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The 2013 NFL Draft has been completed for over a week, and at this point in time, many fans start to wonder if the prospects their team selected will turn out to be a great contributor or a bust. So, I figure now is a decent time to release my draft recap for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Surprisingly, the selections seem great, with little to no risk. Basically, the draft class seems like a good one. Of course, Andy Reid said his draft class looked good for the past 14 years, so I won't jump the gun. However, it seems as though Howie Roseman and new head coach Chip Kelly put a lot of time and effort into making this draft a successful one. The team didn't reach for anybody, and they stuck with their draft board from day one, instead of shying away from it after the first round.
Of course, the draft is one of the main reasons why this Eagles team has been horrendous over the past two seasons. In order to be a competitive team year in and year out, the front office can't continually sign big ticket free agents. Instead, the front office needs to devote a lot of time into creating a solid draft board and making solid selections when the time comes. Over the past several seasons, it's easy to say that most of Reid's selections were not up to par. Let's take at Reid's selections over the last three years of his Eagles career:
Looking at the 33 picks from 2010-2012, there should be one word going through every one of your heads right now: pathetic. Out of those 33 picks, there are only six that have worked out in my opinion: Alex Henery, Jason Kelce, Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks, Brandon Boykin and Nick Foles. Look at the aforementioned statistics again: 33 players drafted from 2010-2012, six decent selections. That leaves 27 players who the Eagles did not do their homework on. People wonder why teams such as the New England Patriots or Baltimore Ravens are competitive every single year. It's not because of a free-agent star quarterback or a shut down defense. It's because their front office knows how to draft players who can contribute immediately, something the Eagles have seemingly lost the knowledge of doing. With that in mind, here is your 2013 Draft Recap for the Philadelphia Eagles.
First Round: Lane Johnson; OT, Oklahoma
Pre-Draft Grade (as given by NFL.com): 92.9- Immediate Starter
|Photo Courtesy: USA Today|
Johnson has a ton of potential to become a Pro Bowl caliber offensive lineman, but of course there is one word that has been continually used to describe him: raw. That's not a word most Eagles fans would want to hear. Remember the last time the Eagles used a first round pick on an offensive lineman who was considered raw? It didn't work out so well, and now Danny Watkins may soon be finding himself only fighting fires.
However, Johnson is different. Sure, Johnson has only played offensive tackle for a couple of years (similar to Watkins), but his skill set seems much better, despite the fact that Johnson was originally a quarterback. Johnson was not only considered the most reliable blocker on the Sooner O-Line, but in the entire nation as well. He plays with an attitude; not a TO attitude, but the kind of attitude Philly fans love (as stated in his scouting report, Johnson "looks willing to hand-fight with defensive ends.") Most importantly, Johnson never stops moving until the whistle blows. He keeps his feet moving after the initial contact, and hustles down the field in case he needs to block someone else. Johnson not only makes sense in the short term, but the long term as well. Johnson will not become Watkins 2.0; he'll be a reliable run and pass blocker on the Eagles offensive line for years to come.
Second Round: Zach Ertz; TE, Stanford
Pre-Draft Grade: 82.2- Eventual Starter
|Photo Courtesy: Philadelphia Eagles|
Anyhow, Ertz is an intriguing prospect to keep an eye on. He's being compared to Jason Witten due to the fact that he can both receive and block. He's not afraid to leave a couple of bruises on defenders, preferring to run straight at them instead of around them. When he doesn't have the ball in his hands, Ertz is always eager to help his team, looking for anyone on the defense he can block.
He makes incredible catches (his scouting report stated that it "Looks like he has glue on his hands with some of the catches he is able to make") and he is smart, which is often overlooked in college prospects (Ertz is a junior but will graduate next month). In terms of personal achievements, Ertz earned All-American Honors last season while being named a finalist for the Mackey Award, given annually to the nation's best Tight End. If there is one thing Ertz can work on, it's simply his consistency blocking and receiving, although he performs quite well in both areas regardless.
Tight End wasn't one of the major needs on the Eagles draft board, but the Eagles got lucky and pulled the trigger and one of the most intriguing offensive prospects in this year's draft. In five years, the Eagles might have a top ten Tight End on their team. That's how much potential Ertz has.
Third Round: Bennie Logan; DT, LSU
Pre-Draft Grade: 78.7- Eventual Starter
|Photo Courtesy: Eagles Gab|
Regardless, Logan will contribute immediately to the team, and will perhaps become a three-down player by season's end. He's well known for his ability to stop the run at the line; he's also a decent pass rusher with the ability to rush through an open gap easily due to his lateral quickness and athleticism.
He never takes a play off, always fighting until the whistle blows. Simpy put, Logan has a ton of potential; all he has to do is work hard each day during this upcoming summer. Here's another fact about Logan: he wore number 18 last season for the Tigers. That usually means nothing, as a number is just that: a number. However, LSU takes the number 18 seriously, as they give it to the player who "Best represents what it means to be a Tiger on and off the field."
That's a pretty big honor in my opinion. Logan is listed as a DT, but at 6'2 and 309 pounds, he could become the nose tackle the Eagles are looking for. The only thing he needs to improve on is his pass rush ability. Other than that, Logan is an intriguing prospect who every fan should keep their eye on this season. He'll surprise a lot of people.
Fourth Round: Matt Barkley; QB, USC
Pre-Draft Grade: 82.0- Eventual Starter
|Photo Courtesy: Crossing Broad|
So, despite the fact that Barkley had an "off" 2012 season (although 36 touchdowns to 15 interceptions isn't that bad), he has shown since 2009 that he can be a NFL-caliber quarterback. His stats, of course, do not tell the whole story. He makes adjustments at the line (even on run plays), and unloads the ball quickly. He's accurate, he has a strong arm, and most importantly, Barkley has NFL-style intangibles that any team would love in a quarterback. He takes hits and gets right back up, no matter what.
Barkley was projected as a first round quarterback after the 2011 season, but he decided to go back to USC to help compete for a Nation Championship. Of course, 2012 didn't go as planned, but Barkley was still projected to be a first round pick in some Mock Drafts. So, to draft Barkley in the fourth round is a steal. He won't be the starter from Day One this upcoming season, but if there's an injury, I believe Barkley could see the field. At the very least, Barkley will learn from Foles and Michael Vick, and perhaps compete for a starting job in 2014. Quarterback was a need for the Eagles going in to the Draft. With the selection of Barkley, they addressed it, and quite well.
Round Five: Earl Wolff; SS, NC State
Pre-Draft Grade: 63.4- Draftable Player
|Photo Courtesy: SB Nation|
It's easy to tell that Wolff has a ton of potential. He's a big hitter, he can force turnovers, and he consistently makes and finishes his tackles. I don't believe he'll be an immediate starter this upcoming season, but it's a possibility. At the very least, Wolff gives the Eagles depth in the secondary. Fans should keep an eye on him over the next couple of years, as he could develop into a fine NFL safety.
Seventh Round, First Pick: Joe Kruger; DE, Utah
Pre-Draft Grade: 73.0- Eventual Starter
|Photo Courtesy: SB Nation|
Seventh Round, Second Pick: Jordan Poyer; CB, Oregon State
Pre-Draft Grade: 74.0- Eventual Starter
|Photo Courtesy: SB Nation|
So, by looking at his stats, it's clear that he is a decent defensive back with the ability to improve so much more. Basically, Poyer has so much potential that was overlooked by 31 other teams just because of his off-field issues. Poyer also excelled in another area at Oregon State: the return game. His stats when returning both punts and kickoffs are shown below:
|Kick Ret||Punt Ret|
Sure, the stats aren't amazing, but the Eagles could use a guy who can make tacklers miss in the open field, especially on kick returns. The Eagles were near the bottom of the league when it came to the return game last season, averaging a mere 21.0 yards on kick returns and 10.3 yards on punt returns. At the very least, Poyer could attempt to improve those horrendous numbers.
Just because a player is picked in the seventh round doesn't mean that the player is bad. Off-field issues can cause potential early round picks into seventh round selections; this was the case with Poyer. He had second round potential but was selected five rounds later. With Poyer's selection, the Eagles secondary has a ton of depth. Based on what happened last season, that's a good thing. I see Poyer contributing immediately on special teams, and perhaps even finding some playing time in the nickel, as Brandon Boykin did last season. In a few years, the Eagles could have a Pro-Bowl caliber cornerback in Poyer. At this point, that's a very favorable outcome for a guy who was selected in the seventh round.
Seventh Round, Third Pick: David King; DE, Oklahoma
Pre-Draft Grade: 52.3- Draftable Player
|Photo Courtesy: ESPN|
I also felt it was necessary to include the list of players the Eagles agreed to terms with after the draft. I won't give a formal analysis on them; however I will include their pre-draft grades (if one was provided) or an interesting tidbit. If you wish to read a brief description of each player, feel free to click here; the website does a nice job giving some background information on the players.
Jake Knott; LB, Iowa State (60.2- Draftable Player)
Miguel Maysonet; RB, Stony Brook (59.0- Draftable Player)
Kyle Quinn; C, Arizona (Centered for Nick Foles)
Issac Remington; DL, Oregon (Kelly must feel that Remington can contribute)
Russel Sheppard; WR, LSU (May have been contacted and signed by the Eagles before the draft was complete: a big no-no in the NFL that could result in penalties to the team)
Damion Square; DL, Alabama (53.1- Draftable Player)
Matthew Tucker; RB, TCU (56.0- Draftable Player)
Brad Wing; P, LSU (Highest punting average in LSU history)
Overall, I feel as though the Eagles had their best draft in several years. They stuck to their draft board, they filled their needs, and they made selections that improved their depth at certain positions. Chip Kelly and the front office did a great job this year. I for one can't wait to see these prospects hit the field, and I know you can't either. The season will be exciting; the prospects the team selected will make it that much better.
Overall Draft Grade for the Philadelphia Eagles: A-