After placing much of their focus on bolstering a defensive unit that underperformed in 2011, the Philadelphia Eagles turned to offense with the 153rd-overall pick of the 2012 NFL draft with the selection of Purdue offensive tackle Dennis Kelly.
With so much uncertainty surrounding Pro Bowl tackle Jason Peters and the Achilles injury that has sidelined him for the 2012 season, the Eagles are forced to consider the possibility that they may need to find an offensive tackle to take over in the future.
The 6’8”, 321-pound Kelly has tremendous size, which enables him to be a physical presence up front. His long arms keep rushing defenders at bay, but his size hampers his ability to get a good burst off the line of scrimmage.
With a need at tackle, Kelly appears to be a good addition, but he will likely never pan out as more than serviceable depth behind Todd Herremans and newly-signed Demetress Bell this season and, hopefully, Peters in the future.
He is very raw and will need ample time to develop. Kelly has one of the lowest ceilings in this year’s draft class, and while his size is a desirable trait, he does not know how to use it to his benefit.
He struggles to hold his own against both the pass and run, displaying uncoordinated footwork, and cannot get low enough to drive defenders back in the NFL. He does show good athleticism despite his size, able to pull inside on runs, and could prove to be useful purely as a swing tackle.
If he can be taught better technique, Kelly has favorable size and intangibles to progress at the pro level. He is not a top-flight player by any means, but he is a quality selection by the Eagles in the fifth round that will bolster the offensive line thanks to his versatility to play both sides of the line.
Dennis Kelly is nothing to write home about, but he gives the Eagles exactly what they need at this point in the draft—depth. His ability as a swing tackle should be put to good use in Philadelphia, and his size and skill set should enable him to be a long-term backup in the NFL.
Louis Musto is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter here.
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