Did Howie hit a home run? Grading the Eagles 2019 Draft

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The NFL Draft is in the books, which means it’s time to unnecessarily grade the picks before the players have even suited up. I, like you, probably find this part of draft coverage a little annoying. But I do think there’s value in grading how well a team filled their needs and if there were any perceived reaches or steals.

Round 1, pick 22: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State

This wasn’t the ‘sexy’ pick that fans were pining for, but it may have been the smartest. The Eagles traded up three spots with the Baltimore Ravens to find the future heir to the Thone at Left Tackle.

Andre Dillard is by far the most efficient pass-protecting tackle in this year’s class, playing in more pass-pro snaps than any other tackle and giving up just one sack all season. At 6’5, 315 lbs, he fits the prototypical mold and was universally a top-10 graded player…but many assumed he’d be off the board at this point.

The Eagles have one more year of Vaitai and a huge question mark in Jordan Mailata. Dillard sets the path for all three players and finally gives the Eagles some stability behind the two franchise bookends for the next five years, not to mention the potential to come in and make an impact right away.

Grade: B+

Round 2, pick 53: Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State

I was a huge fan of taking a running back at 53, but with so many talents on the board, Sanders wasn’t the back I would’ve taken. His ball-security issues and lack of pass-pro efficiency are still worrying. In fact, in a recent study where I ranked running backs based on qualities the Eagles would look for, here’s how Sanders fared on a score out of 80:

Speed: 8
Versatility: 6
Getting to the corner: 7
Body control: 7
Effort: 7
Power: 5
Patience: 7
Pass pro: 6
Red flags: 0

TOTAL: 53

HOWEVER. And there’s a big however. If Duce Staley can clean up the pass-pro errors and ball-security concerns, I feel like the Eagles would have a back that would maybe, just maybe provide more bang for your buck than Darrell Henderson or any of the other backs available at that time.

Sanders broke out of the gate with haste once Saquon Barkley had departed for the NFL and showed Penn State fans that there was indeed life after the generational talent. Sanders possesses a very ‘Shady McCoy’ type-skillset which will be perfect for this offense and if the Birds can iron out the creases, he probably has one of the highest upsides in this scheme of any back in the draft.

Grade: B

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