The 2020 NFL Draft has concluded, and the Philadelphia Eagles have brought in ten new draftees. As the dust settles and fans look ahead to an uncertain football future, let’s take a look at some of the winners and losers from a wild draft weekend:
Winner: Plans for the Inaugural Eagles Track Meet
The Eagles wanted to get faster over the weekend, and boy howdy did they ever. Jalen Reagor is the marquee name of their draft class, but just about every player the Eagles drafted made their name on speed and athleticism.
Per Pride of Detroit’s Kent Lee Platte, almost every member of the Eagles’ draft class is an elite athlete at their position. They’re also fast - the two receivers the Eagles drafted after Reagor - John Hightower in the fifth round and Quez Watkins in the sixth - both posted faster 40 times than the first round wideout.
While pure athleticism alone does not make a great NFL player, the Eagles are betting that the infusion of natural ability will give them a boost across the roster.
Loser: The Eagles’ Place in the NFC East Arms Race
Washington got the consensus best player in the entire draft in Chase Young. Dallas grabbed wide receiver CeeDee Lamb out from under the Eagles. And the Giants… well, the Giants drafted some people too.
The NFC East was already shaping up to be another battle between the Eagles and Cowboys. And while the Eagles made some nice moves to improve their offense on draft weekend, the Cowboys will now be trotting out a collection of offensive talent that would make any team in the NFL jealous. Adding Lamb was a luxury for Jerry Jones, while the Eagles are hoping their older receivers can stay healthy and their young guys can produce.
All of this comes with the enormous caveat that Dak Prescott has to be able to make plays with the weapons he has. But no team has won the NFC East in back-to-back years since 2004, and the Cowboys will be doing everything they can to keep that streak alive. Watching Dallas take a receiver with elite potential made the Eagles’ decision to draft a quarterback in the second round all the more confusing.
Speaking of which!
Loser: A Drama-Free Season
There isn’t much more to say about the Eagles’ confounding decision to draft Jalen Hurts in the second round. But the problems with the pick go beyond concerns about resource allocation. The Eagles have now introduced a Kevin Kolb dynamic into the quarterback room.
Carson Wentz is 27, is coming off the franchise’s first 4,000 yard passing season, and recently signed a deal with upwards of $100 million. For the first time since maybe the early 2000’s, last year was the first season without a quarterback controversy in Philadelphia. But now any time Wentz has a bad game or misses time, fans will be clamoring for Hurts.
On Friday, Roseman said he wants the Eagles to be a “quarterback factory”, which is all well and good. But the team has just added completely unnecessary pressure to their franchise player - a player who demonstrated last season that he was capable of putting the team on his back and leading them to the postseason.
Winner: The Scouting Department
Eagles fans could be forgiven for choosing to tune out of day three of the draft. Taking a quarterback in the second round had Twitter aflame, but the Eagles really helped themselves on the final day.
First up was defensive back K’Von Wallace, a safety from Clemson (#NextDawkins) who should be a player Jim Schwartz can move around the field. They also added to their wide receiver corps with the additions of Hightower and Watkins.
Outside of the rookie class, Roseman swapped sixth round picks with the 49ers in exchange for veteran receiver Marquise Goodwin. His health is a major question mark, but taking a flier on a veteran by moving down 20 spots was a no-brainer.
Also in the sixth round, the Eagles nabbed one of the biggest steals of the entire draft, offensive lineman Prince Tega Manogho. Many draft analysts mocked him as a third-or-fourth rounder, but a knee injury caused him to fall late into day three. If healthy, the Eagles may have drafted a starting tackle with one of their final picks of the weekend. All in all, it was an impressive end to the draft weekend.