I opened the day up predicting the Eagles would most likely draft a tight end, outside linebacker or cornerback in the 2nd round. Unfortunately, this isn’t baseball and batting .333 doesn’t make me an All-Star.
This has been an odd draft with a plethora of trades and frankly, a myriad of odd picks and bent values when teams do trade up. It’s been tremendously perplexing from my standpoint having covered this wondrous event for so long. What the Eagles were able to do though was maneuver once again and get great value in the 2nd, where I’ll start off.
46. Mychal Kendricks, MLB Cal 5-foot-11, 240 pounds
This pick took me by surprise simply because Kendricks is a middle linebacker and because he’s only 5-foot-11 and you’re projecting him to SAM where he’ll have to cover much taller tight ends. I expected a player like Bobby Wagner here. That was just the conventional thought as the Eagles had also had Wagner to NovaCare and he has the size.
That said Juan Castillo has stressed that he wants tremendous athleticism at the SAM spot and Kendricks does bring that. He was good for a 4.47 40-yard dash, 4.14 short shuttle and 39.5-inch vertical leap at the Combine. Those are absolutely obnoxious numbers for a 240-pound man. Kendricks has played outside linebacker before, however my concern was that it was in a 3-4 system and as a pass rusher.
As for his film, he is a very good player between the tackles and he’ll spend a lot of time there in the Wide 9. You’ve got a very sound tackler who has a non-stop motor and is always around the play – no matter what. Hustle is never a question with Kendricks, nor is toughness. He also is a rangy guy that can get wide and cover the flats. He’ll be an immediate boost to the Eagles’ run defense; that I am certain of.
My only question is in his height. I’ve simply never seen a 5-foot-11 SAM. Maybe Mychal will break the mold and I hope he does as he is very talented and physically gifted. I will say that the worst case scenario with him is that he moves to WILL, projects as a definite starter and is the eventual replacement for DeMeco Ryans in a few years at MIKE. If that’s the worst that comes out of this pick – I’ll take it.
59. Vinny Curry, DE Marshall 6-foot-3, 266 pounds
Before I even get into the player, Roseman picked up a 4th rounder trading back here. Absolutely excellent job of wheeling and dealing – especially given the fact that I was angry he passed on a player like Curry where we were sitting before.
I see this pick as tremendous value and frankly, Brandon Graham better have his butt ready this season as Curry is a real grinder that really fits the Wide 9. I traded some emails with a few people in the league after the draft and Curry was mentioned as one of the best picks of the entire 2nd day.
Curry is a high-motor, high intensity, vigilant player with the strength to run right over you. He’s very disciplined on the field and while people hinge on his pass rushing skills – don’t overlook his run defense – it’s quite impressive. I think Eagles’ fans are looking at a future starter on their defense here or at the very least, a consistent 6-10 sack guy in a rotation.
Did I mention on top of all of this the Birds added back a 4th round pick, so now they’ve essentially just given up a 6th rounder to pick up Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks and Vinny Curry?
I’m flying extremely high at this point of the draft.
88. Nick Foles, QB Arizona 6-foot-5, 243 pounds
Here’s where I come crashing back down to earth. You have defensive backs like Jayron Hosley, Brandon Boykin, Ron Brooks and DeQuan Menzie on the board. There are very talented and explosive return specialists that are also wide receivers like T.Y. Hilton on the board. If you want to get a really good backup running back, those guys are there. Instead, the pick is Nick Foles.
When talking to quite a few from inside the league after the draft this was called one of the biggest reaches of the 2nd day along with John Hughes and T.J. Graham. One person had Foles with a 4th round grade. The majority had him with 5th, 6th and 7th round grades.
I say this actually liking Nick Foles. I even picked him for the Eagles before the draft. In fact, I’ve gone on record before that I like Nick Foles more than I like Brock Osweiler who went to the Denver Broncos with the 57th overall pick. The point is – I’m not hating here – the simple point is I’d love to see what the Eagles see. Not only do I not see it, no one I spoke to around the league does.
Moving onto the actual player…
People are questioning if he’ll fit in a West Coast Offense and I mentioned in my notes on our site that I think he’s perfect for it. Foles does a great job of spreading the ball around to everyone on the field and that’s because he doesn’t cut the field in half like the aforementioned Osweiler. He does throw a nice, catchable ball and his accuracy can be great on short and intermediate passes. I’m talking about ball placement here – not just completing the passes. Foles has always been enjoyable to watch move the chains.
Where he loses me is anything over 20 yards. The zip comes off the ball and you don’t get a spiral. If he has to hit an outside breaking route his ball will fall behind or low often. People say he has a “big arm” and it must be because he floats balls to Juron Criner. I think those people are the same that thought Brady Quinn had a big arm floating passes to Maurice Stovall and Rhema McKnight. All three receivers are constantly adjusting to floating ducks. That’s not a big arm, that’s just heaving the ball deep. It doesn’t work that way in the NFL.
I like the kid a lot and hope that improvement to his footwork and mechanics can fix some of these issues. He’s unique for Philly fans because we’ve never seen a bigger, statuesque pocket passer. It’s simply my opinion that this was terrible value.
If you want to jump up and get a quarterback you believe in do it a round early, not two rounds early. I believe he would have easily been there in the 4th round. My comment is not that I know more than the Eagles because I do not, but I wouldn’t have made this pick.
The Foles pick wasn’t ideal, but the Eagles got a 4th rounder back and the first three picks of the draft really had the feel of a “Dream Draft”. Hell, Vinny Curry is a player I had rated higher than Kendricks and the Kendricks pick was a very good one, so I’m not throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
In fact, I’ll keep the bathwater. Reid’s track record with quarterbacks is pretty impressive, so if he believes that much in Nick Foles then so will I. Most importantly, it looks like Coach Reid also went into the offseason and trusted his defensive staff in Jim Washburn and Juan Castillo – saying enough is enough – and got the Birds two quality linebackers. Now the defensive line that registered 50 sacks last season is even more talented.
Do your thing Andy and Howie – I’ll trust you. (I’m sure that means a lot to them)