The Philadelphia Eagles’ 2012 draft class has a chance to ultimately become the best ever during the Andy Reid era. Simply put, the Eagles did an outstanding job orchestrating this draft.
Howie Roseman and Andy Reid seemed to finally be on the same page with fans, bloggers and beat writers when it came to selecting players in the draft, particularly in the first four rounds. Third-round pick Nick Foles was a mild shocker, not because he’s a quarterback, but more because he didn’t seem like the type of QB Reid usually goes for.
However, by and large, the 2012 draft almost couldn’t have gone any better for the Eagles. They pulled off a few timely and strategic trades and landed players at spots where they were excellent value. It was an impressive job done by Howie Roseman, Andy Reid and the rest of the war room personnel.
I was chatting with a friend the other day and we were trying to figure out when was the last time we felt this excited over an entire draft class. After thinking about it, the only draft class I can remember actually being excited about was in 2006, when we took Brodrick Bunkley in the first then traded up in the second to get Winston Justice (who was rated as a first-round talent).
We felt we had two premier players with our first two picks and then a promising one in the third-round. Chris Gocong was a small-school standout defensive end that had tremendous production and many teams were eying him up, but the Eagles swooped in and snatched him up.
That was also the draft where we took Max Jean-Gilles, Jason Avant, Omar Gaither, LaJuan Ramsey and Jeremy Bloom. Overall, I felt pretty good about that draft. As it turns out, it wasn’t a bad draft as many of those players either started or played significant roles.
However, it didn’t yield any pro bowlers (though Bunkley made it last year with Denver). The 2009 draft was semi-exciting, but only for our first two picks (Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy). We didn’t pick again until the fifth-round and it wasn’t too exciting.
Other than the 2006 draft class, there were other drafts where I was excited about certain players, but not a class as a whole. In past drafts, I was ecstatic to get players like Donovan McNabb, Corey Simon, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy and Nate Allen but wasn’t excited about the entire class.
Not even in 2002, far and away the best draft class to date under Andy Reid.
Back then, I wasn’t as big of a draft nut as I am now so I only knew the “big names.” In 2002, the only thing I could remember was wondering why in the hell we drafted three defensive backs with our first three picks when we had Bobby Taylor, Troy Vincent and Brian Dawkins on the roster.
I had no idea who Brian Westbrook was at the time other than he was a local prospect. However, the 2002 draft class churned out three pro bowlers: Lito Sheppard (two pro bowls), Michael Lewis (one pro bowl) and Brian Westbrook (two pro bowls).
Sheldon Brown was also a part of that draft class and should have been a pro bowler but kept getting snubbed. Who can forget the hit he put on Reggie Bush in the 2007 playoff game against the Saints? That one play earned him a pro bowl vote in my book!
So it’s safe to say that, as a entire draft class, the 2002 group was the best under Andy Reid.
Now, exactly 10 years later, we may have a draft class that will challenge that 2002 group. The 2012 draft class is, at the least, very promising. I don’t know how many pro bowlers it will ultimately churn out, but the potential is there for at least three, maybe four players to become all-pro as well as having key role players and solid starters.
Here is a quick snap of the Eagles’ 2012 draft class:
1. DT Fletcher Cox
2a. LB Mychal Kendricks
2b. DE Vinny Curry
3. QB Nick Foles
4. CB Brandon Boykin
5. OT Dennis Kelly
6a. WR Marvin McNutt
6b. OG Brandon Washington
7. RB Bryce Brown
The only player out of that group that may struggle to make the roster is Bryce Brown. Out of the rest, I see future pro bowl potential from Cox, Curry and Kendricks along with solid role players and depth in Foles, Kelly, Washington and McNutt.
Boykin is the wild card of the group. I see him becoming the slot corner immediately as well as being the return specialist. Does he have pro bowl potential? I believe he has the talent but it will depend if he eventually plays on the outside. Slot corners do not make pro bowls.
However, Boykin will be a significant role player for the Eagles in 2012 and beyond.
Needless to say, I am extremely excited about this draft. We nabbed the best DT in Cox, an animal for a linebacker in Kendricks, and a relentless defensive end in Curry who gets to play for his favorite team.
Those three guys plus Boykin are more than capable of having a great impact on the 2012 season and will help shape the Eagles’ defense for many years to come.
Kudos to Andy Reid, Howie Roseman and crew!