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Joe Douglas' Scouting Report On Draft Class

Posted Apr 29, 2017

In the end, the Eagles started the 2017 NFL Draft with eight picks and made that exact amount, using three of the selections for the offense and five for the defense. One of the players, cornerback Sidney Jones, may not play a snap in his rookie season. Others have chances to make an instant impact ...

In the end, the Eagles started the 2017 NFL Draft with eight picks and made that exact amount, using three of the selections for the offense and five for the defense. One of the players, cornerback Sidney Jones, may not play a snap in his rookie season. Others, including defensive end Derek Barnett and cornerback Rasul Douglas, have chances to make an instant impact.

It was a glorious weekend for the City of Philadelphia and Eagles fans who packed Benjamin Franklin Parkway and sang “Fly, Eagles, Fly” until their lungs gasped for air. The party was everything imagined, and more.

How do the Eagles feel about their draft accomplishments? Vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas sat down after the draft and provided an overview, pick by pick.

The Scouting Report

DE Derek Barnett, Round 1

Joe Douglas Scouting Report: “Great first step, challenges offensive tackles on the edge every time he rushes. A guy who can get under pads and then bend the corner. Plays with an attitude and gives great effort on every snap of the football.”

How He Fits In: Only one edge position is locked in, and that’s Brandon Graham as one starter, likely on the left side. Barnett has a chance to start on the right side as a rookie, but there is really no reason to rush him. Veteran Chris Long is an effort player with high football intelligence and he’s going to be relentless. Vinny Curry has a lot to prove here after signing a big-time contract prior to the 2016 season. You would expect Curry to have a focused, snarling approach to Training Camp, understanding that he will not have a thing handed to him. He’s got to earn it. Marcus Smith, the team’s first-round draft pick in 2014, suddenly has a roster battle in front of him as he competes with Steven Means and Alex McCalister for a fifth defensive end position.

CB Sidney Jones, Round 2

Joe Douglas Scouting Report: “Outstanding height and outstanding length. Outstanding instincts, route recognition, and ball awareness. He is a complete cornerback who obviously would not have been available in the second round of the draft had he not been injured. He was one of the best players in this draft prior to his injury.”

How He Fits In: We’re going to have to wait on this for a while. The Eagles aren’t going to rush Jones back from his Achilles tendon injury suffered at his Pro Day in March. Does he play this season? That’s to be determined. It’s likely that the Eagles will put Jones on a reserve, non-football-injury list to begin the season and then, if he’s ready, give him a look in practice at some point. Jones will gain mental reps in the meeting room from the moment he reports for Rookie Camp.

CB Rasul Douglas, Round 3

Joe Douglas Scouting Report: “Hardcore, tough-as-nails guy. He’s another guy with great length and great ball skills. What really sticks out is how competitive he is, and how much he wants to be a great football player.”

How He Fits In: The Eagles have some young players in the cornerback group who are going to have a chance to step up and be starters with both of the 2016 starters, Nolan Carroll and Leodis McKelvin, gone. And Douglas is right in the mix to become a starter. That’s an astounding thought considering that Douglas was at Nassau Community College three seasons ago.

WR Mack Hollins, Round 4

Joe Douglas Scouting Report: “Warrior mentality, very fun to watch. Great size, great speed, range. Plays every play like it’s his last. He was outstanding on special teams in college. His mentality is going to fit in very well in Philadelphia.”

How He Fits In: Hollins has size, he’s been productive, and he’s a big-play threat. He will come right in and compete for a roster spot and playing time, considering that every receiver on the roster sees reps both on offense and on special teams. The level of competition at wide receiver has suddenly taken a huge step up behind starters Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, and Jordan Matthews. Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham and the rest of the existing receiving corps will be pushed.

RB Donnel Pumphrey, Round 4

Joe Douglas Scouting Report: “Prolific production, which I’ve said about 30 times since we drafted him. Obviously, his stats speak for themselves. Outstanding feet, outstanding hands, excellent instincts. Very versatile guy and extremely productive both in the running game and in the passing game.”

How He Fits In: Who is the starting running back on this football team? That’s how wide-open the position is, given the uncertainty with the future of Ryan Mathews and his injury situation. Wendell Smallwood is here as is the great Darren Sproles, but neither seems to be eyed as a 20-carry-a-game player. So Pumphrey, even at 180 pounds, is going to get his reps and the Eagles want to see what he can do.

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WR Shelton Gibson, Round 5

Joe Douglas Scouting Report: “Another guy who can take the top off the defense. Outstanding ability to track the football down the field. Great speed, great vertical ability.”

How He Fits In: What Gibson brings to the Eagles is that big-time speed to combine with Smith’s down-the-field strengths. Just as with Hollins, Gibson is here to win a roster spot. This is anything but a throwaway pick. The Eagles’ scouting staff loved Gibson and hopes he shows his best in the summer to earn a position on the 53-man roster. See above with Hollins. The Eagles have some young talent at a position that could be almost completely overturned from last year.

LB Nathan Gerry, Round 5

Joe Douglas Scouting Report: “He is another player with a warrior’s mentality. Converting from safety to linebacker. He’s smart and tough. He is a big safety at 218 pounds and we feel that he can become a 235-pound linebacker. He’s certainly athletic enough to play safety, but we think he can add even more value to us at linebacker.”

How He Fits In: The Eagles are lacking in the depth department at linebacker and Gerry, the converted college safety, has to show he can play on the weak side at the NFL level. Gerry doesn’t come here as a projected starter, so he’ll have to earn his way on special teams and earn the trust of the coaching staff with his reps at linebacker.

DT Elijah Qualls, Round 6

Joe Douglas Scouting Report: “He’s a big man with a little man’s feet. Very nimble mover. Great balance. Great lateral quickness. Another versatile guy who played all over in the defense at Washington. He played defensive end, he played linebacker, and tackle. He can penetrate gaps and finish.”

How He Fits In: The pectoral injury suffered by Beau Allen could sideline him in the early part of the season, so Qualls is here to add competition and maybe gain some traction on the 53-man roster. He has unusual size, but his college game displayed versatility and a high level of production. How much of an impact can Qualls make in his early months as a rookie?

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