May 2, 2011, 5:17 PM EDT
Just when teams began allowing the players to use their facilities again, and amid whispers the league year could start as early as Monday, the court of appeals granted the NFL a stay on the Judge Nelson ruling that supposedly reopened the league for business. For the time being, everything will immediately return to square one: lockout. No player trades or free agent signings are coming any time soon. Boo.
The draft continued as planned on Saturday, with rounds four through seven concluding the third and final day of the reading of names. Despite the lottery nature of the back end of the selection process, the Eagles actually made some waves this afternoon, adding the brother of Packers’ star Clay Matthews, LeSean McCoy’s successor in the backfieldat Pitt, and a kicker who potentially could be David Akers’ replacement.
The Birds made two picks in the fourth round, first grabbing linebacker Casey Matthews of the famous Matthews bloodline. The Oregon product doesn’t have the same size (6-1, 231) or athletic ability as his All Pro sibling, but if his family’s success is any indication, he could enjoy a long, successful career in the NFL.
Four picks later, the Eagles made one of the more surprising selections in the draft, taking kicker/punter Alex Henery (6-2, 177) out of Nebraska. David Akers did not sign his transition tag tender before the league entered a work stoppage, and he was not thrilled with the designation in the first place. This will lead many to jump to the conclusion Akers’ career in Philadelphia is finished, but it’s worth noting Sav Rocca’s time could also be up.
In the fifth, the pick was running back Dion Lewis. Lewis was a redshirt freshman during Shady’s final year with the Panthers, and the heir was every bit as productive. Lewis ran for over 2800 yards and 30 touchdowns in two seasons of college ball, though he was not as prolific a receiver. He’s short, but stout at 5’7″, 197, and should be a nice complement in the Birds’ backfield, likely spelling the end of Jerome Harrison.
The Eagles added offensive linemen with picks in the fifth and sixth rounds, grabbing Iowa’s Julian Vandervelde (6-2, 301) and Cincinnati’s Jason Kelce (6-3, 280). Both are expected to add depth to interior. They nabbed another linebacker with their second pick in the sixth, Brian Rolle (5-10, 229) from Ohio St. As of this writing, they have two compensation picks remaining in the seventh round.
On a side note, the Eagles and Patriots once again made a draft day trade. ESPN’s Adam Schefter pointed out the two franchises have swapped picks every year going all the way back to 2000. As ammusing as that may sound, this time the Eagles traded up from 194 all the way to… 193. The deal was presumably for a catered lunch from Panera Bread.
We’ll have more draft analysis in the days to come. Any early thoughts on their performance?
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