Few teams were as active moving around the draft board as the Philadelphia Eagles.
It started 3½ weeks before the start of the draft when the Eagles shipped pick Nos. 16, 19, and 194 to New Orleans for the 18th selection, a first-rounder in 2023, a second-round selection in 2024, and a pair of third-day selections in this year’s draft.
That was just the start. The Eagles paid a hefty price to move up two spots in the first round, and gladly dealt the 18th pick to acquire dynamic receiver A.J. Brown.
The Eagles doubled up on Georgia defenders, added some help on its offensive line, and then rolled the dice on a couple of late-round picks.
The Eagles added three offensive linemen, three cornerbacks, and quarterback Carson Strong, who was expected to be drafted, as undrafted free agents.
According to the Vegas NFL odds, the Eagles (+175) are the No. 2 choice behind the Dallas Cowboys to win the NFC East Division title.
Pick 13 Jordan Davis | DL, GeorgiaBulldogs
Davis was the centerpiece of one of the most dominant defenses in recent college football history before he arrived at the NFL Scouting Combine.
The 6-foot-6, 341-pound Davis ran the 40-yard dash in 4.78 seconds and posted a 32-inch vertical jump. It was pretty clear that Davis wasn’t going to need to wait long to hear his name called.
Davis’ numbers during the 2021 season (32 tackles, 2 sacks, and 5½ tackles for loss) might not sound that impressive but everything that happened with the Bulldogs’ defense started with Davis clogging up lanes for opposing running backs and handling double teams with remarkable ease.
Davis will have the chance to play alongside Fletcher Cox for at least a season. If the Eagles choose, they can let the six-time Pro Bowl selection head elsewhere and build their defense around Davis.
Philadelphia had no problems giving a fourth-round pick and two fifth-rounders to move up two spots so make sure it landed Davis.
According to the NFL lines, Davis (+1500) has the 10th-best odds to be the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Pick 51 Cameron Jurgens | OL, Nebraska Cornhuskers
Not only did Philadelphia find a potential replacement for its best interior defender but used a second-round selection to pick up the player who can replace five-time Pro Bowl center Jason Kelce whenever he retires.
Cameron Jurgens was a three-year starter at Nebraska. Just like Davis, he ran under 5.0 seconds in the 40-yard dash. That speed shows up on tape as Jurgens consistently reached the second level of the defense to throw blocks for the Cornhuskers.
The hope for the Eagles is that Jurgens and 2021 second-round pick Landon Dickerson to form the foundation of the interior of the offensive line for years to come.
Pick 83 Nakobe Dean | LB, Georgia Bulldogs
Thought to be a first-round prospect, Nakobe Dean slipped into the third round when concerns about an upper-body injury spooked some NFL teams.
The Eagles have used only one pick in the first three rounds on a linebacker in the last six drafts. Dean was the leader of the Georgia defense that spearheaded the Bulldogs’ run to the national title. He was second on the team with 72 tackles. He also had 10½tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 2 interceptions, 6 pass breakups, and 2 forced fumbles.
Dean was able to get onto the field for the start of rookie camp and it certainly looks like the Eagles got one of the real steals in the draft.
Despite being taken in the third round, those who bet online are keeping an eye on Dean as a possible Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate.
Pick 181 Kyron Johnson | LB-DE, Kansas Jayhawks
The Eagles went from selecting the top playmaker on the best college football team in the country to drafting a standout linebacker from one of the worst programs in the country.
Kyron Johnson had 7½ tackles for loss, and 6½ sacks and he also forced 4 fumbles as a senior. He ended up with more sacks in 2021 than he had in the previous four seasons combined.
Johnson was part of a Kansas team that won five games against Football Bowl Subdivision teams over his five seasons and now he’ll get to lineup alongside two fellow rookies from national powerhouse Georgia.
Pick 198 Grant Calcaterra | TE, SMU Mustangs
There is an opening for a reserve tight end after the Eagles traded veteran Zach Ertz during the 2021 season.
Calcaterra started his career off at Oklahoma. After making 36 catches in his first two seasons, he had just five during the 2019 season. That lack of production was a result of retiring due to concussion issues. After getting medical clearance, he transferred to SMU for his final collegiate season.
Calcaterra had 38 catches for the Mustangs with four of them going for touchdowns. Calcaterra’s time of 4.62 seconds in the 40 at the NFL Scouting Combine gave him a chance to be a late-round pick.
At 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, he is on the smaller side for an NFL tight end. The medical red flags due to his past concussions likely scared some people off but if he can stay healthy, he has the athleticism to contribute to the passing game at the next level.
Grading the draft
The Eagles came up with perhaps the “wow” moment of the 2022 NFL Draft when they sent the 18th overall selection to Tennessee to acquire Brown, a 24-year-old receiver who already has 24 career touchdown catches.
Add in Davis and Dean, two of the stars of the suffocating defense for the national champion Georgia Bulldogs, and one of the better interior offensive linemen and it was quite the haul. It is no wonder that many who make NFL odds view the Eagles as a threat to win their division title.
It was clearly a case of valuing quality over quantity since Philadelphia ended up with just two picks in the final 4½ rounds. Acquiring next year’s first-round pick from the New Orleans Saints was an added bonus.