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 Philadelphia Eagles Draft Review






Team Needs: RB, LB, OT


Selections:


Rd 1. 2 Carson Wentz QB North Dakota State

Rd 3. 79 Isaac Seumola OG Oregon State

Rd 5. 153 Wendell Smallwood RB West Virginia

Rd 5. 164 Vaitai Halapoulavaati OT TCU

Rd 6. 196 Blake Countess CB Auburn

Rd 7. 233 Jalen Mills FS LSU

Rd 7. 240 Alex McAlister DE Florida

Rd 7. 251 Joe Walker LB Oregon


Recap:

The Eagles were one of the boldest teams in the 2016 draft. New head coach Doug Pederson clearly wanted a quarterback from the get go, and clearly felt that either Carson Wentz of Jared Goff was capable of being the guy. The Eagles got Wentz, who has a much higher upside than Goff, and should be an excellent player for the team. Wentz is a proven winner who has all of the mental and physical skills needed to succeed in the NFL. What he does not have is experience playing against top competition. The learning curve for Wentz will be a large one and he will need to develop quickly as he will, almost certainly, be expected to start as a rookie. Isaac Seumola is a versatile lineman that should find a spot along the interior line to start. He wasn’t a great value at 79 but he wasn’t terrible either. Wendell Smallwood is a player to watch. Smallwood has a diverse skill set and was very productive as a senior. Expect him to find a home in certain packages early and to get his chance to play full time whenever Ryan Matthews gets hurt. TCU tackle Vaitai Halapoulavaati is another developmental offensive lineman for the Eagles. He rarely makes mistakes in his assignments but isn’t overly quick or physical. Blake Countess is a solid, if unspectacular, cornerback who played his senior season at Auburn, after graduating from Michigan. Countess should compete for a dime back spot immediately and should also find a home on special teams. Jalen Mills was the best value pick for the Eagles. Mills has the instincts and athleticism to be a starter but lacks maturity and health. WIth a season of learning, and playing special teams, Mills could earn a starting spot in the future. Florida defensive end Alex McAlister is another player with starting potential and a history of off field issues. McAlister will get a chance to show he has changed and can act as a professional, or he’ll be cut. Joe Walker looks like a training camp body unless the team wants to keep a 2 down linebacker as a backup/special teams player.

Analysis:

  1. NFL teams typically need a good quarterback in order to win. Wentz is a good quarterback. The bounty that Philly gave up to give him will force him to be a good quarterback on a very average team for a few seasons. The cupboard is bare in the Eagles locker room and it isn’t likely to be filled for a few more seasons. Wentz needs to be better than good to justify what the Eagles gave up to get him. Trades like these rarely work out for the team moving up.

  2. One thing to like about the Eagles strategy is that they drafted two offensive linemen as further investment in the success of Wentz.  Neither player appears headed to the Pro-Bowl but both have relatively high floors. If they are both needed to play, the Eagles should, at least, have two competent players to plug in.

  3. Wendell Smallwood is the (non-Wentz) player to watch from this class. Smallwood should give Wentz an outlet receiver when he’s in the game and could put up big numbers in the Philly offense while teams focus on attacking a rookie quarterback. Along with the two offensive linemen Smallwood represents a further development in the future of Wentz, only Smallwood has a nice upside as well.

Grade: C


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