Eagles

Finding trends in last 3 Eagles drafts with Howie Roseman in charge

Finding trends in last 3 Eagles drafts with Howie Roseman in charge

Howie Roseman’s second stint in charge of the Eagles’ draft got off to a bold and exciting start back in 2016, when he moved up from 13 to 8 to 2 in order to draft a franchise quarterback. 

Carson Wentz was the first draft pick in the Eagles’ new (and sort of old) regime. 

Including Wentz, the Eagles have drafted 21 players in the last three drafts since reinstating Roseman to power and since hiring Doug Pederson as head coach and Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator. Remember, Joe Douglas wasn’t around for a draft until 2017, but he’s played a big role in each of the last two classes. 

Only one player drafted by the Eagles in the last three years has really become a star. Wentz made a Pro Bowl in 2017 and was on his way to an MVP award before blowing out his knee that December. 

But of the 21 players the Eagles have taken in the last three years, 17 of them are still on the roster; that includes Donnel Pumphrey, who is in his second stint after spending some time on the Lions’ practice squad. 

In three years, they’ve had two first round picks. One was used for Wentz. One was used on Derek Barnett in 2017. But dating back to when he was first made GM in 2010, Roseman had made seven first-round picks. Six of them have been used on offensive or defensive lineman; four defensive, two offensive. The only time he didn’t use a first-round pick on a lineman was in 2016, when he drafted Wentz. The 2015 draft, when the Eagles took Nelson Agholor, Chip Kelly was in charge. 

So if the Eagles stay at 25, there’s no guarantee they’re going to use that pick on a lineman, but it’s the safest bet. 

In the last three years, here’s a positional breakdown of all 21 players taken: 

DB: 5
OL: 4
DL: 4
WR: 2
RB: 2
LB: 2
TE: 1 
QB: 1

A few notes on those numbers: The DB group breaks down to three corners, safety Blake Countess and Avonte Maddox, who is super versatile but was drafted as a corner. As far as Day 1 or 2 picks (Rounds 1-3), the Eagles have had six in three years: Wentz, Isaac Seumalo, Derek Barnett, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, Dallas Goedert. 

Here’s every pick the Eagles have made in the last three years. Players in bold are on the current roster: 

2018

2-49: TE Dallas Goedert 
4-125: DB Avonte Maddox
4-130: DE Josh Sweat
6-206: OL Matt Pryor 
7-233: OT Jordan Mailata 

2017

1-14: DE Derek Barnett 
2-43: CB Sidney Jones
3-99: CB Rasul Douglas
4-118: WR Mack Hollins
4-132: RB Donnel Pumphrey
5-166: WR Shelton Gibson 
5-184: LB Nathan Gerry

6-214: DT Elijah Qualls 

2016

1-2: QB Carson Wentz 
3-79: OL Isaac Seumalo 
5-153: RB Wendell Smallwood
5-164: OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai 

6-196: S Blake Countess
7-233: CB Jalen Mills
7-240: DE Alex McCalister 
7-251: LB Joe Walker 

So the only four players who aren’t on the roster anymore were sixth or seventh-round picks. Although, Pumphrey was close to being on this list as a fourth-rounder. He was cut but returned and is unlikely to make the roster in 2019. 

Let’s go year-by-year with some notes:

2016: This draft will always be remembered for Wentz and it should. The only other Day 1 or 2 pick was Seumalo, who has grown into a starter and just signed an extension. While Smallwood and Vaitai haven’t been stars or even steady starters, they’ve given the Eagles decent production for fifth-round picks. Mills has given the Eagles a lot for a seventh-rounder. Losing Countess in 2016 to the Rams’ practice squad always confused me. The Eagles really liked him and then didn’t even get him to stick around on their practice squad. He has been a rotational backup for the Rams. McCalister never made the team and Walker was a backup for part of 2017. 

2017: We haven’t seen enough of Barnett to really make a determination about him and he’s still just 22. But we’ve seen enough signs to think he can be a really good player in this league. Sidney Jones is probably the make-or-break player of this draft. The Eagles gambled by taking him and it hasn’t paid off yet, but it’s too early to count him out. Rasul Douglas hasn’t been a consistent starter, but he’s played well when called upon. The Pumphrey pick clearly hasn’t worked. Mack Hollins had a decent rookie season but missed all of Year 2. 

2018: The Eagles traded out of the first round and ended up with Goedert, who had an extremely promising rookie season. Avonte Maddox also had a great rookie season for a fourth-round pick, showing plenty of versatility. If Jordan Mailata ever fulfills his athletic potential, taking him in the seventh round could be one of the greatest value picks in Eagles history. Too early to tell on Sweat or Pryor. 

A few awards … 

Best value pick: Say what you want about Mills, but getting him for a seventh has been a steal. In three years, Mills has played in 39 games with 25 starts. He made that game-saving play against the Falcons in the playoffs in 2017 and started for the Eagles in Super Bowl LII. 

Worst pick: It’s too early to judge most of these picks, but I feel pretty safe judging the Pumphrey selection. Maybe he surprises us all, but even for a fourth round pick, the Eagles haven’t gotten anything out of him. Remember, they even traded up to get him in 2017. It was a questionable pick at the time and even more questionable now. Jamaal Williams hasn’t been a star for the Packers, but he has rushed for over 1,000 total yards in his first two seasons. He was taken two spots after Pump. 

The next star: I mentioned that Wentz is the only player drafted by the Eagles in the last three years to make a Pro Bowl. If I had to guess the next one of this group to make a Pro Bowl, I’d go with Barnett. He’ll have his chances and was playing well before his injury last season. 

Unfulfilled potential: The most unfulfilled potential award goes to Sidney Jones. I was tempted to say Mailata, but Jones was a first-round talent and the Eagles gambled to take him in the second round in 2018. He has all the tools, but can he stay healthy? 

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Jets ask for permission to interview Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas

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Philadelphia Eagles

Jets ask for permission to interview Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas

It looks like familiarity with Jets head coach Adam Gase is a prerequisite for the GM job in New York.

For a while, we’ve heard reports that Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas is a favorite to replace Mike Maccagnan, but now we know his competition.

Douglas and Gase worked together briefly in Chicago for a season. Gase and Kelly worked together in Chicago and Denver.

Kelly is the Bears’ assistant director of player personnel. He just finished his second season in that role with Chicago. Kelly and Douglas also worked together in 2015, when Douglas was the Bears’ director of college scouting and Kelly was the Bears’ director of pro scouting.

It has been previously reported that Douglas is Gase’s pick for the job, so we’ll see how much power the head coach wields in this process.

There has also been a thought that Douglas to the Jets is a done deal. While that might be unsubstantiated, if the Jets do want to hire Douglas, they wouldn’t have to interview any more candidates than these two because Kelly would fulfill the Rooney Rule requirement. The Rooney Rule requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and GM jobs.

While losing Douglas would be a blow, the Eagles have likely been preparing for that possibility for a while.

"At some point, we are going to lose executives," Eagles owner Jeff Lurie said in March. "When you’re winning, you’re going to lose executives. I think we’re in a great position to be able to deal with that. We don’t want to put a cap on how many good executives we have in football operations. That would be a competitive mistake."

Douglas could theoretically wait for a more stable offer to appear, but there are just 32 of these jobs available. And if the Jets do give Douglas final say, it would probably be pretty hard for him to turn it down.

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Eagles backup quarterback spot appears to be Nate Sudfeld's to lose

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Eagles backup quarterback spot appears to be Nate Sudfeld's to lose

The Eagles aren’t saying it. Nate Sudfeld isn’t saying it. But Sudfeld is the Eagles’ backup quarterback.

Who an organization brings in this time of year to compete with its backup typically speaks volumes about how they feel about said backup. When executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman proclaimed in February the Eagles were looking at veteran signal callers, people thought Teddy Bridgewater, Ryan Fitzpatrick, maybe Tyrod Taylor.

The Eagles used a fifth-round draft pick on Clayton Thorson and signed free agent Cody Kessler a couple weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Sudfeld received a second-round tender from the club as a restricted free agent this offseason — the second-largest qualifying offer — signing for over $3 million in April.

“It was really exciting,” Sudfeld said after Tuesday’s practice. “That really kind of gave me a vote of confidence and just was really exciting because again I wanted to be here and I have another year to keep getting better and developing here.”

Sudfeld’s contract isn’t guaranteed or anything, so in theory, Kessler — a former third-round pick with 12 not-awful starts under his belt — could steal the job. Yet, even listening to the language Eagles coach Doug Pederson used, it’s clear what the expectation is.

“Nate has an opportunity to really compete and solidify the No. 2 spot,” Pederson said on Tuesday. “He gets an opportunity and it’s a great opportunity for him to do that.

“Depth brings a lot of competition. At that spot, there is no exemption. Looking forward to that.”

Some might think it a gamble for the Eagles to hitch their wagon to a backup who’s thrown just 25 passes in NFL regular season games. Then again, the club’s trust in Sudfeld has never waned, going back to his rookie year in 2017 when he served as Nick Foles’ backup throughout the playoffs and Super Bowl.

Clearly, the Eagles see something in the 25-year-old the rest of us simply haven’t yet had the chance to experience. They stashed him on the 53-man roster for the better part of two seasons. They’ve watched him grow as an athlete and quarterback.

“I feel like I’ve improved in a lot of ways since Washington,” Sudfeld said, referring to where he got his start as a sixth-round pick out of Indiana in 2016. “I think physically I’ve developed a lot. I think I was kind of a late bloomer, so I feel like I’ve gotten a lot stronger in the weight room, faster on the field. I just feel like physical development’s been huge. And then just being in the NFL a couple years, some great systems and great coaches, just understanding ball a lot more and seeing situations and being able to apply it.

“I think arm strength has improved, velocity, weight room just in general, core, everything. I just feel a lot better.”

That doesn’t mean the Eagles will simply give Sudfeld his spot. Kessler is an intriguing prospect — he was reasonably accurate and took care of the football (64.2 completion percentage and 5 interceptions in 17 career games) as a member of bad Browns and Jaguars squads. Thorson, too, while likely more of a project, could take a surprise leap at the next level.

Whether because he’s confident in his ability or simply understands the situation, Sudfeld doesn’t seem to be sweating the competition.

“Nothing’s ever going to be handed to you, and you don’t want it that way,” Sudfeld said. “There’s no sense of entitlement. Everything’s earned. I’m just trying to improve myself as much as possible, try to be the best version of myself, work on my craft. I know if I can keep improving and become a better player, it’ll all take care of itself.”

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