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Defensive Posture: Birds Add LB, DE in 2nd

The Eagles have completed three rounds and two days of the 2012 NFL draft. They've reaped three defensive players that are generally well-regarded, and a quarterback who is viewed as a 'project.'

The five remaining selections today might contain a few of the elements some fans expected to see by now -- a corner, perhaps, a big wideout, maybe, a little more o-line depth one might guess, and a contender for a backup running back job, you'd think. (Don't hold your breath for a safety, that isn't a strong draft group.)

"That's just the way it fell," Eagles coach Andy Reid said Friday night after the Birds added to their first-day selection of defensive tackle Fletcher Cox with a Cal linebacker, Mychal Kendricks, at 46th overall in the second round, and a Marshall defensive end, Vinny Curry, with the 59th overall pick in the second. The Eagles drafted Curry after trading back from 51st spot, allowing the Packers to nab Michigan State defensive tackle Jerrel Worthy, and pocketing a fourth-round selection for Saturday, 123rd overall. The Eagles took Arizona QB Nick Foles 88th overall, in the third round.

"I didn't have my eyes set on having to draft a corner," Reid said when the evening was complete. "(2011 third-round pick Curtis) Marsh continues to improve. He's up here every day working. We liked what we saw (from Marsh) last year."

Reid said the Eagles really wanted to get back into the fourth round, which they did with the Green Bay trade.

Reid said Cox, Kendricks and Curry "are guys we think can contribute" right away.

The first thing many fans will notice about Kendricks is that he is listed at just 5-11, 240. Reid said he plans to start Kendricks off at SAM, a role for which he is pretty short. The Eagles have shown an affinity for such linebackers.

"He has great athletic ability, speed," said Reid, who noted that Kendricks was defensive player of the year in the Pac 12 Conference. "He gives you the opportunity to cover tight ends." Reid added that despite his lack of height, Kendricks "has good mass to him."

"I just play big," Kendricks told a conference call with reporters at NovaCare, when asked how he answers skeptics about his height. "That's all I do is just play big, and shut 'em up that way. That's never been an issue for me, so I don't see why it would be an issue for anyone else."

Reid said Kendricks covered taller tight ends in the Pac 12 and did well. "We'll see if that carries over," he said. "I think it will."

Curry, meanwhile, joins an exceptionally deep group at defensive end. Reid said that was an example of feeling the Birds had to take the best player on their board at 59; they'd rated Curry at the bottom of the first round or the top of the second. Reid agreed that DE is "not an immediate need," but said that Curry has "one speed, and that's 100 mph."

Reid said having too many DEs is a good problem to have.

He also called Curry, 6-3, 266, who notched 11 sacks last year, "quite a colorful guy, who loves to play the game."

Curry, from Neptune, N.J., grew up an Eagles fan and said he was very excited to be coming aboard to play under defensive line coach Jim Washburn, though he began the draft thinking he'd go in the first round.

"That's just the way the cookie crumbled," he said. "You can never predict the draft."

"I'm just a natural pass rusher," Curry said. "The first thing to my game is get-off … I really hustle to the ball. I'm just a go-getter … Jim Washburn hand-picked me. I can promise you that I won't let him down."

Saturday, the Eagles pick 123rd in the fourth round, 153rd in the fifth, 194th in the sixth, 200th in the sixth, and 229th in the seventh, the much-anticipated Asante Samuel pick.

» READ MORE: For our post on Eagles' draft pick Nick Foles, click here.

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