Under head coach Andy Reid, the Eagles draft has always been questioned. Why? Because the Eagles front office goes out of their way to make the point that they know better than anyone else. That includes analyst, insiders, pundits, writers, other teams scouts and, of course, the fans. Just about every year, the Eagles seem to leave people scratching their heads. The 2011 draft was no different. Did the Eagles prove themselves right? Let us take a gander.
Offensive lineman Danny Watkins was their first round pick, 23rd overall. Watkins struggled during the preseason and was benched before game one of the regular season. Maybe I am greedy, but I would like to have my offensive lineman taken in the first round to start the season. Furthermore, Watkins was a mature 26 years old, so you thought he could readily adapt faster to the Eagles system. Watkins found his way into the starting lineup by mid-season and played decent. It looked like Watkins was a better run blocker than pass blocker. I am sure that is what Andy Reid thought when drafting him (?) Watkins impact was negligible in 2011.
The Eagles then surprised everyone by selecting safety Jaiquawn Jarrett in the second round, 54th overall. Jarrett was a four year college starter that showed pro potential, however, most teams had him slated as a 4th-6th round prospect. In the limited play that Jarrett saw this year, it was easy to see why. Time will tell, but zero impact in 2011.
In the third round, 90th overall, the Eagles selected cornerback Curtis Marsh. Marsh barely made the playing field. Curtis made zero impact in 2011 and will continue to make zero impact the rest of his short career.
In the fourth round, 116th overall, the Eagles selected linebacker Casey Matthews. Everyday since, the Eagles tried to shove Casey Matthews down the fans throat lauding his play making ability. Matthews was an ineffective starting middle linebacker, then moved to the outside and eventually benched. Fans knew that Matthews could not play way before the coaching staff finally conceded. Matthews actually made a negative impact in 2011 because he started and stunk.
The Eagles took kicker Alex Henery with their next pick in the fourth round. Henery was a fine college kicker who had a pretty good rookie season, however, he had only five attempts over 40 yards. Alex had a mild impact in 2011.
In the fifth round, the 149th pick overall, the Eagles selected running back Dion Lewis. Many experts like the pick. I guess they did not know he would be returning kicks, because he was terrible at it. Lewis had no impact in 2011.
The Eagles second fifth round pick was offensive lineman Julian Vandervelde. Never played, zero impact.
In the sixth round, 191st overall, the Eagles selected center Jason Kelce. Kelce surprised most and beat out starter Jamaal Kackson to get the nod opening day. Kelce had a very solid season and looks to have a bright future. Excellent impact in 2011.
The Eagles second pick in the sixth round was linebacker Brian Rolle. Rolle secured a staring job by the end of the season and looks to be nothing more than an average player. Little impact in 2011.
The Eagles last two picks, linebacker Greg Lloyd and fullback Stanely Havili did not make the squad.
Overall, the 2011 Eagles draft class was sub-par. The key is whether the Eagles front office has learned from their mistakes.