By Justin Adkins:
The 2011 NFL Draft is in the books, and the Eagles made sure to extract their pound of flesh, exercising 11 total picks.
But despite making that many selections, the holes remaining on the roster are still pretty glaring. That said, the team did add some talent that should have immediate impact, and of course with the asinine lockout still going on and preventing free agency from happening in March, holes that would have already been filled by now are still open and waiting for attention. Here’s to the owners and players removing their collective heads from their asses as soon as possible so that we can start focusing only on football again.
In the meantime, here’s a breakdown of the Eagles picks (click the title links to go to each pick’s individual discussion thread on the PSC Eagles message board):
Watkins is a solid talent and should start from day one, but the Eagles could have had cornerback Jimmy Smith or defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson in this spot, addressing positions of need with higher value. They could have picked a decent guard later on and got similar value. Still, despite his age (26), Watkins should start for the Eagles for a long time and will immediately stabilize the glaring hole at right guard. He could even play left guard with Todd Herremans kicking out to right tackle to replace the average Winston Justice. Either way, the Eagles offensive line should look a bit different to start the season, and that’s definitely a good thing. Watkins wasn’t a sexy pick and didn’t maximize value at that spot in the first round, but he’s still a very good player and a nice addition to the Eagles.
Likelihood of making team – 100%
With Quintin Mikell set for free agency and 2010 seventh-round pick Kurt Coleman more suited for a nickel-type role, strong safety was a pretty big need. With the pick of Jarrett, it’s safe to say that need was addressed. Jarrett has good size and speed and watching his film shows a guy who will come up and lay some serious wood. He may not be the next Brian Dawkins but the kid has skills and the exact mentality anyone would want from a safety. Former Temple head coach Al Golden has been quoted as saying that Jarrett is the best tackler he’s ever seen in 21 years of coaching. The Eagles could have probably waited until the third round, but if you see a guy you like you need to take him before someone else does, so while it wasn’t the best value it’s not a bad pick.
Likelihood of making team – 100%
Marsh is an interesting pick. The biggest piece of info we can glean from the selection, both the player and the spot in the draft, is that the Eagles will be making a very hard push to sign cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha once free agency begins. Because while Marsh possesses a nice blend of size and speed, he is very much a project who not only won’t start right away, probably won’t see the field at all this season. He only played two years at corner after converting from running back, and the competition he faced while playing for Utah St means he could get overwhelmed quickly at the NFL level. That said, he has talent and potential, and he could be primed and ready to start once Asante Samuel slows down in a couple years. Until then, the Eagles still have a glaring need at the corner spot across from Samuel, and Eagles fans need to keep their fingers crossed that Asomugha is brought in; otherwise, it’s going to get ugly quickly in the secondary. Again.
Likelihood of making team – 99%
Matthews is the younger brother of Packers stud Clay Matthews. Casey himself admits he’s not not the explosive player his brother is but he insists he has even better football instincts. He better be right. Matthews should have a tremendous impact on special teams, but he’s going to face an uphill battle to see playing time on defense. He’s probably not big enough to play in the middle and isn’t fast or athletic enough to play the weakside. Even so, it’s never a bad idea to add pure football players to your team, and that’s what Matthews is. Good pick.
Likelihood of making team – 95%
This pick was a bit shocking at first, mainly because taking a kicker as high as the fourth round is somewhat idiotic, but on second and third glance, it’s not a terrible pick. Sure, the Eagles had numerous needs, but the talent level in this shallow draft was pretty thinned out at this point and it’s hard to point to any one specific player that made a ton of sense here. On the other hand, David Akers is soon to be a free agent and with the obvious acrimony on display after last year’s playoff debacle, it’s no surprise to see the Eagles move on. Plus, not that long ago the New England Patriots, the true Gold Standard the Eagles front office has been trying to emulate for many years, took kicker Stephen Gostkowski at almost this same exact pick. Ultimately, Henery looks like the real deal, and once he makes a long 50+ yarder or hits his first game winner, Akers will be but a memory.
Likelihood of making team – 85%
Lewis isn’t very big and isn’t very fast but he fills a major need as a complimentary player to LeSean McCoy. And what better way to do that than with a guy who shared a backfield with Shady at Pitt? With Jerome Harrison almost definitely gone in free agency, the Eagles needed to draft a back. And despite said lack of size and speed, Lewis was very productive and is built well enough to survive in the NFL. He will just need to work on his pass catching and blocking if he wants to secure some of the very limited carries available in the Eagles offense.
Likelihood of making team – 85%
If you had heard of Vandervelde before the draft, congrats, you have no life and spend way too much time watching college football and reading draft sites. Vandervelde is a classic Reid pick, an offensive lineman that should provide some depth if the Eagles decide to move on from guys like Nick Cole and Max Jean-Gilles.
Likelihood of making team – 50%
See above for pretty much the same story, only Kelce, at 280 pounds, will not be playing guard in the NFL and should move to center. He may make the team if Jamaal Jackson shows he can’t come back healthy or if Cole is jettisoned.
Likelihood of making team – 40%
Rolle is very short at a hair under 5’10”, but he’s pretty solidly built and his 4.51 speed could eventually make him a player at the weakside linebacker spot, a huge need right now. He should step in and play on special teams from day one but it’s unlikely he actually ends up playing much with the defense right away, let alone starting. Still, he comes from a major program where he was productive so it’s possible his skills and instincts will overcome his lack of ideal size. This seems to be a theme with the Eagles this draft, which fits in with their long established philosophies. While most observers have been clamoring for the team to get bigger and stronger across the board, the Eagles, as usual, do it their way.
Likelihood of making team – 70%
The son of former Steelers linebacker Greg Lloyd, this version is likely too small to play defensive end and too slow and un-athletic to play linebacker. Lloyd will have to make an impact on special teams and flash some potential to even make the team.
Likelihood of making team – 20%
Havili is an undersized fullback whose only chance of making the team rests with Leonard Weaver’s knee being completely destroyed and Owen Schmitt getting hit by a bus. Still, the guy can catch passes and while he’s not much of a blocker he has some solid athleticism. Crazier things have happened.
Likelihood of making team – 10%
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