2017 NFL draft

NFL praises Philadelphia for hosting record-setting 2017 NFL draft

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NFL praises Philadelphia for hosting record-setting 2017 NFL draft

The numbers are in and the Philly fans came through in a big way.

The NFL Draft Event Impact Report released the statistics from the 2017 NFL draft in Philadelphia Thursday. By all accounts, it was a record-setting event. A record 250,000 fans attended the three-day event held along the Ben Franklin Parkway, with $56.1 million spent at the event, resulting in an estimated $94.9 million in economic impact for the city. Initial projections and estimations put the impact around $80 million. The event also created 30,000 jobs during and leading up to the event.

“The Draft was a family-friendly event for Philadelphians and visitors across the country,” mayor Jim Kenney said. “I thank all of our public and private partners, especially the City employees and first responders, who made this event a success and allowed Philly to shine in the national spotlight once again.”

But enough about the numbers. Let's hear some praise from the league. 

“Philadelphia served as a phenomenal host for the 2017 NFL Draft and created a memorable experience for our fans, incoming players, and teams,” said Peter O’Reilly, NFL Senior Vice President of Events. “We are grateful to Mayor Kenney, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, and all of our partners for helping make the event a resounding success.”

A resounding success.

But will the draft return to Philly next year?

The league hasn't announced the location of the 2018 draft, but it doesn't look like the draft will be coming back for more.

“As great a job as Philly did, my understanding is it’s going to be difficult for Philly to repeat,” ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter told 97.5 The Fanatic’s Anthony Gargano in May.

In fact, Jerry Jones and the Cowboys may be next in line. The rivalry continues.

Flyers trade Brayden Schenn to Blues for No. 27 Morgan Frost, Jori Lehtera, additional pick

Flyers trade Brayden Schenn to Blues for No. 27 Morgan Frost, Jori Lehtera, additional pick

Let the wheeling and dealing begin.

After drafting Nolan Patrick No. 2 overall (see story), Flyers general manager Ron Hextall did not stay quiet to finish Day 1 of the NHL draft.

The Flyers traded Brayden Schenn to the St. Louis Blues for the 27th pick (Morgan Frost), Jori Lehtera and a conditional first-round pick in 2018 on Friday night.

Last season, Schenn, fresh off a new contract, finished second on the Flyers with 25 goals and third with 55 points. The 25-year-old forward flourished on the power play in which he scored 17 goals, tied for the NHL lead with Alex Ovechkin and Nikita Kucherov.

"Not like we were shopping Brayden," Hextall said (see story).
 
"This deal came along and we really like the draft next year. We like the late pick this year and Jori. It made sense and we got a couple more young players."

Schenn and the Flyers just narrowly avoided arbitration last offseason when the RFA signed a four-year, $20.5 million deal for a cap hit of $5.125 million.

Schenn was surprised by the trade.

"I didn't see it coming at all," he said to CSNPhilly.com's Tim Panaccio. "But I am excited to go to St. Louis."

Lehtera, a center, comes older but cheaper than Schenn. The 29-year-old is under contract for the next two seasons with a cap hit of $4.7 million.

In 64 games last season with the Blues, Lehtera (6-2, 210) put up 22 points on seven goals and 15 assists. Known as a versatile but not physical forward, Lehtera has seen his numbers dip each season from his rookie year. In 2014-15, his first NHL season, Lehtera posted 14 goals and 30 assists for 44 points and a plus-21 rating — all career bests for the native of Finland. He then recorded 34 points (nine goals, 25 assists) the following season.

Frost, an 18-year-old center, put up 67 points (20 goals, 42 assists) in 62 games last season with Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL. He is 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, and regarded as a "smart and skilled center with a very good offensive hockey sense — excellent vision and anticipation to quickly take advantage of opportunities," according to Central Scouting.

As for the 2018 pick, if it falls in the top 10, St. Louis has the option to defer to its 2019 first-round pick. If the Blues decide to do so, as a result, the Flyers also receive St. Louis' third-round pick in 2020.

The Flyers have 10 more picks remaining in the 2017 draft, which picks back up on Saturday at 10 a.m. Eastern Time, finishing with Rounds 2-7.

The Flyers' picks are 44th, 75th, 80th, 106th, 107th, 108th, 137th, 168th, 196th and 199th.

And Hextall may not be done dealing (see story).

Biggest questions about each of Eagles' 8 draft picks

Biggest questions about each of Eagles' 8 draft picks

The Eagles' three-day minicamp, which kicks off Friday, will offer everyone the first chance at seeing first-round pick Derek Barnett and the rest of the rookie class. 

While there will be dozens of players on the field this weekend, just eight of them were draft picks a couple weeks ago. 

Here is the biggest question about each of those draft picks. 

DE Derek Barnett (1st round): Will his production translate to the NFL? 
Barnett was a great college player. No question about it. This is likely the thousandth time you've heard about it, but his 33 collegiate sacks toppled a long-standing sack record at Tennessee held by Reggie White. And Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas compared Barnett to Terrell Suggs. Reggie White and Terrell Suggs ... not bad company. 

There's no questioning Barnett's production in college, but will that translate into the NFL? The big knock against Barnett is that he's not the most athletic prospect. That's a thought that was challenged by his college position coach (see story). The things Barnett has going for him are his motor, effort and technique. Those qualities make it seem likely he'll be able to transition into the NFL, but only time will tell. 

CB Sidney Jones (2nd round): When will he be healthy? 
Before the Eagles took Jones with the 43rd pick, the young corner declared he'd be back from his Achilles injury this season. 

But when he talked after the Eagles drafted him, his tone had changed considerably. He kept in line with what the Eagles said, that they weren't going to rush to get him back on the field, that they wanted him to fully heal. 

So the big question revolves around when he'll actually be ready to play. It won't be at the start of the season, but will he be able to play at all as a rookie? 

CB Rasul Douglas (3rd round): Is he ready to start this year? 
The Eagles took Douglas, from West Virginia, with the 99th overall pick. And the rookie walks into a secondary room desperately needing cornerbacks. With just Jalen Mills, Ron Brooks and Patrick Robinson really blocking his way, Douglas has a chance to not just play as a rookie but play a major role. 

Is he ready for that? It's a fair question. He had a great 2016, with eight interceptions, but his speed has been questioned. The Eagles say his length helps make up for that lack of speed, but we won't know that until he steps on the field. It's very possible Douglas is the most important draft pick for the 2016 season because the position he plays is one of need for the Birds. 

WR Mack Hollins (4th round): Will he develop into a real receiver? 
At 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, Hollins will, at the very least, be a very good special teams player. In fact, at North Carolina, he played on all four teams units. And that's something the Eagles have lacked, a receiver with the ability to play special teams. They haven't had that since Seyi Ajirotutu was on the team. Hopefully, Hollins will become that, plus a weapon as a receiver. 

At UNC, Hollins was known for his ball-tracking and big-play ability. He set the UNC career record for yards per reception (20.6) and led the nation as a junior (24.8). But in college, he never caught more than 35 passes in a season, being used as a specialty player. He has the tools to be more, but it's all just untapped potential now. 

RB Donnel Pumphrey (4th round): What will his role be? 
The long-term question about Pumphrey will probably revolve around his size and whether or not his small body will hold up in the NFL. But for now, it's more intriguing to wonder how the Eagles will use him in their offense. In the college game, Pumphrey would run between the tackles, but it doesn't seem likely that will be his primary role with the Eagles. 

With the Eagles, his big role might actually be as a receiver both out of the backfield and in the slot. The Eagles might even get him out wide on occasion. Having Pumphrey and Darren Sproles on the same team might give us a sense of Doug Pederson's creativity. 

WR Shelton Gibson (5th round): How fast is he? 
At the combine, Gibson ran a 4.50 in the 40-yard dash. That didn't check out with his game tape, which says Gibson is an absolute burner. His pro day 40-time was much better, with him being clocked at a 4.39. That would have been the eighth-fastest time overall at the combine this year. 

It's probably safer to say that Gibson's speed is somewhere between that 4.39 and 4.50. It shouldn't take long to see that speed in person. 

LB Nathan Gerry (5th round): Can he play linebacker? 
This question was a pretty easy one. Gerry is making the switch from safety at Nebraska to linebacker with the Eagles. During his meeting with the Birds, he talked to defensive backs coach Cory Undlin and linebackers coach Ken Flajole. 

Gerry said the biggest part of the transition will be processing information quicker from the linebacker spot, which is obviously closer to the line of scrimmage. He thinks the transition will go smoothly, but there might be some bumps along the way. He'll be a special teams player, but will he also be an adequate backup 'backer? 

DT Elijah Qualls (6th round): Was he a steal? 
The pick of Qualls (out of Washington) was met with a lot of praise and plenty of folks calling him a steal. Qualls (6-2, 293) wasn't known as a pass-rushing interior lineman, but he might have that ability. 

And the Eagles need the depth at DT. After Fletcher Cox and Timmy Jernigan, the Eagles have an injured Beau Allen (pec) and last year's undrafted rookie Destiny Vaeao. Qualls should be able to push for a backup role and maybe even playing time.