Reviewing the Philadelphia Eagles’ unorthodox draft
It’s been two days since the NFL draft ended April 25, and I wanted some time to digest what happened last week with the Eagles. First, here’s a rundown of their draftees, starting with the round in which they were chosen:
- TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor, 21st overall.
- Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, 53rd overall.
- Colorado linebacker Davion Taylor, 103rd overall.
- Clemson safety K’Von Wallace, 127th overall; Auburn offensive tackle Jack Driscoll, 145th overall.
- Boise St. WR John Hightower, 168th overall.
- Temple LB Shaun Bradley, 196th overall; Southern Miss WR Quez Watkins, 200th overall; Auburn OT Prince Tega Wanogho, 210th overall.
- Stanford defensive end Casey Toohill, 233rd overall.
I was actually fine with the Reagor pick, even with LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson being available. What was really hard to swallow, though, was the Dallas Cowboys getting Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb four spots earlier, when he fell into their laps. Did the Birds – who need wide receiver help way more then Dallas – try to trade up with Atlanta at No. 16 so they could draft Lamb before the Cowboys did? Probably, but we don’t know what price the Falcons were asking or if they were even interested. Whatever went down, Lamb going to Dallas was bad news for Philly. (The rest of the Cowboys’ draft looks pretty darn good, too.)
The inscrutable choice of QB Hurts in the second round only made matters worse with the fans. Now, I trust head coach Doug Pederson’s ability to utilize Hurts’ impressive skillset. The problem is, there were starting caliber players out there, including Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa and LSU cornerback Kristian Fulton, who could’ve helped right away. Hurts seems like a luxury pick, and that’s a huge risk in the second round.
I did like Philadelphia’s selections on Day 3. Wallace (Clemson defensive coordinator Brett Venables raves about him) and Wanogho are very interesting picks, as are the two wideouts, Hightower and Martin. When asked which of his players was going to be drafted later than he should be, Venables immediately mentioned Wallace. As for Wanogho, he was graded a third-round selection until he underwent a knee procedure. Getting him in round six is excellent value.
Throughout the three days, on defense as well as offense, Pederson and General Manager Howie Roseman prioritized speed; I don’t fault them for that. Lord knows the club needed major upgrades there.
Rounds 4-7 can make or break a draft, and with the risks the Eagles took early on, that may be true more than ever when it comes to the Birds’ 2020 draftees. The pressure will be on.