The Eagles’ biggest winners and losers from NFL Draft

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The NFL Draft is in the rear-view mirror and as the preparations for an offseason of hard work begins, it’s important to take a look at which players will go into it with a head start, and who will enter OTA’s with some extra weight chained to their ankles. Here are five winners and five losers from this year’s Draft.

Winners

Carson Wentz

There’s no doubting that the face of the franchise was easily the biggest beneficiary of the Eagles draft direction. Not only will he have his blindside protected by this year’s finest pass protector when Jason Peters does hang up his cleats, but a getting shiny new running back and a 50/50 ball-winning machine? Christmas has come early for Carson Wentz.

Nelson Agholor

The big thing to note here is that Agholor and his $9.4M cap hit are both still on the roster. In spite of trade winds picking up speed over the course of the weekend, Howie Roseman refuted the rumors and doubled-down on the former first-round pick.

“No, for us, Nelson is an important part of our football team and he’s an important part of what we are trying to do.” He said after the draft had come to a close. “We’re really excited to have him here. He’s somebody that has continued to get better and better as a player. For us, having this amount of depth and talent, it’s going to be something that we’re going to need during the course of the year.

It’s a long season. We are hoping to play well into January. We are going to need everyone, and we’ve seen that the last couple years. Our depth has been a huge part of our success, and so that’s our job to make sure we have Coach [Doug Pederson] and his staff the depth to get through a hopefully 19-week season.”

Agholor’s presence in the slot will be huge for the Eagles in 2019. He’s survived the most active trade period possible, so the rest, theoretically, should be plain sailing…for this season at least.

Rasul Douglas

Another man who saw his name circulating in trade discussions was young cornerback, Rasul Douglas. After seemingly falling out of favor with the coaching staff, Douglas burst back onto the scene when thrown into the deep end as an apparent last-resort last season and with so much depth at the position, it was assumed the Eagles could fetch value now as opposed to letting him ride the bottom of the depth chart.

Instead, not only is Douglas still on the roster, but his spot could be more secure than it ever has been. The Eagles didn’t draft a cornerback or safety this year, which felt like a highly unlikely outcome just a few weeks ago.

Whether one of the corners pushes up to Safety or not is another question entirely, but for now, Rasul Douglas and his future remain in Philadelphia.

L.J Fort

The former Steelers linebacker joined the Eagles during the offseason, but the position remained a glaring area of need for the team. However, the Eagles continue to get lighter on defense, rolling out with ‘nickel and dime’ packages far more frequently. With only 2 linebackers on the field in these formations, the Birds’ probably didn’t feel the need to bolster a position that has a flurry out OLB talent as well as the returning Paul Warrilow in the middle. Fort will have no competition looking to displace him and with a special teams role likely already in the books, Fort has a chance to build on a firm base and compete for a much bigger role without the looming threat of a rookie behind him.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Many will see the Andre Dillard pick as a huge loss for Vaitai, but I really don’t. Think about it. If Dillard is the heir to the throne of Jason Peters, then that’s still going to leave a need for a backup. We don’t know just how far along in his development Jordan Mailata is, but the Eagles would ideally keep three/four tackles anyway.

If Vaitai’s ceiling gets reduced to a backup in Philadelphia, signing him to a contract extension is far more likely. But if he wants a role elsewhere, it should now be a little more attainable now that he has a resume of starts and solid performances at both tackle positions.

All the drafting of Dillard really does is take the weight and stress off the shoulders of Vaitai, letting him focus on his development as opposed to prematurely being thrown into the deep end.

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Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

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