• October 6, 2022

Eagles 2011 Draft, A Good Start To The OffSeason

When grading the NFL Draft, it is important to ask yourself two things- what were the team needs going in, and how much could they realistically improve themselves?

In all reality, this Eagles draft will remembered by their inability to trade Kevin Kolb. By trading Kolb, they could have really added a top of the draft, playmaker to this team. But when that was not an option, the front office had to be realistic about what they could accomplish, and what needs they could fill.

Going into the draft, it is clear that other than the offensive line, the defense was a priority for a team that was historically bad in the red zone. However, by not being able to move up and grab a legitimate, game-changing cornerback like Patrick Peterson, it is unrealistic to think the Eagles would sure up the whole defense through the draft.

A defense that bad in the red zone can only be fixed through veteran help and scheme change. Prince Amukamara could be the best rookie in the draft, but it won’t matter if he is told to play off his receiver in the red zone, and there is no pressure on the cornerback. There are too many holes to think any one player taken with the 23rd pick was going to fill them.

So when the Eagles went on the clock, they took in many people’s eyes, the most sure fire prospect in the draft, Danny Watkins. Watkins was considered the best offensive guard in the draft by Ray Didinger, and Rick Gosselin (who many view as the best NFL Draft analyst). He called Watkins a sure fire 2012 Pro-Bowler.

The addition of Watkins to the line allows the Eagles to do a lot of things. If they decide to start Watkins at guard, they can move Todd Herremans out to right tackle. The fact that Andy Reid said that King Dunlap will compete for that job shows the immediate need at that position. The return of Jamaal Jackson from injury could allow the Eagles to slide Mike McGlynn over to guard, giving the Eagles a solid starting line. If Watkins is the consistent, solid player everyone says he is, he will help this line is many ways.

All of the negatives you read about Watkins revolve around his age and late start to the game. You hardly read that Watkins is a risk, which is a tag that was applied to a lot of players on this draft, especially on defense.

After securing the offensive line, the Eagles next picks all point to one thing: the front offices plan to go after a big time free agent cornerback. There is no way the Eagles will not make a run at a cornerback once free agency eventually opens. David Akers has a better chance of starting again for the Eagles than Dmitri Patterson does, and the cornerback’s replacement will be selected from the group of free agents.

The Eagles selection of Jaiquawn Jarrett in the second round surprised many, and there is no question it is a reach. Jarrett is a big time hitter, who will make more of an impact in the box than he will deep down the field. He likes to attack a running back coming around the corner and make him pay.

Despite running a slow 40-yard dash time, Jarrett is said to be a quick study. Hearing him talk to reporters at the NovaCare Complex, it is clear that Al Golden instilled in him the importance of watching tape. Jarrett might be slower than other safeties in the draft, but that won’t matter if he is making the reads quicker.

It is like the old episodes of Survivor, where the team had to complete the puzzle before they could start the race. The fastest guy on your team couldn’t start running if he was stuck putting together the pieces. The same is true for safeties- you can run as fast as you want, but if it’s in the wrong direction, it won’t matter.

The Eagles selection of Utah State cornerback Curtis Marsh only further lays out the blue print for a free agent signing, as there is little chance Marsh makes an impact this season. He’s a project the Eagles want to work on.

The Eagles added two playmakers in the 4th and 5th rounds when they drafted linebacker Casey Matthews and running back Dion Lewis. Matthews has great instincts, which is something that could not be said for the rest of the Eagles linebackers. In his 4 seasons at Oregon, Matthews had more sacks, tackles and interceptions than his brother Clay did during his time at USC.

Dion Lewis is a speed back that gets in and out of his cuts quickly, and will benefit from having his old teammate LeSean McCoy being around. He is a player that if the Eagles can get into open space, which they do better then almost any team in the league, he will be a lot of trouble for defenses. Andy Reid must drool when thinking about the speed the Eagles will have in the backfield in a double back set with Vick at quarterback.

Like many drafts, the real letter grade on it with only a few days lapsed afterward is “I” for “Incomplete”. No one knows what will happen with the players who the Eagles selected, and what their impact will be. But on paper, the one thing all the players have in common which were taken by the Eagles is consistency. Watkins, Matthews and Jarett all started for 4 seasons in college. They were proven players at the college level, who are just as capable of making the jump to the NFL as any other players taken.

There’s no question this Eagles team still has holes, but no combination of draft picks would have fixed all of them. The Eagles still have free agency to complete their off season, but I think they got off to a good start, this past weekend by adding consistent, solid, playmakers to their roster.

Eliot Shorr-Parks

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J Hart
J Hart
May 2, 2011 3:47 am

Eliot shorr parks this was one of the best articles I’ve read on here. Excellent.
This is exactly what I’ve been telling guys this is just the beginning, they’re goiing to work hard at building a winner… I believe they feel like there very close to being a contender and gotta build to beat the SB champs the packers
… they came close but still lost twice to them (And the packers had alota injuries and will have a lota guys coming back and they’ll be stronger than ever)… so look for the birds to be aggressive and to get the rest of what they need in FA…

May 2, 2011 9:29 am

Great job!! Solid and you don’t panic with your thinking like G has done lately.

May 2, 2011 9:57 am

Nice job Elliot..
I think this Draft will be looked on in 2-3 years time as a very functionalbe and productive draft… Probably no Pro-Bowler types, or game changers, but
5-6 really solid players and maybe a Kicker who will be consistent and replace Akers and hopefully be another reliable Kicker for the next 8-10 years like Aker’s was..
I really like CB Marsh and OG Vandervelde and think these players can flourish with good Coaching and in the Eagles System a little quicker than some may think and could possibly compete and push for a Starters Spot come 2012/2013

Cant Climb
Cant Climb
May 2, 2011 10:42 am

Another “average” draft by the Eagles. Again…..too much selecting of guys too early. Andy Reid’s one bad trait is stubborness. He stubbornly sticks to “his” board. Could have gotten some of these guys a round of 2 later.

Was a good draft though. Some gems in there i think…we’ll see in 3-4 years.

May 2, 2011 10:52 am

This draft shows the Eagles biggest proiroity is to protect Vick. If this is done well, the offense may score 32+ point a game. I don’t have a problem with the picks, just not a lot of flash.
I said stay clear of Bowers in the first round, but I think jumping a few spots in the second may have helped this team. The guys picked in the 2,3 and fourth may have been still available later. The Eagles could have used their 2012 second rounder as trade bait knowing Kolb will fetch a good 2012 pick to get the existing picks + Bowers. His knee must really have question marks since he dropped so far and I may be enamored more with his projected spot 2 months back, not his current medical status.
That is just me wanting to see the front 7 addressed through the draft. Trent Cole needs some help. The Eagles have a low salary cap and can get 2 big time players if they are willing to write the checks.

May 2, 2011 10:55 am

I meant to say front 4.

May 2, 2011 11:30 am

@Cantclimb, How do you know they drafted guys too early? Perhaps the Eagles had these guys where they drafted them on their board. Where you looking at ESPN mock drafts? Stubborness might be bad, but I am glad the Eagles stuck to their guns and not fall to the pressure of the public/media. Example, the 49ers. Some people within the 49ers org urged that Alex Smith was not the right pick at #1, but due to media/public saying it is, most of the front office don’t want take on the risk and went with a “safe” pick. I am glad the eagles are not one of those teams.

May 2, 2011 11:42 am

The concept of a team sticking to its draft board as being stubborn (or bad at all) is extremely laughable. Any organization that makes a plan, wants to stick to it. That’s a what a draft board is – a strategic plan. In every other context its considered best practices for a leadership team to make a plan and stick to it barring major outside chagnes. Only with some Philly sports fans, who have the arrogance and hubris to assume they know better from their marginal reserach in the media, does this get characterized as stubborness. It’s pretty ridiculous if you asked me!

Cant Climb
Cant Climb
May 2, 2011 11:52 am

Yeah….there are tons of evaluations out there Guys !!!!……..Tons of respected talent evaluators. Is not hard to find them. This is not all worthless info. Plus we can all watch the combine and evaluate Athelicism. We all watch games. Most of use have been watching football for 20-40 years. We have opinions. We don’t have all the info AR has obviously !!!… but wre have somewha Valid opinions. Go laugh all you want. We’ll see in 3-4 years another average draft. AR has had average drafts for 12 years. It has kept them from the final ELITE step.

May 2, 2011 11:55 am

smart solid draft.

Cant climb – really – what type of culture or climate do you work in where a group sits down and comes up with a plan, and then the boss just willie nillie changes his mind on things? You learn that when you picked up your executive MBA –

I think at most of the finer business schools, they teach leaders to develop a plan with the help of the best talent available (that would be the GM, the scouts etc. etc.) after watching hours of film, attending combine and workouts and interviews, and then give everyone a chance to have input into the plan. You look and try to game as many possible outcomes, practice risk mitigation, and then go forward with you plan – there ya go – a 6K Mba course taught online for free!

Yeah – I have concerns with the draft, but need to see what roster looks like in August….

Cant Climb
Cant Climb
May 2, 2011 12:01 pm

– All true. Well said. Yes, stick to your plan. Maybe i’m more really concerned with how they set their board that is all. But in setting of their board maybe then need better scouts, more avenues, more outside opinions from consultants. Maybe thier stubborness was set even before draft. Let’s not argue that AR is stubborn. That is proven in history. Great coach. Love the guy. Not a AR hater. But he stubborn as all heck. He still convinced guys that are smallish and have spent the last 8-10 years of their lives in gyms working out are going to put on 15-20 pounds in the pros and still be the same player. This isn’t going to happen too often with small framed guys.

May 2, 2011 2:15 pm

CC – I admit I would love to be a fly on the wall and watch how teams set the board. I personally think the model for ‘smaller,faster’ came from the TB Tbucs SB team which had a bunch of players that flew to the ball (remember the old Tampa 2 defense)

But on that note – notice most of the players taken this year were considered big – Watkins is a big ol gaurd, the next two DBs have ‘good size’ int he description – the whole kicker in the 4rth round….. not so sure about that – but an all weather guy used to kicking in front of 100K people. Look – i love Akers – but he refused a new deal and refused his tender – if the Eagles didn’t make a plan they would get hammered for that.

We should re-visit this topic in about October and see where they stand

Cant Climb
Cant Climb
May 2, 2011 3:19 pm

I don’t have huge problem with getting a Stud kicker. Those guys mean wins and losses. If you don’t have a good one that count as 2-3 losses in a season. But this Henery guy still has to prove he can do it in the NFL. NFL for kickers can mean “Not For Long” if they miss just a couple….

May 2, 2011 9:46 pm

The Big picture is this, the Eagles have a very poor draft record which does not justify belief in their “plan”. Reid has yet to draft one “superstar” in 12 years. They don’t come often but to have none is ridiculous. Don’t give me Desean Jackson, he is terrific but limited because of his size when targeted by the defense in big games. Westbrook and Mcnabb were very good but not superstars. I know it’s not easy, but Reid has had about 100 tries. Also, I hope Reid addresses the cornerback position in free agency with a legit player, but his history of leaving gaping holes, or signing poor free agents belies your assuredness. If history tells us anything, Watkins will be good to better than average, and the rest will not yield one difference maker.

J Hart
J Hart
May 3, 2011 12:26 am

The profile of this team has indisputably changed. It was a transition that began with the emergence of michael vick in 10′. Its now transparent, they’ll compete and by extension succeed or fail based on the play of there offense…

The defensive philosophy will change too… Expect less blitzing and more coverage. Pressure will be strategically calculated… The transformation from jim johnson is now complete… It’ll be a fast break offense and a more conservative defense…

May 3, 2011 6:53 am

rasta, are you a real doctor? Maybe you are, but if so, why have you strayed so far from understanding science? Any real doctor would understand that the Eagles drafts have not been terrible in relation to the NFL average, which is the only fair and reasonable way to judge them. And you’d also have to qualify what a superstar means. I’d doubt that ‘too small’ would trump production in a scientific analysis because it violates logic.

May 3, 2011 11:10 am

and rasta….just in case you didn’t read my reply to your post in the other section, I took the liberty of copying and pasting it below for your reading pleasure 😉

donovan mcnabb, lito sheppard, sheldon brown, michael lewis, jeremy maclin, desean jackson, Nate Allen (a little early, but looks like a good player), LaSean McCoy, Mike Patterson (solid, but no superstar for a 1st round), Shawn Andrews (before he lost his mind…and will), corey simon…..all picked in the 1st or 2nd round and weren’t busts….rastadoc, I think you’re exaggerating

you should see the drafts BEFORE Reid….Jon Harris anyone? Oh, maybe you remember the great 1st round pick in ’94 Bernard Williams that DOMINATED the league. Or maybe Mike Mamula…the sack master. Bruce Walker, Lester Holmes, Leonard Renfro, Siran Stacy, Tommy Jeter, Antone Davis, Jesse Campbell…..all 1st or 2nd round picks from the 90′s before Reid.

The best players from these first 2 rounds were Bobby Taylor, Charlie Garner, and Jermane Mayberry.