Impressive Draft from the Eagles

Impressive Draft from the Eagles
The Eagles continue to make smart offseason moves. Howie Roseman, Joe Douglas and the Eagles brain trust appeared to again make many of the right moves in last week’s NFL draft.
 
While a draft can’t be legitimately analyzed until after about three years, the Eagles were once again aggressive and drafted for a definite future need.
 
Pro Football Focus, the highly respected website that rates college and NFL players, graded the Eagles draft as “Excellent.”
 
Even though left tackle played in all 16 games last season, he also missed sufficient time. He is considered a future Hall of Famer, but at 37, his best days are behind him. Still, the Eagles hope to get at least one more year out of him.
 
Hoping for more than that will be rolling the dice.
 
So Roseman and company traded up three spots and selected the player who was considered the best pass blocker in the draft, Andre Dillard of Washington State.
 
The 6-6, 310-pound Dillard has questionable run-blocking skills, simply because he didn’t do it enough on Mike Leach’s pass-happy Washington State team.
 
Yet it’s much easier to learn run blocking than pass blocking and in a pass-happy league, to be able to draft the best pass blocker was a major plus for the Eagles.
 
Even if Dillard doesn’t play much this year, it’s a strong move, because the Eagles are hoping he can be the left tackle for the next decade after Peters departs.
 
The Eagles history is that they don’t stand pat in the draft if there is a player they want to target. This was the case with Dillard.
 
Originally slated to select 25th in the first round, the Eagles moved up three spots to No. 22 by exchanging first-round picks with Baltimore and also sending the Ravens a fourth-round pick (No. 127) and a sixth-round selection (No. 199).
 
 Why was this such a coy move?
 
Because one has to think that the Houston Texans, selecting 23rd, might have selected Dillard. The Texans are in desperate need for offensive linemen.
 
In fact, after Dillard was selected, Houston drafted unheralded Tytus Howard of Alabama State.
 
The Eagles rarely use high picks on running backs, but they chose Penn State’s Miles Sanders with the first of their two second round picks at No. 53.
 
Sanders had been the backup to Saquon Barkley until last year. Barkley took the NFL by storm with the NY Giants and Sanders had a big season.
 
The Eagles did acquire running back Jordan Howard from Chicago earlier this off-season, but he is not considered much of a receiving threat. In addition, Howard can also be a free agent at the end of the season.
 
Sanders could earn immediate time in an Eagles backfield that wasn’t very productive last season.
 
With their second, second-round pick, the Eagles further strengthened their offense by choosing Stanford’s receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside (6-3, 225) who can play inside or outside. Last season he had 63 receptions for 1,059 yards and 14 touchdowns. He could vie for immediate playing time.
 
With their fourth-round pick, the Eagles chose Penn State defensive Shareef Miller, a local product from Philadelphia’s George Washington High, who could figure into the pass rushing mix.
 
Their final choice, fifth round quarterback Clayton Thorson of Northwestern is a developmental selection. That means they hope he can develop in a few years to either serve as a backup.
 
Time will truly tell about this draft, but even with only five picks, the Eagles have served some major needs.

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