Always a fun front office to watch on Draft Day (and every other day, to be frank) Howie Roseman and Co. did not disappoint last weekend. Engaged in multiple trade talks and rumored to be targeting several different players, the Eagles struck value in the early round and built their class from there.
But the Eagles' front office isn't all analytics, as Vice President of Player Personnel Joe Douglas has bolstered the drafting efforts in Philadelphia over the last three years with his scouting acumen. It isn't hard to circle the picks that Howie had the most impact over (Dillard), and the picks that Douglas had a hand in making (Sanders).
Round 1, Pick 22: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
Round 2, Pick 53: Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State
Round 2, Pick 57: JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford
Round 4, Pick 138: Shareef Miller, EDGE, Penn State
Round 5, Pick 167: Clayton Thorson, QB, Northwestern
Philly came into the draft with only a modest amount of capital, but ended up moving some selections to trade up for Dillard and acquire DT Hassan Ridgeway from the Colts. The team only made 5 selections, but they figure to be a key competitor in the NFC once again, and their roster doesn't need much bolstering from rookies.
Best Pick: Stanford WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside
It's no secret that the Eagles don't want to pay WR Nelson Agholor the $9.4M he's due on his fifth-year option this season, and accordingly, it was unsurprising to see them grab an early receiver. They were connected to other players -- Arcega-Whiteside wasn't one of the seven receivers they brought in for a visit -- but that doesn't change the value here.
Arcega-Whiteside isn'y much of a quick separator, but he does win with size, strength, and route-running, which follows the mold of the receiving threats the Eagles currently have on the roster (Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz). An elite red zone and third-down player, Arcega-Whiteside will likely get some big slot reps to win on the Eagles' quick-hitting RPO concepts over the middle of the field, where his body positioning and hand strength will shine.
Worst Pick: Penn State RB Miles Sanders
I wasn't surprised to see a team overdraft Sanders -- in an uninspiring running back class, Sanders' athleticism and potential is enticing. Only a one-year starter with minimal tread on the tires, Sanders very well could have a long a productive career in the NFL as a true three-down option given his ability in space as a receiver.
But as it currently stands, Sanders' lack of measured decision-making and block recognition put him in too many risky spots, and he'll need simple concepts early to stay married to his reads and paths. Sanders had the athletic ability to create out of structure easily at the college level, but won't be such a phenom at the NFL level, and could suffer some early growing pains if RB coach Duce Staley doesn't iron out his issues.
Favorite Day 3 Pick: Do I have to choose?
I didn't like Shareef Miller's film and I really didn't like Clayton Thorson's film, so I guess Miller? At this point, he'll be no higher than an EDGE5 for Philadelphia (EDGE6 if Chris Long stays rostered), so it's not like he'll be to the detriment of the team by struggling in his role -- but he'll barely see the field if everyone stays healthy.
Miller needs significant time and development, while Thorson may not even benefit from time and development -- I don't see a ceiling any higher than that of a low-end QB2/high-end QB3.
Overall Grade: C
This is an average class and it gets an average grade accordingly. Philly got some really exciting players who could all become significant starters/role players, but projecting development for three or four of a team's five selections should tell you all you need to know about the strength of the class now.
Philly doesn't anticipate needing much from the 2019 class, so it's fine that they didn't acquire multiple insta-impact rookies. But the coaching staff will be tested with this group as they stare down the barrel of Carson Wentz extension and roster turnover.