For all of the great things Howie Roseman has done during his time as the Eagles general manager, he’s always been hit or miss on draft night. In recent history, it’s leaned more towards misses than hits.
But 2021 was different. Howie managed to snag four players within the first 150 picks who all contributed in year one, along with drafting a handful of potential future starters. It was one of the best draft classes any team had in 2021, and Pro Football Focus recognized the Eagles by ranking them ninth in their draft class rankings for this past season.
The Eagles ranked three spots ahead of Dallas, a team that has built their team almost exclusively through the draft. Stephen Jones and the Cowboys front office are typically the standard when comparing draft success, so to see the Eagles put together a class that ranks ahead of them is undoubtedly a good sign.
Breaking down this Eagles draft class, it’s not hard to see why it ranks so favorably in PFF’s list. DeVonta Smith proved he’s a No. 1 receiver in the NFL, breaking the Eagles rookie receiving yards record. Landon Dickerson played admirably once he got the starting job, allowing just two sacks all season. Milton Williams played almost 500 defensive snaps, and Kenneth Gainwell was a solid contributor in the Eagles backfield all season.
Aside from the rookies who contributed in year one, the Eagles also snagged a handful of guys who should be contributors down the road. Zech McPhearson, Tarron Jackson, and Patrick Johnson all played limited snaps, but still flashed some potential.
Out of the nine selections Roseman made last April, only two of them seem to be duds. Defensive tackle Marlon Tuipulotu and hybrid linebacker JaCoby Stevens rarely played in 2021.
Eagles fans often point to this year’s draft as the most important one in franchise history. With three first-round picks and 10 picks overall, it’s easy to come to that conclusion. But the 2021 class has all of the makings of a franchise altering draft. Hopefully, Roseman and Co. can carry that draft momentum over to this year.