The Philadelphia Eagles picked Cam Jurgens at No. 51 overall and Nakobe Dean (!) at No. 83 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. Now let’s get to some grades.
Let’s first look at how Eagles fans here at Bleeding Green Nation graded the pick.
My grade: C (no pun intended).
Some things I DO like about the Jurgens pick:
- Jason Kelce really likes him. That’s not nothing.
- Jurgens gives the Eagles more depth at center if Kelce gets hurt this year. He could potentially replace Kelce as the Eagles’ starting center in 2023 after being mentored by his predecessor.
- Jurgens is very athletic and his long arms/big hands help to compensate for being undersized.
- Investing in the offensive line is usually a good approach.
Some things I DON’T like about the Jurgens pick:
- Was he truly the best available player on the board? Maybe so for the Eagles. But he was hardly consensus BPA from the outside looking in
- The Eagles are doing more of that thing where they draft a player who doesn’t even project to contribute Year 1. And what if Kelce decides he doesn’t want to retire after 2022? Could the Eagles be in jeopardy of burning two years of Jurgens’ rookie contract?
- Jurgens has no experience at guard.
- The Eagles typically get more out of less with offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland on the staff. They might be better served using premium resources on positions where they struggle to find lower value solutions.
Let’s first look at how Eagles fans here at Bleeding Green Nation graded the pick.
My grade: A
Some things I DO like about the Dean pick:
- It’s Nakobe Dean. Some would’ve been OK with the Eagles taking him in the first round. No-brainer to take a chance on him at No. 83.
- Instinctual linebacker who really flies around the field. Makes plays as a blitzer.
- The Eagles clearly needed more linebacker talent. Especially with T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White scheduled to be free agents after this season.
- Why not load up on players from the national championship defense? Pairing Davis and Dean together in Philly is fun.
- Leadership abilities.
Some things I DON’T like about the Dean pick:
- There’s a reason Dean fell to No. 83. Both he and the team suggested he’s not going to miss time. But if it’s that simple, why did he fall so far?
- Dean is undersized and there are some long-term durability concerns.
Now for more hot takes and draft grades from “experts” around the web.
When fans were reassured by the center god himself, all worries about this prospect went out the window. Hell, the Eagles may have stumbled onto a new draft day strategy to win over fans. Just have a legend at the prospect’s position stamp their approval, and any immediate blowback is gone. Safety? Call Brian Dawkins. Linebacker? Get Jeremiah Trotter to NovaCare, stat! (I’m kidding here, mostly. I do believe Kelce when he praises Jurgens because he legitimately loves him as a player, and not just because the Eagles picked him.) I’ll just conclude this section by noting that trying to find a carbon copy of Kelce does have its potential pitfalls. It took Jason Kelce years to become the legendary Jason Kelce that we know today, and along the way, there were rough years during which a decent number of fans would have wanted Kelce replaced. Drafting a prospect who is “the most like Kelce” will no doubt leads to expectations that, you know, he should be the next Jason Kelce, and fast. If he’s not great immediately, there could be unfair criticism of this kid that wouldn’t exist anywhere near as much in other cities. Ultimately, if there’s a smooth, seamless transition from Kelce and Jurgens is very quickly a great player, then the above quibbling will no doubt seem silly, in hindsight. And if Jurgens can play guard immediately, potentially even replacing Seumalo in the lineup, then forget everything I said above. Anything short of that, and it’s really not a great use of resources. Grade: C+.
Dean is a three-down linebacker who can bring juice to the Eagles’ defense in the middle of the field, where, oh by the way, they got destroyed in 2021. He was considered by many to be a first-round talent, but he unexpectedly fell to the third round because of injury concerns, specifically a pectoral injury. So how debilitating will this pec injury be? “He has a pec injury that does not require surgery from our doctor,” Howie Roseman said Friday night. “He’s going to be on the field this weekend. We don’t anticipate missed time now. He’ll come in here and take a physical, and we’ll double-check all those things. “Listen, I think I called our doctors three, four times to see am I missing something. We brought him in. Am I missing something? Because obviously this guy is way higher on our board, and we were considering taking him at – we talked to him before today because he was a consideration (in Round 2), and that’s what we got.” Dean no doubt fell because of the injury, but also because he’s small. Grade: A.
Jurgens (6-foot-3, 303) began his college career at tight end before transitioning to center, where he started 31 games the past three seasons. Jurgens tested athletically as the top interior offensive lineman prospect in this year’s class. And per SIS, he gave up just one sack in his entire college career. Jurgens is a terrific prospect. The question is whether this is a wise use of resources. Jason Kelce was an All-Pro last year and is back in 2022. That means Jurgens won’t see the field unless Kelce suffers an injury. And it’s not like the Eagles lacked a long-term plan at center. They just used a second-round pick on Landon Dickerson last year. This pick would be more justifiable if Jurgens had guard/center versatility. And maybe the Eagles believe that will be the case. But he only played center in college. I really like the player but don’t love the use of resources here. Grade: C+
Dean (5-foot-11, 229) was the captain of the best defense in the country last year. He had 72 tackles (10.5 for loss), six sacks, two forced fumbles, eight passes defended and two interceptions. Dean is undersized. He did not participate in any pre-draft athletic testing. And reports surfaced in the past 24 hours that he was dealing with a pectoral injury. It’s always risky to label a pick like this a steal, given how many teams passed on Dean. But still, he was Brugler’s 29th-ranked player. And Dean’s best traits are his tackling, his leadership and his football IQ. He goes to an Eagles team in desperate need of linebacker help. We’ll get more information on why Dean slipped so far, but at No. 83, it’s hard not to like this pick. Grade: A-
Analysis: After an active and productive first round, the Eagles selected Jurgens and Dean with their assigned second- and third-round picks. It will be interesting if Jurgens tries out guard while longtime starter Jason Kelce is still on the team or if the former Cornhusker is just the heir apparent at the pivot. Dean’s value in the third round was fantastic, as he finds and attacks the ball from wherever he lines up and securely wrangles his targets. Adding a cornerback with one of their two Day 3 picks should be a priority. Grade: A
Tremendous selection, even if he’ll be Jason Kelce’s backup in 2022. Jurgens is an explosive, well-balanced mauler on the inside. Checks the length box. With more strength, he can be an All-Pro type in Philadelphia. Grade: A-
Finally! Dean is a rockstar on the field. Does everything you want out of a modern-day LB. Instincts. Speed. Twitch. Coverage brilliance. Injuries caused him to fall. Awesome value if he can stay healthy. Grade: A
The Eagles do address a need with retiring Brandon Brooks and aging Jason Kelce with a potential future interior starter, but Jurgens is backup material first. He is a compact well-rounded blocker, but with his athleticism needing to be developed more, he just was a more comfortable Day 3 pick. Grade: C
Despite some rumblings of medical concerns, the Eagles had to stop Dean’s fall given how good of a fit he was for their defense. The active playmaking leader of the Bulldogs’ national championship unit can make plays anywhere they want with his speed, quickness and coverage skills. His impact just might come inside in 2023 as he is eased in rotationally behind T.J. Edwards, Kyzir White and newcomer pass rusher Haason Reddick. Grade: A+