The NFL lockout has not only effected the way team’s go about their offseason, it has also lowered the excitement most fans usually feel at this time. A lot of fans are not very happy that the sides have not been able to come to an agreement and the fans at Radio City Music Hall let the commissioner know that. Roger Goodell looked like a parent trying to quiet down his out of control children. It is no secret that good drafts are a necessity to build a successful team and the Eagles have done at good job at it over the last few years.
Andy has had is fair share of busts and wasted picks like Quinton Caver or Bryan Smith but what team hasn’t. The current core of this team was built through the draft and hopefully their actions during the last few days will play a part in bringing us that parade down Broad Street. It is next to impossible and unfair to try to evaluate and “grade” a team right after the draft. The Eagles selected 11 players over the 3 days, I will try to shed some light on who they are and what role they will play with the team.
Round 1 Pick 23: Danny Watkins OG Baylor
It was no secret that Andy wanted to upgrade the offensive line during the draft. Watkins is 26 but he will immediately fill a need that the team has. He could step in and start at either guard positions and will be an upgrade over MJG or Nick Cole. Watkins has the reputation to play with a mean streak and it is something that the team has missed over the last few years.
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Round 2 Pick 54 Jaiquawn Jarrett S Temple
The Eagles used their 2nd round pick on a safety for the 2nd draft in a row. They continued the trend of picking good character players as Jarrett fits that to a tee. He is an excellent student and made the 2010 Athletic Director’s honor role. Jarrett will go from playing his home games at the Linc on Saturdays to playing his home games at the Linc on Sundays. At 5’11’’ 198, he is on the small side for safeties but he plays a lot bigger. Jarrett is a solid tackler who loves to hit people. Jarrett lacks elite athleticism but is able to make up for that with his great recognition skills. Eagles S Quinton Mikell is a FA and there is some doubt that the team will bring him back. Jarrett could battle Kurt Coleman for the starting spot along side Nate Allen. Jarrett would fit nice into the role of the SS, while Allen would be the FS. The Eagles might let Mikell go and the let the 3 young players battle it out for the 2 spots.
Round 3 Pick 132 Curtis Marsh CB Utah State
The Eagles may have reached for Marsh in the 3rd round as it seems as though he is more of a project, but he does have the skill set to be successful in the NFL. He has good size (6’0 ½’’ 197lbs) and good speed (4.42 40) for the position. Marsh is a former running back and is still transiting to the CB position. The CB spot on the other side of Asante will not be filled by Marsh this season as he is not ready to contribute right away. It may take Marsh a few years but he could be a very good player. I still think the Eagles need to upgrade the CB position and hopefully they will still address this in FA.
Round 4 Pick 116 Casey Matthews LB Oregon
You might recognize the last name as the Matthews family has become a staple in the NFL. Matthews is another high character, intelligent football player who fits well into the mindset of Juan Castillo. He is a versatile player who could fill in at any of the 3 positions. Casey doesn’t possess great size (6’1’’ 231 lbs) but his football IQ makes up for that. He doesn’t have the same athleticism of his brother but there are few people in the world that do. It doesn’t look like Matthews will be a starter for the Eagles in 2011 but he will provide them with a lot of depth to the position. But with the Matthews pedigree, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him start for the Birds this season.
Round 4 Pick 120 Alex Henery K Nebraska
It is unusually to take a kicker this early in the draft but he is definitely a good one. This pick could signal the end of the David Akers in Philly and that is a sad thought for most fans. Akers is a great guy and is probably the greatest kicker in the history of the franchise. Henery is the best kicker in the draft and might be one of the best in the last few drafts. He has a strong leg (career long 57) and is very accurate as well. Teams don’t spend a 4th round pick on a kicker with the intention of releasing him after training camp, so say good bye to Akers.
Round 5 Pick 149 Dion Lewis RB Pittsburgh
Isn’t Dion a cool name? Lewis was Shady’s replacement at Pitt a few years ago and now he will get the chance to back him up in the pros. He is undersized (5’6” 193 lbs) but he has good speed and a powerful lower half. Though he doesn’t possess the top end speed you might like for a player of his size. He is still young and will have plenty of time to develop behind McCoy. I don’t think he will be ready to be Shady’s backup in 2011 but he could develop into a good player.
Round 5 Pick 161 Julian Vandervelde OG Iowa
Vandervelde is your typical late round pick in the draft, he had a successful career at a big time football school but he doesn’t have the athleticism to translate into the NFL. He his almost 6’2 and 301 lbs and doesn’t have the speed you would like for a smaller offensive lineman. Julian is a hard worker and will provide the Eagles with some good depth on the offensive line. He projects to be more of a career backup but with Howard Mudd coaching him, you never know.
Round 6 Pick 191 Jason Kelce C Cincinnati
Round 6 Pick 202 Brian Rolle OLB Ohio State
Round 7 Pick 281 Greg Lloyd ILB Connecticut
Round 7 Pick 240 Stanley Havili FB UCS
Andy Reid and company had another busy draft as they selected 11 players. They were able to address several needs and it looks like they will at least have one player in this draft start for them. It is impossible to know how the players will do right after the draft, so I am not going to give them a grade. I think that you can only start to grade a draft 2 years later. The Eagles did get some pieces that I think will do very well for them. But they still have some holes that they need to address if and when FA does start. They need to acquire a starting CB and a play making LB would be nice. Overall I think the Birds had a nice draft and I can only hope I will get to see them play this season.