It has officially been one week since Marcus Mariota was not drafted by the Eagles. After four months of nonstop hype, wishful thinking and peculiar trade rumors, the most sensible result occurred with the Titans selecting him at No.2. Marcus Mariota may be an Eagle someday, but he’s not now. It’s likely Sam Bradford’s show and I actually have an inordinate amount of confidence that it will work out.
Now on to the players the Eagles did select during the draft. Before I begin, let’s begin with the grade: B
Really like the Agholor pick. I’ll go so far as to say it’s a home run choice and we shouldn’t miss Jeremy Maclin too much next year. By all accounts he’s as versatile as they come and it will be fun to watch Chip get creative with where he puts him on the field. I heard some people, fans and media, whining they didn’t take Breshad Perriman. I couldn’t tell you one thing about Perriman, so I’m not going to be looking at this pick as a one or the other for the next five years. Chip had his choice and got his guy. And it’s a good thing he did, because while the Birds could’ve went o-line (more on this in a moment) or secondary with the first selection, getting their targeted wide out in the first was key. Why? in the second round, a slew of receivers went off the board. After the Eagles took Eric Rowe in the second, by the third round, only Jaelen Strong and Sammie Coates were the best options left. Good call taking Agholar in the first.
The Rowe pick was also well received and I’m excited to see where he lines up in the secondary. Ultimately, I can’t help but think he winds up at safety, but he should definitely be a positive addition next season.
Following these two picks, I was feeling great. It was a slam dunk draft so far, to use another cliche sports metaphor. But then the third round, this is where things got interesting. Not bad, but slightly puzzling. Jordan Hicks an inside linebacker from Texas had me scratching my head. Not because he’s a bad prospect. But because of the glut of talent at linebacker. Kiko Alonzo and DeMeco Ryans are coming off tough injuries, so if this is a depth move it’s solid reasoning. Last year the Eagles were stuck with Casey Matthews and I think Hicks is an upgrade there. But then there’s Mychal Kendricks’ and his uncertain future. It’s been widely reported that he’s being shopped and it makes sense given the logjam and the possibility he could bring a solid draft pick back. Kendricks is a stud. Yes he’s been injured but I already pointed out Alonzo’s and Ryans’ injury situations. Getting rid of him would be a tough blow.
But the real reason I’m scratching my head a week later is the fact that they didn’t go offensive line in the third. Chip pointed out that some of their top targets went ahead of them and that’s just the unfortunate breaks of the draft. But the more I think about it, the more I wondered why they didn’t try to recoup another pick and move out of the third entirely. They gave up two fifths for Rowe. Why not try to get another back, in the top of the fourth? At least take an offensive lineman, who even if he’s a project, you can mold towards the future. It’s the second straight year the Eagles didn’t draft a lineman and after seeing how badly injuries hurt them last year, it’s inexcusable to not pick one this year. I don’t know if they’re screwed at offensive line, as Jimmy Kempski points out, but they’re making it very hard on themselves in the long run. When it comes to next year’s draft, they’re going to have to address the line with at least 2 of their first three picks.
After initially being frustrated with trading out of the fourth and going two straight rounds without picking a player, I think getting that third round pick from Detroit in the 2016 draft is vital, especially with the still-befuddling decision to include a second to St. Louis in the Foles deal fresh in everyone’s mind. That pick will be really helpful next year.
For some reason I think one of Randall Evans or JaCorey Sheperd, the two players the Birds took in the sixth round, will end up being a solid player for the team going forward. Just a gut feeling.
Now that the schedule’s out, the draft is over and the focus shifts to training camp, the question on sports radio will shift from whether they will make a move for Mariota to is this team actually better than last year? I’ll say they’re slightly better, but I’m not putting them in the playoffs or anything just yet. Offensive line aside, the Eagles have improved at a number of areas this offseason. Safety is still a big question mark, but I’ll wait and see what happens with Rowe. There are likely some decisions still to be made in regards to Kendricks and Evan Mathis, but those likely wont be made until training camp.
Ultimately this draft is going to be a successful one in my opinion. They didn’t get Mariota, the apple of every Eagle fans eye, but there was a time when the Eagles turned down Ricky Williams for Donovan McNabb and that worked out just fine. Sometimes the best moves are they ones you don’t make.