After all the Carson Wentz hype died down, the Eagles still had a ton of decisions to make. Here’s what they ended up with:
Round 3, Pick 79
Pro Football Focus gave Seumalo its second-highest grade for pass protection among guards in this year’s draft. Seumalo is solid in both facets of the game. He is not considered a dominant, “road grader” type of blocker, but he is disciplined and gets the job done.
Given the Eagles’ spotty guard play last season, Seumalo should provide an immediate upgrade.
Seumalo started at tackle, center and guard in college.
Seumalo was one of the few picks that Roseman and co. took without any off-field concerns.
Round 5, Pick 153
Now known more for his booty-eatin Tweets than anything else, here’s what Zach Berman had to say about his actual play:
“The 5-foot-10, 208-pound running back led the Big 12 in rushing last season with 1,519 rushing yards. He added nine touchdowns and caught 26 passes out of the backfield, leaving West Virginia after his junior season. Smallwood ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds at the combine.”
Round 5, Pick 164
“Not elite athletically, as far as the pro game is concerned, Vaitai is a candidate to move to the guard position at the next level, but his measurables do compare favorably to other draft candidates like Shon Coleman of Auburn and Gerald Hawkins of LSU. He has good lateral quickness and is a great space eater in the run game, while also being savvy as a pass blocker and aware of what the defense is trying to do each play. Well coached from high school (at Haltom), through his years at TCU, Big V is a high IQ guy who rarely gets fooled on a play.
The concern for an outside lineman in the pro game is the speed of the athletes who rush off the edge for the defense. Without elite quickness or plus athleticism, Vaitai could be a target for the JJ Watt’s and Von Millers of the world – guys who line up and just plain out-athlete you in the race to the QB. Because he isn’t the fastest, or the strongest guy, in the pool, Vaitai is a strong candidate to move inside, where his size and smarts could make him a solid rotational player at either guard position.”
Round 6, Pick 196
Countess wasn’t at the NFL Combine, but impressed the Eagles on his pro day. From Alabama Online:
“Countess, who transferred from Michigan to Auburn for his final season of eligibility, finished with 70 tackles, 11 pass break-ups and two interceptions for the Tigers. He was named the team’s most valuable defensive player.
“He has some decent ball skills,” said NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. “This kid has the ability to make impact plays. He’s a tough kid and showed run-support ability… He made a lot of big plays in his college career at two different programs.”
During Auburn’s Pro Day, Countess logged a 4.46-second 40-yard dash, 36.5-inch vertical leap. He bench pressed 225 pounds 21 times, more than any of the linemen.
Prior to his arrival at Auburn, the Maryland native started 30 games over three seasons for Michigan and tallied 114 stops and six interceptions.”
Round 7, Pick 233
Mills was rated as high as a second round talent by some, but his 2014 arrest for battery didn’t help:
According to a warrant, the woman needed four stitches to close a gash on her lip following an alleged altercation with Mills after she knocked on Mills’ door looking for a friend. A witness corroborated the victim’s story, and both picked Mills out of a photo lineup.
On the field, he’s seen as a tweener, “not fast enough to play cornerback and not big enough to be a true safety.” Mel Kiper was high on him:
Round 7, Pick 240
He’ll need to bulk up (he’s 6’6″, 238 lbs., one inch shorter and 8 lbs. heavier than Kawhi Leonard), but many see McCalister as a designated pass-rusher off the end. He also had some off the field issues:
McCalister was suspended for the Gators’ season opener for a “violation of University Athletic Association policy” and ended the season being dismissed from the program for “violation of team rules.”
But he’s got real potential in his size and speed. Here’s what Pro Football Focus said is his bottom line:
“McCalister didn’t play a lot of snaps over the past two seasons in college, but he did have a decent amount of success beating offensive lineman to the outside as a pass-rusher. At 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds, he has the length but lacks the bulk and strength at this point; however, he has shown enough potential that NFL teams will be interested in harnessing that raw ability and getting the most out of him. McCalister’s best bet may be to “redshirt” early in his career as he continues to fill out his long frame.”
Round 7, Pick 251
The Eagles’ final pick was, quite beautifully, an Oregon Duck. Walker is a 6’2″, 235 pound linebacker, but “no major outlet projected him to go off the board during the seven rounds.” The seventh round (especially late in he seventh round) can be a your chance to take risks like that, and Walker projects as someone who will have to fight to make the squad:
“Walker’s pro day numbers forced some scouts to go back to the film on him. What scouts likely saw was a player with nickel linebacker ability who can play in space and who has the instincts and ability to make it into camp and fight for a spot at the back end of the roster or on the practice squad.”
The people who bestow grades on how teams drafted have mixed feelings about the Eagles’ picks. It comes down to Carson Wentz, full stop. But, Sports Illustrated rated the draft a 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.”
Pro Football Focus gave them the same grade. Here is their analysis of the post-Wentz picks:
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.
Chad Reuter at NFL.com dipped the Eagles down into a C+, though he gave their day 3 picks a B:
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.
Lindsay Jones from USA Today, focusing on Wentz, was not impressed:
The Eagles got the quarterback they wanted in North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz, but how much better are the Eagles now? Starter Sam Bradford reportedly is unhappy after the team traded up so that it could draft Wentz, who doesn’t arrive in the NFL without questions.
So there you have it– the most uninteresting post-round 1 Eagles draft ever.