The NFL Draft is finally in the books and with the rush to sign undrafted free agents entering its final stint, it’s time to look back at the ten biggest things we learned about this Eagles over the course of the weekend.
No cornerback selected in the first round!!!
The biggest shock of the entire 2019 NFL Draft was not Clelin Ferrell going 4th overall, nor was it Daniel Jones being taken 6th overall. Instead, it was that the Eagles didn’t select a cornerback with their first-round pick. I’m sure Mel Kiper’s life flashed before his eyes. Of course, this is totally sarcastic. Everybody knew that this was never going to happen and by everybody, I mean anyone who looked at the roster before submitting a mock draft.
Nonetheless, its’ worth noting that the Eagles not only used their first-round pick elsewhere but did the same with every other pick owned. It seems as though they are more than comfortable with the talent already in the DB room.
No Safety selected at all…
Perhaps a little more alarming was the team’s decision to not draft a Safety. This was universally agreed to be quite a pressing need for the Eagles, especially for the long-term. But even when names like Chauncey Gardner-Johnson slipped into day three and the laps of the Eagles, Roseman stuck to his guns.
“Yeah, I think it’s fair to look at those two groups and say that it’s probably something that we would have liked to have done. There were a couple times in the draft where we were deciding between a couple guys.”
“…This was a process that we felt like we did address the defense in free agency. When we look at the safety position, we signed [Andrew] Sendejo in free agency and we brought Rodney [McLeod] back.”
I wrote extensively about this decision and why the Eagles opted against drafting another young defensive back, but in case you don’t have time to read the article below, I’ll paraphrase why this decision should ring the alarm bells just yet.
The ability to cross-train defensive backs has become a specialty for Jim Schwartz and Maddox is a shining example. To go from a rookie corner who had never played safety before, to one of the defenses top performers in a matter of weeks is just astounding. The 22-year old has an incredibly high ceiling and it won’t be that farfetched to assume that the Birds’ will keep him on the backline with Rodney McLeod next season, just as Jaylen Watkins once moved.
The Eagles have preached versatility and cross-training since the arrival of Jim Schwartz. So while another DB in the room would’ve been great for Cory Undlin, the Eagles already have more than enough Chefs in the Kitchen to cook up a Storm at Safety and may feel confident in letting that situation pan out.
The Eagles have at least three defensive backs who could step up to a a depth-safety role at a moments notice and Roseman is right. The return of Rodney McLeod and signing of Sendejo does somewhat negate the pressing need…for now.
Or a linebacker?
Kind of going hand-in-hand with the decision not to draft a Safety, is the similar call to not pick up a linebacker. Again, there were some enticing options as deep as day 3 of the NFL Draft, but the team stood firm.
What’s important to know here is that Paul Worrilow is returning for the ‘prove-it’ deal that never was after tearing his ACL one year ago, and the Birds’ also signed L.J Fort who could be the most underrated signing of the offseason.
Not only that, but the Eagles are getting increasingly lighter on defense. Nickel and dime packages are becoming the norm and the team are keeping 2 linebackers on the field more regularly. With that in mind, adding Kamu Grugier-Hill and Nate Gerry to the picture gives plenty of depth.
Continued on the pages below.
Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports