We’ll be taking a much more detailed look at the Draft after the season ends, but I thought I’d quickly provide a good illustration as to why the team’s performance has tailed off the last few years. Below are all of the Eagles’ draft picks made under Andy Reid. I did not include this past year’s since not enough time has passed to really judge any of the picks (though Cox looks like a hit).
I’ve color coded them so we can easily see where and when the good picks were made.
There’s a lot of subjectivity to “grading” players, but the general rule of thumb I used was:
Good starters for the Eagles are highlighted Green. Complete disasters are Red. Everyone else is Black (either mediocre or jury is still out). You’ll notice that nobody after the second round is Red. Beyond there it becomes very difficult to find quality starters, so the team really isn’t docked much for missing there (though not finding quality backups is another issue altogether). Also, if a player went on to be successful, but did so for another team, they don’t count as a good pick (think Derrick Burgess or Brandon Gibson).
Notice anything? Now I’m sure some will argue about how I’ve classified a few of the names on the list (Andrews and Bunkley could certainly be Red) but in general I think everyone can see the same overarching trends. The most shocking realization is the complete lack of strong defensive players picked since 2006. Maybe Brandon Graham’s emergence is real, in which case he might switch to Green, but there really isn’t anyone else in all that time that I’d happily call a starter. (And don’t say Stewart Bradley, he started for just 2 seasons, only one of which was a good year)
It’s also easy to see how this happened if we take a glance at who is highlighted in Red (i.e. complete misses). From 2007-2011, the Eagles used 2nd round picks on the following defensive legends: Victor Abiamiri, Trevor Laws, Nate Allen, Jaiquawn Jarrett.
That, folks, is a very big reason why this is Andy Reid’s last year as coach. It looks like he broke the trend with Cox, but too little too late.
Final note: I do not mean to suggest that Andy Reid is bad at drafting. My guess is that over his career he has been about average and most people don’t realize just how hard it is to accurately project talent. The offseason draft analysis will take a look at league-wide success rates and see where Reid actually ranks and if there really are good drafters or if it’s just luck (hint: it’s probably a lot of luck).
Also, I apologize if there are any typos or misspelled names. Lots of transcription, hopefully its all correct.