Philadelphia Eagles fans are passionate about their team and their gasps could be heard around the world after Howie Roseman’s first two picks of the 2020 NFL draft in which NFL.com gave a grade of A-.
Going into this offseason it was apparent that wide receiver, linebacker, cornerback and safety needed to be addressed for Doug Pederson’s squad. Oh, and a quarterback that could fill in for Carson Wentz if needed. This statement was cemented after the last time we saw the Eagles play. It was evident that there was either no confidence in Nate Sudfeld or Josh McCown’s ability was severely overestimated.
My opinion on the draft is based on needs fulfilled and not who was left on the draft board since drafts are not evident until 1 or 2 years later if they were hits or misses.
Jalen Reagor, Wide Receiver, TCU https://youtu.be/v9UQcG0ORMc he play’d with a Freshman quarterback who wasn’t on time or on target often or his numbers would have been better. From highlight he has good football speed but quality of opponents makes it harder to judge his ability. With the injuries and inconsistency from the wide receiver position last year much is expected of Reagor. As of right now he should step into a lineup opposite of veterans DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery. Anything over 700 yards and 5 touchdowns with good situational football awareness will be great. Reagor should give Carson Wentz a WR to develop with through the prime of his career. For the 3rd time in recent history the Eagles have drafted a WR in the 2nd round followed by drafting a WR in the 1st round the following year. The duo of Jackson and Jeremy Maclin were the most consistent while the duo of Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor, tho part of Super Bowl team, are the reasons to hit the reset button.
Jalen Hurts, Quarterback, Alabama/Oklahoma https://youtu.be/hSAilIBF1QI this pick caused the most uproar. This was judging a puzzle with only couple pieces put together, this caused a big overreaction after the 1st 2 rounds. If you were to solely look at Hurts stats you would see impressive touchdown production, if you would look deeper you would see Heisman finalist and College Football playoffs for Alabama and Oklahoma. He was blessed to have superior skill possession players and he a heavy load of his touchdown total came from around the 5 yard line. He has playmaking and escape ability should the play collapse which is why I do not have a problem with him or picking a backup QB in the second round. Ideally you would want your day 2 picks to give you production on a regular but the last 3 years have shown us how valuable a backup QB is when in the capable hands of Nick Foles or in Josh McCown’s hands. Having played for 2 major programs and in college playoff games the bright lights of the NFL should not overwhelm Hurts which is an added bonus. The touchdown on the Philly Special did not go unnoticed.
The Hurts pick makes more sense if there is no college football this year and teams will be doing more guessing on QB’s next year and if Dallas had thoughts of getting Hurts since they’re at a contract impasse still, this pick is even better!
Davion Taylor, Linebacker, Colorado
https://www.facebook.com/philadelphiaeagles/videos/2710913252354440/ closing in the flat was 1 of 1st highlights I saw during draft, most of the tackles are run down or blitz pressure and defensive coordinator Jim Shwartz doesn’t blitz much and few people are running down Saquon Barkley. The need for speed, toughness, athleticism at the LB position is a high priority especially with Zeke Elliott and a still formidable Adrian Pederson in the division. Full disclosure, I came into the draft wanting the Eagles to trade up for Isaiah Simmons from Clemson and get a speed WR in later rounds, Taylor provides needed upgraded at the position.
Speaking of Clemson, K’Von Wallace, Safety https://youtu.be/10-uZXAIB1o drafting a safety from Clemson not to long ago for the Eagles ended with a stop in Canton. Those are lofty expectations that I would not put on this young man, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the goal has already been set. What jumps out to me is how you see him close on plays and he does not shy away from contact. The absence of Malcolm Jenkins leaves a void in the secondary to bring needed physicality. With Jalen Mills moving from cornerback to safety his athleticism should form an imposing duo where both can maximize their strengths. New position and new to the NFL may cause growing pains but I am excited to see what this may bring. The addition of Will Parks earlier this offseason brings stability to the deep middle.
Jack Driscoll, Right Tackle, Auburn the best videos I could find, are his teammates https://youtu.be/vFxz0JnuV8A the Eagles knew one day there would be a day when Jason Peters would no longer be here, but as important, would be the need for a swing tackle to replace Big V, Halapoulivaati Vaitai a 5th round pick in 2016 who signed a free agent contract with the Detroit Lions. Big V’s importance was shown when he filled in for Peters during the Super Bowl year and hopefully Driscoll can do the same as Peters’ heir Andre Dillard was drafted last year. Driscoll transferred from UMass to Auburn which should have prepared him for stiffer competition. The Eagles have had one of the best offensive lines in the league that last several years and that is partly because of quality depth when backups numbers are called. With intriguing Jordan Malata still on the roster I would not consider Driscoll a shoo in for the swing tackle position he is often late with his hands and is susceptible to defensive stunts.
John Hightower, Wide Receiver, Boise State https://youtu.be/K6QxLgDfb5Y ok Howie, if it wasn’t clear before, it is becoming evident now. The Eagles will not be lacking for speed. Much like when they drafted Lito Shepard, Michael Lewis and Sheldon Brown in the same draft because of the greatest show on turf, they are loading up on speed so they will not fall victim to previous years when lack of speed allowed teams to double Zach Ertz when WR’s were able to be covered 1 on 1. Hightower possesses blazing speed and big play ability as a receiver and kick returner. His ability to hit the edge quickly makes him a threat with jet motion and reverses. With so many of the WR’s being slight in size someone will have to do the dirty work and cross the middle of the field, but, you can’t hit what you can’t catch.
Shaun Bradley, Linebacker, Temple https://youtu.be/hfbx_UAbCuM warning language. Bradley’s surroundings will be familiar being a Temple product. He is a light, football fast LB that packs a punch on contact. His ability to read and react without wasted motion could earn him playing time with a linebacking corp that needs improvement. The thought of 2 fast play sniffing linebackers growing together is something that has not been around these parts in a while. Hopefully they can develop together like the Vikings linebacking corp. At worse, you will have a quality special teams player, on this team I can see more!
Quez Watkins, Wide Receiver, Southern Miss https://youtu.be/fVWKA6OiF-s Howie again struck with this pick! Watkins falls in line with the theme of this draft, it’s like Howie and Pederson watched Top Gun on a loop together and each time they emerged from whatever bunker they were in they would say “I feel the need, the need for speed” like Goose and Maverick. It is hard to imagine that Watkins would not have been an element that was lacking and a difference in one possession playoff loss versus the Seattle Seahawks this past year. Heck, he would have been a difference in games where Jackson and/or Jeffery were absent which would have improved their seeding and so on and so on. Would Pederson dare to field a team and send out a lineup with 5 WR’s with 4.4ish speed? Watkins is a value pick at this position in the draft and brings more electricity to a position room that lacked big play ability in the absence of Jackson who recorded the on 2 fifty plus yard receptions for the Eagles in week 1 versus Washington before suffering an injury that sidelined him for most of the year. I went back and watched J. J. Arthiega-Whiteside’s highlights and he possesses traits that these other WR’s don’t. While some are quick to call him a bust I refrain from that because his role changed throughout the season. There is always a role for a big physical receiver especially in the red zone, the Eagles shift in philosophy however may be writing on the wall for him.
Prince Tega Wanogho, Left Tackle, Auburn https://youtu.be/Tdm2laryn0A playing left tackle in the SEC is big, protecting an NFL Quarterback’s blindside is how Peter’s got the name “The Bodyguard” which gives an idea of the importance. The Eagles drafted bookend tackles from the same school which is a rarity seldom seen. Wangho possesses nice size for a tackle but tends to drop his hands in pass protection and not staying engage with defenders. The Khalil Mack’s and J. J. Watts’ of the world would take advantage of those moments of relaxation. He also does not stay engaged in run blocking and would need to develop that ability to see any playing time in the NFL. The Eagles have kept late round picks on their roster to develop and Big V turned that opportunity into the previously mentioned contract. Presently I see him as a practice squad player to develop.
Casey Toohill, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker (4-3) Stanford, https://youtu.be/kHOzkYXjbL4 Toohill looks like he may compete for practice squad position at best. As a DE he does not shed blocks well and tackles and tight ends have stopped him in his tracks. He gets lost in the wash when he takes inside stunt and as outside linebacker he lacks the closing speed as other LB’s drafted. I don’t see where a camp cut from another team might not be an improvement at a later time.
Marquise Goodwin, Wide Receiver, trade, what’s that burning? Speed. The Eagles have speed to burn at WR and the return position. Goodwin when healthy provides world class track speed and can also add veteran leadership to a young room with veterans Jackson and Jeffery.
In addition to their free agent signings such as Parks, LB Jatavis Brown, CB Darius Slay and defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, the Eagles have done something rarely seen. They have seriously addressed every glaring hole on their team. Not considering undrafted free agents, the biggest need is a Center to groom for Jason Kelce’s replacement and Defensive End to groom likewise for Brandon Graham’s replacement.
The goal is to win the Super Bowl, all teams hit and miss on drafts, I think Howie has had a very good offseason and has put this team in a position to compete.
The draft didn’t go how I wanted, but as I put the puzzle pieces together, this off-season has been better than expected!
There you have it, my draft and off-season review. Now, what say you? I want to hear how crazy I am or how right I am. Send me your feedback, keep it clean. I’m the only one that can get dog dirty here.