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Did The Eagles Get A Passing Grade?

What Experts Think About Eagles Draft Class
By Lance Epstein

Grading a draft that just happened a little more than a day ago is not an accurate assessment of how the class will turn out, but many experts have weighed in on the Eagles 2010 draft class.

It is hard to assign a grade to a particular group this early because of the high amount of busts and late-round gems that take place over the years. A more accurate assessment of any draft class comes at least two or three years after the process because scouts and teams can determine, which players have been hits or busts in the NFL.

Determining a grade on players that have never played a snap at the NFL level does not make a whole lot of sense, but showing which teams improved themselves the most on potential talent is a better way of viewing the selections. Remember a couple years ago, most experts gave the Eagles 2007 draft class a C and even C-. Today that class has been one of the better draft classes since the Eagles have starters in Brent Celek, Kevin Kolb and Stewart Bradley.

Look for my take on the Eagles and the rest of the NFC East's draft tomorrow. Here are some of the experts take on the Eagles draft:

The Eagles gave up a lot to move up in the first round to take Michigan pass rusher Brandon Graham, who was a dominant performer in the Big Ten. Andy Reid is hoping that second-round pick Nate Allen of South Florida can shore up the safety position, but he’s not an intimidator like Brian Dawkins was for this franchise. Grade: B-

Summary: The Eagles were positioned well to take advantage of a deep draft, and they did, piling up seven productive picks between the third and fifth rounds. But Philly started well too. In Brandon Graham they have a potential Rookie of the Year on defense. They filled a need at safety with Nate Allen , and I like Trevard Lindley in the fourth. He has second-round ability. Ricky Sapp may be a tweener, but getting a guy who can get to the quarterback like he can in the fifth round is good value. He could be a solid situational pass-rusher early in his career. Riley Cooper is quicker than many people think to go with above-average size.

Draft grade: B+

The youth movement in Philly continued leading up to and though the draft. The Eagles got slam-dunks in the first two rounds, using extra picks to move up and get one of the top-tier players on the board in OLB Brandon Graham (No. 13) then picking up CB Nate Allen (No. 37) to upgrade the athleticism in the secondary. Ranked 14

3. The Eagles: As always, the Philadelphia Eagles love being a moving target by jumping forward and backward with draft-day trades. They made six deals, but after a slow start, they settled in and had a solid draft. The selections of defensive end Brandon Graham and safety Nate Allen in the first two rounds were solid. The Eagles may have gotten greater value for depth on Saturday. They drafted Northwestern quarterback Mike Kafka, who could develop into a solid backup. TE Clay Harbor, a fifth-round pick from Missouri State, could become a fullback or be used more as a blocker to help the offense. Getting Clemson linebacker Ricky Sapp in the fifth round was a bargain. Fifth-round wide receiver Riley Cooper is a 6-foot-4, 222-pound target who could help in the red zone.

Most surprising move

Maybe I haven't been fair enough to Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. On the second day of the draft, I was really impressed by the way he moved all over the board and kept acquiring extra picks. I'd heard from both Eagles and Cowboys sources that the fourth round was going to contain a ton of "value," and Roseman apparently took that to heart. By trading down twice in the 50s, he basically took over the fourth round. The Eagles had four picks in the fourth and then they found another pass-rusher in the fifth with Clemson defensive end Ricky Sapp . He's an undersized player who has exceptional quickness. I think he probably reminded Andy Reid of Trent Cole, a player who the Eagles landed in the fifth round a few years back. I guess the "surprising" aspect of all this is how comfortable Roseman looked while running his first draft. Even the stoic Andy Reid admitted that he was entertained by watching Roseman at work.

It was also bold to move from No. 24 to 13 in order to land Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham . ESPN's Sal Paolantonio has reported that Reid and Roseman may have wanted to preempt the Giants from taking Graham. Of course, general manager Jerry Reese will never acknowledge that he coveted Graham, but it's an interesting theory.

Ricky Sapp/Rd 5 No. 134/Philadelphia: Sapp was mentioned in conversations as a potential top-45 pick by some teams. Injuries and marginal production in college pushed him down a number of boards. Sapp showed the ability to create constant pressure up the field in college and could be the steal of the draft.

Jamar Cheney/Rd 7 No. 220/Philadelphia:The Mississippi State senior was rated as a third-rounder by a number of franchises, yet a severe ankle injury from 2008 sent up red flags. If he stays healthy, Cheney will be a terrific nickel linebacker that will help out on special teams.

What I liked:Getting quarterback Mike Kafka and tight end Clay Harbor in the fourth round. Both of those players had been rising up the draft charts and could pay dividends down the line for the Birds.

What I didn't:Trading up yet not taking Earl Thomas , arguably the best player in the draft at the Eagles biggest position of need. Brandon Graham is a stud but he is a want whereas Thomas was more of a need.

Moving forward:The Birds need second-round pick Nate Allen to step up and fill the safety spot next to Quentin Mikell. That spot remains a question mark at a very important position in the pass-happy NFL.

Dennis Dillion, Sporting News, On Eagles and Patriots Tie for Fifth-Best Draft

5. (tie) Philadelphia Eagles and News England Patriots

Key additions: Eagles -- Michigan DE Brandon Graham, South Florida S Nate Allen, Clemson OLB Ricky Sapp. Patriots -- Rutgers CB Devin McCourty, Arizona TE Rob Gronkowski, Florida LB Brandon Spikes.

Breakdown: These teams went into the draft armed with double-digit numbers of picks, and they emerged with both quality and quantity. The Eagles selected 13 players, and the Patriots took 11. Giving Andy Reid and Bill Belichick that many players to work with can be lethal.

Rob Rang, cbssportsline.com, Eagles get a B

Philadelphia Eagles: B

An indication of just how active the Philadelphia Eagles were on draft day is that of the 13 picks they made, only the 121st overall, outside linebacker Keenan Clayton, was an original Eagles selection. A year after spending great resources on improving the playmaking ability of their offense, the Eagles spent their first two days of the draft re-stocking their defense. First, they aggressively traded up to land defensive end Brandon Graham with the 13th overall pick and added another try-hard pass rusher in Daniel Te'o-Nesheim in the third. The team landed one of the draft's better cover safeties in Nate Allen in between. While the 6-2, 270-pound Graham is a proven pass rusher who led the country in tackles for loss and won the Senior Bowl Defensive MVP honors, his selection was a surprise for the Eagles, considering the team had previously traded for another undersized pass rusher in former Seattle Seahawk Daryl Tapp. The Eagles had 10 picks on Saturday, most prominently addressing the need for depth at quarterback (Mike Kafka), linebacker (Ricky Sapp, Jamar Chaney). For a team that some believe is as deep as any in the league, however, wouldn't packaging some of those lower round picks for top-tier talent have been a better use of them?

Pete Prisco cbssportsline.com gives Eagles high honors of A+

Best pick: Trading up in the first round to get Brandon Graham. He will be a 13-sack player in two years. I love the kid.

Questionable move: Trading Donovan McNabb for a second-round pick. But that's nitpicking.

Third-day gem: Fifth-round pick Ricky Sapp was a potential first-round selection until he tore up a knee two years ago. He moved to outside linebacker, but he is more of a down end.

Analysis: You look up and down their draft board and it's full of really good players. They had a lot of picks and the Eagles really did a nice job with them. That shouldn't be surprising.

Grade: A+

Charlie Casserly, NFL Network, Eagles First Round Analysis and Player he is watching

First pick: Brandon Graham

The Eagles wanted to improve their pass rush and they did that with Graham. They have had success with an undersized defensive end in Trent Cole, and in their style of play they can continue that. Graham has very quick hands when transitioning on the pass rush. He also has deceptive strength on his bull rush. His height (6-feet-1) can be viewed as a problem, but Elvis Dumervil and James Harrison are not that tall.

The pick I will follow most: Mike Kafka

You might think this is a strange pick to follow. But I had Kafka rated as my fifth-best QB. I thought he had good mobility and was very quick and smooth in his throwing motion and movements. His accuracy was good in the tape I saw. Everyone seemed to agree on the first four QB prospects but no one could agree on the next prospect. Kafka had my vote, so let's see how he does.

Clark Judge, cbssportsline.com, On Sean McDermott being a winner

Sean McDermott, defensive coordinator, Philadelphia. Before the draft, the Eagles land outside linebacker Ernie Sims. Then they trade up to grab defensive end Brandon Graham in the first round and find safety Nate Allen in the second. There are no more excuses for getting blown apart in successive weekends by Dallas.

1 comment:

  1. I hate agreeing with Mel Kiper but his review hit home the most for me. I think the Eagles did an excellent job of taking advantage of a deep draft with extra picks. The first round kid is going to be a stud, some are thinking he isn't going to be because of their bias against the Big Ten but he beat some filthy good offensive lineman on a regular basis. The rest of the draft the Eagles seemed to grab great depth, can't wait for the battles once camp starts.