Draft is Done, but Birds Aren't
The Philadelphia Daily News - Eagletarian
Draft is Done, but Birds Aren't
Les Bowen, Daily News Staff Writer
Talking to Eagles coach Andy Reid after the conclusion of the NFL draft this evening, it was apparent that the Birds are not ready to start the 2011 season with their returning vets and the 11 players they added in the three-day draft.
So don't despair of that corner spot opposite Asante Samuel. Don't give up on a d-line difference-maker.
"It's not a finished product," Reid said after his team selected three offensive linemen (all projected as guards or centers), three linebackers, two running backs (one probably a fullback), a kicker, a safety, and a corner. Free agency lies ahead, at some point over the lockout rainbow, as does the possibility of trading quarterback Kevin Kolb.
"I think we've added some great kids here," Reid said after the fourth through seventh rounds were in the books. Reid said his rookies have a few qualities in common: "They're smart and they're tough ... I can't look through here and tell you one kid that doesn't love to play the game. At this level, that's a huge, huge intangible that you need. It's a rough sport, and these guys, they like to mix it up." This is something the Eagles have placed renewed emphasis on the past few years (Freddie Mitchell, L.J. Smith and Shawn Andrews, among many others, having served as object lessons).
Reid flat-out refused to discuss his plans for the kicking situation, after adding fourth-rounder Alex Henery from Nebraska. Henery is a kicker and punter, but he told reporters the Eagles were looking for him to placekick. The Eagles placed the transition tag on David Akers, but he didn't sign the tender. It's unclear what status that tag will have under whatever system emerges from the lockout.
"I'm not going to get too much into David Akers here," Reid said, cutting off the questioning, after declaring Henery the best kicker in college last season. Akers' agent, Jerrold Colton, said his client has always wanted to end his career as an Eagle but is prepared to move on if he has to.
Reid felt his interior o-line really needed some shaking up, and he provided it, adding first-round guard Danny Watkins, fifth round guard/center Julian Vandervelde and sixth-round center Jason Kelce.
He wanted to add to the linebacking mix and he did that, with fourth-rounder Casey Matthews, sixth-rounder Brian Rolle and and seventh-rounder Greg Lloyd II.
The Eagles feel very strongly about second-round Temple safety Jaiquawn Jarrett, so strongly that they didn't care if taking him 54th overall in the second round was a little high.
They loved the size and athleticism of third-round corner Curtis Marsh, even if he has played the position only two years and doesn't project as a rookie starter.
They added a 5-8 running back, Dion Lewis from Pitt, in the fifth round, an understudy to Shady McCoy from McCoy's Pittsburgh Panthers. In the seventh, they took a fullback who can run and catch, Stanley Havili from USC, albeit one coming off shoulder surgery.
Of course, right now the Eagles can't sign any of these players, or even bring them in for a minicamp, so the amount of help any of them can provide in 2011 is very much up for grabs.