Alex Kielar | April 28th, 2020
Philadelphia went into this draft with a huge need at wide receiver and a number of other glaring holes. By the time the draft ended, they filled those needs, while also turning some heads in round two. They also traded back in round six with the San Francisco 49ers and got receiver Marquise Goodwin to add to their speed factor on offense. All of these draft picks could find their way onto the 53-man roster. Make sure to check out all of our other NFL team drafts reviews here.
Round 1, Pick 21: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
This isn’t a terrible pick as it fills a huge need at receiver for the Eagles. But with receivers like Justin Jefferson and linebackers Kenneth Murray and Patrick Queen still available, it is a bit of a reach. Reagor does have tremendous upside and gives Carson Wentz a speedy receiver to help stretch the field. He doesn’t quite have the size I would like to see and won’t win on 50-50 balls, but he can run away from the defense. I would love to see him develop into a Tyreek Hill type player. A lot of risk here, but potentially very high reward.
Round 2, Pick 53: Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
When this pick was announced, I swear I was going to throw something through my tv. Your second pick of the draft and you pick a quarterback? When you just recently gave your franchise quarterback a huge extension the year before? Seeing the way the Eagles drafted the rest of the rounds made me not as angry about the pick. I will obviously get more into the rest of the picks, but part of the reason could have been because both the Cowboys and Patriots were potentially interested in drafting Hurts very soon. That really isn’t a reason to draft him when other players were there that would fill needs like linebacker Zack Baun and receiver Denzel Mims. Thinking about it more, this pick isn’t the best decision but understandable.
Wentz has had issues with injuries in the past and when he got knocked out of last year’s playoff game, 40-year old Josh McCown was the backup who had to come in and replace him. If Hurts was going to be taken by the early third round, the Eagles had to take him now. Hurts is the most reliable quarterback in the whole draft in my opinion outside the top three and the best option to slide in if Wentz is knocked out.
The Eagles also said that they could use both Wentz and Hurts on the field in a two-quarterback set ala Taysom Hill (but with a good arm), something that Hurts did a few times when he was at Alabama. Overall, this isn’t a great pick, but also not the worst pick when I think about it, but I won’t know for sure until I see what happens on the field.
Round 3, Pick 103: Davion Taylor, OLB, Colorado
The Eagles needed to address their need at linebacker and at safety. With this pick, they kind of addressed both. Taylor is more undersized than most linebackers so I see him playing more in coverage at safety. He has great speed and burst to compete in man coverage, with the Eagles defensive schemes it is a good pick. Taylor reminds me of another LB/S hybrid the Eagles drafted a few years ago in Nathan Gerry. He should make an impact on third down and eventually develop into a starter. The Eagles lost both Nigel Bradham and Kamu Grugier-Hill to free agency, while Gerry missed a handful of tackles last season, and free-agent acquisition Jatavis Brown will probably make more impact on special team.
Round 4, Pick 127: K’Von Wallace, S, Clemson
One of the best picks for the Eagles in the draft and a great way to start Day Three. Wallace fills the safety need for the Eagles and has the versatility to move around which he did a lot at Clemson. The Eagles love versatility and Wallace plays well as a slot corner. He has great instincts, athleticism, and is a strong tackler. The Eagles let go of Malcolm Jenkins and this pick gives them great depth there and at cornerback, with potential to become a starter.
Wallace should slot in as the third safety behind Jalen Mills, who will move to safety, and Rodney McLeod. The Eagles have really reshaped their secondary by trading for Darius Slay, signing Will Parks and Nickell Robby-Coleman, and this pick improves it even more. The secondary for the Eagles struggled just as much as the wide receiver core last year, getting burnt like toast on several occasions.
Round 4, Pick 145: Jack Driscoll, OT, Auburn
Driscoll fills the role of a developmental backup offensive lineman for the Eagles. After losing Halapoulivaati Vaitai in free agency, the Eagles needed depth at the position and Driscoll fills that need. He played at both left guard and right tackle, but needs to add more size and development to wind up as a starter someday. The Eagles fill a need but also grab someone they can develop with the way their offensive line has been subject to injuries the last few years.
Round 5, Pick 168: John Hightower, WR, Boise State
After the Eagles took Hurts in the second round, Howie Roseman told Wentz, “I promise to get you plenty of weapons to help your skillset.” Well he made good on that promise, drafting another speed threat receiver to stretch the field for Wentz’s strong arm. Hightower ran a 4.43 a the combine, which is the same time first-round pick Justin Jefferson ran. Hightower hauled in 51 receptions for 943 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019, he is a big play waiting to happen. He has some more to fill out as he sits at just 189 pounds currently. Grabbing him so late is a great value selection for the Eagles.
Round 6, Pick 196, Shaun Bradley, ILB, Temple
Bradley is a very fast linebacker as the Eagles really focused on speed this draft. He ran the fifth-fastest 40-time at the combine among linebackers but is a bit of a project pick. Bradley needs to work on his tackling and his frame is pretty small, so he will mainly play on special teams from the start. He doesn’t add any versatility with his size but with a sixth-round pick, it is worth taking a flyer on him in the hope he can add some depth. The hometown factor could prove to be something as the kid from Temple stays in the state for the Eagles.
Round 6, Pick 200, Quez Watkins, WR, Southern Mississippi
Speed, speed, speed, and more speed. I will be getting more in-depth about the Eagles new potential receiving core in a new article in a few days, “Need for Speed: Eagles Addition”. I mean the Eagles went from having a former college quarterback as their number one receiver in the playoffs last year to adding four new speed demon receivers. Watkins ran the third-fastest 40-time at the combine, and his playing speed matches that. Just like Reagor, he can improve his hands and winning 50-50 balls, but he can break the top off of coverage and has the speed to break it all the way. The way Carson Wentz plays, he will benefit greatly from having speed all over the field. He has a wail of an arm and can hit his spots while on the move.
Round 6, Pick 210, Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
One of the best steals of the draft, the Eagles get a really good offensive lineman for depth and someone who can develop into a starter. For more on the other steals of the draft, read my “NFL Draft Best Steals” article. Wanogho fell from having third or fourth round potential to falling to the sixth round. He has below-average length which fits him more as shifting over to guard. Prince has adequate quickness and a big frame; he joins his former Auburn teammate Driscoll in Philadelphia and they both should prove to be solid depth.
Round 7, Pick 233, Casey Toohil, DE, Stanford
Another depth move with the Eagles last pick of the draft as they wait way later than they ever usually have on drafting a defensive end. Toohil also lined up as an outside linebacker at Stanford, but he expected to play defensive end for the Eagles. The Eagles’ current starting defensive ends are Derek Barnett and Brandon Graham, who are set in stone with complete health. Toohill should have a chance to make the team as a second or third-string option, but the way the Eagles rotate their line around, he could make his way into the rotation. With his versatile, he has an even better chance to make it out of camp with them, as he can slide back to linebacker. Toohil has great burst and closing speed to be a solid option on the outside and get to the quarterback.
The Eagles definitely had some reaches early on the draft, but overall they did a great job of improving the club for the 2020 season. They had one of the best Day 3’s of any team which included the trade for Goodwin. They drafted several guys who can make an impact and develop into studs. Their best value pick was easily Prince Tega Wanogho but I also liked the K’Von Wallace selection a lot and think that he could make an immediate impact. The worst pick was clearly the Hurts selection but I think it could become very good by the way the Eagles have talked about potentially using him. They made some risky picks, but with that comes some high reward potential.
Overall Grade: B
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