Three Eagles draft leftovers
If you didn't check in this weekend, here are MTC links that you might have missed:
My take on the Fletcher Cox pick
My take on the Day 2 picks
Video of Nick Foles at Jon Gruden's QB Camp
How CB Brandon Boykin fits in
Rounding up Eagles draft grades
Here are three more leftover items:
PIECES IN PLACE FOR CASTILLO
Juan Castillo has players. Now he must produce.
Consider the roster turnover on defense since Castillo took over. Here are the players who were on the field when former defensive coordinator Sean McDermott coached his last game here, a loss in the wild-card round to the Packers after the 2010 season:
Defensive linemen: Juqua Parker, Mike Patterson, Antonio Dixon, Trent Cole, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Trevor Laws, Brodrick Bunkley and Darryl Tapp.
Linebackers: Moise Fokou, Ernie Sims, Jamar Chaney and Keenan Clayton
Cornerbacks: Asante Samuel, Dimitri Patterson and Joselio Hanson
Safeties: Quintin Mikell, Kurt Coleman
Take a close look at that group. Among the defensive linemen, Patterson and Cole will definitely be here next season. Dixon and Tapp will be fighting for jobs, now that the Eagles drafted DT Fletcher Cox and DE Vinny Curry in the first two rounds. Parker, Te'o-Nesheim, Laws and Bunkley are gone.
At linebacker, Fokou, Chaney and Clayton will be fighting for playing time/jobs. It's unlikely that any of them start though.
Hanson has a chance to be the slot cornerback, but the Eagles would probably like fourth-round pick Brandon Boykin to win that job. And if Jaiquawn Jarrett develops, or if the Eagles add a veteran safety like Yeremiah Bell, Coleman will likely be a backup.
In other words, it's conceivable that just 16 games after the Eagles ended the 2010 season, only two of the 17 players who suited up against the Packers will play significant roles in Week 1 of the 2012 season against the Browns.
Have Howie Roseman and Andy Reid assembled a perfect defensive roster? Of course not. The talent could be better at linebacker, even after they traded for DeMeco Ryans and drafted Mychal Kendricks in the second round. And the Eagles have made no roster moves at safety. But there's still a lot of talent on that side of the ball.
We know Jim Washburn's defensive line, which accounted for 46 of the team's 50 sacks last year will be good. It's up to Castillo to make sure Kendricks is ready to go and to determine which of the recent draft picks (Chaney, Casey Matthews, Brian Rolle, Clayton) are capable of contributing.
Reid brought Todd Bowles in to coach the secondary. He and Castillo need to figure out how to use Nnamdi Asomugha, and how to get the most out of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The Eagles spent second-round picks on Nate Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett the past two seasons. Perhaps they reached on one or both of those picks, but considering they've yet to sign a safety and didn't draft one last weekend, we have to assume they believe in the players they have.
Reid moved Castillo from the offensive line to defensive coordinator before 2011. Despite the roster turnover, that's still one of the major decisions that will determine what kind of team this is in 2012.
The Eagles didn't draft a running back until the seventh round when they took a flier on Kansas State's Bryce Brown. Brown, a highly-touted recruit coming out of high school, carried 101 times for 460 yards at Tennessee in 2009. But he's only had three carries since then, after transferring to Kansas State and then leaving the program.
The other intriguing name the Eagles added is undrafted free agent Chris Polk (5-11, 215) out of Washington. Polk piled up 1,488 yards last year, averaging 5.1 YPC with 12 touchdowns. He was also a good receiver, catching 31 balls for 332 yards and four scores. NFL Network's Mike Mayock had Polk on his Top-100 prospect list at No. 93. Draft analyst Matt Waldman had Polk ranked as his fifth-best running back prospect, comparing him to Corey Dillon with better hands.
The obvious question, then, is: Why'd he go undrafted? This story from The Seattle Times breaks down Polk's injury history. Apparently, his shoulder issues scared teams off. But Polk denied a report that he has a degenerative hip condition. Considering 21 running backs were drafted, and Polk was not one of them, it'd be wise to temper expectations. But from the Eagles' perspective, there's no harm in signing Polk, considering that if he's healthy, he has the talent to play in the NFL.
As I mentioned before the draft, McCoy played more snaps than any other running back in the league last season, and his production slipped down the stretch. In the first 10 games, McCoy averaged 5.4 yards per carry. In the final five, that number was just 3.4. In addition to Polk and Brown, last year's fifth-round pick, Dion Lewis, will get a shot to win the backup job. And the Eagles could still add a veteran like Joseph Addai or Justin Forsett.
HOW DOES McNUTT FIT IN?
The Eagles took Iowa wide receiver Marvin McNutt (6-3, 216) with the 24th pick in the sixth round. He was a productive college player, with 82 catches for 1,315 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. McNutt averaged over 16 yards per catch in three straight seasons and got in the end zone 28 times.
Here's a look at how McNutt's measurables compare to Riley Cooper coming out of college:
In other words, my guess is these two could be competing for playing time. Cooper, a fifth-round pick in 2010, had 16 catches for 315 yards and a touchdown last season. The Eagles need a reliable outside receiver to back up DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Cooper played over 90 percent of the snaps in three games last year - against the Giants, Patriots and Seahawks. He caught 13 balls (from Vince Young) for 240 yards in those three matchups.
As for McNutt, 15 of his 28 college touchdowns were red-zone scores. Considered by some to be a fourth-round prospect, he should get a chance to compete for a backup/fourth reeciver position right away.
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