The final day of the draft can be about several things. For the Eagles, it wasn't just building on the immediate future, it was putting pieces in place that could make an impact down the road.
The Eagles made four selections on Day 3 and acquired a future pick in a trade with the Bills on the final day of the draft, finishing off a fairly successful weekend.
Day 3 started right away for the Eagles, as their first pick was the first pick of the afternoon at 101. The Eagles took secondary help first, selecting Florida cornerback Jaylen Watkins with the first pick.
"One of the things that led us to this pick is his versatility, because he has played both," head coach Chip Kelly said. "He’s got extremely high football intelligence. He’s a kid who played safety, played corner, played nickel, obviously has the speed to play corner, but obviously we have evidence of him playing safety and doing it at a high level. He could be quarterback of the defense because of his intelligence."
Watkins talked about how his study of film helps him improve and how he does focus on the defense as a whole when analyzing game film.
"I remember watching film of myself and I was able to correct my mistakes and other peoples’ mistakes," Watkins said. "I was able to recognize it and point out what that person should have been doing or how the defense could work. Think it definitely showed how I understand the defense."
With the second pick of the day, the Eagles stayed on defense and selected their second Oregon player of the draft, taking defensive lineman Taylor Hart.
"A relentless football player, obviously what we’re looking for at the defensive end spot," Kelly said. "He’s got length, has started a million games for us, continued to play at a high level after we left, has a great understanding of what we’re doing. Great young man, special kid, gave everything he had when he was there and he’ll do the same thing for us."
"I think it’s a huge advantage, going into a team already knowing what the defensive line coach wants," Hart said. "Obviously it’s changed a little bit but kind of understanding the defense and doing it in college is a pretty good advantage to have."
Later in the fifth round, the Eagles selected safety Ed Reynolds from Stanford.
"Really happy to get him. He’s grown up around the game," Kelly said. "You can sense that when you’re around him. One thing about Ed, you can sense how much he really loves playing football. Physical, hard-nosed, what you’re looking for."
"2012 was kind of my breakout year and it was the year I made a lot of game-changing plays. Then going into this past year, I kind of knew it was going to be hard to match those, but that was my goal, and a lot of quarterbacks I played stayed away from me, tried to attack our corners," Reynolds said. "But in the end I thought I became a more overall productive player this past year as a sure tackler. Just becoming an all-around better football player."
Finally, the Eagles selected defensive lineman Beau Allen of Wisconsin in the seventh round to close out the draft.
"He was taught in the same style we teach and has a good understanding of the 3-4 defense," Kelly said. "We were kind of holding our breath, and we’re fortunate enough we got him."
Overall, the Eagles stuck to need and really focused on players that would be known fits in Kelly's system rather than draft the best available player. With perspective, this is a solid draft for the Eagles, especially considering the two offensive players the Eagles added and the defensive players the Eagles brought in whether to play regularly or for depth purposes.
This is Chip Kelly's team and he made that fully known on Draft weekend. It remains to be seen how many of these picks work out and the Draft grades for the Eagles may not be good. Yes, drafting Marcus Smith in the first round was a bit of a reach and they probably reached at several other picks as well. But they selected wisely, considering all factors instead of going with the best player on their board.
That logic was very difficult to understand on Day 1, especially when all six of their targeted players were off the board at pick 22 and they didn't have a backup plan. But in every other pick, that logic worked very well and on Day 3, they used the picks wisely and focused on the area that needed the most improvement.
It creates a lot of competition for training camp and the preseason which can only be a good thing for the Eagles.
Kevin Durso is a contributor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.