The 2016 NFL Draft is over so naturally it's now time for everyone's favorite activity ... 2016 NFL Draft Grades. Draft grades may be completely meaningless and arbitrary at this point but who cares? It's all for fun anyway. As reminder, here are your 2016 Eagles draft picks. Click on the link for more detailed write-ups.
1st (2) - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State - [READ MORE]
3rd (79) - Isaac Seumalo, OL, Oregon State - [READ MORE]
5th (153) - Wendell Smallwood, RB, West Virginia - [READ MORE]
5th (164) - Halapoulivaati Vaitai, OL, TCU - [READ MORE]
6th (196) - Blake Countess, DB, Auburn - [READ MORE]
7th (233) - Jalen Mills, S, LSU - [READ MORE]
7th (240) - Alex McCalister, DE, Florida - [READ MORE]
7th (251) - Joe Walker, LB, Oregon - [READ MORE]
Let's start off with my own grade.
My first impression of this Eagles draft class is that it really all comes back to the Wentz pick. He's the one who will make or break this draft class just as he will make or break this current Eagles regime. The Eagles have long needed a franchise quarterback. They've tried several options but none of them have panned out. The Birds took a big risk by trading those draft picks for Wentz but the reward has the potential to pay off. If he's as good as the Eagles expect him to be, this will automatically be an "A" draft.
Outside of Wentz, I think this draft class is a whole lot of "meh." Not really bad, not really great. Just solid. I think this offseason is the perfect reminder of what Howie Roseman brings to the table: mediocrity. He's very good when it comes to contracts/free agency, but he's just average at best when it comes to drafting. Not bad enough that he makes disastrous picks that can get him fired, but not good enough to mold the team into a legitimate contender. The difference this year is that he stuck his neck out with the Wentz trade and that will make or break him.
To their credit, the Eagles did address some big needs. They finally drafted some offensive lineman. They have a versatile guard/center type in Seumalo and a tackle/guard type in Big V. Running back was a huge need as well, though Smallwood seems like a committee guy more than a lead rusher right now. Countess adds to the team's defensive back depth. Mills was expected to be a Day 2 pick but fell due to character and injury concerns. He might be a risk worth taking. McCalister also has red flags but has good size and athleticism. Maybe Walker can be a valuable contributor on special teams.
The Eagles aren't getting a lot of immediate impact from this draft class. None of these players are guaranteed to be sure-fire starters. Seumalo has a chance to realistically compete for a starting job. Smallwood should get regular touches in the running back rotation. If Wentz really lights it up and has a great summer, the Eagles might need to consider starting him sooner than expected. But that's about it.
I'll give this draft a B- for now. Again, it all really comes back to Wentz. See below for more hot takes and grades from around the web.
Sports Illustrated - B
"The Eagles traded a king's ransom to move up and select Carson Wentz as the future of their franchise. It's a good pick in that Wentz is the most pro-ready of all the elite quarterbacks in this class, but with so much money already tied up in Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel, Howie Roseman will be filling a lot of holes with lesser picks for a while. Philly's strategy after Wentz in this draft was... interesting. Oregon State interior lineman Isaac Seumalo could be a guard or center at the next level. West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood is a decent player with pass-blocking ability. TCU offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai is a powerful player with limited athleticism who will probably have to kick inside to guard. The steals came in the later rounds: sixth-round cornerback Blake Countess is an efficient and underrated defender, and LSU cornerback/safety Jalen Mills should have gone a lot higher than the seventh round. It was most likely Mills’s injury history that scared teams off."
CBS Sports (Rang) - B
"Kudos to the Eagles for the aggressive trade up to land Carson Wentz, who possesses the athletic tools to succeed in Doug Pederson's offense as well as the intangibles needed to handle the pressure of Philadelphia. Like many, I was skeptical of Wentz's production against FCS competition until watching him in person at the Senior Bowl. Durability was an issue for Wentz at NDSU as it was for the Eagles' next pick, blocker Isaac Seumalo. Like Wentz, however, the talent with Seumalo is obvious, with his best fit in the NFL inside at guard rather than left tackle as he was asked to play, at times, for the Beavers. Of the Eagles' six Day 3 selections, I'm highest on former LSU defensive back Jalen Mills and TCU offensive lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Running back Wendell Smallwood could also surprise."
CBS Sports (Prisco) - B-
"Their entire draft will be defined by what Wentz becomes. If he's a star, it's a great draft. If not, it's a bad one. They love him. I don't. So time will tell. I do like the aggressive approach to make the move to get him."
SB Nation - C+
"As expected, the Eagles took Wentz with the second overall pick. If he pays off, the Eagles have a franchise quarterback. If he doesn't, it's the type of pick that guts the roster because of what Philadelphia gave up to get him. Isaac Suemalo isn't a sexy choice in the third round, but don't be surprised if he becomes a dependable starter for years, whether it's at guard or center. Wendell Smallwood is an elusive back who will make defenders miss. He'll be a solid third-down player for the Eagles and may work on special teams. In the sixth round, the Eagles added an experienced dime corner in Blake Countess. The Eagles followed that up with a nice pick in Jalen Mills, an experienced defensive back who can play safety and cornerback."
NFL.com - C+
"The Eagles are gambling big (gave up CB Byron Maxwell, LB Kiko Alonso, 2017 first-round pick, two top-100 picks this year, 2018 second-rounder) on the ability of Carson Wentz to become a legitimate top-tier starter. We'll see. Howie Roseman had just one pick in the third round after the trade for Wentz. Seumalo is an athletic guard prospect who should play well for them. I like Smallwood as a complement to Ryan Mathews, and Countess was a solid pick for depth in the secondary. Countess, Mills, and McCalister will make a difference."
Rotoworld - C
"Eagles GM Howie Roseman made a YOLO aggressive pre-draft move to land Wentz, sending Cleveland third- (77) and fourth-round picks (100), Philly's 2017 first-rounder, and its 2018 second-round pick in exchange for just a six-spot jump in round one. That left the Eagles with two selections inside the top 150, and prevented Roseman from acquiring a starting-caliber cornerback, which was very much needed. Seumalo could get an early look for snaps at left guard, while fifth-round sleeper Smallwood combines 4.47 speed with an above-average running back build (5'11/208). Vaitai, McCalister, and Walker are day-three long shots. Countess is a 184-pound slot corner, while Mills is a 'tweener safety/corner. Like the Rams, the Eagles' draft is tough to grade because the results are so heavily tied to Wentz's development. This could be a franchise-changing draft, or it could be a killer."
ESPN In$ider (Mel Kiper) - C
"It's hard to give the Eagles an above-average grade just based on the draft value they gave away to get up to No. 2, where they are drafting a player I really like in Carson Wentz, but a real mystery in terms of when he'll be ready to handle the starting job in an NFL offense. The problem is, even though I like Wentz, I wasn't a fan of the value elsewhere on the board as well. I hadIsaac Seumalo as a reach in the third, and I had a number of other running backs ahead of Wendell Smallwood when he came off the board in Round 5. I think they were smart to target the O-line a couple of times, includingHalapoulivaati Vaitai in the fifth, but I'm surprised they didn't add a wide receiver at any point, or a cornerback earlier than Jalen Mills in Round 7, though he could be a good value. Hey, they got the QB they wanted, so the grade going forward is all wrapped in him, but they definitely paid for it."