Almost one year removed from assembling the “Dream Team” the Philadelphia Eagles are coming off of a disappointing 2011 season that saw them start absolutely dreadful and finish as one of the better looking teams in the league.
Mike Vick returns for another year as the starting quarterback for the Eagles, who have made some serious whole-sale changes to their roster since his arrival. The Eagles have also made some very interesting additions to their roster also. They were able to steal a potential Pro Bowl linebacker in DeMeco Ryans for a fourth round pick and a move down in the third round, so they really didn’t have to give up all that much.
The biggest move the Eagles made was re-signing both of their top young playmakers offensively (arguably) in LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson. Both guys were given big extensions this offseason, so maybe this will improve cohesion in the locker room for Philly. It was very evident last year that Jackson’s contract talks were affecting his play on the field, so I imagine now he’s going to be all smiles and back to being the guy he used to be.
If this team is distraction free, they have the look of a contender as they were two years ago when Vick emerged as the starter. Here is what the Eagles did in the draft and undrafted free agency to improve their roster:
- Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
- Mychal Kendricks, LB, California
- Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall
- Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
- Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia
- Dennis Kelly, OT, Purdue
- Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa
- Brandon Washington, OL, Miami
- Bryce Brown, RB, Kansas State
Montana State WR Elvis Akpla; Texas-El Paso LS Matt Camilli; Miami TE Chase Ford; Oregon CB Cliff Harris; UMass TE Emil Igwenagu; Brigham Young WR McKay Jacobson; Tulsa WR Damaris Johnson; Arizona State WR Aaron Pflugrad; Washington RB Chris Polk; Stanford FB Jeremy Stewart; Syracuse S Phillip Thomas; Kentucky P Ryan Tydlacka; Louisiana College WR Darnell Williams; Jacory Harris, QB, Miami
Regardless of his injury history or projected injury trajectory, even if you could get Chris Polk for the duration of his rookie contract, he was worth drafting. When you watch him on the field, he really doesn’t lack much at all. I had a first round grade on him going into the draft, obviously not knowing his medical information that dropped him off of every team’s board. Clearly it was something serious but this guy has been playing hurt the last couple of years and may have seriously hurt his chances in the NFL. I wish him the best health-wise, but I still can’t believe he wasn’t drafted. This guy is the real deal and if the Eagles can get him to stay healthy, he will make the team and contribute.
recruited to Washington as a wide receiver…gains a lot of yards after contact…keeps his feet moving…breaks a lot of tackles…gets north and south in a hurry…does a good job of creating something out of nothing..soft hands used in the receiving game as an outlet…good balance…tough between the tackles…excellent build…shifty in the open field…Really does a good job of planting his foot in the ground and then pushing off in the opposite direction from the defender (“cutting on a dime”)…workhorse…does a good job of setting up his blocks…plus field vision
Does not have elite straight line speed to run away from defenders at the NFL level…doesn’t run a lot of routes, more of an outlet guy and screen guy…willing blocker, but not a great blocker…Missed almost all of 2008 because of injuries, could be concerns about his shoulders
Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
A few of us here at NFLmocks really love Polk. He has good field vision, soft reliable hands. Polk does a really good job of finding seams in the offensive line and getting north and south in a hurry, he’s impossible to take down with arm tackles. Polk is also very shifty and has powerful legs. He really drives off his plant foot to create separation from the defender which helps him get a step on defenders. He doesn’t have elite speed, but he has more than enough speed to break long runs in the N.F.L. I don’t think he’s an 80 yard threat, but he could have more than his fair share of 40 plus yard runs. Polk has no character concerns but has some shoulder concerns.
DT Antonio Dixon (re-signed)
WR De-Sean Jackson (re-signed)
OG Evan Mathis (re-signed)
OG Steve Vallos
ILB DeMeco Ryans (trade w/Texans)
OT King Dunlap (re-signed)
OT Demetress Bell (Bills)
DT Derek Landri (re-signed)
QB Trent Edwards
RB LeSean McCoy (re-signed)
OT Winston Justice (trade w/Colts)
C Jamaal Jackson (retired)
DE Juqua Thomas-Parker (Browns)
WR Steve Smith (Rams)
DT Trevor Laws (Rams)
CB Asante Samuel (trade w/Falcons)
QB Vince Young (Bills)
FB Owen Schmitt (Raiders)
Projected Depth Chart (offense)
QB: Mike Vick, Mike Kafka, Trent Edwards, Nick Foles (R)
RB: LeSean McCoy, Dion Lewis, Bryce Brown (R), Chris Polk (R)
FB: Stanley Havili
WR1: DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant, Marvin McNutt (R)
WR2: Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, Chad Hall
TE: Brent Celek, Clay Harbor, Brett Brackett
LT: Demetress Bell, King Dunlap
LG: Evan Mathis, Brandon Washington (R)
C: Jason Kelce, Steve Vallos
RG: Danny Watkins, Julian Vandervelde
RT: Todd Herremans, D.J. Jones, Dennis Kelly (R)
Projected Depth Chart (defense)
DE: Jason Babin, Brandon Graham
DT: Fletcher Cox (R), Cullen Jenkins, Derek Landri
DT: Mike Patterson, Antonio Dixon
DE: Trent Cole, Darryl Tapp, Vinny Curry (R)
OLB: Mychal Kendricks (R), Akeem Jordan
ILB: DeMeco Ryans, Jamar Chaney
OLB: Brian Rolle, Casey Matthews
CB: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Curtis Marsh, Brandon Boykin (R)
CB: Nnamdi Asomugha, Joselio Hanson, Brandon Hughes
FS: Nate Allen, Colt Anderson
SS: Kurt Coleman, Jaiquawn Jarrett
Projected Depth Chart (special teams)
K: Alex Henery
P: Chas Henry
LS: Jon Dorenbos
Draft Pick Recap, Analysis, and Scouting Reports
Emerging player really coming on as a junior. He has really good size and could play in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. Similar size to that of Nick Fairley the former Auburn defensive tackle who took the country by storm in 2010. I don’t think he is quite as good of a prospect, but he has been named the Defensive Lineman of the Week in the SEC four times this season, which is a pretty high honor. He has very good athletic ability and a lot of upside going to the next level. I would like to see him get better leverage on opposing offensive linemen and make more sacks or plays behind the line, even though he has excelled in that area this season. Still very raw in his overall abilities. Relies a lot on his athletic ability, which won’t fly in the NFL. He needs to have better technique to be able to handle NFL offensive linemen. Does a good job of using his upper body strength to move linemen. He can line up both inside and outside, though he is more effective collapsing the pocket from the inside, it appears.
PROS: Size potential, athletic ability, strength, upside, makes plays behind the line, pass rush upside
CONS: Raw, at times doesn’t get great leverage, will tend to over-run some plays
One of the top returning linebackers in the country, Kendricks was on some media outlets’ pre-season All American honorable mention lists after bursting onto the scene last year as a junior with 8.5 sacks. Pretty good instincts at the linebacker position, and rarely out of position. Can probably play inside or outside, and has really good upside as a pass rusher. Natural bender around the edge with good quickness off the ball. Works really hard to make his presence felt on every play. Second team All-Pac 10 last season after finishing with 66 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and three fumble recoveries. A really solid linebacker prospect who could also be a gem for some team as a special teams player. I want to see more of him. Unbelievable athlete but at times will be over-aggressive.
Should be adapt at playing both 4-3 and 3-4 in time
Has great size/speed combination
Very sound at stripping the football
Has been productive for 3 years
Gained 20 pounds of muscle this off season without losing speed
Great agility at turning corner around the tackle
Quick, quick, quick
Will need time to refine his pass coverage
Has not played great competition
Before this season he was getting exposed in the run game
In a 4-3 might be relegated to passing downs
limited number of pass rushing moves
Player Comparison: LaMarr Woodley
Round Projection: Mid Second Round
LaMarr Woodley is the comparison here due to similar body builds and how they were used in college versus how they will be used in the pros. Only difference is Woodley played elite competition. Still a 3-4 team needing a pass rusher will likely select him in Round 2. Curry helped his stock out a ton by gaining 20 pounds and not losing any speed. With a season or two to work on his coverage skills I believe Curry to become a 9-10 sack a season talent. Teams like Dolphins, Jets, Bills, Patriots, Packers, and Cowboys should take a long look in Round 2 on this guy.
Foles has been a three year starter in a very competitive PAC-10. Foles has great size and cannon for an arm. Problem is he checks down far too often and isn’t consistent with his accuracy deep. He has thrown over 65% completion percentage for 3 seasons which is very good. It is a tad bit inflated due to the offensive scheme. I believe Foles will have a similar career as Garrard who was a big bodied accurate QB who was far too conservative to win consistently. Teams needing a QB and missed out on the top talent should take a look at Foles, Teams such as Broncos, Seahawks, Chiefs, Cowboys, and Redskins could be interested in Round 2-3.
Foles looks the part of a N.F.L. quarterback, but his offensive system has limited some of his ability to showcase is N.F.L. talent. He throws pretty well on the run (despite not being an extremely athletic quarterback), he can make all the throws placing good touch on the football though like many quarterbacks he’ll miss some throws His ball placement, especially in the short passing game is good, but not on the level of a player like Matt Barkley, and really looks clunky in the pocket. Foles is a prospect who could be considered on par with the non-Cameron Newton 2011 quarterbacks by man.
NFLMocks preseason bio
Foles likely will finish his college career as the best quarterback in Arizona history, or at least he will be very, very close to the top of the list, and will find himself holding many school records. One thing that I have noticed about Foles is that he’s a bit overrated, even by myself going into this season. He has the size to hold up in the NFL, and he’s been fairly consistent over the last two seasons as a starter, completing 64 and 67 percent of his passes, throwing 39 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. The biggest issue I take with Foles right now is his yards per attempt (6.08 and 7.49 over last two years), and the fact that he took 23 sacks in 2010 compared to 11 in 2009. I think he’s a better athlete than that, and I’d like to see him become a star player like he showed he could be against Iowa early last season. He has good accuracy, but that’s to be expected as a lot of the throws I saw him make were short passes and underneath routes as well as check downs. When Arizona hit the meat of its schedule last year, Foles was putting up big numbers but the Wildcats were not winning. They finished the season with five straight losses, and I’d like to see Foles come of with an upset or two this year and show he is capable of winning games for his team rather than put up hollow statistics.
Boykin is one of the most electric return men in the country, and while he has some growing to do at the cornerback position, he has really improved his skills over the last couple of years. In the last two seasons, he has 95 tackles, six interceptions, and his first career sack, which came in 2010. Where Boykin has made himself a household name is on special teams, where he has 72 career kick returns, four of which he has taken back for touchdowns. His three kick return touchdowns in 2009 are the best mark in school history, and while he’s slightly undersized, he is one of the fastest players in the country. Boykin elected to stay for his senior season despite considering entering the 2011 NFL Draft. Because of his speed and playmaking ability, he has potential to be a big time NFL player someday.
There is typically one area where I won’t question the Eagles’ front office, and that is specifically in their evaluations of big men on both the offensive and defensive lines. Dennis Kelly is not a well-known prospect, but if you watch any Big Ten football he is pretty hard to miss. He’s 6’8″ 321 pounds and started for three years at Purdue. Despite the team not having a ton of success. Kelly, was an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten player last year and is a smart guy who was an Academic All-Conference performer in the class room as well. He is a fantastic athlete for his size, and is a former high school tight end. Very good team leader and one of the captains of the Purdue team. The Eagles know how to develop big guys and this is a solid selection at a later point in the draft.
Pros–Wide catch radius..great athlete…former QB who understands what is going on on the field at all times (sits down well in the zone)…Pretty good route runner…ability to work intermediate routes as well as stretch the field…quick..made a lot of clutch plays at Iowa, one of the best receivers in school history… big body…long arms and big hands…versatile..can beat press coverage off the line…punch line waiting to happen with a last name like that..deceptive speed
Cons–Will drop some easy passes…not overly fast…not going to break a lot of tackles despite his size…could be more imposing physically without changing his game…still has a QB’s body…not going to outrun people on go routes, but still makes plays down field…needs to block better
McNutt is a former quarterback who has really come into his own as one of the Hawkeyes’ top receiving threats, and has emerged as one of the better up-and-coming receivers in the nation. McNutt will drop some passes, but he understands how to read coverages and run routes. He is not the fastest receiver, but he is smart and is usually sure-handed, but like I said, he will sometimes drop some easy ones. As a former quarterback, he is one of the more instinctive players on the field, and he’s growing into his own as a playmaker. Over the last two seasons, he leads the Hawkeyes with 16 receiving touchdowns, and could break his single season record of 8 this season as the primary target.
Leader of a very strong Miami offensive line, Washington started all 13 games on the offensive line last year. He was absolutely dominant for the ‘Canes, on his way to a first team All-ACC campaign in his first full year as a starter at the right guard position. Obviously he has great size and projects to the NFL as either a right or left guard. He is a powerful blocker in the running game, but could really improve his footwork and technique in pass protection as he transfers to the next level, which is why two more years could be very beneficial for him at Miami.
When you look at this guy, he definitely has the physical build to play in the NFL. He definitely does not have the college experience, and that’s why I think he probably will not be drafted, but given some time to develop, he has the ability to be a top notch running back. There are plenty of factors that led to Brown getting where he is today: Committing to Miami, de-committing, playing for Tennessee for a year, transferring to Kansas State, and never getting but three carries for the Wildcats. Let me just say, the talent is certainly there with this kid. Size, speed, hands, vision–you name it, he’s got it. He didn’t display it on a consistent basis by any means, but it’s definitely there and while he won’t be drafted, I think he’s going to get a shot in someone’s training camp, but he’s going to have to work really hard to make a roster. The speed of the NFL game is so different, that he could look like a lost kid in the middle of Times Square to start of his career. Brown is the former number one player in the entire country coming out of high school in 2009, and he was picked as this year’s newcomer of the year in the Big 12 before, well, not really playing.