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Analyzing and Grading Eagles Draft Picks

carter and smith

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Round 1, Pick 9: Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia

The Philadelphia Eagles were fortunate enough to be able to select Jalen Carter with their first selection of the 2023 draft. Several months prior to the ongoing investigation that he was involved in Carter was believed to be the definitive first overall pick going into the draft. Despite the situation with the misdemeanor charges put on him and overall off-field concerns, some maintained their stance to keep him as the top overall prospect, Mel Kiper Jr. being the most notable. Nevertheless, Howie Roseman and his team were willing to go for Carter if he fell into their lap and that is precisely what happened. Getting the opportunity to bolster Philadelphia’s defensive line ever further was a no-brainer for Roseman, who is notoriously famous for using high draft picks on defensive linemen.

The decision to take Carter was one that likely came as no surprise once he dropped. The former Georgia Bulldog has immense talent as a pass-rusher and impacts a team’s run game just as effectively. Aside from the obvious talent behind the reasoning, the decision greatly enforces the depth along the defensive line to a scary level for opposing offenses to gameplan for. Carter is the perfect choice moving forward which works perfectly after avoiding giving a sizable contract to Javon Hargrave. Also, with Fletcher Cox potentially on his last leg with Philadelphia, his presence will help to mentor Carter and ensure the success of the future of this defense. Finally, when it comes to addressing the off-field concerns and keeping things under control, having other former Bulldogs including Jordan Davis, Nakobe Dean, and fellow rookie Nolan Smith should help to guarantee that Carter avoids any further issues.

Grade: A+

Round 1, Pick 30: Nolan Smith, OLB/Edge, Georgia

Howie Roseman was on an absolute rampage in the first round after managing to pick up Nolan Smith. In many mock drafts all across the media, Smith was believed to be a mid-round talent who had almost no chance to drop all the way to 30, but clearly, this was not the case. The ex-Bulldog, which makes him the second new Georgia addition with more to come, impressed everyone at the NFL Combine after showing off his superior speed and skill that makes him so dangerous. He is a very versatile player who can line up and make an immediate impact. Smith can jump right into an already dominant defense whether he sets up on the edge to rush the quarterback or off the line as an outside linebacker stopping the run and in coverage when needed.

Aside from the fact that Smith was the best available player at a position that Philadelphia needed at the time, reinforcing depth was just as strong of a reason to snag him. Putting Smith in the same room to work alongside Brandon Graham, Haason Reddick, and Josh Sweat will provide a major boost to his ability. Smith is a very raw and exciting talent, but they will turn him into a dependable and game-changing force in no time. His presence will allow those playmakers ahead of him to create a reliable rotation that will keep everyone fresh and capable of impacting every single play. As for what this pick means for the future, learning and being thoroughly mentored will ensure the success of Smith’s career in Philly and the future of this defense’s continued prominence.

Grade: A

Round 3, Pick 65: Tyler Steen, OT, Alabama

Roseman traded back and Philadelphia took full advantage of having back-to-back picks to start the third round. It became abundantly clear that addressing the immediate needs throughout the roster was the plan rather than going for reach picks. The selection of Steen helps to give the offensive line a new option to work with at guard to replace after the departure of Isaac Seumalo and Andre Dillard. Although Steen was a tackle at Alabama, it is almost guaranteed that he will be moving inside to guard which proves that he adds extra support as both a guard and tackle no matter the scenario.

Due to Steen’s lack of experience at guard, he will be quite the work in progress as a rookie. Nevertheless, the presence of Jeff Stoutland will make Eagles fans become even more comfortable with this pick. Stoutland University, as Jordan Mailata likes to promote, is proven to be successful and Steen is the next enticing project to watch out for. While there is an absence at the right guard spot, it is already expected that Cam Jurgens will likely be the one to shift from center and fill the spot. While this may be the case, anything can happen in the next several months leading up to a highly anticipated season.

Grade: B+

 Round 3, Pick 66: Sydney Brown, S, Illinois

The safety position was yet another immediate and significant need that required addressing. Adding Brown to the mix of candidates who are in line to replace Chauncey Gardner-Johnson or Marcus Epps in the secondary. The competition at safety will be an interesting story to keep a close eye on with plenty of likely names in the conversation. The former Illinois standout is a physical presence who isn’t afraid to line up in the box and get dirty, which may remind most of the way Gardner-Johnson played, which certainly works in his favor. He is somewhat on the smaller end in terms of physical stature, but that did not appear to stop or limit him and what he is capable of bringing to the table day in and day out.

The depth at safety is rather thin, but Brown is an extremely promising guy to have on the roster. Brown will be fighting with the likes of Reed Blankenship and free agent signing Terrell Edmunds, but he is talented enough to give them a run for their money. His aggressive playing style and willingness to get down and dirty on any given play, in coverage or when tackling, will help him to stand out in the crowd. His path to climb the depth chart will be no easy task as those players ahead of him have proven what they can do. Yet, adding more options to the safety room is more than desired and desperately needed.

Grade: A-

Round 4, Pick 105: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

 It was reported relatively soon after the NFL Combine that Philadelphia was interested in Ringo as he met with them earlier on. Their interest in yet another former Georgia Bulldog was warranted as he is a very intriguing player for the Eagles to obtain and develop. Ringo was initially projected to be a second or third-rounder as he came in as the eighth-ranked cornerback in this draft according to ESPN, so Philly may have been able to pull off another steal. He is a very young talent, only 20 years old, but he will be observing, learning, and developing alongside some very well-respected players in James Bradberry and Darius Slay.

The resigning’s of Bradberry and Slay provided the organization and fanbase with a rather large breath of relief. While both are playing at a very high level, both players are not getting any younger, so adding more options to the secondary ensures confidence in the group moving forward. Ringo displays top-notch speed to stay with the deep-threat receivers while also effectively playing with an aggressive style that offenses must be aware of. While Ringo is a playmaking cornerback, he is on the larger side which allows him to thrive closer to the box and provide strong run support without worry of being moved and blocked easily.

Grade: A

Round 6, 188: Tanner McKee, QB, Stanford

The quarterback room is solidified with Jalen Hurts as the starter and Marcus Mariota as his backup. Yet, having that third quarterback is always a need, and with the departure of Gardner Minshew and the unknown ability of Ian Book, taking a chance in the draft is understandable. McKee is a large quarterback standing at 6’6” and the fact that he comes from Stanford are encouraging elements to keep in mind. Being a late-round draft pick, he will have plenty of work ahead of himself to prove that he can be a reliable addition to this QB room.

The major question mark that comes to mind when analyzing this pick and his fit with the offense comes down to whether or not can he adjust to a style that is likely different from his norm. The former Stanford quarterback is a pure pocket passer who is able to find the right receivers at the right times, but the Eagles’ fast-paced RPO offense strays from his comfort zone. It was discovered last year with Minshew that a more typical pocket passing quarterback can have struggles in this offense, thus the decision to sign Mariota. So, unless McKee is able to adjust and succeed, his presence on the team may not be around for too long.

Grade: C+

Round 7, Pick 249: Moro Ojomo, DL, Texas

Philadelphia’s defensive line is already one of the most imposing and threatening groups in the NFL, but Roseman wasn’t done just yet. Ojomo is immediately a great story to follow as he became the first-ever NFL Draft pick to come from Africa. Nevertheless, Ojomo is not just a cool story, he is absolutely an intriguing player to look out for throughout training camp. He comes out of Texas and presents Philadelphia with plenty of versatility as he is capable of lining up anywhere along the defensive line. He is skilled enough to affect the pass off the edge and strong enough to line up in the gaps inside and make plays just as easily.

The only worry with Ojomo is that the defensive line room is already so jam-packed that it will be difficult to climb the ladder as a seventh-round pick. While this may be the case, the former Longhorn will undoubtedly show his worth with every chance, especially with his versatile talent. It is difficult to rule out any defensive lineman’s impact on the Philadelphia roster and Ojomo will be out to prove any doubters wrong and show what he is capable of.

Grade: B

Overall Draft Grade: A

You can reach Alex Schmidt at schmidty2436@gmail.com or on Twitter @schmidty_3681

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