Summary: The Philadelphia Eagles did a great job using the 2022 NFL Draft to set themselves up for both the short- and long-term. The additions of AJ Brown (via trade), Jordan Davis, and Nakobe Dean (if healthy) all stand to help the Eagles continue to build on their 2021 success, while Cam Jurgens and the 2023 draft capital they acquired from New Orleans leave them in good shape next offseason to replace aging veterans and perhaps add a quarterback.
The AJ Brown Trade:
You can’t grade the Eagles’ first-round without including the acquisition of AJ Brown. Jalen Hurts hasn’t done enough to solidify his long-term status as Philly’s franchise quarterback, but he’s also lacked the sufficient surrounding talent to be effectively evaluated.
With Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert, Hurts now has the weapons where the time for excuses is over. With Brown and Smith both locked up for the next four years, the Eagles are also positioned to put a new quarterback in a tailor-made situation if they opt to move on from Hurts next offseason.
Jordan Davis (Pick 13):
With the pick they actually used, Philadelphia jumped ahead of the Baltimore Ravens to add Jordan Davis, a physical freak in the interior whose ceiling is easy to dream on. Fletcher Cox is back in the fold, but as he and Brandon Graham continue to age, the Eagles desperately needed an infusion of young talent along the defensive line.
Any team that selected Davis was going to be tasked with figuring out what his ideal NFL playing weight and snap count needs to be. Having Cox still in the mix for at least this season makes the Eagles the perfect team for Davis, who can be taken off the field as needed without the defense suffering. Giving the Georgia product a patient environment and an accomplished mentor sets him up to chase his ceiling.
You can argue that perhaps the Eagles should have prioritized a corner like Trent McDuffie, or a three-down player like Devin Lloyd with the 13th pick. But it’s hard to argue with taking such a rare commodity in Davis.
Cam Jurgens (Pick 51):
The Eagles’ selection of Cam Jurgens at Pick 51 continued an earlier-than-expected run on interior offensive linemen, though mock drafts started to warm to the idea of Jurgens as a mid-second round selection in the week leading up to the draft.
If you were looking for the Eagles to get aggressive and make a “win-now” move with their second-rounder, this pick likely came as a disappointment. Jurgens will likely sit behind Jason Kelce for a year before taking over as the starting center in 2023.
But like Davis, Jurgens steps into a spot where he has time to learn and an enthusiastic mentor in Kelce. And with Lane Johnson also starting to get up in age, it was critical for the Eagles to add another young talent to the offensive line alongside Landon Dickerson.
A case could have been made for a pass rusher like Nik Bonitto or Drake Jackson here. But with Cole Strange already off the board and Luke Fortner going before Philly’s next pick, this was the spot to find Kelce’s heir if they were going to do it.
Nakobe Dean (Pick 83):
Nakobe Dean reportedly slid because of medical concerns, but could prove to be one of the steals of the draft if he winds up healthy enough to suit up in 2022.
One of the biggest criticisms of Dean entering the draft was that he only made the plays he did because he was playing behind Jordan Davis at Georgia. Even if those concerns were valid, they’re no longer a concern as he follows Davis into the NFL with the Eagles.
Howie Roseman has consistently chosen not to invest major resources into the linebacker position, and could find himself vindicated if Dean realizes his potential. He’s a great value play by the Eagles, and even if the injury concerns prove valid, the 83rd pick is a relatively small gamble to take on such a talented player.
Kyron Johnson (Pick 181):
Kyron Johnson further fortifies the Eagles’ linebacker group with a quality backup that can be effective as a blitzer. Johnson had 6.5 sacks and four forced fumbles as a senior at Kansas, so he’ll be best-utilized playing downfield when he’s given opportunities to make plays behind the line of scrimmage. In the sixth round, Johnson’s a good find who should be able to carve out a role as a depth and special teams player.
Grant Calcaterra (Pick 198):
The Eagles haven’t had much behind Dallas Goedert at tight end since sending Zach Ertz to the Arizona Cardinals last year, and decided to supplement their current group with SMU’s Grant Calcaterra. Calcaterra profiles as a flex tight end who twice went for over 90 receiving yards in 2021. His biggest concern stems from a previous medical retirement in college due to concussion issues. Jack Stoll and Tyree Jackson shouldn’t stand in his way of seizing at least the TE3 job in training camp, if not TE2.
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