Grading the grades for the Eagles’ NFL Draft picks

Every media outlet that covers the NFL Draft does post-draft grades. They are all meaningless. Here’s a recap of some.

There is no more useless NFL Draft-related exercise than a mock draft. One trade, or one gasmask bong-puffing video, and every pundits’ mock draft goes up in smoke.

Hours upon hours of research gets put into the mock drafts—player ratings, team needs, industry scuttlebutt—and in an instant, all that work is useless.

Say what you want about post-draft grades, but at least they don’t take as much work. Every media outlet that covers the NFL Draft does post-draft grades. Heck, some places do more than one, and some give out grade for each round, or even each pick. It’s insane.

Minutes after the draft is over, the NFL gurus charged with grading prospects turn to grading the teams that drafted them.

Putting any stock in how a team grades out is preposterous this early after the draft ends. It’s impossible to know how a player in the sixth round is going to fare, how a third-round offensive lineman is going to fit in on a team by September…

Or if a quarterback a team gave up a ton of picks to move up to No. 2 to select is going to turn into a franchise quarterback.

For example.

And yet, people love grading things, and subsequently arguing about those grades. So people do them, and others laugh when people write about the Seattle Seahawks getting an F in the 2012 draft (Mel Kiper of ESPN gave them a C-, for what that’s worth)—the year they took Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson in the first three rounds—because we’re all idiots, and we know nothing about any of this.

Here is who the Eagles picked in this year’s draft. What grade would you give them? I’ll give them an “incomplete.”

Now, here’s what the pundits are saying about the Eagles draft. The grades vary, for sure, mostly depending on how people view the trade to get Carson Wentz. Here’s a look at some of the top pundits, and what they thought of the Eagles’ draft:

Pete Prisco – CBS Sports – B-

Best pick: Third-round pick Isaac Seumalo will come in and push for a starting job right away. He’s a tough kid who will fight.

Questionable move: Trading all the picks they did to move up and take Carson Wentz will be questioned by a lot of people. I like the aggressive approach to fill a need, but if Wentz doesn’t pan out, it will set the franchise back.

Third-day gem: Seventh-round corner Jalen Mills of LSU had much better talent than where he was picked. He could end up being a steal.

Analysis: Their entire draft will be defined by what Wentz becomes. If he’s a star, it’s a great draft. If not, it’s a bad one. They love him. I don’t. So time will tell. I do like the aggressive approach to make the move to get him.

Grade: B-

Rob Rang – CBS Sports – B

Kudos to the Eagles for the aggressive trade up to land Carson Wentz, who possesses the athletic tools to succeed in Doug Pederson’s offense as well as the intangibles needed to handle the pressure of Philadelphia. Like many, I was skeptical of Wentz’s production against FCS competition until watching him in person at the Senior Bowl. Durability was an issue for Wentz at NDSU as it was for the Eagles’ next pick, blocker Isaac Seumalo.

Like Wentz, however, the talent with Seumalo is obvious, with his best fit in the NFL inside at guard rather than left tackle as he was asked to play, at times, for the Beavers. Of the Eagles’ six Day 3 selections, I’m highest on former LSU defensive back Jalen Mills and TCU offensive lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Running back Wendell Smallwood could also surprise.

Grade: B

Mel Kiper – ESPN – C

It’s hard to give the Eagles an above-average grade just based on the draft value they gave away to get up to No. 2, where they are drafting a player I really like in Carson Wentz, but a real mystery in terms of when he’ll be ready to handle the starting job in an NFL offense. The problem is, even though I like Wentz, I wasn’t a fan of the value elsewhere on the board as well. I had Isaac Seumalo as a reach in the third, and I had a number of other running backs ahead of Wendell Smallwood when he came off the board in Round 5.

I think they were smart to target the O-line a couple of times, including Halapoulivaati Vaitai in the fifth, but I’m surprised they didn’t add a wide receiver at any point, or a cornerback earlier than Jalen Mills in Round 7, though he could be a good value. Hey, they got the QB they wanted, so the grade going forward is all wrapped in him, but they definitely paid for it.

Chad Reuter – NFL.com – C+

  • Day 1 grade: C
  • Day 2 grade: C
  • Day 3 grade: B
  • Overall grade: C+

The skinny: The Eagles are gambling big (gave up CB Byron Maxwell, LB Kiko Alonso, 2017 first-round pick, two top-100 picks this year, 2018 second-rounder) on the ability of Carson Wentz to become a legitimate top-tier starter. We’ll see.

Howie Roseman had just one pick in the third round after the trade for Wentz. Seumalo is an athletic guard prospect who should play well for them.

I like Smallwood as a complement to Ryan Mathews, and Countess was a solid pick for depth in the secondary. Countess, Mills, and McCalister will make a difference.

Doug Farrar – Sports Illustrated – B

The Eagles traded a king’s ransom to move up and select Carson Wentz as the future of their franchise. It’s a good pick in that Wentz is the most pro-ready of all the elite quarterbacks in this class, but with so much money already tied up in Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel, Howie Roseman will be filling a lot of holes with lesser picks for a while. Philly’s strategy after Wentz in this draft was… interesting. Oregon State interior lineman Isaac Seumalo could be a guard or center at the next level.

West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood is a decent player with pass-blocking ability. TCU offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai is a powerful player with limited athleticism who will probably have to kick inside to guard. The steals came in the later rounds: sixth-round cornerback Blake Countess is an efficient and underrated defender, and LSU cornerback/safety Jalen Mills should have gone a lot higher than the seventh round. It was most likely Mills’s injury history that scared teams off.  —DF

Steve Palazzolo – Pro Football Focus – B

Day 1: After the big trade with Cleveland to move up to No. 2, the Eagles got their man in Wentz. He has the big arm to drive deep outs and comebacks, and those skills should be put to use in a vertical passing system 15- to 25-yard range. He graded well on a snap-for-snap basis, but there are concerns with his timing, deep accuracy and ability to make plays under pressure. Wentz goes to a good situation with a coaching staff that is well-versed in developing various styles of quarterback.

Day 2: Seumalo is one of our favorite guards, as he rarely loses in the running game, and he only surrendered four pressures last year despite starting the last three games at left tackle.

Day 3:  Smallwood is a good zone runner and he posted the 11th-best run grade in the class. Vaitai had the 16th-best grade in the tackle class in 2014, posting positives in pass protection and the run game, but his work in the run game took a step back in 2015. McCalister is a pass-rush specialist that picked up pressure to the outside at the seventh-best rate in the class, but he has no power to his game as a rusher or against the run.

Evan Silva – Rotoworld.com – C

Overview: Eagles GM Howie Roseman made a YOLO aggressive pre-draft move to land Wentz, sending Cleveland third- (77) and fourth-round picks (100), Philly’s 2017 first-rounder, and its 2018 second-round pick in exchange for just a six-spot jump in round one. That left the Eagles with two selections inside the top 150, and prevented Roseman from acquiring a starting-caliber cornerback, which was very much needed. Seumalo could get an early look for snaps at left guard, while fifth-round sleeper Smallwood combines 4.47 speed with an above-average running back build (5’11/208).

Vaitai, McCalister, and Walker are day-three long shots. Countess is a 184-pound slot corner, while Mills is a ‘tweener safety/corner. Like the Rams, the Eagles’ draft is tough to grade because the results are so heavily tied to Wentz’s development. This could be a franchise-changing draft, or it could be a killer.

Dan Kadar – SB Nation – C+

Best pick: Seumalo – He’s started at four different positions in college and that versatility will allow the Eagles to put together the best possible line they can.

Questionable pick: Wentz – Questionable doesn’t automatically mean bad. But the Eagles gave up a ton to take a quarterback with just 612 pass attempts.

As expected, the Eagles took Wentz with the second overall pick. If he pays off, the Eagles have a franchise quarterback. If he doesn’t, it’s the type of pick that guts the roster because of what Philadelphia gave up to get him. Isaac Suemalo isn’t a sexy choice in the third round, but don’t be surprised if he becomes a dependable starter for years, whether it’s at guard or center. Wendell Smallwood is an elusive back who will make defenders miss. He’ll be a solid third-down player for the Eagles and may work on special teams. In the sixth round, the Eagles added an experienced dime corner in Blake Countess. The Eagles followed that up with a nice pick in Jalen Mills, an experienced defensive back who can play safety and cornerback.

Overall grade: C+

Alec Nathan – Bleacher Report – C+

Danny Webster – Bleacher Report – A-

Much like the Rams, the Eagles bet the farm on a quarterback and got Carson Wentz. Will he be better than Jared Goff?

×