100,000 fans showed up on the Ben Franklin Parkway on Thursday, April 27 for the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The theater itself holds 3,000 people and the sea of fans outside was truly a site to behold.
After a fashion forward red-carpet entry from many of the draft’s top prospects (as well as Mayor Jim Kenney, Governor Tom Wolf, and several high profile college coaches), minus eventual #1 overall pick Myles Garrett who chose not to attend, the draft kicked off at 8 PM. In true Philly fashion, the fans welcomed NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell with a chorus of boos. The jeering from the fans continued each time the commish came to the podium to announce a pick.
The big shock of the draft came early when the Bears moved up from #3 to #2 (49ers) to snag QB Mitchell Trubisky from UNC, busting up mock drafts from even the most seasoned pundits. This move prompted two other teams to trade way up to snag the other coveted QB’s in the draft. The Chiefs moved all the way from #27 to #10 (Bills) to grab Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech) and the Texans moved up from #25 to #12 (Browns) to take Deshaun Watson. We were somewhat surprised the Browns, who really need a franchise QB, didn’t stay put and take Watson but they now own the Texans #1 and #2 pick in 2018 (the #2 pick came via a trade earlier this year where the Texans unloaded Brock Osweiler’s contract to the Browns to clear room to woo Tony Romo).
It wasn’t just the QBs flying off the board early; RB Leonard Fournette (LSU) went #4 to the Jaguars, WR Corey Davis (Western Michigan) #5 to the Titans, WR Mike Williams (Clemson) #7 to the Chargers, do-it-all RB Christian McCaffrey (Stanford) #8 to the Panthers, and WR John Ross (Washington) #9 to the Bengals.
San Francisco spent the #3 pick on DE Solomon Thomas (Stanford), SS Jamal Adams (LSU) went #6 to the Jets, and the Saints got a steal snagging CB Marshon Lattimore (Ohio State) at #11. Temple University’s Haason Reddick came off the board at #13 to the Arizona Cardinals to a roar of cheers from the Philly faithful. It was a nice moment for the local product who was injury plagued late in his high school career and began his time at Temple as a walk-on.
Finally it was time for the Eagles to select at #14 with a lot of big names still on the board including TE O.J. Howard, DE Derek Barnett, DT Jonathan Allen, FS Malik Hooker, and CB Marlon Humphrey. The Birds opted to go with Barnett (Tennessee), a pass rusher who recently broke Reggie White’s sack record for the Volunteers. The reaction was mixed from the Philly fans, many of whom hoped that the team would draft a defensive back, but this is a deep draft for corners and Barnett should be an excellent fill-in for Connor Barwin who departed in the off-season. Of course it takes a few years to learn if a player was truly a good selection or not but Barnett should be able to step in and be a difference maker up-front for the Eagles’ defense immediately.
The second half of the draft was peppered with other teams getting ridiculous value including the Colts getting Hooker at #15, the Redskins grabbing Allen at #17, and the Bucs drafting Howard at #19. Ohio State CB Gareon Conley, who was the subject of rape allegations this week, dropped all the way to Raiders at #24. If the allegations turn out to be untrue, Oakland got a real steal here. Alabama LB Reuben Foster plummeted all the way to #31 where he was gobbled up by the 49ers who got one hell of a difference maker this late in the first round.
Rounds 2 and 3 kick off on Friday evening (7pm) but fans will be packing the parkway all afternoon to take part in the impressive NFL Draft Experience. The Eagles pick #43 in the 2nd round and #99 in the 3rd round. There should still be many interesting players possibly available to the Birds at #43 including CB Kevin King (Washington), CB Chidobe Awuzie (Colorado), RB Dalvin Cook (Florida State), and RB Joe Mixon (Oklahoma). Any of those four players would be a nice addition to the 2017-18 Eagles roster but there is a chance they could all be off the board in the 10 picks before Philadelphia.
The beautiful weather and draft excitement continued on Day 2 of the NFL Draft with rounds 2 and 3 kicking off at 7 pm. Before the selections began, we hit the parkway to check out the NFL Draft Experience.
The NFL Draft Experience is wonderful for fans of all ages but especially for kids. Whether you want to try out your passing, kicking, rushing, or jumping skills, there’s an experience for you.
Fans can take photos in the favorite team’s jersey, pretend to get drafted by the organization of their choice, and buy some NFL Draft inspired gear.
There are 1st round draft pick paintings, equipment covered in Skittles, the Lombardi Trophy, and some of the player busts from the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. And this is Philly so of course there are plenty of great food and beer options.
The Eagles picked 11th in the 2nd round (#43 overall) and selected CB Sidney Jones (Washington). Cornerback was the biggest need for Philly heading into the draft and Jones was widely considered as one of the top DBs leading up to the draft. The only issue is, Jones is injured. He ruptured his achilles tendon during his pro-day. The Eagles don’t have starting corners and needed someone to step in immediately and play. While Jones is definitely a high level talent if he can fully recover from injury (he will miss all of training camp and the beginning of the regular season at a minimum) we aren’t sure who made this pick, Eagles GM Howie Roseman or former 76ers GM Sam Hinkie. It appears Eagles fans will just have to trust the process here and think long term (which is never easy to do in the NFL).
The 2nd round was also big for some local college players. Following in the footsteps of former Wildcats’ players Howie Long and Ben Ijalana who were drafted in the 2nd round (Brian Westbrook was drafted in the 3rd round), Villanova’s Tanoh Kpassagnon was selected #59 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs. This is not only a feather in the cap of Kpassagnon, but for Villanova’s football program. With the 31st pick in the 2nd round (#63 overall), Temple OG Dion Dawkins was selected by the Bills. He became the second Owl selected in the draft following Haason Reddick in round 1.
The Eagles didn’t select again until pick #99 late in the 3rd round where they again opted to take a cornerback: Rasul Douglas (West Virginia). Douglas, who had 8 interceptions last season, is a big, physical corner who can play right away but we are a little concerned about his lack of speed which could translate to him getting burned on deep balls. The last thing Eagles fans want to see after years of sub-par play in the secondary is another guy who can’t keep up with opposing wide receivers but Douglas certainly has the size and skill set to be an effective DB in the league.
Check back late on Saturday as we will update this article with the Eagles picks in rounds 4-7!
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[Photos by D. Jacob Miller Photography]
[Article by David Miller]
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You can view the full 1st round draft results and additional photos below (click thumbnails to enlarge):
# 1-1. CLEVELAND Garrett, Myles DE Texas A&M
# 2-2. CHICAGO Trubisky, Mitchell QB North Carolina
from SAN FRANCISCO
# 3-3. SAN FRANCISCO Thomas, Solomon DE Stanford
# 4-4. JACKSONVILLE Fournette, Leonard RB Louisiana State
5-5. TENNESSEE Davis, Corey WR Western Michigan
from LOS ANGELES RAMS
# 6-6. NEW YORK JETS Adams, Jamal DB Louisiana State
7-7. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS Williams, Mike WR Clemson
# 8-8. CAROLINA McCaffrey, Christian RB Stanford
# 9-9. CINCINNATI Ross, John WR Washington
# 10-10. KANSAS CITY Mahomes, Patrick QB Texas Tech
# 11-11. NEW ORLEANS Lattimore, Marshon DB Ohio State
12-12. HOUSTON Watson, Deshaun QB Clemson
from PHILADELPHIA through CLEVELAND
13-13. ARIZONA Reddick, Haason LB Temple
# 14-14. PHILADELPHIA Barnett, Derek DE Tennessee
# 15-15. INDIANAPOLIS Hooker, Malik DB Ohio State
# 16-16. BALTIMORE Humphrey, Marlon DB Alabama
17-17. WASHINGTON Allen, Jonathan DE Alabama
# 18-18. TENNESSEE Jackson, Adoree’ DB Southern California
19-19. TAMPA BAY Howard, O.J. TE Alabama
# 20-20. DENVER Bolles, Garett T Utah
21-21. DETROIT Davis, Jarrad LB Florida
# 22-22. MIAMI Harris, Charles DE Missouri
23-23. NEW YORK GIANTS Engram, Evan TE Mississippi
24-24. OAKLAND Conley, Gareon DB Ohio State
# 25-25. CLEVELAND Peppers, Jabrill DB Michigan
26-26. ATLANTA McKinley, Takkarist DE UCLA
27-27. BUFFALO White, Tre’Davious DB Louisiana State
from KANSAS CITY
28-28. DALLAS Charlton, Taco DE Michigan
# 29-29. CLEVELAND Njoku, David TE Miami
from GREEN BAY
# 30-30. PITTSBURGH Watt, T.J. LB Wisconsin
31-31. SAN FRANCISCO Foster, Reuben LB Alabama
from ATLANTA through SEATTLE
32-32. NEW ORLEANS Ramczyk, Ryan T Wisconsin
# – Underclassmen