On The Edge Blog

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Eagles draft preview!

We all knew that the Eagles weren’t going to select two players in the first round of the NFL Draft this weekend, we just didn’t know that they were going to wind up with a two-time Pro Bowl left tackle, and still have the 21st pick in the first round.

When the Eagles traded for Buffalo’s Jason Peters, they solidified their offensive line, while simultaneously guaranteeing that their draft weekend would be considered a success.

It would have taken both of the Eagles’ first round picks, and maybe more, to get high enough to draft either Jason Smith or Eugene Monroe to play left tackle, but the Eagles only spent one first round pick to get a proven player in the prime of his career, instead of potentially the next Robert Gallery or Mike Williams. By the way, if those two names don’t make you shudder, how about our own offensive line busts, such as Kevin Allen, Bernard Williams, Antoine Davis and Winston Justice. Doesn’t that make you cherish the fact that we don’t have to sit back and hope a lineman develops?

Now that the offensive line has six guys fighting for five spots (with Nick Cole pushing Todd Herremans and Jamaal Jackson for a starting position), the Eagles probably won’t be taking an offensive lineman before the fourth round. This means the Eagles might use their first few picks to actually draft people that excite the fan base!

Here is how I handicap the potential options for the Eagles on Saturday:
* Stay at 21 and draft Knowshon Moreno, Darrius Heyward-Bey (four inches taller than DeSean Jackson, and ran a faster 40-time), or Kenny Britt - 40 percent.
* Use second day picks to trade up a few spots and draft running back Chris “Beanie” Wells - 20 percent.
* Collect more picks and trade out of the first round to draft a lesser running back - 20 percent.
* Draft tight end Brandon Pettigrew out of Oklahoma State—10 percent.
* Trade the 21st pick plus either a third round pick or Reggie Brown for Anquan Boldin—10 percent.

Personally, I would love to see Heyward-Bey, Britt or Boldin catching passes from Donovan McNabb, and then have them use a second round pick on a running back like Andre Brown from North Carolina State. Brown is 224 pounds and runs a sub-4.5 40-yard dash, but more importantly, returned kickoffs in college, which is now a vacant position because Quintin Demps is too valuable to play on special teams.

After running back and wide receiver, the Eagles need to come away with another cornerback—in case Sheldon Brown sulks his way through training camp—along with a big defensive end and a tight end.

Draft weekend sleepers:
* Sean Smith, CB/S: I mentioned this 6-4, 214-pound defensive back on WBCB in March, and I’m convinced that he is the steal of the draft no matter when he gets picked. Smith, a junior out of Utah, would be the bigger than any wide receiver in the NFC East, while faster than most, running a 4.49 40-yard dash. The Eagles would have to move up to the early to mid-second round to get Smith, but he would also give the Eagles the upper hand in their showdown with Sheldon Brown.
* Ramses Barden, WR: At 6-6, 229 pounds, Barden immediately becomes a huge red zone target for whichever team selects him in the fourth or fifth round on Sunday. Barden hauled in 18 touchdowns in his senior year, scoring at least one touchdown in every game for Cal Poly, and scored 50 TDs in his four seasons with the Mustangs.
* Devin Moore, RB: At 5-9, 185 pounds, Moore isn’t the typical size for a running back, but he reminds me of San Diego’s Darren Sproles. He runs a 4.4 40-yard dash, and put up 1,301 yards as a senior for a Wyoming team that always found itself trailing by double-digits.

Like the On the Edge Blog? Hear more of my opinions about Philadelphia sports every Friday at 3:30 p.m. on WBCB 1490 AM during the Coffee with Kahuna show, where, this week, we will preview the NFL Draft weekend, and throw in some Flyers and Sixers playoff analysis.


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Name: Matthew Fleishman, Yardley News Editor
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