If I were to give this Eagles draft a name, I would title it “The Speed Draft”. Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman said, “Can he run” was the number one question he would ask about every draft candidate on their draft board. I thought Roseman and the Birds staff did a good job of addressing their needs, so I give the Eagles a B plus in the 2020 draft. They addressed the need for speed and they added talent at the wide receiver, linebacker and safety positions.
The Birds acquired three wide receivers in this draft, who run the forty yard dash at the 4.3 level. You have their first pick, TCU’s Jalen Reager, who is a burner, along with fifth round pick Boise State’s John Hightower and another wide receiver speedster in the sixth round Southern Mississippi’s Quez Watkins.
First round pick, Reager was a bit of a surprise but not a shock because you knew it was going be a wide receiver. It’s just that LSU’s Justin Jefferson was the guy that was expected, but Reager has a great deal of talent. The key for the Birds was his ability as a punt and kick off returner. So the Eagles saw more value in him than Jefferson. Reager will need to improve his ability to catch the football, but he’s got the speed and athleticism to be an outstanding football player.
Second round pick, Jalen Hurts was the biggest surprise of the draft for the Birds because nobody expected that they would draft a quarterback. When you step back and look at the fact that Carson Wentz has been hurt in nearly every season he has played, going back to college and all his years in the NFL, you can understand why a talented backup quarterback was needed. The Wentz injury history makes the Backup Quarterback Position, the second most important position on the Eagles roster. If it weren’t for the Eagles having a great backup quarterback a few years ago in Nick Foles, the Birds would still be looking for their first Super Bowl Title.
Bottom line, if you’re going to have Carson Wentz as your starting quarterback, you must have a quality back up and Hurts has first round talent and he’s got the emotional maturity and toughness to deal with playing backup quarterback in Philadelphia. Hurts is a proven winner, who had a 38-4 record in his college career at Alabama and Oklahoma.
In addition, the Eagles plan on using Hurts in much the same way that the Saints utilized the versatility of backup quarterback Taysom Hill. Like Hill, Hurts is an outstanding athlete, who can run with the skills of a NFL running back. Head Coach Doug Pederson could also utilize some of the offensive system that the Ravens employ to take advantage of quarterback LeMar Jackson’s ball carrying abilities.
Third round selection Colorado linebacker Davion Taylor has the speed and athleticism of a defensive back. He has the speed to run with just about all of the wide receivers in the NFL. Taylor is a three-down linebacker, who really fits the needs of the linebacker position in the NFL today. He’s raw, but his potential is off the charts.
Fourth round choice Clemson safety K’von Wallace is a tremendous young football player, who is talented and versatile. He’s a good open field tackler with outstanding coverage skills. Wallace has already gotten the endorsements of Eagles Legendary defensive backs Brian Dawkins and Troy Vincent. He can do everything that’s needed at the position and he’s already done it at a championship level.
The Eagles second fourth round selection offensive tackle Jack Driscoll is athletic and versatile. This young man’s ability to move, gives him the potential to be a good pass blocking tackle. He does need to get stronger, but his quick feet are promising and make the sky the limit for him.
Fifth round pick Boise State wide receiver John Hightower is another speedy wide out, who is raw and he needs to be developed. At times he seems to run as fast as is needed. His speed must be respected by a defense or he makes them pay. At times, Hightower struggles judging the deep ball and doesn’t run crisp routes. He doesn’t always play at that 4.3 speed, but you see his speed when he gets the ball in his hands.
The Eagles first sixth round pick was Temple linebacker Shaun Bradley, who is undersized at 6’1” 235 pounds, but he seems to make plays all over the field. He’s another speedy backer, who plays with great instincts and fits the needs of today’s NFL backers, which means he is good in pass coverage.
The Birds second sixth round pick was Southern Mississippi wide out Quez Watkins, who ran a 4.35 forty yards dash at this year’s NFL combine. You definitely see his blazing speed in his game tape. Watkins is a raw talent who must greatly improve his route running and catching the football with his hands. Still his speed shows up when he’s carrying the football and that will help the Birds stretch the field both horizontally and vertically.
The Eagles third sixth round pick is Auburn’s Prince Tega Wanogho, who is another big and athletic offensive tackle. He has the size and athletic ability to potentially excel against all the speedy pass rushers in the NFL. Still, he’s a project who will need to be developed.
The Eagles final pick of this year’s draft is Stanford linebacker/defensive end Casey Toohill, who has great potential as an edge rusher. He’s shown quickness and speed around the corner, but he needs to get much stronger if he wants to play at the next level. He had eight sacks last year in college and 11.5 tackles for loss, so he does have the ability to get to the passer.