By Art Beitchman
1st Round—Derek Barnett selected at 14 had an impressive resume at the University of Tennessee. The 6-3, 259 pound defensive end registered 33 sacks to break Eagles’ Hall of Famer Reggie White’s Volunteer record, Barnett has a quick burst to the QB to help the Eagles improve on their 34 sacks in 2016, 17th in the NFL.
2nd Round—CB Sidney Jones (above), selected 43 overall. If not for a ruptured Achilles tendon injury Jones would have been a sure first-rounder. He was an elite cornerback at Washington, and åthe Eagles will have to wait for Jones to completely heal. Will be worth the wait for a corner who could be a top tier player for 10 years.
3rd Round—U of West Virginia’s CB Rasul Douglas was selected with the 99th overall pick. Standing 6’ 2” 209 pounds, Douglas recorded 8 interceptions for the Mountaineers, tied for most of any FBS player in the nation. Douglas will compete for playing time in the Birds secondary this season.
4th Round — WR Mack Hollins from UNC was a big play, physical receiver who had 81 career receptions good for 20.6 yards a clip. Hollins also was a tremendous special teams’ player at Chapel Hill and will look to contribute to that group this season.
4th Round—Eagles traded up for the 132nd pick to select Donnel Pumphrey who finished his career at San Diego State as the all-time leader in rushing in NCAA FBS history with 6,290 yards rushing with 66 touchdowns scored! It’s safe to say the Eagles will get Pumphrey the ball running and catching in 2017.
5th Round—WR Shelton Gibson was a big play receiver and kick returner at West Virginia, another young speedster the Eagles will add to a new group of ball catchers this season.
5th Round—LB/S Nathan Gerry from Nebraska appears to be a hybrid linebacker at 6’ 2” 218 pounds, although undersized, Gerry is a physical player that lines up in the box, makes plays around the line of scrimmage.
6th Round—DT Elijah Qualls has 313 pound frame that can give the Birds a nice rotational player along the defensive line, in 39 games at U of Washington Qualls racked up 78 tackles, 7.5 sacks.
Grade for 2017 draft…B