The NFL Draft is finally upon us. After months of waiting, we finally have made it to the most scintillating three days in the NFL offseason. Never has anyone been so excited to hear names being called out by old men (well, and former players, now).
This slideshow will provide real-time updates for the Philadelphia Eagles' draft picks. Please check back after the draft starts to see the results and my grades for each individual pick. If the rumors are true, the Eagles are attempting to trade up to the first round to take Fletcher Cox, who has made an incredible rise to a top-10 projection.
Will Howie Roseman pull it off? Come back at 8 tonight to find out!
The priority in the first couple of rounds for the Eagles has to be upgrading their defense, and particularly the front seven.
Although they traded for DeMeco Ryans, which is a huge upgrade in the middle, they could still draft a linebacker. They could also look for a defensive tackle; they were consistently burned up the middle in the running game.
They have also failed to replace Brian Dawkins since his departure a couple years ago. A strong safety beside Nate Allen would look good. If Mark Barron makes it past the Cowboys, I would expect the Eagles to take him.
Some secondary needs are quarterback, wide receiver, and corner back (depth).
With all of the crazy movement that went on in the top of the first round, it appears as if the Eagles did not have to trade up into the top 10 to select Fletcher Cox. In the end the Eagles ended up only moving up three spots and gave the 15th, 114th, and 172nd pick to receive the 12th pick.
Here is what Mel Kiper has to say about Cox:
If he went top 10, wouldn't be shocked. Disruptive player (in a good way), he's a good interior rusher with great burst. Cox also proved very athletic for scouts and ran sub-4.8 at near 300 pounds. Can work in any scheme.
The Eagles definitely needed help in the middle of their defense, and after Dontari Poe went to the Chiefs, the Eagles had to act fast to get one of the best in the draft. Cox is a monster in the middle and a run stuffer. One of the problems with the Eagles last year was the middle of their defense, and adding Cox and DeMeco Ryans is going to work wonders for Juan Castillo.
Giving up a 4th and 6th round pick does sting a little, but this team is a couple players away from being a juggernaut. Cox is one, let's see how they do in the second round, where they have two selections.
With the 46th pick in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Eagles have selected Mychal Kendricks out of California.
Although listed as a middle linebacker, he would fit very well for the Eagles at weak side linebacker in their 4-3 defense. Ran a 4.47 at the combine and is very instinctive in pass coverage. He can play all three positions in the 4-3, so Juan Castillo can put him in the best possible position.
Kendricks has unbelievable athleticism, jumping a 39.5 inch vertical and 10'7'' broad jump. That is the stuff of wide receivers, and he is 240 lbs.
The Eagles definitely needed to upgrade the linebacker positions, and this pick along with their trade for DeMeco Ryans will go a long way in fixing the defense.
The Philadelphia Eagles keep adding monsters to their defense that could not hold leads late in games last year. With the 59th pick, they selected Vinny Curry, defensive end, Marshall.
They've obviously chosen to employ the successful strategy used by the New York Giants. With Trent Cole and Jason Babin as the current starters, Curry can come in and be a situational pass rusher and wreck havoc on opposing quarterbacks.
One knock on him was he could get fatigued late in games, but that won't be an issue here. Curry is explosive off the edge and one of the best natural pass rushers in the game.
The Eagles are having a terrific draft so far. One could argue they should have went with a wide receiver, but I don't think Eagles fans should be complaining.
With the 88th pick of the draft, the Philadelphia Eagles have selected Arizona quarterback Nick Foles. With Michael Vick obviously entrenched as the Eagles' starter, they made it a point to get a quality backup and possible quarterback of the future.
This is not a surprising pick, considering Foles only worked out for one team. You guessed it—the Eagles.
Not that he had much competitiion—Foles will be the first Arizona QB drafted in the modern era—but Foles holds most major passing records at Arizona and has a chance to be a solid backup from the get go for the Eagles.
He has ideal size (6'5'', 245 lbs) and terrific arm strength. One of his better attributes is his deep ball, which he and fellow 2012 draftee Juron Criner lived by. He shows good instincts in the pocket, can absorb hits, good vision down the field, and excellent at putting touch on throws that require it.
This could be one of the steals of this draft, as many thought Foles would go in round two.
The Philadelphia Eagles just keep falling in to guys I love who have fallen for some reason. With the 123rd pick in the 4th round, they got Georgia corner Brandon Boykin.
After receiving a seventh rounder for Asante Samuel, corner depth became a priority for the Eagles. They got a good one. One reason he fell is the two concussions and an injury in the Senior Bowl.
One thing Boykin is going to bring to the Eagles is an incredible amount of versatility. He played corner mostly, but was also one of the best return men in college football. The Eagles were pretty bad in that department in 2011. He also took snaps on offense in college. Boykin reminds me a lot of Champ Bailey, who also played at Georgia.
He is a bit undersized, but his speed and agility lend him to be a great Nickel corner for the Eagles, who already have two dominant starters at the position. In a division with two great passing offenses and the potential for a third, every team needs to have multiple starting corners on their roster.
I love this pick, and the only reason it is not an A+ is Boykin's injury concerns.
With the 153rd pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Eagles have selected Purdue offensive tackle Dennis Kelly.
The Eagles lost starting left tackle Jason Peters for the season, but quickly replaced him with Demetress Bell. Kelly can come in and be a very reliable backup for the Eagles.
He has a massive frame (6'8'', 321) and is actually still growing into his body. If he can continue to put on weight and add strength, he could be a starting left tackle in the future. Very smart, hard-working, team-first guy who will do whatever it takes to help the Eagles right away. Kelly was a three-year starter at Purdue.
With the 194th pick in the 2012 Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles selected Marvin McNutt, wide receiver from Iowa.
Yet another player the Eagles had fall into their lap a couple rounds later than expected, this also happens to fill a need for the Eagles. The Steve Smith experiment failed and with McNutt they get a solid No. 3 outside weapon for Michael Vick.
McNutt had a terrific season in 2011, catching 82 passes for 1,315 yards and 12 touchdowns. Fighting through a couple injuries during his four years at Iowa likely dropped him down draft boards, but to me it defines his toughness.
Eagles are having the best draft in the division by far.
Every time I come to update these picks, I see the Eagles grabbing someone that is great value and fits a need for them. They've now taken two later round offensive line prospects that could be future starters in the NFL, while also drafting for depth that they will need behind the starters.
Washington has not played guard since 2010, but he projects best at that position at the next level. In the short-term, he is a versatile lineman that can play all four positions as a backup. Will definitely need some coaching before taking over a starting position.
With the 229th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select Bryce Brown, running back out of Kansas State.
The troubled back spent a year at Tennessee before transferring to Kansas State, but did not make much of an impact at either program. He had to sit out the 2010 season and only played three games at KSU this year before leaving the team.
Brown was the No. 1 rated recruit coming out of high school in 2009, ranked ahead of No. 3 overall pick Trent Richardson. Obviously this pick has huge upside. Brown is a tough runner who can be a perfect compliment to LeSean McCoy. The problem is his character issues along with deficiencies in pass protection.
It seems to me Chris Polk offers more of a sure thing, but the Eagles obviously went with the player with the higher ceiling. This could either be the best late-round pick in the draft, or a complete waste.
Round 1, Pick 12: Fletcher Cox, DT
The Eagles moved up in the draft, but not as high as many thought they would and still got their guy. Cox is a game changer. Grade: A
Round 2, Pick 46: Mychal Kendricks, LB
The Eagles are completely upgrading their linebacking corps, which was a problem area last season. Grade: A
Round 2, Pick 59: Vinny Curry, DE
The Giants proved you can never have too many pass rushers, and now the Eagles have four pretty darn good ones. Grade: A-
Round 3, Pick 88: Nick Foles QB
Foles has good size and a decent arm, could be groomed for the future. Grade B+
Round 4, Pick 123: Brandon Boykin CB
Boykin fell in to the Eagles' laps late in the fourth. Gives them a great return guy and Nickel corner. Grade: A
Round 5, Pick 153: Dennis Kelly, OT
The Eagles are set at tackle, but Kelly is a smart, experienced player who could be a solid backup. Grade: B
Round 6, Pick 194: Marvin McNutt, WR
Top 100 player who fell all the way into the 6th round. McNutt can be the third receiver for the Eagles right away. Grade: A+
Round 6, Pick 200: Brandon Washington, G/T
Another good offensive line backup player. Fell in the draft because he played tackle last season and was not successful doing it. Better as a guard. Grade: B
Round 7, Pick 229: Bryce Brown, RB
Former No. 1 running back recruit out of high school, struggled to find a place in college. Grade: C+
OVERALL DRAFT GRADE: A+
The Eagles feel like the favorites to win the NFC East after this amazing draft.