We were fortunate to have the chance to interview Tommy Lawlor a few days ago, regarding the 2010 NFL Draft. If you don't know Tommy, know this: He is twice as a good as Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay....combined.
Or at least I think so. Tommy is well known and well liked by the Eagle fans that dwell the Philadelphia Eagles message board. He is the "go-to-guy" when it comes to draft questions and Eagles’ game reviews. His evaluations of Eagle games and players are very detailed and engrossing.
Because Tommy Lawlor knows his pigskin, I decided to conduct an interview with the "Eagles’ Einstein" to hear his thoughts on the Philadelphia Eagles and the 2010 NFL Draft! Enjoy! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Only 9 days away from the draft, what are the top needs for the Philadelphia Eagles?
Tommy: The Eagles allowed 27 TD passes last year. They must improve the secondary. I don't think anyone trusts Ellis Hobbs as the starting right corner. That is priority number one. Free safety is still a major question mark. Macho Harris was okay as a rookie, but hardly played so well that you feel comfortable with him as the solution. Quintin Demps needs to bounce back in a major way. Marlin Jackson is still a mystery. We really need to bring in a good free safety. Defensive end needs at least a mid-round player for depth. Weakside linebacker must be addressed. We need depth at O-line, defensive tackle, running back, and wide receiver.
2. As of now, the Eagles have 11 draft picks to work with. Most likely, the Eagles will not use all of these picks on players. If the Eagles do decide to trade up in the 1st round, which prospect do you think they would target?
Tommy: The key trade-up targets are safeties Eric Berry and Earl Thomas. I feel pretty strong in saying that the Eagles are like a lot of teams that covet Berry. Thomas is more of a mystery. Is he worth pick 10, 15, or 20? Is there a possibility he lasts to 24? There is a real split in the scouting community on him. Older guys who value tackling and run defense see Earl as a 2nd round player. Younger guys that value playmakers in the passing game think he's a top flight prospect. Grades on Earl are all over the place. Idaho guard Mike Iupati could be a player that Andy Reid loves and would move up for. Defensive end Derrick Morgan could be a target if he slides outside the Top 10.
3. In recent drafts, the Eagles traded some of their picks for veteran NFL players (Ellis Hobbs, Lorenzo Booker). If the Eagles decide to go that route again this year, what are some possible names they could and should target?
Tommy: The two positions where I think the Eagles could make a move are cornerback and linebacker. The one cornerback that's on the market that might make some sense is Richard Marshall of Carolina. They have some young players in place. They don't have a 1st round pick this year. Marshall won't get them a 1st, but he could help by adding some more firepower in the draft. The big name at linebacker is Derrick Johnson of the Chiefs. He fell out of favor with the new coaching staff and mainly played in the nickel defense. Johnson is still very talented. He also has played all 3 linebacker spots. You value that kind of versatility. Another name I'll just throw out there is A.J. Hawk. He isn't an ideal fit in the Packers 3-4 defense, but I'm not sure if he's on the trade block or not.
4. Who is your sleeper prospect that doesn't get much media hype but will be an excellent addition to the Birds?
Tommy: One interesting sleeper idea is Arizona State linebacker Travis Goethel. If we miss on taking a weakside 'backer early on, we could go for a guy like Goethel later in the draft. He has some size and is an aggressive, physical player that fights lead blockers. We like those kind of linebackers. He's also a good athlete and could help us on special teams.
5. Who would you rather have the Eagles select?
CB Kyle Wilson or CB Devin McCourty
Tommy: Wilson is a complete corner and definite 1st rounder. McCourty is a good prospect, but a notch below. The question is whether Wilson lasts to pick 24.
DE Everson Griffen or DE Carlos Dunlap
Tommy: Griffen is a junior with a lot of talent, but who never seemed to put it all together. Dunlap had a very up and down season. He had a DUI prior to the SEC title game. He didn't have the strongest Combine. Griffen is the safer choice.
OL Mike Iupati or C Maurkice Pouncey
Tommy: Iupati is a player with dominant potential. He is the best finisher among the blockers in the draft. He wants you on the ground. Or in it. Pouncey is the top center prospect. He is a good player, but I don't seem as high on him as others. I would definitely take Iupati.
S Eric Berry or S Earl Thomas
Tommy: Berry is a complete safety. He can play the run and pass. He can cover man or zone. He can blitz. He is a playmaker. He can play in the box. Earl is very good in coverage and a good playmaker, but his hitting and tackling is very inconsistent. He was terrible against the run in the national title game.
6. Is there any chance that former Florida QB Tim Tebow gets drafted by Philadelphia?
Tommy: Never say never when it comes to Andy Reid and quarterbacks. Tebow could be a role player and someone to develop so that we could trade him in a year or two. I don't see this as likely, but it is possible. Any rumors about the Eagles and Tebow could be spread behind the scenes by the Eagles. They would do this so that teams might aggressively trade up to 24 or 37, depending on how far Tebow falls. Someone who covets Tebow might pay a handsome price to get him.
7. With the 24th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select...
Tommy: CB Kyle Wilson, Boise State.
8. Open forum: Say anything you would like to say that hasn't been mentioned yet, regarding the 2010 Draft Class and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Tommy: This is a deep draft class. The Eagles have plenty of picks. Expect the team to be active, but not to do too much trading up. Last year was a weak draft. The Eagles didn't take a player in the 3rd or 4th round. That won't happen this year. The team could trade back, starting at 24. You can acquire additional mid round picks and then deal up in those rounds if you want. The Eagles do need to add at least 6 players in the first 4 rounds. We have holes to fill.