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Draft reaction: Are the Eagles the team to beat in the NFC?

The Eagles have received positive reviews from every draft pundit on the planet. Are they better than the 49ers as of today?

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

The NFC isn’t exactly deep with championship-level teams. The entire NFC South isn’t in the conversation. The North saw Aaron Rodgers take his talents and favorite receivers to NJ. Yesterday, we explored Seattle’s draft, and while they have improved shouldn’t be considered in the “championship” team conversation.

Dallas added Stephon Gilmore and Brandin Cooks. That is an improvement, but is it enough to shake the “can’t win when it matters” allegations?

Detroit is a fun story and likely a sexy bet to make noise, but they are still the Lions.

That leaves the two teams who met in last season’s NFC championship game.

The Philadelphia Eagles found themselves in the rare space of having high draft capital coming off a Super Bowl berth. On the first day of free agency, the 49ers stole the best defensive tackle and player available. Javon Hargrave gives the 49ers a distinct advantage while weakening its toughest opponent.

How would the Eagles respond?

Trading one spot up to number nine to select Jalen Carter from Georgia isn’t without risk. First-round picks hit at less than a 50 percent clip. Carter went from a can’t-miss top-five pick to a player with off-the-field concerns. Still, Carter is incredibly gifted. In this case, the risk is certainly worth it since the reward is so great.

At pick 30, Nolan Smith projects as a player with enormous potential. He also went to Georgia for those at-home keeping score, which is a familiar theme. Smith will have the advantage of taking his time while learning from the veterans on the Eagles’ defensive line.

Possessing back-to-back picks in round three landed Tyler Steen, OT from Alabama, and Sydney Brown, S from Illinois.

Again, the Eagles understand where their success derives from. Steen is there to replace Lane Johnson in the future.

Brown is an incredible value at pick 66. The Eagles have found their safety of the future.

At pick 105, Keelee Ringo from Georgia (another one) is a possible corner of the future for Philly. Howie Roseman felt strongly enough about Ringo to trade into this spot. In the fourth round, targeting players with elite traits is an optimal approach.

To finish the Eagles draft, the team selected QB Tanner Mckee (?) and DT Moro Ojomo. Ojomo will likely outperform his draft slot, but Mckee is a head-scratcher.

Traits and athleticism are one part of the draft process and evaluation process. The draft is a crap shoot, but it’s hard not to be impressed by this draft class for the Eagles.

Teams don’t play games on paper. The Eagles also added former Georgia RB Deandre Swift in a draft day trade to mix in with Rashaad Penny, Kenneth Gainwell, and Boston Scott.

The Eagles still have a distinct advantage over the 49ers.

Jalen Hurts. The question is, can he duplicate last season’s magic?

Does Philly feel better about their roster? Yes.

Will that translate into the same success from a year ago? We’ll see.

The 49ers still are in the lead in the NFC roster-wise, even with the quarterback questions.

Don’t believe me? Believe Vegas, who has the 49ers as the favorite to come out of the NFC without a clear starting quarterback.