Remember when the Eagles' 2012 draft was considered the crown jewel of Howie Roseman's tenure as general manager?
The standard grace period before evaluating a draft is typically three seasons. But after only one year some were already calling the 2012 class one of the Eagles' best in decades. The group looked even better after two seasons. There were three starters (Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks, and Nick Foles) and four contributors (Vinny Curry, Brandon Boykin, Dennis Kelly, and Bryce Brown) out of nine picks.
The draft didn't look as good after the three-year barometer. Foles, Boykin, and Brown were traded, although the compensation and their failures elsewhere would soften some of the sting. But heading into this season, the Eagles still had their top three selections - Cox, Kendricks, and Curry - projected as starters.
And three starters from one draft is an above-average draft.
But Cox is the only regular left from the group. Kendricks has been relegated to part-time linebacker duty, and Curry, who has just one sack in nine games despite signing a $46.5 million contract this offseason, is the third defensive end on the depth chart.
Kendricks' and Curry's past contributions are on record, and there is still time for them to make comebacks. Cox also remains one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL. But the reality of the 2012 draft is a far cry from the premature hyperbole that Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and others have made about the class for years.
Which brings us to this year's draft. Don't come here looking for proclamations about the eventual worth of the seven selections - even quarterback Carson Wentz. Nine games aren't enough to come to any conclusions, let alone three season's worth of games.
But the Eagles have been able to assess five of their seven selections this season. (Linebacker Joe Walker, a seventh-round pick, suffered a season-ending knee injury during the preseason and sixth-round safety Blake Countess was released before the season.)
The class is skewed because the team gave up third- and fourth-round picks - along with swapping first-rounders with the Browns - to move up to get Wentz. They were already without the second-round pick that Chip Kelly gave to the Rams, along with Foles, for Sam Bradford.
So the Eagles had only one other choice in the first four rounds - a third-round pick they used to draft guard Isaac Seumalo. Normally, teams would like to have a few rookies who are contributing as starters, but the lack of high picks certainly made that less likely for the Eagles - something they were willing to sacrifice to get Wentz.
But the quarterback, who has started every game, has really been the only rookie to start out of merit. Tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai, a fifth-round pick, has started five games in place of the suspended Lane Johnson. He had a woeful first game and still has his struggles, but he has settled down some.
As coach Doug Pederson said Monday, though, Vaitai probably wouldn't be playing "if Lane were still here."
Seventh-round cornerback Jalen Mills has two starts in place of the injured Leodis McKelvin, although he has played a significant number of snaps in almost every game. Mills has already contributed more than most seventh rounders - he dropped in the draft because of character concerns - but he has been inconsistent.
Fifth-round running back Wendell Smallwood has rushed for 205 yards and a touchdown on 44 carries. He has averaged 31.6 yards on seven kickoff returns. His playing time has varied week to week, but he has displayed a knack for running in between the tackles. Smallwood does have a fumble and has struggled to block on passing downs.
Seumalo has been active because of injuries the last two weeks. He played one snap as a fullback against the New York Giants and 13 snaps as a fullback and extra lineman against the Falcons. The Eagles had planned on starting Seumalo at left guard if Johnson's suspension started before the season, but a shoulder injury set him back.
The Eagles also have four undrafted rookies on the roster, and three - defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao, receiver Bryce Treggs, and cornerback C.J. Smith - have been active. (Offensive lineman Dillon Gordon has yet to dress.)
Injuries and a lack of depth, more than anything, have forced the Eagles to accelerate their rookies' learning curve.
"It's valuable experience for these guys," Pederson said. "It's game experience, something we can continue to build each week."
But how many from the group project as long-term starters? Seumalo, because of his draft stock, will likely get a crack at some point - maybe next season in place of the 32-year-old Allen Barbre. It's impossible to make any accurate assessment on his future.
Smallwood has obvious ability. He could develop into a No. 1 tailback, but the Eagles likely envision him as a complementary piece. Depending upon how they handle next offseason, though, he could have the job by default.
The Eagles talked up Vaitai's potential upside during the draft. With Johnson and left tackle Jason Peters ahead of him, he would have time to watch and learn. But the coaches felt that he was far enough along to throw him into the fire even though he clearly wasn't ready.
Has he shown enough that the Eagles would feel comfortable moving Johnson to left tackle next year? Or could the team hang on to Peters for another season considering his health and how well he has played?
The Eagles did not trade cornerback Eric Rowe to the Patriots specifically because of Mills, but their comfort with him certainly made the decision to part with their 2015 second-round pick that much easier. The team clearly has expectations for Mills, but could it be in the slot rather than on outside, where his lack of long speed could catch up to him?
These are all valid questions, but ones that come with no immediate answers. It could be years before any accurate deductions are made.