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Mark Eckel's Eagles NFL Draft Recap


Mark EckelAs the Eagles continue to rebuild a roster that just a year ago team President Joe Banner called “the best in the NFL’’, they selected 13 players in last weekend’s draft. Here’s an in-depth look at each of the new Eagles, with some comments from scouts around the league acquired before the Eagles made the picks.


Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan (1st round, 13th pick) The Eagles moved up from the 24th pick to the 13th pick, trading away two third-round picks to acquire Graham, an undersized 6-1 ½, 268, pass rusher. Graham had 10 ½ sacks last year and 20 ½ over the past two years for the Eagles Draft Pick Brandon GrahamWolverines and was the MVP of the Senior Bowl. The Eagles selected him over Derrick Morgan, of Georgia Tech and Jason Pierre-Paul of South Florida, who went 15th and 16th respectively.

Scouts Take: “He’s too short for me. His issue is arm length (32 inches), big tackles will tie him up.’’ …”He’s not real big, but he causes a lot of damage.’’

Nate Allen, S, South Florida (2nd round, 37th pick) – The Eagles used the pick they acquired for Donovan McNabb for a player they hope will replace Brian Dawkins. Allen, 6-0 ½, 205, was actually rated higher by some scouts than Texas safety Earl Thomas, the 14th pick in the draft. Started every game the past two years and had four interceptions last year.

Scouts Take: “Fifty percent will love him, 50 percent will say he doesn’t make enough plays.’’ … “He plays smart, disciplined football. He has great awareness and always knows where to be on the field. He’s good in coverage and good enough in run support. My only concern is he misses some sure tackles.’’

Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, DE, Washington (3rd round, 86th pick) – The Eagles traded from the 23rd pick down to the 27th pick, then to the 71st pick and finally to the 86th pick before choosing another pass-rushing defensive end. In the process they added three fourth-round picks and a fifth-round pick. Te’o-Neshein, 6-3 1/3, 263, was a four-year starter in college who recorded 30 sacks, 11 last year. Despite those numbers most scouts had him a fourth, or even a fifth-round selection.

Scouts Take: “Hard worker, he’s not going to cheat you, he’s just real not talented.’’ … “Despite the sack numbers, he’s not a great pass rusher. I don’t think he’s more than a part-time player at this level.’’

Trevard Lindley, CB, Kentucky (4th round, 105th pick) – Lindley is a slightly built (5-11, 178) man to man corner with good ball skills, but has battled ankle and shoulder injuries in his career. As a junior, he was first-team All SEC, with four interceptions and 11 passes broken up. Last year the ankle injury limited his play.

Scout’s Take: “You watch him as a junior and you say ‘second-round pick.’ You watch him as a senior and you say ‘free agent.’ ’’

Keenan Clayton, LB, Oklahoma (4th round, 121st pick) -- The 6-1, 226-pound Clayton was considered a safety by some teams, a position he played for the Sooners. The Eagles will work him at weakside linebacker behind newly-acquired Ernie Sims.

Scout’s Take: “He’s not for me. I don’t know what you do with him. There’s ability, but where do you play him. I guess he could help on special teams.’’

Michael Kafka, QB, Northwestern (4th round, 122nd pick) Kafka is the Eagles No. 3 quarterback for this season, and they hope a No. 2 in time. The 6-3, 223-pound Kafka was the fifth quarterback taken, after Sam Bradford (St. Louis) and Tim Tebow (Denver) went in the first round, Jimmy Clausen (Carolina) went in the second round and Colt McCoy (Cleveland) went in the third round. At Northwestern he started just one season, but led the Big 10 in both yards (3,430) and completion percentage (64.8 percent). In the Outback Bowl against Auburn last year, he threw an incredible 78 passes, completed 47 for 532 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions. In high school, he played for St. Rita’s in the Chicago Catholic League, the same league that includes Mount Carmel, Donovan McNabb’s old school.

Scout’s Take: “He’s very accurate. What he lacks in arm strength he makes up for with accuracy. He throws a lot of picks, but he’s not afraid to pull the trigger. You can’t say that about a lot of young kids.’’

Clay Harbor, TE, Missouri State (4th round, 125th pick) – A star on the I-AA level and in his workouts, Harbor, 6-2, 250, is built more like an H-back, but the Eagles don’t use one. He caught 59 passes for 729 yards and four touchdowns last year.

Scout’s Take: “He can really run and he’s athletic. He’s just not that tall for the position and he didn’t dominate on a level he should have dominated.’’

Ricky Sapp, DE, Clemson (5th round, 134th pick)– Taken in the fifth round, Sapp dropped from where most thought he would be picked, mainly because of a knee injury. Twice he suffered injuries to the same knee, one a torn ACL. He played all of last year, but did not look like the same player. The 6-3 ½, 252-pound converted linebacker was the third defensive end taken by the team, although most scouts projected him as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.

Scout’s Take: “He wasn’t the same player after the knee. We took him off (the board) for medical.’’ … “He’s a mystery. (Clemson) said he was fine, but he kept making excuses. He can run, but he’s not real strong.’’

Riley Cooper, WR, Florida (5th round, 159th pick) –The Eagles traded down to get this pick and got a fifth-round pick from San Diego next year in the process. Tim Tebow’s college roommate, Cooper, 6-3, 219, caught 51 passes for 961 yards and nine touchdowns for the Gators. He’s considered a physical possession-type receiver.

Scout’s Take: “I wouldn’t want him. He doesn’t take it serious enough, likes to party too much.’’

Charles Scott, RB, LSU (6th round, 200th pick) -- Scott, 5-11, 239, is the big back Eagles’ fans always seem to want. He carried 116 times for 542 yards with five touchdowns last year for LSU. He’s also the first back the Eagles drafted out of LSU since Steve Van Buren, the greatest back in team history.

Scout’s Take: “Big guy, runs hard, could be a decent backup for you.’’

Jamar Chaney, LB, Mississippi State (7th round, 220th pick) – The Eagles took him in the seventh round, after trading a sixth-round pick next year to Detroit to get him. Chaney, 6-0 ½, 241, was projected to be a fourth, or fifth round pick, but also slid because of injury issues. He broke his ankle in 2008 and missed the season.

Scout’s Take: “A downhill player, very good against the run and he can blitz. Not real good in coverage and he gets lost some times out there.’’

Jeff Owens, DT, Georgia – (7th round, 243rd pick) Owens, 6-1, 305, came back from a season-ending knee injury in 2008 and got a fifth year of school. Before he got hurt, he could have been a higher pick, instead he dropped to the seventh round.

Scout’s Take: “Big man, who plays that way. He’s very strong. It took him time to come back from the injury, and that might always be a (red) flag. But I like him.’’

Kurt Coleman, S, Ohio State – (7th round, 244th pick) The team’s final pick, Coleman had five interceptions last fall for the Buckeyes. His size, 5-10, 190, is a drawback.

Scout’s Take: “If he’s two inches taller and a little heavier he’s a third-round pick and a player. But damn, he’s just too small.’’

Contact Mark Eckel at meckel@njtimes.com