PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Eagles had tangible needs heading into last weekend’s NFL Draft. And it appears the Eagles’ adroit executive vice president of football operations did his usual moving and shaking—and much of it had to do with reinforcing the talent, especially on the offensive line, around Carson Wentz.
The Eagles got a great bargain in selecting Washington State offensive tackle Andre Dillard in the first round, at No. 22 overall, considering he was projected to go as high as 15. Penn State running back Miles Sanders was chosen in the second round (No. 53 overall), along with Stanford wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside (No. 57).
Dillard, who the Eagles moved up from No. 25 to 22 to get, fills an area that may soon have to be addressed at left tackle: Replacing aging future Hall of Famer Jason Peters. Dillard allowed one sack in the last 39 games he started at Washington State and was considered the draft’s best pass protector, though he did not have a good showing at the Senior Bowl.
Sanders is the highest running back the Eagles have picked in the draft since they chose LeSean McCoy at No. 53 overall in 2009. Sanders is a versatile back who has the ability to make tacklers miss, however, he doesn’t have the size of former Penn State teammate Saquon Barkley. Sanders lost four fumbles last season, tied for the most among FBS running backs.
Arcega-Whiteside is 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, and will learn a deal from Alshon Jeffery, since they’re both large targets in the red zone.
Penn State defensive end Shareef Miller was selected in the fourth round (No. 138 overall) and Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson in the fifth round (No. 167 overall).
But Roseman may have received a nice cache of talent in what the Eagles signed as undrafted free agents. Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Edwards dropped out of the draft based on his inability to recognize plays, though he’s a ball hawk (10 interceptions) and has good size (6-foot, 230 pounds). Penn State offensive tackle Ryan Bates is a great addition. He played left guard, left tackle and right guard in 35 starts with the Nittany Lions, though projects as an interior lineman in the NFL.