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MI_Buckeye
05-24-2011, 12:56 AM
Philadelphia Eagles

Where did the franchise stand before the draft?

I know it pains Eagles fans to do this, but you have to give credit where credit is due. The Eagles are one of the best organizations in the NFL.

Despite only one Super Bowl appearance, making it to five conference title games in one decade is testimony to what a terrifically competent and creative organization the Eagles are. Yet, they have always left one of the more insolent fan bases in the NFL wanting more.

Yes, coming so close so consistently and falling short time and again can be incredibly frustrating, but most fans would wait a generation for the opportunities that seem to be routine in Philly. Yes, Donovan McNabb was no Tom Brady, but he was one of the best QBs in the NFL for the better part of a decade. He certainly didn't deserve the animosity he received.

Now, McNabb is gone and the Eagles aren't quite the force they were in the middle of last decade. Yet somehow, things seem a little sunnier in Philadelphia these days.

Michael Vick went from public enemy No. 1 to MVP runner-up and fan favorite (only in Philly) in the course of a couple months. They have a few exciting, young pass rushers and playmakers on defense and one of the best sets of offensive playmakers in the league, as well as the league's most coveted back-up QB in Kevin Kolb. The Eagles are character-focused but have taken a few chances on some character risks like Vick and WR DeSean Jackson, and those calculated gambles have paid off wildly.

Still, the Eagles do have issues with their infrastructure. Offensive line, particularly RT, was arguably the Eagles biggest area of concern this offseason. Clay Matthews just about beat Philly by himself in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, making Winston Justice his own personal revolving door.

They also have big issues in the secondary, as in that same game, Aaron Rodgers was ruthlessly efficient, finishing the day with a QB rating in the 120s. The Eagles lack an impact CB opposite Asante Samuel. As is perpetually the case for the Eagles, another linebacker or two wouldn't hurt either.

The Picks

Round One, Pick 23: Danny Watkins, OL, Baylor

One of the most interesting players lands with the right coach in the right situation.

Everyone's favorite former Canadian hockey/rugby player/firefighter, Watkins has only three years of football experience and will turn 27 during his rookie season. However, few were overly concerned with his age heading into the draft, because his technique belies his experience.

Watkins took over for former No.2 overall pick Jason Smith at LT in 2009, and provided a steady, if not spectacular presence over two seasons. However, it was the Senior Bowl where Watkins demonstrated he can be a top-flight prospect at offensive guard.

Coaches and scouts have fallen in love with the grit of the former hockey enforcer as well as his workmanlike, unassuming demeanor. He is a nasty mauler on the field and a gentleman off of it.

That being said, I do think this is a bit of a reach here. I never really thought of Watkins as a first rounder. He has the potential to be a good core lineman, but to go as high as he did at his position, I would like to see someone who really blows me away.

It is also a little curious since I think he will have to start out at RG, further diminishing the value of the pick. LG Todd Herremans (Homer Alert!) has been very solid for the Eagles for a long time, and I don't think it makes much sense to move him right now. There is the possibility that Watkins could unseat Winston Justice at RT, but Watkins doesn't necessarily project as a tackle in the NFL.

The Eagles had bigger needs, and IMO, better players to fill those needs. If the Eagles cleared Jimmy Smith on character, I can't see how they could have passed him up. Guys like Gabe Carimi and Derek Sherrod would have made more sense to me from a needs standpoint as well.

In the end, I see little bust factor with Watkins, but I see even less chance you get much of a bang for your first round buck. I just don't believe he was that much better than guys like Will Rackley and Clint Boling.

Round 2, Pick 54: Jaiquawn Jarrett, SS, Temple

(Homer Alert!)This pick breaks my heart a little bit, as it probably means one of my favorite Buckeys of all-time, Kurt Coleman, will be relgated to sub-package and special teams duty.

In a very shallow year for safeties, Jarrett was the best in-the-box safetty by quite some ways IMO. He was projected as a third or fourth round value but got bumped up due to the lackos depth in this year's class at his position.

Schematically, Jarrett is an ideal fit with free safety Nate Allen. When healthy, Allen has the range and ball skills to conceal Jarrett's lackluster ability in coverage, and Jarrett is physical enough to keep Allen from having to come down in run support too much.

I suspect Quintin Mikell may be gone once the lockout is over, which would leave Jarrett to compete with the undersized Coleman for the starting spot at SS. Jarrett is certainly the more physically gifted player, but don't be surprised (Homer Alert!) if wrestling the job away from Coleman is tougher than expected.

Round Three, Pick 90 (from Baltimore): Curtis Marsh, CB, Utah State

Marsh is a raw but talented kid who has had a smooth transition from playing running back earlier in his career.

The value of Marsh to the Eagles is much better than his value to the rest of the league because of his scheme fit. Marsh is a long, athletic corner who excels in bump-and-run coverage but struggles when asked to play off.

Marsh figures to be brought along slowly but should see some time in sub-package situations.

Round Four, Pick 116 (from Tampa Bay): Casey Matthews, ILB, Oregon

I wonder if that playoff game had anything to do with this pick.

While he has the hair of his brother, Casey does not have the physical skill set of Clay. Casey is simply a solid defensive signal caller who doesn't miss many tackles but doesn't make many impact plays either.

He doesn't offer a ton of versatility and was certainly a reach in the middle of the fourth, but his father, brother and uncle have all exceeded expectations. Right now, it is hard to bet against someone from this family.

Round Four, Pick 120: Alex Henery, K, Nebraska

Despite criticism claiming Henery to be a reach, he is the best kicker to come out in quite some time.

Henery is the most accurate kicker in college football history statistically, and has a monstrous leg to boot. He was absolutely money in clutch situations as well. If the Eagles were planning on releasing David Akers than this was a worthwhile pick.

Henery was also one of the top punters in this year's class.

Round Five, Pick 149 (from San Diego): Dion Lewis, RB, Pitt

Lewis is a very skilled between-the-tackles runner but is woefully undersized, and his carries will have to be monitored very carefully.

He doesn't possess the speed you would like out of a 175-pound back, but he does have elite agility and burst. Lewis offers next to no value on special teams.

Round Five, Pick 161 (from Jets): Julian Vandervelde, OG, Iowa

Vandervelde is not as big as a typical Eagle guard, but he plays with great leverage and is athletic enough to get to the second level. He should sing the best song in training camp as a trained opera baritone.

Round Six, Pick 191 (from Baltimore): Jason Kelce, OG, Cincinnati

Another undersized OG, Kelce is stronger than his 280-pound frame would indicate and was a coach's favorite for his high football IQ. Should compete with Vandervelde for a roster spot.

Round Six, Pick 193 (from New England): Brian Rolle, LB, Ohio State

After making a "just because" trade with New England, the Eagles land one of the best players from one of the best defenses in the country last season.

Rolle has a lot of bulikng up to do to play in the NFL, but he is speedy and instinctive. He played in the middle at OSU but will probably be a better fit on the weakside. Also has a chance to be a core special teams player.

Round Seven, Pick 237: Greg Lloyd, ILB, UConn

The son of the former Steeler great by the same name, Lloyd is a smart, tough competitor who does not have his dad's athleticism. Limited upside and injury concerns.

Round Seven, Pick 240: Stanley Havili, FB, USC

Havili is a pure WCO FB with great hands and run after the catch ability. He is far from a thumper and has a history of character issues, but he does bring a unique skill set.

All in all

This appears to be a superficially typical Eagles draft, high in quantity and players they have specifically targeted. However, I don't like this draft as much as I usually like Philadelphia drafts.

Philly didn't get a ton of value through out the draft, and you could make an argument they reached on their first six picks, though I really do like the Henery pick. Although value in terms of draft stock ultimately means nothing once players hit the field, all of their picks present significant questions.

The Eagles addressed all their areas of need, but it is questionable how much they improved them. They racked up a bunch of solid, developmental players who make training camp more competitive, but it remains to be seen how many impact players they get.

The Eagles are usually good for one or two late round steals, but this draft just looks like a holding pattern for me, nothing like the franchise-shaping drafts of '08 and '09. Heck, even last year's draft yielded an impact pass rusher and a potential Pro Bowl caliber free safety.

IMO, Philly remains the team to beat in the NFC East. At best, their 2011 draft only maintains what has been a very solid organization for years, it isn't going to give them the push to get to another level.

Draft grade: C

shylo3716
05-24-2011, 01:39 AM
I'm so disgusted with our picks that it does not make any sense to anyone else, with the exception of Lewis & Matthews.

I still don't understand the Danny Watkins pick and never will unless he becomes a Pro Bowler. I get that he is brought in to protect Vick's backside, but DAMN we have a greater need! Danny is a 26 year old rookie who will be the same age as a 30 year old vet in his 4th year.

I don't know nothing about Marsh, but why draft him when we had the chance to take Jimmy Smith & Brandon Harris who we passed on TWICE!

Love Love Love the Matthews pick because bloodlines tell all.

Lewis will fill that Westbrook role not as a every down back, but as the smurf-like 3rd down back to get the short yardage.

To sum up everything I just said.....We BETTER get Nnamdi!!!!!!!!!!!!

SickwithIt1010
05-24-2011, 01:46 AM
I'm so disgusted with our picks that it does not make any sense to anyone else, with the exception of Lewis & Matthews.

I still don't understand the Danny Watkins pick and never will unless he becomes a Pro Bowler. I get that he is brought in to protect Vick's backside, but DAMN we have a greater need! Danny is a 26 year old rookie who will be the same age as a 30 year old vet in his 4th year.

I don't know nothing about Marsh, but why draft him when we had the chance to take Jimmy Smith & Brandon Harris who we passed on TWICE!

Love Love Love the Matthews pick because bloodlines tell all.


Lewis will fill that Westbrook role not as a every down back, but as the smurf-like 3rd down back to get the short yardage.

To sum up everything I just said.....We BETTER get Nnamdi!!!!!!!!!!!!

Watkins is going to be a good player, dont worry about it.

shylo3716
05-24-2011, 02:02 AM
Watkins is going to be a good player, dont worry about it.

He is too undersized to be a NFL Tackle.

bitonti
05-24-2011, 09:18 AM
i loathe the Eagles draft. their best pick was Stanley Havilli in round 7. their other picks pretty much blew. Danny Watkins is ok but he's no Alan Faneca. Jarrett can't run. Curtis Marsh has upside at least. Casey Matthews is a special teams mascot until proven otherwise. kicker Henrey in rd 4 was pure crap. that's what drunk people do at fantasy football drafts, take a kicker way too early. It was a terrible awful draft.

Halsey
05-24-2011, 09:43 AM
I agree with Scott's view on Matthews. That family has been proving people wrong for decades. Nobody thought the Packers were getting a future Pro Bowler when they took Clay Matthews. All Casey has to do is be a solid starter or quality backup to be worth a 4th round pick.

shylo3716
05-24-2011, 01:18 PM
The Watkins pick will have to grow on me. If Vicks sacks are limited this year with his help then I'll take back all the bad I have said, but until then you don't pass on a 6'2'' lockdown CB in Jimmy Smith!

SativaDominant
05-24-2011, 01:22 PM
The Watkins pick will have to grow on me. If Vicks sacks are limited this year with his help then I'll take back all the bad I have said, but until then you don't pass on a 6'2'' lockdown CB in Jimmy Smith!

You're really, really sleeping on Curtis Marsh's potential. It may take a year or two, but he'll end up as a very solid starter for the Eagles.

SickwithIt1010
05-24-2011, 02:58 PM
He is too undersized to be a NFL Tackle.

hes not going to play tackle.

shylo3716
05-24-2011, 03:05 PM
hes not going to play tackle.

I would hope not

GaMeTiMe
05-26-2011, 04:34 AM
I'm so disgusted with our picks that it does not make any sense to anyone else, with the exception of Lewis & Matthews.

I still don't understand the Danny Watkins pick and never will unless he becomes a Pro Bowler. I get that he is brought in to protect Vick's backside, but DAMN we have a greater need! Danny is a 26 year old rookie who will be the same age as a 30 year old vet in his 4th year.

I don't know nothing about Marsh, but why draft him when we had the chance to take Jimmy Smith & Brandon Harris who we passed on TWICE!

Love Love Love the Matthews pick because bloodlines tell all.

Lewis will fill that Westbrook role not as a every down back, but as the smurf-like 3rd down back to get the short yardage.

To sum up everything I just said.....We BETTER get Nnamdi!!!!!!!!!!!!

How long have you been an "Eagles fan"? Because you sound like the kind of people Buckeye used his opening paragraph to talk about. Not sure any other fan base had a shout out in the draft reviews yet.


Anyway, the Watkins pick was business as usual. We may see Herremans at RT and Watkins at LG in 2012 but this year will be Peters/Herremans/Jackson/Watkins and either Justice or Dunlap. Dunlap has a chance to run with the job, if not it will be Herremans or a top rookie next year. Or Peters, but that's a whole other scenario..Watkins should immediately be the best player on our line and make one of the better duos with Herremans in football. If Jackson returns to form and Peters stays healthy the possible hole at RT won't sink us. Vick is better moving away from that side, if anything.

You can't knock the pick because of his age because he's a guard. I expect 6 solid years from Watkins and he'll end up being one of the better picks in that area of the draft when it's all said and done. Ben Grubbs and Davin Joseph are, too and Watkins is better than both of them.

I feel like a broken record but Sione Puoha is an example of a "too old prospect" who has given his team solid play for 5 or 6 years now. He was a second round pick and much less of a prospect, but they don't have to just play 4 years and move on, especially at guard.


Love the Jarrett pick. LOVE it. There are always questionable "reaches" in the draft and it's later revealed that other teams were waiting for that player soon after, and that was the case here. It was only a reach because it was the 'second round', if he went in the first few picks of the third no one would've blinked.

Awesome fit, we'll maximize his potential and I expect him to be better than Michael Lewis and Quintin Mikell who both were more than above-average starters here at their best.

The fact that Allen and Jarrett are our starting safeties next year is probably about 80% of the reason that I feel so sure that we'll be landing Nnamdi. It's almost a foregone conclusion in my mind, not sure how outlandish I sound saying it but we left the door wide open for it for a reason.

I also love Marsh but obviously don't want him starting from the gate. It isn't like this team to start rookies and they've kind of moved away from that lately, if only to make up for their long-term lack of talent at the skill positions. They won't start 3 rookies from this class, you can tell they weren't very high on it as a whole. That being said Marsh will see time as a dime back and in certain 3 WR match-ups over Joselio Hansen (5-9 185) and I like his chances of developing into that nickel guy full time with maybe Trevard Lindley the smallish dime guy

Matthews, Rolle and Lloyd at linebacker and Vandervelde and Kelce on the OL are competition players at positions of need. Again we obviously didn't like this class and this was clearly the primary focus of the draft. I like Matthews chance of carving out a long-term back-up role here and our back-up LBs can get plenty of snaps. He probably won't look too bad in spurts. It's also very likely one of our starting LBs is very below average and Matthews is exposed in extended play, but we'd probably just be ignorant and keep starting the below average LB all season anyway.

Kelce is a guy I'd keep an eye on, if only because of our late-round success with Cincinnati players (Trent Cole and Brent Celek). Don't think we've had any other players from Cincinnati that could've busted. For all we know both he and Vandervelde are back-up interior linemen next year.

Henery I like as our new starting kicker. Too bad seeing Akers go, but Dawkins kind of numbed me to anything else like that.

Hard to really react to this draft so the stupid fans will just get mad that the 1st pick was a Canadian guard but in due time we will see with the 3rd-7th round picks if we loaded up on schematic, keep-the-flow-goin' guys who can step in and not have their names called in a blown assignment or guys who will fight for a roster spot and be cut after 2 seasons max. I don't think there's enough bust-power amongst these picks to suggest the latter.

shylo3716
05-26-2011, 04:45 PM
How long have you been an "Eagles fan"? Because you sound like the kind of people Buckeye used his opening paragraph to talk about. Not sure any other fan base had a shout out in the draft reviews yet.


Anyway, the Watkins pick was business as usual. We may see Herremans at RT and Watkins at LG in 2012 but this year will be Peters/Herremans/Jackson/Watkins and either Justice or Dunlap. Dunlap has a chance to run with the job, if not it will be Herremans or a top rookie next year. Or Peters, but that's a whole other scenario..Watkins should immediately be the best player on our line and make one of the better duos with Herremans in football. If Jackson returns to form and Peters stays healthy the possible hole at RT won't sink us. Vick is better moving away from that side, if anything.

You can't knock the pick because of his age because he's a guard. I expect 6 solid years from Watkins and he'll end up being one of the better picks in that area of the draft when it's all said and done. Ben Grubbs and Davin Joseph are, too and Watkins is better than both of them.

I feel like a broken record but Sione Puoha is an example of a "too old prospect" who has given his team solid play for 5 or 6 years now. He was a second round pick and much less of a prospect, but they don't have to just play 4 years and move on, especially at guard.


Love the Jarrett pick. LOVE it. There are always questionable "reaches" in the draft and it's later revealed that other teams were waiting for that player soon after, and that was the case here. It was only a reach because it was the 'second round', if he went in the first few picks of the third no one would've blinked.

Awesome fit, we'll maximize his potential and I expect him to be better than Michael Lewis and Quintin Mikell who both were more than above-average starters here at their best.

The fact that Allen and Jarrett are our starting safeties next year is probably about 80% of the reason that I feel so sure that we'll be landing Nnamdi. It's almost a foregone conclusion in my mind, not sure how outlandish I sound saying it but we left the door wide open for it for a reason.

I also love Marsh but obviously don't want him starting from the gate. It isn't like this team to start rookies and they've kind of moved away from that lately, if only to make up for their long-term lack of talent at the skill positions. They won't start 3 rookies from this class, you can tell they weren't very high on it as a whole. That being said Marsh will see time as a dime back and in certain 3 WR match-ups over Joselio Hansen (5-9 185) and I like his chances of developing into that nickel guy full time with maybe Trevard Lindley the smallish dime guy

Matthews, Rolle and Lloyd at linebacker and Vandervelde and Kelce on the OL are competition players at positions of need. Again we obviously didn't like this class and this was clearly the primary focus of the draft. I like Matthews chance of carving out a long-term back-up role here and our back-up LBs can get plenty of snaps. He probably won't look too bad in spurts. It's also very likely one of our starting LBs is very below average and Matthews is exposed in extended play, but we'd probably just be ignorant and keep starting the below average LB all season anyway.

Kelce is a guy I'd keep an eye on, if only because of our late-round success with Cincinnati players (Trent Cole and Brent Celek). Don't think we've had any other players from Cincinnati that could've busted. For all we know both he and Vandervelde are back-up interior linemen next year.

Henery I like as our new starting kicker. Too bad seeing Akers go, but Dawkins kind of numbed me to anything else like that.

Hard to really react to this draft so the stupid fans will just get mad that the 1st pick was a Canadian guard but in due time we will see with the 3rd-7th round picks if we loaded up on schematic, keep-the-flow-goin' guys who can step in and not have their names called in a blown assignment or guys who will fight for a roster spot and be cut after 2 seasons max. I don't think there's enough bust-power amongst these picks to suggest the latter.

Dude if you are an Eagles fan it is very disrespectful to question my love for my team. FYI I am originally from right outside the Philly area in Camden, NJ so I have my ties! I'm just bummed out about our #1 being a OL rather then CB when it is a much greater need.

SickwithIt1010
05-26-2011, 04:58 PM
Dude if you are an Eagles fan it is very disrespectful to question my love for my team. FYI I am originally from right outside the Philly area in Camden, NJ so I have my ties! I'm just bummed out about our #1 being a OL rather then CB when it is a much greater need.

How can you ever be upset when your first round pick is an OL? OL is arguably the most important part of a team. We will address the secondary, dont worry about it. We obviously saw something in Watkins we liked and something in Smith we didnt.

SativaDominant
05-26-2011, 04:58 PM
Dude if you are an Eagles fan it is very disrespectful to question my love for my team. FYI I am originally from right outside the Philly area in Camden, NJ so I have my ties! I'm just bummed out about our #1 being a OL rather then CB when it is a much greater need.

Keeping Vick healthy is a far greater "need." Drafting for need is pretty stupid to begin with.

Halsey
05-26-2011, 05:06 PM
Then every NFL team must be stupid lol...

shylo3716
05-26-2011, 05:21 PM
Then every NFL team must be stupid lol...

I concur! Stay humble my friend!

shylo3716
05-26-2011, 05:23 PM
How can you ever be upset when your first round pick is an OL? OL is arguably the most important part of a team. We will address the secondary, dont worry about it. We obviously saw something in Watkins we liked and something in Smith we didnt.

Hell we should have traded up for Pouncey then, if that was the plan all along.

SativaDominant
05-26-2011, 05:29 PM
Then every NFL team must be stupid lol...

Considering the track record of most teams in the draft, then yes. Most of them are.

In a sport with as much attrition at football, it's impossible to predict what your needs will be from week to week, let alone trying to project it from April to September-January. Not to mention, drafting a guy with the expectation that he suddenly satisfies your "need" is a fool's errand, as a rookie's production is generally going to be wildly inconsistent for week to week. Taking the best available talent (within reason - you can't draft a QB five rounds in a row or take guys who don't fit your team schematically) and supplementing your needs through free agency generally increases the probability of a successful draft as opposed to reaching on players just to fill in holes in the roster.

It just doesn't make sense to apply a "fix it now" mentality to a pool of players who, generally, will take time to develop before they're ready to contribute at a competent and consistent level.

SickwithIt1010
05-26-2011, 05:33 PM
Hell we should have traded up for Pouncey then, if that was the plan all along.

Maybe our FO didnt like Pouncey? There are a lot of things that go on behind the scenes that we dont know about. For all we know Watkins was the highest OL prospect on their big board?

Halsey
05-27-2011, 04:38 PM
Considering the track record of most teams in the draft, then yes. Most of them are.



Yeah, you've got it all fugured out. If you were a GM you'd be perfect and your team would win a Super Bowl every year. I used to think that when I was 13 too.

Iamcanadian
05-28-2011, 10:45 AM
Philly is a very efficient organization and I think their draft has that quality.
Watkins could turnout to be the best OLmen from this draft and will provide Philly with a huge upgrade at OG whichever side he plays on.
What you have to ask yourself is, how high would have Watkins gone if he were 20-22 years of age, and IMO, he would have been a top 15-18 pick without any problem.
He could turnout to be the steal of round 1 so it's hard to question this pick.
Round 2 and 3 were efficient and solid picks. That's about all you can ask when you are drafting late.