No draft since 1999 has brought such hype and expectation to the Philadelphia Eagles. Chip Kelly, Howie Roseman, and Tom Gamble took the reins of the Eagles organization, and laid the framework for the Chip Kelly era in the draft. Prior to the draft, the Birds’ team needs were vast at : OL, CB, S, DE, TE, DT, and LB respectively. Through the draft, Kelly and his staff picked out diamonds in the rough in seemingly each of the six rounds they drafted in while addressing many of the team’s needs and finding great value with each selection.
The first round of the draft was very eventful for the Eagles, as Chip Kelly and staff watched premier pass rushing prospect, and former Oregon Duck, Dion Jordan slip through their fingers as the Miami Dolphins traded up with the Oakland Raiders to acquire the former Oregon standout. After the Dolphins came off the clock the Eagles’ choice was clear and Lane Johnson, OT Oklahoma became a member of the bird gang. Many believe Johnson to have more upside than the tackles who went before him in, Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel, because of his athletic ability. Johnson was by far the fastest tackle in the draft, and his explosiveness will pay dividends in Kelly’s expected run-heavy offense. With the first pick, the Eagles addressed possibly their most dire need, and solidified the tackle position for a decade in the process.
The second round began with Geno Smith still on the board, and many believed the Eagles would select him with the 35th overall selection. Once again, Howie Roseman played whiz kid, and helped select the best available talent: Stanford TE, Zach Ertz. This was possibly my favorite pick of the draft as it was so unexpected , and probably beneficial for the Eagles. Ertz will provide a great vertical threat on offense, and has one of the best releases of any TE available. Furthermore, with the added depth at TE, the Eagles will be able to run a wider variety of schemes utilizing the trio of Ertz, Chase Daniels, and Brent Celek.
With their third pick in the first 75, the Eagles selected Bennie Logan, DT LSU. Logan certainly benefited from being on a line with 6th overall selection Barkevious Mingo, but fills a need for depth at the NT position which is essential to the 3-4 defense. I’m sure Matt Barkley was talked about here as well, but depth on the defensive line was more important than a project QB in the third round.
The Eagles traded one of their four seventh round selections to jump three spots to the top of the fourth round and selected Matt Barkley, QB USC. Risking a seventh and fourth round selection on a project quarterback is a risk the Eagles are willing to take. Especially considering Barkley is a quarterback who could have gone first overall in last season’s draft had he declared. As a Trojan, Barkley threw for the most yards in the history of USC, and was a great value in the fourth round.
In the fifth round, Philadelphia added more depth at safety drafting Earl Wolff, SS N.C. State. The acquisition of Wolff likely spells the end of Kurt Coleman‘s tenure in Eagle green, or at least one can hope. When healthy Kenny Phillips is an elite safety, but there will likely be an open competition at training camp to decide the second starting spot as Colt Anderson Patrick Chung, Nate Allen, and Coleman are currently on the roster. Chung and Anderson were signed by the Kelly administration, so consider Allen and Coleman to be the odd men out following their shoddy play last season.
With the sixth pick in the seventh round, and the first of three seventh round selections was Joe Kruger, DE Utah. Kruger is 6’6″ and Kelly is known to prefer taller players. Addressing defensive end early in the seventh round was a questionable decision, but Kruger does seem to be a value talent who fell into the seventh round. At Utah, Kruger was a force on the defensive line, and is large enough to play DE in a 3-4 set.
With the twelfth selection in the seventh round the Eagles chose Jordan Poyer, CB LSU. Poyer was a high value talent that fell into the seventh round, where he became a steal for the Eagles. Poyer has been projected as an NFL ready starter after being named a Pac-12 first team all american, and recorded 7 interceptions as a senior. The Eagles needed to add depth at corner after the departure of both of last years starters, so Poyer will fill a need immediately if he is truly NFL ready.
David King was the Eagles’ final selection in the draft, and at 6’5 adds more height to an already tall defensive line. At Oklahoma, the defensive tackle recorded 21 starts as a sooner, and over 70 total tackles. King also adds needed depth at the defensive tackle position, as both Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson singed with the Giants in the off season.
Jordan Poyer in the seventh round may have been the steal of the draft for Philadelphia, but Matt Barkley in the fourth really strikes me as a spectacular value selection. Barkley is a low risk high reward gamble, that could pave the way to a new future at the QB position. Given time, Barkley could develop into an NFL-ready passer. This season Kelly is likely to go with veteran Michael Vick or sophomore Nick Foles, though Oregon product Dennis Dixon could conceivably make the roster as well. Howie Roseman continues to be an excellent talent evaluator in the draft, adding needed depth and NFL ready talent. Eagles fans should be very happy with the new regime. Not only were needs on the offense addressed with start- ready talent at OT and TE, but the Eagles also added young quality depth across the defense giving further life to a new-look unit. I consider this draft success and now enter the long wait until training camp, where this team will truly gain its new identity.Tags: Chip Kelly, Cullen Jenkins, Dennis Dixon, Eric Fisher, Howie Roseman, Lane Johnson, Luke Joeckel, Matt Barkley, Michael Vick, Mike Patterson, NFC East, NFL Draft, Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles, Tom Gamble, Zach Ertz