NFL Draft Grades: “Eagles’ Day 1 draft haul might be the best of any team”

The Eagles traded up to select Georgia defensive tackle and Chuck Bednarik Award winner Jordan Davis with the No. 13 overall pick in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Oh, and they traded for freaking AJ Brown!

Now it’s time to see what the so-called “experts” are saying about these moves. Instant draft grades are hardly the be-all, end-all determination of whether a pick is actually good or not … but they’re still fun to look at.

Eagles fans grade (A)

Let’s get things started by looking at how Eagles fans reacted to the Davis pick here at Bleeding Green Nation. It’s clear that most weren’t upset by the move. But the extent of excitement varied.

The Brown trade was more popular:

My grade (A)

Leading up to the draft, I said Howie Roseman would deserve an A + if he found a way to land both Davis and Jameson Williams. He did not do that … but it wasn’t really his fault with the Detroit Lions trading up in a big way to take Jamo at No. 12. The Eagles having to “settle” for landing for Brown is a pretty great “consolation prize.” The Birds needed needle-movers and that’s exactly what they aimed for with these acquisitions.

There are some common criticisms of these moves that are worth pushing back on.

For Davis, it’s that he’s not a big-time pass rusher. I’m not going to say the lack of sack production is a total non-issue but it’s more overblown than not. Tell me this guy can’t rush the passer:

Sure, that’s just one clip. But the impact that Davis has is apparent throughout his film. The following breakdown is a must watch:

The “too long; didn’t watch ”version is that Georgia didn’t really allow him to fire up the field and get after the quarterback. And there was a philosophical coaching strategy behind that approach. Pretty interesting stuff.

As for Brown, I’ve seen some question if it makes sense to pay big money to a receiver if Hurts might not be able to maximize him in a run-heavy offense. It’s certainly fair to wonder if the Eagles can excel with a higher volume passing offense after struggling in that regard last year. But Brown should help make Hurts a better QB with his top-notch RAC ability. Also, Brown only being 24 years old means he’ll be around for years to come. If Hurts fails to establish himself as The Guy, he’ll be around for the next QB.

Trading up for Davis and giving a big contract to Brown means the Eagles had to give up more resources than they ideally would’ve. That much holds me back from giving it an A + … but we’re kind of splitting hairs at this point. The bottom line is the Eagles got two potential difference-makers that change the direction of the franchise for the better.

Very strong work by Howie Roseman and co.

Now for more hot takes and draft grades from “experts” around the web.

It feels like GM Howie Roseman won the first round before it even started, after making a number of big-time trades dating back to last offseason’s Carson Wentz deal with Indianapolis. Of course, to truly benefit, Roseman had to make Round 1 count. I projected the Eagles moving up for Davis in previous mock drafts because they desperately needed to improve their run defense. His ability to eat up double-teams will make veteran Fletcher Cox and last year’s third-round pick, Milton Williams, even better up front. The athleticism Davis showed at the NFL Scouting Combine was outstanding, and when given a gap to shoot in Georgia’s defense, he made his way into the backfield. As long as Davis stays in shape, he will prove to be more than a one-trick pony, affecting passing lanes with his pure size. Roseman turned Philly’s second first-round pick (No. 18) into former Titans receiver AJ Brown, whom they immediately gave a four-year extension worth $ 100 million with $ 57 million guaranteed. That’s better than picking any receiver in this draft, so you have to hand it to the Eagles’ staff for making great moves on Day 1.

Davis is a force in the middle who I absolutely saw as a potential Ravens target. This made the jump necessary in my opinion, and they get an anchor at DT. Davis’ athleticism as a 300+ pound tackle is ridiculous, and while he’s not a penetrating pass rusher, he can shove a lineman back into a QB’s pocket and make life difficult.

The Eagles flipped a trio of day-three picks (nos. 124, 162, and 166) to the Texans to move up from 15 to get in front of the Ravens here, grabbing one of the most unique and exciting players in this entire draft . Davis is a mountain of a man with extraordinary athleticism and a run-stuffing, early-down enforcer. You’d like a bit more in a first-round pick (especially one you trade up to get), but if Philly can cultivate Davis’s untapped pass-rush potential, this could go down as one of the biggest steals of the draft.

The Ringer also wrote an entire separate article just about the Eagles’ moves. Bold emphasis mine:

The Philadelphia Eagles‘Day 1 draft haul might be the best of any NFL team. They entered Thursday night possessing 10 overall draft picks — tied for the fourth most — including five in the top 101. That kind of stash gave general manager Howie Roseman plenty of capital to be aggressive once the draft kicked off, and he didn’t disappoint . Philadelphia drafted a foundational defender in Georgia lineman Jordan Davis and traded for one of the NFL’s best young wideouts in AJ Brown to emerge as one of Thursday night’s biggest winners.

When Davis took the field, he served as a legitimate difference-maker along Georgia’s defensive interior. He didn’t play an expansive role in the Bulldogs ’defensive rotation, though. The coaching staff didn’t need him to play more than 35-45 percent of the snaps since Georgia’s defense was so loaded. Davis’ projections may be limited based on usage, but his ability is certainly evident if he’s asked to become a focal point. At worst, he’s an elite run defender. At best, he’s a three-down, one-man wrecking crew. Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman believes in building through the trenches. As such, he felt compelled to jump ahead of the Baltimore Ravens and make sure the Eagles landed a truly unique talent in Davis. The trade-up was only two picks, but Roseman clearly felt Davis was the Ravens’ guy. So he manipulated the draft to his team’s benefit. Davis will benefit Philadelphia by adding a massive interior talent to a group that already features Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox. The pick feels like a setup to eventually move beyond Cox, who turns 32 this year. Roseman is simply preparing for the inevitable by making a move for a unicorn at the defensive tackle position.

This is a heck of a pick for the Eagles. They needed to get a power player inside with age becoming a problem there. Davis will be a three-down player in the NFL, even if some don’t think he will. The Eagles will be much better against the run – that’s for sure.

The Eagles gave up a fourth (124) and two fifths (162 and 166) to move up from 15 to 13. Davis (6-foot-6, 341) is one of the most intriguing players in the draft. He won the Chuck Bednarik Award as college football’s best defensive player last year. Then he blew up the combine, running the 40 in 4.78 seconds and delivering one of the most impressive athletic testing performances we’ve ever seen. So what’s the problem? Davis had just two sacks last year, and Georgia took him off the field in obvious passing situations. He averaged just 25.2 snaps per game. The case for Davis: If a team can unlock his pass rush, he has the ceiling of a true game-wrecker and one of the best defensive players in football. But if that doesn’t happen, you’re spending a first-round pick on a player who might not impact the game on third down or in the final two minutes of close games. I changed my mind on Davis a hundred times during the pre-draft process. But I have no issue with the Eagles taking a big swing here, given the upside.

Leapfrogging the Ravens (a team heavily connected with Davis), the Eagles miss out on a receiver but land this draft’s unicorn. He’s a dancing bear with rare athleticism for a man this massive. Can he rush the passer? Play more than 30-35 snaps per game? We don’t know. But the Eagles haven’t had a player like this in recent memory. This is a boom-or-bust pick, but we feel good about it. This can dramatically change the way teams attack the Eagles.

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