The Philadelphia Eagles came into the 2022 NFL Draft with many needs: wide receiver, tight end, offensive line, defensive line, cornerback, safety, linebacker, and running back. Howie Roseman needed to knock the ball out of the park to fill all these needs.
Before the draft even began Roseman started wheeling and dealing. He struck a large trade involving multiple draft picks with the New Orleans Saints. This set the stage for the 2022 first-round full of trades, and teams that held two first-round picks.
Many pundits finally sang Roseman’s praises when he made this trade, giving him draft capital all the way into 2024. This move gave Roseman flexibility in the next two NFL Drafts should Quarterback Jalen Hurts not progress as expected.
Eagles Received From Saints:
- 18th overall pick 2022
- 101st overall pick 2022
- 237th overall pick 2022
- 1st round pick in 2023
- 2nd round pick in 2024
Saints Received From Eagles:
- 16th overall pick in 2022
- 19th overall pick in 2022
- 194th overall pick in 2022
This left the Eagles with the five picks in the first 101 picks in the draft. However, they still were not done making deals in the first round. As the Eagles watched the draft board fall, a man they coveted was still on the board. Defensive Tackle from Georgia Jordan Davis, a stereotypical space-eater at 6’6 340 pounds. Seeing he was still available, and knowing that the Ravens would be targeting him at 14th overall meant the Eagles would have to trade up to get him.
That’s when they jumped over the Ravens by making a trade with the Houston Texans sending them the #15 overall pick, #124 overall, and #166 overall. They would receive the 13th overall pick and spend it on Davis kicking off a draft that saw them acquire:
- First Round, 13th overall: Jordan Davis Defensive Tackle Georgia
- Second Round, 56th overall: Cameron Jurgens Center Nebraska
- Third Round, 83rd overall: Nakobe Dean Linebacker Georgia
- Round Six, 181st overall: Kyron Johnson Inside Linebacker Kansas
- Round Six, 198th overall: Grant Calcaterra Tight End SMU
Philadelphia Eagles 2022 NFL Draft Review
The Best Player: Jordan Davis
Jordan Davis fills a tremendous need for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2022. This is what prompted them to trade up for a player who likely will not be a full-time starter in 2022. The Eagles under defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon prefer to keep their linebackers clean to make the plays. This is why a space-eater was so important in the NFL Draft. They ask their defensive tackles to two-gap and take on double teams if necessary to occupy offensive linemen. Their primary function is not to penetrate like in years past.
Due to this defensive scheme, Fletcher Cox is not a true scheme fit. He thrives in a system that allows him to penetrate and push the pocket. He is not the type of guy for two gapping on a game-by-game basis. The Philadelphia Eagles released and then resigned him to a one-year deal due to this fact, foreshadowing of selecting Davis in round one.
At 6’6, 340 pounds Jordan Davis has been compared to players like Albert Haynesworth and Vince Wilfork. These are exactly the type of guys the Eagles hope he turns into. Both of these guys were known for their athletic ability as big men. Rotational defensive lineman Hassaan Ridgeway moved on in free agency as well; his role is the one Davis will fill in year one.
Jordan Davis in college played both the A and B gap, which will allow him to be a true third defensive tackle in which he can just step in for either Hargrave or Cox when they come out. He could even anchor the nose position when Philadelphia moves into a five-man front.
Davis also allows the Eagles to experiment with kicking Cox or Milton Williams to the edge on the same side as strongside linebacker Hassan Reddick to create more pressure. The biggest takeaway is Davis provides flexibility.
The Head Scratcher: Cameron Jurgens
Finding a head-scratching move is difficult when the Eagles select just five players. However selecting Jurgens as a center became a sort of surprise. This is not due to the player, but due to the fact that he will be a backup in 2022.
The Eagles still have clutch-veteran Jason Kelce on the roster on a one-year deal. They obviously intend to have Jurgens step up next season when Kelce ultimately moves on whether it be to retirement or in free agency.
However, they had a larger perceived day one need in the secondary. Gone is Steven Nelson the veteran cornerback two from last season. The Eagles as of right now are banking on a host of second-year players to take over Nelson’s role, most of which they acquired via trade last season.
If 2021 4th round pick Zech McPherson winds up answering the call and becoming a starter, Howie Roseman will only look even more intelligent following a great draft in 2021, and a solid start to 2022.
Overall, the selection of Cameron Jurgens was far from a bad decision. The center is arguably one of the most important positions to a quarterback’s continued success, and a position the Eagles have been able to take for granted since drafting Jason Kelce so many years ago. They are hoping Jurgens can continue that good fortune throughout the next decade.
The Surprise: No Secondary Help Drafted
The Philadelphia Eagles go into next season with one of the top outside cornerbacks in Dairus Slay as their top player at the position. They also have a great nickelback in Avonte Maddox; yet he has shown his best position is in the slot, not out wide against bigger receivers. Behind these two veterans, the Eagles have a group of young guys.
The Eagles secondary is led by 2021 fourth round pick Zech McPherson, sixth-round pick Tay Gowan, also seventh round pick Kary Vincent Jr., as well as UDFAs Mac McCain III, Josiah Scott, and Craig James. None of theses options scare opposing teams.
The Eagles have not addressed the safety position at all; in fact they have actually lost talent since last season. Both players who started at safety in 2022 for the Eagles tested free agency. Roseman and company decided to bring back Anthony Harris, not the longer tenured Rodney McLeod. However Harris is a box safety at this point in his career. No longer the ballhawk he was in Minnesota early on.
They have not brought in anyone at the positon in free agency, or via trade that can challenge current incumbent Marcus Epps. Epps is a highly athletic free safety who can play in the box if asked as well. He is fairly inexperienced as a starter, having operated as the third safety off the bench in 2021.
The Steal: Nakobe Dean
Some analysts regarded Nakobe Dean as a top ten talent in this draft. Due to what felt like last second medical concerns, Dean slipped all the way to pick #83. The Eagles likely never thought they would get a player as talented as Dean that late in the draft.
Sometimes fate intervenes and pushes players down the board into the perfect position for them to thrive. Dean is one of those players. Many believe he will need to spend a season on injured reserve getting right for the future. Even if that is the case, the move is still fantastic.
The Eagles needed to invest in linebacker to make this Gannon scheme work for their team. They brought in a true strongside linebacker for the pass rushing element and his ability to set the edge in the run game. But they needed a true prototypical linebacker to step in and play the MIKE position.
The Eagles seem comfortable heading into the 2022 season with Hassaan Reddick, T.J. Edwards, and Davion Taylor as their starters. They also knew they could stand to upgrade the two positions next to Reddick. Dean will pair with college teammate Jordan Davis, to solidify the interior of the Eagles defense for years to come.
Most Likely To Turn Heads In Camp
The most likely player to turn heads in camp will again be Jordan Davis. WHe is widely regarded as an elite level athlete. Even at 340 pounds, he moves well, and some have said he could play across the defensive line in the right schemes.
Davis has and will make plays that leave fans and coaches’ jaws on the floor. The burst he has off of the snap, and his ability to convert that speed into power is a trait that Eagles fans everywhere will love to see in 2022.
According to PFF.com, the Eagles ranked 19th overall in total defense. If the season had ended in week eight, the numbers would look dramatically worse. Gannon was able to make adjustments as the season went to help his defense recover from some very tough games, but brining in a guy like Davis to help stuff the run will only help this defense in 2022 and beyond.
With just two selections outside of the first three rounds, the Eagles focused on depth. They added developmental prospects at inside linebacker, and tight end. Many draft analysts believed we really needed to address the tight end position in the draft and the Eagles did just that.
The Eagles selected Kyron Johnson from Kansas in round six (Pick 181). NFL.com had him projected to go in the 5th round. Philadelphia drafted him midway through the sixth round, providing good draft value.
Johnson was a three year starter for Kansas, and saw time in the middle, and on the edge as a pass rusher. At 6’0 235 pounds Johnson actually was not known for his ability to get to the second level or read and react well which are traits he will have to work on to develop a role in the NFL. He is regarded as having the potential to be an average back-up and special teamer.
Grant Calcaterra was the final pick of the draft for the Eagles. He will join a very diverse group at tight end behind starter Dallas Goedert. Including converted quarterback Tyree Jackson, converted wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, and hold overs Richard Rodgers, Noah Togiai, and Jack Stoll.
He will compete to add depth behind Goedert in 2022, but has the inside track over guys like Stoll, and Togiai. He may even have a better chance than Rodgers, who has bounced on and off the roster in recent years. I would not be surprised to see him make the active roster as a tight end three or four behind Goedert, Jackson, and JJAW. Jackson injured his ACL late in the season and will likely begin the season limited. This could be enough for us to see Calcaterra make the active roster out of camp.