With a talented group of defensive lineman available in the early rounds, the uncertainty surrounding Brandon Graham’s injury, and some comments from Howie Roseman, it seemed like the Eagles drafting a few defensive lineman was a strong possibility. Add on the fact that Jim Washburn is in town and has the ability to mold young players into studs, and it almost seemed certain that the Eagles would bring in a few new faces.
However, draft weekend has come and gone and the Eagles failed to add a single defensive lineman with their 11 selections. It’s a bit strange to see after not taking any offensive lineman with 13 selections last year. So much for balance.
In 2011, the Eagles will have to work with what they have. I’m sure Washburn has watched plenty of film from last season and has an idea of what he’d like to do with the players he has. After review, Washburn may have been quite content with the Eagles line and advised Andy Reid to draft for other needs.
On the interior, I think the Eagles look pretty good for 2011. You have the core of Mike Patterson and Brodrick Bunkley who have been staples there for a few years. The play of Antonio Dixon was phenomenal last year and could get even better under Washburn’s direction.
Trevor Laws showed improvement last year but will need to continue to step it up to make the roster in 2011. He’ll likely battle with 2010 draft pick Jeff Owens to fill into the defensive tackle rotation.
At defensive end, things are a bit more unclear because of Brandon Graham’s injury. Without the injury, he’d more than likely be the guy lining up opposite Trent Cole on opening day. However, it looks like the Eagles will have to wait for Graham’s services until a bit later in the season.
With that in mind, there should be a battle in Training Camp for the starting position. Juqua Parker and Darryl Tapp are the likely candidates to fill in, but the competition will be left open.
Beyond those two, the Eagles will look for the other draft picks from last year to step it up. Daniel Te’o-Nesheim failed to make an impact last season, and Ricky Sapp was sidelined for the year due to injury. Both are bigger guys who could provide a bull rush off the outside, and I’m hoping they can be a nice part of the rotation in 2011.
Out of the CFL, Phillip Hunt is a guy we heard some praise about in the offseason, but I still view him as a long-shot to contribute. Guys who end up in the CFL are usually there for a reason.
There’s always the possibility that the Eagles add undrafted rookies who are defensive lineman or make a play for a free agent. However, I don’t see them spending money on the defensive line when they have much more pressing needs.
Another surprise from the draft was the fact that the Eagles failed to add a quarterback. They worked out a variety of quarterbacks before the draft, but decided not to take one.
I thought they’d draft a guy to come in and compete with Mike Kafka somewhere in rounds 5-7. If they trade Kolb, they’ll likely bring in a veteran to serve as the backup, but they still need a guy they can groom as the quarterback down the road.
We haven’t seen much from Kafka, and maybe after taking a look at some of the quarterbacks in the 2011 class, the Eagles decided they like Kafka more.
I could see them bringing in an undrafted free agent, and I think the guy they will look to bring in is Pat Devlin. I was surprised he wasn’t drafted, but I think the Eagles like what he has to offer. He’s the typical pocket-passer type and a player who could develop well with a few years under the right coaching.
Were you surprised the Eagles didn’t take any defensive lineman or a quarterback?