Looking back at Eagles draft classes: 2011 draft

This continues my series of articles analyzing past Eagles draft classes. Yesterday I took a look at the 2012 draft, which was actually a great one. It was also Andy Reid‘s last draft with the Eagles and probably one of his best ever. Now I’ll take a look at the 2011 draft, which by all means, is far worse than that of 2012.

Important notes

Total picks: 11 (5 offense, 5 defense, 1 special teams)
Notable picks: Danny Watkins, Jason Kelce
Players remaining on team: 2

1. OG Danny Watkins

Is it fair to call Watkins a bust? Oh, absolutely. Watkins came in and started 12 games as a rookie, but he was nothing special. It seemed like the Eagles were trying to not play him after signing free agent Kyle DeVan to start at right guard, but after a few weeks Watkins took over his spot. After one year as the primary starter though, it got worse. The Canadian, who was actually picked fourth overall in the CFL Draft in 2010, was the oldest first round pick since 1980 at age 26. That’s already a red flag that you’re taking the wrong guy. Watkins made it through one more season with the team, starting in six games and playing in 11 before being released before the 2013 season. He had a brief chance with the Dolphins but that never materialized because he was more interested in continuing a career as a fireman, which was something he had done before the NFL. So yes, Watkins was a total bust.

2. S Jaiquawn Jarrett

The bad picks just continued with Jarrett. They were trying desperately to find someone to replace Brian Dawkins, who had left the team years ago but still hadn’t been even adequately replaced. So they went with Jarrett, the local product from Temple. Again, another bad pick though. Jarrett didn’t even make it to the Chip Kelly era either when he was released after two seasons for being ineffective. He played in 12 games and started two of them as  a rookie, totaling 15 tackles, but only played in two games the next year before being let go. He has since been signed by the Jets, who have surprisingly been starting him once in a while. Last year he had 27 tackles and two interceptions in 14 games and five starts. Still, he was bad on Philadelphia, and that’s what matters.

3. CB Curtis Marsh

Even after three picks, Reid still couldn’t get it right. If I had a dollar for every time Marsh made a bad play in an Eagles jersey, I would easily be a millionaire. In fact, I’d be a millionaire just based on how he played in last year’s preseason. The bottom line is Marsh, the third round pick, was garbage. He played in 22 games for the Eagles in his first two years with the team, recording 13 tackles and two passes defensed. He then was released before the 2013 season and signed with the Bengals, but after two games he was released again. The Eagles re-signed him and then released him after playing two games. He didn’t record a tackle. All he did was give fans heart attacks and make them throw things at the television.

4. LB Casey Matthews

Matthews, a fourth round pick, was the third straight defensive player taken and the fourth straight bad player. The former Oregon Duck, who has an impressive NFL family tree, is definitely the least successful among his relatives. He primarily played special teams for his first three years with the team before just barely making the team in 2014. After Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans dealt with injuries though, he ended up starting 11 games last year, recording 31 tackles and 1.5 sacks. He improved by season’s end, but not enough to warrant keeping him around. He was nothing special for a Matthews.

5. K Alex Henery

You don’t need to be an NFL expert to know that drafting a kicker in the fourth round is just stupid. Guys who are just as talented will be available once the draft is over, so why not wait? Well, Reid was clearly having a bad draft, and Henery continued that. He actually had great seasons in his first two years with the team, even setting the franchise record for most consecutive field goals made at 22, which is five higher than anyone else in team history. He also had a separate streak of 17 straight made field goals. But then, disaster. He missed an important field goal in their playoff game against the Saints and couldn’t hit anything after that. He was beat out by Cody Parkey last year for the job and then went 1/5 on field goals for the Lions in a short stint for the team. I doubt he’ll ever play again.

6. RB Dion Lewis

Lewis was another former University of Pittsburgh running back, but not quite as successful as LeSean McCoy. Lewis was another guy who played just two years with the team before being let go, in this case in a trade to the Browns for Emmanuel Acho. Lewis had 171 yards and two touchdowns in 24 games for the Eagles.

7. OL Julian Vandervelde

Vandervelde was taken as a depth offensive lineman pick, and he’s actually stuck with the team his whole career. He’s dealt with lots of injury problems over his career though and has only played in 16 games in four years with the team, 14 of which came in 2013. There’s a chance he doesn’t make the team in 2015, but I have a feeling he’ll stay as a depth guy.

8. C Jason Kelce

Kelce has been by far the best player in this draft class. He has quickly been improving over his four years with the team and is going to be a core part of the team’s offensive line moving forward. Kelce made the Pro Bowl last year despite missing four games, and he should’ve made it in 2013 after being named to the Pro Football Focus First-Team roster. Despite being a sixth round pick, he has been great.

9. LB Brian Rolle

Rolle immediately had to come in as a starter his rookie year, starting in 13 of 16 games. He was nothing special though, getting 41 tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. He played in just four games the next year, none of which were starts, and was released by the team afterwards. He has yet to play in the NFL since.

10. LB Greg Lloyd

Reid went 0-for-2 on sons of former great NFL linebackers, first with Matthews and then with Lloyd. Lloyd wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near the skill of his father, but never even played a game with the team. He was traded along with Moise Fokou to the Colts in the preseason.

11. FB Stanley Havili

Fullbacks are worthless in most offenses nowadays, although the Eagles used him while they still used the position. He was pretty solid for a seventh round pick, and there’s only so much to expect out of a fullback. After two seasons he was also traded to the Colts, where he had one successful season.

Sometimes more picks doesn’t always help your chances of coming up with more NFL-worthy players. Most of these players were gone from the team after two seasons,  and only two guys remain on their roster now. Kelce’s one Pro Bowl last year was the only one this class has produced. Most of these guys were busts or just not that good in the first place, but it’s a shame to see such a waste of a year.

Draft grade: D


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