Even though it’s a nearly pointless exercise to “grade” a draft, we all love seeing the pundits handing out their 2011 NFL Draft grades anyway. Fact is, we probably won’t know for two to three years how good these drafts where in reality… but that’s no fun. So let’s hear some grades.
Pete Prisco of CBS Sports graded the Eagles draft a “B” saying “The Eagles always seem to do a good job in the draft. This year was no different. The key might be second-round safety Jaiquawn Jarrett.”
As we said earlier, Mel Kiper gave them a C+
Our NFL Draft site, Mocking The Draft agreed with Kiper on the grade, although were overall positive about the selections saying, “This was a very solid draft with few wow selections. Watkins will start right away at guard and bring some toughness to the offensive line. Jarrett is a good safety prospect that might need a little time to fully develop. Marsh is an underrated corner that could fill a nickle roll. Casey Matthews will provide some linebacker depth which is something lacking in Philly. Is this the end for David Akers? Alex Henery is the best kicker in the draft but was selected about a round or two early.”
The most common criticism you see about the Eagles draft is that they took a kicker in the 4th round. Despite the fact that so often the kicker plays a vital role in the outcome of a game, drafting a kicker just offends the sensibilities of all these draftniks. Todd McShay didn’t hand out grades, but he also criticized the Eagles pick of Henery.
“The 120th pick is simply too high for Alex Henery. Yes, he was the No. 1 kicker on our board, but Henery has had some inconsistent stretches in his career, and while he has a monster leg, the Eagles would have been better off addressing right offensive tackle, defensive line, tight end, wide receiver or return specialist, then taking someone like Kai Forbath further down the line. "
Bear in mind that Alex Henery is the most accurate kicker in the history of college football and David Akers is a 37 year old free agent. So McShay’s advice was to grab some other, lesser rated prospect and draft a worse kicker later. Sounds like some plan… Plus, Kai Forbath wasn’t even drafted, which makes McShay’s plan look all the more idiotic.
I think what a lot of people ignore is that the Eagles had so many picks, that they could afford to maybe take a guy a round earlier than they had to, so as to ensure they got the player they wanted. Now, whether or not the Eagles actually could have gotten Henery later is a complete guess no matter what anyone tells you. But even if that was a chance, why risk it? If you’ve got the chance to get the best player by far at a position of need, why isn’t that worth a 4th round pick.