Ranking Eagles’ Howie Roseman moves on draft day: Pick Jordan Davis, trade for AJ Brown
PHILADELPHIA CREAM – Eagles General manager Howie Roseman doesn’t like to sit idly by on draft day.
Using his own draft picks as well as picks he received in previous trades with the Washington Commanders and New Orleans Saints, Roseman turned them into two valuable pieces.
Overnight, the Eagles added a defensive lineman to help with that unit’s future while giving quarterback Jalen Hurts another weapon on what seems to indicate a revamped passing offense on offense. Although the two players the Eagles acquired Thursday in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft have yet to enter the field, the Eagles could very well have argued that they could be competitive again next season.
Here are the grades for the moves made in the first round of the draft on Thursday:
Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
Details: The Eagles sent a 2022 first-round pick (15th overall), a fourth-round pick (124th overall), and two fifth-round picks (162 and 166) to the Houston Texans for a 2022 first-round pick ( 13th overall).
Looking at what Davis brings to the table, you can see why the team wanted to trade for him. The Eagles are reunited with Fletcher Cox on a one-year deal, which means it’s possible the longtime defensive lineman could be leaving Philadelphia after the 2022 season. Needing a viable option to replace him, the Eagles can plug Davis and line him up in a variety of ways. Defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon can line up Davis as a nose tackle in a 3-4, allowing him to use his size and strength to line up on center and force two offensive linemen to block him. Davis can also play the traditional 5 technique in a 4-3, lining up next to Cox or Javon Hargrave and opening up more rushing opportunities for edge rushers.
The biggest question that will arise is Davis’ ability to rush the passer. Davis was on the field often on Georgia’s first and second games and left the field on third downs. There were also times when Davis stepped out of position and let offensive linemen get under his pads. Both things are fully coachable and can be ironed out. Keeping one of the fifth-round picks would have been nice, but the Eagles got a player of Davis’ caliber in return and can still make a trade or two to get him back. The Eagles were also able to keep one of their third-round selections for a later deal which helped them. Overall, the maneuver to get Davis worked well.
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AJ Brown, WR, Titans
Details: The Eagles gave up the 18th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and a third-round pick in exchange for Brown.
Thoughts: The Eagles made the huge deal that seemingly came out of nowhere on Thursday night. The Eagles were looking for another wide receiver to partner with DeVonta Smith and made a significant investment in Brown giving him $100 million over four years, of which $57 million is guaranteed. The Eagles can give Brown a big contract as Hurts is still on his first rookie contract.
Brown should open things up for the offense in two ways. If the Eagles want to throw the ball, it stretches the defense further, making it harder to double team a single receiver. If so, Smith, Brown or tight end Dallas Goedert could see more individual coverage, which would lead to more strikes.
As for the running game, Brown would likely keep the safeties back, opening up more space for running lanes and stretching the defense between the second and third tiers. The Eagles offensive line has done a good job of reaching the second tier in their zone management schemes, which means the league’s main rushing offense last season has more room to operate.
The downside is that because the Eagles have invested so much money in Brown, they have to see the production out of him, but it probably will. The Eagles also gave up a third-round pick in what is expected to be a Day 2 pool deep.
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Chris Franklin can be reached at [email protected].