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Giving a Grade to the Philadelphia Eagles 2017 NFL Draft

2017 NFL draft

The 2017 NFL draft is over and in the books, and many teams stand vastly improved from before to after the draft. The Philadelphia Eagles stand as one of the teams that vastly improved from before to after the draft. General manager Howie Roseman and vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas did a great job navigating the hardships of running a successful NFL draft. The Eagles made a total of eight draft picks in the 2017 NFL draft.

Round 1, pick 14: Defensive end Derek Barnett

Barnett, a defensive end from Tennessee, was a great pick by the Philadelphia Eagles. Barnett has all of the abilities to become a great pass rusher in the NFL, he has great hands and good closing speed to help him get to the quarterback. Not to mention that Barnett broke the famous Reggie White’s sack record at Tennessee by getting 32 sacks in three seasons. The Eagles passed up on a couple of good players to get Barnett, but Barnett still remains a great pick for the Eagles, and a pick who should be able to contribute straight from day one.

Grade: A-

Round 2, pick 11 (43 overall): Cornerback Sidney Jones

Great pick, massive value at this pick and the Philadelphia Eagles definitely made the right decision to draft and stash Washington cornerback Sidney Jones. Jones, who tore his achilles at Washington’s pro day, was arguably the best cornerback in the draft before the injury. Jones has all of the technical abilities to be able to become a great cornerback in the NFL. The Eagles, who refused to commit to a debut date for Jones, could have their second round pick debuting by mid-October or November, according to multiple reports on his recovery coming from the doctor who did the surgery, Robert Anderson.

Grade: A

Round 3, pick 35 (99 overall): Cornerback Rasul Douglas

*compensatory selection from Baltimore Ravens

The Eagles came into the draft needing to improve their defense, specifically the cornerback position, and they did it. The Eagles continue the defensive trend by drafting another cornerback, this time Rasul Douglas, a cornerback from West Virginia. Douglas has good coverage abilities, long arms, good hands and the ability to be a ball hawking cornerback, all things that Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz loves to get from his corners. The one knock on Douglas is that he doesn’t have top end speed, but that is not something to worry much about due to all of the other strengths that Douglas has.

Grade: A-

Round 4, pick 12 (118 overall): Wide receiver Mack Hollins

With this pick, the Eagles began to focus back on the offensive side of the football. Hollins, standing at 6’4 and 221 lbs., has blazing speed and an ability to provide a deep threat. Hollins has vertical ability written all over him due to his size and speed, and the Eagles should love Hollins. He is a raw talent, but hopefully the Eagles veterans and coaching staff will be able to develop Hollins into a versatile weapon for young quarterback Carson Wentz to use. Also, Hollins has the ability to be good on special teams coming right out of the gate.

Grade: B

Round 4, pick 26 (132 overall): Running back Donnel Pumphrey

The Eagles traded up (picks 139 and 230 to the Minnesota Vikings to get pick 132) to get the opportunity to draft Donnel Pumphrey. Pumphrey, a running back from San Diego State University, is a small, quick running back that should be able to find a role on the Eagles in his rookie season. Pumphrey reminds many of current Eagle Darren Sproles, who is rumored to be planning on retiring at the end of this season. For one season, Pumphrey will have the opportunity to watch and learn from someone who plays in the same style as him. Hopefully, Pumphrey will end up being a multi-use running back for the Eagles.

Grade: B

Round 5, pick 22 (166 overall): Wide receiver Shelton Gibson

The Philadelphia Eagles had one of the worst group of receivers in the NFL last season. One of the issues that they had was that nobody could provide a deep threat. Well, this pick combined with Mack Hollins (one of the team’s fourth round picks) will work to fix that issue. Gibson has the breakaway speed that is needed to be a deep threat, and he was even drawing some comparisons to former Eagle Desean Jackson. Gibson should be able to contribute almost immediately to this Philadelphia offense, and one of the best parts about this pick is that Philadelphia traded back twice in the fifth round and was still able to pick him.

Grade: B+

Round 5, pick 41 (184 overall): Safety Nate Gerry

*compensatory selection from Miami Dolphins

Nate Gerry, a safety from Nebraska, is an underrated pick by many people. Gerry was ranked second amongst safeties in college in performance last season behind only Jamal Adams. Gerry has the abilities to be able to play like a strong safety, and he has good instincts that will help him out in the run game. However, his coverage abilities and quickness will hurt his ability to cover in the NFL. Some expect Gerry to make the move to linebacker, a position that would better use his strengths and hide his weaknesses.

Grade: C+

Round 6, pick 31 (214 overall): Defensive tackle Elijah Qualls

This was a great value pick by the Eagles. Qualls has versatility and the ability to play anywhere along the defensive line, something that the Eagles loved about him. NFL.com had Qualls projected as a third or fourth round pick, meaning that the fact that Philadelphia was able to get him in the sixth round is great value. Qualls has the talent to hopefully be good against the run, but outside of that he doesn’t have very many other uses.

Grade: B-

Overall

The Philadelphia Eagles did a fantastic job in the draft to fill a lot of their needs. Defensive end Derek Barnett is a talent that will help from day one, and Sidney Jones is a first round talent that, due to injury, fell to them in the second round. The Eagles really worked to improve their defense in the early rounds, and that is exactly what they did. Rasul Douglas, their third round pick, will likely start for them to begin the upcoming season. Jones, once he comes back, has the potential to be a lockdown cornerback in the NFL.

In the later rounds, the Eagles worked on their wide receiver depth, improving their deep threat ability with the additions of Mack Hollins (fourth round) and Shelton Gibson (fifth round). Also, Philadelphia added a running back that has a variety of abilities and uses for the Eagles, Donnel Pumphrey can model his game after the likes of current Eagle Darren Sproles. Overall, Philadelphia did a great job over the past three days in improving the team in both the short term and long term.

Grade: A

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