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10 takeaways from the 2017 NFL Draft

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A few things I noticed over the last few days

NFL Draft Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

And another NFL draft is in the books! After an exhausting process, we now have an idea of how the Eagles will look going into 2017. There are still moves to be made, such as preseason cuts and UDFA targets, but we have a good idea of what the team plans to do going into the season and where their areas of weakness are. Here are some of my observations and thoughts on the Eagles’ draft.

  1. The Eagles seem committed to building the team the right way and they pulled out all stops on defense. The team used their first three picks on the defensive side of the ball, drafting a defensive end and two cornerbacks. In the past we’ve seen the Eagles’ attempt to fill all of their holes in free agency, most notably at corner. Sidney Jones may not be ready this year and Douglas may be considered a reach, but the Eagles have shown what their gameplay is and it’s encouraging to see their commitment.
  2. I knew as soon as the Bengals selected John Ross that the Eagles wouldn't be drafting an offensive player in the first round. All three wide receivers and Christian McCaffrey were off the board by the tenth pick, so it became evident that the Eagles would take a defensive player. I’m not a world class talent evaluator by any means, but I was shocked with how the top 12 unfolded, with six of those picks being either a WR or QB. I think the team did well to not force a pick on offense.
  3. I think the Eagles missed their targets quite a few times and it started in the second round. All signs indicated that the team was preparing to draft Dalvin Cook before the Vikings jumped ahead of them to take the talented runner. Another incident of this was when the Eagles missed out on Corn Elder, Desmond King and Damontae Kazee in the fifth round. I’m a firm believer if you believe in a guy, you trade up and take him.
  4. I expected a few early trades in rounds two and three from the Eagles, especially with the talent that was falling. I wondered if perhaps that was Joe Douglas’ impact on the organization. We’re very familiar with Howie Roseman’s wheeling and dealing approach, but we didn't see it until later in the draft when the team was clearly missing out on it’s targets.
  5. I truly believe the team was targeting an offensive player in round three before the run on players such as Carlos Henderson, Chris Godwin and ArDarius Stewart occurred. I think the team ended up settling on Douglas, but that was the price for Tim Jernigan. The team missed out on some quality players, but Jernigan is a proven talent and I’m interested to see how this factors into the decision of whether or not to re-sign him if possible.
  6. The team struck out big time when it comes to the running back position. This was heralded as one of the deepest running back classes in a long time and the Eagles came away with a guy who weighed in at 169 lbs at the Senior Bowl. I believe Pumphrey is an explosive player, but he’ll never be a feature back that carries the ball 12-17 times a game and that’s what the Eagles need to provide relief for a QB that threw the ball over 600 times last year.
  7. I’m intrigued with what the Eagles did at the WR position. They drafted two players that are widely considered deep threats. I wondered if this was indicative of Pederson wanting to change the offense up some, or to ensure the team actually has a deep threat that can stretch the field for the three level concepts Doug likes to run. If I had to guess, I would be inclined to go with the latter, considering the team lacked players that could get open deep and track a ball in the air.
  8. I’m inclined to believe the selection of Derek Barnett in the first round is the nail in the coffin for what the coaching staff thinks of Vinny Curry. I realize that you can never have enough pass rushers but everything that has transpired over the previous nine months seems to indicate the team isn't sold on his ability. I personally would've liked to have seen Curry receive more snaps alongside Cox, Graham and now Jernigan, but unless he dominates in camp he projects to be a rotational guy backing up either Barnett or Long.
  9. Mack Hollins was an interesting pick. When introduced, he was hyped up because of his special teams prowess. Typically, you'll hear complaints about taking special teams players even in the fourth, but the Eagles have dominated that aspect of the game since 2014. Building in all phases is important, but often we overlook the phases that can dictate and set the tone for each drive. The upside to this pick is that Hollins will likely be active each week because of special teams and may see snaps at WR if he can improve at the position. This already puts him a step ahead of players such as Treggs and Turner who were often inactive. Peace out, DGB.
  10. Overall, I can't be disappointed in the Eagles’ haul, but we now know a little more about Joe Douglas and what he prefers in players. Fellow BGN writer Jonny Page made a point that Douglas seemed to disregard testing for all of the Eagles selections, instead favoring each player’s tape. We’ve heard over and over again that Douglas knows you can't take any shortcuts and that seems evident here. During his time in Baltimore, the front office was constantly building on defense to put the QB in a position where a game was never out of reach. Often when we think about helping a QB, we think about weapons on offense and being scheme friendly, but another way to help him is to allow him to work with a lead or keep a game within striking distance. Hopefully that is the mindset the team has with a draft that leaned heavily towards the defensive side of the ball.