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Eagles’ 2017 NFL Draft class is already showing some good promise

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NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 NFL Draft marked the first time Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas worked together to make picks for the Philadelphia Eagles. Let's take a look at how these players have performed through the first nine games of the season.

DEREK BARNETT

Stats: 300 total snaps (261 defense + 39 special teams), 13 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 field goal block.

Barnett has only played 45.2% of the Eagles’ defensive snaps this season, which ranks seventh among Philly’s defensive linemen. He wasn’t noticeably making a big impact early in the season but the rookie has seemingly come on lately. Barnett is getting pressure and showing up in the run game. Barnett ranks 20th out of 64 defensive ends in pressure rate; he has 25 pressures in 191 pass rush snaps. According to Pro Football Focus, Barnett actually ranks first overall in “run stop percentage” among all NFL 4-3 defensive ends.

Back when Barnett was selected at No. 14, 73% of voters here at BGN said they approved of the pick. I think that number would (or at least should) be higher today. Barnett’s been a nice addition as a rotational player in Philly’s defense. It’s important to remember that he’s still only 21 years old and pass rushers take time to develop in the NFL. He’ll eventually grow into a starting role.

Getting Barnett with the first round pick the Eagles received from the Sam Bradford trade is looking like a good swap for Philly.

SIDNEY JONES

Stats: N/A

Jones, who suffered a torn Achilles in March, is still on the reserve/non-football injury list.

There’s no official timetable for Jones’ return, but reports indicate it could happen in December. From the first time Jones returns to practice, the Eagles will have 21 days to decide whether to activate him to the 53-man roster or keep him shut down for the season.

Philly’s current crop of cornerbacks are already playing well, so it’s not like the Eagles need to rush Jones back. It’s crazy to think I’m saying that now since corner was such a big concern for this team heading into the season.

The Eagles should figure to have some great competition at corner this offseason. Jones will have an opportunity to land a starting job but it won’t just be handed to him. Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby, and Rasul Douglas should put up a good fight.

RASUL DOUGLAS

Stats: 355 total snaps (336 defensive + 19 special teams), 17 tackles, 9 passes defensed, 2 interceptions.

After struggling in the offseason, Douglas was kept inactive as a healthy scratch in Week 1. The West Virginia product was then forced into action following multiple cornerback injuries.

It’s safe to say Douglas has exceeded expectations. His lack of deep speed is a flaw, but he’s been able to avoid being burned consistently. According to Pro Football Focus, Douglas has a 74.4 passer rating when targeted this season. That ranks 22nd out of 73 corners.

One of Douglas’ biggest strengths, his ball skills, have also been on display (as you can see in his stats). Douglas could’ve added to his interception total last week against the Broncos if he didn’t drop a potential pick-six. Still, nice anticipation to be in position to make the play.

The Eagles have been using Douglas in rotation with Patrick Robinson, so it’s not like they totally trust the rookie to play full starter snaps every week just yet. Douglas matches up better with bigger receivers while speedier wideouts are more challenging for him.

Overall, Douglas is certainly showing some starter potential. At worst, he looks like a really nice backup to have on the outside.

MACK HOLLINS

Stats: 266 total snaps (118 offensive + 148 special teams), 10 targets, 9 receptions, 172 yards, 19.1 average, 1 touchdown, 2 special teams tackles

There’s a point in almost every game where I tweet #MackHollinsIsLiterallyUnstoppable ... because it’s true. Hollins has really made the most of his limited offensive opportunities this season. He’s been such an efficient target for Carson Wentz.

Back when Hollins was selected, some groaned about how Mike Mayock praised him for being a really good special teams player. That’s usually the kind of praise you’d hear for someone who isn’t actually good at their main position. But that’s not the case with Hollins. He’s been good on special teams AND at wide receiver.

Hollins has been eating into Torrey Smith’s playing time as the season has gone on. He could eventually become a starter on the outside in future seasons.

DONNEL PUMPHREY

Stats: N/A

Easily Philly’s most disappointing draft pick from this class. Pumphrey really struggled to show promise this offseason. His slight frame (5-9, 170 pounds) just doesn’t project to NFL success.

Pumphrey was a healthy scratch in Week 1 as the team’s fifth string running back. He was then placed on injured reserve after suffering a hamstring injury in practice. Maybe Pumphrey will take a step forward after having a full offseason in an NFL program. If he doesn’t, he could be cut next year. Pumphrey’s outlook is pretty disappointing for a player the Eagles traded up for early on Day 3.

SHELTON GIBSON

Stats: N/A

Gibson has been a healthy scratch for the entire season and he’ll probably remain that way. He’s basically a glorified practice squad member.

Gibson really struggled with drops this summer. He would drop multiple passes every day in practice. By the end of the preseason, however, I thought Gibson showed some growth. Not enough to earn anybody’s full confidence, I’d argue, but enough to at least still be intrigued by him.

Gibson’s raw speed could make him an dangerous deep threat. He just needs polish in a lot of other areas of his game in order to get regular playing time in the future.

NATE GERRY

Stats: 52 special teams snaps, 1 special teams tackle

Gerry spent the first six weeks of the season on Philly’s practice squad before being promoted to the active roster. The safety-turned-linebacker hasn’t played on defense yet but he’s been getting some burn on special teams. Gerry’s a bit of a project so we’ll have a better idea of where he is in his development in the offseason. He’s a reserve linebacker/special teams guy for now.

ELIJAH QUALLS

Stats: 58 total snaps (50 defensive + 8 special teams), 1 assisted tackle

The Eagles had to rely on Qualls earlier in the season when Fletcher Cox, Destiny Vaeao, Beau Allen, and Tim Jernigan were all dealing with various injury issues. He didn’t make much of an impact. The Eagles actually opted to keep Justin Hamilton, who’s on the practice squad now, over him at one point. I think they’d prefer to have Hamilton on the roster over Qualls in the short-term but they don’t want to expose Qualls to other teams.

Qualls did some nice things in the preseason. He could benefit from some more experience and an offseason in an NFL training program.

UNDRAFTED FREE AGENTS

Corey Clement

Stats: 284 snaps (119 offensive + 165 special teams), 48 attempts, 182 yards, 3.8 average, 3 touchdowns, 3 receptions, 46 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns, 1 special teams tackle

Clement has been a very nice UDFA pickup by the Eagles. He’s not overly impressive in one area, but his combined contributions as a rusher, pass catcher, pass blocker, and special teams player make him a guy worth keeping around. Clement’s a solid No. 3 running back to have on the roster.

Jake Elliott

Stats: 17/20 on field goals, 24/27 on extra points

Elliott was signed off of the Bengals’ practice squad after Caleb Sturgis got hurt in Week 1. Elliott’s big moment was clearly his 61-yard game-winner over the Giants. Incredibly clutch. Elliott also hit a number of key field goals in the Eagles’ win over the Chargers. Elliott hasn’t been perfect. He’s missed some extra points lately, which is concerning. But he’s been a pretty good pickup overall. He already owns the franchise record for the most 50+ yard field goals in a single season.

PRACTICE SQUAD PLAYERS

Eagles rookies on the practice squad include: tight end Billy Brown, safety Tre Sullivan, wide receiver Rashard Davis, wide receiver Greg Ward, and cornerback D.J. Killings. Brown and Sullivan could potentially earn depth jobs on the roster next year since the Eagles will have holes to fill at tight end and safety.

OVERALL

The Eagles added a lot of young talent to their roster this offseason. Barnett, Douglas, and Hollins have all shown starting potential to various extents. We’ll see what becomes of Jones depending on how things shake out with his recovery and the surplus of talent at corner. Gibson, Gerry, Clement, and Qualls have the chance to be backup players. Pumphrey is looking like the only real wasted pick at this point.

As always, lots of time for things to change down the road, but it’s looks like Roseman and Douglas did a nice job with this draft class so far.

Poll

How would you grade the Eagles’ 2017 draft class now?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    A
    (1355 votes)
  • 63%
    B
    (2670 votes)
  • 3%
    C
    (150 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (8 votes)
4188 votes total Vote Now