The Philadelphia Eagles added 10 players through selections in this year’s NFL Draft and 13 players through reported UDFA signings. A 24th addition was veteran WR Marquise Goodwin at the cost of sliding back 20 picks in the 6th round. With a huge need at CB, it should also not be lost that Philadelphia’s original third- and fifth-round picks this year were sent to the Detroit Lions in exchange for CB Darius Slay.
Let’s break down each of the Birds’ 2020 draft picks and assess GM Howie Roseman’s haul as a whole.
Round 1, Pick No. 21: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Seeing Belle-of-the-ball CeeDee Lamb selected by a division rival really set a sour tone for Philadelphia’s emotional fan base on Night 1. At Pick 21, however, selecting Jalen Reagor provides for a lot of excitement as a starting outside deep-threat. When thinking about the variety of pieces Carson Wentz now has, Reagor opens up a lot of the field for all involved.
Many expected the Birds to snag talented LSU wideout Justin Jefferson with pick 21 (he went a pick later to Minnesota), but Reagor’s ability to display refined route running and overcome lackluster QB-play gives me added confidence in his pro projection. An added perk is the opportunity to learn from DeSean Jackson, an all-time best deep threat in Philly.
Two of the most explosive teams in the NFL battled it out in last year’s Super Bowl. Getting more explosive via a first-rounder should be seen as a success for a Philadelphia Eagles offense that routinely had a hard time getting things going last year.
Draft Grade: B+
Round 2, Pick No. 53: Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
Here we go. Did I mention that Philadelphia has an emotional fan base?
This pick did not go over well. And I’m not afraid to admit that I was also wondering what the hell Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson were thinking.
Here are some facts that should help those looking for some semblance of sense with this pick:
- Jalen Hurts is good at football.
- Hurts will be a little over $1M against the Eagles cap. Andy Dalton is another talented 2nd Round (now backup) QB, but I’d argue Hurts brings more to the table for longer at less than 1/6th of the annual cost.
- This pick is nowhere near the same pick as Packers going Jordan Love in Round 1. That’s it. That’s the third fact.
- Eagles Quarterback Coach Press Taylor hinted at multiple QB offenses nearly a year before this year’s draft by saying, “at some point one of the big things is having multiple people on the field who can throw the ball… I think that’s something [you’ll see] going forward. You’ve seen kind of the Philly Special, all the different versions of double passes, things like that.” The best case scenario for this pick is the Eagles dramatically change the landscape of offense for the NFL and incorporate both Wentz and Hurts on their way to a second Super Bowl victory. That’s a lot of steep “ifs” for a best case scenario.
With all that said, every concern around picking a backup quarterback in the 2nd round with multiple holes still on the roster should be seen as valid. Make this move less than 365 days after signing a 4-year extension with Wentz (both contracts will expire in the same year) only adds to the concern. That’s what impacts this selection’s draft grade most. I am excited about Hurts being a Philadelphia Eagle, but we all know damn well that Eagles fans will glare at picks 54 through 102 wondering what could have been as careers play out.
Draft Grade: C+, until proven otherwise.
Round 3, Pick No. 103: Davion Taylor, LB, Colorado
At 18 years old, Davion’s mom respected his choice to pursue his football career beyond high school. Taylor racked up experience and accolades for two years at Coahoma Community College before starting 20 of 24 games the next two years at the University of Colorado.
At the pro level, I can see Taylor getting on the field early with the Eagles due to their shallow depth at linebacker. Taylor will need to gain a lot of experience and coaching to become more polished in his play recognition and awareness, but his high-motor and explosiveness bodes well.
The Philadelphia Eagles annually undervalue the linebacker position, but I like that they are stocking up on younger, exciting, and more athletic prospects like Taylor to hopefully develop into key cogs of Jim Schwartz’s defense.
Draft Grade: B-
Round 4, Pick No. 127: K’Von Wallace, S, Clemson
In response to the hyper-athletic tight-end trend that is taking the league by storm, a defensive positional flexibility/ambiguity trend has trickled into defenses and what the Eagles value and hope for out of their Safeties.
The Eagles will miss the incredible leadership of swiss army knife Malcolm Jenkins, but they’re not moving on from his positional archetype. Free safety Rodney McLeod is back on a two-year deal, former cornerback Jalen Mills is transitioning to a safety role, and former Denver Bronco Will Parks rounds up the positional group that K’Von Wallace will join and learn from. Of the four, I am by far most excited by the two new guys, Parks and Wallace.
The pride of Highland Springs, Virginia brings the noise as a skilled safety, occasional big nickel, and effective blitzer. Wallace comes from an incredible Clemson program that benefited a lot from Wallace’s positional flexibility and aggressiveness.
Watching the two-time national champ’s tape is similar to watching Davion Taylor, as both prospects zoom from hash to hash, pursuing the ball and finishing tackles. What’s crazy is that the knock on Taylor (picked 24 picks ahead) is experience and awareness, whereas Wallace is mature and proficient across the array of defensive back positions. This is my favorite pick of this year’s draft.
Draft Grade: A
Round 4, Pick No. 145: Jack Driscoll, OT, Auburn
As much value as the Eagles have recently received from backup quarterbacks, a lot of the same can be said for backup offensive lineman like Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Stefen Wisniewski. Jack Driscoll will most likely be moved around the offensive line by the Birds, which is a testament to his athleticism, but he will need to get stronger to reach his ceiling and see success as a professional.
Offensive line depth was a concern heading into the draft, so this is a good move in both value and need. I’m a fan of Driscoll as a possible solution on the interior for that need.
Draft Grade: B
Round 5, Pick No. 168: John Hightower, WR, Boise State
This pick can’t go below a B grade simply because it’s a wide receiver and the pick isn’t QB Clayton Thorson, last year’s 5th round selection and true reason for picking Hurts at 53.
At the core of Eagles fans’ emotional Round 1 experience was the desperation of wide receivers that can actually make plays and catch the football. I guess another prerequisite for acceptable production at the position is seeing the football field, which last year’s second-round pick JJ Arcega-Whiteside bizarrely did not do much of.
We’ve seen this play out before, the Eagles absolutely pop when speedy deep threats like Torrey Smith and DeSean Jackson are on the field. The four most important words of that previous sentence would be “are on the field.” Adding speedsters like John Hightower this draft season drastically increases the likelihood of at least one of them being on the field. If he can considerably improve his ball skills and catch ability, Hightower can become an A+ pick. The potential is certainly there.
Draft Grade: B+
Round 6, Pick No. 196: Shaun Bradley, LB, Temple
I like this swing of the pendulum within the Eagles linebackers selections this year: from the more raw prospect, Davion Taylor, to the more experienced in Temple product Shaun Bradley, who gets to continue calling Lincoln Financial Field home. Taylor could be projected as more of a roaming outside backer, but the bigger Bradley seems to fit as a playmaking WILL. This means keeping Bradley closer to the line to benefit from clean gaps out of the Eagles’ talented front four.
Think Kamu Grugier-Hill when thinking of Bradley, a prospect that should see tons of special teams work early and could develop into a starter.
Draft Grade: B-
Round 6, Pick No. 200: Quez Watkins, WR, Southern Miss
Somewhere in this edition of Draft Season for the Philadelphia Eagles is a Spiderman pointing at Spiderman meme. Quez Watkins is an improving prospect and another speed threat that should have gone a bit earlier. His doubters will point to his body catches and lack of projectable play strength against NFL caliber physicality, but Quez truly has a high-ceiling with progressing attributes, hinting at a steep trajectory. As a sixth-round pick, Watkins has a huge battle ahead for a roster spot and meaningful snaps.
Draft Grade: B+
Philadelphia Trade Pick 190 to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for pick 210 and WR Marquise Goodwin
The 9ers are just the coolest of friends. In all actuality, GM John Lynch wanted to send the lately injured (he fits right in!) Goodwin to a good spot. Simply sliding back 20 spots to pick up a guy who could’ve been a 1,000 yard receiver not too long ago makes for a great deal on the Eagles side.
Goodwin was the third of three legitimate speed threats at wideout that the Eagles added on Day 3, the other two being 5th rounder John Hightower and 6th rounder Quez Watkins. Suddenly there are a lot of mouths to feed in Philly, so the addition of these similar players should be seen as a shotgun approach to solving the speed problem at wide out, since they most likely won’t be on the field at the same time.
Draft Trade Grade: A+
Round 6, Pick No. 210: Prince Tega-Wanogho, OT, Auburn
It’s always cool when college teammates get to enter the league together as professional teammates. That’s the case here with Prince Tega-Wanogho and fourth round pick Jack Driscoll, both Auburn Tigers. I had a firm 3rd round grade on the native Nigerian, but also saw him in the second round of a few mock drafts. Picking him at the end of the 6th is an impressive selection.
Medical reasons are why Tega-Wanogho slid to pick 210, but he has good bend and range to make for a nice athletic profile as a future starting left tackle assuming full health. Prince joins a number of developing, athletic projects for Philadelphia Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland to groom. Tega-Wanogho has most room to improve as a technician in both the pass and run game to improve his consistency at the next level.
Draft Grade: A-
Round 7, Pick No. 233: Casey Toohill, OLB, Stanford
Speaking of athletic projects, Casey Toohill joins a number of them in the Eagles’ EDGE group. Toohill joins Genard Avery, Josh Sweat, Joe Ostman, Shareef Miller, and Daeshon Hall in providing depth behind starters Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett. Nearly all of the guys previously mentioned weigh right around 250 lbs. So, either the Eagles have a type or they should start drafting more guys north of 260.
Toohill needs to get stronger and improve his run defense, but he’s got an athletic frame that boosts his pass rush and coverage evaluation. It will take a ton of development, but a ceiling for Toohill could look a lot like former Bird (and current special assistant to Roseman) Connor Barwin.
Draft Grade: B-
Disappointment and disgust after watching a prime desired draft target go to a most hated rival at pick 17 left Philadelphia Eagles fans wanting to re-do the entire draft. Fans made reasonable pleadings all offseason to trade up and secure a shot at one of Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy, or CeeDee Lamb. We’ll never know what trade up deals were or weren’t on the table, but addressing the biggest positional need (arguably in the NFL) with a dynamic and competitive play maker was a successful start to this class.
When the Eagles’ used their 2nd round pick (a resource that could have been used to trade up) on a backup quarterback, majority of fans were not thrilled.
The K’Von Wallace pick to kick off Philly’s third day of selections was great value to appease defensive backfield needs. Rounds 1 through 3 always get the most shine, but drafts can be won and lost in rounds 4 through 7. Howie Roseman won this draft on Day 3, and made an unsettling decision in Round 2 much more palatable for Philadelphia Eagles fans to digest.
Total Draft Class Grade: A-
Reported Philadelphia Eagles UDFA Signings
Matt Leo, DE, Iowa State via Australia
Thank you for reading!