On May 3rd, 2014 NFL franchises must pick up the fifth and final year of rookie contracts from the 2011 draft class. Next year, the same process will take place with members of the Eagles 2012 draft class. While an off-season one year from now might seem like an eternity in the here and now, names such as Nick Foles, Brandon Boykin, and Jeremy Maclin (2009 draft class yet working on one year deal) all are expected to contribute significantly towards the success of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014 and ideally several years into the future. And while the expectations for each respective player are varied amongst the fans and the team, anything that does not surpass the “success” of a season ago isn’t par for the course in the City of Brotherly Love.
Often it’s difficult to assess the success or failure of a draft class until a respected range of time has passed that’s agreed upon by the masses. Anything ranging from five years post-draft, not until each player’s playing career is finished, and simply grades based on how many championships were won in each respective career are used to determine a draft’s value. Regardless of any weekly award a player might receive or statistic someone achieved in the course of a single season, longevity is critical towards building a championship caliber team. Entering a third season in the NFL is exactly what’s facing a good number of the Eagles 2012 draft class, and they all have something to prove. The primary beneficiary of next years contract negotiations will be on the defensive side of the ball however, provided Defensive Coordinator Billy Davis can continue to improve a defense that struggled mightily against the pass a season ago.