Mel Kiper's still grinding out draft copy, god love him, and today he's looking at players from the second and third rounds that could make an impact on their new teams in 2012. Mel says that there were 22 players taken on Day Two of last year's draft that appeared in at least 15 of their teams' games in 2011. So it's fair to assume some of the folks taken in this year's second and third rounds will play major roles in this upcoming season.
Kiper lists a total of 13 guys -- six on offense and seven on defense -- and just one is from the NFC East. Now, remember, the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins didn't have second-round picks, so our division was a little bit light on Day Two. But the only NFC East player on Mel's list is linebacker Mychal Kendricks, whom the Eagles took with the 14 pick of the second round. Here's what Mel has to say:
The Eagles were a train wreck up the middle last year. They added Fletcher Cox in the first round, and can now pair Kendricks with DeMeco Ryans at linebacker, with Kendricks jumping in on the strong side. Kendricks can fly along the line of scrimmage and chase down the run, and he is an ace on third down because he can run with backs and tight ends.
Kiper and a lot of other people rated the Eagles' draft the best or among the best in the league, and the picks of Kendricks and Vinny Curry in the second round were a big reason why. A big reason why player make this particular list is because Mel believes they'll get the opportunity to make their impact. Given the sorry state of the Eagles' linebacker situation in 2011, it's not hard to imagine Kendricks getting an opportunity to start and become a star right away.