The 2023 NFL Draft is just weeks away and the Philadelphia Eagles are busy trying to find the next crop of talented young players to continue to enhance their title window.
For general manager Howie Roseman, the draft will be a key part in continuing to improve on a team that represented the NFC in the Super Bowl last year. And while recent top picks have certainly worked out, recent history hasn’t always been kind to the Eagles’ GM.
Today, we go over the picks Roseman has hit, missed, and secretly nailed throughout the fifth round.
Best Pick: Halapoulivaati Vaitai
Fifth-round selections aren’t supposed to blossom into All-Pro players and there are very few to choose from on this list that made a serious impact on the roster. “Big V” however is the obvious choice for best pick here. The TCU swing tackle played sparingly in his rookie season in the 2016 draft but saved his best run for the very next year.
With Jason Peters down for the year with an injury, Big V stepped up for the rest of the year and did a great job in anchoring an offensive line that ended up winning Super Bowl LII. New England may have targeted him throughout the game, but he held his own and helped the team win their first title. That alone is enough to warrant plenty of praise here.
Worst Pick: Clayton Thorson
Liam Jenkins may disagree but the Clayton Thorson pick was an absolute disaster for a team that needed to hit at other positions. It was obvious by the first preseason game that Thorson was never going to play in the NFL either. None of the players selected in the 2019 draft are still on the team and Thorson might have been the worst pick of the bunch.
Sleeper Pick: Kenneth Gainwell
The major playoff performer is a true sleeper for the Eagles in 2023 as well as potentially their best fifth-round pick. Taken in the 2021 draft, the Memphis product has just over 500 career rushing yards but showed his worth on the game’s biggest stages. His ability out of the backfield and shiftiness make him an interesting breakout contender to be the best fifth-round selection made by the Eagles in some time.
AP Photo/David Richard