Jalen Hurts is #1 on the depth chart, #1 in your programs, and #1 in your hearts. The first draft month mailbag is here! Let’s get to the questions...
@fritzosaurus: Why are people not realizing Kwity Paye will be the pick if he’s available? He checks every single one of Howie’s boxes. And Howie wouldn’t have traded back if hadn’t known he could get his guy. D-line. High character. Athletic build. Low production. “Smarter than everyone” move.
See, I think if we’re going for the prototypical Howie Roseman move, it’s Miami’s Gregory Rousseau. I wouldn’t call “low production” a Howie hallmark. Think about how often we heard about Derek Barnett breaking Reggie White’s sack record at Tennessee despite his piss-poor athletic testing at the combine. They drafted Donnel Pumphrey, a guy who ultimately never took a snap in the NFL, and he’s the all-time NCAA Division I FBS leader in rushing yards.
Rousseau sat out the 2020 season, so his stock has tanked a bit, so that’s where the Howie “smartest guy in the room” mentality comes pops up. “People forget about the 2019 college season” is the new “other teams don’t stay up late to watch PAC-12 games.” He’s young for his class, as he just turned 21 on April 5, much like Barnett was quite young for his draft class and is still somehow only 24 (he turns 25 on June 25).
Going back to production, the guy BALLED OUT at The U as a redshirt freshman in 2019, totaling 19.5 tackles for loss and a whopping 15.5 sacks.
It isn’t a particularly strong EDGE group this year, but if we’re getting a standard Howie pick at 1-12, I think it’d be Rousseau and I’d be okay with it (assuming both Alabama receivers are gone).
@3pointattempt: What player would get the worst reaction if picked at 12 by the Eagles?
After that whole answer above, it actually might be Kwity Paye. I’m not shitting on him as a player. I’m just taking the temperature of the city if he was picked. Here’s to hoping some Brandon Graham comps would cool down Eagles fans. Maybe knowing a bit about Paye’s incredible backstory would soften some of those critiques too.
@FDingus2: How irrational will the fanbase be if the Eagles pass on one of DeVonta Smith/Jaylen Waddle for a defensive player?
Good question from loyal reader Frisky Dingus and it relates, again, to both of the above questions.
Offense is fun, right? It’s sexy. For an offense that has been stuck in the mud for the last three seasons, fans have every right to clamor for more skill position talent. Yes, the organization has invested heavily in the position in the last two drafts, using a second-round pick on J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in 2019 and a first-round pick on Jalen Reagor in 2020, but neither provided immediate results. JJAW looks like he’s about to play himself out of the league and the jury is still out on Reagor.
Still, I would go receiver at 12 provided one of DeVonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle is there. Those are the picks that would go over best, but I’m not sure there’d be widespread panic if they draft a corner. The franchise hasn’t had a legit young, promising corner in nearly two decades. The pedigree of Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn, two dudes with Pro Bowl NFL fathers who performed tremendously in the SEC, would be okay in most fans’ minds.
Caleb Farley would be met with groans, as the Virginia Tech CB is coming off back surgery and may give people Sidney Jones vibes in the injury department. Though I made my case why Rousseau would be a fine pick, I do think any of the EDGE rushers would be an underwhelming return in fans’ eyes after a disastrous 4-11-1 season. Paye, Jaelan Phillips, and Azeez Ojulari simply don’t have the name recognition and juice that would have fans amped (this isn’t to say they would be bad NFL players).
I wish this was a great safety draft. We all love safeties, right? I’ve grown to think that a versatile safety is the second-most important position on defense besides EDGE rushers. Trevon Moehrig would be a reach here and a more-than-perfect second-round snag, but I can’t imagine any other safeties’ names being called too early in a couple of weeks.
@buchignani: How early would you be comfortable with the Eagles drafting a center and who are some of your favorite Day 2 and Day 3 prospects at the position?
I’m comfortable taking a center on Day 2. Hey, the team is one bad snap away from Jason Kelce getting injured and the Eagles’ entire protection going awry. As we saw this past season with player banged up all over the offensive line, the more depth the better. Nate Herbig could slide into a center role eventually and his versatility as a backup at both center and guard is valuable, but the team may view him only as a bench piece.
Landon Dickerson out of Alabama would be a worthy selection in the second round. He has playing experience across the line and projects as either a guard or center at the next level. Can the Eagles finally start drafting Crimson Tide players? Double up in the first two rounds!
Ohio State’s Josh Myers and Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey could be in play in the third round. They both spent their collegiate careers playing center, so I’m not sure they’d offer the ability to slide in at guard in a pinch. Even so, if the consistency and stability that Kelce has brought to the organization for a decade is that important to the Eagles, an early investment in the center spot would be wise in order to keep that tradition going.
@_________trash: If we draft Waddle, should he keep 17? Did Alshon’s stint in Philly maintain or diminish the shine?
How quickly we forget Alshon Jeffery’s contributions to a Super Bowl-winning team! He had two touchdowns in the NFC Championship Game and made one of the greatest catches these eyes have ever seen in Super Bowl LII. It’s not his fault that Roseman offered him a gigantic contract.
#17 is available currently on the roster, so it’d make for a smooth uniform transition in Philly. Waddle wears it well and it would continue in the great tradition of Harold Carmichael and Alshon before him.
@Mikelennial: Which will be more valuable? Jalen Hurts #2 shirsey/jersey or Travis Fulgham one?
Love this question. Brandon Lee Gowton and Benjamin Solak did a great #JerseyNumberAnalytics pod for BGN Radio that dropped over the weekend that I highly recommend listening to.
I will forever believe in Travis Fulgham (more on him in a sec), but it’s unquestionably the #2 Hurts merch. I invested in a #2 Hurts shirsey last season and got my girlfriend a customized midnight green #2 jersey at the Pro Shop after the Saints game. History will remember us as OG fans who backed Hurts from Day 1. You can also find #2 Hurts jerseys for 50 percent off on Fanatics if you’re a thrifty shopper (I grabbed one earlier in the week!).
Whether we’re talking valuable from a sentimental perspective or the idea that you can flip it on eBay in 10 years, Hurts reaching stardom will make those #2 shirseys and jerseys that much more prized.
@tom_e_boy19: Haven’t heard much about Travis Fulgham in this offseason, regardless if we draft a WR early in the draft or not, what do you think of his outlook for the season with this new coaching staff?
Again, I will go to the grave defending Fulgham. More than anyone on the roster, he might benefit the most from this coaching staff overhaul. After that amazing stretch he had last season, Fulgham seemingly ended up in the doghouse. New head coach Nick Sirianni has a background as a wide receivers coach. Can he maximize the version of Fulgham we briefly saw in 2020?
Drafting a receiver could sure throw a wrench into Fulgham’s plan to get a starting role, but if I’m calling the shots, I’d still start him even if the Eagles were to take Smith or Waddle with the 12th pick. Having one of those two Alabama wideouts at the Z spot with Fulgham as the X receiver and Reagor in the slot would work. You could do a lot worse in terms of the talent you’re putting around Hurts.