DRAFT reviews usually come out immediately after the event. Everyone is in such a race to get it to you first, that they rarely ever give it to you good. Not me. I like to take my time and go deeper. Really explore all those places that others tend to ignore. I want to make sure that you’re satisfied. (And accurately informed)
First off, General Manager Howie Roseman is on another level. On the surface, this Draft haul is so amazing, that it’s easy to want to jump to the end of the season, and start spouting a bunch of expectations; but we really need to pump the brakes. Me included.
Now let’s get into it.
Round 1 (9th overall): DT Jalen Carter – We started with the 10th overall pick, but Howie made a deal that moved us up one spot, to take a player widely said to be the most talented player in the entire draft. Some teams were concerned about character issues, but since when did the Eagles make a habit of taking head cases? So I have to trust their judgment on this one.
As an athlete, Carter is explosive, and powerful. He’s an interior penetrator and disruptor, who also can stand a blocker up at the point of attack, not allowing a hole for the run. Better still, from what I watched of him, he keeps a QB’s feet chopping. That means the QB’s normal throwing platform, is compromised.
It’d be a mistake to judge Carters rookie season by sacks and tackles. Those numbers can’t tell the true tale of his value. What Carter does best, is make offenses run off-schedule. He has the ability to make opponents a lesser version of themselves. Wreck a blocking scheme. Make the QB throw off-platform. There’s no stat for those things, but watch how often you’ll see him do it. Pick Grade: A+
Round 1 (30th overall): LB Nolan Smith – His highlights make him seem like a DE and pass rusher, but he only had 12.5 sacks over 4 years at Georgia. Smith is an active, high-motor player, who was used more like an x-factor than a player with a dedicated role. Watching him vs Clemson, a few things jump off the screen.
The first thing I noticed was the size mismatch. He’s only 238 pounds, but Georgia liked to deploy him as a DE/Edge player too often. If the Eagles don’t make this mistake, Smith should be just fine. The next thing you notice is his speed. The guy is blur off the line, and can run with just about any RB or TE.
Georgia used him as more as a Edge player, but the Eagles are going to have to transition him into a bonafide OLB. While he’s shown an ability to set an edge and corral RB’s, as well as rush the QB; he’s also displayed the speed and movement skills to handle coverage in zone and shallow man. So he has the tools to make the adjustment. Pick Grade: A
Round 2 (65th overall): OT Tyler Steen – There is talk of moving him inside to RG, but the move will likely not suit him well. Steen isn’t a lunch pail sort of guy. He had a round 3 or 4 estimate on him, but we reached and grabbed him in the second. From what I’ve seen, there’s no way he should have been drafted at all.
Watching him in the Alabama/Tennessee game, hurt me to my heart. There was no aggression in his game. He fell off of blocks constantly; lunged and ended up on the ground a lot; and his hand usage is atrocious. In the game vs Texas, he looked like outright trash. Finishing no blocks, and watching entirely too much football.
Sometimes teams will take a diamond in the rough, because he’s extremely explosive; or has the nimble feet of Ginger Rogers; or is freakishly strong, or has other in-born traits that can’t be taught. That said, I honestly don’t see what the Eagles will try to build off of with this kid. Then again, I’m not on a coaching staff. Pick Grade: F
Round 3 (66th overall): S Sydney Brown – Word is, that he’s an in the box thumper. (I used to have a pet rabbit named Thumper, so this term always tickles me when it’s used in football).
However, watching video of him vs Wyoming, was underwhelming. It shows him watching a lot of football, when others are swarming to the ball, as well as missing tackles.
I usually don’t watch highlight vids, but even his highlight reels don’t back up the hype of him being a hitter. Maybe there’s a Special Teamer here, but I don’t see much else. Pick Grade: D
Round 4 (105th overall): CB Kelee Ringo – Watching him against Oregon, it was hard not to like the potential that was clearly on display. Rarely do I fall in love with measurables, but 6’2, 207, running a 4.36?! Yet my favorite part was watching how when he played man-press, the QB ignored his half of the field.
His tackling could be better, and his mirroring needs polish, but these things are what coaches are paid to improve. This kid has excellent tools, and will spend the next three years learning from CB’s Darius Slay and James Bradberry. Pick Grade: A
Round 6 (188th overall): QB Tanner McKee – Watching bis game against Arizona State made me wonder why the Eagles spent a pick on him. He showed zero pocket awareness, happy feet in the pocket, and seemingly has no idea what a “touch pass” is. Seriously, he strong-armed every throw on a straight, flat line.
Initially when I saw him as a pick, I figured maybe he’d compete with QB Ian Book for the third string. After seeing him play, he seems like just a camp arm. Essentially a salaried jugs machine. Pick Grade: D
Round 7 (249th overall): DT Moro Ojomo – Video against Alabama is always quality study material, and that’s what we have here. Ojomo is active inside, but doesn’t rush with much of a plan. So he can muddle a blocking scheme, but he runs himself out of plays just as often.
He looks like a solid rotation piece. They type who can come in later in the game, vs a tired o-line, and rely on raw strength to shine for a possession or two. Pick Grade: B
While the trade for native Philadelphian RB D’Andre Swift happened during the Draft, it’s not a pick, so it won’t be graded. It was also further demonstrated proof that the Eagles don’t draft RB’s in the first round. (At least not under this GM.) Fans clamored for RB Bijan Robinson, but I said we wouldn’t go that route, and I even told you why. I wanted two defensive lineman and that’s what we took.
Notable Post-Draft signings:
WR Joseph Ngata – 6’3 217, not a burner, but makes tough grabs in traffic, as well as YAC.
CB Mehki Garner – 6’2, 212, needs to be moved to S/NCB.
I know other sites and publications gave the Eagles (and nearly everyone else) A-pluses, A’s and B’s, but they’re grading on curve so gentle, you’d think they were a public school teacher on probation.
On the whole, after taking a deeper look than the national media could afford to, for every team, I’d give our Draft a C+. While we hit some home runs here, three of four picks just don’t look like they’ll fit here. Reaching for one of them just makes that pick hurt worse.