Photo Credits: John Locher - AP
Hello House Enterprise! It's been a while since I've delivered any Eagles content, but I just wrapped up my graduate degree coursework so I expect to be able to post more frequently. That said, there have been plenty of exciting moves and picks the Eagles made in the 2022 NFL draft. In this article, I'll give you my general thoughts about each pick and what it means for the Eagles.
Jordan Davis: Was He Really Worth The Eagles Moving Up To Get?
In the first round of any draft, the Eagles will only take one of five positions: DT, DE, OT, WR, and QB. Since 2009, those have been the only positions worthy of an Eagles first-round pick. So why is that relevant? Well, on draft night, the Eagles, sitting at pick number 15, had several favorable players at those positions to pick from. However, by the time of the Texan's pick at 13, only two high-quality players remained on the board; ND safety Kyle Hamilton and Georgia DT Jordan Davis. Right before the Eagle's pick, were the Baltimore Ravens who had a huge need at both safety and defensive tackle.
Knowing that, because of positional value, the Ravens were likely to select Jordan Davis at 14, leaving the Eagles with only one good prospect left who didn't fit with their first-round strategy, Howie Roseman decided to trade up to the 13th pick. In order to make this move, the Eagles gave up a fourth-round pick and two fifth-round picks.
I saw lots of Eagles fans and draft analysts alike suggesting that this was a bad trade-up for the Eagles. I don't see it that way for two reasons. The first is the organization's process. Whether you like it or not, the Eagles are committed to drafting the five positions I mentioned earlier in the first round. Sitting back and hoping the Ravens didn't draft Jordan Davis would have demonstrated bad process from Howie Roseman. In the NFL, you can't just hope things go your way to get the outcome you want. You have to be willing to make sacrifices and take risks to win in this league. In keeping with the organization's draft philosophy, Howie Roseman took that risk of moving up and selecting Jordan Davis.
Speaking of the actual player himself, the second reason I don't have a problem with this trade-up is that Jordan Davis is a beast of a football player. Coming in as the second most athletic player tested in the NFL (ranked only behind Calvin Johnson), Davis will be able to shred opposing offenses. Georgia mainly used Davis as a run-stuffer in college, but the few pass-rushing attempts he got resulted in plays like the one down below:
That type of pass-rushing juice, for a guy that almost never did it, is insane! Davis is a high floor, even higher ceiling, type player. Sure, there are some concerns regarding his conditioning. But you're telling me that, given a full NFL training camp, they can't improve his cardio? Give me a break. And, in terms of what they gave up to get him, a fourth-rounder and two-fifths, how often do day three players end up being stars in the NFL? Not often! So, I'm perfectly happy with the Eagles giving up someday three picks for a guy they think can fill Fletcher Cox's role for the next 10 years.
So, to answer my original question... was the move up worth it? Yes, it absolutely was.
One House Enterprise Writers Loss Is Another's Gain:
If you haven't already, I highly encourage my readers to check out Om Brown's coverage of the Tennesse Titans. Om is a fantastic writer, so you'll learn a lot about a, at times, confusing team. With that said, Om and the Titan's loss is mine and the Eagle's gain.
After taking Davis with the 13th overall pick, the Eagles traded the 18th overall pick and a late third-rounder in exchange for AJ Brown. If you're reading this and you don't know who AJ Brown is, just know that he's an elite, big body, wide receiver who has put up multiple 1,000+ yard receiving seasons. Suffice it to say, the Titans were foolish for letting Brown be traded.
When the trade was announced, I immediately got a text from one of my friends who didn't like the trade for the Eagles. He contended that a first and a third were too steep a price for someone requiring a $20 million per year contract. While I understand this argument, I disagree for one main reason; the Eagles are terrible at drafting wide receivers. With the exception of Devonta Smith, who was about as safe a pick as you could make, the Eagles have sucked at scouting wide receiver talent. In 2019 they drafted JJ Arcega-Whiteside in the second round and they drafted Jalen Reagor, ahead of Justin Jefferson, in the first round of the 2020 draft. Both Arcega-Whiteside and Reagor are all but guaranteed to go down as busts in the NFL. Given the Eagle's low success rate at drafting wide receivers, why not trade for an already elite one and eliminate some risk? Wide receiver is a premium position for the Eagles, and it shows good process on the part of Howie Roseman to recognize that the team isn't great at drafting the position.
Just briefly talking about what AJ Brown will do for the Eagles, this trade has the chance to make Philly's offense one of the best in the league next year. With Brown being the big body receiver, Devonta Smith being the toolsy route runner, and Quez Watkins being the field stretcher, the Eagles now have a prolific passing offense. Add in the fact that Brown is best friends with Jalen Hurts and this passing offense has potent potential.
Steals On Day Two:
Moving out of the first round, the Eagles still had several needs on both sides of the ball, but mainly on the defensive side. However, sitting at pick 51, the Eagles selected Cam Jurgens, a center from the University of Nebraska. Center, and interior offensive line depth, were sneaky needs for the Eagles entering this draft. All pro right guard Brandon Brooks retired, and left guard, Isaac Seumalo, is often injured. Jason Kelce, the Eagles center for the past ten years, contemplates retirement every year. Given that, why not draft a center that you also think can play guard? Also, Jason Kelce himself said that of all the players to come out of the draft in the past two to three years, Jurgens was the player who was the most like him. If the Eagles get a center for another ten years or a starting guard from this pick, then it's a good one.
Moving on to the real steal of the draft, at pick 83 in the third round, the Eagles selected Nakobe Dean, a linebacker from Georgia. Dean was expected to go towards the end of the first round or the beginning of the second round. Yet, he fell to the Eagles in the third round. The fall for Dean is a result of some injury concerns which I guess just appeared at the last minute in the draft? We learned that Dean had some pectoral injury a few months ago, but according to him and the Eagles team doctors, he is currently able to play without limitations. A few other odd reports popped up suggesting he had long-term knee, ankle, and back issues that caused him to fall. I'm warry of any anonymous reports that, at the last minute, report on a myriad of injuries that seemingly never affected the player's ability to perform. Dean was a stud on Georgia's stacked defense and was its premier captain. That type of player falling to 83 to the Eagles is an absolute steal.
I think what happened on draft night is some reports emerged about Dean's pectoral tear and his decision not to get surgery on it, which scared some GMs and caused a panic in draft rooms throughout the league. Throw in some additional anonymous reports and suddenly everyone wants to avoid Dean like the plague. Howie Roseman said he talked to the team's doctors four or five times to make sure he wasn't missing anything about Dean's medicals. The panic caused by other teams benefitted the Eagles once again.
RUNNING THROUGH THE SIX WITH MY (Linebacker & Tight End)
I implore you to please ignore my terrible Drake reference that is years old but I just had to.
After their third-round selection, the Eagles only had a fifth-round and seventh-round selection left in the draft. After doing some trading, Howie Roseman turned those into two sixth-round picks. With the first of those picks, the Eagles selected Kyron Johnson, a linebacker from Kansas. This pick, to me, screams as a backup SAM linebacker to Hasson Reddick, which the Eagles signed during free agency. The SAM linebacker position is something second-year defensive coordinator, Jonathan Gannon, has placed a lot of emphasis on. So it makes sense for the team to want to have some depth at that position and pick up a good special teams player in the process.
With their final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Eagles selected Grant Calcaterra, a tight end from SMU. Calcaterra also played at Oklahoma, but he originally retired from football due to receiving too many concussions. After taking some time off, Calcaterra came back to play football at SMU. Out of all the picks and trades the Eagles made, this pick is my least favorite. From an ethical standpoint, I wouldn’t want to be the team to take a guy who had to retire from football at one point due to concussion issues. I hope Calcaterra has a long, successful, and healthy career. But, I just wouldn’t want to be the guy to take him. Another reason why I don’t like this pick is the position. I realize this pick was made in the sixth round, but the team could’ve used depth at many other positions besides tight end. I guess the pick is fine because it was in the sixth round, but I just don’t get it.
Final Thoughts: If You Made It This Far, I Appreciate You
The Eagles had one of the best draft weeks of nearly any team. They were able to get immediate difference-makers on both sides of the ball and got some quality depth options. This is probably the best I've felt about this team after a draft in a long time. I think the Eagles can make real strides in the NFL this year. But, a lot of that will now depend on Jalen Hurts' ability to improve and get better as a QB. If he can take that leap, the Birds will be back.