LIKE the 2020 Draft, this wasn’t a draft that was meant to produce a bunch of immediate starters. Most of the picks here were made with an eye towards restocking the shelves, in order to avoid desperation down the road. That being said, an upper-tier CB would have been great.
Round 1 (12th overall): WR DeVonta Smith (H)
Remember when I told you “Ignore all this nonsense about “guys competing for the starting job”. Jalen Hurts is the guy.” With their first pick in this draft, The Front Office put the entire farcical notion of an honest competition to bed, and then killed it with a shovel in it’s sleep.
Smith comes in as a rookie who doesn’t have to win over the confidence of the starting QB. In fact, his very presence does something unheard of among rookies: His history and chemistry with QB Jalen Hurts, actually helps legitimize the notion of Hurts as the starter, despite all the question marks about Hurts himself.
Whether stemming his route, running the route, or running after the catch, he has an easy, graceful, long stride that is damned near hypnotic. He has reliable hands, and is willing to block despite not being very good at it. I expect him to start, and have a 1,000 yard, 8 TD season.
Round 2 (37th overall): C Landon Dickerson (H)
I love everything about the way he plays, but I hate his injury history:
ACL tear ended his freshman year.
Ankle injury ended his sophomore year.
Another ankle injury ended his first junior year. He then red-shirted.
He completed his second junior year.
ACL injury ended his senior season.
Dickerson is the post-Jason Kelce plan. Again, I love his play. He’s powerful and mean. He’s also bigger than Kelce and appears to have a better anchor. While Kelce will no doubt be a Hall of Famer, we have watched him for a over a decade be ridden back into QB’s from Michael Vick to Jalen Hurts. I don’t see that being an issue with Dickerson.
This pick is the primary example of what I meant when I said restocking. Having to rehab, he’s clearly not meant to contribute in 2021, but that high pick means that his contribution is expected soon.
Round 3 (73rd overall): DT Milton Williams (Q)
At 284 pounds, and possessing an average college first step, he will be a liability against the run in the NFL. If he’s exclusively played as a 3rd down interior pass rusher, he might find a role. If he’s moved to weak-side DE, he may even find a way to start some games. Otherwise, this just seems like a bad pick.
Round 4 (123rd overall): CB Zech McPhearson (Q)
I can’t offer a solid opinion on him, because all I could find was highlight videos. There was no video that showed who he is down-in and down-out. In the limited bits that I can piece together (from other player’s videos), he looks more like a FS than CB. I’m at a loss for why we waited until 123 to grab a CB.
Round 5 (150th overall): RB Kenneth Gainwell (H)
Last year I wanted WR/RB Antonio Gibson out of Memphis, but Washington got him. This year the Eagles went and got us RB/WR Kenneth Gainwell out of Memphis. While Gainwell is smaller, between the two players, at this stage of their college career, Gainwell is clearly the more natural receiver, and a better blocker. (Just ask Micah Parsons.) Neither runs very hard
Gainwell is an immediate upgrade over RB Boston Scott, though neither of them have that “take it to the house” type speed. His ability to be split out, and run routes like a WR, allows the Eagles to move him around the formation, even while RB Miles Sanders is on the field. We could line up in the I Formation, and audible to Empty, and every bit of that would have to be respected. Look. I’ve got goosebumps!
Round 6 (189th overall): DT Marlon Tuipulotu (M)
Heavy footed and doesn’t gain penetration. Even when the play is run away from him. He may have been good enough to start at his college, but he’ll likely be out of here before training camp is over.
Round 6 (191st overall): DE Tarron Jackson (Q)
Lacks decent first step, because he never really gets into a three point stance. Lines up almost sitting on his heels. When he plays out of two point stance, he gets a much better jump. That however, basically makes him a situational player, who offers nothing vs the run. Again, his biggest flaw can be fixed with coaching, but he still doesn’t seem to have a high ceiling beyond that.
Round 6 (224th overall) : S JaCoby Stevens (M)
Early word has the Eagles wanting to move this 212 pound S to LB. Either move would be a mistake. He lacks a feel for pass coverage as a S, but he doesn’t shed blocks or tackle well enough to be a LB. He also doesn’t initiate contact, and ends up watching more football than he plays. Honestly, it looks like he gets stuck trying to read where the play is going, instead of locking down his area, and forcing plays into the shark tank.
Round 7 (234th overall): EDGE Patrick Johnson (H)
I hate seeing the term “Edge”. Is he lining up at DE or OLB? The responsibilities are very different. Their techniques are very different. Usually “Edge” means either LB who can’t cover, or undersized DE. At 240 pounds, Johnson looks to be the latter.
Despite my bitching about a title, I like what I see on tape. The guy sets the edge before pass rushing, or chasing a tackle. He is nimble enough for stunts, uses his hands to shed blocks, and can cover in an underneath zone. Unfortunately he lines up at DE in a two point stance, which almost eliminates him as being useful vs the run. If he’s going to do that, he needs to move to OLB.
Otherwise, he needs to add 12 pounds and put his hand on the ground.
For this year’s haul, I’d have to say we had four hits, two misses, and three that we’re waiting to see about. Let’s math!
With 9 players drafted, (H)its being worth 2, (M)isses 0, and (Q)uestionables 1, we had a possible score of 18, and scored 11. As a grade, that’s a 61% out of 100. If you recall, 65 was a ‘D’ in school. Not a great haul, Howie. Then again, it is just a restocking.