I can’t find a single fault with the Eagles’ draft this year. The entire class gets an A-plus in my book.
I also didn’t have any preconceived notions about what the Eagles should do going into the draft. I didn’t research hundreds of prospects like I did in years past. I didn’t read a single mock draft. I wasn’t of the opinion there were certain positions the club needed to prioritize in the first round, and I certainly couldn’t identify my favorite sleeper target in the seventh.
Most I enjoyed any draft since… possibly ever.
You can write me off and say that just means I don’t know what I’m talking about. Admittedly, my only knowledge going into the 2019 draft was what I absorbed naturally by being connected to the NFL, which is still probably a good bit more than the average person. I just couldn’t regurgitate a bunch of stats and measurements I gleaned from scouting reports or tell you who Todd McShay had the Eagles taking in his 700th mock and why his imaginary choice was ill-conceived.
But my newly relaxed attitude toward the draft gave me a different perspective on the Eagles’ class. I didn’t see college athletes I had studied or devise a blueprint for how the weekend should go. I simply saw a shrewd move to trade up and steal a highly touted left tackle prospect in the first round. I saw an obvious need filled with a running back, then another weapon for Carson Wentz in the second. And I saw a pair of Day 3 picks with low percentages of panning out regardless of who they are, where they’re from or what they play, and no reason to be bent out of shape.
So, when I read the day-after report cards on the Eagles’ draft – an exercise always fraught with folly – the grades were far more divisive than I had anticipated, with marks ranging anywhere from an A to a C. C? What was not to like?
The Eagles passed on Player X with the first pick? Well, yeah, a potential top-10 talent at an integral, difficult-to-fill position slid to No. 22. It changed the team’s plans, too. Again, I wasn’t pulling for any one player, so this looked like a tremendous value to me, nothing more.
The Eagles had a more pressing need at Position Y in the first? I suppose you could make that argument, as it’s subjective, though Jason Peters is 37, on the final year of his contract and coming off consecutive injury-plagued seasons. Seemed like a plenty big need.
The Eagles made only five picks? Again, a rare opportunity to get their left tackle of the future in the 20s altered plans, so they dealt a couple extra picks to move up. They also swapped a seventh for a current NFL player. Stocking up on a bunch of late picks like cheap scratch-offs is fine, but if they came away with the cash in hand instead – meaning guys who can all play – that’s clearly preferable.
The Eagles lost too many picks in the trade up? To answer a question with another question: Would you rather a starter at left tackle for the next decade or a couple more Day 3 talents who may not make it to next season?
The Eagles took a flier on a developmental quarterback they liked? I wasn’t aware Nate Sudfeld is a proven commodity as a backup or is even guaranteed to be here a year from now. We’re in the fifth round, so not really sure why this is even an issue.
The Eagles didn’t address Position Z? Maybe the front office didn’t view it as a glaring need, or the draft board simply didn’t present an opportunity. Teams can go in with a mindset they’re going to tackle a specific problem, but people would be more upset over a bunch of obvious reaches or passing up superior talents just to fill holes.
Had the Eagles drafted Jon Harris or Marcus Smith, I would’ve recognized there was a problem. Otherwise, the whole thing is unpredictable to a degree that borders on random.
Am I saying the Eagles authored the perfect draft? No, and I’m sure such a thing does not exist. But in my eyes, most of these players were just names on a list prior to this weekend, and the needs of a roster already brimming with talent were all relatively equal.
Viewing the draft through that lens and blocking out much of the noise – oh, and reminding myself this front office built a Super Bowl champion not two years ago – made me far more content with everything the Eagles did.
I’ve gotta tell you, it’s a better feeling than trying to nitpick the class to death when nobody knows how the players will even turn out.
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