Eagles' Patient Approach Pays Dividends On Draft Weekend

ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 19: Brandon Boykin #2 of the Georgia Bulldogs returns a punt past Avery Williamson #40 of the Kentucky Wildcats at Sanford Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

During his post-draft press conference, head coach Andy Reid was asked if he felt the team’s drafting philosophy had changed from previous years.

"I think the foundation that was set going into the draft allowed you to do that." Reid said, "I thought [GM Howie Roseman] did a heck of a job of re-signing our own players, which then allowed you to go into this draft and say, ‘Listen, we don’t have to force a thing. If someone falls, we have enough ammo to go getcha, but yet we don’t have to force one thing in here.’"

Whether or not you believe in the philosophy change, clearly the Eagles felt they could go into this year’s draft focused on improving a few specific areas. Instead of reaching for a need, the front office was not afraid to stay patient and move around to get the guys they coveted when necessary.

This process started in the winter with the re-signing of players like DeSean Jackson, Trent Cole and Evan Mathis. Even after All Pro left tackle Jason Peters went down with an Achilles injury, the team quickly brought in Peters’ replacement in Demetress Bell.

With only a few glaring holes and a sizable helping of draft picks, the Eagles were able to sit tight and draft guys when they made sense.

The results are promising.

The front office’s work in free agency eliminated the need to draft replacements for starters like Jackson and instead focus on the few needs the team does have. Unfortunately, no one can draft cohesion and experience, but trading up for Mississippi State DT Fletcher Cox might be the next best thing. Because depth is not a significant issue (and definitely isn’t now), giving up a fourth and sixth rounders to get Cox was a no-brainer.

The Eagles’ patience paid off later on with Georgia CB Brandon Boykin, a player some draftnicks had going as high as the second round, even after injuring his fibula at the Senior Bowl.

Instead of panicking after trading away Asante Samuel, the Eagles stayed patient (perhaps doing some Ron Swanson-like meditation) and didn’t overdraft. When Boykin fell to the fourth round, they were able to pull the trigger. The reward is a new slot corner and prolific kick returner.

The selection of Marshall DE Vinny Curry (aka Eagles Superfan) is evidence that the Eagles really did select the best player available. The team’s stable of defensive ends was already stacked, but bringing in a player of Curry’s talent was too good for Reid and company to pass up.

The Giants’ Super Bowl victories proved the adage that a team can never have enough pass rush. Now Eli Manning may be feeling the results that adage firsthand next season.

This approach made the front office comfortable enough to take a chance on RB Bryce Brown in the seventh round. A talented prospect, his college career did not live up to the lofty expectations of being the number one high school recruit in 2009--even ahead of Trent Richardson.

It’s obviously too early to know how the Eagles 2012 draft class will turn out. But the mix of talent and draft day value the team picked up should make Eagles fans ecstatic. The team met its few needs and picked up a few potential starters. For a team with Super Bowl aspirations, that’s good enough for an early A.

For news, notes and updates, follow Patrick on Twitter at @PatrickWall_NFL

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