The 75th NFL Draft was completed yesterday and the Eagles were able to bring in a haul of 13 players, both from their original slots in the draft and through several trades, which saw them both move up and down the board.
Some excellent picks were made, including a trade up to 13th overall to nab Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham. One absence that really sticks out among the players the drafted is the lack of any guys on offensive line, and through Andy Reid’s comments last evening, it seems that the team is happy with their current crop.
Fans should be happy with most of the picks, as the team did an excellent job picking up guys with talent and addressing many of the needs on defense. Here’s a quick snapshot of each of the draftees.
FIRST ROUND (13): BRANDON GRAHAM
Defensive end / MICHIGAN
When the Birds moved up from 27 to 13, everyone thought the team would nab Earl Thomas, a free safety that would have filled the shoes of Brian Dawkins nicely. While Graham is a surprise addition, he’ll fit in well as a slightly-undersized (6’1″) pass-rusher. As the defense continues to develop under second-year coach Sean McDermott, this pick will likely make more sense.
SECOND ROUND (37): NATE ALLEN
Free safety / SOUTH FLORIDA
This is the pick from Washington, otherwise known as “the guy we got for Donovan McNabb.” Only time will tell as to who got the better end of the deal, but on paper I am absolutely thrilled with Allen. While I would have liked to have Thomas, Allen is a very close second best. He’s quick, great in coverage, and has big play-making abilities. This is the guy that will allow the team to transition on from Dawkins.
Nate Allen (#5) on the field
THIRD ROUND (86): DANIEL TE’O-NESHEIM
Defensive end / WASHINGTON
This is another undersized guy who was projected to go a round later, and it’s a selection I am still on the fence about. The Husky is another quick guy, which the team seems to really love. One thing that really stands out about him is his work ethic, as has been noted by many scouts.
FOURTH ROUND (105); TREVARD LINDLEY
Cornerback / KENTUCKY
Lindley is a corner that looks up to Charles Woodson, but his style of play very much mirrors current Eagle Asante Samuel. Samuel is known for two things – cutting routes to pull down interceptions and being a weak tackler. While some say he is the steal of the draft, his injury history and marginal tackling ability have me worried.
FOURTH ROUND (121): KEENAN CLAYTON
Outside linebacker / OKLAHOMA
Yet another undersized back that is quick on his feet, but if the Birds reached on any pick, this is it. There were better players available at this point, like end Greg Hardy and safety Myron Rolle.
FOURTH ROUND (122): MIKE KAFKA
Quarterback / NORTHWESTERN
While his experience might be lacking – his only year as a starter was his senior campaign – this is the type of guy that Andy Reid loves to develop. Plus, I can’t wait until I can get my hands on his jersey. Kafka is a mobile and intelligent quarterback that loves to throw, and by the time Vick’s contract is up, he should be ready to step in as the number two guy.
Kafka looking for an open receiver
FOURTH ROUND (125): CLAYTON HARBOR
Tight end or fullback / MISSOURI STATE
With Brent Celek blossoming as one of the league’s top receiving tight ends, it’s only natural that the team goes after a versatile blocker like Harbor as a compliment. He came from a small school which may stunt his growth a bit, but he’ll be helped by his raw athleticism.
FIFTH ROUND (134): RICKY SAPP
Defensive end / CLEMSON
This big school end was an absolute steal at this spot, and despite his torn ACL his junior year, Sapp could likely make an immediate impact with the Eagles. An athletic guy that could prove much more valuable than one would expect from a fifth-rounder.
FIFTH ROUND (159): RILEY COOPER
Wide receiver / FLORIDA
This is another fifth round steal. He’s a guy with good hands that has the potential to be a Jason Avant-type player, making key third down and red zone grabs. But also don’t be surprised if he turns out to be Hank Baskett 2.0, but without the playmate wife.
SIXTH ROUND (200): CHARLES SCOTT
Running back / LOUISIANA STATE
While Scott is not quick, he’s a big back that could prove to be good for both short yardage plays and blocking. He’ll be a true grinder that plays with little fanfare.
SEVENTH ROUND (220): JAMAR CHANEY
Linebacker / MISSISSIPPI STATE
Chaney is quick and an effective tackler, looking like a steal in the 7th round. Outside of that, only time will tell how he pans out.
SEVENTH ROUND (243): JEFF OWENS
Defensive tackle / GEORGIA
Looking at his make-up, he could he a solid guy against the run, which is a definite weakness the team has.
SEVENTH ROUND (244): KURT COLEMAN
Safety / OHIO STATE
Plays both free and strong safety, will likely end up on the practice squad.
Despite having four months until the team matches up against Green Bay, the draft always unofficially marks the beginning of the season. The Eagles squad we see take the field in 2010 will have new starters up and down the board, and will be a very young team.
The word across the Delaware Valley and beyond seems to be general satisfaction with the draft.
This sentiment is echoed by Phinally Philly reader and Philly native AJ Keirans who was well aware of all of the holes that the team needed to fill, especially on defense.
“I was surprised that the team traded up and didn’t take Earl Thomas from Texas. Knowing the impact that a strong leader like Dawkins had on the defense from the safety position, I thought that it was no-brainer they would get him. I think that (Brandon) Graham, while a surprise pick, is a quality player who will bring some much needed speed to the Eagles pass rush.”
And since the great Jim Johnson has passed on, Sean McDermott needs to continue making the defense the great unit it once was. As Keirans says, McDermott needs to begin fortifying his legacy with his own players.
Don’t expect all of these guys to make the final roster, but with a few days for things to settle in, it seems as though the Birds have solved their defensive problems, but there remains question marks at O-line and corner.
Whatever happens, this is the most change we’ve seen in South Philly in over a decade.