Philadelphia Eagles: Grading the Team's 2012 Draft Picks
The conclusion of the 2012 NFL draft was one of the most remarkable drafts in recent years for the Philadelphia Eagles, as the team entered the three-day event with a slew of draft picks and ended with a much better and more talented roster.
The Eagles traded up three spots to take Fletcher Cox with their first-round pick—a decision that was met with overwhelming support from the fanbase.
The team took a trifecta of talented players with their second- and third-round picks before concluding it with five players in the final four rounds.
Round 1 (12th Overall Pick): Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
Most mock drafts had the Philadelphia Eagles picking a defensive lineman of some sorts. The drafts turned out to be right, as the team traded up three spots with the Seattle Seahawks to take standout defensive tackle Fletcher Cox from Mississippi State.
Cox is a pass-rushing force, having been timed at 4.77 in the 40-yard dash, and he adds strong depth to the Eagles’ defensive line. He's extremely athletic and versatile and can play anywhere on the line.
Round 2 (46th Overall Pick): Mychal Kendricks, LB, California
Andy Reid has never picked a linebacker in the first round, and he could probably end up coaching 50 years without ever doing so.
However, he has realized the unit was a problem last year, and he has now made two major strides in improving the linebacker corps—first by trading for Houston Texans two-time Pro Bowler DeMeco Ryans and then by drafting Mychal Kendricks out of California.
Kendricks was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2011, recording 106 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions. He's one of the fastest linebackers in the game, clocking a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash.
Kendricks is extremely athletic, has a high motor and can rush the passer. He should start from day one for the Eagles at the weak-side linebacker position.
Round 2 (59th Overall Pick): Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall
Vinny Curry should be a great addition to the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive end collection, as he's adept at rushing the passer, forcing fumbles and blocking kicks. Curry was a team captain at Marshall and is highly competitive.
Jim Washburn knows how to get the most out of his players on the defensive line, and Curry joins an already-adept unit that includes Trent Cole, Jason Babin, Brandon Graham and Philip Hunt.
Round 3 (88th Overall Pick): Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
It didn’t surprise me that the Philadelphia Eagles picked a quarterback in this year’s draft, but I don’t like the fact that Andy Reid did so in the third round. Picking a guy in the first or second round means the team expects him to be the eventual successor to Michael Vick and choosing a guy in the fourth or fifth round is a great spot to find a backup.
The third round is too high to use on a backup though and too low for a future starter. Nick Foles was seen as likely a third or fourth round pick, and he will assuredly make the Eagles’ roster next season. Foles will probably be the backup, with Mike Kafka and Trent Edwards competing for the third spot. Foles has excellent size, he plays through pain, and he’s got a good arm. He’s also extremely slow and needs a strong offensive line to function.
Reid has to know Vick will probably miss time next season. After all, he has played just one 16-game season in his entire career, and he has missed seven games in the past two seasons due to rib and other various injuries. Foles will have to be groomed, but he could end up being a good backup. Still, I feel the third round is too high to have picked Foles.
Round 4 (123rd Overall Pick): Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia
I really wanted the Philadelphia Eagles to pick Brandon Boykin, and I was ecstatic when they did. Boykin is undersized, but he has outstanding speed and a tremendous leaping ability, and he could fit exceptionally well in the slot role for the Eagles.
Boykin will take over Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie’s role in the nickel spot, and DRC will slide outside to Asante Samuel’s old role.
A defensive backfield of Nnamdi Asomugha, DRC and Boykin will make the Eagles’ pass defense pretty stout, which will be needed in the tough NFC East that includes Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Dez Bryant.
Round 5 (153rd Overall Pick): Dennis Kelly, OT, Purdue
The Philadelphia Eagles need depth on their offensive line with Jason Peters out for a season and newly-signed Demetress Bell stepping into the role as the starter.
Dennis Kelly will take Winston Justice’s spot as one of the backup tackles, giving the Eagles good depth with King Dunlap and Kelly.
Kelly is a mammoth of a man at 6’8” and 321 pounds, and he actually came out of high school as a tight end before moving to offensive tackle. Kelly is a three-year starter at left tackle, and he could work his way onto the rotation as a sixth man on a goal-line situation.
What surprises me though is that the Eagles, especially offensive line coach Howard Mudd, like small linemen. After all, Mudd benched former starting center Jamaal Jackson (6'4", 310) and gave the job to the undersized Jason Kelce; now, Mudd has a giant to work with in Kelly.
I don't think he will like that too much.
Round 6 (194th Overall Pick): Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa
Marvin McNutt was another mid-round prospect I wanted the Philadelphia Eagles to grab, and picking him in the sixth round is a steal. He entered college as a quarterback and finished as the school’s all-time career leader in touchdown catches, putting up an 82-1315-12 line as a receiver.
He's a big target with great leaping ability, and he has good hands—a catcher with excellent ball skills. McNutt should fit well in the West Coast offense, and I wouldn’t mind seeing the Eagles cut ties with Riley Cooper and move McNutt in as the fourth wide receiver.
Round 6 (200th Overall Pick): Brandon Washington, G, Miami FL
Brandon Washington is a player who simply adds depth to the Philadelphia Eagles, and he will have every opportunity to win a job on the 53-man roster as a backup guard.
Washington will be competing with last year’s sixth-round pick Julian Vandervelde, as well as Mike Gibson, Steve Vallos and Dallas Reynolds.
Washington is a fairly versatile player who can probably play multiple positions on the line. He was a disappointment at left tackle as a college junior, and he probably could have used another year to play at Miami Florida before entering the NFL.
Round 7 (229th Pick): Bryce Brown, RB, Kansas State
The Philadelphia Eagles need a backup running back with Ronnie Brown failing to help out in 2011, and Bryce Brown will have every opportunity to win that spot in 2012.
Bryce Brown is an extremely talented player who could have a big impact behind LeSean McCoy, but he has serious character issues and needs a good coach to keep his head on straight.
He was rated as the No. 1 player in the entire nation among high-schoolers following the 2008 season, and he has been clocked at a 4.32 in the 40-yard dash.
For a seventh-round pick, this could be an incredible steal for the Eagles. And if he doesn’t make it, it’s no big deal. Most seventh-rounders don’t make the team anyway.
The Philadelphia Eagles had one of their best drafts in recent years, addressing nearly every position that was a question mark heading into the offseason.
The Fletcher Cox pick was phenomenal, and I see him making multiple Pro Bowls as a pass-rushing force on the interior defensive line.
Mychal Kendricks addressed another need at linebacker, and Vinny Curry is a good defensive end to add to the mix. I'm not thrilled with the Nick Foles pick, but I love the Brandon Boykin and Marvin McNutt selections.
The only reason the overall grade isn't an A is because I think the Eagles stretched a bit with Foles.