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Eagles explain why they drafted Miles Sanders and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside on Day 2

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The Eagles added a lot of offensive talent in the first two rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft.

The Eagles didn’t end up participating in the trade-fest that was Round 2 of the 2019 NFL Draft, but they didn’t need to, getting Miles Sanders at No. 53 and JJ Arcega-Whiteside at No. 57. Howie Roseman, Joe Douglas, and Doug Pederson (who was ALL smiles) spoke to the media as Round 3 was underway about their excitement to get some offensive weapons.

Howie opened by saying that they were really excited that Miles Sanders and JJ Arcega-Whiteside ended up falling to them, and they were able to get guys they had really high grades on.

Miles Sanders was a favorite of the coaching staff and front office. He was “that guy.” They noted Sanders has great lateral quickness and, after spending time behind Saquon Barkley, was able to make his one year as a starter really count. Howie said that several personnel members have tracked Sanders since high school, so despite him not having much time as a starter, they feel comfortable that they know he’s a quality pick.

Douglas did acknowledge that they addressed some of Sanders’ fumble and ball security issues last season when he came to visit to Philly, but they were similar concerns that the team had with Brian Westbrook and even LeSean McCoy, and those guys worked out okay. Plus, they’ve got a great RB coach in Duce Staley and he’s super excited about the pick.

Howie talked about how Sanders is a guy who can play all three downs, and Jordan Howard is a guy who has better hands than maybe has been advertised, so they’ve got different skills and will all contribute to give Pederson a lot of options in playcalling.

The GM said they were joking early in the day that they were hoping that Miles would end up falling to them at No. 53, and they ended up being patient and it worked out. Same goes for JJ Arcega-Whiteside, who Howie said was a bit under-the-radar — especially as a west coast player, but he’s a guy they are really excited about.

Douglas followed that up saying both Miles and JJ are both high-character guys, which is one of the ways they stood apart from some of the other prospects at their positions. JJ specifically is really good in coverage and making contested catches was something that matters to the Eagles in their evaluations. Howie added that he’s a crafty guy in his ability to create separation.

Pederson said — which he does every year — that there is no depth chart in the offseason, and everyone is competing for a role. He’s excited to get them on the field, see them practice hard and fast, and see where they’re at and build the foundation that will carry on to the preseason.

The head coach also said it was a great opportunity to add depth and talent to the roster and to look forward to the future. He said they are getting guys who are versatile and flexible. He specially noted JJ can be used on the inside and outside.

Howie said that it might be odd that the Eagles didn’t take any defensive players in the first two days, but that the draft moves quickly and they were happy with who was available for them. He noted that they considered moving down, but they weren’t willing to give up any picks to move up since they are already down two picks this year from Thursday’s trade.

Roseman also said that Nelson Agholor is not up for trade and that he’s someone who is important for what the team is doing and planning to do. He said that what Nelly does is something they are really going to need this season.