To get an different opinion, I reached out to Pro Football Focus’ lead draft analyst Mike Renner to get his thoughts. Focusing on the top selections, it’s no secret that Renner was a big supporter of the moves made.
Typically in favor of trading back to accumulate draft capital and more swings at the plate, Renner loved the Eagles process in moving up to acquire Washington State offensive tackle Andre Dillard. He labeled this as one of the best picks of the first round.
“The reason I love the pick though is not solely because of how good Dillard is (he’s very good), but also because of the foresight. This is likely [Jason Peters’] last season and if they hit on Dillard, that saves them $15-plus million a year that they would have likely had to shell out in free agency if they wanted a competent starter. You can’t get that type of incremental positional value drafting a guard or safety.” - Mike Renner
On the BGN Draft Special #5, Renner doubled down on praising the Eagles’ foresight in getting their tackle of the future.
“I think the best time to draft an offensive lineman is the year before you’re actually going to need one and I think that’s exactly what they did with that pick.”
Moving on to the 53rd overall selection, Penn State running back Miles Sanders, Renner noted areas of improvement but overall feels good about his ability to be productive. That’s accentuated by the fact that the Eagles’ offensive line should create plenty of opportunities for him. Sanders’ big play ability paired with a top run blocking line were reasons cited as Sanders being a top contender for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
“The Eagles’ offensive line was ranked top 10 in the NFL last season in terms of run blocking, and they added tackle Andre Dillard in Round 1. Sanders wasn’t too far a cry from last year’s Rookie of the Year either, with an 83.1 rushing grade compared to Saquon Barkley’s 84.1 in his last season at Penn State.” - Mike Renner
Renner has been particularly excited about the Eagles’ 57th overall selection, Stanford wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside. Several aspects of his game highlighted in my film review of Arcega-Whiteside were echoed by Renner. He thought highly enough of Arcega-Whiteside to consider him worthy of being selected in the first round and to highlight him as a steal in the draft. He also considered him one of the best fits in the draft, which has been a topic of some debate.
“The Eagles have done a fine job of building their offense with a variety of different styles of playmaker and Arcega-Whiteside adds one of the most unique skillsets in the draft...
Arcega-Whiteside has both strength and body control at the catch point, making him a red zone and back shoulder weapon for QB Carson Wentz who led the league in accuracy percentage on tight-window throws back in 2017. He can get back to that level of efficiency with a player like Arcega-Whiteside.”
You can hear even more discussion on these prospects by listening to the BGN Draft Special #5 on the media player below, or by clicking here if the player doesn’t load. New to podcasts? Check out our guide on how to listen to BGN! FLY EAGLES FLY!