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Eagles go three straight on 'D'

Pro Football Weekly
Eagles reach deal with second-rounder Kendricks
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Eagles reach deal with second-rounder Kendricks

The Eagles came into Friday’s second round with options. We heard they were sniffing hard around the top QB prospects. We figured a running back would come off at some point. And Andy Reid loves offensive linemen, even after the team took three last year.

Little did we know that they were far from done addressing the defensive side of the ball, a night after getting one of the draft’s top defenders, DT Fletcher Cox, with the 12th overall pick.

First up was Mychal Kendricks, the Cal linebacker, and the first thing I thought when I saw him work out at the Combine: “He’s an Eagle.”

I know some people think he’s too short at 5-foot-11, and it was surprising to hear Reid say Friday night after making the selection that they are going to try Kendricks first at strong-side linebacker. But the kid is an athletic war daddy who can rush the passer, if that’s what you want, or he can read and fly to the ball.

It’s not the tallest group of linebackers in the NFL and maybe the shortest — next to Kendricks, who could start, you have DeMeco Ryans (6-1) and maybe Brian Rolle (5-10) — but these are some ball-hunting hitters.

Plus, when you have a defensive line as deep as the Eagles’, they can send guys in waves. The water got a little deeper with their second-round pick, DE Vinny Curry, a quick, savvy rusher who put up big numbers in Conference USA. I need not remind Eagles fans about the last guy drafted with that description: Trent Cole.

But we don’t even know if Curry will see the field as a rookie, with Cole, Jason Babin and 2010 first-rounder Brandon Graham (now healthy) atop the depth chart. Taking it a step further, look at the insane talent inside: Cullen Jenkins, Mike Patterson, Cox and Antonio Dixon.

Coordinator Juan Castillo was the evil goat last season as he tried to learn his personnel and implement the scheme in one month of being a defensive coach. That was just unfair, and Reid has since admitted his mistake. Last year, he tried to cover it up by signing a lot of big-name players, and on the surface it appears Reid is doing the same thing this year.

But after Cox, they are just taking the highest-rated player on their board, and Kendricks and Curry were too rich to pass on. They got their quarterback — Arizona’s Nick Foles — in Round Three and might get their runner on Saturday. What it shows is that the Eagles are among the more talented and deep teams in the NFL, and they are just adding to that stockpile with each pick.

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