April 21, 2017
When the Philadelphia Eagles traded up from the No. 8 spot to the No. 2 spot in the 2016 NFL Draft a year and a day ago today, they did so to draft Carson Wentz, a quarterback they felt had both the physical and mental aptitude to succeed in the NFL.
However, their high grades on Wentz weren't the only impetus for the move. Part of the reason the Eagles were aggressive a year ago was because they projected the 2017 quarterback class to be weak.
"When we went and researched and saw what the quarterback classes are going to look like going forward, next year, two years out, that's a daunting proposition," said Howie Roseman last April. "A lot of things change. There's no question. What we see now (in the 2016 draft) is probably not what we see a year from now or two years from now."
A week before the 2017 NFL Draft, most draft experts agree that taking a quarterback in the first half of the first round would be a reach, although it's generally accepted that reaching for quarterbacks is often a necessity.
Some experts believe that no quarterbacks are worth drafting in the first round at all this year. Former Eagles quarterback and current ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski, for example, is among them.
"I would not take a quarterback in the first round," Jaworski said in an interview with PhillyVoice. "I would not. And I've gone on ESPN and said that, and my Twitter world blows up. I just don't see it. I know there's value in the quarterback. I'm not naive enough to think that (North Carolina quarterback Mitchell) Trubisky is not going to get pushed up, and (Clemson quarterback Deshaun) Watson is not going to get pushed up. It's going to happen because teams are in dire need of a quarterback, and your fan base is clamoring, but every one of these guys has flaws, and warts, and whatever you want to call them, that I just don't see a team saying, 'Oh boy, let's target that guy with our No. 1 pick.
"I just don't see it. Now there may be some guys that go in the second round, and in the process of what the draft is, you may get some good value. You may get a Patrick Mahomes in the second round with some upside because of his arm strength. You may get a Nate Peterman because he played under center and he made NFL throws and he used play action in a pro-style offense. You may get DeShone Kizer, who is big, strong, can rip throws, but is really inaccurate."
The first quarterback on NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah's top 50 is Trubisky, at 32. The top quarterback on NBC's Josh Norris' top 50 is Kizer, at 30. The top quarterback on ESPN's Scouts Inc. service is Watson, at 28. In other words, analysts not only have quarterbacks rated low on their boards, there's also dissension on which quarterback is the best of an undesirable bunch.
Wentz still has plenty to prove in the pros, and we're certainly not writing off all the quarterbacks in this draft as destined to fail, but it does seem that the Eagles did have an accurate read on what this draft class would look like at quarterback a year in advance.
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