Despite Controversy of Second-Round Pick, Eagles Draft will be Judged by Receivers

by Marc Narducci; Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Eagles | Jun 3, 2020
Despite Controversy of Second-Round Pick, Eagles Draft will be Judged by Receivers
(Fourth in our look at NFC East drafts)
 
One could make the assertion that the Eagles had the fourth best draft in the four-team NFC East Division. Of course, immediate draft grades are always premature and many times unwarranted, but it doesn’t stop people from ranking the classes.
 
Even if the Eagles are fourth, it doesn't necessarily mean they had a bad draft. It's just that the other three NFC East teams - Dallas, Washington and the NY Giants - appeared to do well. Keep in mind tha tall three teams had more needs to fill than the Eagles. .
 
The Eagles had an unusual draft in the fact that their second-round selection drew all the controversy and more attention than their first rounder.
 
Here are the draft choices:
 
Round 1, Pick No. 21: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
 
Round 2, No. 53:  Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
 
Round 3, No. 103:  Davion Taylor, LB, Colorado
 
Round 4, No. 127:  K'Von Wallace, S, Clemson
 
Round 4, No. 145:  Jack Driscoll, OT, Auburn
 
Round 5, No. 168:  John Hightower, WR, Boise State
 
Round 6, No. 196:  Shaun Bradley, LB, Temple
 
Round 6, No. 200:  Quez Watkins, WR, Southern Miss
 
Round 6, No. 210:  Prince Tega-Wanogho, OT, Auburn
 
Round 7, No. 233:  Casey Toohill, OLB, Stanford
 
In case anybody hadn’t heard, the Eagles need help at wide receiver. The fact that they picked one in the first round was no surprise. What was a little surprising was that it was Jalen Reagor
 
Most draft pundits predicted the Eagles would select receiver Justin Jefferson of NCAA champion LSU. While Jefferson was still on the board, the Eagles picked Reagor. Jefferson was selected on the next pick at No. 22 by the Minnesota Vikings.
 
Reagor entered the draft after his junior season at TCU, despite not coming close to matching his sophomore campaign, when he had 72 receptions for 1,061 yards and nine touchdowns. He showed explosiveness as a freshman when he caught 33 passes for 576 yards and eight touchdowns.
 
This past season he had 43 receptions for 611 yards and five TDs. It didn’t help that TCU had poor quarterback play this past season, but Reagor also saw his production drop.
 
That doesn’t mean he wasn’t effective and can’t be with the Eagles. It’s just that he will have to prove his worth.
 
Whether he starts or not, he should see significant action.
 
The second- round selection of quarterback Jalen Hurts is what caused all the commotion. That is because the Eagles were criticized for not taking somebody who could contribute immediately.
 
If things go as expected, Hurts won’t see the field much because Carson Wentz remains among the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. Yet Wentz has a well-documented injury history and that likely was a reason the Eagles made the move, although they have denied that.
 
Either way, getting a contribution this season from Hurts might be difficult, especially if Wentz remains healthy.
 
Can they make some gimmick plays for Hurts? Sure, that could happen but that isn't why they drafted him, especially in the second round. He has to be looked on as insurance, and the Eagles think it is quality insurance.
 
The Eagles wanted to get faster in this draft and the third round pick of linebacker Davion Taylor from Colorado.
 
He is a raw player, but he ran a 4.49 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. The Eagles have a need at linebacker, but whether he is ready as a rookie will be one of the storylines entering the season.
 
Sixth round linebacker Shaun Bradley of Rancocas Valley High and Temple, ran 4.51 at the combine, not far off from Taylor. Bradley also played 50 college games, making 38 starts and will likely be a key special teams contributor. If there is a sleeper in this draft it could be Bradley.
 
Seventh round linebacker Casey Toohill of Stanford has some pass rushing skills to offer.
 
Fourth round safety K’Von Wallace of Clemson is considered a player worth of challenging for immediate playing time. Wallace was a key member of Clemson’s defense as a junior in 2018 when the Tigers won the national championship.
 
The other fourth round pick, Auburn tackle Jack Driscoll, was considered good value/ He could eventually move to guard. Driscoll is a player that appears to have a future with the team, but likely won’t be a starter this year.
 
Driscoll’s bookend tackle teammate Prince Tega-Wanogho lasted into the seventh round due to injury concerns. If healthy, this could be a solid value pick, although the best he could provide this season is depth.
 
The other two receivers drafted, fifth rounder John Hightower of Boise State and sixth rounder Quez Watkins of Southern Mississippi are speed burners and due to the Eagles lack of talent at the postion and the players coming back from injury (Desean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery) there could be some snaps available for at least one of them.
 
The Eagles shouldn’t be judged on what the rookies contribute this year. The team feels it bolstered depth at several positions and that this class will make its mark, just maybe not all together this coming season.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Eagles

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