I mean this to be as un-insulting as possible, but the 2011 Paper Champions are off to another great start… On paper.
They have been proclaimed by most pundits as the winners of the draft, having gotten the best value, and scooping up falling prospect after falling prospect with little worry about their team’s needs, and worried more about the best player on their board.
Remember though, people that fall on draft day are being passed over by 32 teams for a reason, and maybe all the experts, even this one writing this column today, are wrong, and the scouts know something we don’t. In any event, let’s continue our look at the 2012 NFL Draft with my 2012 Philadelphia Eagles Draft Grade.
I will say, even after the words I typed out above, I love the Eagles first pick of the draft. Fletcher Cox is the exact athlete and run stopper they need in the middle of that wide 9 defensive front and he will slide in and should not only compete, but be a force from day one.
Cox is an explosive and athletic defensive lineman that has the ability to be a penetrator or hold up at the point of attack against the run. He is a three down lineman in every sense of the word and his quickness is only aided by his good base, and strong upper body.
He can over penetrate at times, and will get to high on occasion, two things that can’t happen in the Eagles defensive scheme, especially the over penetration part where the Eagles had a lot of problems last year.
In round 2, with their first pick of the second they took inside linebacker, Mychal Kendricks.
While Kendricks projects to move to OLB in the Eagles defense, I can see him also splitting some time with newly acquired DeMeco Ryans in order to keep himself familiarized with the Eagles ILB position as well.
Kendricks is a short, compact wrecking ball. He has legit 4.4 speed and plays like it on the field as a disruptive and impact type player.
Looks a little tight in coverage and isn’t a natural pass rusher, but has the speed and athleticism to become a good blitzer.
He will need some time to get used to playing the OLB position in the Eagles defense, and he may not be a three down player early on because of his struggle against the pass.
He reminds me of a player that came out not to long ago and ended up in Philadelphia for a year as well in Ernie Sims. He has the same build, same temperament and same questions. I love the pick, so don’t take this as a knock against the guy, he just reminds me of Sims, and I hope he doesn’t have the same issues Sims did.
Their second pick in round 2 was that of Vinny Curry.
He has a natural pass rush ability that allows him to use his combination of speed and size to get after the quarterback with ease.
He comes into a situation where his weaknesses, against the run at the point of attack, can be minimized and he can just concentrate on getting after the quarterback and learning the rest.
This is why the Eagles get that Paper Championship thrown their way a lot. They add players that can come in and they can get the most out of them without asking them to do things they aren’t quite ready to do yet.
In round 3 they took a GIANT step backwards, and Philly fans feel free to grill me because of this, but the pick of Nick Foles was not a smart pick at all in my estimations.
First, the good. He has a great arm, he has time to sit and learn under a guy in Andy Reid who has made a lot of QB’s look good in his system, and he has the height, build and arm strength you want in a QB.
Now the rest. He has terrible footwork in the pocket, I know this because I’ve watched nearly every game he has played living in AZ. Watching him play the last two year he regressed greatly when his best weapon, Juron Criner regressed as well.
He doesn’t find his second and third options well, for having a great arm he gets the ball out horribly at times, and doesn’t have a lot of great touch on the ball, I’ll be waiting with all the YouTube highlight videos to show me his touch on the ball.
The reason I don’t like the pick is because I think Kirk Cousins would have been the better pick, and I’ll admit that right now so there is no questioning my motivation for what I am saying.
I think Foles can come in and sit, but when the inevitable Vick injury happens, and if, I am saying if because maybe Foles doesn’t play at all, Foles is asked to play things could get ugly.
In round 4 the Eagles continued to “dominate” the draft by getting second round prospect Brandon Boykin.
Boykin can be a great addition to a good defense who needs help at the CB position, giving them a top shelf athlete at corner, and someone who can come in and be a nickel back to begin with.
While Boykin is undersized, he is still physical, loves to play tight coverage and come up and hit.
He has had some injuries, and may not be able to be more than a slot cover corner because of his size, but I would actually say he will come in and push DRC for his starting job.
In round 5 the Eagles did an Eagle like thing by taking unknown offensive lineman Dennis Kelly out of Purdue.
Kelly has some intriguing upside, but wasn’t graded out by, well anyone I have read, as a draftable player, which means Howard Mudd will turn him into an all pro most likely. It’s the fifth round, and while there were some big names still out there, I can’t really knock the pick because of Mudd and his ability to coach up “untalented” players.
Remember when I said there were big names on the board still in round 5? Well they made it to round 6 in the form of Marvin McNutt and Brandon Washington.
McNutt is a big, tall, muscular framed WR with really good strength, very good straight line speed, is good after the catch and has great body control along sidelines and over the middle.
The problems? He lacks elite get off on line of scrimmage and struggles to get separation despite good frame and speed.
He can drop some easy catches, and needs time to develop into a real threat at the position.
In Washington the Eagles have a naturally built and strong offensive line prospect. He has a thick lower half that is well defined, is super athletic, not just for his frame, but for any offensive lineman. He has great bend, quickness and set in kick step and getting depth in pass protection. Is explosive at pulling and shifts his weight well and dominates defenders.
He needs to play with a lower, more aggressive pad level and his footwork is raw, and relies on his athleticism way to much instead of technique.
Has the ability to come in, learn and back up for a while and then take over and become a dominant type guard.
To end the draft, the Eagles used their last pick on Bryce Brown. He is a physical inside runner, that could finally be the answer to the Eagles short yardage question, but if he doesn’t show much in camp he may not be with the team.
Overall: It’s easy to see why most people grade this as an “A” type draft, to those people I say, have we watched a single game yet? How many times have we seen a can’t miss type like Cox come in and do a whole lot of nothing?
That being said, I do think the Eagles had a Great draft, and added to their team where they needed to.