One thing is for sure; the Eagles needed to upgrade at a few key positions. Without these upgrades the Eagles would not be among the top contenders to win the NFC in 2011.
Well, they certainly deed address these need positions during the draft, but does that mean that they got the right players? I have been a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles draft strategy over the course of the last few seasons. This doesn't mean that all their picks have panned out, because they haven't.
For example, I was a huge fan of Nate Allen heading into the 2011 draft and the Eagles got a steal with Allen in the 2nd round. Does this mean that he is going to be a perennial pro bowl performer? No! It just means that they got another solid player to add to their nucleus.
This morning I am going to focus on the Philadelphia Eagles 2011 draft class.
1st Round, 23rd Pick: G- Danny Watkins Baylor
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 31
Overview: The Eagles desperately needed to find some a long their offensive line to protect Michael Vick. I do envision Philadelphia moving Watkins to the tackle position protecting Vick's right side. He can come in right away and be a productive player; much like what we saw with Maurkice Pouncey and Mike Iupati in 2010. In fact, Watkins may be the most pro ready offensive linemen in this draft.
I like his ability to cut to the outside and pick up outside pass rushers, he did a great job with that at Baylor. It wasn't the most sexiest pick, but in the end Watkins will pay off Grade: A
2nd Round, 54th Pick: S- Jaiquawn Jarrett Temple
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 104 2010 Stats: 72 Tackles, 2 INT, 1 Forced Fumble
Overview: They might have reached a little bit with Jarrett in the 2nd round. Most extensive mock drafts didn't have the Temple Owl standout going until the 4th round at the earliest. That said, I am a fan of Jarret's and believe he should team up nice with Nate Allen moving forward in Philadelphia. This also allows the Eagles to not get into a bidding war for soon to be free agent, Quintin Mikell.
Jarret brings a lot of athleticism to the Eagles defensive backfield. He is a solid blitzer and is darn good against the run. Philadelphia should utilize him in the box a lot with Allen and the Eagles other secondary standouts dropping back into coverage. The knock on Jarrett is that he isn't a great on the ball defender and takes bad angles on occasion. Grade: C+
3rd Round, 90th Pick: CB- Curtis Marsh Utah State
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 123 2010 Stats: 45 Tackles, 2 INT
Overview: The Eagles needed to find another corner in the draft but I believe they reached for Marsh, who really didn't play against top level talent at Utah State. Curtis Brown and Brandon Hogan, who played at a higher level in college were still available at 90.
Marsh does bring some interesting upside to the position moving forward. He has pro level footwork and doesn't get turned around easily pretty much meaning that his transition to the NFL shouldn't be that steep. However, the adjustment of playing NFL compared to at Utah State will be huge Grade: C
4th Round, 116th Pick: LB- Casey Matthews Oregon
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 96 2010 Stats: 73 Tackles, 3 Sacks, 3 INT, 1 Forced Fumble
Overview; One of my favorite sleepers heading into the draft, Matthews has family tradition on his side. Although, not incredibly flashy, Matthews is a strong players and an elite tackler.
Jamar Cheney is the Eagles current ILB, and that has to scare Philly faithfuls. Brining in Casey Matthews to eventually supplant Cheney is a good step forward for this budding defense Grade: A
4th Round, 120th Pick: K- Alex Henery Nebraska
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 139 2010 Stats: 18/19 FGs, 54/54 PAT, 108 Points
Overview: 4th round for a kicker? You have to be kidding me. Couldn't the Eagles have drafted Henery in the 5th or 6th? Maybe they just didn't want to take a chance on him not being available there. I really think that Henery has a chance to be an all-pro kicker in the NFL. All he did with the Cornhuskers was make pretty much every kick that he attempted.
But, what about David Akers and his whopping 143 points? I have no problem with a team reaching for a kicker in the 4th round, especially for someone of Henery's talents. That said, they really had no need to select a kicker at all during the 2011 draft. Grade: D
5th Round, 149th Pick: RB- Dion Lewis Pittsburgh
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 184 2010 Stats: 1061 Yards, 4.8 AVG, 13 TD
Overview: I really love this pick. Shady McCoy is going to be a solid RB in the NFL, but it doesn't hurt to have a partner in crime back there. Lewis did have a sub par 2010 season for PITT, but he has tremendous talent.
At under 5 foot 7, Lewis will never be a featured back in the NFL, but he will be a nice complementary and change of pace guy for Philadelphia Grade: A
6th Round, 161st Pick: OL- Julian Vandervelde Iowa
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 340
Overview: I really don't know much about him, so I am not going to rely on second hand scouting reports. What I will say is that the Eagles did address an area of concern here as they did in the 1st round. From what I have read Vandervelde will be playing the guard position and is somewhat of a project as noted by his #340 ranking on CBS Sports Line Grade: INC
6th Round, 191st Pick: C- Jason Kelce Cincinnati
CBS Sports Line Ranking: N/A
Overview: Another player that I really will not be able to judge this morning. The Eagles do have Mike McGlynn a center and from what I have seen in him is that he is extremely solid. Maybe the Eagles were looking to address depth here or were looking for a LS candidate Grade: INC
6th Round, 193rd Pick: LB- Brian Rolle Ohio State
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 157 2010 Stats: 76 Tackles, 2.5 Sacks, 2 INT, 1 TD
Overview: I am a big fan of Rolle's and was really hoping the 49ers would find a way to get him in the later rounds. He is not a traditional OLB in terms of getting to the QB, but is extremely solid with what he does on the football field.
I envision the Eagles rotating him between MLB and OLB early on before attempting to find a true position for Rolle. Rolle is extremely good at dropping back into coverage and reading the flow of the play. You will see him around the ball a ton, and when asked to get to the QB he is solid there too Grade: A
7th Round, 237th Pick: LB- Greg Lloyd Connecticut
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 283 2010 Stats: 25 Tackles, 1 INT
Overview: Lloyd tore his ACL and MCL in 2009 and spent most of the 2010 season on the sidelines, as noted by his pedestrian stat line. That said, when healthy Lloyd is a solid defensive player.
If it weren't for the injury you probably would have seen Lloyd picked in the first two rounds of the draft because of his athletic ability. However, durability has to be a major concern moving forward. Grade: A
7th Round, 240th Pick: FB- Stanley Havili Southern California
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 163 2010 Stats: 166 Rush Yards, 32 Receptions, 396 Yards, 3 TD
Overview: A "soft" FB if you have ever seen one, Havili will never scare opposing defenders with his blocking ability. Finesse would be a good word to describe how Havili plays that game. Is this a bad thing? No, he is extremely talented with the football in his hands. Kinda like Peyton Hillis with the Cleveland Browns.
I expect Havili to make the team and be Philadelphia's starting FB out of training camp. He will give Vick another great weapon out of the backfield Grade: A
Synopsis: I would have to say that the Eagles got mixed results out of the 2010 draft. They reached for a couple players early and that may come back to haunt them. Jarrett and Marsh may end up being solid and productive players in the NFL; I just think there were better options out there.
That said, I love the pick of Watkins in the 1st round, Matthews in the 4th, Lewis in the 5th and Havili in the 7th. They got four extremely solid prospects with those picks Final Grade: B-