’s characteristics. He is a big, strong WR with a basketball background. He accels at using his body to box out defenders, and is great at winning jump balls. He will be an added weapon in the red zone, and a long term replacement to Alshon Jeffery. Grade: B+

Shareef Miller, DE, Penn State (Rd. 4, Pick 138)

Josh’s Take: With the looming threat of a Chris Long retirement, DE was up there as a need for the Eagles and Miller seems like the player to be consistent in a role at the d-line. He had great stats last year at Penn State with 7.5 sacks and 15 tackles for a loss. Drafting a defensive end has turned out positive for the Eagles with the additions of Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, and Derek Barnett and the Eagles will hope that Miller can provide them with upside. Grade: B-

Matt’s Take: In the fourth round, the Eagles took another Penn State player. They drafted Philly native and defensive end Shareef Miller. He is best at stopping the run, but the team does hope he can uncover some ability to rush the passer. Miller will probably be at the end of the defensive end rotation, while he develops into a more complete player. Grade: B-

Clayton Thorson, QB, Northwestern (Rd. 5, Pick 167)

Josh’s Take: This pick is definitely the biggest head scratcher for the Eagles, but if you think about it, it makes sense. Eagles backup, Nate Sudfeld, will become an unrestricted free agent after this year, most likely leaving the team. Enter Thorson, a 6”4 bulky QB. Scouts have said he has the body to last in the NFL, even though his stats over four years  were fair (61 TD, 45 INT). But, he did set many of the Northwestern records and has improved in every year he has played in. Thorson will learn behind Wentz and QB Doug Pederson who has a track record of developing QB talent. Hopefully, he can grow or be a reliant backup, so if Wentz goes down in the future, Thorson can take over his role and lead the team to a Super Bowl like an other Eagles QB. Grade: C

Matt’s Take: With Nate Sudfeld scheduled to be a free agent after the season, the Eagles selected a quarterback. They will try and develop Thorson to be the eventual back up. His stats in college were not good as he threw 61 touchdowns to 45 interceptions with a completion percentage of 58%. The Eagles liked his size and arm strength, so they took a flier. He will most likely spend the season on the practice squad, although that could get tricky. Grade: C

 

Josh’s Final Thoughts: In my opinion, this draft was a positive for the Eagles. While they only drafted one defensive player, the team improved the weapons around Wentz in the offense. I trust that Howie will fill the other holes the Birds still have (safety and linebacker) as the rest of the offseason rolls on. Overall Grade: A-

Matt’s Final Thoughts: With only five picks, the Eagles did what they could, they were not able to draft others positions they would have liked. There was a clear focus for this draft: give Carson Wentz as many weapons as possible. Even though they didn’t have the volume of picks they would have liked, they did select quality players. They came away with a future left tackle, a playmaking wide receiver, and a dynamic running back. This draft class will ultimately be judged on how the top three picks perform. Overall Grade: B+

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Grading the Eagles Draft