Eagles Pull off a Strong Draft

by Marc Narducci | May 1, 2024
Eagles Pull off a Strong Draft
 It seems crazy to give grades immediately after the NFL draft, but everybody does it and so many of these grades turn out to be wildly incorrect. That’s because it really takes a minimum of three years to evaluate a draft class.

That doesn’t stop the pundits from grading these picks.

So with the warning that immediate draft grades mean next to nothing, it still appears as if the Eagles had a highly successful draft.

Time will tell, but their biggest need was in the secondary, especially cornerback. 

Darius Slay, while still effective, turned 33 in January and is coming off a season in which he missed five regular season games due to injury. 

James Bradberry had a disastrous season, and one has to wonder if he will be back. The Eagles biggest need was at corner and they likely settled their issues with their first two draft picks, Toledo’s Quinyon Mitchell at No. 1 (22 overall) and Cooper DeJean of Iowa, who they traded up for as the 40th selection of the second round.

Here are all the Eagles draft selections.

Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo, Round 1 (No. 22 overall)

Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa, Round 2 (40)

Jalyx Hunt, LB, Houston Christian, Round 3 (94)

Will Shipley, RB, Clemson, Round 4 (127)

Ainias Smith, WR, Texas A&M, Round 5 (152)

Jeremiah Trotter Jr., LB, Clemson, Round 5 (155)

Trevor Keegan, G, Michigan, Round 5 (172)

Johnny Wilson, WR, Florida State, Round 6 (185)

Dylan McMahon, C, North Carolina State, Round 6 (190)

As those who read last week’s pre-draft article, we were big proponents of drafting Mitchell. He will enter the NFL as one of the fastest corners, timed at 4.33 at the NFL Combine. Some might question the level of competition at Toledo, but Mitchell also shined during his time at the Senior Bowl, where many of the top prospects practiced for a week and the played in the game.

Mitchell had a Toledo career-record 46 pass break-ups. He was so coveted that schools like Alabama were interested in having him go through the transfer portal, but Mitchell remained loyal to Toledo.

At 6-foot and 190, he has the size (and as mentioned the speed) to play one of football’s most demanding positions. 

The expectation for Mitchell is that he should be a starter sometime by the first season, if not from the beginning. 

The second-round pick, Iowa’s DeJean is listed as a corner and he can play on the outside, in the slot or at safety. Many feel he will transition to safety, but whether he does or not, he should be a great addition.

DeJean is a great playmaker. He returned three of his career seven interceptions for touchdowns. 

DeJean is also a great punt returner, averaging 13.1 yards on 31 career returns and scoring a TD. We know that the Eagles’ Britain Covey was among the NFL’s best punt returners (14.4 avg.) but DeJean provides great depth there. DeJean fractured his fibula in November, but is expected to be fine for the season. 

There are other draft choices who are intriguing. The pick where there could be good value is Florida State WR Johnny Wilson in the sixth round. Wilson is a tall receiver (6-6, 3/8, 231 pounds). He began his career at Arizona State, didn’t play much, but found a home at Florida State. As a sixth rounder, there is no assurance that he will make the team, but we’re predicting he does. He is not a speed burner, but Wilson can get separation and at his size would be a target in the red zone.

Other picks that were interesting were fourth round RB Will Shipley of Clemson, a threat as a receiver and running back, who could be a solid backup. Most will also point Shipley’s Clemson teammate, LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr, son of the former four-time Eagles Pro Bowl LB. 

The reason Trotter Jr. wasn’t drafted higher was his size (6-0, 228), but like his dad, he’s a tackling machine, with 88 this past season as a junior, where he earned first-team all-ACC honors. 

 


Author: Marc Narducci

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