Tim McManus breaks down the Philadelphia Eagles' 2017 draft class.
Round 1, No. 14 overall: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
My take: Defensive end was a big-time need for the Eagles. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz relies on the front four generating a pass rush on its own and simply didn't get enough of that in 2016. Brandon Graham is the best option at the moment but has yet to establish himself as a top-end sack artist. The Eagles parted ways with starting end Connor Barwin, and while they paid Vinny Curry handsomely last offseason, he has yet to prove that he can be relied upon consistently. Barnett was projected to go right in this range, if not earlier, so it's a situation where need meets best available.
Athleticism vs. production: With 32 career sacks, Barnett broke former Eagles great Reggie White's Tennessee record; he also posted 13 sacks and 19 tackles for loss this past season. That's some eye-popping output. There is some question, though, about whether he has the type of elite athleticism that is often associated with many of the league's best pass-rushers. His less-than-stellar combine numbers did little to alleviate those concerns. Barnett was apparently ill during the testing, Eagles brass said, which helps to add context to the evaluation.
The next Suggs? Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas was schooled under Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore. He likened Barnett's situation to that of Terrell Suggs, who tested somewhat poorly during the 2003 pre-draft process following a highly productive stint at Arizona State. With Douglas, on-field production and character makeup seem to far outweigh measurables.
Round 2, No. 43: Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
My take: After getting a pass-rusher, the Eagles turned to their need at cornerback. This was considered one of the deepest corner classes in recent memory, but executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman was concerned that prospects would fly off the board. So the Eagles grabbed one in the second round, but in doing so, they took the long view by selecting the ultra-talented, but injured, Jones. The research the team has done suggests a high rate of full recovery for young players who have ruptured their Achilles, but there are no guarantees. The Eagles walk away with a player whom they gave a top-15 grade, with the understanding that there’s risk involved and patience is needed. For a team that is still a few pieces away, it’s a move that makes sense and one that could pay serious dividends.
How he fits: Jones hopes to be back on the field come October, but management immediately stressed that the team will not rush the process in the least. When Jones is ready, he has the ability to slide into a starting spot immediately, especially when you consider the shaky state of the Eagles corner position overall.
Round 3, No. 99: Rasul Douglas, CB, West Virginia
My take: The Eagles will have to wait before seeing second-round selection Sidney Jones take the field but should get some immediate gratification with Douglas. At 6-foot-2 and 209 pounds, Douglas has length that will come in handy in a division that features the likes of wide receivers Dez Bryant, Terrelle Pryor and the uber-athletic Odell Beckham Jr. This is a solid third-round pick at a position of need.
How he fits: The corner position was in very rough shape heading into draft weekend. Given that the Eagles parted with both starting corners from last year, Douglas should have a legitimate shot at competing for a significant role -- especially with Jones still on the road back from an Achilles injury.
Round 4, No. 118: Mack Hollins, WR, North Carolina
My take: Carson Wentz gets another big wide receiver target. Hollins (6-foot-4, 221 pounds) has ideal size and is considered a smooth runner with 4.53 speed in the 40. Along with the 6-foot-3 Alshon Jeffery, Wentz now has a couple of large weapons who should win their share of 50-50 battles.
How he fits: The Eagles have three starters penciled in with Jeffery, Torrey Smith and Jordan Matthews. Hollins will provide some welcome depth and is a quality special teams player as well, so he has a good chance of dressing on Sundays.
Round 4, No. 132: Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State
My take: A potential home run pick, Pumphrey is the leading rusher in FBS history as he slashed his way to 6,405 yards over four years at San Diego State. He's on the smallish side (5-foot-9, 180 pounds), but he toted the ball over 300 times in each of the past two seasons. He is a threat in the passing game as well. A great fit for Doug Pederson's hybrid West Coast system.
How he fits: There is plenty of opportunity in the Eagles' backfield. Ryan Mathews (neck) is expected to be released once he can pass a physical, Darren Sproles is 33 years old and Wendell Smallwood is still unproven. Pumphrey could make an immediate impact.
Round 5, No. 166: Shelton Gibson, WR, West Virginia
My take: This pick is all about speed. Gibson averaged 23 yards per catch during his three seasons at West Virginia and is known for taking the top off defenses. When you get to this point in the draft, teams aren't looking for complete players necessarily but rather athletes with plus traits that can translate. Gibson can burn.
How he fits: The Eagles will have plenty of competition in camp this summer. The starting spots are currently occupied by Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith and Jordan Matthews, and holdovers like Nelson Agholor will be fighting for work along with a handful of other players, including Gibson and fellow rookie Mack Hollins.
Round 5, No. 184: Nathan Gerry, LB, Nebraska
My take: Gerry mostly played safety at Nebraska, but the Eagles are apparently looking at him as a linebacker. (He did start three games at LB in 2013.) Currently listed at 6-foot-2, 218 pounds, he might be asked to put on a little weight as he makes the transition. Gerry is a versatile player who lined up as a slot defender at times and had 13 interceptions on the collegiate level.
How he fits: It will be interesting to see how defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz utilizes him should Gerry make the team. Gerry could start out as a special teams player. Part of his value could come from being able to play multiple positions in a pinch.
Round 6, No. 214: Elijah Qualls, DT, Washington
My take: The Eagles start and finish the 2017 draft by addressing the defensive line. Qualls (6-foot-1, 313 pounds) is a stout, athletic interior lineman who could be useful against the run. A key part of the team's philosophy is to build from the inside out, and that has been reflected on the defensive side of the ball this offseason.
How he fits: Qualls will compete with the likes of Destiny Vaeao and Beau Allen (once back from a pec injury) for snaps. The Eagles traded for Tim Jernigan to account for the loss of Bennie Logan in free agency. He’s the likely starter opposite Fletcher Cox, but Jim Schwartz rotates his linemen, so depth is a must.