With the exception of marginal contributors like linebacker Jamar Chaney and safety Kurt Coleman in 2010 (seventh round) and linebacker Stewart Bradley in 2007 (third round), Andy Reid hasn't drafted an impact defensive player since defensive end Trent Cole in 2005 (fifth round).
In every other aspect of the game, there's no questioning Big Red's drafting acumen. From Brent Celek in 2007 to DeSean Jackson in 2008, to Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy in 2009, to even Jason Kelce and Danny Watkins in 2011, he has selected immediate-impact offensive players in four of the last five drafts. In 2011, he even nabbed the team's kicker of the future in Alex Henery.
But beginning with choosing Jerome McDougle over Troy Polamalu back in 2003, Reid's defensive selections have been mind-numbingly poor. To put it simply, the 13-year head-coaching veteran outthinks himself.
In 2010, he chose a plodding defensive end (Brandon Graham) from one of the slowest conferences (Big Ten) and worst defenses (Michigan under Rich-Rod) in college football over current Giants star Jason Pierre-Paul.
The reason? Graham was a small defensive end who fit the Eagles' prototypical Hugh Douglas mold. Plus, the Michigan stalwart's experience as a three-year starter clearly outweighed Pierre-Paul's mere eight collegiate starts—because the draft has nothing to do with potential or anything.
Sarcasm aside, the Eagles still have a few glaring defensive holes that need to be patched up. As the team found out the hard way a season ago, free agency and deer-in-the-headlights rookies (looking at you, Casey Matthews) can only answer so many questions.
For now, Jason Babin (19 sacks last year) and Nnamdi Asomugha have solidified the outer edges of Juan Castillo's defense.
In order to patch the interior holes, Reid and his staff will need to need to find a capable stable of immediate-impact newcomers. Given Reid's notorious history of allowing the quirks of his system to steer him away from glowing potential (ahem, Pierre-Paul, Polamalu), free agency may be the more pragmatic course of action.
But if Big Red somehow finds a way to clear his bullishly stubborn head, here are five players, offensively and defensively (but mostly defensively), who could make an immediate impact on Reid's sink-or-swim 2012 season.