Colts GM Ryan Grigson worked in the Eagles’ front office from 2004 to 2011. The Eagles, under Andy Reid and Co, traditionally tried to build up the trenches through the draft, as Reid loved spending 1st round picks on defensive linemen. In his 14 year tenure in Philly, Andy Reid had 12 first round picks. Half of them were spent on defensive linemen:
- 2000: DT Corey Simon
- 2003: DE Jerome McDougle
- 2005: DT Mike Patterson
- 2006: DT Brodrick Bunkley
- 2010: DE Brandon Graham
- 2012: DT Fletcher Cox
That list does not include DT Trevor Laws, who was the Eagles’ first pick of the 2008 draft, but was in the 2nd round. Not only did Andy draft 6 defensive linemen, but he traded up to get three of them (McDougle, Graham, and Cox).
In Grigson’s first draft last year, 7 of his 10 picks were spent on offensive skill position players:
However, Grigson noted the importance of building up the DL at the Combine:
“Defensive linemen are a hot commodity,” said Grigson. “That’s why they make big dollars and that’s why they go so high in the draft. That’s why they go so high in the first round…”
“Certain positions are unique. There’s only so many 3-technique body types. There’s only so many 5-technique body types out there. We’re still evolving from the 4-3 to the 3-4. We have some really good players that don’t exactly fit that scheme, but we found niches for them. Our coaches have been flexible enough to be able to create spots for them. I still think we’ll hold fast to ‘best player’ because at 24 you don’t ever want to reach. Who’d ever thought the guys would be there at the top of 2 or the type of 3 for that matter? We never dreamed that some of those guys would still be available at the top of two. I think that will be the same case this year at 24.”
Datone Jones was a very impressive player at the Senior Bowl this year. He has the kind of power you like to set the edge as a 5-technique, and he’s a quickness mismatch for most guards as an interior pass rusher. He played a multitude of positions at UCLA, so he’s versatile, and he is widely regarded as a high-character guy.
Grigson re-channels his Eagles roots and goes DL in the 1st, a year after loading up on the offense.