The year of 2017 was a great year in terms of season success. One thing the Eagles did not succeed in was drafting. This has been a common flaw over the past few seasons for Eagles management and is in part why there is a lot of uncertainty around sustaining future success.
The draft class of 2017 was one that on paper looked like it would break this trend. However, minus one starter, the Eagles draft class has been a major disappointment.
Round 1: Derek Barnett / Grade: B
Out of all the Eagles selections, Barnett was the one the team hit on. Barnett got immediate playing time among the defensive line in 2017 and produced. In 2018, Barnett was hurt for most of the season, but his loss was felt among the defensive line.
This year, Barnett has been a consistent lock at the defensive end. His 4.5 sacks are not the most, but his presence is still felt among opposing offensives. With time, Barnett should continue to flourish and prove he was worth the first-round selection.
Round 2: Sidney Jones / Grade: D
Before tearing his Achilles close to the draft, many thought Jones would be a lock of a first-round pick. When Jones slipped to the second round and the Eagles pounced on him, the team thought they had a lockdown cornerback for the future.
When he hit the field in 2018 and 2019 this was anything, but the case. From Amari Cooper in 2018 and Adam Thielen in 2019, he has looked bad in coverage, getting burned for big plays consistently. Recently, Jones has been a healthy scratch and has not been able to even produce at the special teams’ level. The second-round pick is starting to look like a big bust for a guy that coming in had big expectations.
Round 3: Rasul Douglas / Grade: C-
Douglas is a very peculiar pick for the Eagles. Douglas’ big frame and ball-hawking abilities were intriguing to the Eagles and was a large reason for why the Eagles took him.
One thing that has hampered Douglas in his relatively young career is his speed. The man is not a burner by any stretch and at times it has costed the team more than helped it. Covering Stefon Diggs in Minnesota this season was a clear example. One thing the team should consider is switching Douglas to safety. Along with his ball-hawking ability, his tackling is superb and is something the team should consider to get the most out of this third-round selection.
Round 4: Mack Hollins / Grade: D-
While not much was expected to head into his rookie year, Hollins produced when he was put on the field. The highlight of his career as an Eagle was hauling in a deep ball by Carson Wentz against the Redskins back in 2017. After being injured all of 2018, Hollins was given a shot to show his worth in 2019 due to the injury of Desean Jackson.
He did anything, but that and was released by the team following the loss against the Dolphins. Hollins showed glimpses here and there but did little to nothing to prove why he should be on a team where a guy coming from the practice squad made a bigger impact in Greg Ward.
Round 4: Donnel Pumphrey / Grade: F
Pumphrey was seen as a guy that could become the next Darren Sproles due to his quickness and lack of size, allowing him to evade defenders. Pumphrey did not have any of this and showed nothing in the preseason the past three seasons. He gave the team one last shot in 2019, even trying to find a spot at wide receiver. This didn’t work out and Pumphrey will be forever labeled a big letdown.
Round 5: Shelton Gibson / Grade: F
Besides being on the field for special teams, Gibson did little to nothing at the wide receiver position, even with his speed. Gibson was cut in the preseason.
Round 5: Nate Gerry / Grade: C-
At the beginning of the season, Gerry’s grade would probably have been lower due to his lack of playing time. However, this season Gerry has handled the responsibilities of playing the outside linebacker well. He has shown his ability to make plays on defense as well as he has hauled in two interceptions this season.
Regardless, Gerry’s play can be very frustrating at a time with missed tackles and blown coverage. If Gerry can clean this up, he will become a valuable asset to the team. For now, it would be better off for the Eagles to have someone else at linebacker.
Round 6: Elijah Qualls / Grade: F
Qualls was thought of a guy who could possibly add to the depth at defensive tackle to pair up with Fletcher Cox and Tim Jernigan. Qualls did little to prove this and was released from the team in 2018.
For this team to continue to improve it must get better at drafting where it matters, in the late rounds.
If the Eagles can find diamonds in the rough it will help transform a veteran-heavy team into one with an infusion of youth.
Featured Image: Michael Perez, AP Photo