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May 02, 2017

Eagles come out of draft with essentially two first-round picks

Some leftover items found in the rubble of the NFL Draft on the parkway … and isn’t it nice to once again see the steps of the Museum of Art?

First order of business, this keyboard puncher could not have been more wrong about the impact of the draft in Philadelphia. It turned into a rousing success and much credit must go to the parks department for the infrastructure.

Fans should also thank whatever power that controls the weather because Philadelphia was blessed with three warm and beautiful days. The deluge of the previous day was wiped away by blue skies providing Philadelphia with a perfect setting.

As for the actual meat and potatoes of the draft, here goes:

The Eagles made that rare maneuver that saw them taking a step in each direction in the proverbial fork in the road. The path that should lead to more immediate success was addressed in the first round when they landed defensive end Derek Barnett.

The one that will potentially lead to more success in the future occurred in the next round when they took a chance on injured defensive back Sidney Jones. It is likely Jones will miss at least part of this season due to an Achilles injury, and he might even miss the entire season.

However, this is not likely to be a Joel Embiid situation, and it is expected Jones will play like a first-round pick by next season at the latest. Thus, the bottom line is that the Eagles traded a second-round pick this season for a first-rounder next season – not bad.


The Chicago Bears played the role of draft fools when they used three picks to trade up one spot to select quarterback Mitch Trubisky. The situation is even more confusing when you take into account they recently signed free agent quarterback Mike Glennon to a big-money contract.

Just when you thought nobody could outdo the Cleveland Browns in terms of head scratching moves, hear come Da Bears.


All of the musical-chair moves at the top of the draft to get quarterback once again points out the Eagles’ biggest success story of the past decade or so – last year’s bold move to get the second pick in the draft and select quarterback Carson Wentz.

Look around.

Teams are willing to trade all sorts of packages to land anybody who has ever called a huddle in an elite college program. The math is simple: Without a franchise quarterback, or an absolute elite defense, you don’t have much of a chance to win anything.

With that in mind, you can understand why the Eagles are in very decent shape for the future, as long as Wentz is the real deal. If not, well, it really doesn’t matter who they draft.


For some, the missing story of the draft was the input of Eagles coach Doug Pederson. Unlike in some other organizations, Pederson has neither the personality nor the experience to demand that he gets to pick out the ingredients if he is going to cook up a winner.

Pederson is content to work with what he is given in terms of talent, and his report card has little to do with the draft.

Given some of the bizarre decision he made on the sidelines last season – from his time-outs to his challenges to his play calling – there will be plenty of opportunities for him to answer questions after games.

Pederson now has the luxury of a quarterback with great expectations, and some added weapons on either side of the ball, so the demand this season should be to make the playoffs or realize that somebody else will be calling the plays in the future.


Finally, one of the big stories of the draft weekend in Philadelphia did not even involve the Eagles. Instead, it was a story that came out of nowhere when the Flyers defied all the odds in the NHL draft lottery and wound up with the second overall selection.

The Flyers had only a 2.4 percent chance of moving from 13th overall to second, and it was so unexpected that general manager Ron Hextall wasn’t even at the proceedings,

Hextall will be more than happy to be the runner up to the first overall Devils, who are likely to take center Nolan Patrick. The Flyers will then likely land Swiss center Nico Hischier.

Success on offense in the NHL depends on centers, and with Claude Giroux slipping in terms of production and heading into his 30s, there is a real need in the middle. It is a need, which should quickly be filled by Hischier (or Patrick), and after missing the playoffs this season it is going to be difficult for Hextall to use the step-by-step approach with either Patrick or Hischier, each of whom should be given every opportunity to be in the lineup on opening night.