Updated: May 1, 2021
I don’t know what to say.
I’m not a loss for words because it was amazing or terrible.
It’s just fine, I guess? It’s clear the Eagles aren’t drafting for need, they’re drafting for the far future and for who has the highest ceiling. But again, who’s else can cover except for Darius Slay and Anthony Harris?
Pick 37: Landon Dickerson, IOL, Alabama
Good offensive lineman are valuable, and the Eagles have a chance at one here. According to Nick Sirianni in his press conference, the Eagles view Dickerson as someone who can play both guards spots and at center. My read is that if healthy, he competes for the LG spot as a rookie, and takes over at C once Jason Kelce hangs em’ up.
Sounds great right?
Well, there's a problem with the whole health thing. Dickerson has serious concerns, with this being his lower body injury history:
Torn ACL as a true freshman
Season ending ankle injury as a sophomore
Season ending ankle injury as a junior, resulting in medical redshirt
Played redshirt junior season healthy
Torn ACL as a redshirt senior
That’s nothing to shake off, especially in an Eagles offense that required the center to be mobile under Doug Pederson. We saw how different Carson Wentz looked after his ACL tear, and it can take over a year post surgery for some athletes to return to their peaks. It’s worse when put under the perspective that the Eagles passed on three potential defensive playmakers, two of which being first round talents in Jeramiah Owusu-Koramoah and Trevon Moehrig, at two positions where there are little to no long term answers at linebacker and safety. There were also a wide range of young CB’s to choose from, including the familiar name that was also a fan favorite in Asante Samuel Jr. Instead, the Eagles took an injured replacement for a veteran instead of addressing gaping holes on the roster that will need to be filled eventually, which I just can’t support with the wide range of difference makers available. Rebuilding teams should generally go best player available, and there's an argument that Dickerson was that at 37 (for my money he was the 4th or 5th best prospect the board). But rebuilding teams shouldn’t invest at arguably their strongest position group with similarly great prospects available that would fill bigger holes.
Pick 73: Milton Williams, DE, Louisiana Tech
The Eagles were initially picking at 70, before a small trade down with the Panthers dropped them 3 spots and netted pick 191 this year. Williams is a DT but was announced as a defensive end by Philadelphia, and is uber-athletic with a high ceiling and could benefit from the veteran talent ahead of him. But I still don't like this pick even with the upside of it. If you want to draft for ceilings of players and the far future, do that with 170 or a late rounder like Jordan Mailata (who has turned into a stud), not at 70 with better players like Pauleson Adeboo, Elijah Moore and Monty Rice that also fill bigger holes on your roster! The Eagles as of now are preparing to trout out Darius Slay, Michael Jacquet, Avonte Maddox, Grayland Arnold, TreVaun Thomas, Kevon Seymour, Khalil Tate, Bembry Jacobs and Lavert Hill at CB!
I made two of those guys up and one of them is a wide receiver converted from quarterback, but would you know the difference if I didn’t tell you? Even an Eagles scout didn’t look happy after Williams was selected, and when asked about it Howie laughed it off and said it was natural.
There are even leaks stemming from last years draft saying that Howie continues to go rouge, and that he abandoned the scouts recommendations so he could take Jalen Reagor and Jalen Hurts over Justin Jefferson and Jeremy Chinn.
I thought he had learned and changed when he picked Devonta Smith, but the whole process and video evidence just points to an organization and front office that’s stumbling along, isn’t trying to fill holes and their roster and can’t communicate with each other to the point where they aren’t all on board with the 70th overall pick!
A lot has been made of the Eagles day 3 stockpile of picks, but the honest truth is outside the top half of the 5th round most of those late rounders don't matter. Most difference makers in the NFL today are drafted on days 1 and 2. The Eagles much hyped day 3 haul last year turned into a couple explosive plays from John Hightower and two tackles from Shaun Bradley.
The only position the Eagles HAVE found value in Day 3 are offensive and defensive line, positions they drafted today. The Eagles spent important picks on a center who might not see the field for a year and has injury concerns, and a DT/DE that projects to the next level as a developmental project, all while ignoring the Eagles most dire needs and passing on likely difference makers.
I probably made the end there sound a little depressing, but overall I just come away from today feeling indifferent. The Eagles felt like they were getting a shot in the arm from the selection of Smith, and capitalized on that by picking two players who could both end up on the bench this year. Dickerson could be great if healthy, but will only reach his full potential whenever Kelce retires. Williams is athletic but a complete question mark as a player, and looks like a ground-up development project. I can see the logic in both picks, but I can also see a world where Dickerson is never healthy and Williams never develops. It’s just too hard to get excited having just added some future potential to the roster, with none of the gaps coming into the day being filled in.
Day 2 Overall Grade: C+