Day 2 of the draft is in the books and the Eagles made 2 selections. Let’s talk about the players and what to expect from day 3 of the draft.
For live reactions to the Eagles’ selection of Cam Jurgens and Nakobe Dean, you can check out our YouTube. After sleeping on it, I’m back today to break down the Eagles’ day 2 selections and what it means for the rest of the draft. I will also talk about who I would have selected and what to expect on day 3 of the draft.
iOL Cam Jurgens, Nebraska
To quote word for word from the first line of my day 2 recap article a year ago, “Eschewing their clear needs at CB, S, and LB, the Eagles took a swing at iOL prospect” Cam Jurgens. Jurgens is a highly athletic prospect who initially committed to Nebraska as a TE and later converted to C. He redshirted in 2018 and then started for 3 seasons for the Cornhuskers.
Jurgens is athletic in space and was frequently used as a puller in Nebraska’s wide zone rushing scheme.
In space, he excels but he is weak at the point of attack and can struggle to anchor against powerful rushers. He has a very high football IQ and is very comparable to Jason Kelce as a prospect. In fact, speaking of Jason Kelce…
"If he was available i knew we were taking him. This is my favorite player in the draft. Eagles used me to evaluate Centers, and of all the guys i've looked at in 3 years, he is the one i compare the most to myself"— Thomas R. Petersen (@thomasrp93) April 30, 2022
Jason Kelce's words on Cam Jurgens.
Pick approved.#Eagles pic.twitter.com/yfp4bV70mL
“Out of all the guys that compare the most to myself, this guy is him.” @JasonKelce sees a lot of his qualities in Eagles pick Cam Jurgens— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) April 30, 2022
Tune in HERE: https://t.co/1OiRSmAoru pic.twitter.com/RIfXJsQIzL
Kelce himself was involved in the selection of Jurgens. According to the interview, the Eagles have had Jason Kelce watching film on Centers for the last 3 years to select his eventual replacement. That’s incredible stuff. Kelce has been an elite C for the Eagles throughout his career and a highly durable one as well, missing only 4 games in the last 9 seasons and 0 games in the last 7. The Eagles have gotten used to having a guy out there who is really good. On the few snaps that Jason Kelce missed in 2021 the results speak for themselves.
Jason Kelce is the most important player on this team. Also, how is it not a flag to dive on a QB who is on the ground? pic.twitter.com/s64RJXRNQd— Shane Haff (@HAFFnHAFF_TPL) December 5, 2021
That said, there were still plenty of people frustrated with the pick (myself included) when it was announced. Building your team around the trenches is a good philosophy, but the Eagles often appear to carry it too far to the detriment of other positions. Perhaps no position comes into the league more ready to play as a rookie than C, as evidenced by the draft history of the last 10 years.
Creed Humphrey, who was a better prospect than Jurgens, went 63 overall last year to the Chiefs, started all 17 games, and was selected to PFF’s All-Pro team, the only offensive rookie to earn that honor. Additionally, Jurgens was widely graded as a 3rd or 4th round prospect. After the trades from day 1, the Eagles were down to only 4 picks remaining in the draft and could have potentially traded back and selected Jurgens later. That said, there is something to be said for just taking the guy that Jason Kelce told you to and not overthinking it so I won’t knock them too much for that.
Ultimately the biggest complaint with the pick is the fact that, once again, the Eagles have selected a player that is projected to get 0 snaps as a rookie if there is not an injury while eschewing major needs at S, CB, and LB. If it feels like you have been through this before, you’re right. Here is a look at the selections in the first 2 rounds since 2017 and their projected role at the time of the draft:
1st) No Pick
2nd) TE Dallas Goedert – TE2 behind Zach Ertz
1st) OT Andre Dillard – OT3 behind Lane Johnson and Jason Peters
2nd) RB Miles Sanders – Rotational RB with Jordan Howard
2nd) JJ Arcega-Whiteside – WR4 behind Alshon Jeffrey, DeSean Jackson, and Nelson Agholor
1st) Jalen Reagor – Starting WR
2nd) Jalen Hurts – Backup QB
1st) DeVonta Smith – Starting WR
2nd) Landon Dickerson – Backup iOL
Out of the last 8 picks, the Eagles have made in the first 2 rounds, only 2 of them were projected to be starters at the time of their selection. Perhaps that isn’t the best overall use of resources.
At the end of the day, Eagles fans can feel good about Jurgens as a player. Centers drafted in the first 2 rounds have a very low bust rate and it is one of the safer positions to draft. Given Jason Kelce’s input and tutelage alongside offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland’s instruction, Jurgens is in a position to develop into a very good player long term.
I’m going to give the Eagles a grade of a C- for the selection of Jurgens. It would have been lower if not for Jason Kelce’s interview, but even after seeing it I still feel there were better ways to approach the selection.
Who I Would Have Picked
I would have selected QB Malik Willis. The Eagles are clearly not all in on Jalen Hurts after making inquiries into Deshaun Watson and Russel Wilson this offseason. Willis was a top 20 player on my big board and 25th on our consensus big board. Even if the Eagles were committed to Jalen Hurts for this season that should not have prohibited them from making such a low-risk investment into the QB position. If you are going to draft a player who won’t play as a rookie it would be far better to do it at the most important position in the NFL than the least important one. Jalen Hurts would have embraced the challenge of competing against Willis and if he proves to be the franchise QB this season then the Eagles would have had a cost-controlled backup at a position they value more than anyone in the league who would work in the same offensive system.
LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia
One of the stranger stories of the draft (behind the fall of the quarterbacks) was the fall of Nakobe Dean. Dean was the captain of the Georgia defense and considered a late 1st round pick. While it wasn’t surprising to see him fall out of the first round, it was surprising to see him continue to fall past the top of the 2nd round and out of the 2nd round entirely. As his fall continued, rumors of medical red flags began to swirl online. Thankfully Eagles stopped his slide at pick 83.
I won’t talk too much about the medical issues because I’m not in a position to have firsthand knowledge of the situation. But here is an article about the injury from David Chao.
Reported as pec muscle strain but pectoral tendon tear without surgery is what caused him to drop from 1st to 3rd round. Good "stash" choice for @Eagles. Details here: https://t.co/WS7AMZx8Mw https://t.co/7kqPbmW6xp— David J. Chao – ProFootballDoc (@ProFootballDoc) April 30, 2022
Howie Roseman said in his press conference that there is no surgery scheduled for Dean, they were not concerned about it, and that Dean was expected to be on the field for OTAs.
I’d wait 2 years to have Nakobe Dean on my roster for one game. A normal recovery time for whatever is wrong is well worth the wait to have him for 4 years. This is a legitimate steal. A 1st round talent.— Honest NFL (@TheHonestNFL) April 30, 2022
Dean was a 3-year starter for Georgia and he received 1st team All-American honors and won the Butkus Award in the 2021 season. He is explosive and rangy on defense and is very comfortable covering RBs in space. He is also an incredible blitzer, totaling 23 pressures and 6 sacks in 2021. He is undersized which could turn into an issue at the next level. It wasn’t an issue at Georgia, but he was also playing in a front 7 that saw 4 players selected in the 1st round this year.
The Eagles have taken the role of the communicator (green dot) for granted at times and not utilized it to combat the offense. Nakobe is the first LB they’ve drafted who will take active charge of the defensive checks system and utilize it to full effect eventually.— Honest NFL (@TheHonestNFL) April 30, 2022
Dean was my #5 prospect available heading into day 2 of the draft and selecting him at 83 overall is the biggest steal of the weekend. Yes there are medical concerns, but even if he never played in the NFL because of the health issues he still would have been a worthwhile risk in the 3rd round.
My #5 Prospect Available in the 2nd Round of the #NFL Draft is LB Nakobe Dean.— Shane Haff (@HAFFnHAFF_TPL) April 29, 2022
He would be a great fit with Washington #Commanders at #47.
Check out the full video of my top 12:https://t.co/ZWOCyMReon pic.twitter.com/ULug4M8Ybr
Who I Would Have Picked: LB Nakobe Dean
What to Expect on Day 3
The Eagles have 2 remaining selections in the final 4 rounds of the draft: pick 154 (5th rounder) and pick 237 (7th rounder). They still have not addressed the secondary or EDGE. They also could look to add a P to replace Arryn Siposs who struggled down the stretch last year. Day 3 is also a frequent player for pick swap day during the draft so you could see players like Jalen Reagor and Andre Dillard moved. I think it is more likely that Dillard is an in-season trade as a response to an injury, but you never know. If I was placing a trade value on those two players I would say that the Eagles would take a 4th round pick for Andre Dillard and a 7th round pick for Jalen Reagor.
Here is a list of some of the best players still available for the Eagles:
- CB Tariq Woolen – UTSA
- RB Isaiah Spiller – Texas A&M
- OT Daniel Faalele – Minnesota
- LB Damone Clark – LSU
- TE Isaiah Likely – Coastal Carolina
- TE Cade Otton – Washington
- LB Jojo Domann – Nebraska
- EDGE Tyreke Smith – Ohio State
- CB Coby Bryant – Cincinatti
- CB Zyon McCollum – Sam Houston State
- CB Josh Jobe – Alabama
- RB Damone Pierce – Florida
- S Verone McKinley III – Oregon
- P Matt Ariza – San Diego State