The Philadelphia Eagles season ended only a week ago, but it’s not too early to look ahead at the NFL Draft. Today’s article won’t dive deep into the draft class, and look at the prospects (although you will get plenty of that content on our website soon), I want to evaluate how important this draft will be.
It seems as though every year this year, “Is the most important year!”, and “The Eagles most important draft ever!!”. I won’t be going to those extremes but I will say that if the Eagles want to win Carson Wentz, this is the draft class that determines his success with the Eagles. The Eagles built their 2017 Super Bowl winning team through free agency, yet many it was supported by key pieces in previous draft classes. Yet, to build a team that wins consistently like the Patriots, Saints, and even the Seahawks, the team will need a constant influx of young talent.
The Eagles have the 21st overall selection in the first round of the 2020 draft. So by basic logic it will be harder for the Eagles to land a future hall of famer with a later selection in the draft.
“I told you I’d rather have them lose the division and get better pick!”, which I’m assuming some readers or friends of the readers may think. I’m not going into a full breakdown with how wrong that statement is, but I will explain how the Eagles still have a great chance to add to the success of the team. The last three first selections the Eagles have made in the last three drafts consist of Derrek Barnnet, Dallas Godert, and Andre Dillard. The books not sent on any of these cases but it seems so far that it’s average. Of course a lot will still be determined in future years but nothing insane up to this point. When I mean “insane”, I mean a player that is clearly going to be one of the bests for future years.
Draft selection success makes teams the best and the worst over decades, not years. One of the best dynasties in sports history, the New England Patriots, showed weakness this year, much to our delight. Yes, they have an aging QB who is 42 years old, but draft selection sunk the dynasty. The Patriots last three first selections were Cyrus Jones, Sony Michel, and N’Keal Harry. That would be considered “not insane”, so you can see how clearly the Patriots have fallen to the point where they can’t continue to add youth to the team. In order not to fall into the path, the Eagles have to be better than average and find “the guy” in this years draft.
Right now the Eagles are still feeling the effects of Marcus Smith debacle, because Smith who was draft in 2014 would have been heading into his seventh year which would be considered the peak of a players prime in the NFL. So with no emerging star, and with no emerging anything since Smith had a terrible career with the Eagles, the team needs to hope that the draft selections like Derreck Barnett, Dallas Godert, and Andre Dillard start to emerge sooner rather than later.
I think we can agree that the Eagles will be in a solid position headed into next year. Not great, but definitely not terrible. The Eagles saw what they needed out of QB Carson Wentz so fully be confident that he has the capability to lead the Eagles team to the playoffs. With that Wentz desperately needs help, and not all of those will be addressed in the draft of course, yet some need to. It’s probably too much to ask if the Eagles draft a player and that same player in his rookie season is one of the main reasons that they could be headed deep into the playoffs. Now of course the Eagles first selected rookie will play an important part, but we have to stay realistically.
So staying on that logic, the Eagles first overall selection won’t fully be impactful for the first year, to the capabilities of an all-pro or pro bowl player. With that it would be expected that this player is good enough to contribute for the team’s future. Which brings me to my main statement. This draft class won’t have as significant implications for the 2020 season, but will for the definition of the Eagles 2020s. I know it’s only 2020 right now but, the youth that is drafted in this years draft class will be the critical element that puts the Eagles into continued success than just a “one-year run”.