When BLG asked me if I had any thoughts on the 2019 NFL Draft, I told him I did. In fact, I had exactly ten thoughts. No more. No less. He told me it would make a great article. I told him he’s overestimating my writing skills, but I get what he’s driving at. So, here are my ten thoughts.
1. Weapons For Wentz II: The Wentzening
With all of the resources allocated towards adding juice to the offense, there’s very little excuse for under performing in 2019. They’ve added deep speed in DeSean Jackson, a contested catch dynamo in JJ Arcega-Whiteside, potentially a future starter at left tackle in Andre Dillard, and two running backs have been added to the stable.
In a surprising move to some, the Eagles used their first three draft picks on offense. With a total four of five dedicated to that side of the ball. With the pieces already in place beforehand, it should be all systems go.
2. “We Draft Running Backs in Philadephia”
And fairly high. After much debate and a little panic, the Eagles used their 53rd overall selection on Miles Sanders of Penn State. It’s not a first round pick, but it’s still significant draft capital to invest in the position. We talked more about him on BGN Radio #48 and The Kist & Solak Show #93.
3. We Don’t Draft Defensive Backs in Philadelphia
Or at least this, a year in which several draft analysts mocked the Eagles several cornerbacks. We saw everybody from Byron Murphy to David Long, Trayvon Mullen, and others linked to the Eagles, yet it seems there was zero interest in any of them. Injuries racked the group in 2018, but there’s still plenty of young talent on the roster.
When asked about the safety position after the draft, Howie Roseman hinted at tough decisions being made. The Eagles’ brought in several safeties for official visits, but as Howie said, they default to the trenches when the grades are similar. My biggest gripe was not grabbing Delaware safety Nasir Adderley at 53rd overall, who was picked very quickly after. It’s not the most pressing need however and Avonte Maddox can fill in anywhere in the secondary, giving them a valuable depth piece and insurance policy.
4. Drafting for the Future
If each of the Eagles don’t see significant snaps in 2019, the health of the roster will have been much better than it was over the last couple years. That’s not to say they can’t make valuable contributions next season. Miles Sanders will have an opportunity to eat into Jordan Howard’s snaps as the season wears on and Arcega-Whiteside could find a niche in a situational role.
Defensive end Shareef Miller should’ve returned to school, but his gamble could pay off if he’s able to add functional strength over the next two offseasons. The hope is Clayton Thorson will stick and serve as a capable backup if Nate Sudfeld leaves for greener pastures (and money) next year.
5. Agholor’s On the Block?
We heard many teams thought Nelson Agholor was available entering the draft. Then the Eagles drafted a wide receiver. Despite that, he wasn’t traded over the weekend. Could he be traded tomorrow? Next month? At the trade deadline? No idea, but it appears his future in Philadelphia may be coming to a close sooner than later.
6. What to Do With Big V?
The selection of Dillard sent a clear message that the organization doesn’t believe Halapoulivaati Vaitai is the future at left tackle. While offensive line depth is always valuable, the Eagles could free up a roster spot to help them protect Jordan Mailata or others from being sniped.
Vaitai is on the last year of his rookie contract and would free up $2M if dealt to a desperate team. I don’t know what he’d fetch, but judging from what teams are paying bad tackles lately, it might be more than we think. Granted, his 2018 tape isn’t doing the Eagles any favors and suggested that Vaitai regressed despite not being a starting caliber player to begin with. All of this is a good reminder that development is not linear.
7. Landing Spot Matters
This topic has been discussed at length, using the example of Dillard vs. Houston Texans’ 23rd overall selection Tytus Howard.
“The offensive line coach for the Texans, Mike Devlin, has zero years of coaching up and developing linemen at the collegiate level. Additionally, their hasn’t been many encouraging signs of progress from the lineman he’s coached at the pro level. For a raw prospect like Howard (and Deshaun Watson) it’s a nightmare scenario, especially with the expectations set on him as a first round pick.
Conversely, Dillard landed with Eagles’ offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland. Two decades of offensive line coaching experience in college is a big contrast from Devlin. He’s also done pretty well for himself at the professional level.”
8. Thank You, Dave Gettleman
You know what you did, you scamp. I’m thrilled that the football gods heard my prayers. Daniel Jones, Dexter Lawrence, and Deandre Baker were all players with a third round grade or lower on my board. “Aw jeez, Michael, how could you have three first round selections so low, you idiot?” Because, Morty, some teams are bad at drafting and every now and then.. and hold your butts for this one.. draft picks bust.
Despite owning several picks, the Giants also failed to address key positional needs until late in the draft. Give that man an extension.
9. Good Players Go to Washington?
In the lead up to the draft, we heard rumblings that the Washington Redskins’ war room was deteriorating into a Lord of the Flies situation. That bad process somehow yielded excellent results. Yes, none of these selections have played a down, but think of what they could have done. They could have panicked and jumped into the top 5 to draft Dwayne Haskins, who they ultimately picked at 15th overall.
The Redskins stayed patient, stuck to their board, and landed quality talent at important positions. When Montez Sweat began falling, they got aggressive. If Sweat’s medical was cleared then it’s a great move. The followed this by adding Haskins’ college teammate, wide receiver Terry McLaurin.
Every move the Redskins made in the early portions of the draft made sense. I know, it felt just as weird when I typed it as when you read it.
10. Loading Up On Supplies
Looking a year forward to the 2020 NFL Draft, the Eagles have tons of ammo. They’ll own all of their original picks up to the fifth round. Additionally, they’re likely receiving third and fourth round compensatory selections. Finally, they’ll have fifth and seventh round selections acquired via trade.
Don’t expect that to stay the same over the year, because as Howie said.. it’s transaction season.