Head coach Andy Reid lauded Howie Roseman's performance in his draft as the team's general manager.
The plan for the Eagles was to find where the strength in the draft was. That's why the Eagles executed six trades during the three-day affair to load up with a boatload of picks in the middle rounds of the draft. The belief was that the quality of players that could be selected around the fourth round would not be that much different compared to the ones taken in the late second, early third rounds.
"There's some subjective decision-making that takes places and you have to be able to say where these guys are going to go and predict what round they are going to go in, then you can determine the strength of the draft and where you think it's strong," Reid said. "Howie set this up and did a phenomenal job with it."
The Eagles also wanted to re-make the defensive side of the ball. Nine of the 13 players selected in this year's draft are here to help coordinator Sean McDermott fortify an aging defense. And if there are two things that the defensive players seem to all have in common, it's speed and a love for the game.
"We've added speed all across the defense, speed and quickness, and that heart - even though they're not the biggest guys, they've all got big hearts, and they can move," Reid said. "At the college level, they got to the football, which can be important both in the pass game and the run game."
And it's evident that Reid and Roseman wanted to add more speed up front. The Eagles drafted three defensive ends in the first five rounds. The Eagles traded up for Brandon Graham in the first round, took Daniel Te'o-Nesheim in the third round and Ricky Sapp in the fifth round.
"In the National Football League you have to be able to put pressure on the quarterback; you put pressure on the quarterback it makes everybody better," Reid said. "It makes the secondary better, it makes the linebackers better and that really makes the offense better. They get the ball back and can score a little bit more. So, we went out and brought in some guys we felt can rush the passer."
That reasoning is why despite trading away starting cornerback Sheldon Brown prior to the draft the Eagles did not use a draft pick on the position until the fourth round with Trevard Lindley. In addition to current starters Asante Samuel and Ellis Hobbs and nickel corner Joselio Hanson, Marlin Jackson, Macho Harris and second-round pick Nate Allen all have the flexibility to play safety and cornerback.
Now, the work begins to cultivate the talent and assimilate it into the scheme. Time will tell if this draft replenished and fortified the defense for the present and the future.
"I look at things that you put players in positions and they go make plays, whether young guys or older guys and we go," Reid said. "We have a good nucleus of defensive players and we know that, but somewhere you have to bring in younger players to replace other guys that were possibly older and moved on and we think we've done that."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 12:30 a.m., April 24