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Why did the Eagles Pass on Top Ten Talent at #14?


Minutes before the Eagles made their first-round selection, I was talking to a close friend of mine on the phone. Like all of you, he was nervous as to whom the Eagles were going to pick.

I told him that if Derek Barnett was available, he’s going to be an Eagles (and, no, I’m not just saying that).

However, my amigo was curious as to why the Eagles passed on a few of the talent rated in the top ten of the draft. It could have been a multitude of reasons, but it boils down to two things: long-term health and culture fit.

Oh Lord, the C-word. Chip Kelly loved that word. However, it makes sense: bring in players that fit the mindset you want out of your players. That ideology is those obsessed with football. Need proof?

In a way, Derek Barnett is like the Eagles starting quarterback. Both have a strong desire to win football games. Read his player’s tribune article and don’t tell me that doesn’t excite you.

But also, a lot of the highly regarded prospects carried red flags. For example, Alabama’s Jonathan Allen has arthritis in both of his shoulders, which is why he went from going either two or three, to seventeen. Likewise, Ruben Foster has bad shoulders as well, and could require more surgery, putting his 2017 season in jeopardy.

Their teammate, tight end OJ Howard, doesn’t have health problems, but his desire to play the game has been. 

Then there’s safety Malik Hooker, who doesn’t have motivational or injury issues. His problem is that he’s incredibly raw: he’s only played one year of college football and only two years of high school.

So Barnett may have been labeled the “safe pick”, but maybe he was safe because the other top prospects were too risky.

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