The only way the first round could have worked out better for the Eagles would have been if Fletcher Cox had dropped all the way to 15.
But Howie Roseman, Andy Reid and company deserve credit for targeting their top defensive tackle and making a play for him.
The Eagles gave up a fourth-round pick (114 overall) and a sixth-round pick (172 overall). The draft value chart is largely irrelevant with the new stipulations on rookie contracts (SI.com's Peter did a good job of explaining the difference in taking a top 11 player vs. a prospect from 12 to 32), but just for fun, here's a look at what the numbers would have looked like in previous years:
To move up from 15 to 12, the Eagles would have had to give up a value of 150. In this scenario, they only gave up a value of 88.6.
Earlier this month, I wrote about Cox after watching a few of his games from last year and said Jim Washburn would likely be "drooling" over his athleticism and versatility. Pretty much all the analysts last night (Mike Mayock, Mel Kiper, Jon Gruden, Greg Cosell) gave the Eagles' selection of Cox rave reviews.
The 6-4, 298 defensive tackle has been hailed as a great pass rusher, but he's going to help against the run also. Cox was third among SEC defensive linemen last year with 14.5 tackles for loss. In the games I watched, he was constantly in the backfield creating chaos.
The Eagles now have a talented group of interior linemen with Cox, Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson. We'll see what happens with injuries and other transactions, but Derek Landri and Antonio Dixon could be battling for a roster spot. As we've discussed before, four defensive tackles will rotate in an out throughout the course of a game. Here's a chart with percentage of defensive snaps played last year, courtesy of Pro Football Focus:
|Player||Pct. of Snaps|
In other words, Cox will be able to contribute right away, whether he starts the game on the field or not.
LOOKING AHEAD TO DAY 2
The Eagles are scheduled to make three picks tonight: two in the second round (Nos. 46 and 51 overall) and one in the third round (No. 88 overall).
Several positions are in play: cornerback, linebacker, offensive line, running back and wide receiver. Some would throw quarterback in there too, although I don't think they're going to go that route (yes, I've been wrong before).
At cornerback, Janoris Jenkins is still on the board. Considered a first-round talent, he has off-the-field baggage and was kicked off of Florida's team before joining North Alabama last year. The Eagles hosted Jenkins for a visit, and Greg Cosell of NFL Films called him the best pure man corner in the draft. Peter Schrager of FoxSports.com says the Eagles like Jenkins a lot. The pick would come with risk, but high upside.
A player I really like is Georgia cornerback Brandon Boykin. He's someone that could push Joselio Hanson for the nickel position right away, having played the slot in college, and he could also be a return man.
Linebackers to watch as potential targets to play alongside DeMeco Ryans: Cal's Mychal Kendricks, Nebraska's Lavonte David and Utah State's Bobby Wagner.
Don't be surprised if the Eagles target a playmaker at an offensive skill position either. Oregon's LaMichael James, who has been compared to Darren Sproles, and could contribute on special teams right away, is still on the board. Cincinnati running back Isaiah Pead could be an option to complement LeSean McCoy also.
At wide receiver, someone like Florida International's T.Y. Hilton, who had a pre-draft visit with the Birds, could fit the bill. He could provide speed in the slot and averaged over 30 yards per kickoff return last season.
And of course, never rule out offensive line. The Eagles need to build some depth there too. Georgia's Cordy Glenn is still on the board. So is Illinois' Jeff Allen, who the Eagles had in for a pre-draft visit.
Thanks to everyone who joined me last night. We'll be back live chatting Rounds 2 and 3 right here.