Eagles Draft Raises Some Questions

by Marc Narducci | May 6, 2017
Eagles Draft Raises Some Questions It’s always interesting to hear the NFL Draft pundits come out and give grades to teams moments after the conclusion.

Anybody giving the Eagles a grade couldn’t do so realistically, simply because they have gambled on a high risk, high reward player.

The Eagles grade for this year’s draft likely won’t come for three to four years. The big gamble came in the second round when they drafted University of Washington cornerback Sidney Jones 43rd overall. He was considered the second best corner in the draft before rupturing his left Achilles tendon during a Pro Day workout in March.

Jones insists that he will return in October.

This is such a difficult injury to gauge and it wouldn’t be surprising if the Eagles are cautious and have him sit out the entire season.

If Jones can revert to the form he showed at Washington, then it will be a steal. That, however, is a big if when talking about the Achilles tendon.

In the first round the Eagles saw a number of top offensive players go off the board before their pick at No. 14.

They didn’t go for need by selecting defensive end Derek Barnett with their first round pick. Barnett had 33 career sacks in three seasons at Tennessee, breaking the mark of former Eagles Hall of Famer Reggie White.

If he can show the same ability to get to the quarterback in the NFL, then Barnett will be well worth the choice.

Barnett could become an all-pro, but this reporter would have selected Alabama tight end O.J. Howard at No. 1. Howard was eventually drafted 19th overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

While tight end isn’t an area of need for the Eagles with Zach Ertz signed to a long-term deal, Howard is such a complete two-way player and game changer, that he would have been another major weapon for quarterback Carson Wentz.

That said, Barnett could also be a difference maker. Instead of giving a grade, it’s more ideal to wait and give him and the other draft choices a chance.

With Jones possibly not contributing at all in 2017, the Eagles also drafted West Virginia cornerback Rasul Douglas in the third round. He could push for a starting spot after leading the nation with eight interceptions last season.

Fourth round receiver Mack Hollins from North Carolian is big (6-4, 221) and also considered a major asset on special teams, although he has to prove he is durable.

Another potential special teams contributor and change of pace running back is Donnel Pumphrey, the Eagles second, fourth round pick from San Diego State. He is 5-8 and 176 and broke Marshall Faulk’s rushing record at San Diego State.

The Eagles drafted speedy receiver Shelton Gibson from West Virginia in the fifth round, Nebraska safety Nate Gerry (who will convert to linebacker) in the fifth round and Washington defensive tackle Elijah Qualls (6-1, 313) in the sixth.

All of the draft choices should make the team and push some incumbents for playing time, but even people assigning draft grades don’t truly know how they will adapt to the NFL, thus an incomplete grade is best at this point, not only for the Eagles but any NFL team.

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Author: Marc Narducci


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