The Philadelphia Eagles came into the NFL draft with a chance to improve their defense. And that’s exactly what the Eagles did. They moved up three spots to grab Fletcher Cox with the 12th pick in the first round. Cox, a 6-foot-4, 298-pound defensive tackle from Mississippi State, was a player the Eagles really wanted.
He has a lot of athletic talent. He can play the run as well as the pass. He was named first-team All-Southeastern Conference as a junior, posting 56 tackles and five sacks with the Bulldogs. During his career, he had 114 total tackles, 24.5 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks in 36 games. Cox has great strength and quickness. He really moves well laterally, which should help in terms of making plays on the defensive line.
“We think that Fletcher Cox is a tremendous player,” said Andy Reid, Eagles head coach. “He has speed and athletic ability where he could play outside if needed. He gives us a little flexibility. He’s a very intelligent kid, and he’s young. He has the whole package.”
The Eagles had two picks in the second round. With the 46th pick, the Eagles chose linebacker Mychal Kendricks from California and defensive end Vinny Curry from Marshall with 59th selection. Kendricks had a great college career. He was named the Pac-12’s Defensive Player of the Year. He completed his playing days at California with 258 tackles, 13.5 sacks and four interceptions.
“The one thing that really interests me there is we’re getting a phenomenal pass rusher on that side,” Reid said. “We’re getting someone who can really cover the tight end, and his pass cover skills are a strong part of his game.”
Curry finished his college career with 26 sacks, 49 tackles for a loss and 10 forced fumbles. He was chosen as the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year. Curry grew up in Neptune, N.J. He’s a big Eagles fans. He was selected the day before Brian Dawkins officially retired as an Eagle. Curry is a big fan of Dawkins, too.
“I know most people say the draft is the best day of their life, but growing up an Eagles fan and being blessed to have the opportunity and see Brian Dawkins retire and give a speech here, this has to be the best day of my life here,” Curry said.
The Eagles took Nick Foles, a quarterback from Arizona in the third round. Foles, a 6-foot-6, 243-pounder, is the school’s all-time leading passer in yardage (10,011), touchdowns (67), attempts (1,369) and completions (933). He will learn how to run the offense from watching quarterback Michael Vick.
In the fourth round, the Eagles picked cornerback Brandon Boykin from Georgia. Boykin had 159 total tackles, 20 tackles for a loss, nine interceptions, 27 passes defended and two forced fumbles. In addition to cornerback, he returned kicks, punts and saw action at tailback.
Rounding out the draft, the Eagles picked offensive tackle Dennis Kelly from Purdue in the fifth round along with wide receiver Marvin McNutt from Iowa (194th pick) and offensive guard Brandon Washington from Miami (200th pick) in the sixth round and running back Bryce Brown from Kansas State in the seventh round.
NOTES: The Eagles have agreed to terms with several rookie free agents. The list includes Elvis Akpla, wide receiver, Montana State; Matt Camilli, long snapper, Texas El Paso; Chase Ford, tight end, Miami; Cliff Harris, cornerback, Oregon; Emil Igwenagu, fullback, Massachusetts; McKay Jacobson, wide receiver, BYU; Damaris Johnson, wide receiver, Tulsa; Aaron Pflugrad, wide receiver, Arizona State; Chris Polk, running back, Washington; Jeremy Stewart, fullback, Stanford; Phillip Thomas, free safety, Syracuse; Ryan Tydlacka, punter, Kentucky; Darnell Williams, wide receiver, Louisiana College.