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Henery release stirs ghosts of 2011 draft

8/30/2014

PHILADELPHIA -- The 2011 NFL draft was not a particularly good one for the Philadelphia Eagles. The release this weekend of kicker Alex Henery, their fourth-round pick in 2011, underscores just how bad the Eagles’ decision-making was that weekend.

"We’ve talked about it a lot," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said. "If you don’t learn from what we did in those couple (2010, 2011) of drafts, and try to figure out the answers of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, then you’re not in the right business. As you look at that, and where kickers have gone, you’ve got to learn from it."

Henery was the 120th overall pick in the 2011 draft. He was taken while running back Bilal Powell, tight end Julius Thomas, running back Jacquizz Rodgers and wide receiver Denarius Moore were still on the board. Those four have scored a total of 33 touchdowns in the past three seasons.

The Eagles got their starting center, Jason Kelce, in the sixth round of that draft. Otherwise, it was a pretty grim exercise.

First-round pick Danny Watkins, a guard from Baylor, was taken one spot ahead of Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan. Jordan has 21 1/2 career sacks. Watkins is out of football.

Second-round pick Jaiquawn Jarrett, a safety from Temple University, lasted two seasons with the Eagles. He is now with the New York Jets.

Third-round pick Curtis Marsh was released by the Eagles this weekend. Marsh has been released before and spent some time with the Bengals last season. He has never started an NFL game.

Henery was one of two fourth-round picks. Linebacker Casey Matthews was the other. Matthews is still with the team, but is a part-time defensive player and special teams regular.

Of the two fifth-round picks, running back Dion Lewis spent two years with the Eagles and was with Cleveland last season. Center Julian Vandervelde has been a backup with the Eagles and was released after injuring his back this summer.

Linebackers Brian Rolle and Greg Lloyd were taken in the sixth and seventh rounds, respectively. Both were out of football in 2013. Fullback Stanley Havili, a late seventh-round pick, is with the Indianapolis Colts.

That 2011 draft helped seal Andy Reid’s fate as head coach of the Eagles. By the end of the 2013 season, Reid’s team was 4-12 and he was out of a job. Eagles owner Jeff Lurie looked at the decision-making over the previous few years and concluded that Reid was responsible. Roseman remained as general manager and was part of the decision to hire Chip Kelly to replace Reid.

"We spent a lot of time figuring that out and making some substantial changes in our process," Roseman said. "I think about the draft in a kind of broad-scope way."