As of March 6th, the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles have six selections in the 2018 NFL Draft, set to kick off April 26th in Dallas, Tejas.
Here’s what Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas are working with:
- Round 1, pick 32
- Round 4, pick 131 (from the Eric Rowe trade)
- Round 4, pick 132
- Round 5, pick 156 (from the Matt Tobin trade)
- Round 5, pick 169
- Round 6, pick 206
The Birds are tied with three other teams for the fewest selections in the draft, but as domestic litigation attorney Joe Cordell would say, “that’s okay.” There aren’t a ton of holes to fill on a squad that needs salary cap-related roster tweaks, but hardly a makeover.
What, then, are the positions of need?
That’s something I’ll dive into for another story, but if you’re losing one or more of Nigel Bradham, Trey Burton, Beau Allen, or Patrick Robinson in free agency, then I think you can go straight swap here to replace one of those guys. I think you’re okay at cornerback with Sidney Jones coming back and Rasul Douglas available as well, but if Burton walks and Brent Celek is released, you need someone behind Zach Ertz. Using the pick on a third DT behind Fletcher Cox and Tim Jernigan might make a lot of sense, or you can find another linebacker to jump in with Mychal Kendricks and an oft-injured Jordan Hicks.
But we’ll get into that some other time, with a look at the top prospects in those positions.
For this story, I want to look at pick #32 and how teams have used that selection over the last decade.
Ryan Ramczyk, offensive tackle, Wisconsin
New Orleans wound up here after trading Brandin Cooks and a 4th round selection to the Pats for a 1st and 3rd. They used their natural pick to get the studly Marshon Lattimore at #11 overall.
Ramczyk was the second tackle off the board after Garett Bolles went #20 to Denver. He slid right into the starting right tackle job and played every single game this season. The Saints then went on to draft Alvin Kamara and Marcus Williams, so I’d say they knocked it out of the park last April.
Emmanuel Ogbah, defensive end, Oklahoma State
In a quirk, this selection actually took place in the second round of the draft. Reason being, New England had to forfeit their first round draft pick as part of the deflate gate mess. So while Ogbah technically goes down in the books as pick #32, he’s identified as a 2nd round selection.
Ogbah broke his right foot and only played 10 games this season. He logged 4 sacks and 2 forced fumbles and was on pace to match the 53 combined tackles he put up as a rookie.
Joey Bosa, DeForest Buckner, and Shaq Lawson were the defensive ends who were plucked before Ogbah.
— NFL (@NFL) October 1, 2017
Malcom Brown, defensive tackle, Texas
One of the few talented players on a Pats’ defense that allowed 41 points to the Birds in the Super Bowl.
I tend to agree with this post-SB take:
No clue if Patricia will be a good head coach. But you show me where all this talent is on Pats defense. Pretty ridiculous all he got out of that group. It’s Gilmore, McCourty, Malcom Brown and a bunch of dudes.
— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) February 5, 2018
The Pats have to decide if they want to pick up Brown’s 5th year option.
Teddy Bridgewater, quarterback, Louisville
Minnesota traded a second and fourth to Seattle to get back into the first round to select Bridgewater. They snagged linebacker Anthony Barr at 9th overall with their natural pick.
You know the story with Bridgewater, it’s the injuries. What happens to him in free agency this offseason will be one of the more interesting developments around the league.
Matt Elam, safety, Florida
A very good rookie who regressed a bit in his second year then got hit with injuries. He’s only played nine games in the last three seasons and Baltimore fans consider him to be a big bust.
David Wilson, running back, Virginia Tech
Wilson’s career was cut short when he suffered a neck injury in a game against the Eagles back in 2013. Not sure if you remember, but it was this play below, where he was tackled at the goal line by Cedric Thornton and Nate Allen:
Wilson missed the rest of the season with a herniated disc, then felt numbness and nerve problems in training camp the following summer. He quit football at the advice of doctors and moved on with his life.
Derrick Sherrod, offensive tackle, Mississippi State
A promising offensive lineman who broke his leg as a rookie and never recovered.
Patrick Robinson, cornerback, Florida State
He came to Philly, played his ass off, and won a Super Bowl.
Before that, Robinson played three solid seasons with the Saints, missing time in 2010 and 2013 with injuries. He later did one year in San Diego and one in Indy before signing with the Birds. Robinson was the fifth corner off the board in 2010, a crop that included Joe Haden, Kareem Jackson, Devin McCourty, and Kyle Wilson.
Ziggy Hood, defensive tackle, Missouri
A rotational guy who gave the Steelers five decent years. He’s 31 now and has been okay playing the last two seasons for the Redskins. I don’t think Warshington fans are very high on him.
Phillip Merling, defensive end, Clemson
This is similar to 2016, when the Patriots had to forfeit their first-rounder, this time due to the Spygate bullshit. So Merling was technically a second-round pick, even though he was the 32nd player off the board.
He had two decent seasons in a non-starter role before being arrested for battery and seeing his career peter out in 2013.
It’s been hit or miss in the last ten years, but if you want to go back even further, you come across high quality players like Logan Mankins, Mathias Kiwanuka, Ben Watson, and Drew Brees at #32 overall. You also find some clunkers or flame outs in guys like Patrick Ramsey and Anthony Gonzalez.
The pattern over the last ten years seems to suggest that you can get a decent starting quality or rotational defensive lineman with this selection, or an offensive tackle. If the Birds lose Beau Allen to free agency, you can probably find his replacement here, a rookie who can give you those 400 or so snaps you need. Ironically enough, Allen and Derek Barnett finished with 423 and 424 snaps this season, respectively. This is a good interior d-line class, and there are some good linebackers, too, so I think you can find an Allen or Bradham replacement at pick 32.
You don’t need a quarterback or running back, and if you cut Torrey Smith, I think you’re okay with Mack Hollins as a WR3. Corner isn’t a pressing need with Jones coming back. And if Celek goes, do you use a first rounder on a Zach Ertz backup? Doubtful. This is considered a relatively weak tight end class anyway.
If you go offensive tackle, consider that the Patriots pick at #31 and their left tackle, Nate Solder, is a free agent. There are three OTs projected to go in the first found, and they might all be off the board by then.
Of course, trades are always on the table, and you see the Seahawks traded out in 2014. They made a second trade with Detroit and wound up with a 2nd, 4th, and 7th, which turned into Paul Richardson and others.
So the Birds don’t have a lot of picks, but they’ve got some options here, and it looks like they’ll be able to at least replace one of their departing free agents if they stand pat.
For what it’s worth, the Birds haven’t had the 32nd overall pick since 1963, when the draft was only 14 selections per round. They went with center Dave Crossan. We’ll wrap it up with that useless piece of trivia, but hopefully you learned something from the 1,250 prior words.