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Fly, Eagles, Fly: Outlook of Day one and two of NFL Draft


The first two days of the NFL Draft are in the books and the Philadelphia Eagles have made three of their 11 projected selections. We saw the return of #HowieSZN, as we saw general manager Howie Roseman make some of the same smooth moves that once made him so popular in the City of Brotherly Love. While many fans certainly enjoyed the drafts opening night that saw them come away with a very popular prospect. However day two of the draft came with some mixed reviews due to the team choosing to address particular positions over what many thought were bigger needs. Whether you liked the selections or not we’re here to tell you what exactly should Philadelphia expect to get from their newest Eagles. How they fit into the schemes the new coaching regime plan to implement and what grade the selection deserves.

DeVonta Smith:

Measurements:

-Height: 6’0

-Weight: 166 lbs

-School: Alabama

-Classification: Senior

Scouting Report:

  • Arguably the best receiver in the class or not too far behind. Smith tortures NFL defenses with a route running as smooth as a babies bottom. Finds the home within zone defenses with eases (see tape vs. LSU). A smooth release that leaves defenders stuck. Has a great first step and doesn’t add many if any false steps when breaking in and out of routes. Has high quality reps against some of the best CBs in the country and has been a productive player from both the slot and outside. Smith isn’t the biggest player, he isn’t the fastest player, but he’s a football player. Durability will be a concern given his smallish frame and it will be interesting to see how he matches up with some of the bigger cornerbacks the league has to offer but Smith has all the traits of a productive receiver at the next level.

Team Fit:

  • Eagles fans everywhere rejoiced as Howie Roseman made what may consider to be the ‘right decision’ as the Eagles selected reigning Heisman Trophy winner, DeVonta Smith. However if you listened to the Eagles brass speak on the occasions prior to the draft this selection should come as no surprise. As Howie Roseman has stated “good players come in all shapes and sizes”, obviously a reference to the big knock on Smith, being his considerably smallish frame. Even at 166 lbs, its hard to argue with production, and with 117 receptions, 1,856 yards, and 23 touchdowns en route to dominating the SEC, Smith was a very productive player for the Crimson Tide. The question now is, can the Slim Reaper translate that dominance to the next level?

Smith is a seamless scheme fit to what Sirianni loves to do. As a smooth route runner, Coach Sirianni certainly wont have to worry about any ‘banana routes’ with Smith. With experience lined up across formations, Smith won’t be exclusively designated on any one alignment which should open things up for the play caller, as well as those around him. As for chemistry is should be a surprise that the first person to greet him at the door when Smith arrived in Philadelphia was his former quarterback and good friend, Jalen Hurts.

Grade:

A-

Landon Dickerson:

Measurements:

-Height: 6’6

-Weight: 333 lbs

-School: Alabama

-Classification: (RS) – Senior

Scouting Report:

  • One of the more interesting players in the entire class. On film he’s easily one of the most talents in the entire class. Good football IQ that usually meshes well with comrades along the offensive line. A vocal player who isn’t afraid to show leadership both by command and by his play. The main signal caller for the countries number two offense, according to Pro Football Focus, Dickerson was the best run blocking center in the entire country. Highly versatile, out of his 1,573 total collegiate snaps here is how he was aligned:
    LT – 59
    LG – 32
    C – 1,215
    RG – 216
    RT – 51
    Though Dickerson isn’t the greatest athlete and doesn’t really get much done at the second level but has some pull abilities at his disposal given his long strides allow him to cover ground. Dickerson is a smart, physical, and experienced player that is prepared to become the heartbeat of an offensive line unit. The one knock on Dickerson is a concerning one to say the least. With a multitude of injuries under his belt, including an ACL tear that ended his 2020 season prematurely, Dickerson presents a massive red flag in the health department. A high risk, high reward prospect that given the position of his landing spot should be worth the placing your eggs into this basket.

Team Fit:

  • It’s not going to be flashy and a lot of people will point to the prospects remaining on the board as to why this wasn’t a good selection. However, if you know Howie Roseman then you know that this selection was bound to come. As we’ve mentioned on numerous occasions, in four of the seven drafts leading up to this season (minus 2015) have saw the team take either an offensive or defensive lineman in one of the first two rounds. While the need at the position may not currently be as massive as some would consider it to be at other positions, we saw just last season how injuries along the offensive line could derail even the best teams seasons. The selection of Dickerson not only gives the team depth along the interior offensive line, but with experience at both guard and center that opens a plethora of future possibilities for Dickerson. There is the expectation that down the line Dickerson will become the heir apparent to Jason Kelce, however in the mean time there have been reports that Dickerson could possibly compete for a starting job when healthy.

Many fans will suggest his extensive injury history as a problem, and may even refer back to the recent selection of Sidney Jones as to why the pick will fail. However, it has been widely concluded that Dickerson was a top 20 prospect in the entire class. So to come away with a three year starter, with experience across the line, who was known as the heart and soul of arguably the best offensive line in the country type of talent at 37 could end up becoming the steal of the draft down the road.

Grade:

B+

Milton Williams:

-Measurements:

-Height: 6’3

-Weight: 284 lbs

-School: Louisiana Tech

-Classification: (RS) – Junior

Scouting Report:

  • A player that saw his playing time increase each season following his redshirt year as a freshman. Williams projects as a versatile prospect that was used mostly as a 5-tech during his time at Louisiana Tech, Williams offers a team a solid rotational piece that can be used as both an edge rusher on early downs due to his difference making run stopping abilities; how he uses his size to make rushers reconsider heading to the outside. He also brings experience from the interior where he is a great pass rusher. Willams has decent hand usage that could use improvement but he does a great job keeping them connected to offensive linemen, where he uses his massive upper body strength to over power them. His first step is quite explosive for an interior defensive lineman and for a 6’4/284 lb player, Williams is really twitchy and it shows both on tape and in testing. Over the last two seasons Williams has produced 104 tackles, 19 TFL, and 10 sacks, where he was named a member of the All-Conference USA team in 2019. Williams comes with a lot of upside and is only scratching the surface in how good he can be, under the right coaching the sky is the limit.

Team Fit:

  • Another selection that wasn’t too popular among the fans and maybe even a high ranking official in Philadelphia’s scouting department. However, it doesn’t take long to realize why the Eagles selected Willams and how he will fit seamlessly into what Philadelphia does. For starters Milton Williams has athletic testing out of this world, even better than some of the NFL’s best.

According to Pro Football Focus, Williams was the only interior defensive lineman to receive an 85+ grade against both the run and the pass. Of course as dominant as Williams is stopping the run, he makes his money rushing the passer. Philadelphia already features arguably the best set of pass rushing interior defensive linemen in the league in Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave. With 10 sacks over the past two seasons Williams allows the rich to keep getting richer, as the Eagles continue to build from within the trenches.

Grade:

B


Featured Image: Brandon Lee Gowton/Bleeding Green Nation






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