Their fourth round pick, a cornerback from Georgia named Brandon Boykin, was ranked by some draft experts as the third best cornerback prospect, trailing only Morris Claiborne and Dre Kirkpatrick. He is a natural slot corner, and will likely assume that role for the Eagles next season, especially since Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is a starting corner.
He grabbed nine interceptions throughout his three-year college career. He also handled kick return duties for three years, and punt return duties for his junior year. And he scored three touchdowns on offense in 2011, one on the ground and two through the air. His versatility was rewarded with the Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s best versatile player.
The only concern for Boykin is a fractured leg suffered at the Senior Bowl, but he should be completely healed by the start of the 2012 season.
In the fifth round, the Eagles selected offensive tackle Dennis Kelly out of Purdue. Kelly is a massive, massive person. He stands 6’8 and weighs 321 pounds, which caused head coach Andy Reid to compare him to former Eagles’ star tackles Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan.
Kelly wasn’t even invited to the NFL Scouting Combine but he is a quick, versatile offensive lineman, the kind that legendary coach Howard Mudd likes.
He provides depth at tackle. Left tackle Jason Peters, arguably the league’s best tackle, will likely miss the entire 2012 season with a ruptured Achilles tendon, suffered last month in a workout. The Eagles signed free agent Demtress Bell from the Bills to take Peters’ place. Todd Herremans is starting at right tackle for the second straight year, and backup King Dunlap was re-signed to a one-year deal.
In round six, the Eagles selected a wide receiver who some projected to go as high as the fourth round. Marvin McNutt, from Iowa, was brought to the Eagles’ attention because the son of defensive coordinator Juan Castillo is a cornerback at Iowa.
McNutt stands 6’3 and weighs 216 pounds. He is physical, has extremely good hands, and is very good after the catch. Reid said that McNutt will be brought in to challenge Riley Cooper and Chad Hall for the fourth and fifth wide receiver spots.
The Eagles also selected offensive tackle/guard Brandon Washington in the sixth round, a guy who many expected to go as high as the third or fourth round. He played guard as a freshman and a sophomore before switching to left tackle as a junior. He skipped his senior season of college to enter the NFL draft.
Reid said that Washington struggled a little in his transition to tackle but he was unbelievable as a guard, which is where the Eagles plan to use him.
In the seventh round, the Eagles selected running back Bryce Brown out of Kansas State.
Brown, 20, is an interesting story because he literally barely played college football. He was the top high school football recruit a few years ago, and carried 101 times for 460 yards as a freshman at Tennessee. He transferred to Kansas State to play with his brother, and sat out his sophomore season. As a junior, he carried three times in the season opener before suffering a high ankle sprain and reportedly walking out on his team, according to the Kansas City Star.
So he’s carried the football three times in the last two seasons, and he definitely has some character issues.
But he also has tremendous upside, and ran a 4.34 40 in high school. He is expected to compete for a roster spot in training camp.
So to recap, the Eagles’ draft included defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, linebacker Mychal Kendricks, defensive end Vinny Curry, quarterback Nick Foles, cornerback Brandon Boykin, offensive tackle Dennis Kelly, wide receiver Marvin McNutt, offensive guard/tackle Brandon Washington, and running back Bryce Brown.
That’s nine draft picks, five on offense, and four on defense. The defensive picks came early in the draft, while the Eagles focused on offense late in the draft. And more importantly, they stuck to their philosophy the entire draft, which was to take the best player available off the board, regardless of position or current need.