It was a strange few days, with a virtual draft, an unexpected 1st-round pick, a baffling 2nd-round pick, some strange comments from Howie Roseman and a single white piece of paper at the end of it all outlining the Eagles’ 2020 offseason plan.
The 2020 draft wasn’t all bad for the Eagles, but it sure wasn’t all good.
So let’s break it all down in the Eagles’ 2020 Draft Awards:
BEST PICK: I like the K’Von Wallace pick. Jalen Mills has never played safety, and Will Parks has started 15 games in four years. They’re both on one-year deals. Rodney McLeod turns 30 in June and is on a two-year deal. So there are a lot of question marks at safety, and Wallace is a physical, hard-hitting, smart, productive kid who makes up for his average speed and size with toughness and grit. The Eagles haven’t drafted a safety who became a starter since Nate Allen a decade ago. Wallace has a shot.
WORST PICK: I’m not going to dwell on the Jalen Hurts pick because we’ve harped on it so much the last few days. But my initial reaction hasn’t softened at all. The Eagles had a chance to get a big-time starting-caliber player at No. 53, a guy who could contribute from Day 1, and they instead picked somebody who will be a gadget player at best if Carson Wentz doesn’t get hurt. Makes no sense.
MOST OVER-RATED MOVE: I know 5th-round pick John Hightower and 6th-round pick Quez Watkins both have tremendous speed, and it’s easy to get excited about a couple blazers. But let’s be honest. Your odds of hitting on a wide receiver in the fifth or sixth round are minimal. The only wide out the Eagles have drafted in the last 30 years after the fourth round who caught more than three passes in an Eagles uniform is Riley Cooper, a 5th-rounder in 2010. The most career receptions ever by an Eagles’ 6th-round WR? Jeff Sydner had three. So maybe one of these guys will hit, but realistically they’re long shots. Very fast long shots.
MOST UNDER-RATED MOVE: I don’t know if Marquise Goodwin can play anymore, but considering the cost? What do you have to lose? All the Eagles did to get him was move down 20 picks in the sixth round (from 190 to 210), which is nothing. Will he be another in a long line of once-promising receivers who get to Philly and can’t play anymore? (Steve Smith, Rueben Randle, T.J. Graham, Charles Johnson, Chris Givens, Mike Wallace, Kamar Aiken, Dorial Green-Beckham, et al)? Two years ago Goodwin had 962 yards and the 49ers thought enough of him to give him a three-year, $20 million contract extension. He’s been hurt and ineffective since and he may just be a shot fighter. But if it doesn’t work out, the cost was negligible.
BIGGEST STEAL: Auburn offensive tackle Prince Tega Wanogho was considered a likely third-round prospect until a mid-season knee injury hurt his value. So to get him in the sixth round was big. Wanogho played all year with the injury and didn’t miss any games and all he needed to repair it was a scope. The Eagles have no depth at offensive tackle and a healthy Wanogho has an honest shot to find his way onto the roster.
BIGGEST REACH: Even if the Eagles desperately needed a quarterback, Hurts would not have made sense at No. 53. He’s a talented kid, a high-character kid, but he’s nowhere close to being ready to play. He’s a project who has a ton of work to do in terms of learning to read defenses, go through progressions and transition to the NFL game. So it’s not a good move independent of Carson Wentz.
MOST INTRIGUING UNDRAFTED ROOKIE: An undrafted rookie running back made the Eagles in both 2017 (Corey Clement) and 2018 (Josh Adams), and considering that Miles Sanders and Boston Scott are the only running backs on the roster with NFL experience, there could be an opportunity for Michael Warren of Cincinnati. Warren had the 11th-most rushing yards in the BCS over the last two years (2,594) and the third-most touchdowns (33) playing for Cincinnati, which also gave the Eagles Trent Cole, Brent Celek and Jason Kelce.
GREATEST MISCONCEPTION: I kept hearing the Eagles wasted the Jalen Reagor pick. While I would have taken Justin Jefferson there, there’s a lot to like about Reagor. You have to forget his 2019 numbers with a terrible true freshman quarterback. If he was playing with Joe Burrow instead of Max Duggan, his stats would have been just fine. Just because he might not have been the ideal pick at No. 21 doesn’t mean he can’t play.
BIGGEST TREND: How serious is Roseman about revamping the secondary? The Eagles currently have EIGHT defensive backs on the roster who weren’t with the team last year: Darius Slay, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Will Parks, K’Von Wallace and four undrafted rookies. On top of that, Malcolm Jenkins is gone, Jalen Mills has changed positions and Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones are both on thin roster ice. This secondary isn’t going to remotely resemble last year’s, and that can only be a positive.
BEST QUOTE: “I'm going to fight you until I get what I want. That's just the type of guy that I am,” K’Von Wallace.
WORST QUOTE: “We are quarterback developers. We want to be a quarterback factory,” Howie Roseman.
OVERALL GRADE: The second-round pick makes it impossible to come away from this draft feeling good about it. With a chance to land an immediate contributor, the Eagles made one of the most bewildering picks in franchise history. You can’t make up for that in the later rounds. I think the Eagles did OK on Saturday, but those picks are all a crapshoot. I can’t go any higher than a C minus.
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