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April 29, 2019

Eagles 2019 draft grade roundup

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042819AndreDillard James Snook/USA TODAY Sports

National analysts love Andre Dillard.

The 2019 NFL Draft is in the books, and locally, the Philadelphia Eagles' haul received mixed reviews. Interestingly, the Birds' draft was received favorably among most of the national draft analysts.

Here's a handy-dandy snapshot of how some analysts graded the Eagles' draft:

In case you missed our grades for each pick, you can find them here

Here we'll copy and paste what each of the national analysts said. If they just gave a grade without providing any analysis, we'll obviously skip that uselessness.

Thor Nystrom, Rotoworld: A-

Getting Andre Dillard at 1.22 was highway robbery. I was stunned he fell -- I think he was the offensive linemen in this class, and a top-6 overall talent. They continued to build up on offense with second-round RB Miles Sanders and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. Arcega-Whiteside provides a sturdy red-zone target for Caron Wentz even if he never develops much beyond that, while Sanders has starter upside. Philly rounded out their shining class with an upside edge rusher in Shareef Miller and a ho-hum career-backup-to-be Clayton Thorson.

Vinnie Iyer, SportingNews: A-

Howie Roseman was thinking ahead with offensive reinforcements, with Dillard as a near-future left tackle and Sanders and Arcega-Whiteside fitting well into their running and passing plans. Miller is their kind of pass rusher, while Thorson is the ideal young backup to develop behind Carson Wentz. It's a compact class, but a solid one.

Dan Kadar, SB Nation: B-

The Eagles will go as far as Carson Wentz can take them. To keep him healthy, the Eagles moved up in the first round to secure left tackle Andre Dillard. It’s a shrewd move, but he’ll sit for at least a season behind Jason Peters.

It was clear that Philadelphia had to come out with a running back. After skipping on Josh Jacobs in the first round, the Eagles used the No. 53 pick on Miles Sanders of Penn State. He’s a quick back who will make people miss. He’s not much for contact, but he’ll get a nice share of carries for Philadelphia. Wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside gives Wentz a nice jump-ball target.

It’s curious that they didn’t address cornerback.

Mark Maske, Washington Post: B+

Trading up to take T Andre Dillard 22nd was one of the best moves of the draft. The Eagles got the best pass-blocking offensive tackle available. Dillard might not start immediately but is there to take over whenever Jason Peters’s career is done. The two second-rounders, RB Miles Sanders and WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, fit in nicely. Sanders could have a significant role as a rookie.

Nate Davis, USA Today: B

Second-round RB Miles Sanders could be a rookie of the year dark horse for a team that struggled to fill the position in 2018. First-round LT Andre Dillard and the other second rounder, WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, look like shrewd investments who may not have to start for another year.

Doug Farrar, USA Today: C

Philly did the right thing in trading up with the Ravens to take Washington State left tackle Andre Dillard with the 22nd overall pick. Dillard is an NFL-ready pass-protector, and he’ll learn the run game quickly. And with their two second-round picks, the Eagles took players ready to contribute right away in Penn State running back Miles Sanders and Stanford receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, who will be especially helpful as a contested-catch receiver. But with just five picks, general manager Howie Roseman and his staff did nothing to address obvious needs in the secondary, and that’s a problem in a very deep class that had first- and second-round talent dropping to the third day.


MORE: Eagles 2019 draft grades | Eagles 2019 depth chart | Eagles 2020 draft picks


Mel Kiper, ESPN: B

Philadelphia had to fill its needs in this draft with just seven total picks. That's tough. It actually ended up trading out and finished with just five picks. GM Howie Roseman has had a nice offseason by efficiently filling holes with deals for Malik Jackson, Vinny Curry, DeSean Jackson and Jordan Howard. In other words, the Eagles haven't overspent. That's important as they get ready to give Carson Wentz a massive contract.

I thought safety might be a target in Round 1 with Malcolm Jenkins entering his age-32 season. The secondary was depleted by injuries in an up-and-down 2018 season. But I also thought offensive tackle made a ton of sense based on where the Eagles were picking (No. 25) and how the board might fall. Stalwart left tackle Jason Peters is 37, and they needed to decide whether Lane Johnson is being an elite right tackle or a good left tackle.

That's why I wasn't surprised to see the Eagles make sure to get their guy by trading up three spots and grabbing Andre Dillard at No. 22. He's a true left tackle and the best pass protector in the class. He's the heir apparent to Peters. But the trade was also costly for a team with limited capital, as Philly also had to give up fourth- and sixth-round picks. It needed to have a solid Day 2, which included an extra second-round pick from the Ravens as part of the trade to get Lamar Jackson last year.

That's what the Eagles did. I'm a big fan of both of these second-round picks. Running back Miles Sanders (No. 53) and wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside (No. 57) both made the list of my favorite prospects by position. Sanders, Saquon Barkley's backup for two years, has limited tread on his tires and can help in the passing game. Arcega-Whiteside could put Nelson Agholor's future in question -- he's a red zone threat with solid separation skills. Defensive end Shareef Miller (No. 138), who had 15 tackles for loss last season, fits coordinator Jim Schwartz's attacking style. And Clayton Thorson (No. 167) can be a decent No. 2 or 3 quarterback behind Wentz.

So, yes, I like what Roseman & Co. did this weekend, but it's tough to say it's stellar with just five picks. I do expect Philly to be a playoff team again in 2019.

Darryl Slater, NJ.com: A-

Good job getting strong players at areas of need. Dillard could wind up replacing Jason Peters. And the Eagles desperately needed to address running back this offseason. They did.

Andy Benoit, Sports Illustrated: A-

Every pick made sense for the Eagles, especially when you look a few years down the road. Andre Dillard is a project for Jeff Stoutland, one of football’s highest-regarded offensive line coaches. The hope is the Washington State product can step in at left tackle next year when 37-year-old future Hall-of-Famer Jason Peters likely retires. Dillard was not asked to execute NFL-style run-blocks much at WSU, and his progress there is crucial because Philadelphia’s offense is predicated on having a schematically diverse ground game. Injuries in the backfield prevented that last year, which is why, even after trading a conditional sixth-round pick for Bears zone-running ace Jordan Howard, the Eagles spent a second-rounder on Miles Sanders, a smooth three-down back who, unlike Howard, has the lateral agility to create his own space. Sanders will contribute right away and probably earn the top role in 2020.

At wideout, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside offers the detailed mechanics and steady possession traits to consistently capitalize on opportunities created by Doug Pederson’s two-and three-receiver route combinations. His presence makes it easier to trade Nelson Agholor this year or let him walk next year. Also helping for next year is Shareef Miller, who adds options at defensive end, where veterans Chris Long and/or Vinny Curry might depart. (It’s possible Long could even be gone before this season.)

Steve Serby, NY Post: A+

GM Howie Roseman leapfrogged the Texans for Dillard, the best pass blocker in the draft and the likely replacement next season for 37-year-old Jason Peters. Sanders isn’t Saquon Barkley, but he averaged 6.0 yards per carry at Penn State. WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (80-inch wingspan) will be another big red-zone target for Carson Wentz. QB Clayton Thorson has a chance to be the new Nick Foles.


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