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Defense, Defense ... And Shocker

First, Kendricks and Curry. Kendricks come in to compete at the SAM linebacker position with Jamar Chaney and others. Kendricks had a storied career at Cal, where he was named the PAC-12 Player of the Year in 2011. He's a stud. He's a fantastic player, with a high motor and he is athletic enough to play in coverage.

Is Kendricks an immediate starter or contributor? I don't know. I hope so. Let's see how he develops. The Eagles have a lot of numbers and a lot of youth at linebacker. They are going to have some great competition, and what we know about Kendricks is that everyone who watched him and studied him thinks it is a super pick.

Curry was, as the Eagles saw it, just too good to pass up. He was a one-man wrecking crew at Marshall off the edge and he has a chance to thrive in Jim Washburn's defensive line scheme. Curry has a terrific burst, plenty of size at around 270 pounds and he is going to challenge for time right away. This was not a need pick in any way. The Eagles were already well stocked at defensive end. They went five deep with Jason Babin and Trent Cole and Phillip Hunt and Brandon Graham and Darryl Tapp. Now they have a second-round draft pick breathing down that group's collective neck.

The third-round pick is the one who garnered the most attention on Friday night. Quarterback Nick Foles is a big kid at 6 feet 5, and his career at Arizona was on the right path to the top of the draft before some coaching changes and on-field breakdowns challenged Foles in his final season there.

The Eagles worked him out and they clearly think he has the kind of upside that some day can lead to a productive career in the league. Foles has a big arm, is athletic enough to work the scheme and, while he has a lot to improve, also has a lot to work with.

Interesting pick. Foles, who transferred from Michigan State, immediately steps into the mix with Mike Kafka and Trent Edwards to win the backup job behind Michael Vick. With Foles, though, the long-term possibilities are more important. Can he be a franchise quarterback? Is he the kind of player who is in the right place at the right time, with a coaching staff that maximizes quarterbacks' abilities? Is Foles more of a Ben Rothlisberger kind of quarterback than a nimble-footed thrower who can get outside the pocket and make throws? Andy Reid doesn't believe that. He spent his time on Foles. He studied him intently.

And all of those critics suggesting Foles has mechanical issues? Reid shrugged them off, instead praising Foles' accuracy and his athletic ability and the kind of upside Foles has.

Four picks down, five picks to go. The Eagles have addressed the defense heavily with a tackle (Fletcher Cox), a linebacker (Kendricks) and an end (Curry). Add in the acquisition of middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans and you see the importance the Eagles placed on improving their front seven in this offseason.

Then there is Foles, who we are all going to watch intently in the summer.

Where do the Eagles go with the other five picks? They still want to challenge positions, and Reid mentioned some quality in rounds 4-7 at wide receiver, offensive line, tight end and defensive line. Which says ... what, exactly? It says that the Eagles are going into Day 3 with an open mind and a lot of options.

You want to grade Day 2? What difference does it make? The first two picks were complete no-brainers, praised by all. Foles brought some questions, and Reid shot them all down the conviction that he has for the kid. Reid, in the Xfinity Studio after the draft on Friday night, absolutely praised Foles up and down.

All I know is that the defense looks a whole lot different now than it did a few months ago. The Eagles are bigger, and in theory they are more physical. We have to see how it all works out in training camp and into the regular season before we make that assessment.

I'm excited. How can you not be? The Eagles have overhauled their front seven on defense and they have added a quarterback who may or may not be the quarterback for the future. They are working the phones, talking trade and you know that Reid and Howie Roseman are capable of just about anything the rest of the way in the draft.

With so much room within the salary cap -- a reported $20-plus million -- the Eagles can continue to lock up their roster for the long term and they can sign free agents if they want and they can trade for a veteran from a team struggling with the salary cap.

I'm not here to say that these four draft picks are going to play lights-out and make the Pro Bowl every year for the next decade. Nobody knows how it is going to work out. The future is uncertain. But the Eagles addressed what they needed by hitting the defense hard with players who go at it hard and who are physical guys.

Be happy. There is more to come. So far, though, the Eagles have worked their strategy well and have taken players who make sense. As we all know, Day 3 in the draft is the payoff day when gems are unearthed. Let's see how deep the Eagles dig.

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