Eagles’ 2013 Draft Has Potential for Prominence (By :@BWMahoney213)
You can read and reread all the analyses breaking down the 2013 NFL Draft with so many grades, it will make your head spin like it’s finals week.
All that can build now until September is hype and scrutiny. For the Philadelphia Eagles’ locker room, a new head coaching presence in University of Oregon’s Chip Kelly now inherits a dynamic draft class not seen in years, with a blend of possible immediate starters and cornerstone pieces for the future.
Thursday night of Round 1 had buzz all over Broadway when the Eagles finally selected at number four overall USC quarterback Matt Barkley. The Kansas City Chiefs and new head coach Andy Reid selected at number one offensive tackle Eric Fisher from Central Michigan. The number two pick was another offensive tackle, Luke Joeckel from Texas A&M. The tension mounted on the number three spot with the Oakland Raiders, until the Miami Dolphins shocked everyone by trading up for Kelly’s stud defensive end/linebacker Dion Jordan. This left an easy route to go with Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson. The 6’6, 303 pounder never lost a beat in his senior season, building up his resume and showcasing his raw talent for the combine.
Beyond Round 1, the Eagles’ selections became strategized rather than head-scratchers. No more fuzzy tactical piece-placing of Andy Reid’s tenure unlike previous drafts. Kelly had influence in selections of some of his players, like 2nd Round tight end Zach Ertz from Stanford and 4th round quarterback Matt Barkley from USC. Although some concern from pundits were over the lack of quality defensive players selected, some may forget the Eagles plugged in some needs during free agency with pass-rusher Connor Barwin, cornerbacks Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher, along with safeties Kenny Phillips and Patrick Chung.
Kelly’s main concern coming into the draft was to refurbish a stale offense that deflated the Eagles for years since Donovan McNabb departed from his quarterback position. The offensive blueprint is catching up to the other dominant ones in the NFL, like the New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, or Green Bay Packers.
Just imagine, in a few years, if Matt Barkley lines up and sits in the pocket while Lane Johnson is protecting him while Zach Ertz sprints downfield past a few linebackers for a deep pass. Alongside current weapons of LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin—the time is sooner or later that new offensive spark.