Eagles enjoy a productive weekend NFL draft

by Marc Narducci | May 2, 2022
Eagles enjoy a productive weekend NFL draft

This was another home run weekend for the Eagles following the NFL draft. Much maligned general manager Howie Roseman, on paper, enjoyed what looks like a highly successful list of strong moves.

As we have said before, the Eagles would never have won the Super Bowl following the 2017 season without Roseman’s transactions.

Has he missed on moves?

Of course, but everybody does. He has been a highly productive GM and this weekend it appears he has continued that pattern.

It wasn’t only the draft that one has to grade, but the draft-night trade that brought receiver A.J. Brown from Tennessee for first and third-round picks that were No. 18 and 101 overall.

Published reports then had the Eagles signing Brown to a four-year $100 million extension with $57 million guaranteed.

On the surface, this seems like a heist for the Eagles.

Brown was entering the final year of his contract, worth approximately $4 million.

Since Jacksonville signed free agent Christian Kirk to a four-year deal worth up to $72 million, the wide receiver market has exploded with huge salaries.

Brown is the latest.

Is Brown at the same level as Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams, who requested and received trades to Miami and Las Vegas respectively?

Probably not, but he is also a lot younger. Brown will turn 25 in June.

Hill is 28 and Adams will turn 30 in December.

In three seasons, Brown has 185 receptions for 2,995 yards and 24 touchdowns.

He did miss six games over the past two seasons, including four last year, due to injury, so we’ll have to see if there are any durability concerns.

Brown has also been open about his bouts with depression. Brown has way outperformed his draft status as a second-round pick (51st overall) out of Mississippi in the 2019 draft.

At 6-foot-1 and 226-pounds, he is a strong receiver, able to catch the ball in traffic.

He left a lasting impression in what turned out to be his final game with Tennessee, a 19-16 divisional-round playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. In that game, Brown kept the sluggish Titan's offense in the game with five receptions for 142 yards and a touchdown, a 33-yard strike from Ryan Tannehill.

For an elite receiver, and one now signed to an extension, giving up a first and third-round pick isn’t much.

Plus the Eagles also had another first-round pick and they used it to select Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis, with the 13th overall pick.

Roseman traded up with the Houston, paying a heavy price to move up two slots. The Eagles traded No. 15 in the first round along with a fourth-rounder and two fifth-round choices to Houston to move up to No. 13 and select Davis.

The reason the Eagles paid a high price to move up to picks was that Baltimore was selected No. 14 and word was out that the Ravens had an interest in selecting Davis.

Baltimore selected Notre Dame safety, Kyle Hamilton, at No. 14.

(Truth be told I would have rather selected Hamilton than Davis, but it still could turn out to be a solid pick for the Eagles).

Davis is 6-foot-6 and 341 pounds and he ran a 4.78 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, an unheard-of figure for somebody that big.

He is one of the most athletic players in the draft, a known run stuffer, whose pass-rushing skills are in question. Yet if Davis can tie up a few blockers and allow others to earn both tackles and sacks, he will be doing his job.

The Eagles then selected Nebraska center Cam Jurgens in the second round (51st overall). Jurgens was likely the second-best center in the draft behind Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum, who went 25th overall to the Ravens.

Jurgens (6-3, 303) is considered the future replacement for Jason Kelce. Over the past few years, Kelce has hinted at retiring only to return and play better than ever. The key to this choice is whether Jurgens could eventually also play guard, giving more versatility.

The Eagles selected Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean in the third round (83rd overall). This was considered a steal by many since Dean was the leader of the best defense in college football. As the draft approached, some injury reports lowered Dean’s value. At his post-draft press conference, Dean denied the injury reports.

If there are no injuries, this will be a home run, but in the third round, it was worth taking a chance on Dean, the Butkus Award winner as the nation’s best linebacker. One other negative is his size (5-11, 225). Yet Dean has the speed and football intelligence the Eagles were looking for.

The Eagles finished their draft with two sixth-round picks, Kansas linebacker Kyron Johnson (No. 181 overall) and SMU tight end Grant Calcaterra.

Johnson could be a special teams contributor while Calcaterra (6-4, 241) could be the backup to Dallas Goedert and used in two-tight end sets. Calcaterra began his career at Oklahoma and was a teammate of Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. After three seasons at Oklahoma Calcaterra retired from football due to concussion issues, but after not playing in 2020, he returned this past season.

In his one season at SMU in 2021, he had 38 receptions for 465 yards and four touchdowns.

This was on paper a highly productive weekend for the Eagles, who made the playoffs last season and appear to be improved at this point.

Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Eagles

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Author: Marc Narducci

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