The prevailing thought in the NFL is that you can't really judge the success of a draft for at least three years. With that in mind, NFL.com's Bucky Brooks recently graded the draft performances of each team in the NFC East over the last three years.
Brooks awarded the Eagles a "B" grade, the second highest in the division. He listed 2008 2nd-rounder DeSean Jackson, 2007 5th-rounder Brent Celek, 2009 1st-rounder Jeremy Maclin and 2007 3rd-rounder Stewart Bradley as the team's "Touchdown" picks, while singling out 2008 2nd-rounder Trevor Laws, 2008 3rd-rounder Bryan Smith and 2007 3rd-rounder Tony Hunt as "Fumbles." Meanwhile, Brooks wrote that the jury is still out on 2007 2nd-rounder Kevin Kolb.
Brooks wrote, "The Eagles have been hit or miss with their early-round choices, but when they've hit it's been big. Jackson earned Pro Bowl honors at two positions (WR/KR), while Celek and Maclin have emerged as big-time playmakers. The Kolb pick surprised many on draft day, but now he's the No. 1 guy after the Donovan McNabb trade. Although the team missed on Tony Hunt and Bryan Smith, the production of their notable selections has been so spectacular that their overall draft haul in the past three seasons has to be considered an overwhelming success."
Considering the production of Jackson, Maclin and Celek, along with Bradley's presence in the middle of the defense, this grade could certainly be bumped up to an "A" if Kevin Kolb turns out to be the franchise quarterback the Eagles expect him to be. Brooks also fails to mention running back LeSean McCoy and late-round finds like Moise Fokou (seventh round, 2009) and Macho Harris (fifth round, 2009).
Of course, not all draft picks will provide the production expected of them. But with the rate the Eagles have "hit" on their selections in recent years, and with 11 draft picks in tow for the upcoming draft, this is a young, ascending roster that should be expected to content for years to come.
Elsewhere in the division, Brooks awarded the New York Giants the highest grade, A-. Pro-Bowl wide receiver Steve Smith, cornerback Aaron Ross, tight end Kevin Boss and running back Ahmad Bradshaw were singled out as "Touchdowns," while only quarterback Andre Woodson received Brooks' "Fumble" moniker. Of the 24 picks the Giants have made over the last three years, 20 are still on the current roster.
The Dallas Cowboys were granted a "C " grade for their last three drafts, while the Washington Redskins rounded up the division with a "D" mark.
Meanwhile, here's one man's opinion on the best draft pick in each of the seven rounds by an NFC East team over the past three years.
1st Round: Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins, 2008. After a breakout 2009, Jenkins edges out a solid crop that includes linebacker Anthony Spencer, Maclin, linebacker Brian Orakpo, running back Felix Jones and cornerback Aaron Ross.
2nd Round: Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, 2008. Perhaps the most exciting player in the league, Jackson beats out fellow receiver Steve Smith. The second-round tandem of Jackson and Kolb could make waves for years to come.
3rd Round: Eagles linebacker Stewart Bradley, 2007. Giants wide receiver Mario Manningham is Bradley's closest competition here.
4th Round: Cowboys running back Tashard Choice, 2008. Not much competition for Choice, who figures to play an even bigger role in the Cowboys offense this season.
5th Round: Eagles tight end Brent Celek, 2007. After his monster 2009 season, Celek pushes past Giants tight end Kevin Boss and Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick.
6th Round: Cowboys fullback Deon Anderson, 2007. Pickings are slim in the sixth round, as Anderson is the only current NFC East starter who was acquired in the sixth round. His closest competition is kicker Nick Folk, who no longer plays in the division.
7th Round: Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw, 2007. The dynamic scat-back is the clear choice here, though, in coming years, Eagles linebacker Moise Fokou figures to present excellent value for the round he was drafted in.
Undrafted Free Agency: Eagles linebacker Akeem Jordan, 2007. The Eagles weakside linebacker was true diamond in the rough.
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 11:09 a.m., April 14