Howie Roseman has had a handful of bad draft nights throughout his career as the Philadelphia Eagles general manager, but none of them have been quite as bad as 2019’s.
two years removed from their Super Bowl victory, the 2019 Eagles were set to be right back in the elite class of the NFL. Carson Wentz was fully healthy, Roseman acquired a number of solid veterans during the free agency period that offseason, which included the likes of DeSean Jackson, Jordan Howard, and Malik Jackson.
A good draft would not only propel the Eagles into a promising 2019 campaign, it would set them up for future success.
Every NFL Draft is pivotal, but this one felt a little extra important. The organization wanted to be respected as one of the top tier franchises in the league, and this draft — depending on how it went — would sway the tides in one direction or another.
Now that we’re two years removed from the fateful draft weekend, it’s pretty clear which direction that 2019 draft swung the Eagles organization in.
Let’s just start by listing each of the selections made by Roseman during the 2019 draft:
- Rd. 1, Pick 22: LT Andre Dillard
- Rd. 2, Pick 53: RB Miles Sanders
- Rd. 3, Pick 57: WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside
- Rd. 4, Pick 138: DE Shareef Miller
- Rd. 5, Pick 167: QB Clayton Thorson
Out of the five picks at the Eagles disposal, only one has made major contributions on the field (Sanders), two are in danger of being cut before the end of training camp this year (Dillard and JJAW), one never played a snap in the NFL (Miller), and one didn’t even make the team or practice squad out of camp in 2019 (Thorson).
The silver lining of this draft is obviously Miles Sanders, who’s entering his third year and has solid potential. But even he has his shortcomings, as we saw last year with his regression as a pass catcher out of the backfield. The front office recognized this weakness and addressed it during free agency and the draft this offseason, acquiring Kerryon Johnson off waivers and drafting Kenneth Gainwell.
Many will point to JJAW as the most disappointing selection of this draft class, mostly because of the wideouts who were selected after him (D.K. Metcalf, Diontae Johnson, Terry McLaurin, Hunter Renfrow, etc.). For me, the most disappointing selection here has to be Dillard.
For someone who wasn’t even drafted to start right away — he had the luxury of sitting behind Jason Peters for portions of his rookie season — he’s been nothing short of a total draft bust. At least JJAW has had some memorable moments in training camp. Dillard getting bull rushed and flattened out has become a trend in every training camp he’s been a part of.
If it weren’t for the emergence of Jordan Mailata, a former rugby player who never saw a football field before coming to Philly, the Dillard miss would hurt the Eagles for years to come. Not often can you miss on one of the most important positions in the NFL Draft and luck out the way the Eagles have.
Once you get to the fourth and fifth round picks, those were just complete misses. There weren’t any other notable defensive ends selected after Miller in this draft, so it’s hard to get down on the team too much for their miss on the Penn State product. As for Thorson at the quarterback position, Gardner Minshew was selected just one round later.
If Sanders doesn’t become a franchise running back this year, we may look back at the 2019 draft class as not only the worst in Eagles history, but perhaps one of the worst in NFL history.