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At Philadelphia Draft, Eagles and Ravens Bolster Defensive Lines

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The 2017 NFL Draft was the 82nd annual meeting of National Football League franchises to select newly eligible football players. It was held April 27–29 in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art at Eakins Oval. University of Delaware students Katherine Nails and Jack Roberts provided coverage.


This year’s NFL draft, held in Philadelphia from April 27–29, saw 253 players fulfill their dream of playing professional football. Surprising picks and trades came from a host of teams, including the Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens.

In a first-round move that elicited mixed reactions from fans, the Eagles drafted edge rusher Derek Barnett. The teams needed to add another capable pass rusher to complement defensive end Brandon Graham, and Barnett had produced consistently during his three years at the University of Tennessee.

In the second round, the Eagles grabbed Sidney Jones, who was considered a top-15 draft talent before he tore his Achilles tendon.

With its third-round selection of Rasul Douglas from West Virginia University, the Eagles will receive much-needed help at the cornerback position. Douglas is a big-bodied cornerback with a natural ability to play the ball in the air; he tied for the most interceptions (eight) in the NCAA last year.

The Eagles’ fourth-round selections of Mack Hollins and Donnel Pumphrey will add depth and fill future needs. 

Hollins, a wide receiver from UNC, is tall and fast—but he may get buried in the wide receiver depth chart this year. His biggest impact will likely be covering punts and kickoffs on special teams.


RELATED: Philadelphians react to 2017 NFL Draft


Running back Pumphrey broke the NCAA all-time rushing record in four years at San Diego State, but his size is expected to limit him from taking on a heavy workload at the pro level.

The Eagles’ fifth-round selections included Shelton Gibson, a wide receiver from West Virginia University, and Nathan Gerry, a linebacker/safety from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Gibson adds another deep threat to the Eagles receivers and will join his WVU teammate Rasul Douglas.

The Eagles’ final pick came in the sixth round, when they selected Elijah Qualls, the defensive tackle from the University of Washington.

Baltimore Ravens fans who were expecting the Ravens to draft heavily on the offensive side of the ball had their hopes dashed, as the team’s first four picks were defensive players.

In the first round the Ravens selected Marlon Humphrey, the physically gifted cornerback from Alabama. In the second and third rounds, the Ravens filled the defensive hole left by last season’s loss of starting linebacker Zachary Orr to a career-ending spinal condition. 

The Ravens selected Tyus Bowser, the linebacker from Houston, in round two. In the third round, the Ravens chose Tim Williams from Alabama, who is coveted for his athletic traits and ability to harass the quarterback, but will need to improve his run defense at the next level. The team’s other third-round selection was Chris Wormley, a defensive end out of the University of Michigan.

On day three of the draft, the Ravens added two offensive linemen: Nico Siragusa from San Diego State University and Jermaine Eluemunor from Texas A&M. Eluemunor, who hails from London, England, is a unique prospect. His strength and frame are pro-ready, but his skill and footwork need to be refined.

Like the Eagles, the Ravens’ final pick came in the sixth round. Chuck Clark, a defensive back from Virginia Tech, will look to find a roster spot as a safety.

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