The 2019 NFL Draft has come to a close, and there are many winners and losers. Every team came in with a detailed game plan for success, but not every team emerged victorious. The Eagles, who have enjoyed much success recently, looked to select the best talent possible in an effort to bolster their roster by utilizing five picks in this draft. Let’s take a look and see just how well the front office did:
Round 1 Pick 22: Andre Dillard, OL, Washington State. Grade: B+
The Eagles traded with the Ravens to select their lineman for the future. The 6’5”, 315 lb. lineman, who was soon to be snatched by the Texans, is exactly the player that the Eagles needed. No, he isn’t a flashy WR like “Hollywood” Brown or an exciting RB like Josh Jacobs; instead, he bolsters the offensive line, and he will be the strength Carson Wentz relies on for protection in the future. He offers longevity at a spot that the Eagles will quickly require it. With Jason Peters getting older, it is simply a waiting game until Dillard becomes the tackle of the future. Wentz is a stud; however, he has shown that he is injury prone. This move will pay dividends for years to come, as it will help keep the franchise QB out of harms way.
Round 2 Pick 53: Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State. Grade: A
The Eagles fanbase has been vocal about getting a top-notch RB. After trading for Jordan Howard, the Eagles weren’t forced to select a running back, but when Sanders fell to them, the Eagles snagged a great one. Sanders and Howard will increase the offensive firepower immensely. Sanders climbed quickly on draft boards, which was a major reason I love the pick. He emerged as a top running back in the draft, who some even labeled as the best back in the draft. The Eagles desperately need a powerful run game to take the pressure off Wentz, and they made arguably the best selection in the second round by taking Sanders.
Round 2 Pick 57: JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford. Grade: B
I was hoping that the Eagles would select a defensive player, preferably a safety. I understand the need to provide more weapons for Wentz, but this pick seems excessive. With Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, and others on the roster, the Eagles, I believe, could have better utilized their selection power. He has been knocked about his speed, but he is praised for his physicality. The pick elevates in grade only if the Eagles trade Agholor. It will be interesting to see the role he takes on for the team and just how soon they utilize him.
Round 4 Pick 138: Shareef Miller, EDGE, Penn State. Grade: B-
I think the one main area that the Eagles botched this draft was not targeting the secondary enough. I like Miller, but I would have gone corner or safety. I think the secondary was a major weakness due to injury last season. Depth in the secondary would have been a major bonus for the Eagles, but I can’t knock Howie Roseman for bolstering the pass rush. Then again, the Eagles secondary may never be needed if the Eagles defensive line can explode through offensive lines at a high rate. Miller is noted to have “good length and top-end speed” by ESPN.
Round 5 Pick 167: Clayton Thorson, QB, Northwestern. Grade: A-
Filling Nick Foles shoes is impossible. Foles, the backup quarterback, led the Eagles to their only Super Bowl victory in franchise history. Thorson won’t be required to defeat Tom Brady just yet, but he needs to be ready immediately. Wentz still is the man of the future, but he is still coming off two major injuries. Thorson can move in the pocket and is a bigger QB at 6’4’’. The Eagles used this pick as insurance; it wasn’t flashy, but it had to be done. Thorson rounds out the QB depth chart, and he gives the Eagles another option if Wentz can’t shake the injury bug.
Overall Grade: A-
The Eagles made smart and savvy picks. They filled multiple holes that included the offensive line, running back, and quarterback. They added another receiver for Wentz and threw another edge rusher in the defensive mix. They made many correct picks, which may not give them flash and appeal, but these picks will be critical down the line. They fended off the hype of stars like Brown, Metcalf, and Jacobs, and they selected a top prospect that fills a void at each position. Howie Roseman nailed the draft. My only complaint deals with the secondary, but as a whole, the Eagles executed their game plan perfectly.