The Official Site of the Philadelphia Eagles

News

Print
RSS

Day Three Brings Bounty For Eagles

Posted Apr 30, 2011

The Eagles' litany of promising young players grew by eight on the third and final day of this year's NFL Draft. Armed with a boatload of picks for the second consecutive year, head coach Andy Reid and general manager Howie Roseman firmly believe that their crop of third-day picks won't wait long to make an impact. Last year, six rookies chosen from round four and beyond ended up combining for 14 starts for the Eagles. Who will emerge from this year's day-three class?

Having found success on day three in 2010, the Eagles stuck to formula -finding high-effort and high-character players who won't shy away from the big stage.

"I think we brought in, if you want to look at the characteristics of these guys, they're smart and they're tough," said Reid in his Saturday wrap-up. "I can't tell you one guy who doesn't love to play the game. I think at this level, that's a huge, huge intangible that you need. This is a rough sport and these guys, they like to mix it up, and I like that."

The first pick of long afternoon for the Eagles came after a fourth-round trade-down that, in exchange for moving down 12 spots, netted the Eagles the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2012 fourth-round pick. With the ensuing selection, the Eagles drafted their first of three linebackers on the day, Oregon's Casey Matthews, who is famously the brother of Green Bay Packers all-pro linebacker Clay Matthews. Matthews, 6-1, 232, Reid said, is capable of playing all three linebacker positions.

Later, the Eagles would add Ohio State linebacker Brian Rolle, 5-10, 227, in the sixth round, and Connecticut linebacker Greg Lloyd, Jr., 6-1, 247, in the seventh round. According to Reid, Rolle will be used as a weakside and nickel linebacker, while Lloyd will man the middle. With a new defensive coordinator in Juan Castillo, himself a former linebacker, and a new defensive line scheme under Jim Washburn, the role of the Eagles' linebackers is expected to change somewhat. So the addition of three instinctive players at the position should foster tough competition come training camp.

The other area that was blanketed by the Eagles during the draft was interior offensive line. After Baylor's Danny Watkins was chosen as the Eagles' first-round pick, two more big guys inside were added to the roster as clay for the renowned Howard Mudd to mold. Iowa's Julian Vandervelde, 6-2, 300, a guard with the flexibility to potentially slide to center, was selected in the fifth round. Then, with their subsequent pick in the sixth round, the Eagles added Cincinnati's Jason Kelce, 6-3, 282, to the mix at center that includes holdovers Jamaal Jackson and Mike McGlynn. Both players are said to possess the kind of athleticism required to succeed in Mudd's scheme.

And like the rest of the players chosen on day three, they have the mental toughness to succeed at the next level.

"We tried to bring in intelligent kids. I think Howie did a great job of really bringing in guys with those intangibles that I mentioned. Smarts is one of them," Reid said. "This is what you want. This is what you want to build a team with. Smart, tough guys that enjoy playing the game. You kind of like that from a coaches’ standpoint.

"Every game has those highs and those lows. If you get a guy that’s up and down in the flow of the game, I'm not sure if that's a good thing. You want those guys that are steady throughout the game."

A pair of backfield players were added to the mix as well. In the fifth round, it was determined that the role of potential LeSean McCoy complement will be played by McCoy's one-time successor. Pittsburgh's Dion Lewis, 5-8, 195, who rushed for 2,860 yards in his two seasons as a Panther - breaking a record once held by McCoy - was chosen by the Eagles with the 149th overall pick. Then, with their final pick of the year, the Eagles nabbed Southern Cal fullback Stanley Havili to enter the fullback fray that includes incumbent Owen Schmitt and the rehabbing Leonard Weaver.

But perhaps the most talked about pick of the day came in the fourth round when Roseman, Reid and crew took the first specialist of the draft - Nebraska kicker/punter Alex Henery, the most accurate kicked in NCAA history. Reid said that the Henery selection does not necessarily mean that either David Akers or Sav Rocca - both set to potentially be free agents - is on the way out because there is still much to be decided this offseason.

Which is a good final message to remember. While the Eagles draft haul - three offensive linemen, three linebackers, one safety, one cornerback, one running back, one fullback and one kicker - is complete, there is still much more work to be done.

"I think we've added some great kids here. Some of them fit needs and so on and will create competition and make us a better football team," Reid said. "But it's not a finished product until you finish up with free agency. From that standpoint it is different and we'll just see how things work out as we go here. We've got a pretty good plan for free agency when it happens. We'll go back and evaluate these players here that we've taken and work that in and see how that's affected where we've got to go.

"Howie and Louis Riddick did a heck of a job of evaluating all of these (potential free agents). They narrowed it down and gave me a group of players to look at for all positions. We went through it. So we've got a plan right there. We know who we like. Now it's just a matter of going through and evaluating this and seeing where we need to plug holes through free agency. We've got several guys on our team that are potentially, depending on how things go here, free agents. So we've got to look at those guys and see how they fit in here and go from there."

Quick Reid Hits On The Day-Three Draftees

On Casey Matthews - "Inside linebacker/outside linebacker. Can play either strong side or weak side or the MIKE and I'll get together with Juan and figure out exactly where we'll use him ... Howie and are, we're going to sit down and go through all of that. He gave us the flexibility, I know he can step in and be your MIKE linebacker. He's highly intelligent and he did that at Oregon in their nickel package. You saw him making all their calls all the time, so you know he can do that. At the same time, he played WILL in their base package so you got to see him do that. I have confidence he can go play whatever position out of the three that we have there."

On Alex Henery - "Kicker/punter. We'll just see how everything goes with our kicker and punter as time goes on, David (Akers) and Sav (Rocca). We sure are glad to have Alex aboard. He was the best in college football. At this particular time, it was hard to pass him up."

On Dion Lewis - "He's the running back from Pittsburgh who really came in and broke all of (LeSean) McCoy's records, not that McCoy wants to hear that. But they're good friends so I say that a little bit in jest. So, we brought him in, put him in the running back mix. He can do everything for you as far as running the football and catching the football. He's going to have to work a little bit on his pass blocking. We'll get him coached up on that."

On Julian Vandervelde - "Offensive guard/center, primarily played guard, from Iowa. We were able to add some depth here to our offensive line and some competition."

On Jason Kelce - "A center. A converted linebacker to center at Cincinnati. He brings just what you would think, a tremendous amount of toughness and quickness and want-to to that position. It will be good competition at that position there."

On Brian Rolle - "An outside linebacker, predominantly weakside linebacker/nickel linebacker, from Ohio State. Brian is a rare breed man. He's not real tall, he's put together like no other and he makes plays all over the field. If you look at the linebackers, he's one of the finest athletes in that group ... Rolle would be considered small. What an amazing thing. For this guy to come in and start two years for Ohio State and be all-Big-Ten and that whole deal. This guy's a heck of a football player, really fun to watch."

On Greg Lloyd, Jr. - "Inside linebacker, in our system he'll be a MIKE linebacker. Big, physical guy from Connecticut. He's very good inside the tackles. He was banged up last year. coming off of knee surgery, so he's really had the year off. He'll come in here and compete. He'll give us tremendous competition."

On Stanley Havili - "Fullback from USC. He's an all-purpose running back is really what he is. He can block, he can catch ... He was the most gifted of all the fullbacks. He's coming off of shoulder surgery, recovering from that. You're looking at a guy that can carry the football for you, in particular he did quite a bit of it in the one-back sets that they had. In their two-back sets, he'd be a fullback that could block you and at the same time catch the football. He'll add competition to our fullback spot."

Recent Articles

Broadcast Schedule

Event Filter
List
Date Event Description Location
Calendar
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday