Eagles ’12 Draft – Full Disclosure

Let me first apologize as this will be somewhat of a lengthy commentary on the Philadelphia Eagles draft. While I’d prefer to give my readers the cut and dry of each pick – there is no cut and dry – and if you’re reading my take on things I assume there is some masochism in your DNA. Expect my normal tangents, raves, rants and lunacy.

12. Fletcher Cox, DT Mississippi State 6-foot-4, 298 pounds

Fletcher’s best days are ahead of him. I honestly believe that statement and at the same time, this is the most excited I’ve ever been over a player the Birds have selected in the 1st round. Cox is a 300-pound athlete at defensive tackle and that’s a rarity in the NFL. He’s also a player that could end up seeing time at nose tackle, under tackle and left defensive end for Philadelphia.

If you’ll humor me and look him up on YouTube the only thing you need pay attention to is this young man’s feet at all times. Look at him once he has penetrated and is forced to change directions in the backfield. Players like Jerel Worthy, Devon Still, Michael Brockers and even Dontari Poe have to stop, change direction and then move again. Fletcher makes that transition seamlessly and has the movement skills of an athletic end.    

This is where I see him being a special player down the road. Right now he is not special. Jim Washburn can turn him into a dynamic pass rusher though and that’s something the Eagles have lacked inside since Corey Simon was in his prime – or before he ate fellow lineman Paul Grasmanis – whichever came first.

46. Mychal Kendricks, LB Cal 5-foot-11, 240 pounds

The pick confused me as I’ve never seen this short of a SAM linebacker, however in terms of value it was spot on. Juan Castillo has been screaming for athleticism at the position though and Kendricks has it. Before I even touch that I want to take exact quotes from my notes in several games I studied on him.

“Tackling machine” – “Nose for the ball” – “Very surprising strength for short guy” – “Stout at point of attack” – “Bit of a catch tackler” – “Is he in on every play?” – “Great at filling gaps/meeting RB in hole” – “reads and reacts well” – “Very smart”

So, my only complaints were that he “caught” people sometimes and that he was short. That’s a heck of a lot better than Philadelphia’s current SAM corps.

Kendricks was also a Combine freak. The Eagles didn’t draft him simply because of his numbers there though. It’s on the film. I had him as a 3rd rounder before the Combine as you didn’t get to see how fast he was on film being up at the line of scrimmage so much. Once he lit the Combine on fire – 2nd rounder.

Worst case scenario, he kicks to WILL and eventually replaces Ryans in the middle.

59. Vinny Curry, DE Marshall 6-foot-3, 266 pounds

Vinny Curry nearly had a 1st round grade from both Tommy Lawlor and I. The Top 100 on our page was a projection for The Huddle Report, not our rankings. Next year we’ll provide both lists. This isn’t just a steal, it’s highway robbery.

Mike Mayock compares Curry to Cliff Avril of the Detroit Lions and I see the similarities. Curry isn’t a tremendous athlete, but he uses a quick burst and leverage to get in a tackle’s grille real quick and put them on roller skates. We’re talking a relentless, non-stop guy here. He’ll also play disciplined football and make very good plays against the run.

I expect him to come in the rotation as a starter and make an impact immediately and then eventually move up, eventually being one of our top sack guys. Brandon Graham really has a fire under his cheeks now.

88. Nick Foles, QB Arizona 6-foot-5, 243 pounds

I commented during the draft on Foles that I thought the Eagles had made a huge reach for him even though he was a quarterback that I really liked, even more than 2nd round pick Brock Osweiler. If you look at my notes on the site you’ll see my comments that “I’d start to value him in the 5th round”.

While I won’t reverse my field on my attitude that the Eagles did in fact select Foles too high, I will relay that I’m much more comfortable with the value discrepancy after two things happened. First, Howie Roseman and Andy Reid landed Brandon Boykin in the 4th round who is in my opinion a Top 40 talent. Unless he’s had his leg amputated, he had no business falling that far.

Second – and this was really just as important – I got to watch Foles sit down with Jon Gruden for his QB Camp. There were plenty of things I took away from this experience that really taught me something and that’s an integral part of scouting – understanding that you can learn more from everyone.

Gruden spent a lot of time talking with Foles about some of my biggest concerns which are his footwork (which tie into his arm strength), the amount of sacks he takes and his propensity to turn the ball over. For part of the segment Jon brought in Brad Johnson and the three talked about Foles’ lack of propensity to check down and dump the ball off to receivers. This was huge for me and crazily enough, it looked as if they had just given Foles the Holy Grail by his reaction.

He had a certain attitude about him during the show that I really liked. Foles is a jovial, straight forward kid who is respectful, but for lack of better wording – isn’t kissing anyone’s butt. I don’t want to see a teenager in there. He didn’t show me one. Foles came off as an intelligent kid who was genuinely getting a lot out of the meeting, but also had a lot of confidence.

They passed the ball at the end with Gruden showing him some things and I didn’t see the floating or wobbling on deep balls I saw on film. It was simply a breath of fresh air.

In all, I still think 88 was high for the quarterback and won’t go back on that, but I liked Foles before the draft and like him even more now. Andy Reid, Marty Morhinweg and Howie Roseman know him much better than I do. Their track record as NFL coaches is better than mine – duh. This is a pick I’ll fully support going forward.

123. Brandon Boykin, CB Georgia 5-foot-9, 182 pounds

Boykin had some concussions in Athens and broke his leg at the Senior Bowl causing him to slide. I had a mid to high 2nd round grade on him, so unless he’s developed gangrene, is walking around like a pirate on a peg-leg and has a parrot on his shoulder – STEAL.

He’s a tremendous return man and makes the Eagles so dangerous on special teams with him on kickoffs and DeSean Jackson on punts. Some people make the mistake of thinking that he played slot corner because of a lack of talent – not true. He played on the outside, but was such a weapon on the inside that Georgia could leave him there.

Boykin is perfect for the stage of progression the Eagles’ cornerback situation is in right now. They need someone to really challenge Joselio Hanson in the slot and master that area. In the long term, they’ll need a young guy to be good enough to take over for either Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie or Nnamdi Asomugha.

If you switch Boykin to pick 88 and Foles to 123, this draft is absolutely PERFECT so far for me. I might have preferred a different linebacker to Kendricks, but he is still outstanding.

The only reason I bring this up is because I’ve never said that in seven years.

153. Dennis Kelly, OT Purdue 6-foot-8, 321 pounds

As you know, I don’t BS my readers. I have no idea what to say about Dennis Kelly other than he’s huge, he looks like a McQuistan brother with that long hair and apparently – Howard Mudd liked him.

I’m on board if Howard is.

194. Marvin McNutt, WR Iowa 6-foot-3, 216 pounds

McNutt isn’t the exact receiver I’d have picked here simply because I think he dominates poor corners and gets controlled by good corners. He finished his senior season with 82 catches for 1315 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Against Leonard Johnson from Iowa State – 4 catches, 61 yards

Against Alfonzo Dennard from Nebraska – 4 catches, 29 yards

Against Jamell Fleming from Oklahoma – 4 catches, 46 yards

Now, that doesn’t mean he’s a bad player or he won’t work out with the Eagles, it’s just that he wasn’t my cup of coffee. What he does have is great hands and leaping ability. He’ll also give the Eagles a presence in the red zone with his size that they’ve been looking for.

200. Brandon Washington, OG Miami 6-foot-3, 320 pounds

This pick really surprised me. First, I didn’t think Washington would still be on the board in the 6th round. I knew some scouts had 4th round grades on him but of course, that doesn’t mean he’ll always go there. It was good value to me.

I was surprised because Washington doesn’t seem like a Mudd guy; he seems like a Castillo guy. The Hurricanes do run a zone-blocking scheme under Art Kehoe, but Washington isn’t a knee bender, plays upright and has always come off to me as more of a bully when playing inside. He has also played tackle too though, so maybe they liked that athleticism.

229. Bryce Brown, RB Kansas State 6-foot, 223 pounds

I’ve had to deal with this kid’s nonsense since he was a high school recruit. First he had a member of the family/street agent charging people for recruiting updates, then he plays games on Letter of Intent day and then finally ends up at Tennessee. After that he transfers to Kansas State and touches the ball three times.

Complete waste of a pick. I’m sure the Eagles see the upside in his workout numbers, but I just wouldn’t have touched him. His older brother Arthur Jr. was always the level-headed one to me and he’ll be in the draft next year at linebacker.

Good thing it was a 7th rounder.

I know many of you would love a draft grade on the Eagles. I’m not big into grading drafts, but I’d certainly have to give the Eagles an “A” this year. They threw away a 7th round pick, that’s my complaint. Usually they’d be picking a starting linebacker there – so I’m content with it.

Duce Staley got on the phone right after the draft and signed Chris Polk as a UDFA at running back, so Brown is out of here anyway.

Howie Roseman, Andy Reid, the scouting department and the coaching staff won’t be reading this, but if they ever did – I’d be congratulating them. I feel this is the best draft class they’ve pulled off since 2002 and we all know how that went.

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9 Responses to Eagles ’12 Draft – Full Disclosure

  1. Anders says:

    Is it really waste to draft a RB in the 7th with potential? Who know if he might turn it around?

  2. Matt Alkire says:

    A waste to me, yes. I’ve just been around too many people who have been around Bryce to have any faith in him. That’s why I said it’s a waste to me though. That’s not even bath water though so I’m not worried about it.

  3. Matt says:

    Matt –

    Good read. With Bryce Brown, my hope would be that he could be someone that could be mentored because he seems to have all of the physical tools. Is his problem a work ethic issue or is it just bad influences off the field?

  4. Pingback: Iggles Blitz » Blog Archive » Misc Draft Talk

  5. Jamie says:

    Hi Matt….a few questions
    1) which linebacker would you have selected at 46?
    2) what player would you have selected at 88 instead of Foles and which receiver instead of McNutt at 194?

    My only change would have been Hilton at 88.

  6. RC says:

    Interesting analysis. I’ve watched Foles many times and I don’t completely agree with your commentary on him. The biggest concerns with him is reading NFL defenses, adjusting to a new system, and taking snaps under center and dropping back (which is not uncommon) along with a long losing streak he endured over end of 2010 and beginning of 2011 with extremely tough teams.

    He actually has pretty good footwork (may be inconsistent and not ideal) for his size and he frequently had to get rid of the ball because of pressure with a freshman o-line and he was constantly calling plays, adjusting, lining up his players, etc because of the no huddle. That’s a lot to do with an inexperienced OL, get him into a better system, work with him footwork wise (he’s a good athlete for his size). Even RG3 will need improvement with his footwork because of the offense they ran.

    He also averaged almost 47 pass attempts per game and with all those freshmen linemen and Arizona getting behind and a coach like Mike Stoops (who did not always try to keep opposing offenses like Okla State, Oregon, USC, Stanford off the field) , I wonder if fatigue was not a factor at times for Foles. I like that he often bounced back and kept his composure with his teammates.

    Considering all that hopefully on a team surrounded with talent and coaching, he can become a good player and I do think this offense suits him if he can learn the progression reads. He is smart (I’ve watched a lot of Gruden QB camps and he did rattle off the coverages and reads and progressions on that one play and I couldn’t keep up, though it may have been rehearsed, it was impressive he remembered it all)

    He has more arm strength than Kafka who they took in the 4th round and way more experience than Feeley who I believe they took in the 5th round. He’s better than Kolb as a pure pocket passer and has much more size and strength (the trend is toward strong QBs somewhat).

    He was probably a 2nd-4th rounder. Seen plenty of deep passes that were smooth as silk with the right amount of air under them though he was not perfect with them. He should be able to complete the traditional WCO routes and throw good deep passes plenty well enough (better than Kolb and Kafka).

    Donovan throw wobbly passes his entire career even some long ones.

  7. RC says:

    We all have our cups of tea…at first McNutt wasn’t mine but I think I saw him during the season and just did not like the games I saw him in against Nebraska and Oklahoma.

    McNutt’s a work in progress and believe me I saw some ho hum games from him (the ones you talked about) and didn’t like him at all but went back and looked at many more plays and games and he just made play after play. He gets open and he has good RAC ability. Comparing him to receivers drafted much higher such as Jeffery, Randle, Sanu he compares pretty well if you really look at his entire body of work this year. I did a 180 on him when I looked at everything. He’s also had some injuries (which is good and bad). Good that he may have been playing with them and bad because I think his shoulder may be an issue possibly.

    He also converted to WR after being QB in high school and has steadily improved. I saw a couple games of his (probably the games with the corners you described). He was certainly worth a 6th round pick. 6-2, 216 under 4.50 speed, put up virtually the same measurables as Michael Floyd and obviously to get a guy who put up those numbers it was a good pick.

    Floyd put up

    4 catches, 28 yards vs USC
    8 catches, 92 yards vs Stanford
    5 catches, 41 yards vs Florida State

    He also averaged 11.47 yards per catch. He was selected after we took Fletcher Cox and McNutt was a 6th round pick. Alshon Jeffery disappeared in half of his games.

    Floyd and McNutt are different types of big Wideouts. Floyd is more consistent and more physical, McNutt is smoother and while McNutt isn’t a blazer either, he’s very good after the catch and has a savvy. Route running is not great but somehow he gets open.

    I’m just not sure he’s the player you make him out to be (not worth a 6th rounder), I guess we’ll have to wait and see. He’s one of those guys that may sneak up on you. Also has big hands and is a good leaper. It may be he needs to deal with the press better and get a little stronger in the upper body.

  8. Arby says:

    “If you switch Boykin to pick 88 and Foles to 123, this draft is absolutely PERFECT so far for me. I might have preferred a different linebacker to Kendricks, but he is still outstanding.

    The only reason I bring this up is because I’ve never said that in seven years.”

    I agree. I still am a little stunned. Like we won the Super Bowl of drafting, or something. But I refuse to use the word “Dream” in any of this…

    Re: Bryce Brown, in listening to his interview with Spuds, he did come across a little like Eddie Haskel, only not as bright. Still, I could see rolling the dice with the dude. Looking at his freshman tape, he was just bowling guys over, 3 at a time. Will the team be able to get into his head, who knows, but worth a pick IMHO. Besides, we have Polk as insurance as you say.

  9. Iggles_Phan says:

    Matt,

    I see you mentioned concussions with Boykin. Is that the more probable reason for Boykin to fall than the leg? Do you believe that he’s a risk for future concussions more than other players?

    Thanks!

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