Eagles Shift Focus To Offense In Day Three Of Draft
After focusing on defense through the first two days of the draft, the Eagles added several players on the offensive side of the ball today. First, though, they added Brandon Boykin, a cornerback and return man from Georgia, with their fourth round pick.
The Birds then added depth on the offensive line with Dennis Kelly, a tackle from Purdue, and Brandon Washington, a guard from Miami, in the fifth and sixth rounds.
Those picks sandwiched the sixth-round selection of Marvin McNutt, a wide receiver from Iowa. Finally, Philadelphia took a chance on Bryce Brown, a running back from Kansas State, in the seventh round. Brown is an all-world talent with a rocky past.
Boykin fell in the draft, in part, due to a small fracture in his left leg sustained during the Senior Bowl, which prevented him from participating in the NFL Scouting Combine. That worked out just fine for the Eagles, who got a versatile player in the fourth round.
“He can play corner and he can play also the inside/nickel position,” said head coach Andy Reid. “Add to that he was a returner. He was one of the best dual returners in college football this year.”
Reid said special teams coordinator Bobby April rated Boykin as his top combo returner in the draft and that the Eagles had watched him transition to the slot at the college level.
“He’s a good corner and then they moved him inside and then you saw him go through that learning process,” Reid said. “By the end of it, I mean, you’re talking about one of the better inside guys.”
Joselio Hanson is the lone corner on the Eagles roster with experience in the slot, and he’ll turn 31 in training camp.
In the fifth round, the Eagles chose Kelly, a relatively unknown offensive tackle who already has highly impressive size at 6-foot-8 and 321 pounds. Kelly believes he’ll fit in well in Howard Mudd’s blocking schemes.
“I think I fit very well,” Kelly said. “I think one of the strengths of my game is my athleticism. I move very well for how big I am and I have grown into my body at my size and I move very fluidly.”
The Eagles added size to their wide receiver corps with McNutt, a 6-foot-3, 216 pound Iowa product who caught 82 passes for 1,315 yards and 12 touchdowns in his senior season. McNutt finished his college career with 170 receptions for 2,861 yards and 28 touchdowns.
“What you’ll see with Marvin is he is a big, physical receiver with great hands, a good character kid, and is very strong with the ball,” Reid said. “When you watch him, he is a very smooth athlete who is big.”
The Birds then went back to the offensive line and took Washington, a 6-foot-3, 320 pounder out of Miami with experience at guard and tackle.
“Brandon probably fell a little bit further than we anticipated,” Reid said. “Brandon had been a standout offensive guard the season before this one, and then they moved him out to left tackle. His production was okay at left tackle. As a guard, he really did a fine job.”
The Eagles took a risk with their seventh round choice of Brown, a highly touted high school prospect who never amounted to much in college. Brown originally orally committed to Miami, then eventually chose Tennessee. It is unclear whether the University of Miami withdrew its offer when Brown flirted with other programs, or Brown simply chose another school, according to various reports.
“He’s had kind of a wild ride here through college football since being the number one running back coming out of high school into college,” Reid said. “He went to Tennessee and actually played as a freshman and saw time, legitimate time, and had big plays for them. You’re talking about a kid who is an inch under six foot and is 220 pounds who runs a 4.4 forty.”
Brown had 101 carries for 460 yards and three touchdowns, but then transferred to Kansas State, originally notifying his coaches of his decision via text message, according to Scouts, Inc.
Brown had just three carries for 16 yards before leaving the Wildcats in September and was a party in three NCAA inquiries in his career, according to ESPN’s Joe Schad.
“He has all the talent in the world but it’s just a matter of tying things down here,” Reid said. “Was his heart all in at Kansas State? I can’t tell you it was. I just have my own feeling there. When he gets here, he can tell you guys exactly how he’s feeling.”
The Eagles exit the weekend having drafted nine players, including four in the top 88 slots. This is the first time the Birds have taken four players that high since 2005, when they had four of the top 77 picks (Mike Patterson, Reggie Brown, Matt McCoy and Ryan Moats).
The Eagles first three picks of the draft all addressed the defensive front seven, while four of the first five came on the defensive side of the ball. The Eagles will hold their rookie mini camp from May 12th through the 14th.
Ryan Messick covers the Eagles for 97.3 ESPN FM. Follow him on Twitter.