Eagles’ winners and losers from draft weekend originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The Eagles had a busy weekend, drafting five players and adding AJ Brown in a trade with the Titans.
Overall, the Eagles got better during the draft and most experts graded their haul as one of the best in the NFL. But for the players who were already on the roster, there were some winners and losers.
Let’s take a look:
Jalen Hurts: The Eagles added Hurts’ best friend Brown in a trade. Aside from being his buddy, Brown also happens to be a 24-year-old Pro Bowl receiver who has two 1,000-yard seasons under his belt. Now Hurts has Brown, DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert, Quez Watkins, good running backs and a solid O-line. He has all the tools to prove he’s the franchise quarterback the Eagles hope he’ll be.
Marcus Epps: Not only did the Eagles not draft a safety but then they lost out on free agent Tyrann Mathieu, who is joining the Saints. That means Epps is in line to be the Eagles’ starter in 2022. Could they add a safety? Sure, there are still several months before the start of the season. But the Eagles are high on Epps and he’s in line for a big role next to Anthony Harris in 2022.
Zech McPhearson: Along the same lines as Epps, the Eagles didn’t add a cornerback in the draft. They threw some money at undrafted corners but McPhearson is still the leading candidate in the building to be CB2. The 2021 fourth-round pick was the top backup in 2021 and at worst, he’ll be that again this season, although some others like Tay Gowan and Kary Vincent Jr. will have a shot to play too.
DeVonta Smith: Earlier this offseason, Smith admitted he would benefit from having a veteran receiver in the room. Now he has a Pro Bowler with him. Not only will Brown help Smith behind the scenes, but he’ll also warrant plenty of extra attention that would have gone Smith’s way.
Javon Hargrave: It might seem strange to have Hargrave on this list because he’s entering a contract year and the Eagles just drafted another defensive tackle. But Jordan Davis is so big and so good that he’ll definitely draw a bunch of double teams, which means more 1-on-1s for Hargrave, who is already coming off a Pro Bowl season. After a hot start last season, Hargrave got doubled quite a bit, so he’ll be happy to give up some of that attention.
Derek Barnett: The Eagles brought back their 2017 first-round pick on a pretty cheap two-year deal this offseason. Edge rusher was a position that would have made sense with an early pick but it didn’t happen. And now Barnett figures to still be a big part of the rotation in 2022.
Zach Pascal: Nick Sirianni’s favorite player got bumped down the depth chart with that addition of Brown. He went from being a possible starter to the fourth option behind Brown, Smith and Watkins. He’ll still play but not as much as he would have.
Jalen Reagor: Ditto for Reagor. He might end up sticking on the roster because of his contract but he’s all the way down to fifth on the depth chart and likely won’t see much playing time without injuries.
TJ Edwards: Edwards had a legitimately good season last year but this offseason the Eagles added Kyzir White in free agency and then drafted Nakobe Dean in the third round. Normally a third-round pick wouldn’t get penciled in as a starter, but Dean fell for medical reasons and if he was healthy, he would have been drafted much higher. He was a starter on a national championship team and is NFL ready. Edwards will still play but probably won’t be playing every snap again like he did in the second half of last season.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside: JJAW already faced an uphill battle to make the 2022 roster as a converted tight end and then the Eagles drafted Grant Calcaterra in the sixth round. A sixth-rounder is far from a lock to make the roster but Calcaterra has big upside and is an F tight end with receiving ability. That’s the type of tight end the Eagles wanted JJAW to be.
Reid Sinnett: The Eagles didn’t draft a quarterback but they are signing Carson Strong as a UDFA. Not only did they sign strong but they reportedly gave him 320,000 in guaranteed money. That’s a huge amount, more than any UDFA has ever gotten from the Eagles. So Strong is now the leading candidate to be the third-string QB and Sinnett could be the odd man out unless Gardner Minshew gets traded.
Isaac Seumalo: Seumalo is entering the final year of his deal and any hope he had of being the future center of the team left when the Birds drafted Cam Jurgens in the second round. And then Howie Roseman mentioned casually that Landon Dickerson is sticking at left guard, where Seumalo was once the starter. Seumalo lost two positions in two days.
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