We always like to take a look forward at the PST Podcast Show, but I’ve decided in this column to take a look back. It’s always interesting to read through previous draft classes and see how they compare from year to year. Who is still a relevant and contributing player? Who was a total bust or just didn’t pan out?
When we look at the previous six Eagles draft classes (three with Andy Reid as the head coach, and three with Chip Kelly as the head coach) we can see where and how the team was shaped, which lends a point of reference to where we are at today.
2015 Draft Class (Kelly)
WR Nelson Agholor, DB Eric Rowe, LB Jordan Hicks, DB JaCorey Shepherd, DB Randall Evans, DE Brian Mihalik. 1-offense, 5-defense.
2014 Draft Class (Kelly)
DE/LB Marcus Smith II, WR Jordan Matthews, WR Josh Huff, DB Jaylen Watkins, DE Taylor Hart, DB Ed Reynolds, DT Beau Allen. 2-offense, 5-defense.
2013 Draft Class (Kelly)
OL Lane Johnson, TE Zach Ertz, DT Bennie Logan, QB Matt Barkley, DB Earl Wolff, DE Joe Kruger, DB Jordan Poyer, DE David King. 3-offense, 5-defense.
2012 Draft Class (Reid)
DE Fletcher Cox, LB Mychal Kendricks, DE Vinny Curry, QB Nick Foles, DB Brandon Boykin, OL Dennis Kelly, WR Marvin McNutt, OL Brandon Washington, RB Bryce Brown. 5-offense, 4-defense.
2011 Draft Class (Reid)
OL Danny Watkins, DB Jaiquawn Jarrett, DB Curtis Marsh, LB Casey Matthews, K Alex Henery, RB Dion Lewis, OL Julian Vandervelde, C Jason Kelce, LB Brian Rolle, LB Greg Lloyd, RB Stanley Havili. 5-offense, 5-defense, 1-special team.
2010 Draft Class (Reid)
DE Brandon Graham, DB Nate Allen, DE Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, DB Trevard Lindley, LB Keenan Clayton, QB Mike Kafka, TE Clay Harbor, DE Ricky Sapp, WR Riley Cooper, RB Charles Scott, LB Jamar Chaney, DT Jeffrey Owens, DB Kurt Coleman. 4-offense, 9-defense.
There’s much to be said about these draft classes. Too much for this column, unfortunately. But first and foremost, amazingly enough Riley Cooper is still on the team. He’s the only one who remains from 2010 (of course, no one from the 2009 class or earlier make it through the pivotal 2015 Kelly transition).
Four years after Reid drafted him, Dion Lewis has begun lighting it up in New England. Kelce and Vandervelde, if you want to include him, are the only players from 2011 that are still on the team and making some kind of impact. Might Kelce be slowing down after a rough first seven games this season? Time will tell.
Ironically enough, Reid’s final draft with the Eagles in 2012 may be the most valued when looking back at the past six years. Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks, Vinny Curry, and Dennis Kelly remain on Chip’s team and have certainly contributed – albeit some more than others. Bryce Brown was a nice seventh-round pick and Brandon Boykin, of course, was a steady playmaker for years.
Enter Chip Kelly in 2013. This is where we can really begin to take a look and see if the more contemporary Eagles teams and drafts generated solid players. The standouts from this draft class are Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz and Bennie Logan.
Jordan Matthews (we’re all walking a fine line with this gentleman) and Beau Allen remain on this year’s Eagles team and have contributed in their own way since being drafted in 2014. The biggest eyesore from the 2014 draft is obviously Marcus Smith who was taken with their first-round pick.
With the 2015 draft class, it is too early to tell who will significantly influence this Eagles team for years to come. We can certainly look at Jordan Hicks based on what he’s done, thus far, this season. However, it’s too small a sample size to predict his future play. There was also high hopes for Nelson Agholor and JaCorey Shepherd. Shepherd tore his ACL in training camp and Agholor has accumulated just over 100 yards receiving this season and hasn’t played much due to injury.
The interesting aspect of these drafts comes down to the offensive and defensive picks. Kelly, known for being offensive-minded, has only drafted six offensive players during his three drafts and 15 defensive players. Reid loved to accumulate draft picks. During his final three years with the Eagles he drafted 14 offensive and 18 defensive players. It’s interesting to think that the culture of the Philadelphia Eagles – at least pertaining to the draft – has been extremely defensive minded over the past six years.
The one thought that persists when looking at these players, when they were drafted and who specifically drafted them, is that we’re seeing remnants of the Reid era still taking the field to this day. Is this because Kelly is still in transition after three years on the job? Or is it because these players are amazingly talented and can fit into any system or scheme? Perhaps it’s a little of both.