First of all, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Ben Natan and I am a bit obsessed with the NFL draft. Why?
These were the Eagles best draft picks
After the Philadelphia Eagles made their 2015 NFL Draft picks, we asked you whether you approved of each selection. The numbers below are the result.
Well, blame Andy Reid (and possibly Howie Roseman). The 2011 offseason was one of excitement and hope. Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers Cromarite, and Jason Babin highlighted a super star free agent spree that launched the Eagles into being pre season Super Bowl favorites. Of course, we all remember how that nightmare ended. A big part of that snafu was how horribly the Eagles did in the 2011 NFL Draft. In a class that gave the league Richard Sherman, JJ Watt, Cam Newton, Justin Houston, Tyron Smith, Cameron Jordan, Jurrell Casey and a depressing number of other superstars, the Eagles wasted their ten (ten!) picks on the likes of Danny Watkins, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Casey Matthews, Alex Henry (in the fourth freaking round) and a bunch of other scrubs. Well, we did get super stud, Jason Kelce, in the 6th round, but one out of ten picks is a pretty awful hit rate.
Anyhow, I became incredibly interested how the draft worked during the Dream Team season and began diving into studying players for the upcoming draft. I watched a ton of games for a ton of players I saw buzz about throughout the season, did my best to evaluate them and even ranked them. Each year afterward, I got more and more into watching players and eventually started writing publicly about my takes on hundreds of players every year. One thing led to another and now I am here, writing for all of you beautiful people about the NFL Draft and our Philadelphia Eagles. Let us dive right in.
The 2015 NFL Draft had a ton of anticipation for us Eagles fans due to the looming scenario of trading a bevy of assets for the forever dreamy, Marcus Mariota. Unfortunately, the Tennessee Titans stomped on that dream, but that does not mean the draft was a failure by any means. The Eagles spent the 20th pick in the draft on USC wide receiver, Nelson Agholor. Agholor is certainly a player to get excited about and here is an overview of who he is, the value of the pick and how he fits in here.
Standing at six feet tall and a few feathers under 200 pounds, Agholor is not the physically imposing type of player you would think Chip Kelly would love. However, it is not always about how big they are, rather how big they play. Agholor brings an aggressive mindset every down. He is going to fight defensive backs at the line of scrimmage, he is going to fight them while the ball is in the air and he wants to run over players as soon as the ball is in his hands. Big people may beat up little people, but Nelson Agholor wants to kick everyone’s ass.
Agholor possesses very good agility, which he displays as a route runner. He is outstanding at getting in and out of his breaks quickly and creating separation in his routes. Besides Amari Cooper, who went fourth overall, I can comfortably say that Agholor was the most polished route runner in the class. With the ball in the air, he does a good job positioning himself at the catch point and has no issue going up in traffic to make a play. He could do a bit better of a job controlling the ball, which leads to some errant drops, but it is definitely a fixable issue. Agholor is a bit smaller, so bigger defensive backs can push him around a bit, but he does his best to counter that with his aggressive mentality. He will fight through press coverage and, like was said earlier, has no issues going up in the air with bodies around him. The sheer willingness to play like he is 20 pounds heavier makes me think that he will have few issues after some time with the Eagles strength program. After the catch is where it gets really fun with Agholor… A former high school running back (who ran for almost 2000 yards his senior year), Agholor has outstanding vision in the open field. This combined with his agility and tremendous stop/start skillset makes him deadly with the ball in his hands. He has speed to burn after the catch, makes guys miss in the open field and takes no issue with running through someone if he has too. Overall, Agholor offers an incredibly pro ready skillset with a true gamer mentality. There is room for him to grow as a pass catcher and adding some functional strength will do wonders for him.
Pro Comparison: Golden Tate
(Check him out doing all sorts of damage to the Cal Bears)
This draft class, on the whole, was a bit different than the average one. There were very few top tier, first round type of talents in this class, but loads of second tier, fringe type of players. Picking at 20, the Eagles, in my opinion, were picking right at the border where the top tier talent fell off and the next tier began, so it was really about getting the best fit here. At the time, I was rooting heavily for UConn cornerback, Byron Jones, however I was definitely excited about the Agholor pick. Theoretically, there were better players available, but Agholor offered a superb fit, which is…
After Jeremy Maclin left in free agency, there was a glaring hole at the receiver spot. Jordan Matthews was coming off a tremendous rookie season, but his best fit is working in the slot. Josh Huff apparently has a ton of confidence from from the coaching staff, but he is coming off an underwhelming rookie season from a production standpoint. Huff could play the outside spot, but that still leaves one more spot open on the other side of the field. Obviously, the Eagles have other players who could contribute there, but Riley Cooper kinda sucks and Miles Austin is a (barely) walking injury report.
Watch these Nelson Agholor highlights
The Eagles picked WR Nelson Agholor at No. 20. Watch some of his highlights here.
In steps Agholor. Agholor can line up anywhere on the field for the Eagles. He can use his speed to threaten deep on the outside and his superb route running makes him one hell of a headache to deal with in the slot. The Eagles do a great job of motioning receivers pre snap in order to get them in space to make for an easy read for quarterbacks. Agholor could excel in this role, but he is not the type of receiver you need to create space for, as he does a great job creating it himself. The Eagles offense employs plenty of deep passing, but it is a very real possibility that the king of Dink Dunk passing, Mark Sanchez, will be starting the season for us if Sam Bradford is not healthy enough to go. Luckily, Agholor does a great job of creating for himself after screens and other short passes, so he fits well with what the Eagles may want to do in the passing game early on in the season. When Bradford can play, Agholor will finally, hopefully, be able to display his deep ball skill set. Bradford is an accurate passer, so he and Agholor should work very well together at all levels of the field. Of course, with any receiver here, you have to wonder about blocking for perimeter runs. Like Matthews and Huff, Agholor is a very willing blocker, which is all you can really ask. He brings that aggressive mentality to every aspect of the game and the only thing that hurts him is his lack of bulk.
Agholor is an incredibly polished player and his skill set fits perfectly into what the Eagles want at receiver and what they do overall on offense. He should see the field immediately as a rookie starter and will make an impact anywhere he lines up (which really could be everywhere). His dynamism will see him touches very quickly and he can also make an impact as a kick and punt returner from day one. Cherry one top; Agholor is a phenomenal culture fit, as he is an incredibly hard worker by all accounts who improved every year he was in college. I expect that trend to carry over into the NFL. The Eagles seem ecstatic to have drafted him and frankly, we all should be too.
Somewhat Arbitrary Stat Prediction: 65 Catches, 900 yards, Six Touchdowns