The best draft in all of the four major sports came to an end yesterday, and the Eagles now have 11 new players to add to their team (provided that the lockout ends relatively soon). Overall, you have to like the players that they got, although they didn’t address the right cornerback position of the defensive line, widely regarded as the two weaker points on the Eagles team last season. Here’s a brief look at a few of the new Eagles:
With their first round pick, the Eagles selected Baylor guard/tackle Danny Watkins. A lot of people without brains (Cowboys fans) were quick to point out that Watkins will be 27 years old during his rookie season but that is the least of my concerns. From what I have heard and seen in YouTube, Watkins is an incredibly tough kid who basically just kicks the shit out of people all game long. He didn’t start playing football until he was 22, and the fact that he was All Big 12 in his 4th year playing the game speaks to his natural ability and work ethic. Many scouts believe Watkins will step in right away, which I’m sure the Eagles do too, and someone even said it’s possibly for him to be a Pro Bowler in his first year. Yes he is old, but he is the best guard in the draft and we need to focus on keeping Michael Vick healthy. Getting someone who will start right away was pretty important to me.
New Eagles guard Danny Watkins
With their second pick, the Eagles took Temple safety Jaiquawn Jarrett. Its not likely that the Eagles will resign Quentin Mikell at the price he would like, and while Kurt Coleman played pretty well when he got the opportunity, it’s never bad to add depth and competition to the strong safety position. In Jarrett the Eagles get an absolutely ferocious run defender who is likely to see his fair share of fines from Roger Goodell throughout his career. I am 100% down for that. As of now he is adequate in pass coverage and he’ll need to get better but I’m confident he will. He draws a strong comparison to Brian Dawkins, which many Eagles fans will love. I also should add that Jon Gruden called this pick before it was announced on TV and anything Jon Gruden says is right in my book. Solid pick. Here’s a video of Jaiquawn knocking some people out.
In the third round the Eagles selected Curtis Marsh, a cornerback who was converted from running back from Utah State. Really don’t know much about him but it’s good to see the Eagles drafted a corner taller than 5’10″. He’ll most likely see time at nickel where he’s likely to battle with Trevard Lindley and unfortunately Dimitri Patterson. It seems pretty apparent that the Eagles starting right cornerback will come from free agency in the form of Nnamdi Asomugha, Johnathon Joseph or maybe even Antonio Cromartie. One of my favorite picks of this year’s draft was fourth rounder Casey Matthews out of Oregon. He adds on the family’s NFL pedigree and appears to be incredibly motivated to break out of his brother’s shadow. He can play any linebacker position and I expect him to battle for the weakside job this season and make an impact on passing downs as a pass rusher. High motor guy, and the Eagles can always use linebacker depth.
Needless to say, I am very very excited to have Dion Lewis in the Eagles backfield. I had some doubts on how Dion’s ability would transfer to the next level because he is small but he without a doubt has phenomenal vision and can definitely be a Darren Sproles-like back for the Eagles. Can’t hate on an all Pitt Panther backfield. I expect Shady to quickly take him under his wing and hopefully Dion will surprise some people with his lateral quickness and elusiveness in The League. Lastly, the pick of Alex Henery likely spells the end of a great career for David Akers as an Eagle. 4th round is a little high for a kicker and for that reason there is no way the Eagles keep two kickers on the team. Henery kicked and punted for Nebraska last year and is the most accurate kicker in this class. With the new kickoff rules, perhaps his biggest benefit to the team will be getting a lot of touchbacks. He has a very strong leg and it’s no secret that Akers was a little suspect in the playoff loss to Green Bay, albeit due to the illness of his daughter. Either way, Akers didn’t sign his contract tender at the end of the season and the Eagles chose to purue a different route.
The Eagles continued their University of Pittsburgh pipeline by drafting running back Dion Lewis
It’s likely that the Eagles will fill their CB hole via free agency and most likely add one or two defensive lineman to provide some depth for new D-Line coach Jim Washburn. We’re also in a wait-and-see approach regarding what will happen with Kevin Kolb. It’s likely we’ll get a first rounder for next year and a player or possibly more 2012 draft picks. Here’s to hoping the league year starts soon and we can sign these rookies and a couple free agents.