Philadelphia Eagles Draft Grade + Analysis: 2020 NFL Draft Review

The Eagles only had five draft picks in 2019, and other than Miles Sanders at running back they likely came away disappointed in the rest of their class – Andre Dillard, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Shareef Miller, and Clayton Thorson didn’t make any kind of a massive impact in year one. The Eagles scraped their way to a division title with a 9-7 record, and while they did finish top-15 in points for and against, they came into this draft with plenty of holes on the roster to fill. Balancing needs and value-based drafting is always a tough juggling act for NFL GMs, and Eagles may not come away feeling thrilled with this class. However, I think there are some potential diamonds in the rough which could make this an awesome class for Philly. Let’s dive in.

Round #1, pick #21 – Jalen Reagor (WR, TCU) B

There were some analysts who had Reagor as their 3rd-best wideout in this draft class, ahead of Henry Ruggs and behind CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy. In a deep position group, I was a little lower on Reagor due to his struggles against press coverage and lack of contested catch ability. He should be a super versatile and speedy weapon for Carson Wentz to take advantage of, though. Reagor is an absolute playmaker, able to line up all over the formation and pick up chunk yardage. He’s a fluid athlete and showcases an elite explosion after the catch. Reagor is always a threat to score with the ball in his hands and will be a threat on gadget plays, reverses, pop passes, and the like. He actually seems to have an underrated ability to high-point passes, although his contested-catch ability is inconsistent. He’s certainly got the athletic profile to be successful in the NFL, he will just need to polish some of the technical parts of his game. With the Cowboys grabbing CeeDee Lamb just four picks before this, Eagles fans were in agony during the first round, but Reagor should be an awesome consolation prize with his speed and ability to separate from defenders downfield. My issue with this pick is I’m not too sure Reagor is much better than second-round picks like Tee Higgins, Laviska Shenault, Denzel Mims, and KJ Hamler. The Eagles may have been better served trading down and to pick up extra draft compensation later on. 

Round #2, pick #53 – Jalen Hurts (QB, Alabama) C+

This pick had Eagles fans heated, as their team already has a high-level quarterback in place in Carson Wentz. His career 16-game pace is 4,000 passing yards with 28 touchdowns and 1o interceptions which is really solid production. Philly also just signed him to a new deal to pay him about $20 million per season through to 2024, so it’s not like they will be looking for a new QB anytime soon. Every analyst was touting Hurts as the next Taysom Hill, a gadget player who can contribute to the Eagles’ offense in a variety of ways. That’s fine but in the second round? The team has to have greater plans for Hurts than playing backup or being a Hill-type role player, right? There are things about Hurts that are easy to like – his rushing ability (over 3,000 career collegiate rush yards), charisma, and leadership qualities are awesome. He navigated the situation in Alabama with ceding his starting spot to Tua with the upmost class and went on to be a Heisman finalist at Oklahoma under Lincoln Riley. I have a ton of concern about his predictability in the NFL though with his lack of accuracy, anticipation, and ability to read the field – three things that are very important for QBs. Despite spending his career tossing to guys like Calvin Ridley, O.J. Howard, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, Devonta Smith, and CeeDee Lamb, he finished with a career completion percentage of just 65.1%. His deep-ball lacks juice and his issues with decision-making, especially under pressure, isn’t something that issues confidence about his future. Hurts’s physicality and athleticism could make him a fit for a one-read, RPO-heavy offense, but he will require an entire scheme to be built around him. Odds are not high that he’s a future starter, so I don’t love the 2nd-round capital.

Round #3, pick #103 – Davion Taylor (LB, Colorado) B

Davion Taylor has one of the most unique stories of any player in this draft. He grew up in Magnolia, Mississippi with his mother and brother. His mom was a devout member of the Sevent-day Adventist church, a religious faith whose Sabbath is from Friday evening until Sunday morning. This prohibited Taylor from playing any football in high school, despite his clear athletic talent. He finally played 1 1/2 games of high school football at the end of his time in high school, but there wasn’t nearly enough tape on him to get real college offers. He played at Coahoma Community College for one season before being scooped up by Colorado, and despite his concerning lack of experience, he has all kinds of long-term potential. Taylor is a mega athlete, running a 4.49 40-yard-dash and measuring very well at the combine. He projects as having elite speed and explosiveness at linebacker, and while he is about as raw as raw gets he has a massive amount of untapped potential. Eagles’ defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz should fall in love with his versatility as he can be deployed at safety or linebacker and can cover a variety of positions. Howie Roseman said “he’s got some rocket ship to him” and the team certainly has a prospect with sky-high potential out of the third-round. I just don’t know how much Taylor can contribute in year one for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.

Round #4, pick #127 – K’Von Wallace (S, Clemson) A

The Eagles lost Malcolm Jenkins in free agency and desperately needed a replacement for him. Jordan Mills (a former 7th-round cornerback) is currently slated as the starter at strong safety, so despite being a 4th-round pick, Wallace has a shot to be a starter early on. He is a force as a downhill runner, flying off the line of scrimmage to rush the passer or crush the opposing running back. Wallace might be the best tackler at the safety position in this entire draft class as he only missed 13 tackles on 159 attempts over the past three seasons and has several bone-crushing hits on film. He can also operate as a decent coverage guy out of the slot on sub-packages, although his lack of route anticipation and short-area agility may hold him back in that regard early on. This was a need-based pick but also ends up being an awesome value, as I thought Wallace could have gone in the third round. He will contribute from day one and should develop into the team’s starting strong safety quickly.

Round #4, pick #145 – Jack Driscoll (OG, Auburn) B-

Driscoll has some upside as a developmental offensive line prospect who has experience playing at both guard and tackle. He’s a four-year starter, which simultaneously has pros and cons – he could be closer to a finished product than expected, but it also means he’s a veteran and can be counted on. Driscoll’s limitations are fairly important factors – lack of length and strength – but his football IQ is strong and he should be a good fit for a team that wants to run zone schemes. He should learn a ton from Eagles’ offensive linemen Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce, and despite his physical limitations he seems to have the right temperament to hone his craft and become a future starter for this team.

Round #5, pick #168 – John Hightower (WR, Boise St.) B

The Eagles had a massive need for speedy wideouts after losing DeSean Jackson for most of last season with abdominal injuries, seeing Alshon Jeffery’s play decline significantly, and not getting enough out of JJ Arcega-Whiteside. Hightower definitely qualifies as speedy – he ran a 4.43 40-yard dash and his acceleration allows him to separate from defenders in the blink of an eye. He’s not a developed route-runner and at 6’1″, 189 lbs he’s going to struggle against press coverage, but he could be a factor right away just in his ability to stretch the field. DeSean Jackson has made a career for himself as a one-trick pony and he should be able to impart some knowledge onto Hightower about being an elite deep threat in the NFL. Hightower will also be valuable in the kick/punt return game with his speediness and change-of-direction ability. If his route-running can develop further, he can be a future starter for this team with as a deep threat and YAC monster.

Round #6, pick #196 – Shaun Bradley (LB, Temple) B-

Philly seems to have a need at linebacker every single season, and I was pretty surprised they waited until the 6th round to draft one in what was not a particularly deep class. Bradley has the type of upside you’d want out of a Day 3 pick, but he’s an undersized player and I have my doubts about him ever becoming an every-down linebacker in the Eagles defense. His intangibles are awesome and he can definitely contribute on special teams. In his senior season, he put together numbers worthy of a second-team All-AAC nod – 87 tackles, 8 for a loss, and 3 pass breakups. His lack of athletic traits and top-end speed gives him a clear ceiling as a pro, but he could become a solid contributor on special teams and as a part-time defender.

Round #6, pick #200 – Quez Watkins (WR, Southern Miss) A-

Watkins was the Eagles’ third receiver off the board in this draft, but he’s the fastest of the three – he ran an eye-popping 4.35 40-yard dash time. He earned first-team All-CUSA honors each of his past two seasons as a starter, compiling 127 catches for 1,913 yards and 14 touchdowns in those two seasons combined. Watkins provides a lot of the same attributes as Hightower with his elite top-end speed, athleticism, and verticality, but Watkins adds impressive jump timing, contested-catch ability, and route-running. Watkins could have come off the board in the 4th or 5th round, so this is awesome value here as the Eagles add three speedsters to resupply their receiving room.

Round #6, pick #210 – Prince Tega Wanogho (OT, Auburn) A

In an NFL that always seems to have way more elite pass-rushers than pass protectors, I’m shocked Tega Wanogho waited until the 6th round to hear his name called. The Nigerian-born athlete grew up playing soccer and basketball and is a late-comer to the sport of football, but his combination of lateral athleticism, drive power, and instinctive hands could make him a future starter at offensive tackle. His arms are shorter than teams would like from their starting tackles, but he compensates in other ways for this. The Eagles have done an awesome job of developing offensive line talent in recent years and if Andre Dillard doesn’t improve from his rookie season they could have a hole to fill at left tackle. Tega Wanogho needs a lot of work, but in the 6th round this is an absolute steal – he should have been at least a 4th-round pick in my opinion.

Round #7, pick #233 – Casey Toohill (DE, Stanford) B+

Toohill has awesome intangibles, winning the William V. Campbell Trophy in 2019 for his “combined academic success, football performance, and exemplary leadership” as a fifth-year senior. He’s an older prospect which contributed to his fall down teams’ boards, as did his difficulty with run defense. He needs to fill out his frame to be able to consistently set the edge as a 4-3 DE, but as a 3-4 OLB he should have the speed and athleticism to contribute to the pass rush right away. Toohill showcased skilled rush moves combined with the bend and agility which should make him a factor as a rusher off the line of scrimmage. The Eagles have done a good job of developing raw defensive linemen in the past and I like Toohill’s potential here.

Eagles Final Draft Grade: B

Bottom Line: The Eagles had a goal of surrounding Carson Wentz with fast, skilled receiving weapons – they accomplished this in spades with Reagor, Hightower, and Watkins. Jalen Hurts is a pick that I’m not sure I’ll ever totally be on board with, but he does fit in with the Eagles clear plan to draft high-level athletes with upside first and foremost. The Eagles crushed their Day 3 picks with Watkins, Tega Wanogho, and Toohill – three potential starters, a near impossibility in the 6th and 7th rounds. Tega Wanogho is especially intriguing as a future starter at tackle in a league that never has enough players at that position. Wallace may also become one of the steals of this entire draft as a hard-hitting, downhill safety. I was not a fan of Philadelphia’s first two picks at all, but they rebounded incredibly well with the rest of their Day 2 and 3 picks.

  
What's up, I'm Jacob. I grew up watching Peyton Manning play and stuck with the Broncos after he retired. I'm also probably the only Clippers fan you'll ever meet. I'm from Southern California but I'm a junior at the University of Michigan studying sport management. Beyond my passion for sports I play guitar, grill a mean rib eye, and enjoy gambling on pretty much everything.

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