2016 Philadelphia Eagles draft picks: Analysis for every selection

Phil Sheridan breaks down the 2016 Philadelphia Eagles draft class so far.

Round 1, pick No. 2:Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State | Highlights

My take: The Eagles could have gone the other way. After signing Sam Bradford to a new contract and adding backup Chase Daniel, the Eagles could have focused their energy on building the best possible team around Bradford. That probably would have meant holding on to their draft picks and taking the best player available with the No. 13 pick in the draft.

That might have worked. That still might work in the short term, since the Eagles are saying Bradford remains their starter. He might finally stay healthy and reach his potential in Pederson’s offense. But the Eagles were not inclined to place all their chips in Bradford’s square.

That’s because the Eagles haven’t won a playoff game since Donovan McNabb left. For years, they have been on the mediocre quarterback carousel of Michael Vick, Kevin Kolb, Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez. Bradford was their last spin on that carousel and they’re ready to take a shot at something better.

They may turn out to be wrong about Wentz. They may find out they paid too high a price to move up. But at least they took their best shot.

The next level: One of the risks associated with Wentz is that he played at the NCAA FCS level, what used to be called Division I-AA. Quarterbacks from that level have succeeded in the NFL -- Joe Flacco, to name one -- but it adds another element of risk to the already uncertain prospect of taking a quarterback high in the draft.

And then there is this: North Dakota State has won the FCS national title five years in a row. It won the first three with Brock Leonard as the quarterback. It won in 2014 with Wentz having a terrific season.

Last year, Wentz broke his wrist in the Bison’s sixth game. He returned to play in the championship game. Overall, Wentz’s record as a starter was 5-2. But a freshman quarterback named Easton Stick went 8-0 while Wentz was hurt.

Wentz had success at North Dakota State. So did Leonard and Stick. Is it the quarterback or the system?

The Bradford issue: If the Eagles’ ideal was for Wentz to develop with Bradford and Daniel running the offense, then Bradford’s boycott of voluntary practices will certainly have an impact. Bradford’s unhappiness shouldn’t concern Wentz, but it does add a complication to the Eagles’ careful plan to get the most out of Wentz.

After drafting Wentz, the Eagles stuck to their plan.

"Sam's our quarterback," Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said. "We've been clear about that."

Roseman and Pederson said that Bradford's absence from OTAs would allow more work for Daniel and Wentz. By the mandatory camp in June, Bradford should be able to catch up, Pederson said.

"We'll welcome Sam with open arms," Pederson said.

Round 3, pick No. 79: Isaac Seumalo, C, Oregon State| Highlights

My take: The Eagles had not drafted an offensive lineman since taking Lane Johnson with the No. 4 pick in the 2013 draft. After 14 years of Andy Reid drafts that were heavy on the offensive and defensive lines, Chip Kelly’s tenure was marked by a dearth of big bodies. It didn’t help that Kelly also released veteran guards Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis last year.

After investing so much in quarterbacks this offseason, it made sense for the Eagles to go for an offensive lineman here. Seumalo will have a chance to compete for the Eagles’ starting left guard job. Allen Barbre, last year’s starter, is still in the mix.

Scouting notes: Pro Football Focus gave Seumalo its second-highest grade for pass protection among guards in this year’s draft. Seumalo is solid in both facets of the game. He is not considered a dominant, “road grader” type of blocker, but he is disciplined and gets the job done.

Given the Eagles' spotty guard play last season, Seumalo should provide an immediate upgrade.

Seumalo started at tackle, center and guard in college.

"We love his versatility," coach Doug Pederson said, adding that the Eagles will start Seumalo out as a guard.

Round 5, pick No. 153:Wendell Smallwood, RB, West Virginia | Highlights

My take: The Eagles got caught up in a small run on running backs in the fifth round. The New York Giants selected UCLA’s Paul Perkins with the 149th pick of the draft. Chicago took Indiana’s Jordan Howard one pick later.

So the Eagles grabbed the 5-foot-10, 208-pound Smallwood, who led the Big 12 with 1,519 rushing yards in 2015. Smallwood also caught 31 passes for 326 yards, an aspect of his game that will be important in Doug Pederson’s West Coast-style offense.

Smallwood was investigated for witness tampering in a murder case. No charges were filed in the case. Smallwood is a native of nearby Wilmington, Delaware.

Round 5, pick No 164: Halapoulivaati Vaitai, OT, TCU | Highlights

My take: The Eagles want to create a pipeline of young offensive linemen that can keep the team stocked at that most important of positions. Third-round pick Isaac Seumalo, a guard from Oregon State, has a chance to start right away.

At tackle, the Eagles have their starters. Lane Johnson is locked in on the right side and Jason Peters is a Pro Bowler at left tackle. But Peters is 34 years old and closer to the end of his career than the beginning. Johnson could move to left tackle when Peters is finished.

Round 6, pick No. 196:Blake Countess, CB, Auburn | Highlights

My take: A year ago, Chip Kelly was looking to trade away Brandon Boykin, the Eagles' very effective nickel cornerback, because of his height. Boykin wound up in Pittsburgh.

The height bias is gone with Kelly. On Saturday, the Eagles took the 5-foot-9-3/4-inch Countess with the 196th overall pick in the draft. Howie Roseman, the Eagles' executive vice president of football operations, said the team got a valuable recommendation on Countess from Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.

"Coach Muschamp, when you check in with him, he thinks he was not only one of the best players on the defense, he was one of the best players on the team," Roseman said.

Round 7, pick No. 233:Jalen Mills,S, Louisiana State | Highlights

My take: Mills had an eventful couple of years at LSU. Two years ago, he was arrested for battery for allegedly punching a woman. The charge was reduced to a misdemeanor and later dropped.

Last year, Mills broke his left fibula, an injury that also affected his ankle. The injury caused Mills to miss five games. He returned in time to play in seven games.

In 46 games at LSU, Mills intercepted six passes and broke up 16 more. He played cornerback, nickelback and safety during his career.

Round 7, pick No. 240:Alex McCalister, DE, Florida | Highlights

My take: The 6-foot-6, 239-pound McCalister is a good athlete who still needs to develop as a football player. He could also use a little more weight on his frame.

In defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s scheme, pressuring the quarterback is of paramount importance. With few premium draft picks, the Eagles weren’t able to take advantage of the array of defensive linemen available, so the team took a bit of a seventh-round flyer on McCalister. With coaching and conditioning work, McCalister could realize his considerable potential.

Round 7, pick No. 251:Joe Walker, ILB, Oregon | Highlights

My take: The Eagles’ roster was a little light at linebacker going into the draft. It took 250 picks for the Eagles to add a linebacker over the three-day draft.

The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Walker appears to be joining the Eagles a year too late. He was recruited by former Eagles and Oregon coach Chip Kelly, but didn’t play for him.

But Walker’s timing could be just right. New defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has said he likes to get all his players out on the field, evaluate what they can do and assemble his defense around them. Anyone who can earn a spot will have one.