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NFL Draft Grades: Analyzing the Eagles’ Day 2 picks

Time to update the report card.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 31 Chick-fil-A Kickoff - Duke v Alabama Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles selected Landon Dickerson at No. 37 overall and Milton Williams at No. 73 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. Now let’s get to some grades.

LANDON DICKERSON

Let’s first look at how Eagles fans here at Bleeding Green Nation graded the pick.

My grade: C-

Some things I DO like about the Dickerson pick:

  • No qualms about his talent if he’s able to stay healthy. A very good player who has experience at both guard and center. It doesn’t take long to see that he can bully the people he’s blocking. Dickerson could turn out to be a steal.
  • High character, Big Winner Energy (BWE) player. Teammates and coaches seem to love him. Dickerson can be a successor to Jason Kelce as both a player and a leader.
  • Investing in the offensive line is typically a smart thing to do. The Eagles needed more interior depth with Kelce eventually on the way out. Brandon Brooks’ future is in question due to age and injuries.

Some things I DON’T like about the Dickerson pick:

  • Impossible to just gloss over his injury history. A torn ACL (right leg) in 2016. A season-ending ankle injury in 2017. Another ankle injury in 2018. Another torn ACL (left leg) in 2020. Is he ever going to be healthy? And for an NFL team that struggles with injuries more than most others recently? It’s a very big risk to take at No. 37. There were a lot of other quality options on the board at that pick.
  • Is the risk-reward factor really worth it here? I don’t doubt that Dickerson could be a very good player if he stays healthy. But the average value of a center doesn’t seem to justify the cost:
  • Dickerson currently isn’t projected to play this year due to his position on the depth chart. I don’t think the Eagles are seriously contending this season so that’s not the end of the world. But it’s disappointing we might not get to see him play unless there are more offensive line injuries in 2021.

MILTON WILLIAMS

How Eagles fans here at BGN are grading the pick:

My grade: B-

Some things I DO like about the Williams pick:

  • Williams boasts freaky athleticism. His top athletic comparison on Mockdraftable is Aaron Donald! Geno Atkins is also on that list.
  • The Eagles had an underrated need at defensive tackle behind Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave. There was no reliable depth behind those two starters.
  • Williams can be a potential Malik Jackson replacement as an interior defender who offers some pass rush juice and can sometimes flex out to defensive end.
  • Josh Norris, a smart guy, likes Williams:

Some things I DON’T like about the Williams pick:

  • It’s certainly not Williams’ fault but it’s hard to like how his selection prompted a moment where we saw discord in the Eagles’ war room. We can talk about how disagreement happens everywhere ... but it certainly doesn’t always get televised like that. Not exactly dispelling the notion that there’s dysfunction in the organization.
  • Not always the case but it can be easier for undersized players to test as great athletes. Is Williams big and long enough to succeed in the NFL?
  • Is Williams an eventual starter or more of just a rotational backup?

Now for more hot takes and draft grades from “experts” around the web.

NFL.com

The Eagles locked up a strong offensive lineman in Dickerson, who only lasted into the early second because of a history of injuries during his collegiate career. The Alabama center was announced as a guard when he was selected, which makes sense with 11-year veteran Jason Kelce re-upping for another season. I could certainly see Dickerson moving to the pivot whenever Kelce hangs ‘em up, assuming he’s able to stay healthy. The Eagles found a good value in Williams, whose pro day confirmed his extreme quickness. If he continues to add weight and maintain his foot speed, look out. GRADE: A-

Football Outsiders

Dickerson, the Rimington Trophy winner as the nation’s best center, suffered an ACL tear in the SEC championship game. He later made the final two snaps of the National Championship Game as an inspirational gesture; fortunately, Greg Schiano was locked in a cage somewhere, unable to return to Ohio State to call the “ATTACK KILL DESTROY” defense against Alabama’s victory formation. Dickerson was last seen doing cartwheels in the background of Mac Jones’ pro day interview. So ACL rehab must be going well. Also, that was the highlight of Mac Jones’ pro day. Dickerson also earned his black belt in karate at age 11. Well, so did my youngest son. That’s right: I interrupted a scouting report for a dad brag. My draft grades, my rules, Bucko. You can probably write the scouting report for an Alabama center with ACL issues as well as I can: great athlete at the position, disciplined, well-coached, capable of making line calls, battle-tested against top competition, may benefit from a redshirt year despite the cartwheels. That about covers it. Dickerson could be an NFL starter for a decade. The Eagles offense ranked 31st in adjusted line yards in 2020, and while Jason Kelce is still playing well, he will soon replace Mike Golic as the hype man who announces the Eagles’ Day 2 draft picks. This is a sound selection. We will learn later whether Howie Roseman has scouted any programs besides Alabama in the last two years. GRADE: B+

We have entered a strange little defensive tackle run in a draft where there are not many decent defensive tackles. Williams had an exceptional pro day which helped push him up some draft boards. He was a productive playmaker for the Bulldogs, with 10 sacks and 19 tackles for a loss over the last two seasons. But he looked very raw on the 2020 film I watched. He won some snaps by outmuscling or being faster than his blocker, but on many reps he got wired, blindsided by double-teams, or lost the leverage battle to a mid-major-caliber opponent. Williams needs a lot of refinement to be more than a wave defender and interior pass-rusher on third-and-long. But he has high athletic potential. I like him better than Alim McNeill but think the Eagles should be seeking help in the secondary or more reinforcements on the offensive line or wide receiver. GRADE: B-

The Athletic

The question with Dickerson is not talent but durability. He suffered a season-ending injury three times in college. Having said that, Dickerson still managed to start 37 games, and according to Pro Football Focus, he allowed just one sack during his entire college career. Dickerson started games at all five offensive line positions. As far as process, though, this one is a head-scratcher. The Eagles have needs up and down their roster. The one area where they’ve been able to do more with less is on the offensive line. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to spend such a high pick on an interior offensive lineman with durability issues. GRADE C-

Kapadia: Williams (6-foot-3, 284 pounds) is an underrated prospect. He produced 10 sacks and 19 tackles for loss over the last two seasons. Williams offers the ability to provide interior pass rush, and he tested well athletically. The Eagles need depth at defensive tackle, and Williams offers upside. GRADE: B+

CBS Sports

Everybody’s favorite versatile lineman in this class. Punishing run-blocker. Impossible to bull rush. And always helps his teammates with assignments. I’m a little concerned about him being oversized for the center spot, and he’s a bit stiff. Smart investment in front of Jalen Hurts. GRADE: B-

Otherworldly athlete at the defensive tackle spot. Uses his hands well too. Just destroyed lesser competition and gets washed out vs. run. GRADE: B+