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Monday, April 20, 2009

The Eagles Bring Some Intrigue to Their NFL Draft

The Philadelphia Eagles have made the upcoming NFL Draft a bit intriguing for Philly fans. Nearly everyone in America knew that they were going to pick an offensive lineman with one of their two first round picks, and in essence they did with trading the 28th pick in the draft to the Bills for 2-time All-Pro Jason Peters. It won’t be know until the season starts whether Peters is the solid replacement to Tra Thomas that the Eagles organization thinks that he is or the guy who gave up the 11+ sacks last year, at least according to some stat geeks. Regardless though, this trade with Buffalo only increases a great deal of speculation on what will happen with their 21st pick.

At this point, I have no clue, but I suspect that they will draft a defensive lineman. I would be happily surprised if they picked a running back like Knowshon Moreno (left) or Beanie Wells (right) to complement Bryan Westbrook, but my gut tells me that they will leave that for the second or third round and get a second tier back. My eyebrows will also be raised a bit if they pick up Brandon Pettigrew (below) should he fall that far. No, look for the Birds to go ho-hum and select Tyson Jackson out of LSU and stick him in a rotation with Victor Abiamiri.
But what if….what if the Eagles see what’s coming down the road…an aging Westbrook, a young QB entering his third year, a dynamic wideout that makes defensive backs buckle. What if they see the opportunity to pick up that third piece to the offensive puzzle? A guy that will create a reason for safeties to move up and play the run, or a tight end that needs double coverage. This pick could be the one guy who will take us truly to the next generation of Philadelphia Eagles, the post McNabb, post Westbrook, and reluctantly, the post Dawkins Eagles.

To me, either Moreno or Wells will do, for that matter you can add Pettigrew too, but I would rather see one of the two top RBs in an Eagles uniform next season. Philadelphia replaced both of their offensive tackles with guys who are arguably better at run blocking than pass blocking, but that might not mean much since that was the case with Thomas and Jon Runyan. We will know just what they will do this Saturday. Perhaps this Eagles regime has seen the light, or perhaps not. Maybe they will finally understand what the fans mean when they say “playmaker,” or maybe they’ll risk ruining the franchise just to prove that their philosophy is right.

The other option they have of course is to trade their pick. I won’t give them the ability to trade out of the first round, but instead send it to Arizona for Anquan Boldin. That will enable the Eagles to slide Kevin Curtis inside where he belongs and solidify what will be the best receiving group, dare I say it, in the NFL. It wasn’t too long ago when Eagle fans had to bear witness to James Thrash and Todd Pinkston, but now on the precipice of what could be the last chance for Donovan and Andy Reid to make it back to the Super Bowl together, the Eagles might be prepared to go all out offensively, not unlike they did with T.O., only without all the drama.

The suspense is building and we might end up with something exciting or horribly disappointing. I am trying to think positive and believe that they will pick someone who will make the immediate impact and will help make the enigma that is DeSean Jackson, better. If only I could will them to select someone other than a lineman and to stimulate the fan base. Although they haven’t acknowledged that they are rebuilding, the letting go of Brian Dawkins, Tra Thomas, and realistically Jon Runyan strikes another chord. Let’s make it official and draft the replacement to the guy who has been most important player on the team for the last couple of years, and get the best running back available to take over the reigns for B-West.

In other news regarding the Philadelphia Eagles….Cornerback Sheldon Brown wants out, especially after Joselio Hanson’s new contract. Brown has been the most consistent DB since the departure of Troy Vincent. Also, does anyone get the feeling that the Eagles are scared that Shawn Andrews might leave the game? Andrews missed all of last year and it was questionable whether or not he still wanted to play football. To try to ensure that he comes back the Birds signed his brother Stacy at the opening of free agency. Now they trade for his college roommate in Peters. Stay tuned, Philly might be signing two of his uncles, a second cousin, and his 3rd grade crush, just to make sure he’s back on the O-Line in ’09.

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