Much like last year, the Eagles ended up drafting more players than they were slated to before the event started. After originally being scheduled to make 10 selections in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Eagles ended up taking 11 players.
That’s a big draft class. However, they had a very large draft class, taking 13 players. Despite the large class, a lot of the rookies were able to make an impact. Time will only tell if the Eagles 2011 draft class is also able to have a similar impact.
To start, here’s a quick review of the Eagles’ third day picks:
Round 4, 19(116) – Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon
Round 4, 23(120) – Alex Henery, K, Nebraska
Round 5, 18(149) – Dion Lewis, RB, Pittsburgh
Round 5, 30(161) – Julian Vandervelde, OG, Iowa
Round 6, 26(191) – Jason Kelce, C, Cincinnati
Round 6, 28(193) – Brian Rolle, LB, Ohio State
Round 7, 34(237) – Greg Lloyd, LB, Connecticut
Round 7, 37(240) – Stanley Havili, FB, USC
Like yesterday, we expected this to be a day where the Eagles would continue to address their defense. Their first scheduled pick of the day was their Donovan McNabb selection. However, when the pick came up, they chose to trade back to gain an additional pick.
When their selection came up on the board, they went with Casey Matthews, a guy I knew they were very high on. He’s a player that will come in and work hard from day one. I don’t expect him to crack the starting lineup as a rookie, but I think he’ll see some time on the field. Matthews could definitely be used on passing situations either to rush the quarterback or cover the tight end.
The Eagles would pick again just four selections later and made a pick that many didn’t see coming. With the 120th overall selection, they took Alex Henery out of Nebraska. Henery had a very successful career at Nebraska and was regarded as the nation’s top kicker.
The selection of Henery could mean the end for David Akers. He’s had a great career with the Eagles, but they had to find his replacement at some point. It looks like they very well may have.
Before the draft, the Eagles worked out a number different running backs and it looks like they would take one at some point. They did so in the fifth round when they took Pittsburgh running back Dion Lewis.
Lewis is a smaller runner, but is elusive and will look to join fellow Pittsburgh graduate LeSean McCoy in the backfield. He wasn’t one of the players the Eagles looked at before the draft, but they clearly thought he could contribute for them.
The Eagles continued to add depth to their offense with their next two picks, taking Julian Vandervelde and Jason Kelce.
Vandervelde is an offensive guard out of Iowa who played on both the right and left side while in college. Reid loves his offensive lineman to have versatility, and Vandervelde fits the bill. He also served as a team captain and is a known leader, a nice trait for offensive lineman.
Kelce is a guy that will fight for a backup spot at center. With Jamaal Jackson returning, the Eagles will have some options at the center position so it’s going to be an uphill battle for Kelce.
After adding depth to the offensive line, the Eagles went back to the linebacker position, drafting Brian Rolle at the end of the sixth round and Greg Lloyd with their first selection in the seventh round.
Rolle is a player the Eagles worked out before the draft and is the type of high-motor, relentless player they usually look for. He’s a bit undersized, so he’ll need to bulk up his frame. However, Rolle was able to make plays all over the field at Ohio State, and the Eagles will hope he can do the same for them.
Unlike Rolle, Lloyd is a big linebacker. He’s a guy known to be a big-hitter, which I really like as the Eagles don’t have that type of player on their defense right now. The biggest concern with Lloyd is going to be his health. He tore his ACL and MCL in 2009 and it caused him to miss a lot of time in 2010.
The Eagles have a history of taking risks on players with knee injuries and Lloyd is this year’s risk.
With their final selection of the 2011 draft, the Eagles took Stanley Havili out of USC. He’s listed at the fullback position but could easily be considered a large running back. I think what the Eagles like best about him is the fact that he’s a great receiver out of the backfield.
That greatly helps Havili’s chances to make the roster. However, he should be able to double as a pass catching fullback and short yardage runner.
Overall, the Eagles added some good depth on the third day. It’s hard to predict what impact these guys will make in 2011, but I think they have some guys who can develop into solid players.