Eagles 2017 Draft Class and Trade For a RB | Eagles Addict
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Well, the much anticipated NFL Draft is now over and the Eagles have several new players added to the nest.  Overall, I think Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas did well and added quality players.

However, I don’t think it worked out as well as they (or we) had hoped going in.  Unfortunately, that’s what happens in the unpredictable NFL Draft…as the Rolling Stones said, “you can’t always get what you want.”

But, did they get what we need?

The Eagles had many needs heading into the draft, some more pressing than others, but they almost couldn’t go wrong at pick 14.  With that said, I think the first 13 picks threw the Eagles for a loop.

They landed DE Derek Barnett at pick 14 and of course celebrated the pick.  However, I do not believe he was their top choice overall, or even their second or third for that matter.

When coming up with those 7-8 scenarios Roseman and Douglas eluded to about how the draft will fall, they admitted that what actually happened wasn’t one of the scenarios they envisioned.

They may have had Barnett rated highly, but if any of Corey Davis, John Ross, Mike Williams or Christian McCaffrey were on the board along with Barnett at 14, my bet is they would have taken one of the skill players.

Once those four guys were off the board it became clear the Eagles would go defense, though they were rumored to be one of the teams that had a first round grade on Dalvin Cook. I was certain that the Eagles wanted an offensive skill player at 14 so I was wondering if they’d use that pick on Cook, even if it may not have been “great” value.

But, defense it was.  I was hoping for Reuben Foster (I think the concerns were/are overblown) and even thought the pick may have been Marlon Humphrey or Charles Harris.

Throughout the pre-draft process I never really even considered Barnett as a “real” target because I just didn’t see him as a good fit in Schwartz’ defense (and I was honed in on offensive skill players).

Alas, the pick of Barnett has since grown on me.  I’ve always liked him as a player, I just thought the Eagles would have chosen a more quick twitch/explosive player off the edge. Barnett is a “meat and potatoes” kind of player….and I like meat and potatoes.

In the second round, the Eagles took CB Sidney Jones, who was my initial target at pick 14 prior to his injury.  I’m torn on this pick because while the Eagles got a top 10-15 player in the second round, he is “damaged goods” and likely won’t be a factor this year.

If he fully recovers to his pre-injury form, he could turn out to be a steal.  But, that’s not a given and Achilles injuries sometimes lead to an injury to the opposite leg because the player will favor the injured leg and put more stress on the other, causing another injury.

All we can do is be patient and realize we may not see  him in any real action until 2018.  The worst thing that can happen is that he *seems* recovered, he ends up playing this year and then either re-ruptures his Achilles or sustains another serious injury.

If it all goes as hoped, though, the Eagles may finally have their lock-down CB that will start paying real dividends in 2018 and beyond.

In Round 3 I was happy to see the Eagles double-down on CB.  but it was frustrating to see Cam Sutton, Cordrea Tankersley and Jourdan Lewis all go off board within seven picks before the Eagles.

Of course, they would have all been there for the Eagles’ original pick had they not traded for Jernigan (but that’s okay).  So, they ended up with Rasul Douglas from West Virginia.

I love Douglas’ size and aggressiveness but I’m not sure if he has the athleticism to hold up in coverage in times when the Eagles’ pass rush isn’t getting pressure.  His spider chart from the Combine isn’t the greatest outside of his physical attributes…

Not that his Combine numbers are the end-all-be-all, but it makes me wonder.  He is, however, a ball hawk as he led the nation with eight INTs last season.

In the fourth round the Eagles finally went offense with the selections of WR Mack Hollins and RB Donnel Pumphrey.

I loved the Hollins pick as I think he was vastly underrated.  He could turn out to be another steal in this draft if Eagles WR coach Mike Groh can work his magic and refine his route running skills.

Hollins has all the tools to become a starting NFL Wide Receiver.  He’ll need a year, but will get his experience as he’s almost a lock to be active every week due to his Special Teams prowess.

The selection of Pumphrey was a curious one to me.  Yes, he’s Darren Sproles 2.0 and the obvious heir apparent to that role, but he’s not going to be a “work horse” by any means.  I wanted the Eagles to come out of this draft with a true 3-down RB.

They didn’t.

Still on the board at the time they took Pumphrey were Jamaal Williams, Marlon Mack and Jeremy McNichols…all of whom I would have taken over Pumphrey.  Pumphrey may turn out to be a good Sproles’ian role player, but this team needs a Running Back who can play all three downs.

In Round 5 the Eagles took WR Shelton Gibson and Safety-turning-Linebacker Nate Gerry. Both picks were a surprise in their own way.

I didn’t expect the Eagles to take a second WR after Hollins and now have somewhat of a log-jam at the position.  But, Gibson was a good pick at that point, can’t argue the value there.

Gibson is a guy I can see taking over slot duties if the Eagles decide not to retain Jordan Matthews after this season.  He’s fast, explosive and good with the ball in his hands.

I think the Eagles took a value pick here because they may have been eyeing-up another CB such as Corn Elder, Desmond King or Damontae Kazee.  Once they were gone, Gibson was good value.

When the Eagles picked Gerry, it was like…”who?”

They needed depth at the LB position so when they immediately announced that Gerry was drafted to convert to LB from S it made more sense.  Because of that and after researching him, I really liked the pick.

Gerry has good measurables and the nasty attitude on the field that fans will like.  We’ll have to see how well he transitions to Linebacker though.

Lastly, the Eagles got great value with DT Elijah Qualls in the sixth round.  He has good athleticism and could turn out to be a great fit in Schwartz’ defense.  He is an excellent security blanket in case either Beau Allen has trouble returning from injury and/or we can’t retain Jernigan after this season.

The Eagles went into this draft needing, in order, help at CB, RB and pass rusher.  They addressed those needs, but their top two (CB and RB) still have question marks for 2017.

Jones may be the answer for 2018 and beyond, but 2017 looks like we’ll be dealing with Mills, Robinson, Brooks and Douglas as the top four guys.  All four have significant questions about how effective they will be.

The hope is that they will be “good enough” with the caveat that the defensive line will be able to consistently put pressure on the passer and not force them to cover for any elongated period of time.

As for the RB position, it seems as of now that we will be dealing with another committee situation.

None of the Running Backs currently on the team is very appealing when thinking about a guy that can handle the load…and that includes UDFA Corey Clement.  Maybe the Eagles are fine with that for another season, but I wouldn’t rule out a future move here.

Jamaal Charles is still out there and could be brought in on a one-year deal if his health checks out.  Or, perhaps Howie will be looking for a trade…

The most intriguing trade options might be Jeremy Hill from the Bengals or Mark Ingram from the Saints.

Hill is enticing because he’s still young (turns 25 in October) and is still on his rookie deal. Ingram is older (turns 28 in December) and has two years remaining on his four-year, $16 million contract.

Hill could be viewed as someone who could “grow” with the offense still while Ingram would be better viewed as a solid one, maybe two year kind of guy.

I can’t see either player costing that much in a trade.  The Eagles have three fourth-round picks next year, but I’m not even sure either of those guys would cost that much. I could also see trading Mychal Kendricks for either of them as well.

One last thing…I listened to a lot of Eagles talk radio over the weekend, far more than usual for me, and one thing that baffled me was the amount of people saying matter-of-factly that the Eagles won’t be competing for the Super Bowl this year.

I whole-heartedly disagree with that sentiment.

While I’m not going to sit here and say they stand a “good chance” at making the big game, I’m certainly not going to say they don’t have any chance.

With the additions of Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Timmy Jernigan, Chris Long, a solidified OL, the draft class and being in Year 2 of Wentz, this team can and should be very competitive.

The Eagles may be taking the long view in some ways, but they’ve also prepared themselves to compete now as well.

 

 


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3 Responses to What the Eagles’ Draft Told Us and Making a Move For a RB

  1. Buddyball46 says:

    Great read, Dave has been a soothsayer this off season (building the OL, Alston, Chance etc..). I am really happy with Barnett but admit that I have an illogical bias towards him hoping he may become a Reggie White lite with the Tennessee thing. When pick 14 came up and and Allen was there I started thinking about him too.

    The only skill player I think they should have considered at 14 is Corey Davis. I did like the other but I feel you need to build from the line out. I do not feel like RB is. Big need for us. I actually would rather have Kenyon Barner than Jamal Charles at this point in his career.

    I think I am good with what we have going into the season ( Pumphrey, Smallwood, Sproles and Marshall). I think Marshall will play both RB and WR, whichever position thins out first with injuries. For the most part I think the bell cow days are over. I do think we will probably add veteran Cap casualty cut as we near the season.

    I am happy we did not give up good players for peanuts (Kielce, Kendicks, Peters or Matthews). We need to retain our best 53 even if a former high paid starter gets moved to 2nd team but is still playing well, but just got beat out. NE does thiis too within reason.

    With what I said from building from the lines out I am jealous of the Carolina picks Mcaffrey and Samuels. I am just inking of the formations they could have and how difficult it would be to match up if they went no huddle wi both players in at the same time as they could run any formation effectively and create huge mis matches as both of the rookies can play RB and WR at a high level and are dynamic.

    I am still not sure what to think of our 2nd pick. I guess I like it but probably would have been happier with one of the big corners or the athletic freak DB from Connecticut. I am hoping Jones does not get rushed back from injury. I do not dislike our pick of him but wish we did not get an injured player.

    Go EAGLES!!

    • Thanks Buddy! I must have had a pretty good day back in February when I wrote this: Offseasn Plan: Offense in FA and Defense in the Draft

      Easily my best prediction piece I’ve ever wrote!

      Kenjon Barner is long gone my man. Looks like we’re going into the season with Smallwood, Pumphrey, Sproles and ?? They converted Marshall to WR which doesn’t bode well for him. Corey Clement could be our 4th RB, but I cannot rule out a trade for a RB either.

      I was jealous of Carolina too…I absolutely LOVED McCaffrey going into this draft and was really, really hoping we’d get him. But, oh well.

      NASCAR package huh? Sounds good to me! I love our DL rotation now…we’ll be relying heavily on that to help our Corners. I hope they come through!

  2. Buddyball46 says:

    I forgot to mention I am hoping to see A big package of our tall WR’s and a NASCAR type of package on D with Graham, Cox, Curry and Barnett.


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