Eagles: The lack of youthful talent is alarming

There are a lot of issues with this Eagles team right now. We can point to a plethora of things that need fixing so far this year, but what concerns me the most is the lack of any promising young players.

Here are Howie Roseman’s draft classes since he regained GM duties at the beginning of the 2016 offseason. The bolded players are ones still on the team:

  • 1st rd: Carson Wentz
  • 3rd rd: Isaac Seumalo
  • 5th rd: Wendell Smallwood
  • 5th rd: Big V
  • 6th rd: Blake Countess
  • 7th rd: Jalen Mills
  • 7th rd: Alex McCalister
  • 7th rd: Joe Walker
  • 1st rd: Derek Barnett
  • 2nd rd: Sidney Jones
  • 3rd rd: Rasul Douglas
  • 4th rd: Mack Hollins
  • 4th rd: Donnel Pumphey
  • 5th rd: Shelton Gibson
  • 5th rd: Nate Gerry
  • 6th rd: Elijah Qualls
  • 2nd rd: Dallas Goedert
  • 4th rd: Avonte Maddox
  • 4th rd: Josh Sweat
  • 6th rd: Matt Pryor
  • 7th rd: Jordan Mailata
  • 1st rd: Andre Dillard
  • 2nd rd: Miles Sanders
  • 2nd rd: J.J. Arcega-Whiteside
  • 4th rd: Shareef Miller
  • 5th rd: Clayton Thorson
  • 1st rd: Jalen Reagor
  • 2nd rd: Jalen Hurts
  • 3rd rd: Davion Taylor
  • 4th rd: K’Von Wallace
  • 4th rd: Jack Driscoll
  • 5th rd: John Hightower
  • 6th rd: Shaun Bradley
  • 6th rd: Quez Watkins
  • 6th rd: Prince Tega-Wanogho
  • 7th rd: Casey Toohill

Out of those 36 draft picks, only one has ever made a Pro Bowl (Carson Wentz in 2017), and only two other players have showcased any kind of Pro Bowl talent (Miles Sanders and Dallas Goedert). 13 of the 36 picks aren’t here anymore. The rest of them, aside from the three I mentioned earlier, are average to below average starters, and a handful of them are just flat out bad.

We can point to a handful of total whiffs too. JJAW will forever be known as the WR who the Eagles selected over DK Metcalf and Terry McLaurin. Donnel Pumphrey was literally the only bad running back in the entire 2017 draft class, and Sidney Jones never came close to being the shutdown corner we saw at Washington.

There are several glaring holes on this team. That, coupled with the amount of aging players starting on both side of the ball — who are all bound to leave within the next year or two — it’s hard to be optimistic about the long-term outlook for the Eagles.

Howie emphasized how this team was entering a ‘youth movement’ throughout this past offseason. Yet, you’d be hard pressed to find five players we drafted since 2016 you’re excited about. With such a horrible track record on his drafting, it begs the question if Howie is the right man to lead this ‘youth movement’.

If the Eagles don’t turn it around this year and end up with just five or six wins, I wouldn’t be surprised if a full-blown rebuild starts this offseason. Players like Zach Ertz, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery will all be subjected to potential trades or cuts.

We’ve never really seen Howie in ‘rebuild’ mode since he came back as the GM in 2016, so it would be interesting to see how he would operate. Maybe he could get a solid amount of draft picks for trading some of these aging players, and maybe he could help the cap situation a bit in doing so. But the bottom line is this: none of that will matter if he’s unable to replenish this roster with youthful talent through the draft.

He’s always been solid at acquiring talent through free agency and putting his team in a position to win now, but appointing him as the guy to rebuild this team through the draft is something no one should feel confident about.

It’s hard to say if Jeffrey Lurie would even consider moving off Howie after this season, even if the team finishes with five to six wins. At the very least, I hope Lurie and Roseman revamp their scouting department and draft room.

I’ve always been a defender of Howie, how can you not after the masterful offseason he put together in 2017 en route to a Super Bowl? But the further we get from that Super Bowl season, the clearer it becomes that it may have just been an outlier, and what we’ve seen since may be the norm for Howie. He’s been in this front office calling the shots for the better part of a decade, and we should all be grateful for the wins he helped get, but it might just be time for a change if this team doesn’t turn it around in 2020.

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