Grading the Draft: Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles were 60 minutes and a very conservative game plan away from representing the NFC in the Super Bowl. Even with that this is a team with needs, especially after the departure of high profile free agent Hugh Douglas. So did they plug the last few remaining holes?

Round

Pick

Overall

Player

Pos

College

Notes

1

15

15

Jerome McDougle

DE

Miami-Fl

Phi trades #30 & #62 to move up

2

29

61

LJ Smith

TE

Rutgers

 

3

31

95

Billy McMullen

WR

Virginia

 

4

34

131

Jamaal Green

DE

Miami-Fl

Compensatory Selection

6

12

185

Jeremy Bridges

OT

Southern Miss

From Washington and Green Bay

UDFA of Note: Quinton Mikell /S/Boise St, Damien Lavergne /T/Louisiana Tech, Kareem Marshall /T/Georgia, Reno Mahe /WR/BYU, Alonzo Ephraim /C/Alabama, Sam Rayburn /DT/Tulsa, Merrill Robertson /OLB/Virginia, Denaro Marriott /WR/Marshall, Roderick Hood /CB/Auburn, Drew Wahlroos /ILB/Colorado, Dante Ellington /T/Alabama, Jamaal Jackson /T/Delaware St, Jamal Wallace /S/Temple, Taylor Robertson /G/Central Florida

Philadelphia was in a quandary; selecting late in the first round all the players atop their draft board would be gone if they did not move into the middle of the frame and the remaining players high on their list would've been reaches at the 30th slot.  Hence when the opportunity arose and Philadelphia was able to move into the 16th position and grab the best pass rusher available, they took it.  

Stealing Jerome McDougle was a major coup for a team that needs not only defensive linemen but pure speed rushers.  Much like the man he will replace McDougle is a tad undersized but explosive, fast and relentless in pursuit of the action.  He may initially have difficulty defending the run but that should come in time. In essence all that Eagles traded away for the right to draft McDougle was cornerback Al Harris, whom they dealt away to receive the additional second round choice. We expect McDougle to quickly produce for the Eagles.

In round two they got another highly coveted player, LJ Smith.  Possibly the most athletic tight end in the draft, Smith watched his stock soar after a great combine performance, though word was the Eagles pegged him as their man as early as December. The albatross hanging from Smith's neck was the college he played for: Rutgers.  One of the worst programs in division I-A football, Smith had trouble progressing on the football field as a terrible Rutgers offense never held the ball long enough to get Smith the necessary experience.  He'll need time but has a large upside.

Receiver Billy McMullen is big, strong and reliable.  Virginia's leading wide out since his freshman campaign, he was the go to guy opponents could not stop.  The Eagle's feel he plays faster than he times but don't be fooled, anyway you cut it McMullen is slow.  Still; he'll offer a big-bodied target on third and long as well as a red zone receiver who'll get up and snatch the alley-oop pass.

Round four saw the Eagles tab Jerome McDougle's college teammate, Jamal Green. Like his brother Hurricane, Green is an explosive pass rusher with speed off the edge and a defensive end that causes a lot of disruption up the field.  Green is also similar to McDougle as he's a little undersized without the great growth potential.  Still, he adds competition  and depth to the defensive end position.  At the worst Green could come off the bench as an edge rush specialist.

Jeremy Bridges was an absolute steal in round six.  The nimble blocker had some of the best pass blocking feet of any lineman in the draft and will be a welcome addition after the Eagles lost Doug Brzezinski to free agency.  Bridges can be a spot starter and as he develops physically could save the Eagles salary cap money down the road when its' time to resign one of their expensive veteran offensive tackles.

Safety Norman LeJuene, their last pick, must make his mark on special teams.

The Eagles did an outstanding job signing undrafted rookies and several will end up on either the practice squad or regular season roster.  Several of the tackles signed have a chance to make it and already the word has the Eagles loving Kareem Marshall.  Safety Quinton Mikell is probably a better player than seventh round selection Norman LeJuene and plays with an Andy Reid type mentality.  Sam Rayburn offers bulk on the inside as well as competition while Denaro Marriott is a sure handed but slowish receiver.

Analysis: You have to like what the Eagles did; they plugged a hole and added depth at defensive end, selected the player they desired in LJ Smith and added several talented rookie free agents.  For a team choosing late in the rounds it was a successful draft.

Tony Pauline
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