May 01, 2023
The 2023 NFL Draft is finally in the books, which means that it is now draft grade season. In case you missed our draft grades on Sunday, make you go check those out. Done? Cool. Here are some more Eagles draft grades, submitted without commentary because they all pretty much say the same thing.
General manager Howie Roseman has had an outstanding run in Philly, and he crushed Round 1. The Eagles had two first-rounders thanks to last year's trade with New Orleans, and they were able to maneuver the board for two prospects in my top 12, including the No. 1 overall prospect, Jalen Carter, landing him at No. 9. Carter has some off-field questions -- his draft status was clouded after he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing in connection with a fatal crash in January -- but there's no denying his talent level. And if you look at this team's biggest weakness from last season, it was stopping the run; Philly ranked 24th in yards allowed per carry (4.6). As I wrote Thursday, putting Carter next to Jordan Davis again makes total sense.
The Eagles might have gotten a premier edge rusher at the end of Round 1. I thought Nolan Smith (30) could have gone as high as No. 8 to Atlanta. At 6-foot-2 and 238 pounds, he is undersized, but you can't teach his physical traits. He ran a blazing 4.39-second 40-yard dash at the combine. We know Roseman builds through the trenches, and I love this addition.
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Offensive tackle Tyler Steen (65) has some interesting traits if he can improve his technique, and he might also move inside to guard. I would have gone with Ji'Ayir Brown or Riley Moss over Sydney Brown (66) if I were taking a safety, but I don't have a huge issue with the Eagles preferring Brown. He is undersized, but he tested well during combine workouts and had six interceptions last season. Roseman went back to Georgia with cornerback Kelee Ringo (105) on Day 3 for a nice value. I never bought in on Ringo as a top-40 guy -- he is too inconsistent -- but he has some upside if he can take the next step. Moro Ojomo (249) is a solid depth defensive tackle late in Round 7.
With Carter and Smith filling clear needs -- and the trade for running back D'Andre Swift filling another -- I really like this class. Roseman has done it again.
Philadelphia took two Georgia players in the first round, trading up a spot for the ultra-talented Carter and then getting a bargain in quick edge/off-ball linebacker Smith. Steen meets a need at guard (and can step in at tackle in a pinch). The athletic, compactly built Brown will make plays against the run and pass as a rookie.
There were questions about Ringo, but his size, speed and playmaking ability made the Eagles willing to take the risk of trading a 2024 third-round pick to land him. Sending a 2025 Day 3 pick to Detroit for back D'Andre Swift is a win for both teams. It was a good idea to pick McKee for the backup competition. Ojomo will be a nice rotational piece at 3-technique for Philadelphia.
Day 1: Landing the No. 2 overall player on the PFF big board at Pick 9 is a huge win for the Eagles. Carter played 392 snaps in 2022 and earned a 92.3 PFF grade that led all Power Five interior defenders. He registered 32 total pressures from 273 pass-rushing snaps. The Eagles had to give up just a 2024 fourth-round pick to make this happen.
The Eagles land the 13th overall player on the PFF big board with the 30th pick in the draft as Philadelphia retools its defensive line once again with elite talent. Smith might be undersized at 238 pounds, but he earned a 90.0 PFF run defense grade over the past two seasons and is an incredible athlete.
Day 2: Steen transferred from Vanderbilt to Alabama to finish his college career protecting No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young‘s blindside, and he earned a 74.4 pass-blocking grade over the year. Steen’s arms are under 33 inches, a common NFL threshold required to play tackle, so he may move inside at the outset. Steen was a steady riser throughout the process and is the newest student at Stoutland University in Philadelphia.
Brown is the first true safety off the board — Alabama’s Brian Branch is more of a tweener — and Philadelphia gets him right around his consensus ranking. Better yet, Brown fills a position of need, as Eagles starters Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Epps left the team in free agency. Brown earned a stellar 89.4 coverage grade in 2022 as a rangy deep safety who can cover a ton of ground, and his testing was off the charts. His 10-yard split, vertical jump and broad jump were all above the 90th percentile among safeties.
Day 3: The Eagles continue in their quest to recreate the back-to-back National Champion Georgia Bulldogs defense, trading up for a straight-line athlete in a very young cornerback that showed inconsistency after a breakout 2021 season. Ringo is a bit stiff moving laterally, which may have caused his drop here, but at 6-foot-2 and 207 pounds he could line up out wide or perhaps transition to safety.
McKee isn't a great athlete and won't create much outside of structure, but his size and accuracy give him potential as a developmental backup who can win from the pocket. The scheme and supporting cast did him few favors, which contributed to his underwhelming production at Stanford.
The rich get richer in Philly. Ojomo is ranked 93rd on the PFF big board. He is an excellent run defender (91.4 in 2022) who can fill two gaps up front. An improvement to his pass-rush arsenal could make him a seventh-round gem.
The Eagles are almost literally reconstructing Georgia’s defense from the last two years, an approach that any college football fan will appreciate. Sacrificing a fourth-round pick to climb one spot in a deal with the Bears, Philly secured coveted interior dominator Carter at No. 9 overall, reuniting him with big brother character Jordan Davis, who kept Carter under his wing at UGA. Smith was known to be in serious consideration for Philly were Carter gone by No. 10, so landing Smith at No. 30 was absolute robbery. A left tackle at Vanderbilt and Alabama, Steen likely kicks to guard with sub-33-inch arms. Brown was an extremely productive four-year starter for the Illini, then blazed 4.42 at 211 pounds in Indy. Like college teammate Nakobe Dean, Ringo ostensibly slipped two rounds later than expected due to vague medical concerns. McKee has an NFL arm but is a sloth in the pocket. D’Andre Swift is also part of this haul; the Eagles acquired Swift from the Lions for an innocuous seventh-round pick swap and a fourth-rounder in 2025. GM Howie Roseman also stole a 2024 fifth-rounder from the Bucs in exchange for a 2023 sixth-rounder. Firmly the best GM in the game, Roseman knocked this draft out of the park.
What I wrote about the Nolan Smith pick on Thursday night —”They can’t keep getting away with this”—now applies to the Eagles’ entire draft. I loved what Philly did basically from start to finish, and after grabbing both Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith in Round 1, they cleaned up the rest of the way: The Eagles added a solid tackle/guard prospect in Alabama’s Tyler Steen and a hard-hitting safety in Illinois’s Sydney Brown on day two, before taking yet another Georgia star in cornerback Kelee Ringo to open day three. Add in the trade with Detroit for running back D’Andre Swift (yes, he also went to Georgia) on Saturday, and the defending NFC champs look like one of the biggest winners of draft weekend.
Is there a grade higher than A-plus? GM Howie Roseman gets one of the best players in the draft at No. 9 (DT Jalen Carter), a potential top-10 pick at 30 (Edge Nolan Smith) and a potential first-round CB in the fourth round (Kelee Ringo). Plus, he trades for RB D'Andre Swift, the pass-catching back his team needed. He basically raided the best program in college football (Georgia) and it reinforced the Eagles as the team to beat in the NFC.
Best Pick: It's their first pick, defensive tackle Jalen Carter. Yes, he has some off-field issues, but he is the best player in this draft. As one scout told me, he's generational. If he can stay away from issues, and work harder at the game, he will be a Hall of Fame player.
Worst Pick: It's hard to find a bad pick, so I will nitpick and say I didn't love safety Sydney Brown in the third as much as others did. They did need a safety, but I liked some other guys better in that spot.
The Skinny: Howie Roseman killed it with his haul this year. Getting Carter and Nolan Smith in the first round with their two picks is an impressive draft for a team that needed to get young players up front. Third-round guard Tyler Steen is a good player, who will be a starter in a year to two. Then they traded to land running back D'Andre Swift from the Lions. Nice job.
If you want to argue it's not all that hard to scout University of Georgia players, fine. But it's not so easy reaching the Super Bowl yet nevertheless getting into positions to stockpile Bulldog-caliber talent, either, however EVP/GM Howie Roseman manages to do it. This time, he reeled in DT Jalen Carter – perhaps the No. 1 overall talent in 2023, his off-field question marks notwithstanding – at No. 9. Twenty-one spots later, Roseman continued reloading his front seven with uber-athletic Dawgs pass rusher Nolan Smith. High upside CB Kelee Ringo arrived in Round 4, and Roseman likely found his RB1 by essentially giving Detroit a 2025 fourth-rounder (and a seventh-round pick swap) for former Georgia star D’Andre Swift as he heads into a contract year. Bottom line? Good luck keeping the NFC champs out of Super Bowl 58.
The Eagles added three more Georgia defensive stars to tackle Jordan Davis and linebacker Nakobe Dean, who will be key second-year starters on the front seven. Carter and Smith are great explosive complements to Carter and Brandon Graham. Ringo will be groomed well behind Darius Slay and James Bradberry.
Steen was a good future stash up front and Brown can help offset the loss of C.J. Gardner-Johnson. A bonus was using some draft capital to address running back with a trade for D'Andre Swift. McKee also gets them on the board with a developmental backup QB.
They can't keep getting away with it!
The Eagles stole arguably the most talented player in the entire draft (Jalen Carter) at No. 9 overall, then stole another one of his Georgia teammates at No. 30 overall (Nolan Smith), reloading what was already one of the NFL's most dominant defensive fronts. They stole yet another Bulldog defender in the fourth round with cornerback Kelee Ringo, and got a bargain at safety in the third round with Sydney Brown.
Tyler Steen was the perfect depth pick for the offensive line, thanks to his guard/tackle versatility, and experience against top competition in the SEC. Tanner McKee is an odd fit as Jalen Hurts' backup, but was worth a sixth-round flyer. Moro Ojomo gives the defensive line even more depth, and was another solid value pick in the seventh round.
They didn't reach for anyone, stole most of their picks later than they should have gone, and made arguably the league's most talented roster even better.
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