Philadelphia Eagles: Grading the 2011 draft picks


The Philadelphia Eagles are one of the most talented offenses in the entire league, and one of the better teams. The Eagles headed into the draft needed secondary help, offensive line talent and depth, linebackers, and more from their run game other than from Vick and McCoy. They definitely addressed needs, but was that the right approach? Did the Eagles get good value in the draft? After the jump, I’ll give you my thoughts on the Eagles draft.

Round 1: Danny Watkins, G, Baylor

Danny Watkins is a former fireman who was an excellent player at Baylor. He doesn’t have a ton of playing experience, and he’s an older prospect, but a first round caliber talent.

Philosophy: B-

At 23rd overall taking an interior offensive linemen over two players who could be franchise tackles isn’t a great move, but anytime you can grab an offensive linemen you think can play the next 8 years in the league it’s hard to truly fault the thought process of the pick.

Player Value:


I have softened a bit on this pick since draft day, but I still don’t’ like it. At the point the Eagles were picking the very talented Jimmy Smith was still on the board, as was Gabe Carimi a player that could have anchored their right side of the line for 10 years. On top of that, Watkins age doesn’t bother everyone, but it does bother me. I wouldn’t take a first round prospect that’s going to be 27 years old before the next season ends unless he was a phenomenal prospect. Watkins is a good prospect, but he doesn’t even play one of the most important positions (LT, QB, DE) to boot. Not a big fan of this pick.

Round 2: Jaiqwan Jarrett, S, Temple

Jarrett is an undersized player who is tough as nails and can really lay the wood. Jarrett doesn’t have great measurbles and is not considered to be a plus coverage guy. However, he’s a nice complement to Nate Allen who the Eagles drafted in round two in last draft. Allen is more of a cover guy/ball hawk.

Philosophy: B

I believe safety is an undervalue position in the N.F.L. If you can get a guy you think can play every down at safety for your team (effectively), take him.

Player Value:  D+

Don’t get me wrong. I like Jarrett the prospect, but I liked him in the 4th round, and every analyst I talked to said there were no safeties in this class worth anything before a  third round pick (some believed Moore might be, but usually he was considered a third round prospect as well). When I talked to Wes Bunting he said about Jarrett:

“I think Jarret is a potential starter. He can play teams. He can play nickel situations, but coming from Temple he’s not quite as sound as I thought he was, and he’s a little smaller than I thought he was. I think he gives you a chance to be a starter in the N.F.L and can play special teams and that’s’ pretty good for a guy you’re probably going to take in the 5th round.”

I like Jarrett, but if C is an average value pick, Jarrett can not be in the C range. A major reach, in my opinion.

If you’ve read my draft grades so far, you’ll notice I’m consistent in my belief that Value of the player is what matters, not really the position he plays. I care very little about whether or not a player fills a need, though it is a bonus if it’s great value and fills a need.

Round 3: Curtis Marsh, CB, Utah State

Philosophy: A

You can never have too many cornerbacks especially if that’s one of your major needs (as it is in the case of the Eagles).

Player Value: B-

This was a very solid pick here in the third round. The Eagles really needed a cornerback and got a decent one. Even though I think House and Burton were better players, Marsh was fine value here. Marsh is not as fluid as you would hope in the hips (the opposite of Brandon Harris), but he’s big and has long arms. I think he could be a nice nickel guy in his career.

Round 4: Casey Matthews, ILB, Oregon

Casey Matthews is the less talented brother of Clay Matthews. A player that is undersized, but very instinctive and relentless. A hustle player who will leave it all on the field.

Player value:


I was down on Matthews as a potential second round prospect, but in the fourth round Matthews is good value. Matthews is a different kind of player than the Eagles generally draft on defense, but he has a real shot of eventually winning a starting position. Good pick by the Eagles in the 4th round.

Round 4: Alex Henery, K, Nebraska

Player value: B-

I’m not a stickler for a lot of things in the draft, and one of them is I’m not opposed to taking kickers earlier than normal in the draft, especially if you’re a team that has a lot of draft picks (as the Eagles always wind up with). Henery is a kicker with a big leg, who has nailed pressure kicks, can even punt and has great accuracy short. I think he’s a very nice kicker prospect. And I’m not going to hate on this pick.

Round 5: Dion Lewis, RB, Pittsburgh

Player Value A-

Lewis is undersized, but was extremely productive at Pittsburgh. While he might not be great for all offensive systems, he can run inside enough to be effective in the Eagles offensive system. I think Jamie Harper would have been a great fit with the Eagles, but Lewis was a good pick. Running backs is one of the positions were production matters the most from college to the pros. Vision is more important than anything else for NFL running backs.

Round 5: Justin Vandervelde, OL, Iowa

Player Value C

Vandervelde is a long name to type out, but he’s worth it. Vandervelde is tough, and a solid technician who has a chance to develop into a starting guard int the league and at worst should provide quality depth for the next 10 to 12 years. I’m always in favor of grabbing an offensive linemen when he’s high on your board.

Round 6: Jason Kelce, G, Cinncinnati

Player value C

The Eagles had a clear plan of attack for this draft. Solidify the interior of their offensive line, and that’s just what Jason Kelce can do. Kelce has center ability, but isn’t a terrific pass blocker, which could be trouble with all of the terrific pass rushers in the N.F.C East. Still, Kelce was one of the few draftable centers in a weak center class and an average value pick at this point in the draft.

Round 6: Brian Rolle, LB, Ohio State

PlayerValue B+

Rolle is a similar kind of player that Matthews is, except at better value. Rolle is undersized, but is a tenacious player who has no quit. Rolle will improve the Eagles special teams coverage units this year and could see himself in some sub packages. Rolle has good speed for a linebacker, and can cover well. Rolle on a FYI note, ladies,  has 10 3/8 inch hands even though he’s only 5’10”.

Round 7: Greg Lloyd, LB, Connecticut

Player Value C-

A punishing run stuffing linebacker who lacks great measurables or an ability to cover in the N.F.L. Lloyd is a hard hitter and will have to work hard and rely on his instincts and determination to stick in the N.F.L. as a two down linebacker.

Round 7: Stanley Havili, FB, USC

Player Value A-

To  me this is the second best value pick the Eagles made their whole draft. Havili is a great fit for their offensive system and was a 5th round caliber prospect, especially for the Eagles finese offense. Havili can catch the football, run a little bit, and get int he way enough to block on the Eagles.

Overall Draft Grade/Conclusion


This was not one of my favorite drafts. It was very “needsy” to me. The Eagles had a clear plan of attack. Improve the interior of their offensive line, and find some linebackers, and they accomplished that for sure, they used six picks on offensive linemen or linebackers this draft, and almost all of the picks were reaches. That’s the definition of a needs draft. Compare what they did to a team like the Giants or Lions who let the draft fall as it did and reacted to the draft as opposed to trying to force the issue and you can see clearly which teams got better values with their picks.

I’m not one who worries about needs in the draft, for the most part. My personal belief is that with free agency and the occurrence of injuries in the N.F.L., teams won’t know what their needs are three years from now when most players will make true impacts on their teams, so why draft for needs?  Fans tend to focus on needs leading up to the draft, but to me that’s not the most effective way to build a roster.

The Eagles have a talented roster, and a heck of a coach, but this draft fell far short of previous Eagles drafts (I liked 2010 a lot) for me.

Let me hear it Eagles fans am I off base? Are you happy with what the Eagles did in this draft?

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