Eagles Don't Deserve Flak Because Draft Didn't Go Exactly How You Want

There seems to be an inordinate amount of angst over the Eagles' decisions in the 2017 NFL Draft, even more so than normal. Just look at this list of grievances.

  • Chose Derek Barnett over Reuben Foster or best player available at No. 14
  • Took Sidney Jones No. 43 despite Achilles injury
  • Missed out on Dalvin Cook, failed to fill need at running back
  • Didn't trade Mychal Kendricks and/or Jason Kelce
  • Doug Pederson stood off to the side during Howie Roseman's press conferences

Frankly, these complaints range from nitpicky to over the top. When it comes to the draft, nobody knows how any of the prospects are going to turn out, so the level of critique that follows in the days or moments after the picks are in is always absurd. Yet, this year it feels like if the Eagles didn't do exactly what fans or analysts wanted or thought they should, the draft was not a success.

It's kind of a shame, because from top to bottom, the Eagles may have assembled their most talented roster in years between free agency and the draft. And with the amount of needs that still remained heading into the draft, there was no way they could address them all sufficiently.

While not everybody will agree, the Eagles appeared to make the most of their draft -- just not necessarily in the specific way some people would've liked. That's unfortunate, because there's honestly very little com plain about.

Barnett/Foster/No. 14

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First of all, there's a reason Foster slipped to No. 31, despite predictions to the contrary. The idea the Eagles should've taken an injury-prone linebacker with off-field concerns 17 picks earlier than he eventually went is complete malarkey and just goes to show he was vastly overrated.

Most people did seem to come around on Barnett, an uber-productive pass rusher from an SEC program, which is nice. He's a great choice at a position of great need. I can only think of one reason to dislike the pick, which is he was not the player you preferred. That doesn't mean Barnett was the wrong choice.

Keep in mind, a lot of folks studied these players for the better part of a year and make their livelihood doing so. That doesn't mean they always get it right, either, but when 30 other teams pass on a guy, that certainly says something.

Jones/Achilles

Jones' injury is a legitimate concern, and if somebody feels a torn Achilles wasn't worth the gamble in the second round, that's totally justified. Quincy Wilson went four picks later, and some felt he was a first-round talent, too, without the medical red flag.

Maybe Jones makes a full recovery, maybe he's never the same. It's a gamble, but it's not a gamble on a "first-round talent." Many considered Jones the best cornerback in the entire class, which means he was a possible top-10 pick. At 100 percent, he could be a shutdown defender and perennial Pro Bowl selection. At what point in the draft does that become worth the risk?

Apparently, not in the second to some people. Fair enough. Jones is a member of the Eagles now, though, so you might as well take the optimistic viewpoint now. Remember, the draft is a crapshoot to begin with, and like any prospect -- even Foster -- it's always going to be a guessing game.

Running back

Again, there was probably no way for the Eagles to address their need for another pass rusher, multiple starting-caliber cornerback prospects AND find the answer at running back. And if there was one position that had to take a back seat in 2017, ball carrier was probably the right choice.

The Eagles couldn't really help the fact that the Vikings traded up and snagged Cook two picks ahead of No. 43, either.

Regardless, running back isn't necessarily the monumental issue it's been made out to be. They didn't come away completely empty-handed with Donnel Pumphrey, who could be the next Darren Sproles or better in the Eagles offense. Ryan Mathews remains an option as well, if he gets healthy, as is adding a veteran at some point down the road -- it looks like Jamaal Charles will soon be off the market, but LeGarrette Blount is still out there.

No Kendricks or Kelce trade

Kendricks was the one player I was fairly certain would get traded over draft weekend, but he's back and not going anywhere for the time being. One report suggested the Eagles' asking price was too high, which if that's the case, you have to wonder why. He's unhappy and contributed next to nothing last season.

Seeing as the Eagles didn't draft a single offensive lineman, Kelce sticking around probably isn't a bad thing. The Pro Bowl center has become an easy target of ridicule, but is generally okay. At the very least, he provides depth at an important position, and there's no reason to complain about that.

Perhaps some team will come down with a Sam Bradford-like need at linebacker or center this summer, and a trade goes through then. In the meantime, Kendricks and Kelce are here, which only adds to the competition and overall level of talent on the roster. While another draft pick or two might've been nice, this isn't exactly the worst situation in the world, either.

Pederson marginalized?

By far the oddest story to come out ofthe weekend is about Pederson's role in organization. At least a couple of reporters wrote stories about the Eagles head coach standing off to the side during post-draft pick press conferences, as if it was somehow symbolic of his standing with the team. The suggestion is Pederson had little input in the process of choosing players.

That may be, but Pederson wasn't the only person who stood off to the side. So did vice president of player personnel, Joe Douglas. Rather than setting up a table with three microphones so all three can field questions at the same time, the Eagles insist on doing this awkward podium swap, and have for some time now. There's nothing to read into it other than questionable management.

At one point toward the end of Friday night, vice president of football operations Howie Roseman stepped aside and actually insisted reporters question Pederson and Douglas. In other words, regardless of Pederson's current standing with the team, his media availability had nothing to do with anything, and there's absolutely no reason to read anything into it at all.

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