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Brian Baldinger pulls no punches. A year ago, he slammed Howie Roseman and the Eagles for an analytics-driven draft that saw them take Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson in the first round, a quarterback (Jalen Hurts) in the second round and project linebacker Davion Taylor, who ran a 4.4 40-yard dash, but didn’t play a down of high school ball and had zero takeaways in 24 college games, in the third round.
The boys down at 1 NovaCare Way will be happy to know that Baldinger was much more impressed with their decision-making in this year’s draft, which concluded Saturday.
“I thought they had a good draft,” said the NFL Network analyst who spent 11 years in the league as an offensive lineman with three teams, Womens Landon Dickerson Jersey, including the Eagles. “I thought it was much better than last year. I thought they collaborated well.
“The two Alabama kids [first-round wide receiver DeVonta Smith and second-round offensive lineman Landon Dickerson], they’re just difference-makers. We’ll see what [third-round defensive lineman] Milton Williams becomes. But I thought they hit a lot of spots of need in this draft.”
One gaffe Baldinger felt they made was bypassing cornerback Aaron Robinson of Central Florida in the third round with the 70th pick and trading back three spots to get an extra sixth-round pick.
The Giants ended up taking Robinson with the 71st pick. The Eagles then selected Williams at 73.
“If they had Williams rated higher than Aaron Robinson, God bless them,” Baldinger said. “But I think they need a slot corner, and they could’ve gotten a really good one right there.”
» READ MORE: The only honest evaluation of the Eagles’ draft is one that isn’t much fun | David Murphy
Baldinger thinks Robinson has a good chance to be the Giants’ season-opening nickel corner.
“If he ends up becoming the Giants’ nickel and Milton Williams just flames out, it’s going to be one of those kinds of things where you’re going to be asking, Red Landon Dickerson Jersey, ‘What were they thinking,’ ” he said.
“The first time I put a tape on of Aaron Robinson, I said he’s a starting NFL nickel right now. Just his quickness, his tackling ability, his size, the whole thing. I felt he was going to walk into an NFL camp and win the nickel job immediately.”
Here are Baldinger’s thoughts on each of the Eagles’ nine draft picks:
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
6-0, 166 pounds
Round 1 (No. 10)
Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (left) catches a touchdown as Notre Dame cornerback Nick McCloud defends in the second half of the Rose Bowl in January.
Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (left) catches a touchdown as Notre Dame cornerback Nick McCloud defends in the second half of the Rose Bowl in January.Michael Ainsworth / AP
“I give the Eagles a ton of credit for jumping in front of the Giants and taking him. You can prepare for all of this stuff in your [predraft] meetings. But until you’re on the clock and faced with a situation like this, you don’t know how somebody’s going to react. I thought it was a really smart move.
“I know people have some questions about Smith’s weight and frame. But he played 54 straight games at Alabama. You see him get lit up by people. I showed a picture Saturday night of [Eagles sixth-round pick] JaCoby Stevens lighting him up this season. He just bounced up off the turf like it was nothing. I’ve seen all types of people lay him out and it doesn’t seem to bother him.
“He’s just so silky smooth. A tremendous route runner. Those route runners, those are the guys that are getting a lot of catches in this league. Whether you’re Davante Adams or Keenan Allen, guys that know how to run routes and separate Landon Dickerson Jersey Amazon, and make things easy for the quarterback are the guys getting 80, 90, 100 catches.
“That’s what this kid can do. I don’t know exactly what he tested at. But he’s as fast as he needs to be and jumps as high as he needs to jump. He’s one of those guys that, when the ball’s thrown to the sidelines, he can just make his legs go dead and extend the field by 2 yards. He’s an advanced student at that position. Great, great pickup.”
» READ MORE: What you need to know about DeVonta Smith
Landon Dickerson, C/G, Alabama
6-6, 333 pounds
Round 2 (No. 37)
“He’s my favorite player in the draft. He’s as close to [Colts All-Pro left guard] Quenton Nelson as I’ve seen in the last three years. He just wants to be great. Nobody knocks more people down in college football than this guy. He’s as nasty as they come. He’ll start the fight and finish the fight. [Nick] Saban has called him the best leader they’ve ever had. He’s just a culture builder. Going in to play the Cowboys, you want this guy leading you out of the tunnel. He’ll make everybody around him better. Everybody. Just like Quenton Nelson did in Indy.
“I know there are injury questions about him. But I didn’t have any problem with them rolling the dice on this kid in the second round. Because if he stays healthy, he’ll be the best lineman in this draft. He might take over for [center Jason] Kelce this year. He’s 50 pounds heavier than Kelce. He’s much more physical. We all love Jason. But he’s flirted with retirement a couple of times and his body isn’t getting any fresher. His strength is on the perimeter and getting to the second level. This guy has Jason Peters-type power. He just knocks people in the dirt. Like over and over again. When you’re going against Dexter Lawrence and all these big nose tackles in the league now, I don’t see anybody backing this guy up. You look at all those [defensive tackles] in the SEC that are 320, 330, 350, he didn’t have a problem with any of them.
“I think he can be the best center in football. But if you want to put him at guard, I’m OK with that. The way he pulls and runs and knocks people down, he looks like [Hall of Fame guard] John Hannah out there.”