NFL Draft: 2012 Eagles Draft Grades
By Bob Wankel
Round 1 (12th overall) Mississippi State DT Fletcher Cox
The Cowboys weren’t the only NFC East team to do a first-day trade. The Eagles swapped first-round picks with the Seahawks and sent a fourth and sixth-round pick to Seattle in order to move up three spots. The Eagles used that pick to select DT Fletcher Cox. Time will tell, but it looks like Philadelphia not only got a top-ten talent, but got the guy both they and their fans really wanted. Defensive line coach Jim Washburn has to be excited about getting his hands on Cox. Sorry. Last time. I promise.
Round 2 (46th overall) California LB Mychal Kendricks
After the Chicago Bears traded with the Rams to move up to the 45th pick in the draft and selected South Carolina WR Alshon Jeffrey, the Philadelphia Eagles took California OLB Mychal Kendricks.
It’s unclear whether or not Chicago felt the Eagles were interested in Jeffrey, but it seems unlikely.
So unless you had your heart set on new Rams’ CB Janoris Jenkins, then you have to believe the Eagles caught another break when Kendricks fell to them at the 46th pick.
The Eagles had their choice of talented prospects such as Brandon Boykin, Bobby Wagner, LaMichael James, and Lavonte David. Each would have been good picks in this spot.
One would have to assume that Kendricks (5-11, 240) will come in and compete for a starting spot at one of the outside linebacker positions.
Jon Gruden called Kendricks, “fast, physical, fearless, and productive” before comparing him to Bears OLB Lance Briggs.
Former longtime Colts GM Bill Polian called Kendricks “blood thirsy” and the second best attacking linebacker in the draft behind only Panthers LB Luke Kuechly.
Round 2 (59th overall) Marshall DE Vinny Curry
The Eagles continued to bolster their defense Friday night when they used the second of two second-round selections to draft Marshall DE Vinny Curry. Curry (6-3, 266). He was predicted by many experts to go late in the first or early in the second-round, so the initial indications are that Philadelphia scored big with this pick.
Curry is the typical “high-motor” player, but he has the production to go with it. He totaled an astounding 77 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, seven forced fumbles and three blocked kicks during his senior season. Yeah, Curry played against Conference USA talent, but those numbers are pretty damn impressive nonetheless.
NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock listed Curry as the 30th best prospect coming into the draft. Curry, considered a sack artist, is certainly a pass-rushing specialist, but can hold his own against the run. He is terrific in pursuit and has a knack for creating turnovers. If Curry plays as advertised and Brandon Graham can finally emerge in his third season, well, good luck to opposing quarterbacks. This line projects to be deep, versatile, and scary good.
Round 3 (88th overall) Arizona QB Nick Foles
The Eagles used the 88th pick in the NFL Draft to select Arizona quarterback Nick Foles. The Eagles have received rave reviews from fans and experts alike for their first three picks, but the initial fan feedback on Foles has been less than positive.
Foles has ideal size (6-5, 248) and a strong arm, but isn’t particularly mobile and is considered a “project quarterback.” With players like Georgia CB Brandon Boykin still on the board, the selection of Foles was a bit perplexing-funny how that worked out. The Eagles are a team that many consider to be a legitimate contender in the NFC this season, but he doesn’t figure to provide a boost to the team’s short-term chances (or long-term for that matter).
The best case scenario for Foles includes words like “serviceable,” “respectable,” and “reliable.” Frankly, there’s not a ton of upside here. I wasn’t adamantly against bringing a quarterback into the fold, but that was under the condition that it was someone who could be molded into a potentially elite quarterback. Foles is certainly not that.
Round 4 (123rd overall) Georgia CB Brandon Boykin
Boykin (5-9, 182) is a tough, competitive player who is best suited to play slot corner and is an explosive return man. While Boykin isn’t terrific at anticipating in coverage, he can flat-out burn when he gets his hands on the ball.
ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay called Boykin, “one of the most dynamic return specialists we have in college football.” Meanwhile, NFL Films’ Greg Cosell identified him as one of the two top slot corners available in the entire draft. Aside from Cox, this is probably my favorite pick of the draft.
Round 5 (153rd overall) Purdue OT Dennis Kelly
Kelly (6-8, 321) is a developmental offensive tackle that offensive line coach Howard Mudd will try to groom. As far as Kelly and the 2012 season? Well, don’t expect much. He may become a starting-caliber offensive tackle, but it’s not happening overnight. The initial reaction to the Kelly pick is one of mild surprise–many draft experts had Kelly going either in the seventh-round or undrafted.
Even if the Eagles loved Kelly, they didn’t need to reach at this spot to get him. Not quite sure I get the rush.
Round 6 (194th overall) Iowa WR Marvin McNutt
McNutt (6-3, 215) had an excellent 2011 campaign for the Hawkeyes, posting 82 receptions for 1,315 yards and 12 touchdowns. He ran a respectable 4.54 40-yard-dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. McNutt isn’t a burner, but has good hands and is extremely strong which makes him a possession-type receiver. ESPN’s Todd McShay says, “McNutt knows how to get open and make plays–this is a good late round pick.”
Round 6 (200th overall) Miami OL Brandon Washington
A sixth-round selection, Washington was projected by some to go in the third or fourth-round, but fell to the later rounds of the draft. Washington is an extremely talented but raw player who has lined up at both guard and tackle. His versatility is a big selling point in terms of his value. The 2010 First-Team All-ACC selection started 13 games at right guard as a sophomore, but then switched to right tackle as a junior. Many project him as a third or fourth-round pick.
Round 7 (229th overall) Kansas State RB Bryce Brown
Brown’s story is a bit peculiar. He has a clouded past, never playing more than one full season at any of three colleges he attended. The 5-11, 223-pound running back transferred from the University of Tennessee after coming out of high school as a highly-touted recruit. He ultimately ended up Kansas State, but didn’t see much of the field before leaving the team for personal reasons.
Brown came out of high school listed as the number two running back recruit in the country behind only Alabama’s Trent Richardson, but he just never panned out. Brown possesses ideal size and strength for an NFL running back and posted an outstanding 4.37 40-yard-dash time in recent workouts.