The Eagles added five new players to their team over three days.
Here’s what our beat writers think of their selections.
If you asked Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, I’m guessing he would give this draft a firm thumbs down.
The Eagles took offensive players with their first three picks for only the second time in the last 34 years. They didn’t take a defensive player until the 138th pick, when they selected Penn State defensive end Shareef Miller with the last pick in the fourth round.
Miller was the only defensive player the Eagles drafted, though they did trade a seventh-round pick to the Colts for defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway.
But hey, that’s life with Carson Wentz. As long as he’s the town quarterback -- and that figures to be for at least the next 10 years -- the Eagles will be about giving him an optimal environment to succeed. And that’s a good thing.
They got him the best left tackle in the draft when Andre Dillard, a guy I had rated as the 14th best player in the draft, slid into the 20s.
I love the Miles Sanders pick. I have no idea why he still was on the board 21 picks into the second round. But this is the NFL, and there are a lot of stupid people in the league. He will add a dimension to the Eagles’ offense that they didn’t have.
Their other second-round pick, wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, could make Nelson Agholor expendable. He excels at 50-50 balls and should make the Eagles better in the red zone.
I don’t like the fact that they finished with just five picks. But I suspect they’ll be aggressive in signing the cream of the undrafted free-agent crop.
My thumb is sorta tentatively up. Look quick or you’ll miss it.
You can’t pan a draft that starts out with Andre Dillard and Miles Sanders, or at least I can’t — those are two guys who show every sign of becoming high-quality starters, at left tackle and running back, respectively.
After that, though, I’m not so sure. I went in feeling it was likely the Eagles would acquire a top safety prospect to groom behind Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod, and a solid defensive tackle, out of an outstanding DL class.
They emerged Saturday evening with no new safety and with DT Hassan Ridgeway, a 2016 draftee of the Colts, acquired in a trade for a seventh-round pick.
The Eagles are really excited about wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside from Stanford. He might be everything they say. But did they need to spend a precious second-round pick to duplicate Alshon Jeffery’s skill set?
Shareef Miller is a local guy who deserves to have good things happen for him. He has survived a tough road. But the Eagles needed another fourth-round, project-type defensive end? More than a good safety, or linebacker? I guess the value at those positions just wasn’t there in this draft.
Clayton Thorson seems like the sort of developmental QB I figured the Eagles would add.
Overall, and even acknowledging that the undrafted free-agent signings can change the picture, I expected a little more than I see right now from this draft.
Part of the problem is that, because of earlier trades and the Dillard trade-up, the team again finished with only five selections. That just flat-out isn’t enough, especially since it’s the second year in a row at that figure.
But if Dillard and Sanders are as good as they look, the Eagles’ draft ultimately will go down as a success.
I was going to give the Eagles’ 2019 draft a tentative thumbs up, but since the rest of my colleagues went in that direction, I’ll dip the old hitchhiker a shade lower in the name of diversity. I imagine our takes will have a similar nuanced look at the class, because, for one, no one really has any clue how the team’s five picks will transition into the NFL. The odds that even two of the players will become productive starters aren’t good.
Nevertheless, I do think the Eagles could end up on the positive side of that ledger, even though they gave themselves only five shots for the second straight year. There was a time when Howie Roseman was like a mad scientist during the draft -- trading up, down and all over until he had more than 10 picks. But those early drafts, ultimately, didn’t net the Eagles enough difference makers.
If Andre Dillard and Miles Sanders and/or J.J. Arcega-Whiteside become pillars on the Eagles offense for the next era, then this draft will be labeled a success. Dillard is slated to be Jason Peters’ replacement at left tackle, and, if he can come even close to matching his production over the last decade, he’ll be worth the first-round investment and the extra two picks the Eagles expended to move up.
Sanders is a sexy pick. Roseman threw fans a bone by taking a running back in one of the early rounds, but it didn’t seem like a reach. I’m a Penn State guy, so I feel as if I can speak on Sanders with some authority. He has obvious talent. He checks off on character. But what may be most intriguing is that he has plenty of tread on the tires and seemingly has yet to max out his potential. A lot of comparisons have been made to LeSean McCoy, but I felt the same way about him a decade ago.
Arcega-Whiteside was chosen before a run of other wide receivers, some of whom were given more predraft ink. He doesn’t seem like the kind of upside receiver the Eagles typically draft, but I can’t say with much certainty that he won’t pan out.
Fourth-round defensive end Shareef Miller and fifth-round quarterback Clayton Thorson are unlikely to become starters, but if Miller becomes a rotational lineman and Thorson develops into Carson Wentz’s backup, then the Eagles would have done well.
My concerns about the Eagles’ draft are this: They didn’t get a defensive lineman with one of their first three picks in a year when the class was as deep as it’s been in some time. And, while volume can be overrated, they ended up with only five picks just weeks after owner Jeffrey Lurie stressed the importance of having numbers with Wentz’s contract extension looming.
Not to belittle the third day, but this draft is about the first two rounds. The Eagles need to hit on those picks. Time will tell, but I think they found at least two and maybe three players who will become core players for the Eagles in future years. Andre Dillard looks as if he’ll be the left tackle of the future, Miles Sanders will be the running back of the future, and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside can become Alshon Jeffery’s eventual replacement at wide receiver. They were all sensible picks and positions with long-term needs.
With Arcega-Whiteside, though, other intriguing wide receivers were available. The Eagles targeted him – I see the fit with the Eagles and like his skill set, but what’s his ceiling? Sanders can become a three-down running back that the Eagles haven’t been able to find consistently since trading LeSean McCoy, and he’s a young prospect without much wear on his tires.
On the third day, Shareef Miller is a nice story with Philly roots and has traits they can develop. Clayton Thorson had fans in the predraft process and if he can eventually become a reliable No. 2 quarterback, that’s a good pick. If he doesn’t look like an NFL passer this summer, it’s a wasted pick. But it was also Round 5. No harm in trying.
If there was somewhere between thumbs up and sideways, that’s where this would land. I’d give the class a solid B if I were grading it. It’s better to have more volume in the class, although the three picks in the top 57 is more important than having a busy sixth and seventh round.