Grading Eagles Rookies at the Halfway Point
Howie Roseman isn't the greatest drafter of all time. He has his fair share of draft busts in recent years (looking at you JJAW). The 2020 draft class was controversial to say the least. Taking Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson and Jalen Hurts over a position of need had fans riled up back in April. But I won't be comparing the picks to who could've been picked. Instead, I will be grading out their performance so far this season.
Round 1 Pick 21: WR Jalen Reagor
2020 Stats: 8 Receptions, 112 Yards, 1 Touchdown
Reagor has only played three games so far thanks to suffering a thumb injury in Week 2. He has shown glimpses of what we hoped for, catching that 55-yard bomb in Week 1 was exciting. Unlike JJAW, when he has played he hasn't just disappeared on the field. He hasn't shown elite speed yet, but he has shown the ability to be the burner Philly needs and even get some yards after the catch with some shiftiness mixed in. Reagor should have shaken some of that rust off after the bye, and hopefully shows some big things the rest of the season. Philadelphia went from no future at wide receiver to a very good looking young core in Reagor, Travis Fulgham, and Greg Ward.
Round 2 Pick 53: QB Jalen Hurts
2020 Stats: 2/2, 27 Yards; 9 Rushes, 55 Yards
This was always a confusing pick, it would be impossible for me to write this article without mentioning that. That being said, Doug and co. haven't utilized Hurts the way he should be, or even could be. Hurts was easily one of the most versatile players in college football, and he is now a benchwarmer who primarily sees action in two-point conversion situations. The only way this pick can be worth its value is if Wentz goes down with an injury (and even with his poor play this season that's not something Eagles fans would hope to happen).
Round 3 Pick 103: LB Davion Taylor
2020 Stats: 4 Tackles (3 Solo)
I don't know if it is a testament to Taylors skills or what, but Taylor has only played defensive snaps in one game so far. There isn't much to say here, we need to see more of Taylor with Nate Gerry playing horribly. But if he can't even outplay Gerry in practices and get the coaching staff to trust him, what does that say about him and his future?
Round 4 Pick 127: S K'Von Wallace
2020 Stats: 7 Tackles (5 Solo) 1 Fumble Recovery
With all of the injuries to the secondary, Wallace was actually forced to make a start this season. While he didn't play lights out that game (vs. San Francisco), he wasn't a complete liability, which is a win in my books. Wallace brings energy with him that his teammates love. To me, it looks like Wallace could be the vocal leader of this group in a few years. While he has also played sparingly like the rest of this draft class, Wallace has the clearest path to eventually becoming a full-time starter.
Round 4 Pick 145: OT Jack Driscoll
2020 Stats: 2 Starts, 1 Penalty
Yes you read that correctly, the fourth-round rookie has only one penalty all season in 161 total snaps, and it was only a false start. This O-Line has been seriously injured since before the season started, thrusting Driscoll into a starting position way quicker than anybody ever expected. He has played shakey at times, as you would expect from a rookie, but has shown strides in his game. With Lane Johnson presumably healthy enough to play after the bye week, lets hope we don't see much of Driscoll for the rest of the season. But Driscoll might have a future as a reliable depth lineman for the Birds.
Round 5 Pick 168: WR John Hightower
2020 Stats: 9 Receptions, 166 Yards
On paper he has a great stat line for a fifth-round pick, especially since he has better stats than the first-round receiver the Eagles took. But, when you look deeper, it hasn't been that great. Carson's passer rating when throwing to Hightower is 31.2, the lowest in the league between QB-WR combos. When throwing towards Hightower, Wentz has thrown five interceptions, the most in the league. Blame it on the lack of chemistry, but they are both to blame. On the plus side, his average depth of target is 22 yards, the highest in the league, so he is getting down the field and make some big plays. Let's just hope he and Wentz can actually get on the same page before we can start discussing his future of becoming the full-time DeSean Jackson-type deep threat the Eagles need.
Round 6 Pick 196: LB Shaun Bradley
2020 Stats: 7 Tackles (4 Solo), 1 TFL
This is the exact same situation as Davion Taylor, the inability to play any meaningful snaps. The only real difference is Taylor was taken 93 picks earlier and Bradley has the TFL. When there are so little stats to go off of, that one TFL is huge. Same as Taylor, if he can't even outplay Nate Gerry in practices and get the coaching staff to trust him, what does that say about him and his future?
Round 6 Pick 200: WR Quez Watkins
2020 Stats: 1 Target
Watkins has been quiet this season. After starting the year on injured reserve, he has played in only two games and has had 20 offensive snaps. I believe I remember seeing a pass thrown his way, but it wasn't caught. He did draw a defensive pass interference call in his first career game in Pittsburgh, but there's not much to say here. Sixth-round picks are rarely game changers, but one can be hopeful. We probably won't see much of him the rest of this season, but with DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery likely gone in the offseason, he'll have a chance in 2021 to not only make the team again but also contribute on the offensive.
Round 6 Pick 210: Prince Tega Wanogho
2020 Stats: N/A
Prince Tega Wanogho's journey to the NFL was amazing, and the fact the Eagles have protected him multiple times shows that he has some value to them. He has only been promoted from the practice squad to the active roster once this season. Thanks to Jordan Mailata's emergence and Jack Driscoll's decent play at tackle, PTW's future with the Eagles is murky. Only time will tell what his future entails.
Round 7 Pick 233: OLB Casey Toohill
2020 Stats: 2 Different Jersey Numbers
Unfortunately, after making the initial 53-man roster Howie tried to sneak Toohill onto the practice squad and failed. Toohill didn't play much in Philly (22 defensive snaps) and hasn't played at all with the no names. It's too early to tell what he could turn into, let's hope his new team gives up on him and the Eagles can find a way to bring him back.
Grade: F because he plays for Washington
2020 Draft Class Grade: C
In the end, these rookies have barely played half a season in the NFL. Some look promising, others look bad, and some play for Washington now. Hopefully, we see better play out of them the last half of the season, or Howie will hear a lot of barking from miserable Eagles fans.