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John Angiolillo’s Eagles and NFC East Draft Thoughts
- Updated: April 18, 2017
It’s getting closer to the draft (which is going to be held at the Art Museum, no less), and I have a few things on my mind:
The Eagles may be unable to trade up or back
Howie Roseman has rarely stayed put in the draft since becoming Eagles GM. In 2010, he moved up to draft Brandon Graham, in 2012 he swung a deal to move up three spots to draft Fletcher Cox, and most recently, he moved up twice in 2016 to draft Carson Wentz.
This year, Roseman might not have the ammunition to trade up and draft, say, Leonard Fournette or Marshon Lattimore. The Eagles didn’t address certain positional needs, like corner and running back, because this draft is so deep at both position. The Eagles don’t have an over-abundance of picks (Carson Wentz trade) and their third-round pick is much less valuable after the Tim Jernigan trade.
Likewise, if Roseman wanted to trade back, he might not get good value for the 14th pick. The prospect quality doesn’t take a huge dip until late in the third round, so teams with multiple draft choices would likely want to keep their picks. The only thing Roseman may want in a trade-down would be a 2018 second round pick, which the Eagles lack because of the Wentz trade.
Either way, expect the Eagles to be picking at 14.
We will see how smart Joe Douglas actually is
For someone who isn’t a general manager, Joe Douglas is getting a lot of attention from the local media and the fanbase.
It’s warranted. Douglas has a decent pedigree. With the Ravens, he learned from Ozzie Newsome, one of the best executives of the past 25 years, and while with the Bears, he helped oversee two of the better drafts Chicago has had.
The key is that Douglas had someone with more power than him making final decisions. While Roseman still has final say, its supposed to be Douglas that’s setting the draft board. Howie will be influenced on whatever Douglas has dug up over the past several months.
Hopefully, Douglas won’t commit the mistakes Howie has made, like taking a 27 year-old firefighter or reaching in the first round for a player who many felt was a 4th round pick.
The Eagles should go “best player available” unless it’s a quarterback.
The term “best player available” is thrown around a lot on draft day, and while it has become a cliche, it’s true. The Eagles seemed to do very well when they follow this mantra. Jeremy Maclin, Fletcher Cox, and Lane Johnson all fall under that term when the Eagles selected them, and all have either had successful careers in Philadelphia or are in the midst of a successful career (if they stop flunking drug tests, Mr. Johnson I’m looking at you.)
Here’s the thing: all three of those players were never the Eagles most pressing need at the time. The Eagles already had DeSean Jackson before they took Maclin. Before Fletcher Cox, the Eagles had Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson. Jason Peters and Todd Herremans both played tackle and were quality players before Johnson was taken.
I don’t think there is a promising case to be made against the Eagles taking someone like Jamal Adams, who looks like the second coming of Brian Dawkins, or O.J. Howard, who could become the best tight end in the NFL in a few years. It’s better to take the more sure-fire thing than be risky and draft a potential bust.
Who could be on the move?
The Eagles will be adding to their roster, obviously, but there could be some players on the move. Jordan Matthews might have become expendable with the additions of Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffrey. The team isn’t ready to bail on Nelson Agholor or Dorial Green-Beckham, especially with Mike Groh now coaching wideout, who is regarded as something of a miracle worker (see Britt, Kenny).
Another player who could be dealt: Mychal Kendricks. Kendricks has been often discussed in trades but could hold value on draft night, especially on Day 3 when teams that missed out at linebacker find themselves needing a starter. He’s not a bad player, but doesn’t fit the 4-3 scheme Schwartz likes to employ and could be an interesting reclamation project for someone.
In relation to the rest of the division
The Eagles enter the draft with needs, but so do their fellow NFC East rivals.
The Redskins are a complete mess, and that isn’t a media exaggeration. They don’t have a general manager, they lost both starting wide receivers, their best defensive lineman, and they haven’t locked up Kirk Cousins yet. It will become clear what the direction the Redskins will take based off this draft (for example, if they take a QB early, it could spell the end of Cousins.)
The Giants are very much in a “win-now” situation. Eli Manning is 36 years old and they don’t have a lot of years left with him. It’s possible he’s hitting the decline as he threw eleven-less touchdowns last year compared to 2016. If and when Eli goes, the Giants have a major hole at quarterback and don’t have anyone to ascend to that throne. I would compare them to the late 2000s Eagles in a sense. They will be basing their selections on “who can get on the field first” rather than taking guys who need a year to develop.
The Cowboys had lost 3/4ths of their secondary, including the criminally underrated Barry Church. They also have needs on the defensive line. They may also need another wide receiver since Dez Bryant keeps getting hurt and Terrence Williams is an average receiver. Jason Witten also isn’t getting any younger either. Couple that with a tough cap situation, and Dallas needs to hit some more home runs in this draft if they want to maintain control over the NFC East.