Philadelphia Eagles Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell
June 7, 2013

Solid Starter

Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford – Round 2
The Eagles wanted to build up a stable of tight ends this offseason and Ertz looks like the eventual long-term starter. Either free agent addition James Casey or veteran Brent Celek may be the immediate starter in 2013, but Ertz should take over the job in the future. The 6-foot-5, 249-pounder is an extremely well-rounded tight end who is a good blocker and receiver. He is a nice, versatile player for Chip Kelly and Pat Shurmur’s offense.

Ertz played really well last season and was Stanford’s leading receiver. He totaled 69 receptions for 898 yards and six touchdowns. Ertz improved his blocking in 2012, too. He had massive days against Washington and California. He could have been even more productive if the Cardinal had had consistent quarterback play. The senior put together a huge game against Oregon, 11-106, including a remarkable touchdown catch to force overtime. Kelly obviously didn’t forget that performance leading up to the 2013 NFL Draft.

Ertz’s height and leaping ability make him a dangerous weapon in the red zone. He is a big target who has the quickness to make plays down the middle seam. The Eagles landed a nice value pick with Ertz in the second round and he should turn into a good starter in the long run.

Most Likely To Bust

Bennie Logan, DT, LSU – Round 3
The Eagles have been coy about their defensive scheme this offseason, and by the sounds of it, they could be running a hybrid 3-4 and 4-3 defense in 2013. That kind of defense makes the selection of Logan extremely questionable. He isn’t a versatile defensive lineman who fits both both systems. Logan is a speedy gap-shooter who is really only a fit for a 4-3 defense as a three-technique.

Philadelphia really didn’t need a three-technique as the organization already has a talented young one in 2012 NFL Draft first-rounder Fletcher Cox. The 6-foot-2, 309-pound Logan is too undersized for typical 3-4 defensive lineman. He doesn’t have the length for the edge and isn’t heavy enough for the middle.

Logan never really played up to his potential at LSU. He totaled 45 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss, three passes broken up and two sacks in 2012. The junior was more disruptive than the numbers indicate, but struggled against Alabama and its NFL-caliber offensive line. Logan has some pass-rush ability, but he has been more potential than production up to now.

Logan looks like he would be a situational pass-rusher for the Eagles to rush on the inside with Cox. However if Logan is rushing the passer, teams could double Cox. Logan isn’t really big enough to engulf a guard and center to keep Cox from taking on a double-team.

Logan has a good skill set, but doesn’t look like a great fit in Philadelphia. I think he’s most likely bust of the Eagles’ draft picks.

Potential Boom Pick

Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma – Round 1
Johnson may have had, of any prospects in the 2013 NFL Draft, the biggest rise in his draft stock between the end of the season and draft day. The 6-foot-6, 303-pounder was phenomenal at the Senior Bowl and had one of the most impressive Combine performances ever for an offensive lineman. Clearly, Johnson is a great athlete who is just scratching the surface of what he is capable of being.

Johnson was playing quarterback not too many year ago, but moved to defensive end and then tight end before finding his home at offensive tackle. He played right tackle for Oklahoma in 2011 and had a solid debut. There were doubts about him taking over at left tackle last year, but the senior did a superb job of blocking for Landry Jones.

Johnson looks like he has the skill set to potentially develop into one of the premier left tackles in the NFL. He has light, quick feet to get depth in his drop and negate speed rushes. Johnson could start out at right tackle before moving back to left tackle as the long-term replacement for Jason Peters. Johnson also also has the frame to add more weight while maintaing his quickness.

Johnson’s quickness, mobility and intelligence are perfect for Chip Kelly’s offense. I think starting him out at right tackle is a good move and he can learn a lot from Peters. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Eagles nurture Johnson into being a Pro Bowl left tackle.

Future Depth Player

Matt Barkley, QB, USC – Round 4
It was surprising that Barkley fell all the way to the third day of the 2013 NFL Draft. Many thought he would go quickly on the second day, so dropping to the fourth round turned him into a nice value pick as a backup quarterback.

Barkley enjoyed an excellent college career that was somewhat diminished by a rough senior season. He completed 64 percent of his passes for 3,273 yards, 36 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 2012. Barkley didn’t play well against Stanford or Washington, and was just average against California. He had underwhelming games versus UCLA and Arizona, too. Barkley injured his shoulder against the Bruins and was unable to play against Notre Dame, Georgia Tech or in the Senior Bowl.

Barkley’s best season came as a junior when he completed 69 percent of his passes for 3,528 yards with 39 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. Barkley was a 4-year starter with experience in a West Coast offense. He is smart, dedicated and ready to handle an NFL offense.

Physically, Barkley looks like a backup in the NFL. He never had an elite physical skill set with an average arm and is no running threat. Sources with NFL teams told Walter.comFootball before the 2013 NFL raft that they don’t see Barkley getting any better in the NFL because of his physical limitations. He has good mechanics, but is heavy-footed and doesn’t have the arm strength they look for.

Still, Barkley looks like he could be a good backup for Philadelphia who will be a nice care-taker if pressed into duty. The rookie just isn’t a real option as starting quarterback in the NFL.

2013 NFL Draft Individual Grades:

4. Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma: C Grade
This is a great scheme fit for the Eagles. Lane Johnson is the most athletic tackle in this draft, so he’ll fit in well in Chip Kelly’s high-tempo offense. However, Johnson is incredibly raw; he has just one year of left tackle experience and just two seasons of tackle experience period. He was considered a fringe first-round prospect a few months ago for a reason. However, there’s no denying his upside, and he could eventually replace Jason Peters at left tackle.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

35. Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford: B+ Grade
Chip Kelly loves his tight ends. He signed James Casey, but he needed another one because Brent Celek has been a huge disappointment recently. Zach Ertz is the top tight end available by far and No. 35 is the right range for him. Like the Jaguars though, you have to wonder what Philadelphia plans to do at quarterback.

67. Bennie Logan, DT, LSU: B- Grade
I guess the Eagles will be running a 4-3 Under scheme because Bennie Logan is an awful fit in the 3-4. Logan is very talented, but he hasn’t lived up to his potential. If Philadelphia can get him to play to his ability, he’ll form quite an interior pass-rushing tandem with Fletcher Cox.

98. Matt Barkley, QB, USC: C- Grade
This makes very little sense. Matt Barkley does not fit Chip Kelly’s offense at all. In fact, he’s a lot like Nick Foles, so I don’t understand why the Eagles would make this selection. It appears as though the Eagles will utilize the West Coast offense under Kelly, so why even bring Kelly in as your head coach? I like the value with Barkley, but this pick is pretty illogical.

136. Earl Wolff, S, N.C. State: B- Grade
I didn’t want to mention to this before the draft because I didn’t want to ruin his draft stock, but I know that one team took Earl Wolff off their board because they deemed him “too stupid,” that he didn’t even know what schemes his college team ran. There’s no questioning his talent level though. From a pure skill perspective, he probably should have been a second-round pick.

212. Joe Kruger, DE/DT, Utah: B Grade
This pick makes a ton of sense. Joe Kruger fits the draft range in the seventh round and fills a need for defensive line depth. Chip Kelly is familiar with Kruger, having coached against him in the Pac-12.

218. Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State: A+ Grade
Save for Zach Ertz and Lane Johnson, Jordan Poyer could easily be the best player that the Eagles drafted. He should have been a second-round pick, but fell because of speed concerns. Going against him in the Pac-12, Chip Kelly knows how skilled Poyer is.

239. David King, DE, Oklahoma: C+ Grade
I didn’t have David King as a draftable prospect, but we’re now in the compensatory picks of the seventh round, so that doesn’t matter. King is a good fit in the 3-4 as a five-technique, much like Joe Kruger.

2013 NFL Draft Team Grade: B . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

Philadelphia Eagles Season Preview

Fantasy Football Rankings - May 23

2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21

NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

NFL Picks - Feb. 12