After all the nervous anticipation, the 2017 NFL Draft has come and gone. Philadelphia has received broad acclaim for turning the sometimes monotonous event into a full-on football experience. But more importantly, the Philadelphia Eagles have a crop of new players. So, with that in mind, the gang answered a few questions:
The picks are in. The 2017 Bears are the Browns of yesteryear. The Eagles have an exciting new talent corps. What grade are you giving the Eagles for this draft?
Dan – I’m giving them a B. Maybe even a B+ if the Sidney Jones pick plays out. I like the way that they drafted. It’s not flashy, but I think Joe Douglas has made a positive impact already. I would have loved to see some other guys, but I do believe they’ll get some good production out of Barnett and the others.
Matt – There’s little in this world I hate more (that’s a lie, I love to hate things – looking at you, people that pronounce crayon “crown”) than draft grades. Grading a crop of talent based off of your pre-conceived (and usually uneducated) analysis before they play a down is a pointless excercise. But because Dan asked politely…I’ll give them a B. I correctly predicted the team’s first two picks but thought they missed on a few opportunities later on. Barnett should be fine from early on, but Sidney Jones is risky. They reached on certain players (Pumphrey, Gerry) but found value in others (Gibson, Qualls).
Holden – B+ – I like what the Eagles were able to do in this draft. They added talent at positions of need and they were able to get value day three. Realistically Barnett, Jones, and Douglas should all be starters, and the day three picks have the opportunity to develop into starters with the exception of Donnel Pumphrey. I do think the Eagles may have passed on some players that I had higher on my board, but all-in-all they were able to add talent. I will have a more in-depth draft grades with pick-by-pick analysis coming on Thursday, so keep an eye out for more details.
Kirk – B-. Let’s predicate this grade with the understanding that I’m not a draft guru in even the slightest of terms. I like the Barnett pick, given what he was able to do at Tennessee and Sidney Jones, should he be healthy, will be a huge asset moving forward. But there’s risk in taking Jones and in areas where I thought the Eagles needed the most help (CB, LB, RB) they didn’t fill them out the way I’d hoped. There’s still lots of questions with the current team, but overall, the Eagles made some solid picks.
Let’s look 5 years into the future. Which pick has the biggest impact on the team?
Dan – I’m hopeful that it’s going to be Jones. Pre-injury he was probably a Top 10 lock. I know nothing about sports injuries, but I trust that they’ve done their homework on what the recovery is for an Achilles tear. If he can get back to even 3/4 the mobility he had before, he’ll be a contributor for a long time.
Matt – I’d love to be wrong and say that Donnell Pumphrey is a top-end running back but I suspect that the player with the greatest potential impact is Sidney Jones. I believe they would have taken Jones at 14 prior to his injury and feel that he was the best corner in the draft by a good margin. If he can recover and gain his closing speed, Jones should be a true “island corner” in the NFL – something this team has sorely lacked for a long time. Derek Barnett should pay massive dividends but Jones could be one of the best in the game if he can recover.
Holden – I think the player with the biggest impact on the team will be Sidney Jones, who was the most talented player in the draft at the biggest position of need. Given his age, I think Jones should recover well from the Achilles injury. Jones may not be an immediate contributor this year, but fans could look back at this pick as the steal of the second round.
Kirk – I would think Jones. He was supposed to be a stud until the injury derailed that. The Eagles have struggled at corner shit Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown played in green and Jones has the talent to be just as good, as long as that Achilles heals.
Now that you’ve gotten a better idea of what the 2017-2018 Eagles will look like, what are you expecting from them?
Dan – I’m expecting a winning season. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve got a tough schedule ahead of them, but I don’t think 9-7 is out of the equation. As long as the WR’s can stay healthy, and the defense can get some penetration, I have to think they’re looking at 2-3 more wins than last year.
Matt – I’m expecting an upstart team. This team was terrible in close games – I believe they were 1-6 in games decided by less than 7 points. Part of that was the reliance on a rookie signal-caller but look at his supporting cast! He had a makeshift offensive-line which is now one of the deepest units in the NFL, a receiving corps that was an embarrassment to the game (obviously rectified) and no real semblance of a consistent rushing attached. The latter has not been addressed and hopefully will be by September, but two out three ain’t bad. The defense will struggle but they should be able to pull out a few more of those close games and swing the record in their favor.
Holden – No matter what I expect, the Eagles must improve, or there is a good chance that Doug Pederson will not be back for the 2018 season. With that being said, I think the Eagles should improve on last years win total. I fully expect them to have a top 10 defense and be more consistent on offense. I’m bullish on the Eagles and think that they could go 10-6 this year after a stellar draft.
Kirk – I expect them to improve from last year but I also expect them to hover around the .500 mark. There are some matchups, like the Rams and Bears, that they should win, but the divisional games are always tough, plus they have to take on some tough opponents like KC and Denver. I think 8-8 should be expected, but if they eclipse it, I won’t be shocked.
Okay, peering into the future now. I know Holden is already working on his 2018 Mock, so keep an eye out for it, but who are you keeping an eye on to draft next year?
Dan – This is a biased pick because I went to Penn State, but I’m keeping an eye on Saquon Barkley. The Eagles still need a workhorse back and I’m all in on Barkley. He’s an electric back and would be really fun to watch in Midnight Green. He might not be there when the Eagles pick, but I would be surprised if Howie and Douglas don’t have RB at the top of their 2018 draft board.
Matt – Although he won’t be an Eagle, I’m keeping tabs on Sam Darnold. We all know how piss-poor USC quarterbacks have turned out in the past, but Darnold should break the mold. USC closed the season as arguably one of the best teams in the country, and Darnold was a huge part of that. Once he took the reins, the Trojans were a force to be reckoned with – his Rose Bowl performance was impressive on all fronts. He’ll have a lot of questions to answer and comes in as a near unanimous top selection – which hasn’t worked well for past sensations like DeShaun Watson and Matt Barkley – but I think he’s the real deal and one of the most complete QB prospects to come out since Andrew Luck.
Holden – Well I really don’t want to give anything away here because as Dan said, the “2018 Eagles Mock Draft” is already in the works. I think it’s safe to say that after missing out on one of the elite running backs (http://bit.ly/2pC23yM). The Eagles will target a running back early in 2018. Some names to look out for are Saquon Barkley, Derrius Guice, and Nick Chubb, all of which I think are first round players. You also have to keep an eye on offensive tackle, as this is most definitely Jason Peters last season with the team. I think they go offense with their first two picks and draft the right tackle and running back of the future.
Kirk – I don’t want to mirror Dan’s pick, simply to add some new flavor, but I would have chosen Barkley. Instead, I’ll say Malik Jefferson, the linebacker out of Texas. He was third on the Longhorns in tackles during his sophomore year and was named second team All-Big 12. The Eagles seem to always need linebacker help and if they can snag Jefferson, it could be huge for the defense.