No team in the NFL had a better draft than the Philadelphia Eagles.
Some Philadelphia Eagles fans aren’t too crazy about this year’s draft. But they should be.
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com recently ranked every team’s draft class from best to worst. At the very top of the list was the Eagles, who added several key players on offense, defense and, of course, special teams (shoutout to Dave Fipp).
"Some will look at the Eagles picks and say “yeah, but” to many of the selections, but I see a good draft. Derek Barnett isn’t flashy, but he’s productive and tough. If cornerback Sidney Jones comes back healthy, the Eagles stole a first-round talent in the second. CB Rasul Douglas isn’t fast, but he’s an absolute ballhawk. WR Mack Hollings is an electric deep threat and outstanding special-teams talent."
It’s hard to be upset with the Eagles’ first two selections. Derek Barnett broke Reggie White‘s sack record at Tennessee in just three seasons (it took White four seasons to set the record). In the second round, the Eagles drafted arguably the best cornerback in the draft. While it’s possible Sidney Jones could miss most, if not all of the 2017 season, he has the potential to be a shutdown corner at the next level.
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But let’s not forget about two of the Eagles’ more underrated selections. Running back Donnel Pumphrey, who the Eagles drafted in the fourth round out of San Diego State, is the leading rusher in FBS history (!) with 6,405 career rushing yards. Wideout Shelton Gibson, drafted in the fifth round out of West Virginia, averaged 22.6 yards per reception in his collegiate career, which ranks second since 2000 out of all receivers with a minimum of 70 receptions.
The Eagles also signed an undrafted free agent with the potential to make a significant impact. Corey Clement, who grew up roughly 30 minutes outside of Philadelphia, ran for 1,375 yards and 15 touchdowns for the Wisconsin Badgers in 2016. Clement has a legitimate shot to not only make the team, but also play a large role as the Eagles continue to use a committee approach at running back.
It’s easy to understand why Eagles fans are so hesitant to get excited about this draft class. The Eagles definitely took some big risks. But if fortune favors the Eagles (which the team is due for), this could turn out to be one of the best drafts they’ve had in years.