The Eagles had 11 selections in the 2011 NFL draft, including one or more in all seven rounds. They selected a guard, a safety, a cornerback, a linebacker, a kicker/punter, a running back, a guard, a center, a linebacker, a linebacker, and a fullback.
Although it’s way too early to grade the NFL draft for the Philadelphia Eagles, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
Danny Watkins, Guard, Baylor, 1 (23)
A 26-year old draft pick who will be 27 when he plays in his first NFL game is never an ideal pick. But Watkins is a great lineman. He is fiesty, fierce, aggressive, and will start immediately at one of the Eagles’ biggest weak spots. With Howard Mudd coaching him, Watkins could be a Pro Bowler by 2012.
Jaiquawn Jarrett, Safety, Temple, 2 (54)
I’m undecided on the Jarrett selection. I think it was a little bit too high to pick a safety who might have been available the next round. He doesn’t run fast either. But he is an incredible hitter and is good in coverage.
Curtis Marsh, Cornerback, Utah State, 3 (90)
I don’t like the Marsh pick. The Eagles need a starting right cornerback, not a guy who was playing at running back just two seasons ago. Marsh has a chance to start in a couple of years but he’s definitely not ready now.
Casey Matthews, Linebacker, Oregon, 4 (116)
Yeah, he’s the younger brother of Clay Matthews. But if he was even close as good as Clay, he wouldn’t still be available in the fourth round. I think he’ll be a good player but I don’t think he’ll be starting right away.
Alex Henery, Kicker/Punter, Nebraska, 4 (120)
The Alex Henery pick is a great move. Akers doesn’t want to come back next season and even if he did, the Eagles would need a kicker in a year or two anyway. Henery is the most accurate kicker in NCAA history. He can kick long field goals too. Oh, and he punts. I’ll take it.
Dion Lewis, Running Back, Pittsburgh, 5 (149)
Lewis is a perfect complement to McCoy, although I’m concerned about his size. He has blazing speed and big-play ability and I think he’ll play sparingly but find a way to contribute this season.
Julian Vandervelde, Guard, Iowa, 5 (153)
Vandervelde isn’t going to start or even play much this season. However he is a speedy but undersized guard, the type that Howard Mudd loves.
Jason Kelce, Center, Cincinnati, 6 (191)
I don’t think Kelce will make the team. He is the fastest offensive lineman in the draft but he weighs just 280 pounds and he is the worst of the three new offensive linemen.
Brian Rolle, Linebacker, Ohio State, 6 (193)
I’ve been hearing a lot of positive talk about Rolle. He is fast, good at covering tight ends, and has great instincts. He is one of a slew of young linebackers for new linebackers coach Mike Caldwell to work with, and I think he’ll make an impact next season.
Greg Lloyd, Linebacker, Connecticut, 7 (237)
Lloyd’s father was a sixth round pick and he went on to make five Pro Bowls. So that’s a positive. But Lloyd Jr. has been unable to stay healthy. I predict he’ll miss the whole year with an injury and slowly fade out. Don’t expect him to contribute to the Eagles.
Stanley Havili, Fullback, USC, 7 (240)
Havili probably won’t make the team. I think Schmitt will start again at fullback and the Eagles will keep McCoy, Lewis, and Buckley at running back. The drafting of Havili, however, shows that the Eagles don’t think Leonard Weaver will ever play again.