Believe it or not, the NFL Draft is only a few months away. Last year, the Eagles surprised many with their 1st-round selection of Jeremy Maclin, but also received praise for their late-round picks of depth. Already, it has become clear that the young players drafted by Philadelphia are blossoming into stars (i.e. Maclin, LeSean McCoy), while some others have their respective levels of potential waiting to be fulfilled. Obviously the Draft is always a highlight of the offseason, for it provides the league and it's 32 franchises with a breath of fresh air, bringing in a wave of new talents and future studs (as well as major busts). In this brief peek at the 2010 version of the Draft, we will take a look at some of the top prospects coming out of college, a few of the players the Eagles may be interested in selecting, as well as a historical examination of the Birds' previous Drafts...
2010 NFL Draft
Round 1: Thurs., April 22, 7:30 p.m. ET
Rounds 2-3: Fri., April 23, 6:30 p.m. ET
Rounds 4-7: Sat., April 24, 10 a.m. ET
Radio City Music Hall, New York
The Top 15 Prospects (compiled according to combined lists of various rankings among several sports networks)
[* = denotes an underclassmen entering the NFL Draft]
- Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
- Eric Berry, FS, Tennessee*
- Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma*
- Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
- Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
- Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State*
- Taylor Mays, SS, USC
- Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
- Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama*
- Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
- C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
- Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech*
- Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida
- Brian Price, DT, UCLA
- Joe Haden, CB, Florida*
Who the Eagles Might Be Interested In
- SS Taylor Mays (pictured): A physical defensive back always looking to make a big collision, Mays is clearly among the best available Safeties in this year's Draft. His pure ability tends to outweigh his sometimes-inconsistent pass coverage, and at 6'3", 230 lbs., he also possesses an advantage in size over opposing players. With questions surrounding the Eagles' current Free Safety spot, the selection of Mays to play Strong Safety wouldn't be a bad idea, especially considering current SS Quintin Mikell is able to play the Free Safety position as well.
- OLB/DE Jerry Hughes: Hughes, who played both Outside Linebacker and Defensive End in various schemes while at TCU, rebounded from a mediocre pair of seasons to begin his collegiate career, and is now one of the hottest pass rushers listed in the Draft. The last two years as a Horned Frog, Hughes racked up a total of 26.5 sacks and proved to be one of the most aggressive blitzers in the nation. His primary weakness is defense against the run, for he often times gets tangled up with proficient offensive linemen. However, his ability to play DE and LB is valuable, and the Eagles need help at both spots.
- OLB Sean Weatherspoon: Unlike Hughes, Weatherspoon played his entire career in the NCAA as an Outside Linebacker, but still had arguably the same level of success. While he is not the biggest and most intimidating defender, nor is he the most athletic and skilled, Weatherspoon simply gets the job done. As a full-time starter for Missouri University, the graduate led the team in tackles for 3 years, and capped off his college tenure with a total mark of 388 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, and 4 interceptions. With a lack of depth at the LB positions, Philadelphia is considered to be a prime candidate to select Weatherspoon.
- DE Greg Hardy: Although there are top-notch Defensive Ends entering the Draft such as Derrick Morgan and Carlos Dunlap, Hardy is listed instead, because he seems to fit the mold of what type of defensive lineman the Eagles are looking for. Besides, if they were to select someone like Jerry Hughes, there is always the possibility that he would line up as an end. Nevertheless, Hardy is an explosive player off the line, and tends to give excellent first and second efforts on pass rushes. The primary issue with the quick product of Ole Miss is his struggle to maintain a balance against opposing runs. He has also dealt with some injuries in his past, so that could also be a potential weakness.
Eagles' Previous 3 Drafts
|5||Victor Harris||Virginia Tech|
|6||Brandon Gibson||Washington State|
|7||Paul Fanaika||Arizona State|
|2||Trevor Laws||Notre Dame|
|3||Bryan Smith||McNeese State|
|4||Quintin Demps||Texas-El Paso|
|6||Joe Mays||North Dakota State|
|2||Victor Abiamiri||Notre Dame|
|3||Tony Hunt||Penn State|
|6||Rashad Barksdale||Albany State (NY)|
And because the Eagles are slated to pick in the 24th spot of the 1st round this year, take a look at how previous selections from the 24 slot have gone around the league:
2009 - DT Peria Jerry (missed most of rookie season with injury but remains high-potential defender)
2008 - RB Chris Johnson (topped the unimaginable total of 2,000 rushing yards while earning an Offensive Player of the Year and Pro-Bowl awards in only his second year)
2007 - SS Brandon Meriweather (earned Pro-Bowl appearance in 2009)
2006 - CB Johnathan Joseph (notched 6 interceptions in '09 as part of dangerous Cincinnati secondary)
2004 - RB Steven Jackson - (recorded 5 straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons while going to a pair of Pro-Bowls)
2003 - TE Dallas Clark - (has played 5 consecutive seasons in which he caught at least 30 passes, and has also earned a Pro-Bowl appearance and gone over 1,000 yards receiving once)
2002 - FS Ed Reed - (one of the dominant forces of the league who has 6 Pro-Bowl appearances as an intimidating Safety)
The Draft is only a few months away! While there are still plenty of moves to be made and things to be accomplished before that, you can't hope but wonder what is beginning to form within the Eagles' organization in terms of what they plan on doing in April.