Eagles 2020 draft grades roundup: Plenty of mixed opinions


The 2020 NFL draft wrapped up on Saturday and by the time it was over, the Eagles had drafted 10 players after coming into Thursday with eight picks. 

As a reminder, here’s a recap of their draft: 

1-21: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU 
2-53: Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma 
3-103: Davion Taylor, LB, Colorado 
4-127: K’Von Wallace, S, Clemson 
4-145: Jack Driscoll, OT, Auburn
5-168: John Hightower, WR, Boise State 
6-196: Shaun Bradley, LB, Temple 
6-200: Quez Watkins, WR, Southern Miss
6-210: Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn 
7-233: Casey Toohill, DE, Stanford 

It’s also worth noting that this draft haul should include the additions of veterans Darius Slay, Marquise Goodwin and a 2021 5th round pick. 

Let’s see what some national folks thought of the Eagles’ draft class: 

NFL.com, Chad Reuter: A-

Reuter also graded each individual day of the draft. Day 1 got a B, Day 2 got an A- and Day 3 got an A+. 

“The Eagles had to find a quarterback they trusted in case Carson Wentz was injured again, they did in Hurts. The team added explosiveness to their receiving corps on Day 1 (Reagor) and speed at linebacker on Day 2 (Taylor). GM Howie Roseman got a steal with his fourth-round pick in Wallace -- a guy who I thought could've gone as high as the second round. Great value at an area of need. Driscoll could line up at guard or tackle and maybe even serve as the team's backup center. Hightower was another great value pick by Roseman, as the receiver's ability to run past corners and run-after-catch made him a potential third- or fourth-rounder in my eyes. The Eagles added even more speed out wide on Day 3 when they traded for veteran Marquise Goodwin and selected Watkins. I don't know why Bradley and Toohill were still available so late, but kudos to Roseman for grabbing those two guys at a bargain. If Wanogho is healthy, he will be a valuable swing tackle. Look for the Eagles to sign a couple of top available running backs after the draft.”

ProFootballFocus: A-

PFF seemed to like the Eagles’ pick of Reagor in the first round, citing that he generated an explosive play of 15-plus yards on 51.6 percent of his catches, which was the second-highest rate in college football. 

But the reason PFF’s grade is so high — and really the difference in most of these grades — is the Round 2 pick of Hurts. PFF liked it. 

Here’s what PFF analyst Mike Renner said about it:  “I like this pick. … Jalen Hurts gives you a high-floor backup in terms of you just run a few option plays, you have a few passing concepts off that. It’s going to be vastly different — teams are going to have to prepare for something entirely different.” 

USA Today, Luke Easterling: B

Easterling thinks the Eagles should have taken Justin Jefferson over Reagor in the first round, but likes the Eagles’ draft haul after the second round. 

As for the Hurts pick: 

“The Oklahoma quarterback was one of the most puzzling picks of the draft. He’s a stellar prospect who made huge strides as a passer this past season, but I didn’t expect this landing spot for him. The Eagles had bigger needs, but they know the value of a backup quarterback better than anyone.”

ESPN, Mel Kiper Jr.: B-

Kiper spent most of his time writing about the Hurts pick because that’s the lightening rod in this draft class. He uses an NFL Next Gen Stat: The Saints ran 206 plays with two QBs on the field, while the rest of the NFL ran a total of 10 combined. 

“That's why it's not realistic to think that Hurts is going be used as some sort of Taysom Hill-type weapon on offense, at least on a consistent basis. Hurts isn't the same kind of athlete. He's a quarterback with running skills, but he's not going to play receiver. He's not going to cover kicks.

“Ultimately that's why I can like the range in which Hurts was selected but not like the fit in Philadelphia, which just gave Wentz a huge contract extension. This isn't even close to the same as what the Packers did in drafting Jordan Love to learn from Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is 36 and declining; Wentz is 27 and should be ascending. And yes, the Eagles are a contender in the NFC East, but they're not without roster holes. There were defensive backs on the board who could have helped right away. I would love to see Doug Pederson get Hurts involved on run-pass options a few snaps per game, and he's creative enough to do it, but Wentz is still the guy.”

New York Post, Ryan Dunleavy: C+

Dunleavy ranked the Eagles’ class as the 23rd-best draft class of 2020. 

“Not the best draft for one of the usual winners. Reagor over Justin Jefferson was surprising — even if he can be DeSean Jackson 2.0 — and Hurts as a backup/threat to Carson Wentz is either arrogant or overthought.”

Sports Illustrated, Andy Benoit: C

There was no question the Eagles needed receivers and Benoit points out that the Eagles went to 12 personnel (two tight ends) so much because of it. He writes that Jalen Reagor in the first round filled a “gargantuan” need. 

“He was an explosive outside weapon at TCU who showed he can also move into the slot,” Benoit writes. "While maybe not quite a pure burner through and through, he can still get vertical—a notable trait given that Carson Wentz is innately aggressive when it comes to pushing the ball downfield.”

As for Davion Taylor in the third round, Benoit writes that Taylor might not be the most NFL-ready player right now but thinks the Eagles should actually be comfortable enough with their incumbents to take an upside pick at linebacker. 

And the Jalen Hurts pick … Benoit doesn’t like the Taysom Hill comparison. He says Hurts is a dual threat QB, not a blocker or a receiver. But he still thinks Hurts will add an element to the offense. 

Sporting News, Vinnie Iyer: C

There were just two teams graded lower than the Eagles by Sporting News, the Raiders (C-) and Packers (D). 

“Howie Roseman was able to recover from the back-to-back weird reaches on the Jalens, but the haul was very disappointing for a contender, despite the volume. Hurts made no sense for them as costly insurance behind Carson Wentz. Taylor, Bradley and Toohill doesn’t inspire in helping their one big defensive weakness. The three best picks were Driscoll, Hightower and Wanogho, who all should have gone earlier. There wasn’t much diversity in the positions, filled with flyers more than real short-term contributors beyond Reagor.”

Yahoo! Sports, Eric Edholm: C

Edholm’s favorite pick by the Eagles was Reagor and his least favorite was Hurts. 

“The most telling moment of general manager Howie Roseman’s media draft briefing was when he was asked what the best-case scenario was for the Hurts pick, and Roseman didn’t have a great answer. I’ll answer it for him: Hurts succeeds for a short spell as a replacement starter and can be traded for value elsewhere. But using second-round picks on developmental QBs with the hope they’ll be worth a first-rounder in a trade one day is a leap of faith. Hurts and Reagor can be used in some fun packages, and two late speed receivers — Hightower and Watkins — were smart lottery tickets to scratch. Taylor’s speed is intriguing, but he’s raw. Even if one of their late dart throws cash in, there’s an incomplete feel with this crop.”

SB Nation, Dan Kadar: C-

“Arguably the biggest draft need in the entire NFL was the Eagles and a wide receiver. That was satisfied with the selection of TCU’s Jalen Reagor at No. 21. That was a little high for Reagor, but the Eagles had to get a receiver early.

“Philadelphia then shocked everyone by drafting quarterback Jalen Hurts in the second round. Head coach Doug Pederson will be able to fit Hurts in somehow, and maybe he’ll be their Taysom Hill. But is that a player you take with the 53rd pick in the draft?

“Linebacker Davion Taylor is still raw, as he only played two games of high school football, but he’s a solid hybrid linebacker/safety with great athleticism. Getting receiver John Hightower was a good pickup on Day 3 of the draft.

“It’s a big head scratcher why Philadelphia didn’t target a cornerback at any point, though.”

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