The Philadelphia Eagles waived three disappointing draft picks on Saturday afternoon in Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, and Shareef Miller. Wanted to take some time to stop down on each of them as they depart.
Hopes were high when the Eagles selected Jones at No. 43 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. Many thought the Eagles were getting a steal since Jones was projected to be a first-round pick prior to suffering an Achilles injury at his pro day. Howie Roseman said the Eagles viewed Jones as a top 10 talent.
Unfortunately, the injury issues didn’t stop for Jones. He was limited to appearing in just 23 out of 54 possible games over his first three years.
There was hope this year would finally be different for Jones after he made some really big plays down the stretch in 2019. Some thought he was poised to win the starting cornerback spot across from Darius Slay.
But that never even came close to happening. Jones didn’t even take any first team reps in training camp; all of those went to Avonte Maddox. Jones struggled in two practices before basically missing the rest of this year’s camp. He clearly did not do anything to justify a spot on this year’s 53. Especially in light of Craig James having a solid summer and already being an important special teams contributor.
Jones is only 24 so it’s not like his NFL career is over. Some other team will likely take a shot on him and maybe he’ll even succeed there. But his time was clearly up in Philly. Can’t just wait around on his “potential” forever, especially when he’s not even going to be reliably available.
To those saying the Jones pick was worth the risk ... I just can’t agree. And that’s hardly hindsight talking. Look back at this BGN post from Dave Mangels in March 2017 (one month before Jones was drafted): The “medical redshirt” is a waste of a draft pick. Also:
I think way too many people are assuming there’s like a 100% chance Sidney Jones is going to be totally fine.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) May 1, 2017
Douglas gave the Eagles some decent production for pick No. 99 overall. He made 18 starts in 46 games played and logged 118 tackles, 25 passes defensed, and five interceptions.
But Douglas also never proved capable of handling a full-time starter role. He was simply too susceptible to getting beat deep, as we most recently saw multiple times during the 2019 season (Week 1 Washington game, Vikings game, etc.). Perhaps the Eagles regret drafting a corner who runs a 4.6 40-yard dash? Douglas also doesn’t offer position versatility so that made it harder to keep him around.
Another team will likely take a chance on Douglas and maybe he’ll have success in a different system.
Pretty disappointing that neither Jones nor Douglas proved to be solutions from a draft class that was considered to be deep at corner. Mistakes made here prompted the Eagles to have to trade future draft assets for Darius Slay and make him the NFL’s highest paid corner.
Remaining players from the Eagles’ 2017 draft class heading into the 2020 season:— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) September 5, 2020
DE Derek Barnett
LB Nathan Gerry
End of list.
Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, Mack Hollins, Donnel Pumphrey, Shelton Gibson, and Elijah Qualls all gone. https://t.co/C6hIWbFdLm
Speaking of failing to capitalize on deep draft classes, I’d like to revisit a tweet from the 2019 NFL Draft:
Leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft, Howie Roseman said it was a historic RB class. Ended up drafting Donnel Pumphrey in the 4th round.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) April 27, 2019
Leading up to the 2019 NFL Draft, Roseman said it was historic DL class. Ended up taking Shareef Miller in the 4th round.#Eagles
Pumphrey didn’t end up playing a single snap for the Eagles. Miller played two special teams snaps last year and that’s it.
Roseman purposely avoided talking about the quality of the wide receivers in the 2020 NFL Draft. That strategy may have paid off considering the positive early returns on Jalen Reagor (pre-injury), John Hightower, and Quez Watkins.
But back to Miller, it’s a shame the Philly native didn’t work out in his hometown.