Eagles Players Who Will Be Most Impacted by 2022 NFL Draft Picks

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistApril 13, 2022

Eagles Players Who Will Be Most Impacted by 2022 NFL Draft Picks

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    The Philadelphia Eagles stand to be a much-improved football team after the 2022 NFL draft.

    Even after trading away a first-round pick to the Saints in this year's draft, they still have two to work with, along with the 51st, 83rd and 101st selections.

    It's realistic to believe that the Eagles could find five immediate contributors with a great draft.

    That's sure to have a ripple effect on the roster. Whether it's players whose lives are about to be made easier or may find themselves fighting for a job, here are three Philadelphia players who are going to be most affected by the draft.

QB Jalen Hurts

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    Jason Behnken/Associated Press

    The first and most obvious answer here is Jalen Hurts. The quarterback is entering the pivotal third year of his rookie contract.

    The Saints trade put the quarterback on the clock. The deal gave the Eagles one less first-round pick in this year's draft but also handed them an additional 2023 first-round pick. While that could always be used to help elsewhere, there's a logical trail that pick could be used to ensure they get a quarterback.

    That means Hurts needs to earn the Eagles' trust in his second full season as the starter.

    A lot of quarterback success in this league is context-dependent. General manager Howie Roseman has to continue to put the best team around Hurts to find out what they have in the quarterback.

    The next step in that goal is to nail this year's draft. Bolstering the defense so they can put the offense in good positions and continuing to upgrade the weaponry around Hurts are going to be a key for the Eagles on draft day.

WR Jalen Reagor

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Speaking of weapon upgrades and make-or-break seasons, the clock is ticking on Jalen Reagor. The 2020 first-round pick has had two seasons as a starter to breakout, but he hasn't lived up to expectations.

    He struggled with injuries in his rookie season, recording 396 yards with a touchdown in 11 games. He was healthier as a second-year player in 12021 but only had 299 yards in 17 games.

    Roseman has already shown he's willing to continue spending premium picks at the receiver position. The Eagles drafted DeVonta Smith with the 10th pick last year. His 916 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie could only serve to encourage the team to take yet another first-round receiver.

    Reagor's Week 12 performance against the New York Giants seemed to be a breaking point last year. He caught only two of seven targets, and the Eagles posted just seven points in a loss.

    Every week thereafter, Reagor played a minimal role, seeing no more than four targets in each game.

    With five chances to add a receiver, there's a good chance Reagor's replacement is going to be on the team by May 1.

CB Zech McPhearson

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    The most obvious need on the defensive side of the ball is a cornerback to play opposite Darius Slay.

    With Steven Nelson still unsigned, the Eagles need a No. 2 cornerback. To this point, they haven't turned to free agency to add a significant candidate for the role.

    That leaves Zech McPhearson as the incumbent most likely to step into the job. The 2021 fourth-round pick played a limited role in the secondary last year and did well.

    He played just 17 percent of the defensive snaps, but he only allowed nine completions on 17 targets for 96 yards and a passer rating of 69.7, per Football Reference.

    The Texas Tech product will be paying careful attention to the draft. Brian Baldinger of NFL Network recently noted that the Eagles wouldn't hesitate to take LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. if he were to fall to No. 15.

    A pick like that would immediately minimize McPhearson's chances of starting on the Eagles defense next year.