10 Takeaways After the Eagles’ 2020 NFL Draft
The Philadelphia Eagles added 10 new players in the NFL draft, and agreed to terms with 12 undrafted free agents this weekend.
Here are 10 thoughts on this weekends draft.
1. The drafting of quarterback Jalen Hurts in the second round drew the most ire and reaction from Eagles fans. Its definitely the most polarizing pick, possibly of the entire draft weekend.
While the pick got mixed reviews, some called it arrogant, others praised the pick, including ESPN's Sal Paolantonio.
"Jalen Hurts is the most productive, athletic Division I quarterback the Eagles have drafted since Donovan McNabb," Paolantonio explained.
"He will make immediate and long-term impact. Hurts had more rushing touchdowns than LaMar Jackson, more passing yards than Andrew Luck. More passing touchdowns than Matt Ryan. Higher completion percentage than Aaron Rodgers."
Could Hurts actually be Carson Wentz’s primary backup this year, is probably the bigger question, or will he be used more in a Taysom Hill role with Nate Sudfeld serving as the primary backup in 2020.
Not likely. You’d think the Eagles will use Sudfeld in that role as the No. 2 guy for at least this year while Hurts has certain packages installed for his rookie season, while learning to play quarterback at the NFL level.
2. The drafting of Jalen Reagor in the first round, John Hightower in the fifth round, Quez Watkins in the sixth round, plus the trade for Marquise Goodwin adds four more players to an already-crowded wide receiver room with Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Greg Ward, and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.
The one thing they all have in common is speed.
"The one thing I think that stood out about Jalen was his ability -- the outside speed, his vertical threat, his ability to go up, play above the rim, and catch the football." Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel Andy Weidl said.
Same goes for Hightower and Watkins, both were drafted because they can run.
It will be interesting to see who stays and who goes, plus what is the future of Jeffery after all of this. What kind of role does Arcega-Whiteside have in year two? Does Ward still have a role on the team, after having an impressive showing in limited action last season.
3. Picking Auburn lineman Jack Driscoll in the fourth and Prince Tega Wanogho in round six could be the replacements on the offensive line for Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who signed with Detroit this offseason.
"With Prince, he was a left tackle that we really liked his feet and quickness and ability to run off the ball and anchor in the pass game," Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel Andy Weidl said.
"We loved the competitiveness he played with, and he's a guy who didn't let up one sack this year. Really efficient pass protection. We think he fits our profile of offensive lineman that can run, get out in space, pass protect, and anchor when called upon to protect the quarterback."
One of those two guys could be the backup swing tackle, and the other, likely Driccoll will help out on the interior.
4. The Eagles only added one defensive back on draft weekend, Clemson safety D'Von Wallace.
"You know, the thing about K'Von Wallace is his tape, and what stuck out was his physicality, his tackling, his ability to play around the line of scrimmage," Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel Andy Weidl said.
"The mentality he played with, the motor he played with. He's a guy that likes contact. He gets to the ball. He passes people to the ball, and when he gets there, he strikes. We saw that. It was consistent with the motor that he played with, the mentality he played with, and we really enjoyed it and thought he fit what we were doing and what we're putting together here."
After the addition of Wallace, it might indicate the Eagles are comfortable with their secondary after the offseason trade with Detroit for Darious Slay, and moving Jalen Mills to safety to replace Malcolm Jenkins.
5. With Darren Sproles gone, the Eagles need someone new returning punts and kickoffs this year. The Eagles drafted three players – TCU's Jalen Reagor, their first round pick, Boise State wide receiver John Hightower and Southern Mississippi wide out Quez Watkins – who have experience returning punts and kicks.
"He is an explosive guy, his ability to contribute as a receiver, as a returner, his ability to be explosive with the ball in his hands were all things that we were looking for, and Coach and his staff talked to us as a staff about things that they were really trying to stress," Eagles Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman said about Reagor's ability as a return man.
6. The team must feel pretty good about their the pass rush. They added seventh round defensive end Casey Toohill to join a group of pass rushers that will look very similar to last years group with veteran Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, and Josh Sweat
"With Casey Toohill, he's a high-motor defensive end. And the thing that jumps off is his effort on tape. His ability in the pass rush, to win, to get home, and in the run game, his pursuit to the ball and his effort. Just a high-motor guy. Plays with Eagle wiring and Eagle mentality," Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel Andy Weidl said.
The team also has Joe Ostman, Shareef Miller, Genard Avery and Daeshon Hall on the current roster, but its a spot the team might look to add to once training camp starts. Plus, veteran Vinny Curry is a free agent that could be brought back.
7. I’m thinking the Eagles have enough faith in Miles Sanders and Boston Scott. They added a undrafted rookie free agent Michael Warren out of Cincinnati, who ran for 1,265 yards and 14 touchdowns in his final season with the Bearcats, but there isn't a while lot of depth or experience at that position on the roster.
Veterans Carlos Hyde and Devonta Freeman are both available still on the free agent market.
8. Linebacker was an area of need on draft weekend and the Eagles addressed it - kinda.
The team added Davion Taylor from Colorado in Round 3 and then Temple's Shaun Bradley in Round 6. Both could see time as linebacker is one of the weakest positions on the field. The team currently has Nate Geary, Jatavious Brown and T.J. Edwards.
"He can find the ball. He can play in space. It's a space game. He has the physical ability to cover the slot receiver, to cover tight ends, to cover backs, and those things are hard to find, and that's what we're looking for," Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel Andy Weidl explained.
As for Bradley, the Temple product knew if he landed in Philly that there would be a chance for him to get on the field and compete for playing time right away.
"When I was in Arizona training, I had -- one of my coaches was out there. He was talking about it as well once they released Nigel Bradham. They were talking [about how] they need linebackers," Bradley admitted.
Both Taylor and Bradley should have an very good chance of getting playing time right away, and at the very least help out on special teams.
9. Can he run? Is he healthy? Does he love to play?
Those are the questions Eagles Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman asked after the teams loss to the Seahawks in the playoffs.
"When we looked at everyone we picked today, we tried to answer those questions. Now, when we went a little bit later in the draft, maybe there were some questions on a couple of those guys, but we felt like they were good enough football players that they were worth the risk."
10. Think Eagles fans roll their eyes when Howie Roseman talks about the Eagles being a quarterback developers?
"For better or worse, we are quarterback developers," Roseman said on Friday night, after the team took Jalen Hurts. "We want to be a quarterback factory. We have the right people in place to do that. No team in the National Football League has benefitted more from developing quarterbacks than the Philadelphia Eagles."
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