When was the last time you looked at the draft class from 2011? There is the link, but before you click on it, make sure nothing of value that can be thrown or slammed to the ground is in the immediate area, because you are probably going to get kind of pissed off pretty quick.
Here is a
quick and dirty long and drawn out breakdown of 2011's draft class vs 2012's draft class.
TL;DR version - 2011 draft class = Ashy, 2012 draft class = Classy. I like that, I like that.
Watkins: Inconsistent performer on the field and reportedly has issues understanding the mental complexities of the game. Meaning, it's mental and not physical with him, which is both good and bad. He could figure it out sooner rather than later, or possibly never. I know he has only played for a relatively short time, but he is also 28. Given the fact that he was the #26 pick, while he isn't a Bust (yet), he is showing "busty" signs. At this point, he is bustish. Not good. Also, Big Red did not commit to him taking back over for the rookie who has all of 1 start under his belt at RG when he is healthy. So, he is essentially behind a rookie on the depth chart. Oh, and then there is this from McLane. Both of his agents contradicting Big Red's medical history of his ankle? Yikes. A broken bone that was never reported? Double Yikes. Change that to really not good.
Jarrett: Cut before the season, after only 1 year, which if you listen to some of the fans was longer than it should have taken. Spectacular Bust. Really, really not good.
Marsh: While he may not be "suited" for the slot, it does say something that a rookie 4th rounder this year is playing ahead of him. Was a converted RB in college, is this yet another of Big Red's experiments that never pan out, or as I like to call it, the Bryan Smith Theorem? Honestly, he hasn't played enough to really know. That is telling in it's own way. Not good.
Matthews: Poor guy. Nothing like having unrealistic expectations heaped on you at the most integral position on Defense in a year where the off season is drastically shortened and the guy who is supposed to be running the show and mentoring you spent the vast majority of his coaching career orchestrating the big uglies on offense. He is a backup and should have never been put in that position. Not bad for a 4th rounder, although as we have already mentioned, this year's 4th rounder is getting burn and Matthews theoretically (I'm guessing) has had a chance to win the WILL spot, which he hasn't done. Not good/Not bad
Henery: The first good pick of the draft, if you go by production and playing time, but that is offset by the fact that picking a K in the 4th round can be argued as a waste of an asset. Good.
Lewis: Showed some signs of being a decent backup to Shady last year, but now has been mostly inactive this year and is behind not just one, but two rookies on the depth chart. I am sensing a theme. At this point, it would seem that he is on the outside and looking in and is potentially a roster cut waiting to happen. Not good.
Vanderveldvleldllevvedle: PS. Right? Wait, let me check. Yup. Absolutely no contribution whatsoever, other than some corny opera singer jokes by the fanbase. Not good.
Kelce: The superstar of the draft class. Has the makings of being the C for this organization for the next decade, and an above average C at that, who has ridiculous athleticism for an OL and can demolish defenders on the 2nd level, assuming he comes back healthy from that somewhat nasty injury. Not Lattimore nasty, but nasty. Really, really good.
Rolle: Gone, but these guys from later in the draft are longshots anyway. What kind of burns with Rolle is that he regressed so much from last year, when he played regularly and held his own out there. Then this year, he was demoted and apparently had an attitude about being above playing STs. Not good.
Havili: Showing signs of being a decent NFL FB. Can run and catch, has gotten better at blocking and is playing well on STs. Good.
Lloyd: Traded to Indy for a torn ACL. Or was it a torn labrum. Either way, doesn't really matter, he is gone. Not good/Not bad.
Overall, and I am sorry if my use of highly technical terminology gets in the way of my assessment, but that is shit. Like disgusting, runny baby shit that is literally so repugnant that you start dry heaving as soon as you pull off those Pampers. This was a really, really bad draft class. 2 starters on OL (assuming Watkins gets the spot back which is no guarantee if Kelly plays as well as he did last week), a K, a FB and a few backups with 3 guys already being off the roster. Like I said, shit.
Now compare that to the 2012 draft class.
Cox: Potential difference making, All Pro DT that can anchor this DL for the next decade. Already starting and is already making veteran OL look silly. Only a matter of time before his numbers catch up to his performance. Best 1st round pick since McNabb. Really, really, really good. (Yes, 3 really's)
Kendricks: Has been a perfect complement @ SAM to DeMeco @ MIKE. Does not look like a rookie in the least out there, and although he is coming off of his worst performance to date, has been doing a great job on opposing TEs and has shown he can read and react to the opposing offense. Could be a fixture in this defense for the next decade, may even have a Pro Bowl or two in his future. Really, really good.
Curry: The fact that he has been inactive has a lot more to do with the number of guys at DE then it has to do with his apparent ability. He looked dominant in the preseason, admittedly against guys who are probably bagging groceries or working for UPS right now, but let's hope that he lives up to the hype of his preseason performance and his draft slot. If it were up to me, Babin would be cut I M M E D I A T E L Y and Curry would be activated and get into the rotation. We'd get a chance to see what we got in him. Plus, he is a lifetime Eagles fan. So obviously he is intelligent and crazy at the same time, which I like. But, ultimately, 2nd rounders should be contributing, or at least active and some could argue that picking a DE when it is arguably your deepest position is unwise, best player available strategy or not. As of now, not good.
Foles: This FP is already too long, so I am going to just move on. It would be too hard to assess a backup rookie QB who could conceivably be starting as early next week, based on an impressive preseason performance and an under performing starter and a head coach with no lifelines left. The fact that we are even considering him @ QB as a rookie is a good sign, for him at least. Good, with potential to add a few really's in there.
Boykin: When we look back at this draft class in a few years, I think we are going to be shaking our heads about how lucky we were to get him when we did. He has had some tough assignments as the slot CB, and has performed well, for the most part and especially as a rookie. I think he is going to be a staple on this defense as the slot CB for awhile. His kick returning has been underwhelming, but hopefully he can get more comfortable with it and start breaking off some longer returns. Really good.
Kelly: Taking over @ RG again this week for the /ahem ... "hurt" 1st round pick. While the game plan was ultra conservative last week in his first start ever, he didn't make many, if any glaring mistakes. When it is your first start, and you pretty much go unnoticed as an OL, that is a good thing. Has good size and athleticism and showed an ability to play different positions in the preseason, with T potential down the road. Good.
McNutt: PS. Couldn't beat out a UDFA in D Johnson for a spot on the 53, so you can't say that he didn't have a chance. However, he was worth keeping around on the PS and could push Avant for that slot possession receiver next year. Not good/Not bad.
Washington: Cut, didn't even get offered a PS spot, if I recall correctly. Not good.
Brown: Backup RB with a great set of measurables and a shady history of football during college. At this point, it looks as if this risk is going to pay off for Big Red. Other teams had probably removed him from their draft board altogether because of his college resume, but Big Red was able to see past that and get a guy who may end up producing the way a much higher pick would. Really good.
Polk: UDFA who forced Big Red into keeping 5 RBs (if you include Havili @ FB), which is unusual for this team. So, they must not want to get rid of him and if it came down to him or Lewis, I would put my money on Polk sticking around. Was a very productive RB in college but has a questionable shoulder injury history that hurt him on draft day. Hasn't really had a chance, except on STs and has been invisible there, but has forced his way on the roster and it didn't cost us an actual draft pick. Not good/Not bad.
D Johnson: Another UDFA who forced his way on to the 53 and is actually getting playing time, at WR and PR when active. Good.
Overall, this class has instant starters and a lot of long term potential. 3 starters on defense, all with top end potential, a QB who may start before the year is over, a starter @ RG due to injury, 2 backup RBs and a backup WR/PR with 2 guys who haven't played yet because they are at positions of depth, WR and DE. Unlike the fecal aroma emanating off of 2011, 2012 has the sweet smell of success.
So, after 1900+ words, my question is this; what the hell changed from 2011 to 2012? I know 2011 was slanted more towards drafting for need then the best player available strategy that was apparently utilized in 2012, but these 2 classes are world's apart in actual contribution and long term potential.
Look at this way, 2011's best player (Kelce) was drafted at 191 whereas 2012's best player was drafted at 12, possibly 46 if Kendricks outperforms Cox and 88 if Foles turns out to be the next Big Ben/Joe Flacco (big armed, tall QB with an apparent lack of mobility from a non powerhouse college).
With Big Red's reign nearing it's apparent end, I think it is important that Lurie find out who was mostly responsible for this draft and make sure they stick around. I know Big Red has final say as to whom is picked on draft day, but whomever identified these prospects and encouraged their selection needs to be retained on this staff. A yearly infusion of talent like we had in 2012 is a recipe for success. Accruing home grown talent through the draft is the most efficient, effective way of building a recurring contender. Last year was a great start.
Thanks for reading. Time is yours. Redd.
PS - No way I can use a quote from one of my personal all time favorite songs and one of hip hop's greatest tracks and not link it.
Live the phrase Sky's the Limit . . . Mother Fucker . . .Chumps on top