The Philadelphia Eagles had themselves an impressive draft. While such a sentiment is not what we want to hear, it’s just better to come to terms with it. Granted, they had some enormous draft capital to work with thanks to some wheeling and dealing they’ve done recently, aided largely by a nice return from trading away their former quarterback Carson Wentz.
With great draft capital comes great responsibility. The Eagles had three top 20 picks this time a month ago, but decided to save some of those resources for later by dealing one of them away to the New Orleans Saints. That still left the birds with two premium draft picks and they didn’t squander them. First, they got an absolute monster in the middle by selecting the 6’6”, 340-pound defensive tackle from Georgia, Jordan Davis with their 13th overall pick. Moving up two spots cost the Eagles three additional picks (Rd 4 124th overall, Rd 5 162nd overall, and Rd 5 166th overall) as they exchanged quantity for quality.
Then, they made a huge trade with the Tennessee Titans to acquire 2019 second-round pick A.J. Brown in exchange for their other first-round pick (18th overall) plus the second of two third-rounders (101st overall).
Wow. What an impressive way to start the draft.
Even after trading away one of their picks to the Saints, the Eagles entered this draft with 10 picks. That’s a lot of draft capital. But after their big first-round moves, the Eagles only ended up making four more picks over the next two days. Their total draft haul includes the following...
- Round 1, 13th overall - Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
- Round 2, 51st overall - Cam Jurgens, C, Nebraska
- Round 3, 83rd overall - Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
- Round 6, 181st overall - Kyron Johnson, LB, Kansas
- Round 6, 198th overall - Grant Calcaterra, TE, SMU
The upside of the two Georgia defenders certainly paints a nice picture for them. The Jurgens selection is a little early for my taste, but the team is thinking ahead when it comes to replacing Jason Kelce, so you can understand why they went that direction.
The first thing that jumps out about the Eagles' draft is that they ultimately ended up with a much smaller draft haul considering what they started with. Their affinity for certain players came with a cost as players like A.J. Brown and Jordan Davis don’t come cheap.
But another thing that stood out about their haul is that there was a little familiarity with the players they selected. Where have we seen those names before? And then it hit me. Those players were pre-draft visitors of the Cowboys this year. With the lone exception of Nakobe Dean (who many still considered a possible option for Dallas), all of the Eagles’ selections were on the Cowboys pre-draft visit list. To refresh our memory here is One Cool Customer’s “little board” consisting of all the Cowboys’ pre-draft visitors with checkmarks in front of the players the Eagles selected.
You might think that’s no big deal as there is a lot of overlap between teams and the players they select for a visit. That is true. And while both Davis and Jurgens were also pre-draft visitors of the Eagles, Kyron Johnson and Grant Calcaterra were not. Both those players were late-rounders, but it’s kind of odd that they both were on the Cowboys' visitor list.
The Eagles' front office gets a lot of credit because let’s face it, they’re always doing stuff whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent. The Cowboys' front office on the other hand is often criticized for being too passive and sitting on their hands. Regardless of how we gauge the GM ability of each team, one thing is clear - the Cowboys draft better than the Eagles.
A month ago, we provided evidence that the Cowboys are one of the better drafting teams in terms of draft capital vs. draft return. Based on statistics during a 10-year span starting in 2010 provided by Football Outsider data, the Cowboys have the third-best relative draft return whereas the Eagles are in the bottom half of the league. So, if the Eagles want to improve their drafting ability, maybe the first place to start looking is on the Cowboys' shopping list. Sure, this could be purely coincidental, but just maybe the Eagles are peeping over the Cowboys' shoulders looking for the right answers.