The Eagles found themselves in a place they’ve not been in a long while; selecting in the top five of the draft. They also had a new coach in the war room whose input would be vital in selecting players. Unfortunately the team also had a lot of holes to fill entering the draft.
Lane Johnson/T/Oklahoma (Round 1, pick #4): We documented Johnson’s march up draft boards in the weeks preceding the draft. The question was not whether the Eagles would select him with the fourth pick rather would Johnson last that long. When the Dolphins shocked everyone by trading ahead of the Eagles only to bypass Johnson, the team’s job was made easier. As I stated in numerous interviews prior to the first round, there’s a real belief that Johnson could turn out to be the top tackle from this draft two years down the road. He’s a perfect fit for the new offense Philadelphia will implement under Chip Kelly and Johnson offers franchise type ability at the tackle position.
Zach Ertz/TE/Stanford (Round 2, pick #35): Ertz was one of our favorite tight ends leading to the draft but I foolishly bought into many of the criticisms being passed on him rather than trusting the game film. Eagles fans will be glad Kelly and company relied on the film and grabbed Erzt in round two. He offers natural receiving skills and is much more a complete tight end compared to his former Stanford teammate Colby Fleener, the 33rd pick in the 2012 draft. Expect Ertz to have an immediate impact for the Eagles offense as a pass catcher and blocker.
Bennie Logan/DL/LSU (Round 3, pick #67): Logan was rated lower on our board than the 67th player in the draft and we were slightly surprised by this pick. I feel Logan is suited as a 3-technique lineman in a four man front. How he fits the Eagles 3-4 alignment remains to be seen.
Matt Barkley/QB/USC (Round 4, pick #98): From a passer point of view the pick of Barkley in round four represents both quality and value. Despite his downward spiral the past eight months, Barkley is a very good timing passer best throwing underneath routes. He’s not a playmaker with his legs but has enough mobility to get outside the pocket and throw on the move. Of course Chip Kelly would’ve preferred a Donovan McNabb type of quarterback at the top of the draft, but getting Barkley in round four was a solid pick.
Earl Wolff/S/North Carolina State (Round 5, pick #136): I remember how impressed I was when the Eagles came away with Kurt Coleman in the seventh round of the 2010 draft. Selecting Wolff in the fifth round last month was twice as impressive. He’s a more athletic version of Coleman and plays smart, instinctive football. Wolff was overshadowed by David Amerson at North Carolina State but made a fraction of the mental errors his headline grabbing teammate always seemed to commit. This was a terrific pick which will pleasantly surprise many.
Joe Kruger/DE/Utah (Round 7, pick #212): Kruger was a bit of a head scratcher in the seventh round. Though a natural pass rusher, he’s not fast enough to play linebacker nor strong enough to hold up at defensive end. He’ll have to show skill as a situational rusher in camp this summer to make the active roster.
Jordan Poyer/CB/Oregon State (Round 7, pick #218): Scouts raved about Poyer throughout the 2012 season, pegging him as one of the most natural cover corners from the senior class. He played well at the Senior Bowl then ran better than expected at the combine. So why did he fall into the last frame? I was told immediately after the draft “off the field” issues dropped Poyer’s stock two full rounds. Considering the Eagles have need at cornerback plus the ball skills Poyer brings, he should be a shoe-in to make the final roster if he gets his act together.
David King/DL/Oklahoma (Round 7, pick #239): Like Kruger, the choice of King in round seven was strange. I just don’t see King as a good fit for the Eagles new defense and feel, like Kruger, he’s better off in a four man line.
Grade: B+. The Eagles had a ton of holes on both sides of the ball but were able to fill several of them in the draft. Lane Johnson should be an immediate starter while Zach Ertz should see significant playing time in 2013. They also leave the draft with a good number of situational players and specialists. Factor in Matt Barkley and, on paper anyway, it was a good initial effort by Chip Kelly.