What should we expect from the Eagles 2019 draft class in 2020?

With training camp well underway, there’s plenty of hype surrounding this year’s draft class, but what about those drafted a little over one year ago? What should our expectations be for the players selected by the Eagles in 2019?

Andre Dillard

Dillard will enter his second season in the NFL as the team’s starting Left Tackle. Jason Peters is still in the building (although working at right guard) giving the team an insurance policy, but Dillard has given Jeff Stoutland and the Eagles little reason to be concerned.

Dillard thrived against the Bills and Bears, kickstarting the team’s emphatic end to the 2019 season by putting clamps on some tenacious edge-rushers. However, according to PFF, he blew 7.8% of his assignments, the worst record of tackles who had played in 300+ snaps. He also allowed a whopping pressure-rate of 14.7%. But we seem to be forgetting the game where he was thrown to the Wolves at right tackle.

As far as expectations go, Dillard will need to be serviceable at the very least. Replacing a Hall of Famer in Jason Peters was never going to be easy, especially when Chase Young is your first matchup as a starter. But if the Washington State product can learn from his rookie experience, there’s no reason he can’t be a fundamentally sound lineman in year two. Expecting perfection would be obscene, but expecting an upper-level of competency should absolutely be fair.

Miles Sanders

After starting the season in Jordan Howard’s shadow, developing his craft, Sanders exploded into the limelight after Howard went down with a stinger, ending his season with 1,327 total scrimmage yards, with 818 of them coming on the ground.

From Week 7 and beyond, Sanders was one of just eight running backs to average 5+ yards per carry. Additionally, he and Aaron Jones were the only two to do so while also compiling 250+ receiving yards.

In fact, between the Seattle game and week 17 against the Giants, Sanders averaged 4.8 yards per rush on 92 carries and was even more lethal in the passing game: 29 receptions, 6.8 yards per reception. All of that with 4 touchdowns.

Expectations for year two? Many are already trying to push his name into the MVP Ballot and it’s easy to see why. Could he be mentioned in the same breath as backs like Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey next year? It’s definitely possible, especially with Duce Staley doubling down on the idea of letting Sanders shape the backfield and dominating carries.

1,500 scrimmage yards is oddly a very realistic bar to set, but the more exciting one would be for Miles to lead the team in touchdowns and yardage – both of which are fully attainable by the second-year running back.

JJ Arcega-Whiteside

The 57th overall selection one year ago endured a tumultuous rookie campaign filled with injuries and an overload of information, but even then, recording just 169 yards and one touchdown in a year where the opportunity was limitless seems poor.

The good news is that for the time being, JJAW should be the team’s primary X receiver due to Alshon’s injury. This, along with a new WR coach and offensive coordinator should point towards an increased volume of snaps and targets in 2020.

The bad news is, however, that no OTA’s and preseason will hurt the Stanford product because of the way those very changes have been implemented.

JJAW, saw a nice uptick in production between weeks 11-16, where he recorded 92% of his total yardage, and helped Wentz attain a passer rating of 128.7. If he can perform close to that level next year, knowing that all eyes will be on names like Sanders, Ertz, and the rapid receivers alongside him, perhaps a 500-yard campaign isn’t out of the question after all.

Shareef Miller

By Miller’s own standards, he’s guaranteed the Eagles ten sacks in 2020…which is amazing considering he played 2 special teams snaps in the entirety of last season.

It’s always good to set yourself goals, but with a new DL coach, three names ahead of you on the depth chart, and a wealthy 2 NFL regular-season snaps behind you (0 on defense), it might be better to temper them a little.

Miller had a very raw skillset coming out of Penn State and a real lack of pass-rushing moves at his disposal. It would be far more realistic to expect Miller to take on Sweat’s EDGE4 role (if he can somehow beat out Genard Avery). Sweat played in 34% of defensive snaps last year, making the most of them by recording 4 sacks. I think a pair of sacks from Miller would be a reasonable bar to set.

Clayton Thorson

Ah. Thorson isn’t on the Eagles anymore and it’s a horrible injustice that Andy Dalton is the primary backup behind Dak in Dallas and not the man who gave us this iconic song:

Expectation? You’ll have this song stuck in your head all week. You’re welcome.

Hassan Ridgeway

While not technically a ‘draft pick’, the Eagles swapped their seventh-round pick for the services of the defensive tackle and it paid massive dividends.

The DT spot was ravaged by injuries last year and it didn’t take the team long to call upon the services of the former Colt. One week after the best game of his career as an Eagle, Hassan Ridgeway was placed on injured reserve. He notched 2 sacks, 4 QB hits, and 4 tackles for a loss in his short stint replacing the DT’s above him on the roster and flashed plenty of upside in the process.

The now-25-year old DT was originally a fourth-round selection back in 2016. With Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave and Malik Jackson all ahead of him, Ridgeway’s DT4 spot is pretty much locked in at this point.

The DT4 role in Philly (CC Beau Allen) typically sees around 40% of defensive snaps. It’s fair to expect Ridgeway to build on his first season as an Eagle, notch a few sacks and prove them right to have offered him a new deal this past offseason.

 Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

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