“Imagine #55 at MIKE, Chaney at WILL, and Matthews at SAM…” Reviewing the later round picks of the Eagles…

That’s a direct quote from “The Sage” (JB99) today as we wind down the 2011 NFL Draft…

Here’s how Super Saturday went down… Nick Fierro of the Allentown Morning Call  kept score for us:

“The Eagles drafted Casey Matthews in the fourth round of the NFL Draft with the 116th pick. Matthews (6-1, 232) is an undersized and perhaps under-tooled linebacker out of the University of Oregon….but whose strengths are great football instincts and willingness to blow people up on special teams.

Special teams also were on the Eagles’ minds when they picked a short time later and landed Nebraska kicker and punter Alex Henery at 120 overall.  Henery is expected to compete for the kicking job only.

Those picks came shortly after the Eagles traded pick 104 to Tampa Bay for 116 this year and a fourth-rounder in next year’s draft.

The Eagles also made a trade with the New York Jets in the fifth round, sending them No. 153 and 227 in exchange for 161 and 194. They then used the pick at 161 to take running back Dion Lewis, who succeeded current Eagles starter LeSean McCoy at Pitt in 2009.

Later in the fifth round, they picked Iowa guard Julian Vandervelde, before going for Cincinnati center Jason Kelce and Ohio State linebacker Brian Rolle in the sixth round with the 191st and 193rd picks, respectively.

They finished up the draft with a pair of compensatory picks in the seventh round, choosing Connecticut linebacker Greg Lloyd at 237 and USC fullback Stanley Havili at 240.”

Lewis, 20, entered the draft after just two seasons at Pitt, where he rushed for 2,860 yards to eclipse McCoy’s school record for rushing yards as a freshman and sophomore.

Rolle, at 5-9, 227, might be too small for linebacker in the NFL. But his legitimate 4.47 speed in the 40-yard dash might make him a candidate to be moved to safety.

Coach Andy Reid called Casey Matthews versatile enough to play all three linebacker spots in the Eagles’ system. Matthews projects more as a middle linebacker to some, but JB99 likes him at strong-side outside LB…
Here’s a quick photographic profile of your Eagles 4th-through-7th round draftees:

Casey Matthews, 6-1, 235, Oregon….LB and special teams….

Alex Henery, K, Nebraska, 6-2, 180…

Julian Vandervelde, G, 6-2, 302, Iowa…


Jason Kelce, C, 6-3, 280, Cincinnati

Dion Lewis, RB, 5-8, 225, U. of Pittsburgh…

Brian Rolle, LB/DB, 5-9, 227, Ohio State….

Greg Lloyd, LB/DE, 6-2, 259, U. Conn….

Stanley Havili, FB, 6-1, 225, USC….

Given the shaky nature of the immediate NFL’s future and the relative lack of depth in the 2011 draft class as a whole, I think the Eagles made out real well with this 4th-to-7th Round crop… There’s a lot of messages in this draft class….mostly being sent to aging veterans and underachieving positions already on the team roster. 

Some of these guys will end up “projects”, perhaps Practice Squad employees for 2011….

But “The Sage” sees at least two of ’em— Casey Matthews and Alex Henery—making an impact on the near-term future of the team…

The shame of it is, due to the current legal stay of the lockout, these guys can’t even get a playbook yet…


Thomas Jackson

About Thomas Jackson

Jax Sports Media has been reporting on NFL teams in the mid-Atlantic region since 2006. Thomas Jackson is its senior writer. Tom started covering the Philadelphia Eagles for the MVN Network in 2007. In 2009 he joined the Bloguin Network. He now also covers the Baltimore Ravens.