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Every year we fall for it. Of course, it is the hype that surrounds the NFL draft. The build-up, the hopes that some glaring hole will be filled. The promise of trading up for an elite prospect. Every. Single. Year.

Then the big day comes and the Eagles pull the rug right out from under us. First, the Eagles traded entirely out of the first round. At #19 they didn't like Jeff Otah enough to stay there, so they got what I think is pretty good value for the pick (a 2nd rounder, a 4th rounder and a 1st rounder in 2009 from Carolina). Fine, maybe they didn't like Otah as the eventual replacement for Tra Thomas or Runyan, but they did trade the pick to a team who then took a player who filled a need on their roster.

Fast forward to the second round, pick #43. This is the pick the Eagles got from Carolina in their earlier deal. Keep in mind that not a single receiver was off the board when this pick came up, and they still had several other needs to fill. A big need was for a safety. Again, the Eagles traded down, this time the Vikings took a safety, Tyrell Johnson, with the pick that would have been the Eagles'. Keeping score so far? Two picks traded, two players drafted by other teams with those picks at positions of need by the Eagles.

Finally, at pick number 47 the Eagles made a selection, Trever Laws, DT from Notre Dame. The scouting reports have some good things to say about Laws, great motor, good technique, etc. But, this being the Eagles, he's an under-sized defensive lineman. Wonderful.

The Eagles also held on to their own second-round pick, number 49. This pick I have no problem with. They selected DeSean Jackson, a small, super-quick receiver/returner from Cal. How much he'll contribute as a receiver is anyone's guess, but he should bring stability to the kick return game, and more importantly, he brings game-changing speed to the position. No more Reno Mahe and Greg Lewis back there returning punts. His speed could also provide a legit deep threat for McNabb, although I'm not holding my breath that he'll see much action at WR this season. He's really, really small.

I think this pick signifies that once again, Andy Reid and the Eagles are happy with their receiving corps. They don't seem to think that a physical receiver who can get off the line against bump-and-run coverage is essential for offensive success. If they were, plenty of big receivers were available here and at #47 who would've fit the bill. It's also worth noting that Jackson was the only skill position player drafted on the offensive side of the ball. They did, however, make a trade for Lorenzo Booker, a 3rd round pick in 2007 by Miami. Booker could turn out to be a nice addition, he's cut from the Westbrook mold, only without the power. He's also a kick returner, which will come in handy.

The rest of the draft was pretty unremarkable. They Eagles drafted solid guys, you'd think, but no one who really jumps out at you as a huge upgrade. The possible exception being safety Quentin Demps, who has exceptional speed for the position.

I don't really have a problem with the trade out of the first round. They got excellent value for that pick. I do, however, have a big problem with trading down again. At #43 they could've had their pick of wide receivers, or even taken the safety Minnesota wound up taking with the pick. I'm sure Laws' motor is just as high as everyone is saying, but he's still undersized, a theme among defensive linemen for this team.

Here's the full draft, with a quick comment or two about each:

#47 - Trever Laws - Undersized DT. Could see decent action in the tackle rotation this year.
#49 - DeSean Jackson - Tiny, explosive receiver/returner. Should immediately become the punt returner, and better see the field as a deep threat on offense.
#80 - Bryan Smith - This guy is under-sized to play outside linebacker in the NFL, let alone defensive end.
#109 - Michael McGlynn - A guard in college, potentially a replacement for Runyan down the road at right tackle. Injury concerns. An added wrinkle here is that McGlynn has experience as a long snapper.
#117 - Quentin Demps - See above for comments. If the Eagles decide to keep Lito Sheppard and move Sheldon Brown to starting safety, I'd expect Demps to be brought in as the second safety in nickel and dime situations.
#131 - Jack Ikegwuonu - A questionable cornerback prospect when healthy, except he isn't healthy. Torn ACL means he probably misses this entire season. Doesn't have ideal size or speed, plus there are some character issues.
#184 - Michael Gibson - Another guard with durability questions.
#200 - Joe Mays - A smallish inside linebacker with less-than-ideal speed. (notice a theme, size-wise?)
#203 - Andrew Studebaker - Another tweener defensive end/outside LB.
#230 - King Dunlap - Cool name. A project offensive tackle.

As always, the Eagles took the long view with this draft. With their first two picks they addressed needs, hopefully one of the offensive linemen will pan out. Demps has a chance to contribute at safety, but the best thing about this draft is still probably the extra first rounder they picked up next season. It kind of makes you wonder what the future of this team looks like. Is Andy more worried about next year's draft because it's projected to be deeper, or is he already looking forward to the Kevin Kolb era and all the pieces he's going to need to surround him? I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and lean toward the former, but I have to say, it would've been nice to see more of a go-for-broke attitude this season. Westrbook and McNabb aren't getting any younger.
by Brian on Apr 28 2008
Tags: NFL Draft |