During the NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles up assets to help construct the future of their franchise.
The Philadelphia Eagles entered the 2018 draft in an enviable position. There were no real pressing needs on offense or defense that had to be immediately addressed. Yet, the Eagles were not content to simply sit and wait. When the time came, they were aggressive and fulfilled their draft needs.
Round 1, Selection 22
Andre Dillard, Offensive Tackle, Washington St.
The Eagles jumped in front of the Houston Texans at the last second in round one, selecting offensive tackle Andre Dillard. Dillard measuring in at 6’5 and 310, will serve as a backup to Jason Peters this season. Given Peters’ health concerns, Dillard will more than likely see a lot of action this season. In his final year at Washing State, Dillard pass protected for nearly 700 snaps, and only gave up one sack. The Eagles got their offensive tackle of the future with this pick.
Round 2, Selection 21
Miles Sanders, Running Back, Penn State
In his final year at Penn State, Miles Sanders rushed for over 1200 yards and scored nine touchdowns. He also added 24 receptions out of the backfield. Sanders fills one of the actual needs Philadelphia had coming into the draft. Pairing him with free agent running back Jordan Howard should boost the rushing stats significantly. Philadephia ranked 28th in the NFL in rushing last season.
Round 2, Selection 25
JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Wide Receiver, Stanford
Pass catchers from Stanford have done well in Philadelphia (see Ertz, Zach). Arcega-Whiteside brings a frame similar to Alshon Jeffrey as well. Interestingly, Arcega-Whiteside grew up in South Carolina watching Jeffrey ply for the Gamecocks. JJ will have the opportunity to learn from his childhood idol in Philly. In his final season with Stanford, Arcega-Whiteside hauled in 63 passes for 1059 yards and 14 touchdowns. The Eagles will likely utilize his skill set at the goal line in red zone scoring opportunities.
Round 4, Selection 36
Shareef Miller, Defensive End, Penn State
The Eagles did not have a third-round pick, so they used this selection to take defensive end Shareef Miller. Miller had a nice senior season at Penn State, recording 7.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss. Several pre-draft scouting reports questioned Shareef’s competitive toughness, which will not go over well in Philly. Still, Miller should be able to find his place in the defensive rotation, especially if veteran Chris Long decides to retire.
Round 5, Selection 29
Clayton Thorson, Quarterback, Northwestern
The Eagles have openly announced that as an organization they want to commit to drafting developmental quarterbacks. Thorson has good size at 6’4 226, and toughness was the adjective most attributed to him. In his time at Northwestern, Thorson threw for 10,731 yards, 61 touchdowns, and 45 interceptions. The high amount of interceptions is a concern, but Philadelphia has shown a strong ability to develop quarterbacks. Look for Thorson to compete with Nate Sudfeld for the backup job.
With limited picks, the Eagles made the most of the 2018 NFL draft. The backfield, offensive line, and receiving corps received nice upgrades. The hunger for a championship is burning again in Philadelphia, and these rookies will make a noticeable impact on the 2019-20 season.