Eagles: Grading the 2020 Draft Class

The Eagles and Howie Roseman made 10 selections over the past three days. Here’s a grade for each individual selection, and the draft as a whole. 

Rd 1 (21) Jalen Reagor, WR TCU

Grade: A

Reagor is a ball-hawk with the quickness profile of Golden Tate and the speed profile of Desean Jackson—that’s the most readily available way to put it for Eagles fans. 

There was little reason to dislike this pick unless you were hearing his name for the first time on Thursday night, in which case you can definitely be forgiven for an impulsive response. 

There’s very little angles to knock Reagor. You can chirp about his height, but his leaping ability, timing, and ball skills downfield are exceptional—this dude climbs the ladder with the best of ‘em.

You could maybe say there are “drops” but not in the sense that Agholor dropped the ball. Reagor’s drops are what you would call “concentration drops,” meaning he got lazy on wide-open shallow crossers, or when he was wide open and would look to run-after-catch before securing the football. This is such a common problem for draft prospects it’s almost silly to mention. Especially since Reagor has some of the best contested-ball skills in the class—great body control, plucky hands. You’d have to be an idiot to think he was Agholor 2.0. 

Rd 2 (53) Jalen Hurts, QB Alabama/OU

Grade: F

Hurts has average to above-average athleticism but is a developmental project as far as pre-snap and post-snap reads go, and he’ll need to repair some rough mechanics to maximize his limited arm strength in the NFL. He’s not going to be a quality backup for at least a few years—that’s pretty much a lock. 

If you think he’ll be Taysom Hill 2.0 fine, he’s not nearly the player that Hill was at BYU, but I won’t fight that comparison tooth and nail. My only concern is that people don’t realize how little Taysom Hill has to do with the Saints offense and their success. Saints fans are literally the first to tell you that they don’t care about the guy—his reputation has been bolstered by hype-beasts and casual spectators alike, he’s not a difference maker. 

Rd 3 (103) Javion Taylor, LB Colorado 

Grade: B

Speed, speed, speed. We knew heading into the offseason that Howie wanted speed and he delivered on both sides of the ball. 

Taylor has sideline-to-sideline speed and his short area burst to close on ball-carriers is scary. He may be a light 230 but he’s a willing tackler who loves to get involved in the mess. His coverage ability is already better than you would expect, and if he can continue to develop in this area he’ll be a sneaky addition at 103. 

He could definitely develop into somewhat of a Lb/S hybrid, and feels like the perfect dollar-backer to man the mike position in sub-packages. 

Rd 4 (127) K’Von Wallace, S Clemson 

Grade: B+

K’Von is quickly becoming a fan favorite for his swagger. 

He’s a versatile defensive back who’s at his best near the LOS. Clemson liked to use him as a blitzer attacking the D-gap where he was effective, and he holds up well in the run game. Wallace plays with a rare desire to lay people out, and it’s hard not to fall in love with his aggressive on-field demeanor. 

He doesn’t have sticky coverage skills, but his good instincts and reactive athleticism in zone coverage is what appeals to Jim Schwartz. 

As long as he’s in a system that limits exposure to his weaknesses (which is the case here) then there’s really no reason to knock Wallace. He can immediately compete for the dime/third-safety role where his skillset is perfectly suited. 

Rd 4 (145) Jack Driscoll, OL Auburn 

Grade: B

You can never knock offensive line depth, and Driscoll is the perfect body to grab at this point of the draft. 

The biggest assets he has are impressive hand-technique and good functional balance and mobility—a nice foundation to build off of. He could stand to get stronger but he is what he is. He plays with a high-IQ and has the right skills to stick at right tackle or kick inside to guard. 

He’s not the greatest overall prospect but his skillset will be maximized in Doug’s west coast offense, where Driscoll’s sneaky talent on the second-level will be put to use.

Rd 5 (164) John Hightower, WR Boise St.

Grade: B –

There really wasn’t any kidding when this wide receiver class was pegged as the deepest in recent history. Hightower looks like an easy third/fourth-round prospect in most classes, and somehow the Eagles grab him at 164. The first thing that stood out to me on tape was Hightowers ability to release on the outside—best I can tell he’s as polished as they come. 

Be careful not pigeon-hole him as a vertical threat, the Desean comp doesn’t quite cover his skillset. Hightower is capable of breaking off routes with good fluidity to create decent separation. He’ll also be a good asset in manufactured touch situations where he can take advantage of his RAC-ability and the change-of-direction skillset we see as a returner. 

The big problem with Hightower is ball skills. He has a mean case of the drops, and he doesn’t look all that natural when trying to win contested-catch situations. I’m assuming that’s why he was available this late in the draft. 

Rd 6 (196) Shaun Bradley, LB Temple

Grade: C +

Bradley is an undersized inside linebacker who plays fast and is an average-to-solid processor with good instincts. I absolutely won’t discount the possibility of him starting in base downs for the Eagles some day given his speed and clear nose for the football, but he has little room for error given a lack of size, explosiveness, or twitch.

Still, if he can flow to football quickly without wasted movement he’ll find himself in the right position more often that not. Best case scenario, I would peg him as a future weak side linebacker in base sets, who’s ability to handle simple zone responsibility will keep him on the field in some nickel-packages. 

Rd 6 (200) Quez Watkins, WR So. Miss.

Grade: B +

“Quez Watkins” just sounds like the name of a wide receiver. Not only does he pass the name-test but he passes the combine-test as well. 

For the most part he punked the lower competition in the C-USA, and at the combine he ran the third fastest 40 at 4.35. He’s not incredibly explosive, but speed is speed and you don’t want to let him get going vertically cause he’ll blow right by you. He’s only 6’0” but great body control, good high-point ability, and a long wingspan gives him an impressive catch radius. 

If he’s ever going to make it at the next level he absolutely needs to improve his release. He struggles getting-off against physical press coverage and that’s concerning given his limited route tree. He’s not a loose enough runner to play consistently from the slot, as he makes the most sense running vertical routes, comebacks, and dig patterns. 

Rd 6 (210) Prince Tega, OT Auburn 

Grade: B –

Can’t complain about adding more bodies to the offensive line; Prince grew up a soccer and basketball player, so he understandably has the foundational athleticism and talented feet that make a tackle prospect.  

He could be longer, but he does a good job of staying in front of rushers and using quick hands to throw them off balance. He’s a developmental project for sure, but he has plenty of upside. He’s most raw as a run-blocker right now, but I don’t see any reason why he can’t become average in this area given his physical traits. 

Rd 7 (233) Casey Toohill, EDGE Stanford

Grade: B

Toohill is a fluid athlete with a solid get-off on the snap. He’s plenty quick and does a good job maintaining speed throughout his pass rush—these are the traits that clearly appeal to the Eagles and Jim Schwartz. 

He’s definitely not strong enough to be a base EDGE in the NFL, but he has upside as a pure pass-rush specialist by year two or three. 

Howie Roseman’s grade for the 2020 class:

B –

Look, a lot of teams completely whiff on their second round pick, so it wouldn’t be fair to let the Hurts-debacle cloud my overall perception of this draft class. 3 WR, 2 OL, 2 LB, 1 DB, 1 EDGE is a position allocation that I can get behind.

Hurts was generally considered an early day three (round 4-5) prospect. You can’t draft a football player as bad as he is, that high in the draft and still get away with a solid grade. The reason I give him a “B-minus” is because he really rallied with a lot of solid prospects with upside at positions of need. The prospects that aren’t “high upside” (Bradley, Driscoll, Toohill) all at least fill a clear depth-role in our defense.

Looks like Howie and company will live to see another offseason after all.

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