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NFL Draft Grades 2017: Grading the Philadelphia Eagles Draft Picks

How would you grade this year’s class?

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The 2017 NFL Draft is over. Now it’s time for everyone's favorite activity ... 2017 NFL Draft Grades! You may say that draft grades are completely meaningless and arbitrary at this point, but hey, if you’re reading this, you clicked on this article to check them out anyway. As reminder, here are your 2017 Eagles draft picks. Click on the link for more detailed write-ups.

1st - No. 14 - Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee

2nd - No. 43 - Sidney Jones, CB, Washington

3rd - No. 99 - Rasul Douglas, CB, West Virginia

4th - No. 118 - Mack Hollins, WR, North Carolina

4th - No. 132 - Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State

5th - No. 166 - Shelton Gibson, WR, West Virginia

5th - No. 184 - Nathan Gerry, LB, Nebraska

6th - No. 214 - Elijah Qualls, DT, Washington

Let's start off with my own grade.

My initial reaction is that I’m kind of indifferent about this draft class. I don’t think the Eagles had a bad draft by any means. In a vaccum, I think they actually had an above average draft. But when you add context, I can’t help but feel like a number of teams had better draft, including some of the other NFC East teams.

The good news is the Eagles did a nice job of addressing most of their needs in this class. The bad news is that makes me question if they truly always went best player available.

Another bad aspect of this draft to me was it felt like the Eagles kept missing out on runs that went ahead of them. For example, they missed on a number of solid Day 3 cornerback options in Round 5 before trading down twice for Gibson. It’s rare that we say Howie Roseman isn’t aggressive enough, but I really felt that way in this draft.

The main thing that really annoys me about this draft is that the Eagles didn’t get a real three-down running back. That’s all I’ve been wanting for a long time now and you would know that if you read my work often. Again, Carson Wentz threw the second most pass attempts of ANY rookie quarterback last year. His workload was way too big. Having a legitimate running game would have taken pressure off of him. The Eagles seemingly wanted to fix that problem this year; they were reportedly interested in Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook. But Philadelphia missed out on both of those players and despite drafting Pumphrey there’s still no reliable lead running back on the team. And I don’t want to hear about how the 2018 draft is loaded. That’s great and everything, but the Eagles still have a 2017 season to play before we get there.

But let me get back to some of the positives. I think Barnett is a pretty good player at a premium position. I’m all for the idea of never having too many pass rushers. The Jones pick is very risky but the Eagles might just have a pretty good corner if he can get healthy. Double-dipping at the corner position and getting Douglas, a potential immediate starter, was a good decision. I also like the move to add speed and size at receiver. As for the final two picks, the Eagles added some defensive depth, which is nothing to complain about.

All told, I’ll give this draft a B+ rating. I feel like it’s only fair to include the Timmy Jernigan trade when grading this class considering how the Eagles swapped their original third-round selection to get him. Not including Jernigan, I’d have to give it a B or B- grade.

See below for more hot takes and grades from around the web.

SB Nation: (B-)

One of the most obvious needs for any team in this year’s draft was the Eagles need for a cornerback. The Eagles waited to target the position, taking defensive end Derek Barnett in the first round. It was something of a surprise to see him available with the 14th pick. He’ll help the team’s rush up front.

The Eagles waited until the second day to get corners, Sidney Jones in the second round and Rasul Douglas in the third round. Had Jones been healthy, he would’ve been a first-round pick. Douglas is a good physical cornerback with measurables.

Mack Hollins in the fourth round was a sound choice. The third day of the draft can be about finding special teams help, and Hollins is an ace specialist. Running back Donnel Pumphrey could move to wide receiver where he can take advantage of his agility in space. (A-)

Even though the Eagles gave up their 2017 first-rounder for quarterback Carson Wentz, they were a beneficiary of Minnesota's need for a quarterback, as they got back into the first round by trading Sam Bradford last eyar. The way Wentz played this year showed they didn't really miss Bradford. They got the second-best pure edge rusher in the draft in Barnett at No. 14. In the second round, Philly got a first-round value in Sidney Jones, who might have to half-redshirt the year as he recovers from injury but will be a good corner down the road. Rasul Douglas is another long corner who will be on the field right away.

Mack Hollins is very good downfield receiver, and a very good special-teamer as well. That's the prototypical fourth-round pick. He and Shelton Gibson (fifth round) add receiver depth. Pumphrey's electric with the ball, not unlike veteran Darren Sproles (though not as thick and powerful). Elijah Qualls was a fine selection in the seventh round.

Bleacher Report: (B-)

Barnett is a great first-round pick, though it could be argued there were greater needs elsewhere. Jones is a risk, though a second-round pick is a major steal if he comes back healthy.

USA Today: (C+)

If pass defense was their primary concern entering the weekend, they made strides. DE Derek Barnett (Round 1) is relentless, if not twitchy. CB Sidney Jones might represent highway robbery at No. 43 if his pro day Achilles injury heals quickly. CB Rasul Douglas (3) picked off passes left and right for West Virginia. Fourth-round RB Donnel Pumphrey, the all-time leading rusher in FBS history, may be another nice weapon for QB Carson Wentz on passing downs but must confirm his slender frame (5-8, 176) can withstand the NFL's rigors.

FOX Sports: (B+)

The Derek Barnett pick was solid, if not spectacular — he'll help right away. Sidney Jones won't, but he has first-round talent. Rasul Douglas is a boom-or-bust player, but I like him in that system, and Mack Hollins has a chance to be special. Donnel Pumphrey projects as Darren Sproles' replacement, and Shelton Gibson and Elijah Qualls are great third-day values.

CBS Sports: (B+)

I really like the choice of pass rusher Derek Barnett in the first round. He might be the best pass rusher in this class. They took a risk with Washington corner Sidney Jones in the second, but it could be a big-time payoff if he comes off a torn Achilles tendon healthy. They added some young weapons for Carson Wentz in the later rounds. Fifth-round receiver Shelton Gibson can fly.

Sports Illustrated: (B+)

On the “needs” list for Philly headed into Thursday were a pass rusher and cornerback. Check and check. The Eagles nabbed DE Derek Barnett in Round 1, a safe and steady option off the edge, then doubled down on Day 2 with CB Sidney Jones (who’s rehabbing an Achilles tear) and Rasul Douglas. If Jones gets back to 100% at any point, he has Pro Bowl potential. The offensive run in Rounds 4 and 5 was intriguing. WRs Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson both can stretch the field, which QB Carson Wentz would like to do more; RB Donnell Pumphrey essentially could be Darren Sproles 2.0.​

Sporting News: (A)

There should be few boobirds in Philadelphia after the draft when it comes to the home team. Every need was checked off with no reaches, and both Barnett and Jones are ideal defensive scheme fits. They padded the re-made wideout corps for Carson Wentz, too, and found their new change-up speed back in Humphrey.

ESPN (Mel Kiper): (B-)

Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox led the Eagles in sacks last season with 6.5, and there was a clear directive to get an edge rusher for defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz in the first two days of the draft. Derek Barnett fits that bill as the first-rounder Philly got in the Sam Bradford trade with Minnesota. Barnett, who had 33.0 career sacks at Tennessee, will join the rotation with Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry and free-agent signing Chris Long.

Philadelphia had issues in the secondary last season, too, and one of the best things for a porous pass defense is a stellar pass rush. The Eagles took a step toward that on Day 1, then boosted the back end on Day 2. Sidney Jones could be a steal if he recovers fully from the torn Achilles he suffered at his pro day in March. Though he's optimistic about returning in 2017, he might be better served by a redshirt year. If healthy, he's a top-15 talent with good ball skills and the ability to handle big wideouts. Rasul Douglas was a ballhawk in 2016 with eight interceptions, but he doesn't have high-end speed (4.59 40).

Mack Hollins is a special-teams demon and former walk-on with some big-play ability. Donnel Pumphrey set the FBS career rushing record with 6,405 yards and is probably a part-time back. Elijah Qualls has a load of talent and ability but inconsistent tape.

Philly needed to shore up its defense and it did that pretty well. It's not a home run class, but the Eagles got better.


A = 1
A- = 1
B+ = 4
B- = 3
C+ = 1


How would you grade the Eagles' 2017 draft class?

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