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Roundtable: BGN writers give their takes on the Eagles’ 2019 NFL Draft picks

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What’s your take on our takes?

NFL: NFL Draft Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Bleeding Green Nation’s Ben Natan thought it’d be fun to do a round-table on the Philadelphia Eagles’ five picks from the 2019 NFL Draft. So here we are, giving our takes!

ANDRE DILLARD

BLG: The Dillard pick will make or break the Eagles’ 2019 NFL Draft class. If Dillard can be as good as we think he can, the Eagles will have done a great job of acquiring a long-term answer at left tackle. The level of competition he faced at Washington State is a slight concern but I ultimately think he’ll be fine after developing under the tutelage of Jeff Stoutland and Jason Peters.

NATAN: Hard not to love this pick. Not only was it at a long term position of need but Dillard was widely viewed as a top fifteen player in the draft. Having a tackle his talented learn from Jason Peters and Jeff Stoutland gives the Eagles incredibly long term security at the bookends of their line.

KIST: At a premium position, the Eagles land who many consider to be the best pass protector in the class. An elite athlete, Dillard fits the mold of what the Eagles covet in their bookends. Dillard needs further development but landing with Jeff Stoutland, who has a history of coaching up college linemen, is the perfect situation for him if he’s to reach his incredibly high ceiling.

MANGELS: He wouldn’t have been on the board at 25, and they had him rated as a top 10 player. LT is is a long term need, and he’s got a very real chance at seeing playing time this year. And Stoutland loves him. That combination is good enough for me.

JACKSON: For as long as I can remember, the Eagles have rarely had to address offensive line issues. Jon Runyan, Tra Thomas, Jamal Jackson, Todd Herremans - It’s a group they’ve heavily invested in over the last 20 years and it’s why I believe the Eagles have only had one awful season (2012 when four starters missed time). Getting a guy who many had Top 10 on their boards bodes well for continued relevance as well as the future of a guy you’ll invest $150 million into next year in Carson Wentz.

SIFFORD: I know it’s tough to be excited about adding what will be depth along the OL 2019, but Dillard has all the traits neccessary to step in as the LT of future whenever the Eagles call on him.

SOLAK: It’s a perfect spot for Dillard, a player who will benefit from fantastic coaching and scheming under Jeff Stoutland. Dillard needs some time to acclimate to NFL play, after the Air Raid offense and Pac-12 defense of his college career left some gaps in his evaluation -- but the Eagles have time to transition him into the starting role as they say goodbye to Jason Peters. Wonderful example of how to draft for 2020 and beyond.

MILES SANDERS

BLG: I’m happy the Eagles finally drafted a three-down running back who actually has potential to be pretty good. Sanders is intriguing. His athletic profile is encouraging and I think his he has untapped upside after having a limited workload at Penn State. I just hope he’s able to reach his ceiling because it would be frustrating to see the Eagles finally seriously invest in the running back position and have it result in anything less than a pretty good player.

NATAN: After clamoring for a highly drafted running back for over five years, the Eagles finally took the plunge and I couldn’t be happier. Sanders is everything the Eagles need at the position right now; bringing a home run threat and pass catching to the backfield. Sanders will pair perfectly with Jordan Howard this year and could take over as the featured back in 2020.

KIST: The traits are all there for Sanders, he just needs to put them all together. Perhaps more experience and being under the tutelage of Duce Staley will help him become a complete back sooner than later. For now, he’ll contribute in the committee and by the end of the year should be taking significant reps away from Jordan Howard.

MANGELS: Drafting a RB on Day 2 has been something I’ve on board with during the Doug Pederson era, and then they went and did it. This team ended the season with a huge question mark at running back, suddenly they have depth.

JACKSON: I’m fine with the pick. He seems to be an explosive player, but awful in pass protection. I’d imagine that impacts his snap count greatly, but Corey Clement made a noticeable leap throughout his rookie year as a pass catcher and protector, so the staff should be able to develop that. I was hoping to see DT depth added. The team was different last year when Tim Jernigan returned, replacing the rotating warm bodies.

SIFFORD: As a PSU Grad, my initial reaction to this pick was 100% positive. However once I got some time to digest the pick, I do wonder if Sanders is the right guy to fill the role. He adds explosiveness and is a shifty runner, but his lack of experience in the passing game has me a little bit concerned. If he can develop into a pass catching threat, however, Sanders could be an every down RB.

SOLAK: I’d struggle to be bullish on a lot of running back picks at 53 in this class, but Sanders was my greatest fear. An inconsistent runner ruled by instinct and athleticism more than decision-making and risk management, Sanders needs to take strides in his route-running, block recognition, and ball security before he can be trusted long-term.

JJ ARCEGA-WHITESIDE

BLG: The Year 1 fit is a little curious but that’s not a huge deal since draft picks aren’t just about immediate impact. I’ve always loved receivers who can fight for jump balls since Terrell Owens entered my life and JJAW is certainly dominant in that regard. It’ll be interesting to see how that aspect of his game translates to the NFL. I think he’ll be a solid role player for the Eagles before eventually developing into a long-term starter.

NATAN: It’s hard to pick a favorite Eagles pick but this might be it for me. Arcega-Whiteside’s best football is still ahead of him and his skill set will benefit the offense in the long term. He is a deep threat with serious potential as a red zone nightmare. Having him, Alshon Jeffery, Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz in the red zone is going to scare the hell out of defensive coordinators.

KIST: Known as a jump ball maven, there’s more to Arcega-Whiteside’s game than meets the eye. His technical releases and understanding of body positioning set him up for the not-so-contested catches that are his calling card. He’ll serve as a rotational/situational piece, an insurance policy, and projects as an eventual starter on the outside.

MANGELS: I’m not sure I would have gone with a WR but there is logic to loading up on offense to build around Carson Wentz. This guy seems pretty damn good in the red zone, and it looks like they got good value where they drafted him. Can’t complain.

JACKSON: I love this pick. I thought it was great value despite the injury and the WRs corps needs to get younger. I’m not sure he’ll see much of anything this year considering the weapons already in place, but that’s a hard talent to pass up when thinking long term.

SIFFORD: Similar to the Sanders pick, I am thrilled the Eagles got a WR, but I am not sure they got the one that is built to match the current squad. JJAW, as I will call him until I remember how to spell Arcega, is a tall, long, WR in a similar mold to Jeffery, Ertz, and Goedert. My thinking is the Eagles simply liked this guy and wanted to get him in the WR room even though there is not really a need for a player like him.

SOLAK: One of my guys for quite some time, Arcega-Whiteside has the size, athletic ability, route-running, and hands to be a dominant big slot and red zone threat. A reliable and fearless stick mover who rises to the occasion on money downs, Arcega-Whiteside will hopefully work with the tight ends across the middle to open up DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery deep.

SHAREEF MILLER

BLG: The idea that “you can never have too many pass rushers” is one I very much agree with. Miller doesn’t seem poised to make much of an instant impact but he could be worth developing into a rotational player for the future. As a side bonus, it’s cool to see the Eagles draft a Philly native.

NATAN: The Eagles finally addressed the defensive side of the ball by drafting Penn State’s 2018 defensive MVP. The PA native is an athletic but undersized pass rusher. The team probably fell in love with his burst and off-field reviews that tout Miller as mature and hardworking. This is decent value to add a developmental lineman, but I’m sure many wanted to upgrade defense earlier.

KIST: You’d never expect the Eagles to leave a draft without grabbing a trench player for the defense and this year was no different. While it came later than expected, the Miller selection is another addition of a player needing development but has an intriguing skill set with which to work. The main focus for Miller should be adding functional strength and refining his hand usage to unlock his full potential as a pass rusher.

MANGELS: If you’re going to go late round defender, I’d rather it be any position but DE. The hit rate on Day 3 pass rushers is not good, even relative to being a Day 3 pick. While it was a draft need, so was every position on defense except CB. I’d rather they have gone safety, linebacker, or defensive tackle. And they’re now carrying back to back developmental 4th round DEs.

JACKSON: Beating the DT drum, it seems like the Eagles already have a bevy of edge rushers: Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat, Vinny Curry. Focusing on an area where you lack depth would’ve made a little more sense.

SIFFORD: It is always nice to see the team invest resources into an already excellent defensive line. Also great to see another Nittany Lion get drafted. Miller provides moldable potential of sorts as he is a little bit away from being NFL ready as anything more than a special teamer. Miller is just another body in the stable for Jim Schwartz.

SOLAK: Miller likely would have benefitted from a return to school, as he has nice physical traits for the NFL but is lacking in polish and a pass-rush plan. Things will get better for Miller under NFL coaching, of course, and he won’t be slotted into any role above EDGE5 for his first season, so there’s no worries about his raw 2019 play. A pick for the future.

CLAYTON THORSON

BLG: What’s there to really like about this pick? Thorson’s college stats were terrible; he had the fourth worst success rate of any quarterback in this year’s draft. Research by SB Nation’s Bill Connelly shows QBs almost never become more efficient in the pros than they were in college. Thorson is also old for a rookie (turns 24 this season) and he has an ACL injury in his past. His upside is that he has a chance to develop into an NFL caliber backup. I get that Nate Sudfeld could be gone after this year but that doesn’t mean the Eagles had to waste a pick like this. Thorson having a successful NFL career will defy reasonable expectation. (Screenshot this take for when he wins Super Bowl MVP in the future.)

NATAN: I don’t hate this pick as much as a lot of my peers. Thorson was a highly touted recruit who was held back by bad surrounding taken but still produced solid play in the Big 10. Thorson is viewed as a high character guy with great tools and adding him to a thin quarterback room could be very beneficial.

KIST: While the Eagles certainly had a hole to fill regarding the QB3 role, this selection feels more like a trust fall into that hole than anything. Thorson is an maddeningly inconsistent decision-maker with crippling accuracy issues that get exceedingly worse down the field. The Eagles’ system can be catered to his strengths if he eventually is forced to play in a pinch, but I’m not sure he’ll ever see that opportunity.

MANGELS: Waste of a pick. I get the arguments for having a young developmental QB behind Wentz, but Thorson doesn’t fit the bill. He’s 23, was a four year starter on a well coached team and wasn’t good. In the past decade there has been one QB taken in the 5th-7th round who has been useful: Tyrod Taylor, who was better than Thorson was in college, was 21 on draft day, and almost certainly went later than he should have because he’s 6’1”. Thorson’s upside is probably someone like Trevor Siemian, who he took over for at Northwestern and had pretty much the same college career with the same staff. Additionally, we’ve seen the benefits of having a veteran QB backing up Wentz. They don’t need to do something like bizarrely spend $12 million on Chase Daniel again, but they signed Foles for less and there will always be serviceable veterans on the market.

JACKSON: Jalen Mills, Avonte Maddox and Vaitai are all Day 3 guys that have started and played meaningful snaps for the Eagles over the last three seasons. Most Day 3 guys, especially that late, are fliers, but QB seems like the least pressing need, especially considering how offense oriented the Eagles’ draft was. The only thing I can’t think of is they wanted to develop somebody for when Sudfeld leaves and backup QB has been an important position for the team.

SIFFORD: While the first 4 picks were arguably at positions of need, I really don’t think this pick is the black sheep that people are making it out to be. Just as is true for JJAW and Miller, Thorson is fighting for a back-up spot. If any of those three are seeing significant playing time, the team likely has seen a rash of devastating injuries.

SOLAK: Picking a Day 3 QB and trying to make a backup out of him is a process with which I’ll never argue, though I’d have circled many names other name Thorson for the role. Lacking in ideal physical traits, notable accuracy, or ideal risk management, I struggle to find what is development-worthy in Thorson’s profile.

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