Which Five 2011 Draft Picks Will Contribute the Most for the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles?

By Bryn Swartz

The Philadelphia Eagles had 11 picks in the 2011 NFL draft, including one in at least every round.

With their picks, they selected two running backs, three offensive linemen, three linebackers, two defensive backs, and a kicker.

According to my predictions, seven to nine of the players will make the team’s 53-man roster in 2011.

But which player will make the most impact? As of now, it’s impossible to know, especially since we don’t even know what the team will do in free agency and who will receive playing time next season.

So if I had to guess, I would say that the five biggest contributors for the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles will be as follows:

1) Danny Watkins.
Watkins is an absolute lock to start next season, likely at right guard. I think he could be a sleeper candidate for both the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He also has a chance at a Pro Bowl selection. Regardless, I think Watkins will turn in a very productive season as starter, especially under the tutelage of new offensive line coach Howard Mudd.

2) Casey Matthews.
I think that Casey Matthews will be one of the team’s starting outside linebackers, giving a linebacking core of Stewart Bradley, Jamar Chaney, and Matthews. The team’s fourth round pick has a significant amount of pressure on him next season, especially because his brother is Green Bay Packers star linebacker Clay Matthews. I think he’ll win the starting job over Moise Fokou in training camp and be an average to slightly above average linebacker next season.

3) Jaiquawn Jarrett.
I’m not completely convinced on the selection of Jarrett, who many predicted to be a third or fourth round pick. But the Eagles lose this guy and have (unfairly) compared him to Brian Dawkins. While I don’t think Jarrett will be as good as Dawkins, I think he’ll win the starting job in training camp. I’m hoping for him to be an average starting safety next year.

4) Alex Henery.
If you can kick, you can kick. I’m not saying that Henery needs to make more than 90 percent of his field goals like he did in his college career, but he better be well over 80 percent. And if Henery wants to win over the Eagles fans, he’s going to absolutely have to come through with the game on the line, which is something that David Akers definitely struggled with during his 12 seasons in Philly. I expect him to have a good but not great season (12th to 15th best kicker in the league).

5) Brian Rolle.
Rolle is my sleeper pick to come out of nowhere and produce in training camp. I think the sixth round draft pick will start a few games next season when someone is injured and will turn a few heads. However I don’t think he’ll be as good as any of the three starters (Bradley, Chaney, and Matthews).

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