2016 NFL Draft: Grading Each Eagles Draft Pick

May 2nd, 2016 by Ryan Waterman | Filed under Eagles, Football, General, NFL, Sports, TalkSportsPhilly.
Source: PhiladelphiaEagles.com

Source: PhiladelphiaEagles.com

Three days of the NFL Draft has come and gone. Our Philadelphia Eagles held seven selections over the three-day event, with their first pick being second overall. They made shockwaves by moving from 13th overall to eighth in a trade with Miami. Then, last week they made a blockbuster with Cleveland to jump up to second overall. As always with the NFL Draft, some picks are no-brainers, others are decent picks, and there are picks that leave you questioning the selection. In this post, I am going to analyze the Eagles draft picks, and will grade them based on my thoughts.

First Round (2nd Overall): Carson Wentz/QB- North Dakota State

I love this pick, absolutely love it. The Eagles believe Wentz is their franchise quarterback, and so do I. He’s got all the skills, and his intangibles are fantastic. He’s drawn many comparisons to Andrew Luck, and I for one feel comfortable with that comparison. With this selection, the Eagles found themselves their quarterback for the next 10-12 years. Hopefully, a Super Bowl will find itself into that time frame, as well.

GRADE: A+

Third Round (79th Overall): Issac Seumalo/OG- Oregon State

Looking at the initial reaction to this selection, people don’t like it. I’ll even admit, I screamed at my television for a good five minutes. There were a number of potential selections here, ranging from Devontae Booker to Braxton Miller to Javon Hargrave. Instead, the Birds opted to reach for a pick that they were essentially forced into. After thinking it over though, the Eagles likely felt obligated to select a guard with this pick. Chip Kelly allowed both Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis to leave town, and did nothing to replace them. Yes, they signed Brandon Brooks earlier this offseason. It’s true they also brought in Stefan Wisniewski, although he’s most comfortable at center…not guard. Nonetheless, the interior portion of the offensive line is a serious weak-point that needed to be addressed. I refuse to sit here and make a knee-jerk reaction on this pick. I’ll let it play-out, and see what Seumalo develops into. It’s said that he’s one of the best pass-blockers in the draft.

GRADE: B

Fifth Round (153rd Overall): Wendell Smallwood/RB-West Virginia

Eh, I’m okay with this pick. I don’t love it, or hate it. Smallwood has a bit of a checkered past, as he was charged with trying to get a witness to recant statements that implicated his friend in a murder case, back in 2014. The charges were dropped after his friend plead guilty to second-degree murder. He’s also been subject to some questionable tweets towards both Philadelphia, and the Eagles. Smallwood has said that he’s grown since then.

Off the field, he’s got his issues. On the field, he’s a different story. In 2015, Smallwood rushed for over 1,500 yards and 9 touchdowns. He was named the Big 12 offensive player of the year. The 5’8″ Delaware native has been referred to as a “shifty” little back, and has drawn solid reviews on his pass protection and his receiving skills.

GRADE: B-

Fifth Round (164th Overall): Halapoulivaati Vaitai- OT/TCU

Boy, this is going to be a mouthful to say if he makes the team. At TCU, he played both tackle positions. In college, he was solid in both pass and run blocking. Unfortunately, I don’t know if the kid has the physical tools to become successful in the NFL. With the Eagles though, the offensive tackle depth is so thin that Vaitai is a decent shot to make the team.

GRADE: D

Sixth Round (196th Overall): Blake Countess/CB-Auburn

I’m not a big fan of this selection. At 5’9″, Countess is very undersized to play on the outside, but was voted the defensive MVP by his teammates at Auburn. He’s got good ball-skills, has shown an ability to hit, and could make an impact on special teams. He put on a show at the Auburn pro day. His experience at safety will play a huge factor into where the Eagles play him, although I anticipate him to split time between the nickel position and safety.

GRADE: C

Seventh Round (233rd Overall): Jalen Mills/S-LSU

I love, love, love this pick. I had this kid as a mid-2nd, possibly early-3rd round selection. Character, and injury issues prompted his free-fall. Mills is well-known for his toughness, having returned from a fracture fibula and multiple torn ankle ligaments in just six games. Mills also has good ability in coverage, a solid ability to force turnovers, and is a reliable tackler (62 in 2014). LSU has garnered the reputation as a “Secondary Factory”, because they’ve just been spitting out defensive backs over the last decade. Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Morris Claiborne, and Jalen Collins, just to name a few. Overall, I believe that Mills projects as a solid nickel corner, with the potential to start outside on occasion.

GRADE: B

Seventh Round (240th Overall): Alex McCalister-DE/Florida

I’ll admit, this pick disappointed me. I didn’t believe defensive end was a big need, when you look at other positions like linebacker. The Birds opted to select McCalister over Tyler Matakevich (OLB/Temple) and Scooby Wright III (ILB/Arizona). I won’t judge a pick by that, as we’ve seen how draft picks that we think will work don’t.

Nonetheless, at 239 lbs, McCalister is extremely undersized for an edge-rusher. He’s got character issues that saw him kicked out of Florida earlier this season, and that could be a problem. However, his pure skills are exciting. NFL.com has said that he looks like a larger version of Leonard Floyd, which is a nice comparison to have. His ability to cover both the quarterback and running back in the zone read is a major plus, as is his insane field coverage. If this kid can just add some muscle, he’s got the potential to be a great edge-rusher. The jury is still out, though.

GRADE: C-

Seventh Round (251st Overall): Joe Walker-ILB/Oregon

Could we really not make it through one draft without selecting a Duck? All that aside, this is actually a good pick. Walker’s probably the best defender on the Ducks roster, and has a good feel for the game. He’s a little undersized for his position, but possesses good speed. With that said though, he’s got the ceiling of a solid role player. He’ll likely be fighting for one of the last roster spots out of camp, and is a prime candidate to land on the practice squad.

GRADE: C-

Overall, the Eagles made some good picks, some questionable picks, and a bad pick. Those are just knee-jerk reactions, as we’ve yet to see the kids take the field. These grades can, and will change. Whether it’s for the better or worse, that’s the only issue at hand here. Now that you all know my player grades, let me leave you with my overall grade for the draft.

OVERALL GRADE: B- 

 

 

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