2019 NFL Draft: Analysts' grades for Eagles

2019 NFL Draft: Analysts' grades for Eagles

Assigning grades the day after the draft is kind of like assigning grade-point averages to babies the day after they're born.

It's too early. Way too early. Nobody knows. Nobody has a clue.

But they're fun to look at, and at a minimum they give us an idea of what people around the country think of what the Eagles are doing.

The Eagles only had five picks in this year's draft, but the 10 draft analysts we checked all had positive reviews of what Howie Roseman, Joe Douglas and Co. accomplished from Thursday through Saturday.

The Eagles got five A's, four B's and one "above average" from the 10 random draft analysts we checked.

Here's a rundown of those 10 grades with my comments on each one:

A  Chad Reuter, NFL.com

What they said: “(Andre) Dillard and Lane Johnson will form a great tandem whenever (Jason) Peters moves on. (Miles) Sanders will be an impact back who could see his role grow quickly with Jordan Howard due to become a free agent after the 2019 season. (JJ) Arcega-Whiteside will be a red-zone stud and general safety valve for Carson Wentz. (Shareef) Miller will offer a strong pass rush for the Eagles despite falling to the end of the fourth round. The (Clayton) Thorson pick made plenty of sense with Wentz coming off injury and Nick Foles gone."

Roob’s take: This guy loves the Eagles’ draft! The odds that all five guys will actually contribute are slim, but none of them seems like a ridiculous pick off the bat. He makes a great point about Arcega-Whiteside. I don’t know if he’ll ever be a star, but he certainly does have a knack for the end zone. 

B-: Dan Kadar, SBNation

What they said: “It’s curious that they didn’t address cornerback.”

Roob’s take: No, it’s not curious that they didn’t address cornerback. Nobody thought they were drafting a cornerback. Nobody. They have tons of promising young corners. Sidney Jones is 22, Rasul Douglas and Avonte Maddox are 23, Cre’Von LeBlanc is 24, Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills are 25. Come on now, Dan.

“Above Average”: PFF Analysis Team

What they said: “Philly hit a home run with (Dillard) at No. 22. JJ Arcega-Whiteside, a PFF favorite and first-round talent on the final board, is a steal for Philly at pick No. 57. (Miller) still has a long way to go before he’s a finished product in the NFL.”

Roob’s take: I think this last point an important one. Even defensive ends drafted in the highest rounds need a couple years to figure out the NFL game. It's a very tough position for a young guy to come in and master. Miller, as a fourth-round pick, is definitely a pick for the future, and I wouldn’t have very high expectations of him right off the bat.

A-: Andy Benoit, SI.com

What they said: “Every pick made sense for the Eagles, especially when you look a few years down the road. “

Roob’s take: That’s what the draft’s all about, drafting for 2021, 2022 and 2023, not necessarily trying to fill in spots on the 2019 depth chart. Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas were true to their board, avoided the temptation to reach for a safety early and wound up with who they believe are the best players they could get at each spot.

B: Evan Silva, Rotoworld

What they said: “This class isn’t blowing anyone away with only five draftees, but its grade improves when you include pick-swap acquisitions WR DeSean Jackson and DT Hassan Ridgeway.”

Roob’s take: This is important to remember. If you’re going to complain that the Eagles only had five picks, you have to remember that Roseman turned 6th- and 7th-round picks in this year’s draft into Jackson and Ridgeway. We all know what Jackson can do, and the Eagles have had their eye on Ridgeway for a while and believe he’s a better fit here than he was in Indianapolis. I’m guessing Jackson and Ridgeway will help more than anybody the Eagles could have taken with the 208thand 246th picks.

B: Mel Kiper, ESPN

What they said: “I like what Roseman & Co. did this weekend, but it's tough to say it's stellar with just five picks. I do expect Philly to be a playoff team again in 2019.”

Roob’s take: I expect that, too. This is a team that won 10 regular-season games and a playoff game in 2018, and I think they’ve gotten better. 

A+: Steve Serby, New York Post

What they said: “Howie Roseman leapfrogged the Texans for Dillard, the best pass blocker in the draft and the likely replacement next season for 37-year-old Jason Peters. Sanders isn’t Saquon Barkley, but he averaged 6.0 yards per carry at Penn State. WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside (80-inch wingspan) will be another big red-zone target for Carson Wentz. QB Clayton Thorson has a chance to be the new Nick Foles.”

Roob’s take: Very positive evaluation from Giants country.

A: Steve Silverman, Bleacher Report

What they said: “The Eagles clearly know what they are doing on draft day.”

Roob’s take: They do seem to have a plan and they stick to it. You can never totally prevent busts, but it does seem like the Eagles’ scouting structure is in a place right now to minimize those disastrous mistakes a la Jon Harris, Danny Watkins and Marcus Smith.

A-: Vinny Iyer, Sporting News

What they said: “It's a compact class, but a solid one.”

Roob’s take: A pretty healthy undrafted free agent group should help the Eagles make up for the fact that for the second straight year they only had five picks. Check out the NBC Sports Philadelphia's undrafted rookie free agent tracker here.

B: Nate Davis USA Today  

What they said: “Miles Sanders could be a rookie of the year dark horse for a team that struggled to fill the position in 2018. First-round LT Andre Dillard and the other second rounder, WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside, look like shrewd investments who may not have to start for another year.”

Roob’s take: Two shrewd investments and a rookie of the year darkhorse and they get a B? This dude’s a tough grader.

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Eagles reportedly have a new secondary coach

Eagles reportedly have a new secondary coach

Marquand Manuel is the Eagles’ new secondary coach, according to a tweet by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

The 40-year-old Manuel replaces Cory Undlin, who had served in that role since 2015, first under Chip Kelly and the last four years under Doug Pederson. Undlin was named Lions defensive coordinator two weeks ago.

Manuel and Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz go back a ways. Manuel played for the Lions in 2009 when Schwartz was their head coach.

Manuel was not in the NFL this past year. He spent the previous four years under Dan Quinn with the Falcons, two years as secondary coach and two years as defensive coordinator before getting fired following the 2018 season.

The Falcons reached the Super Bowl in his second year in Atlanta, losing to the Patriots in Houston.

Before Atlanta, Manuel spent three years working under Quinn with the Seahawks, holding a variety of titles on the defensive staff.

Manuel, who played for Steve Spurrier at Florida, was the Bengals’ 6th-round pick in 2002 and spent eight years as a safety in the NFL with six different teams — the Bengals, Seahawks, Packers, Panthers, Broncos and Lions.

He played in 116 games, starting 58, with two interceptions and a pick-6 while he was with the Packers in 2006 off Jon Kitna of the Lions.

The Eagles also reportedly interviewed Browns defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker for the position.

The Eagles already have a safeties coach on the staff, former Eagle Tim Hauck. He was Pederson's teammate with the Eagles in 1999 and has been on Pederson's staff since 2016.

Quinn had this to say about Manuel on the Falcons’ web site back in 2018:

From the time I've met him from now, one thing that's cool to see that has stayed consistent is the energy and enthusiasm he has for players. He made the transition from player to coach really seamlessly because he knew the boundaries of coach, but he also stepped across to say, I can push you. That's not easy to do. He's always had mental quickness of a quarterback or someone who gets concepts really quickly. That transferred into this coaching fast. He can communicate concepts and ideas quickly to people on the run, in the moment, that's a really valuable asset as a coach.

The Eagles still have openings to replace the three assistant coaches Doug Pederson fired: offensive coordinator Mike Groh, wide receivers coach Carson Walch and defensive line coach Phillip Daniels.

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Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Just a few days ago, it seemed like the Eagles weren’t going to lose Vice President of Football Operations Andrew Berry because it looked like the Browns were going to hire someone else.

Well, that someone else has dropped out of the race.

Vikings assistant GM George Paton has taken himself out of the running to be the Browns’ next general manager, which means Berry is now the new favorite, according to Cleveland.com

This is certainly an interesting turn of events.

According to Cleveland.com, “Paton was reluctant to accept the initial interview because he assumed the job would go Berry.”

Now it might.

It would have made plenty of sense for the Browns to hire Paton, who has a long-standing relationship with new head coach Kevin Stefanski from their time together in Minnesota. But according to reports over the past few weeks, it seems like Berry has been a favorite of ownership and the front office.

While Berry and Stefanski have never worked together, they did get to know each other during the coaching search in Cleveland a year ago. After that search, the Browns hired Freddie Kitchens and Berry left for Philly. But now, Berry and Stefanski might actually get a chance to work with one another.

The Harvard-educated Berry, 32, was with the Browns from 2016-18 as their Vice President of Player Personnel before he joined the Eagles last season in a role they created for him. Berry initially came up in the Colts franchise, first as a scouting assistant and finally as a pro scouting coordinator. He’s been a quick-riser in the NFL world.

Earlier this offseason, the Eagles reportedly denied a request from the Panthers to interview Berry for a Vice President job. The reasoning from the Eagles was that it wasn’t a general manager position and he wouldn’t have had final say on personnel matters.

Final say is something Berry will likely never have here in Philadelphia. Despite a few missteps in recent years, Howie Roseman has pretty solid job security and he isn’t going anywhere. If Berry is going to become a GM, it’s going to be in another city. And it seems like that day might be coming soon.

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