The weakest defensive position for the Philadelphia Eagles was Cornerback. They opted to fill that hole later in the draft. Instead, they opted for a defensive end with their first pick. Here are their grades
Derek Barnett, Defensive End, Tennessee: Round 1 – Pick 14. (14th overall): Barnett is a Jim Schwartz type of player. Due to his speed and skill on the edge, Barnett can line up wide and have little to no concerns in the way of getting to an opposing QB. Barnett joins the likes of Chris Long and Brandon Graham at defensive end.
What Derek Barnett Brings To The Philadelphia Eagles Defense
Derek Barnett knows how to rush the opposing passer with relative ease. At defensive end, he had 78 QB Pressures. 45 of those pressures came on the outside shoulder of tackles in 2016. Barnett was actually able to get pressure on the quarterback 20 percent of his rushes, which was well above the NCAA average 10 percent. Barnett has also been known to jump snaps very well, and can also pull off decent spin moves. There are concerns about how he can handle the bull rush, how well he can navigate around double teams, and his ability to avoid getting caught too far upfield during zone plays. However, he could start early and still make an impact on the Philadelphia Eagles defense. Draft Grade: A.
Sidney Jones, Cornerback, Washington: Round 2 – Pick 11. (43 overall): Jones is a tall, physical cornerback who can lock down on the outside.
What Sidney Jones Brings To The Philadelphia Eagles Defense
Jones has the ability to balance between quarterback’s eyes and his man from coverage. Jones is a hard hitter, has great ball skills, and his footwork allows him to play tight coverage on the line. While he is good at these aspects of the game above, there are concerns about his thin frame, strength, and his ability to get pushed around at the top of some routes. Draft Grade: A-.
Rasul Douglas, Cornerback, West Virginia: Round 3 – Pick 35. (99 overall):
Douglas has a real knack for reading routes. As he reads the eyes of the quarterback, Douglas has the ability to break free and jump slant routes and get to the ball.
What Rasul Douglas Brings To The Philadelphia Eagles Defense
Douglas plays with strong hands; able to go up high and win the 50-50 balls and needs very little time to have hands interception-ready. Douglas possesses good recognition of route combinations and will shift from pattern to pattern. A negative aspect to his game: Rasul Douglas is not a physical tackler but gets guys down. However, his length allows him to catch stray running backs. Draft Grade: A
Mack Hollins, Receiver, North Carolina: Round 4 – Pick 12. (118 overall):
Once on the field, Hollins will have a team drooling over his size and speed. Hollins propels himself down the field with smooth, long strides. Chomps up a cushion and glides past corners and safeties before they know what hit them.
What Mack Hollins Brings To The Philadelphia Eagles Offense
Hollins seems a legitimate vertical threat finishing with 20 touchdowns on just 71 catches. Hollins has a dangerous run-after-catch ability in on deep crossing routes and slants. He is a former walk-on who still has a desire to do whatever it takes. While in UNC, Hollins was special teams captain all four years at the school. Hollins had 20 special teams tackles over his first three seasons and offers punt and kick cover value on special teams.
Weaknesses: Hollins played less than 50 percent of the offensive snaps in every season. Primarily used to stretch the field and doesn’t have experience with a variety of routes. Still very raw. One speed route-runner who wins with just speed. Routes need more purpose. Not a natural hands catcher. Never produced more than 35 catches in a single season. Play strength through his patterns is below average and he can be re-routed. Leggy in underneath work and can be slow in and out of his breaks. Stalk-blocker who needs to give much better effort in the run game. Draft Grade: A
Donnel Pumphrey, Running Back, San Diego State: Round 4 – Pick 26. (132 overall):
Pumphrey, 22, and is small. He only measures in at 5-8, 176 pounds. But what Pumphrey lacks in his he makes up for in playmaking ability. Pumphrey ran for 62 touchdowns and 6,405 yards on 1,059 carries in college. That’s a 6.0 average. He also logged 99 receptions for 1,039 yards and five receiving scores.
What Donnel Pumphrey Brings To The Philadelphia Eagles Offense
Strengths: Produced at high levels. Patient but decisive when he sees it. Accesses instant turbo burst. Rarely loses races to and around the edge. Plus vision creates the ability to navigate shifting run creases like a seasoned veteran. Slaloms through traffic from side to side with seamless, tight jump cuts. Keeps tight track through the gaps, maintaining distance from defensive linemen. Able to string moves together. Razor-sharp cutbacks at challenging angles are his thing. Made a rare 90-degree cut out of a downhill run against South Alabama. Excels in outside zone but has the courage to stick it between tackles. Extremely elusive in open field after the catch. Used as matchup weapon out of the backfield. Good route runner who creates necessary separation.
Weaknesses: Undersized. Lacks the leg thickness and overall physical strength desired out of an NFL running back. Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Arm tackles are able to end his journey. Willing to accelerate into a defender, but doesn’t have the pop to break tackles or fall forward after contact. Quicker than fast. Will get caught from behind. Body catcher with average hands that lead to double catches. Too small to protect against NFL blitzes as a third-down back. He could replace Daren Sproles soon. Draft Grade: A.
Shelton Gipson, Receiver, West Virginia: Round 5 – Pick 22. (166 overall):
Shelton Gipson has scored 17 touchdowns in the last two seasons and averages over 22 yards per catch. Gipson is an incredibly gifted athlete with speed to absolutely torch a defense. He is a very raw player, but it is hard to ignore or appreciate what he can do with his athleticism. He may be a project, but he could have one of the bigger payoffs in this draft class.
What Shelton Gipson Brings To The Philadelphia Eagles Offense
Strengths The. Man. Can. Run. Has run by speed on the go routes and can create immediate separation over the top against cornerbacks who overestimate their acceleration. Saw 36 percent of his catches go for 25-plus yards over last two seasons. Ball skills and hand-eye coordination are substantially better down the field than on the short routes. Finds the deep throw quickly and makes necessary adjustments to ball flight to put himself in the best position to make the catch. Fear of his speed creates open, unchallenged throws underneath against spacious cushions. Athletic and not just a tight-hipped, straight line runner. Explosive leaper who can climb the ladder and extend way up over his head to snare the errant passes and bring them home. Has immediate gunner potential and can return kickoffs.
Weaknesses: Displays focus issues with his hands when working underneath. Had a case of alligator arms over the middle against Texas after taking a punishing hit a quarter earlier. Will need to learn to run more of the route tree and sharpen his skills as a route runner in general. Made a living on nine routes, posts, slants and curls. Gets to top gear quickly creating issues with excessive steps in his gear down into his breaks. Needs to do a better job of aggressively working back to the ball and scrambling with his quarterback into a catch-friendly area of the field. Draft Grade: A
Nate Gerry, Safety, Nebraska: Round 5 – Pick 45. (184 overall):
Gerry is 6-foot-2 and 218 pounds and ran a 4.58-second 40-yard dash. He was a two-time team captain and started the past three years for the Cornhuskers, as well as three games as a freshman.
What Nate Gerry Brings To The Philadelphia Eagles Defense
Gerry earned third-team all-Big Ten honors last season after totaling 68 tackles and four interceptions. With his size, skill, and defensive prowess, he is sure to fill the needs of the Philadelphia Eagles at linebacker. Draft Grade: A
Elijah Qualls, Defensive Tackle, Washington: Round 6 – Pick 31. (214 overall):
Qualls is said to have a strong upper body, but his legs are quite the opposite.
Strengths: Has broad, thick hips. Possesses low center of gravity and plays with natural leverage. Has an ability to control point of attack. Powerful upper body and can land a strong punch that sets a winning leverage point. Former high school fullback with nimble feet and surprising athleticism for his size. Has feet to overcome early reach block and work back into pursuit. Looks to pursue and run through the rib cage of a running back at impact. A two-gap reader with the ability to eat space and brace up to double teams. Has the ability to stuff wash-down blocks and cuts. Plays with good body control.
Weaknesses: Body consists of stubby legs, short arms and a very soft middle with excess weight. Can be a little sluggish off the snap against lateral movement. Will get behind early in the rep. More adept at holding ground than making plays. Feet are nimble but hips are stiff. Unable to flip around the edge as a pass rusher. Need to see more plays being made against run and pass. Stays glued to blockers for too long. His game lacks the consistency of effort and production. Scouts say he has put on bad weight and needs to improve his work ethic. Draft Grade: A
Overall Draft Grade: A