The Andy Reid era was plagued with tons of head-scratching picks, especially in the first round. Fans booed his selections from the beginning (Donovan McNabb) and grew weary of his attraction to drafting offensive and defensive lineman in the first round. Well, Chip Kelly didn’t move away from the philosophy of drafting a lineman in the first round, but in this case, it actually turned out to be a success. Many of the Eagles’ top draft picks actually had an impact on the roster and will continue to do so in the future.
OT Lane Johnson
To be honest, I had no idea who this guy was when he was drafted, but that’s most likely due to my small knowledge of the NFL Draft until after the people are actually picked. When they took another offensive lineman, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes a little and wonder if they’d ever change. But at that point in their franchise, I knew they were in the middle of an overhaul, and a starting right tackle was a major need of their team. That’s exactly what he was able to do. He started all 16 games during the season (as well as all the o-lineman actually), and he played very well for a rookie. He immediately cemented himself as a continuous starter on this franchise. While drafting lineman can be boring and are easily forgotten about, he should not be. Only rookie lineman that turn out to be busts are the ones that are talked about, and he was nowhere close to that category.
TE Zach Ertz
The Eagles did something they hadn’t done in years: draft a TE in one of the first two rounds. Their other starting TE, Brent Celek, was a fifth round selection, and third-string James Casey was a free agent signing. Ertz was a very good college player, and he immediately made an impact on the offense this year as one of the starting TEs. He had 36 catches for 469 yards and 4 TDs, numbers that are just slightly below those of Celek. He was arguably the 2nd best rookie TE in the league behind Redskins’ Jordan Reed, who had just 30 yards more and the same amount of TDs. He significantly contributed to the increased use of the TE position for the Eagles and will hopefully continue to do so in the future.
DT Bennie Logan
Logan was supposed to begin the season as a backup and mainly be a rotational player, but by the end of the season he was the team’s starting nose tackle. After the Eagles traded NT Isaac Sopoaga to the Patriots in the middle of the season, Logan stepped in as the regular starter and did quite well. He finished the season with 27 tackles (20 solo) and 2 sacks. He also had a fumble recovery and the team’s only blocked kick of the season. Arguably his best game of the season actually came in their playoff game when he had 4 solo tackles, tied for the most tackles in a game in his career. He should also be a big part of the team’s future defensive front.
QB Matt Barkley
If there was one player that I would like to forget, it’s Barkley. He didn’t look like a good pick at the time and proved me very right. In the three games he appeared in, he managed to throw 4 picks without a TD. In fact, the two games where he played a significant amount were probably the worst two games of the season for the Eagles (not by coincidence). He was unable to do pretty much anything on offense except complete passes to the other team. Luckily he was only a 4th round pick and not anything higher, but I don’t see him evolving much in the future into something of worth. If he keeps this up, he’ll be gone after another year.
S Earl Wolff
Wolff was drafted to be a backup safety for the most part, but early injuries to starting S Patrick Chung allowed Wolff to get a fair amount of playing time. He finished the season with 47 tackles and an INT, which aren’t bad stats for a rookie safety. This is the position that the Eagles struggle with the most, so if Wolff is able to step it up a few notches then he can become a key part of their secondary. But if not, he’ll get lost in the shuffle like Kurt Coleman did, who sat on the bench most of the season after having two great years in a row. Wolff got hurt towards the end of the season and missed a few games, but his best game was actually the first game against Dallas. He had 5 tackles, 1 pass defensed, and an INT.