2011 NFL Draft Grades | Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles traded away all they knew when they sent star quarterback Donovan McNabb to the rival Washington Redskins. Almost as important, they were staring mediocrity and “starting over” in the face with the unseasones Kevin Kolb taking over the reigns.
And then Michael Vick happened. Kolb went down due to a head injury, Vick stepped up, and despite a minor injury in the middle of the year, he really never looked back.
So, needless to say, the Eagles have found themselves in a nice situation. Their offense is explosive and consistent, and their defense isn’t far away from getting back to the gritty, aggressive cast they used to be.
With another draft class to put to good use, let’s see how the Eagles did in building their defense, as well as their entire draft class:
Round 1 (Pick 23) - Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor
Given how often Michael Vick was left to scramble for his life last season, it’s obvious that the Eagles needed to upgrade the offensive line. Watkins, despite already being 26-years-old, was a wise pick for them at No. 23 overall.
He hasn’t been playing football for very long, but many see him as a very NFL-ready talent that can step in and contribute right away. Lord knows the Eagles need it.
Round 2 (Pick 54) - Jaiquawn Jarrett, FS, Temple
Jarrett becomes the second Temple player selected in as many rounds. Some felt that the Eagles were in position to upgrade at corner in the first round, but wind up choosing a safety in round two.
Philly’s secondary was ravaged by injuries last season, and, with Quintin Mikell headed for free agency, the Eagles were in the market for some insurance. Jarrett is seen as one of the better safeties in a week safety draft class.
Round 3 (Pick 90) - Curtis Marsh, CB, Utah State
As mentioned above, the Eagles were in the market for some help at corner. He has plus size for a corner at 6’1″, and plays with very good aggressiveness. He also has very good ball skills, as he broke up 13 passes in 2o10.
He’s only played the position for two years, so there’s still plenty of room to grow.
Round 4 (Pick 116) - Casey Matthews, ILB, Oregon
Casey Matthews doesn’t have the NFL-ready pedigree that his brother, Clay, did coming out of college, but some saw this as a steal for the Eagles in the fourth round.
He’s extremely proficient at reading a defense, and is quick to react to plays as a result as an inside linebacker. Matthews can also drop in to coverage and plays particularly well in a zone.
Casey Matthews isn’t as big or as strong as some of his other football-playing family members, but would you really bet against a Matthews at this point?
Round 4 (Pick 120) – Alex Henery, K, Nebraska
All-Pro kicker David Akers is going to be a free agent, and, even if the Eagles were to bring him back, it’s time to look to the future.
Henery was the first kicker off the board, so that must mean something, right?
Round 5 (Pick 149) - Dion Lewis, RB, Pittsburgh
Philly drafts their second former Pittsburgh running back in the last three years, and will be teaming Lewis with former Panther LeSean McCoy in the backfield.
Lewis doesn’t have the size to be an every-down NFL back, but his speed will fit in nicely with the NFL’s most dynamic offense from time to time.
Round 5 (Pick 161) – Julian Vandervelde, OL, Iowa
You can’t succeed in the Big 10 without running the football, and, considering Iowa’s success on that front, the offensive linemen deserve some credit.
Vandervelde is a nice prospect with nice athleticism, but could stand to add some weight in order to really become a realistic NFL starter.
Round 6 (Pick 191) – Jason Kelce, OL, Cincinnati
Kelce becomes the third guard taken by Philly in this draft. Without having selected any tackles, this is questionable.
Round 6 (Pick 193) – Brian Rolle, LB, Ohio State
Rolle, like Matthews, is a bit smaller than your average NFL linebacker, but he makes up for it by playing with a very high motor and nice quickness.
Round 7 (Pick 237) – Greg Lloyd, LB, UConn
Lloyd is the son of former Steelers player Greg Lloyd, Sr., and missed most of the 2010 season recovering from a knee injury. Tough to project how he’ll perform as an NFL player.
Round 7 (Pick 240) – Stanley Havili, RB, USC
Philly already owns two solid fullbacks in Leonard Weaver and Owen Schmitt, so the selection of another fullback is a bit of a surprise. Havili did set a USC record with 116 career receptions, but if he can’t get onto the field, what’s the point of taking him?
Overall Grade: B