The 2012 NFL Draft is a major reason why Howie Roseman is still comfortably employed as general manager of the Philadelphia Eagles while the Andy Reid era is over. Owner Jeffrey Lurie has essentially given Roseman credit for what appears to be a good draft after several duds in a row.
With that in mind, let's issue a way-too-early review of what Roseman and Co. did last April at Radio City Music Hall.
Round 1, Pick 12: Fletcher Cox (DT, Mississippi State)
Cox lived up to expectations as a rookie who wasn't expected to be able to dominate right away in a heavy rotation along the defensive line. When you consider that the chips were stacked against him in Jim Washburn's wide-nine, it's a great sign that he was the 18th best defensive tackle in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus.
And I know it was a down year for pretty much everyone on that defense, but who would have guessed that he'd tie Jason Babin and Brandon Graham for the team lead in sacks?
In a perfect world...nothing changes and they still draft Cox in this spot.
Round 2, Pick 46: Mychal Kendricks (LB, Cal)
Who should the Eagles have drafted 46th?
Remember all the hype surrounding Kendricks last spring? He was a standout in rookie camp and was supposed to shine from the get-go as a starter on the strong side. But instead, Kendricks struggled with missed tackles and failed to make plays before being moved to the weak side late in the year. Now, 2013 will be a make-or-break season for a defender who had 14 missed tackles as a rookie.
In a perfect world...they use this pick on either Tavon Wilson and Casey Hayward. Since Brandon Boykin is a decent pick later and they're in worse shape at safety than corner, I'll go with Wilson.
Round 2, Pick 59: Vinny Curry (DE, Marshall)
Curry didn't get an opportunity until the Eagles faced the music and sent Babin packing late in the year, but he did show some glimpses in limited playing time. Because of that, the jury is still completely out.
In a perfect world...the Eagles are happy with Curry, but they're definitely wishing they'd have drafted Russell Wilson here. They might also have preferred offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele, who was selected right after Curry and had a solid rookie year in Baltimore.
Round 3, Pick 88: Nick Foles (QB, Arizona)
Foles lit it up during the preseason and then sat. When he finally got a chance to replace Michael Vick in the second half of the season, the Arizona product got better and better with each passing week. I don't think anyone expected him to perform any better than he ultimately did. He might have what it takes to become a franchise quarterback.
In a perfect world...I still think you go with Foles, even if Wilson is picked earlier. There weren't a lot of great ends drafted after this and Foles is, at the very least, a very strong backup and potential trade bait (think: Matt Flynn).
Round 4, Pick 123: Brandon Boykin (CB, Georgia)
He had some typical rookie ups and downs, but Boykin was a relatively steady nickel cornerback in 2012. Though he needs to improve as a kick returner.
In a perfect world...I think the Eagles still draft Boykin here.
Round 5, Pick 153: Dennis Kelly (OT, Purdue)
Kelly started strong after busting into the starting lineup at right tackle during the second half of the season, but he really faded late. He gave up too much pressure to be considered a starter entering the offseason, but it was still a decent showing for a fifth-round pick. He might enter 2013 as a swing tackle behind Jason Peters and Todd Herremans.
In a perfect world...Maybe they'd be better off with Boise State product Nate Potter, but they could have gotten him with one of their two sixth-round picks. I'll stick with Kelly.
Round 6, Pick 194: Marvin McNutt (WR, Iowa)
There were high expectations for a brief moment in August, but McNutt couldn't crack the 53-man roster to start the year and was only promoted from the practice squad for special teams duties late. He might not make the team in 2013.
In a perfect world...they take Boise State's Billy Winn instead. He'd be a nice fit now that they appear to be switching to a 3-4.
He was cut outright before the season.
In a perfect world...they take Bryce Brown a little early (or even Daryl Richardson) and then finish off the draft with Vontaze Burfict, who'd be a starter at linebacker had they taken him.
Round 7, Pick 229: Bryce Brown (RB, Kansas State)
The guy burst onto the scene in relief of LeSean McCoy and looked as though he'd start a position battle in the offseason. But he also hit a wall and he'll be remembered for his fumbling issue as much as his quick start. Still, he exceeded expectations overall and could be a very good backup for years to come.
In a perfect world...they end up with both Brown (taken instead of Washington) and Burfict.
If they could go back in time...
Round 1, Pick 12: DT Fletcher Cox
Round 2, Pick 46: S Tavon Wilson
Round 2, Pick 59: QB Russell Wilson
Round 3, Pick 88: QB Nick Foles
Round 4, Pick 123: CB Brandon Boykin
Round 5, Pick 153: OT Dennis Kelly
Round 6, Pick 194: DT Billy Winn
Round 6, Pick 200: RB Bryce Brown
Round 7, Pick 229: LB Vontaze Burfict