Mike Kafka's signing with Patriots points up Eagles' misfires in 2010 draft

Mike Kafka was one of four players the Eagles drafted in the fourth round in 2010.
Mike Kafka was one of four players the Eagles drafted in the fourth round in 2010. (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer)
Posted: January 26, 2013

The news of Mike Kafka's signing a futures contract with the New England Patriots on Thursday makes this a good time to revisit the Eagles' 2010 draft class - and specifically the fourth round.

That's when Kafka went. He was one of four fourth-round picks for the Eagles.

A fourth-round pick in the NFL has value - but not significant value. There's rougly a 10 percent chance of finding a starter in that round.

Of course, based on those odds, the Eagles had a realistic statistical chance of finding a starter in that round. Yet of the four players drafted in that round - cornerback Trevard Lindley, linebacker Keenan Clayton, Kafka, and tight end Clay Harbor - the Eagles did not find a starter.

In fact, the only player who has stayed on the roster since 2010 has been Harbor.

Overall, the fourth round in 2010 was actually more fruitful than one would expect. Tight end Aaron Hernandez (Patriots) and defensive tackle Geno Atkins (Bengals) have developed into Pro Bowlers. Wide receiver Mike Williams (Buccaneers), linebacker Perry Riley (Redskins), and cornerback Alterraun Verner (Titans) have developed into regular starters.

Tight end Dennis Pitta (Ravens), defensive end Everson Griffen (Vikings), linebacker O'Brien Schofield (Cardinals), and defensive end Corey Wootten (Bears) were consistent contributors this season, as was defensive end Corey Wootten (Bears) this season and wide receiver Jacoby Ford (Raiders) in past seasons.

Maybe Harbor turns into a regular contributor for the Eagles. He appeared promising at times this past season, but he also was inconsistent. He's the closest to joining that list.

The fourth round that year could have been an opportunity for the Eagles because of the number of picks they had. What's interesting is that the Eagles had an impressive haul in the seventh round. That's when they found safety Kurt Coleman and linebacker Jamar Chaney, both of whom have been starters at times (albeit with debatable merits).

Of course, the draft is ultimately remembered for the top picks. The jury is out on the first-round pick, defensive end Brandon Graham, and the second-rounder, safety Nate Allen. Graham came on at the end of this past season and might become the player the Eagles expected when they traded up in the draft to pick him. Allen has been inconsistent, but a new coach and new scheme might be exactly what he needs.

The Eagles let go of their third-pound pick, defensive end Daniel Te'o Nesheim, who became a contributor in Tampa Bay. And then came the fourth round, when the Eagles seemed to whiff on three picks and need something from Harbor to salvage the round.

It's unrealistic to expect a team to hit it on a fourth-round pick, but having four picks increases those odds. Kafka could not beat out Nick Foles this season, and Lindley and Clayton were not able to stay on the roster.

So the last hope remains Harbor.

Contact Zach Berman at zberman@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @ZBerm.

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