This entire draft (and the next two) is affected by the Eagles trade up to the second pick to select Carson Wentz and, around the nation, grades for picks are being handed out with that in mind. It seems whether or not you agree with their decision,Wentz is the deciding factor when evaluating the Eagles 2016 draft haul:
Day 1:Round 1, Pick 2: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
There were two main objections to the Wentz pick even before it happened: One, that the Eagles did not need a quarterback, and two, that Wentz himself was climbing the boards of teams simply desperate for a quarterback.
To answer the first one: since the trade, Sam Bradford has done everything in his power to show fans just how much the Eagles needed a new quarterback. A starting salary does not a starter make.
Nor does simply being taken high in the draft, Bradford’s other claim to fame. The same argument works against Wentz. This much can be said though: the Eagles were clearly in love with him. Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson have waxed poetic about Wentz when given the chance since the Senior Bowl and despite any claims that he and Goff were equal prizes in their eyes, Wentz was their man.
Perhaps their evaluation will be wrong, but that can be said of any player at any position. The Eagles have the quarterback they want to have, and that’s about the best position you can be in.
Day 2:Round 3, Pick 79: Isaac Seumalo, G, Oregon State
Seumalo might be more accurately listed as Offensive Lineman, since he played center, tackle, and guard at Oregon State, with most of his starts coming at center. However, at 6-foot-4, 303 pounds, he projects to play on the interior of the line.
He started 37 games in college despite missing the entire 2014 season with a foot injury, and showed in 2015 that he had recovered. Seumalo is the first offensive lineman drafted by the Eagles since Lane Johnson, and the lack of attention paid to the position has been woefully apparent the past two seasons.
While he’ll battle for a starting guard spot from the get-go, Seumalo’s versatility might be an even greater asset given the lack of depth along the Eagles’ line. Seumalo went off the board higher than many had him ranked, but with only one second day pick it’s important the Eagles again got a player they coveted. Seumalo will have to show he’s a better player than some of the running backs available here fans may have coveted.
Day 3:Round 5, Pick 153: Wendell Smallwood, RB, West Virginia
Round 5, Pick 164: Halapoulivaat Vaitai, OT, TCU
Round 6, Pick 196: Blake Countess, CB, Auburn
Round 7, Pick 233: Jalen Mills, S, LSU
Round 7, Pick 240: Alex McCalister, DE, Florida
Roudn 7, Pick 251: Joe Walker, LB, Oregon
The Eagles finally had more than one pick Saturday, but fans who tuned in at noon were still in for a wait, as 53 players went off the board before the Birds had their first pick. Most notably, several running backs expected to go much higher went just picks before the Eagles. They wound up with Wendell Smallwood, the reigning Big 12 rushing champion with a few questionable tweets about Philadelphia in his past. We’ll give him a pass, since most happened while he was pretty young.
Smallwood is one of several day three Eagles selections that may have fallen due to off-the-field question marks. He and Jalen Mills have had legal issues where, to be fair, all charges have since been dropped. Alex McCalister was dismissed from Florida’s football team late in 2015.
This late in the draft, those are chances worth taking as long as the team believes the player has everything sorted out. Their on-field potential is high, and if they build on it, you can get middle-round talent late, which is a necessity when you’re as deprived of mid-round picks as the Birds were.
If they don’t work out, well, they were seventh round picks. Vaitai keeps building the offensive line depth that’s lacking; Countess and McCalister were connected to the team before the draft, so it’s clear their getting players they desired, even this late.
Taking Walker two picks before the end of the draft finally gives them some linebacker depth and, if nothing else, they deprived Chip Kelly of a priority undrafted free-agent.
If Carson Wentz is the quarterback they think he is, A, if he isn’t, F. Welcome to Philly Carson.