The 2018 NFL Draft process has begun and I felt it a good time to take a look back at the Philadelphia Eagles 2017 Draft haul. Who is contributing? Who has “busted”? Join me in working through it and remember, the jury is still out on these players, so no grade will be attached, but having a rookie that provides an instant impact is invaluable regardless if the jury is still out or not.
Round 1, 14th Overall: Tennessee DE Derek Barnett
The Tennessee product has been a key contributor in the defensive line rotation. Used in spurts and in pass rushing situations, Barnett has played 45% of the defensive snaps for the Eagles and is credited with 5.0 sacks, which ranks 3rd on the team.
According to Pro Football Focus, Barnett is tied for 2nd among rookies in their pass rush productivity metric, contributing 35 pressures on 290 pass rush snaps. Among edge defenders that have played at least 25% of snaps, Barnett ranks 1st among rookies and 4th in the league in run stop percentage, providing a stop on 11 of only 92 run snaps.
I wrote about Barnett’s impressive day against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 11 (HERE) and have been impressed with his improvement from his college tape to the pros. Coming into the draft, I watched nearly every snap of Barnett’s and documented my findings in a video thread (below).
Ongoing Thread… Eagles 14th Overall Selection TENN EDGE Derek Barnett Eagles 14th Overall Selection.
— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) April 30, 2017
He looks trimmed down with added burst that marries well with his trademark dip-and-rip maneuver. There shouldn’t be any question that Barnett has earned a crack at more snaps and a starting role in the future.
Round 2, 43rd Overall: Washington CB Sidney Jones
Suffering a torn Achilles on the last rep of his Pro Day workout at Washington, Jones has had an uphill battle while recovering in time for the 2017 NFL season. Back practicing with the team as of last week, the hope is he will see the field at some point this year, but the most important aspect for Jones is getting back healthy and to his playing for in college.
“Jones is a tremendous CB prospect with the ability to play in any number of defensive schemes.
Jones has a combination of fluidity, explosiveness, ball skills, length and aggressiveness; offering a skill set that
should be able to immediately transition successfully to the NFL. Jones has strong route awareness and makes
strong reads in the secondary to key on the backfield action in zone action and sustain leverage against routes in
the vicinity simultaneously. .. An Achilles tear at Pro Day robs team of a Day 1 starter in any scheme.” – Kyle Crabbs
Round 3, 99th Overall: West Virginia CB Rasul Douglas
The Eagles went back-to-back on All-Chirp Team worthy cornerbacks by selecting the cocky confident press corner. Douglas has played on 39% of the defensive snaps and has been targeted 49 times for 27 receptions, 360 yards, and 2 touchdowns while hauling in 2 interceptions.
It’s been a solid showing by Douglas playing one of the hardest positions in which to acclimate for rookies. After being gashed by the New York Giants on quick passing concepts, the fan base is thirsty to see more of the disruptive Douglas.
Round 4, 118th Overall: North Carolina WR Mack Hollins
It’s been a somewhat quiet year for Hollins, but he has begun to earn more snaps and is converting targets into catches at an excellent rate. On 125 snaps in route, Hollins has hauled in 13 of 17 targets for 201 yards, placing him 2nd among Eagles for yards per route run at 1.61.
Hollins added value comes from his special teams contribution, where he plays over 50% of the teams’ snaps. With the team likely moving on from WR Torrey Smith after this season, Hollins has certainly earned a look as a potential WR2 solution.
Round 4, 132nd Overall: San Diego State RB Donnel Pumphrey
Pumphrey struggled to make an impact and predictably unfortunately ended up on injured reserve with a torn hamstring. The all-time leading FCS rusher will have a fight on his hands in regard to making the roster next year.
— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) January 28, 2017
Round 5, 166th Overall: West Virginia WR Shelton Gibson
Gibson was billed as a take-the-top-off deep threat coming out of college after racking up +20 yards per catch in two consecutive seasons for the Mountaineers. His training camp bout with the drops derailed his rookie campaign, leading to him only playing on 4 offensive snaps for the Eagles. He has also struggled to see the field as a return specialist, with the role largely being filled by RB Kenjon Barner.
WVU WR Shelton Gibson: previous play was PI on inside release.. vs Man 2, inside release, bends away from S and stacks CB, great tracking pic.twitter.com/PE0PL17I2R
— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) April 1, 2017
Gibson will have to display more consistent hands to earn playing time next year.
Round 5, 184th Overall: Nebraska SAF Nate Gerry
Suffering a hamstring injury in a preseason game against the Miami Dolphins, Gerry has only seen special teams snaps which occurred after special teams ace Chris Maragos was placed on injured reserve. Gerry could play a role in a big nickel package in the future, but that isn’t likely until next year.
— Josh Planos (@JPlanos) September 10, 2016
Round 6, 214th Overall: Washington DL Elijah Qualls
Having only played 67 snaps in his rookie campaign, Qualls is still a raw product in need of refinement that has struggled to beat out backups Destiny Vaeao and Beau Allen for more playing time.
Matchups to watch in Cleveland
On today’s Locked On Eagles:
A look at the key matchups for Sunday’s matchup with the Cleveland Browns.
How will the Eagles defend the Nick Chubb-Kareem Hunt backfield?
Is this the game Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz finally get things right?
Wentz Wednesday: Week 11
On today’s Locked On Eagles:
Carson Wentz went from looking like Jameis Winston all year to Sam Bradford on Sunday
Evaluating the inconsistencies in Wentz’s throwing mechanics that were apparent against New York
Wentz deserves blame without always steering the attention to Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman
Doug and Howie on the hot seat?
On today’s Locked On Eagles:
Even in a first place position…..it is time to think big picture with the Eagles
Are Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman safe beyond 2020?
Should Jeffery Lurie continue to be patient or is a shake-up needed?