After a historic NFL Draft in Philadelphia, the fans of the City of Brotherly Love showed energy and excitement unparalleled to drafts from years prior. Now that the fun is over, it is time to sit back and take a look at what transpired over the three-day period. Here is a look at who the newest Eagles are and how it all played out.
Philadelphia Eagles 2017 NFL Draft Review
1st round (14): Derek Barnett, edge rusher, Tennessee
2nd round (43): Sidney Jones, corner back, Washington
3rd round (99): Rasul Douglas, corner back, West Virgina
4th round (118): Mack Hollins, wide receiver, North Carolina
4th round (132): Donnel Pumphrey, running back, San Diego State
5th round (166): Shelton Gibson, wide receiver, West Virginia
5th round (184): Nate Gerry, safety, Nebraska
6th round (214): Elijah Qualls, interior defensive lineman, Washington
Best Player: Sidney Jones, CB Washington (2nd Round, No. 43)
Before his Achilles injury at his pro day, many people had Jones slated to the Eagles at the 14th pick. It was a big question how far he would slip, but the Eagles pulled the trigger in the second round with the 43rd overall pick. Now, how can Jones be the best player when he will most likely take a red-shirt in his first season to recover? Jones has all the skills necessary to be a true number one corner back in the league, something the Eagles have been lacking for quite a bit of time. Jones is arguably a top-10 talent when healthy, and should prove to be the best selection from this draft class for years to come. Patience is key here, Eagles fans.
Head-Scratcher: Nate Gerry, LB/S Nebraska (5th Round, No. 184)
Gerry played a hybrid role at Nebraska, often roaming the box behind the linebackers. The Eagles have already said they will convert him to linebacker, but at 6’2″ tall and 218 pounds it will be difficult to see him playing in the front seven. Gerry offers some good match-ups with his ability to cover tight ends, but it seems to me that the Eagles could have gone with someone who is already comfortable in their position headed into training camp. If they wanted a linebacker (or even a safety), they should have drafted a true one instead of a “tweener”.
The Surprise: Derek Barnett, DE Tennessee (1st Round, No. 14)
Barnett was the safest pick for the Eagles to make at 14. Despite this, it seemed that many Eagles fans were lukewarm with the selection. The reason being? The names that were available at 14 included the likes of Reuben Foster and Jonathan Allen. The Eagles decided to stay away from the “sexy” pick and went with the safest, and smartest, pick here. Barnett fits an underrated need and makes the Eagles’ defensive line one of the deepest in the league. Personally, Barnett reminds me of another Brandon Graham, as effort is the name of the game when it comes to him. Questions surround his athletic ability, but there is no possible way to undervalue his production. Barnett broke the Tennessee career-sacks record, which was held by a pretty decent player; his name is Reggie White.
The Steal: Donnel Pumphrey, RB San Diego State (4th Round, No. 132)
With Darren Sproles retiring after this season, the Eagles selected the all-time leader in Division I-A single-season rushing yards. Pumphrey was taken with their second selection in the fourth round, which is incredible value when taking a look at his numbers. Pumphrey rushed for 2,133 yards in his senior season while also tallying 17 touchdowns. He also ended his career with 99 receptions and 1,039 yards. Pumphrey is not the type of back that will be getting 20 carries a game, but he will be Darren Sproles’ replacement when the time comes. This is a toy Carson Wentz will love to have.
Most Likely to Turn Heads in Training Camp: Shelton Gibson, WR West Virginia (5th Round, No. 166)
Speed was one thing that the Eagles lacked on offense last season. With the addition of Shelton, the fifth-round pick will be turning heads with his speed. Along with his burners, Gibson has hands as well. On 17 receptions of 20 yards or more, Gibson totalled 726 reciever yards, which was second most among receivers in this draft class. He might not have the tools to turn into a number one receiver, but drawing comparisons from Desean Jackson is a pretty good way to get attention from people.
Rasul Douglas, CB West Virginia (3rd Round, No.99)
Douglas led the nation in interceptions with eight, and stands a solid 6-2, 209, prototypical length for a corner in today’s NFL. Douglas should see plenty of playing time in his rookie campaign, likely lining opposite of Jalen Mills or Patrick Robinson while awaiting the debut of Sidney Jones.
Mack Hollins, WR North Carolina (4th Round, No. 118)
Dave Fipp has fielded one of the best special teams units in the NFL for several years now. Hollins loves special teams, which will likely be his ticket to the roster.
Elijah Qualls, DT Washington (6th Round, No. 214)
With the injury to Beau Allen, the Eagles needed to add some depth for the interior rotation. Qualls is big and athletic, and will look to fight his way into the rotation behind Fletcher Cox and newly-acquired Timmy Jernigan.