The Philadelphia Eagles entered the 2019 NFL Draft with not many holes to fill out on the roster. The Eagles added talent on both sides of the ball during the offseason through trades and free agency with the likes of WR Desean Jackson, RB Jordan Howard, DT Malik Jackson, DE Vinny Curry, LB L.J. Fort, and S Andrew Sendejo. They also re-signed DE Brandon Graham, CB Ronald Darby, and DT Timmy Jernigan. Executive VP and General Manager Howie Roseman stressed how important it was for the Eagles to assemble a roster before the NFL Draft that could compete in the upcoming season. This allowed the team to draft the best players available on their board and not force them to draft based on need. Here’s my quick recap and grade following the 2019 NFL Draft.
Overall Grade: B+
Round 1 (22): Andre Dillard OT, Washington St.
Not the sexy or flashy pick, but Andre Dillard was regarded as the best Offensive Tackle in the NFL draft and many considered to be a top 10 prospect. Dillard had the highest pass-blocking grade of any lineman in the draft at 91.9 this past season, and he earned a 90 plus pass-blocking grade in each of the past three seasons at Washington St. He’s an athletic lineman with quick feet and good technique. Dillard tested in the 89th percentile in the 40-yard dash, broad jump, three-cone drill, and short shuttle at the NFL combine. There are some concerns about his run blocking since he wasn’t asked to do it much in Mike Leach’s pass happy offense at Washington St. He will need to add some power and strength to take on some of the bigger defensive lineman in the league. The Eagles get a young prospect to add depth to the offensive line and who looks to be the eventual replacement for potential Hall of Famer Jason Peters.
Round 2 (53): Miles Sanders RB, Penn State
With big shoes to fill after Saquon Barkley’s departure at Penn State, Miles Sanders lived up to the expectation. A former five-star recruit Sanders finished the season rushing for 1,274 yards and 9 touchdowns. At 5’11” 211 lbs Sanders has great balance and elusiveness to break through tackles, and with a 40-yard time at 4.49 sec has enough speed to get around the edge and break one the distance. There is limited wear and tear on Sanders after having to sit behind Saquon Barkley for two seasons. The concerns are that he isn’t a great pass blocker, and fumbles were a major issue this past season. He doesn’t have the explosiveness to be a threat to score any time he touches the ball like RB Darrell Henderson who was still on the board at the time. The Eagles get a running back that can catch out of the backfield and provide a good one-two punch along with newly acquired Jordan Howard. Miles Sanders has the potential to be the Eagles future feature back.
Round 2 (57): JJ Arcega-Whiteside WR, Stanford
An 80-inch wingspan and huge catch radius JJ Arcega-Whiteside was considered one of the top sleepers in this years NFL draft. At 6’2” 225 lbs Arcega-Whiteside has strong hands and the ability to out jump defenders giving Wentz another big red zone target who led college football in contested catches. Arcega-Whiteside finished the season with 1,059 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns, and had one of the highest Wonderlic scores of all the WRs in the draft. His ability to create separation is a concern, but he did post a 40-yard time at 4.49 sec at his pro day. Arcega-Whiteside has the ability to be a red zone threat immediately for the Eagles and a very good starting WR in the future.
Round 4 (138): Shareef Miller DE, Penn State
Building from the inside out is the Eagles philosophy, so it’s not surprising to see Philly draft a defensive lineman. What is surprising is that the Eagles passed on the chance to add depth to safety and linebacker with Alabama prospects Deionte Thompson (S) and Mack Wilson (LB) still on the board. Shareef Miller has the speed to rush the passer and the power to defend against the run. Miller finished the season with 41 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss, and 7.5 sacks. Good solid numbers, but not eye-popping numbers that get you out of your seat excited. The concern is that Miller needs to work on his pass-rushing technique, but has the potential to be a rotational defensive end in the future.
Round 5 (167): Clayton Thorson QB, Northwestern
The departure of Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles created an opening at quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. Nate Sudfeld steps in and becomes the back up at quarterback to Carson Wentz. The Eagles selected Clayton Thorson in the 5th round to compete for the 3rd quarterback spot on the roster. Thorson completed 61 percent of his throws for 3,183 yards with 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Was hoping for Philly to draft North Dakota St QB Easton Stick, but they traded back and Stick was drafted one spot ahead of the Eagles pick. Not sure what Philly sees in Clayton Thorson, but could have found better value at this spot.
Round 7 (246) Traded to Colts: Hassan Ridgeway DT
The always-wheeling dealing Howie Roseman found good value trading away a 7th round pick for young veteran DT Hassan Ridgeway. Ridgeway played three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts posting 41 tackles, 5 tackles for a loss, and 4.5 sacks in 34 games.
Zach Rivera / Contributor
Philly Drinkers LLC