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May 08, 2017

What they’re saying: The Eagles are the most-improved team in the NFC East

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While nobody seems to be panning the Eagles’ 2017 draft haul like, say, the Chicago Bears, the general consensus is that it was solid, but perhaps unspectacular. That’s fine, because the Jacksonville Jaguars seem to “win” the NFL Draft every season and look where that has gotten them.

Everyone can’t get enough of draft grades (including yours truly!), but they are pretty meaningless. So, take the following with a grain of salt, but PFF’s Sam Monson believes the Eagles are the most improved team in the NFC East after the bulk of offseason work has finished:

Alshon Jeffery was the big get for the Eagles in free agency, bringing a receiver with legit No. 1 potential to a unit that has been unable to make plays for some time, but they also added a number of other low-key players to provide depth. The draft though is what separates them. In Derek Barnett, they added a pass-rusher in the first round who has accumulated 187 total pressures over the past three seasons, 23 more than No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett. CB Sidney Jones was unfortunate to injure his Achilles pre-draft, but he has the talent to be the best CB in this class. He didn’t allow a touchdown in 2016 and just one the year before that. Lower down in the draft they also added several players that will have the chance to contribute early.

The Eagles finished 1.5 games behind everyone else in the division last season (giving them more room to improve) and Jones may redshirt this upcoming season, but hey, there’s nothing that proves Monson wrong at the moment.

And while it makes sense that Garrett was the top-overall pick, Barnett had an insanely productive college career:

In case you missed it at PhillyVoice

1.    CENTER OF ATTENTION: Could Max Unger’s injury in New Orleans kickstart some Jason Kelce trade rumors?

2.    OVER-UNDERS: Yeah, Jimmy thinks that the Eagles’ number at 8.5 is too high.

3.    IN DEFENSE OF BARNETT: The Eagles’ first-round pick has received a lukewarm reception in Philly, but make no mistake, the guy can play.

4.    MAILBAG: Jimmy tackles the Eagles’ hindsight mock draft, among other topics.

Other Eagles news, notes and analysis from around the web

NFC East draft grades: Eagles round out offseason with defense: Bucky Brooks, NFL.com

Brooks also gave the Eagles the highest marks in the division with an A-:

After devoting their free-agent resources to offense, the Eagles committed their draft capital to defense. Barnett gives the Eagles one of the best pass rushers in the draft. He is a "Call of Duty" player -- that is to say, he has exceptional hand-to-hand combat skills -- with the potential to be a double-digit sack producer as a rookie. Jones isn't expected to make a major contribution as a rookie, due to his lengthy recovery from a torn Achilles tendon suffered at his pro day in March. If he fully recovers, he gives the Eagles a Pro Bowl-caliber corner on the island. Hollins is a slick vertical pass catcher with A-plus skills as a special teams demon. He could blossom into an impact player in that underrated phase of the game.

For NFL Prospects, There’s Even More Incentive to Miss College Bowl Games: Andrew Brandt, The MMQB

Brandt seems some similarities between the Bears 2017 and Eagles 2016 QB situations. I see a worse veteran and worse rookie:

Unlike the Eagles, though, it is highly doubtful the Bears will trade their veteran as the Eagles did with Bradford in leveraging the Vikings’ desperation for a first-rounder. In both cases, however, the team spent lavishly to provide a bridge to the future, a bridge the Eagles decided they didn’t need when a first-round pick was on the table. As for the Bears, the chants from fans and the media for Trubisky will ring loudly if Glennon falters early in the season. I’m not sure what other options he had, but this is probably not what Glennon had in mind when he signed a first-day free-agent deal with the Bears.

Post-draft Power Rankings: Dan Graziano, ESPN

According to Graziano, the Eagles sit at No. 22 overall:

Howie Roseman is still playing the long game with very young draft picks and one guy (Sidney Jones) who might not help until 2018. But the Eagles feel like they hit on Carson Wentz, and they got him Alshon Jeffery to help his second year along. So, there's nothing wrong with the long game. Fans just have to be patient. Is that a problem?

Jay Cutler and the Odd Offseason of QB Movement: Peter King, The MMQB

Former Cowboys executive Gil Brandt, answering questions from King here, believes that Philadelphia should host the draft again next season:

As much as I want the draft to come to Dallas, it’s going to be very hard for Philadelphia to lose the draft after the job that city did. Unbelievable. Just unbelievable. That city did a job that was off the charts. And the fans were so great—100,000 people that one day, and I bet there were 99,999 different jerseys, with fans from everywhere.


Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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