Throwback Thursday: The disaster that was the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles Draft
The NFL Draft is typically a time for optimism. A young influx of talent is looked on to build a team’s roster and establish a winning culture for the future. Fans can usually bank on about three players from each draft that end up being solid contributors. The 2011 Philadelphia Eagles would have considered themselves lucky if that was the case.
The (infamous) 2011 NFL Draft
The only way to accurately describe the Eagles’ 2011 draft would be a dumpster fire that was hit by a Mack Truck. It, honestly, was that bad. Some of you might be thinking, “it couldn’t have been all terrible.” Don’t believe it? Take a look for yourself…
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
When Danny Watkins is your first-round draft choice, it ‘s a signal that things can only go downhill. Not to mention a kicker (A KICKER!) was taken in the fourth round. Now, this isn’t as bad as taking a kicker in the second round (shout out to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), but it’s still not great. Everyone had high hopes for Casey Matthews because of his lineage, but that didn’t pan out. Jaiquawn Jarrett was looked on to restore some tenacity to the secondary, but that too was a swing and a miss. Curtis Marsh was seen as a project player, but you don’t select those type of guys in the third round.
Here is some perspective as to how bad this draft was. Of the 11 total picks that the Eagles had, nine are no longer in the NFL. That includes the first five picks. Entering a draft, you expect to select either immediate or eventual starters in the first three rounds. Rounds four through seven are typically looked at as the developmental rounds where players have high upside, but need some refinement. What you are looking at here is the equivalent to throwing darts at a board, blindfolded, after playing dizzy bat.
Okay, it wasn’t all that bad.
The Eagles’ 2011 draft did have two players come out of it that went on to become successful. Jason Kelce went from a fifth round draft pick to a Pro Bowl center. Recently, he’s been in the news lately for his decline in play and the possibility that he may be cut though. So there’s that. Dion Lewis didn’t do a heck of a lot for the Eagles, but he did go on to win a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots. It’s nice to see a late round prospect carve out a niche with a contending team. It would just be nice if that team was the one that drafted him. So, it wasn’t like this draft was a complete disaster right?
Actually, yes it was.
If the Eagles completely removed this draft class from their history, they would be no worse off. It isn’t often that you can say that. In this case it’s true. The fact that the Eagles whiffed on about 82% of their draft picks showed a real deficiency in their scouting department. Thankfully, they seem to have fixed this problem.
The last few drafts have brought some serious playmakers to the team who should be big pieces moving forward. Vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas and executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman seem to have a very good working relationship and a clear view of how to build the team. Fans can only hope that they learn from the past and not make the same mistakes.
Danny Watkins……you gotta be kidding me.