Eagles begin searching for fresh answers

Eagles coach Andy Reid meets with the media earlier this season.

The Philadelphia Eagles haven't won a playoff game since 2008 and will need a major turnaround in the second half of this season just to make the postseason.

One of the factors behind their slump is the lack of homegrown talent in recent years. Although the current 53-man roster includes 27 Eagles draft picks, just 13 of the 22 players expected to start against New Orleans on Monday night were among them and only six starters were drafted in the last three years.

The Eagles used to be good at drafting. Coach Andy Reid's first pick in 1999 was his best. He set the franchise up for a decade's worth of success by using the No. 2 overall pick on quarterback Donovan McNabb instead of picking quarterbacks Akili Smith, Cade McNown or Daunte Culpepper and ignoring the public outcry to take running back Ricky Williams.

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Subsequent drafts were also successful. The 2002 class included future Pro Bowlers in cornerback Lito Sheppard, safety Michael Lewis and running back Brian Westbrook, as well as cornerback Sheldon Brown. Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy topped the 2009 class.

For the past three years, however, the pickings have been slim. Seven of the 13 Eagles draft picks in 2010 are no longer with the team. Only six of the 11 2011 selections are on the active roster. That doesn't include center Jason Kelce, who is out for the season with a knee injury. All but two of this year's nine picks are on the team, but only defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and linebacker Mychal Kendricks are starters.

Here's a look at some of the good, bad and questionable picks from the last three drafts.

The good

1. 2010: Safety Kurt Coleman (seventh round). While fellow safety Nate Allen (second round) may have more talent, he's been hampered by injuries during his brief career. Coleman was benched briefly last season but has regained his spot as the starting strong safety and has started 20 of the past 22 games. This season he is second on the team in tackles (54) and interceptions (two).

2. 2011: Place-kicker Alex Henery (fourth round). Some fans were upset that the Eagles drafted Henery and let David Akers leave via free agency, but Henery has proven to be extremely reliable. He set a team record last season for field-goal percentage (88.9) by making 24-of-27 kicks. This season, he is 12-for-13 and has made 11 straight.

3. 2012: Linebacker Mychal Kendricks (second round). Kendricks was benched for the start of last week's loss to Atlanta for missing a team meeting and also committed two penalties against the Falcons, but otherwise he has played well as the starting strongside linebacker. He is fourth on the team with 36 tackles and third with six pass knockdowns.

The bad

1. 2010: Cornerback Trevard Lindley (fourth round). The Eagles acquired that draft pick as part of a trade with Cleveland that sent Brown and linebacker Chris Gocong to the Browns. Lindley lasted just one season with the Eagles. He was cut at the end of the 2011 preseason, re-signed and cut again at the end of this preseason. He was brought back for a tryout earlier this week but had not been signed as of Saturday.

2. 2011: Safety Jaiquawn Jarrett (second round). The Temple University product never lived up to the hype. Not only did he struggle to learn the Eagles' defense, he also failed to produce on special teams. Jarrett appeared in 12 games as a rookie and was released after this season's opener at Cleveland.

3. 2012: Wide receiver Marvin McNutt (sixth round). McNutt wowed everyone in the offseason minicamps and early stages of training camp with his athletic ability and was supposed to challenge for a roster spot. But he disappeared in the preseason and is currently on the practice squad.

The jury's still out

1. 2010: Defensive end Brandon Graham (first round). The 13th overall pick in 2010, Graham had his rookie season cut short by a knee injury that required microfracture surgery. He struggled to regain top form last season and was inactive for all but three games, prompting critics to label him a bust. He has played better this season, however, and is splitting time with starting defensive end Jason Babin.

2. 2011: Guard Danny Watkins (first round). The 23rd pick has been inconsistent. He had difficulty learning offensive-line coach Howard Mudd's blocking scheme as a rookie last season but appeared to make progress late in the year. He has been up and down as the starting right guard this year and likely will miss his second straight game Monday with a mysterious ankle injury.

3. 2012: Defensive end Vinny Curry (second round). He has yet to get an opportunity to show his talent. Reid and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles both have mentioned Curry's potential as a pass rusher, but he has been stuck on the bench behind Babin, Trent Cole, Graham and Phillip Hunt. Curry was deactivated for the first seven games.

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