Elijah Qualls was a really tough player to evaluate on tape. Washington used him all over their line, as a 3 tech, 5 tech, nose tackle and stand up rusher. Sometimes he really flashed and got into the backfield quickly, other times he was taken out of the play pretty easily.
Qualls is 6’0, 311 pounds which means he’s a bigger tackle without much length, which would explain why he fell to the 6th round. 3-4 defenses weren’t interested because he lacks the strength to be a nose tackle and the length to be a 5-tech defensive end. He also lacks the power to be a two-gap player which really narrowed down his fits to one-gap 4-3 defenses.
I wanted to get excited about his upside, but I saw a 311 pound player who plays like he is 285 who also lacks that quick first step. His technique was all over the place and when he played too high, he got blown out of the play pretty quickly.
He is pretty agile for his size, which does give me hope that Jim Schwartz can develop him into a decent rotational tackle. He loves to attack with his spin move, which will give interior linemen fits at the next level if he can develop the rest of his game.
At this point I am still down on Qualls, despite this scheme being the best possible fit for his game. I don’t think he is one of the five best defensive tackles on this roster right now and there is still a possibility that the Eagles either trade for another tackle or sign another team’s released veteran.
The 2017 NFL Draft has come and gone and in my lifetime I can’t recall a more entertaining draft weekend. Over 250,000 fans attended the draft in Philadelphia, which was a record according to the NFL. We also saw a very chaotic first round, several prospects with a lot of off the field baggage being taken early and two playoff teams from last season taking a quarterback in the first 12 picks.
From the Eagles point of view, it was a pretty successful weekend in terms of who they drafted. For all the talk about how this franchise isn’t afraid to take on a character risk, they drafted eight players who are all outstanding human beings. None of them have that troubled past or incident caught on tape that fans have to defend or justify for the next several years. The Browns and Bengals both drafted a player who has(allegedly) knocked out a woman and the Cowboys drafted a player who has a trial date for July 24th for his alleged domestic assault dating back to last March.
I think the only major gripe from this draft class is the lack of a true primary back on the Eagles roster. If Ryan Mathews is healthy come August this will matter a lot less, but there is serious doubt that he will. Some have even suggested he could retire, but GM Howie Roseman said in his post-draft press conference that he has been cleared to start working out. There is also a possibility they sign or trade for a veteran running back like a Jeremy Hill, Matt Jones or LeGarrette Blount, but right now it seems they will stick with who they have already on the roster.
One thing to keep in mind with this initial draft post is that this is just a general review of who the Eagles acquired with their picks and undrafted class. I will go through each draft pick and a couple noteworthy undrafted signings and break down their tape individually with a clean slate.
It’s important to go back to the tape and see what the Eagles front office saw in each player and try to project each prospect’s possible role and ceiling, but for now this is just a quick overview at what transpired this weekend.
Continue reading “Reviewing the Philadelphia Eagles 2017 NFL Draft and UDFA Class”