May 02, 2022
There are some who believe you should not grade a draft until three years have passed. Those people suck. In case you missed our Eagles draft grades, you can find them here.
Here's what some of the outsiders are saying about the Birds' draft haul.
At the beginning of April, the Eagles owned pick Nos. 15, 16 and 19 as a result of trades with Miami and Indianapolis. They were set up to be the key team in the middle of Round 1. Then they made a deal with the Saints, who wanted to add another first-round pick in this class. To do so, New Orleans gave up a ton of future capital, sending Philadelphia a 2023 first-round selection and 2024 second-rounder, while the Eagles still had two premium picks at Nos. 15 and 18 in this draft.
So how did Philly fare on Day 1? Well, it packaged the first pick to move up a couple of spots for massive defensive tackle Jordan Davis (13), who plugs a hole in the middle of the D. Then it traded the No. 18 pick and a late third-rounder to Tennessee for 24-year-old wide receiver A.J. Brown, who had 24 touchdown catches in three seasons for the Titans. That's a solid Day 1, as Brown -- who is younger than a few prospects in this class -- makes a lot of sense on the other side of DeVonta Smith and gives Jalen Hurts a proven playmaker.
I also liked the Eagles' picks on Day 2, in particular middle linebacker Naboke Dean (83), who is the steal of the draft based on my board. He went a full two rounds after I would have taken him, because teams flagged his medical reports. Philadelphia believes he'll be ready for training camp, though, and so I'm excited to see him quickly become a leader of the defense (and play with his former Georgia teammate Davis). Cam Jurgens (51) is my second-ranked center, and he will likely replace Jason Kelce when Kelce calls it quits.
Philadelphia had just two picks on Day 3, but the Dean pick, the addition of Brown and the extra premium capital in 2023 and 2024 means general manager Howie Roseman put together one of the best drafts of the year.
The Eagles pulled off an excellent draft, making great trades with the Colts (last year's Carson Wentz deal) and Saints (acquiring future picks) before the event even started. They secured a beast on the defensive line in Davis to improve their run defense, acquired veteran A.J. Brown from the Titans to bolster the receiver group, secured a future starting center in Jurgens and put aside Dean's medical issues to bring in the top-50 talent in the third round.
Adding another linebacker in Johnson was a bit of a surprise; it was at a good spot in the draft and he could be a good Sam. Calcaterra temporarily gave up football due to concussions while at Oklahoma but proved his pass-catching skills again at SMU; he'll be a valuable backup or better in the NFL.
Best Pick: It's first-round defensive tackle Jordan Davis. He is a good run player, but he will be much more. He's a massive man who can anchor in for the run, but will improve as a pass rusher.
Worst Pick: Third-round linebacker Nakobe Dean was rumored to be a first-round pick, but he had some injury questions and he isn't big. That's why he dropped to the third.
The Skinny: General manager Howie Roseman had a good weekend. He traded to get receiver receiver A.J. Brown and then took Davis in the first. Second-round center Cam Jurgens will take over as the starter when Jason Kelce retires. Counting Brown, it's a good haul.
Favorite pick: Davis
There was a heartstrings sentiment to go with Dean here, but his concerning medicals leave his status for this season up in the air. But we respect the Eagles’ outside-the-box thinking in regards to Davis. When a unicorn comes trotting by, you grab it. Sure, he’s different from the type of nose tackle the Eagles have had in recent years, but that’s the point. Offenses must account for him when he’s on the field, and even if he never becomes a 50-snap-per-game player, his value when he’s out there could change the dynamic of this defense in a big way.
Least-favorite pick: Jurgens
Really, the value was fine and the player one we liked. He likely wouldn’t have lasted more than a dozen or so more picks had they not taken him. The only minor quibble is that it’s more of a longer-term investment, with Jurgens not guaranteed to make a big impact until Jason Kelce retires. But boy, that’s a pretty good mentor from whom Jurgens can soak up knowledge and follow around like a puppy. Practicing daily against the massive Davis also can help Jurgens’ issues vs. power players, so we think that investment return will be good in time.
Overall: Whether some want to admit it or not, Howie Roseman is become the GM that other GMs should be scared of making trades with — the Andrew Friedman of the NFL, if you will. Not everything the Eagles do works out, but there’s often a chance that Roseman and his crew are the ones doing the fleecing. Parlaying the three first-rounders into they had into A.J. Brown, Davis, a 2023 first-round pick and a second-rounder in 2024 is future Executive of the Year-type stuff. The wheeling and dealing left them with a smaller class, but the Dean pick and a few quality fliers late with Johnson and Calcaterra made this one of our favorite efforts of the weekend. They’re sticking with Jalen Hurts for now but have positioned themselves to get almost any QB they want next year if they feel the need.
Eagles GM Howie Roseman wheeled and dealed his way to a wild weekend haul. He moved up to get in front of the Ravens in the first round to select Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis, a mammoth of a man who brings extraordinary speed and quickness for a 341-pound frame. He then turned his second of two first-round picks into superstar Titans receiver A.J. Brown, securing a big, YAC-creating pass-catcher to pair with DeVonta Smith. He grabbed a hyper-athletic center prospect and potential future Jason Kelce successor in Nebraska’s Cam Jurgens in the second round, then stopped Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean’s shocking fall later in the round. It didn’t matter what they did on day three because that series of events secures Philly an A+ draft.
We’re only giving out two A-plusses in this draft, so kudos to the Eagles for netting one of them. Obviously, the A.J. Brown trade should be factored into this haul. While teams were jockeying over unproven talent, the Eagles went out and got a player who, if he were in this year’s draft, may have gone in the top three.
Jurgens, selected with the blessing of long-time center Jason Kelce, is a clone of the legendary Eagles center. Pull up some Nebraska tape from this year and watch Jurgens fly off the ball on some athletic pulling maneuver, or whip downfield on a screen pass. There is a reason Kelce has been able to thrive as a sixth-round pick for as long as he has, and Jurgens has that same athletic core in spades.
Davis was one of our favorite players in this draft and, paired with Fletcher Cox for at least one season, he makes up a formidable inside-rush tandem that will haunt the quarterbacks of the NFC East. Dean is worth a flier despite the Eagles not really suited for taking risks at the moment. The Georgia linebacker dropped in the draft, reportedly because of a handful of injuries that he denies are serious. We’ve seen other players, such as Myles Jack, drop for similar reasons and go on to have successful careers. Dean is agile and, despite being on the smaller side, makes up for his lack of heft with some noticeable smarts. There were certainly some plays at Georgia that popped off the screen while having nothing to do with the all-star cast in front of him.
Day 1: The Eagles came into the draft with multiple first-round picks and used one of them on a veteran player, trading with Tennessee for superstar wide receiver A.J. Brown and giving him the contract extension the Titans wouldn’t.
Their other pick was spent on monster defensive tackle Jordan Davis. There have been concerns about Davis’ ability to play a high volume of snaps, but there are so many things to love about what the 341-pounder can bring to Philadelphia’s defense. He can single-handedly change the way a defense operates against the run, allowing the Eagles to devote more resources to coverage and creating more third-and-long situations. And Davis’ rare athleticism at his size points to the idea that he’s not just an early-down run-stuffer. He represents the future at the position, with Fletcher Cox trending in the wrong direction the past few years.
Day 2: Cam Jurgens is a prospect that PFF is lower on than the consensus, as he was barely a top-100 player on the big board. The Nebraska Cornhusker is an uber-athlete, but he has to do a much better job playing with better balance. Jurgens was a poor performer during his first two years at the position in 2019 and 2020 with 44.1 and 42.7 PFF grades, but he showed some modest growth in 2021 with a 71.4 overall mark. Still, there’s a long road ahead to refinement for the center, but the Eagles are in a position to get him there.
Nakobe Dean was the best player on the best defense college football has ever seen. He slid in the draft largely because of injuries, but even if he has to redshirt an entire season, Dean will be a steal at this spot in the draft. Few linebackers have ever had the kind of play recognition that Dean possesses, and his tape is full of elite playmaking. This is one of the steals of the draft.
Day 3: An above-average athlete, Kryon Johnson will likely make his mark on special teams as he fights for a roster spot in Philadelphia. A four-year starter with the Kansas Jayhawks, Johnson produced at a number of different positions and should provide some depth and versatility for the Eagles.
The Eagles get bonus points for Howie Roseman pulling off the trade for young A.J. Brown to help Jalen Hurts stretch the field and provide a big-play complement to sound all-around 2021 first-rounder DeVonta Smith. Philadelphia converted its first-round volume into immense immediate impact with the Georgia picks Davis and Dean to get much stronger up the middle defensively. Jurgens was a mild reach, but he can end up starting somewhere inside soon. Calcaterra is a good stash for help in 12 personnel with Dallas Goedert.
An extremely active Philadelphia Eagles team was entertaining early in the 2022 NFL Draft. Trading up to catch – not literally, my word – a falling star in Jordan Davis, they plugged a need with a player who has the potential for greatness with his sheer size and freakish athletic prowess. With the top wide receivers off the table, landing a proven product via trade in A.J. Brown might prove to be a stroke of genius.
Cameron Jurgens felt like a reach, but it was reported that was his range, and the Eagles grabbed an offensive lineman with versatility and talent. Howie Roseman getting a first-round-caliber linebacker without using a first-round pick was quite the workaround to maintain historical precedent. Time will tell if the severity of Nakobe Dean’s injury impacts his NFL career, but a third-round pick is essentially nothing. The Eagles’ overall grade from the 2022 NFL Draft could have been elite. Nonetheless, failure to address what is arguably their biggest need at cornerback chips away at it a little.
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