Eagles' Reid takes blame for drafting Jarrett in second round

Jaiquawn Jarrett
Jaiquawn Jarrett
Posted: September 14, 2012

A day after the Eagles released Jaiquawn Jarrett, their 2011 second-round draft pick, Andy Reid admitted that he reached in selecting the safety.

"That's my responsibility. I misevaluated that," the Eagles coach said Wednesday. "I think one of the key things is when you make a mistake for your system that you correct it and you can't let your ego get in the way of that. You just can't do it."

Earlier in the day during his scheduled news conference, Reid was reluctant to talk about Jarrett's departure. But on second thought he later told two reporters that he was ultimately responsible for the wasted high draft pick.

"I have final say on all the picks," said Reid, who is also vice president of football operations. "You're going to find ones that fit into your system and some that don't. You're going to be right sometimes. You're going to be wrong sometimes. That doesn't mean that the kid can't play in this league for somebody."

Jarrett was chosen 54th overall and was viewed by some at the time to be more of a middle-round talent because of his relatively slow 40-yard dash (4.62 seconds) at the scouting combine. The only player drafted higher than Jarrett to be released has been Colts guard Ben Ijalana, selected 49th overall, who was waived-injured after he tore a knee ligament twice.

When the Eagles selected Jarrett out of Temple, they said they were getting a sound tackler who could be a feared hitter in the NFL. Reid compared him to Brian Dawkins. But safeties who play the game like Dawkins are becoming obsolete as the league cracks down on big hits to improve player safety.

Jarrett, 22, never seemed to be close to making such a hit, however. He lacked NFL foot speed, and the Eagles' scheme had him playing as much in center field as in the box, where he thrived in college.

In January, general manager Howie Roseman said that the Eagles had altered their philosophy and were committed to taking the best players available in the draft. Roseman, whose first draft class as GM came in 2010, and Reid have since said that the 2012 class reflected that change.

Of the Eagles' 24 picks from the 2010-11 drafts, 14 were defensive players. Eight remain on the roster. Safeties Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman are the only starters in the group. Defensive end Brandon Graham, the Eagles' top pick in 2010, played only four snaps Sunday.

The Eagles also gave up on a high draft pick in 2011. Defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim - a 2010 third-round pick - was signed by Tampa Bay off the Eagles' practice squad last year.

"Both those guys are my fault, absolutely my fault," Reid said. "If you want to bolster the defense, which we were trying to do, sometimes you put yourself in a position where maybe you stretch it. I goofed on that."

A second-year safety, Jarrett played 12 games last season, starting two, but struggled. He got off to a shaky start in the preseason against the Steelers but made the team. The last straw appeared to be Sunday's opener against the Browns when Jarrett played 25 plays on special teams and did little.

The release of Jarrett was the earliest Reid has cut the cord on a second-round pick. In October 2002, the Eagles waived linebacker Quinton Caver a year and a half after he was drafted 55th overall.

With Jarrett out of the picture, the Eagles have four safeties on the roster. David Sims and Colt Anderson are the backups to Allen and Coleman. Reid said Wednesday that Anderson, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in December, would be back for Sunday's game against the Ravens.

Anderson, one of the Eagles' best special-teams players over the last two seasons, could also be the top reserve.

"I am comfortable playing safety," Anderson said.

The Eagles traded for Sims, a 2011 undrafted rookie who has yet to play an NFL down, on Aug. 31.

The Eagles have "the same defense as Cleveland," Sims said. "It's pretty [much] the same. All I have to do is transfer the terminology and I'll be fine."

Contact Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745, jmclane@phillynews.com or on Twitter @Jeff_McLane.


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