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2022 Draft Analysis: Eagles Edition

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Round 1, Pick 13: Jordan Davis (IDL) (Georgia)

WHAT TO LIKE: Davis, while not filling an immediate need, is a move for the future that also checked the "best player available" box at the same time. There's a lot to like about Davis, who not only anchored the most dominant defensive line in college football last season, but also put up the 2nd most athletic combine of any player since the combine began. Davis is an absolute unit of a man at 6 ft 6 in and 340 lbs, who will command double teams, eat up blocks, and secure the interior against the run. With Fletcher Cox going through a contract restructure this offseason, voiding any future years after 2022, Davis is the clear heir apparent to take over the spot next to Javon Hargrave.

WHAT TO CONSIDER: While Jordan Davis is a high ceiling athletic defensive tackle prospect with a great work ethic and personality to boot -- prior to the combine he wasn't considered a top 15 pick. While there's an argument to be made considering what the Georgia defensive scheme required out of him and their other defensive linemen, he does in fact offer less in terms of pass rushing than the man he's replacing, as well as his other defensive tackle counterparts in the draft.

GRADE: A

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Round 1, Pick 18: A.J. Brown (WR) (Tennessee Titans) [TRADE]

Yes, I'm including the draft night trade of the 18th overall pick for wide receiver A.J. Brown because at the end of the day, it was the usage of draft assets to acquire talent.

WHAT TO LIKE: When you draft a player in the first round, it's with the intent that they will develop into a quality player, and hopefully one of the best at their respective positions. So while the Eagles had a lot of options at wide receiver to choose from with pick 18, they decided to nix the risk aspect of drafting a prospect, and just trade for a known commodity. A.J. Brown when healthy is a top 10 receiver in the NFL. He brings explosiveness, size, route running, and hands to a receiving corps that lacked those traits. Not only does Brown add a talented and experienced presence to the receiver room, he does so at only the age of 24. He was also immediately signed to a 4 year, $100 million contract extension, to ensure he will be an integral part of a young developing team.

WHAT TO CONSIDER: While the acquisition of Brown is almost completely made up of net positives, the only perceivable downside is health. Brown has yet to start a full season in the league, yet he is the 4th highest paid receiver in the NFL, just below Deandre Hopkins, and above Stefon Diggs, neither of which he is as good as. The upside to consider, is that he is 5 years younger than Diggs, and still has time to develop.

GRADE: A

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Round 2, Pick 51: Cam Jurgens (IOL) (Nebraska)

WHAT TO LIKE: Like Jordan Davis, the drafting of Cam Jurgens doesn't fill an immediate need, but while Jason Kelce has graced Eagles fans with his presence for another season, the writing is on the wall as he's been considering retirement for a number of years now. Landon Dickerson was drafted last season as the perceivable heir apparent to Kelce, then turned in a fantastic season at guard, and timed by the retirement of Brandon Brooks, it looks like that plan has changed. Jurgens projects similarly to Kelce as a slightly undersized, but highly athletic center with a nuanced and technical understanding of the center position. With a year of coaching from Kelce, hopefully Jurgens can ensure the Eagles offensive line retains it's decade-long run of dominance in the NFL.

WHAT TO CONSIDER: The Eagles found themselves highly intrigued by Cam Jurgens after shuffling around their 1st round picks with the New Orleans Saints, almost guaranteeing that long time projected center pick Tyler Linderbaum would not be selected. Jurgens, a much more raw prospect than Linderbaum, was graded by many to be more of a mid 3rd round to early 4th round pick, and was considered a bit of a reach on the Eagles part to ensure they got their man. Jurgens will have a lot to live up to, especially since there were other needs in the secondary that could have been filled with a 2nd round pick.

GRADE: B-

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Round 3, Pick 83: Nakobe Dean (LB) (Georgia)

WHAT TO LIKE: Nakobe Dean is the steal of the draft, everybody knows it, I said it. Presumed health issues caused the highly decorated Georgia linebacker to slide heavily, but the Eagles, criticized for not selecting Dean at pick #51, were able to make up for that by getting him at a value at #83. Thus, Howie Roseman continues his tradition of only selecting linebackers in the 3rd round. There's a lot to get excited about in Nakobe Dean, who was the defensive quarterback of the same college defense Jordan Davis played on. He brings fantastic game iq, speed, and technicality to the linebacker position, providing direction and adjustments to position that previously suffered through the Eric Wilson and Alex Singleton era of darkness.

WHAT TO CONSIDER: The primary reason for Dean's massive slide in the draft, is a pectoral injury he sustained that he forwent surgery for. Independent physicians have inspected the injury, and provided teams with written assurance the injury is minor and won't result in time missed. While this is reassuring for Eagles fans, it's important to remain aware that ultimately the injury could end up being more serious than initially thought. Other concerns regarding Dean are his lack of ideal size and arm length for the position he plays. Dean can struggle in 1-on-1 blocking situations and find himself washed out of plays in the run game. Other undersized linebackers like Darius Leonard don't suffer from these same issues because his high percentile arm length. Dean has short arms, and also put down less speed on paper then a lot of the other highly graded LBs in the draft. Regardless of these issues, a player being projected to go as high as the mid-1st round, falling to the mid-3rd is value at it's finest.

GRADE: A+

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Round 6, Pick 181: Kyron Johnson (EDGE) (Kansas)

WHAT TO LIKE: When picking in the latter portions of day 3 of the draft, it's rare you find starters, but rather teams are looking for developmental prospects, backups, and special teamers. Kyron Johnson started as an inside linebacker for the Kansas Jayhawks, then transitioned to outside standup pass rusher for his final 2 seasons. He definitely did well all things considered, racking up 6.5 sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss, and 4 forced fumbles on the edge. Johnson brings a high athletic ceiling despite having virtually no tools for the position.

WHAT TO CONSIDER: Last year the Eagles selected developmental pass rusher Tarron Jackson out of Coastal Carolina in the 6th round, and it paid dividends. Kyron Johnson will likely follow the same path, destined for the practice squad, and he might see some playing time during the season. He lacks ideal size for an edge rusher and would likely best be utilized as a SAM linebacker in base packages, and a designated pass rusher in sub packages, similar to how Haason Reddick will be deployed.

GRADE: B

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Round 6, Pick 198: Grant Calcaterra (TE) (SMU)

WHAT TO LIKE: Calcaterra, another prospect that slid due to injury concerns, was projected to go as high as late 4th round in the draft. A highly athletic tight end that brings ball skills and a receiving acumen to the table. Calcaterra is a crisp route runner with excellent body control, and proficiency as a blocker on the perimeter. He will likely compete for the TE2 spot with Jack Stoll and Tyree Jackson.

WHAT TO CONSIDER: Again, when considering late round picks, any player that can contribute in any way is a win. Calcaterra has some medical red flags, including a series of concussions in college he had to make his way back from. He's also undersized for the position, and doesn't have enough functional strength to be used as an in-line blocker in the run game.

GRADE: B+

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Quick UDFA Round-Up:

  • Mario Goodrich (CB) (Clemson) | Earliest Proj. Round: 3 | Grade: A-
  • Josh Jobe (CB) (Alabama) | Earliest Proj. Round: 4 | Grade: B
  • Carson Strong (QB) (Nevada) | Earliest Proj. Round: 1 | Grade: A+
  • Josh Blackwell (CB) (Duke) | Earliest Proj. Round: 6 | Grade: C+
  • Noah Elliss (IDL) (Idaho) | Earliest Proj. Round: 5 | Grade: B-
  • Kennedy Brooks (RB) (Oklahoma) | Earliest Proj. Round: 4 | Grade: B+
  • William Dunkle (IOL) (San Diego State) | Earliest Proj. Round: 6 | Grade: C
  • Josh Sills (IOL) (Oklahoma) | Earliest Proj. Round: 4 | Grade: B-
  • Reed Blankenship (S) (Middle Tennessee State) | Earliest Proj. Round: 5 | Grade: C
  • Britain Covey (WR) (Utah) | Earliest Proj. Round: UDFA | Grade: C-
  • Ali Fayad (EDGE) (Western Michigan) | Earliest Proj. Round: 5 | Grade: C+