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Five Experts Rate The Eagles' Draft Class


The 2017 NFL Draft is in the books. The adage is that it takes a few years to rate a draft class, but we want instant analysis! Here are the perspectives from five analysts on what the Eagles accomplished this weekend.

Chad Reuter,

"Even though the Eagles gave up their 2017 first-rounder for quarterback Carson Wentz, they were a beneficiary of Minnesota's need for a quarterback, as they got back into the first round by trading Sam Bradford last year. The way Wentz played this year showed they didn't really miss Bradford. They got the second-best pure edge rusher in the draft in Barnett at No. 14. In the second round, Philly got a first-round value in Sidney Jones, who might have to half-redshirt the year as he recovers from injury but will be a good corner down the road. Rasul Douglas is another long corner who will be on the field right away.

Mack Hollins is very good downfield receiver, and a very good special-teamer as well. That's the prototypical fourth-round pick. He and Shelton Gibson (fifth round) add receiver depth. Pumphrey's electric with the ball, not unlike veteran Darren Sproles (though not as thick and powerful). Elijah Qualls was a fine selection in the (sixth) round."

Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus

"Barnett was one of the nation's most productive players over the last three seasons, finishing among the top three edge defenders in overall grade in both 2015 and 2016. He's stout against the run and he's continued to improve as a pass-rusher ... While Barnett is not a classic athlete on the edge, he knows how to beat blocks and he has enough to burst to challenge the edge at the next level.

"While 2017 may be a 'redshirt year' for injured Jones, it’s another first-round talent added to the Eagles’ defense. Jones has the size and movement skills to play press man coverage and he allowed a passer rating of only 42.1 when targeted last season. The Eagles went back to cornerback with Douglas in the third as the 6-2 corner brings a solid zone defender with press man coverage potential. Douglas breaks on the ball well and he was one of the best playmakers in the class last season with 10 pass breakups and eight interceptions on 93 targets.

"Hollins has the game speed to stretch the field, as evidenced by his 20.6 yards per reception and 20 touchdowns on only 81 career receptions at North Carolina. He has the long strides that get on cornerbacks in a hurry and he could add an immediate deep threat to the Eagles' offense. Pumphrey was a record-setting back at San Diego State and despite his size, he broke through first contact on 39.6 percent of his rushes, the fourth-best mark in the draft class. Gibson adds another potential deep threat as he caught 58.6 percent of his deep targets, fourth best in the draft class. Gerry has starting potential at safety (*Note that the Eagles will use him as a linebacker) as he ranked second in the nation in both 2014 and 2016 with coverage grades of 90.1 and 90.7. Qualls used his quickness to rank 17th in the draft class with a pass-rush productivity of 8.8."

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports

"I really like the choice of pass rusher Derek Barnett in the first round. He might be the best pass rusher in this class. They took a risk with Washington corner Sidney Jones in the second, but it could be a big-time payoff if he comes off a torn Achilles tendon healthy. They added some young weapons for Carson Wentz in the later rounds. Fifth-round receiver Shelton Gibson can fly."

Chris Burke, Sports Illustrated

"On the "needs" list for Philly headed into Thursday were a pass rusher and cornerback. Check and check. The Eagles nabbed DE Derek Barnett in Round 1, a safe and steady option off the edge, then doubled down on Day 2 with CB Sidney Jones (who's rehabbing an Achilles tear) and Rasul Douglas. If Jones gets back to 100% at any point, he has Pro Bowl potential. The offensive run in Rounds 4 and 5 was intriguing. WRs Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson both can stretch the field, which QB Carson Wentz would like to do more; RB Donnell Pumphrey essentially could be Darren Sproles 2.0."

Dieter Kurtenbach, FOX Sports

"The Derek Barnett pick was solid, if not spectacular - he'll help right away. Sidney Jones won't, but he has first-round talent. Rasul Douglas is a boom-or-bust player, but I like him in that system, and Mack Hollins has a chance to be special. Donnel Pumphrey projects as Darren Sproles' replacement, and Shelton Gibson and Elijah Qualls are great third-day values."

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