Every year there is a different talent pool in the NFL Draft. For many reasons, Juniors declare for the Draft early and add to the Senior draft class. In 2009, the Philadelphia Eagles showed the benefits of adding underclassmen through the draft with WR Jeremy Maclin and RB LeSean McCoy becoming very solid contributors. Former GM Charley Casserly says "The biggest misconception people have about the draft is that you have a comparable talent pool every year." This is so true as you look at a year by year basis over the past decade contributing the most busts to their respective teams. If you look at the 2005 NFL Draft, there were only a few solid first-round picks. For every DeMarcus Ware, Roddy White, and Aaron Rodgers, there was also a Troy Williamson, Pacman Jones, and Mike Williams.
This year is regarded as a very deep draft at many different positions. The deepest positions include: Wide Receiver, Tight End, Offensive Tackle, Guard, Defensive Tackle, Inside Linebacker, Cornerback, and Safety. This draft also includes very impressive Running Back and Defensive End classes. With a draft deep at this many positions, it allows teams to focus on adding very good players at whatever positions that they wish. I admit, there will be some busts from this class, but I am predicting this draft to be the best in the past five years.
The Philadelphia Eagles are an interesting team because they are so young at many positions. The Eagles already have young playmakers in place, and can look towards the meat of their lineup. This has been a very busy offseason for the Eagles with players rotating in and mostly out. Additions include: Darryl Tapp DE, Marlin Jackson FS, Chad Hall RB/WR, Alex Hall SLB, and Hank Baskett WR. They also re-signed some key players. The long list however is players that they released or traded, such as: Brian Westbrook RB, Will Witherspoon LB, Chris Gocong LB, Sheldon Brown CB, Chris Clemons DE, Darren Howard DE, Jason Babin DE, Alex Smith TE, Kevin Curtis WR, Shawn Andrews OG, and Tracy White LB, and now Donovan McNabb! Obviously, this list shows that the Philadelphia Eagles are turning over their roster, and think that some of these players were declining.
Luckily the Eagles have a very good draft with lots of interesting offensive prospects to choose from three weeks away. Here is a list of potential players that the Eagles could target in the 2010 NFL Draft, and why they would fit the team.
QBMichael Vick would leave.With Donovan McNabb traded Sunday night, they do need another QB. If not Crompton, then...
John Skelton (Fordham) – (Projected Round: 3-6)
John Skelton is always in teams’ quarterback discussions because of his cannon arm. He is athletic, and is very good at quick passes. Skelton definitely needs 2-3 years of development with an NFL team before he is ready, but what he has is potential. If the Eagles went this route, I would see him as the #3 for the next 2-3 years. Over time he could grow into a good #2 quarterback, with a little bit of starter upside.
Shawnbrey McNeal (SMU) – (Projected Round: 4-5)
Many of the Running Backs in this years draft are power, workhorse type running backs. The Eagles signed Mike Bell from New Orleans, who is this type of runner. McNeal is a running back who is a little undersized, but would be a very good third down back for the Eagles. McNeal is a very elusive, cutting runner who can take it the distance. He is a running back who will thrive in a multi-back system, where he won’t have to carry the load. I worry about his pass-blocking a little, which may scare the Eagles off (Lorenzo Booker), but this kid can definitely play. McNeal looks to be a very good pass-catching running back that could line up in the slot, and even has Kick returning experience. Someone this flexible with lots of upside is what the Eagles need to add as their 3rd down running back.
Brandon West (Western Michigan) – (Projected Round: 5-6)
As with Shawnbrey McNeal, West is a smaller back that has a lot of quickness. West is a good pass-catcher, and set the all-time record for all-purpose yards in NCAA division I. West looks to be a very good 3rd-down running back, and can return Kickoffs and Punts.
Golden Tate (Notre Dame) – Compares to Percy Harvin (Projected Round: 1-2)Yes, I realize that the Eagles have Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, and Jason Avant. Golden Tate, is a different type of receiver than the Eagles have. He probably will go in the first round, where I don’t expect the Eagles would take him, but if he’s there in the second, I think he is too much of a talent for them to pass on. Jason Avant is a very good receiver, but the Eagles need a good #4, and it’s hard to argue that Golden Tate will not have a good career in the NFL. He could replace Avant as the slot guy, or be put in different packages. In the WCO run after the catch is so crucial, and that is where Tate is special.
Eric Decker (Minnesota) – Compares to Jordy Nelson (Projected Round: 3-5)
Eric Decker has medical concerns, after his foot surgery in the offseason. Decker has really good hands, and is very similar to Jason Avant on our team. He is very good in the red zone, and would cause fits for opposing defenses if teamed with Avant.
Jordan Shipley (Texas) – Compares to Wes Welker (Projected Round: 3-5)
Shipley was a stud at Texas. He is a very good slot receiver who always makes big plays. The Eagles would need to find ways to get him on the field, because he always finds creases in the defense, and has great hands when the ball is thrown his way.
Nate Byham (Pittsburgh) – (Projected Round: 3-6)
The Eagles have Brent Celek, and Cornelius Ingram on the roster. They are both very good pass catching tight ends. Martin Rucker had a good offseason last year, but the Eagles will look to challenge him. One guy that I look to is Nate Byham. Byham is a different type of tight end than the Eagles currently have, and is more geared towards his blocking. He could pass-block a DE one-on-one if needed, and would be helpful in some redzone sets. Because the Eagles have two pass-catching TE’s on the roster, I see them going with a blocking style tight end in this draft.
Rodger Saffold (Indiana) – Compares to Ebon Britton (Projected Round: 2-3)
Last year the Eagles backup offensive tackles were Fenuki Tupou (IR) and King Dunlap. Because of this they had to reshuffle the line to have Todd Herremans swing out to Tackle whenever Peters was injured. Saffold is a very athletic tackle who can run and pass block well. He had a very good Senior Bowl, and you know that Juan Castillo was watching. Eventually Saffold could be a starting LT or RT for the Eagles, and would be very worthy of a 2nd or 3rd round pick.
One of the reasons that Max Jean-Gilles has struggled with the Eagles is because he is more of a run-blocker who is in a very pass-orientated offense. He has worked with Juan Castillo to improve, but he just isn’t the type of guard that the Eagles need. I see Jean-Gilles being dealt during or before the draft. Saffold is a big OL which is what the Eagles love. Ducasse is a dominant run blocker, but unlike Jean-Gilles, scouts think that he can pass block. He is very explosive, and will be very hard for the Eagles to pass up if he is still there at their second round pick.
Sergio Render is another big guard, who can take over one-on-one with defensive lineman. His problem is that he isn’t the best technically sound lineman (Foot movement, Reaches). He will need a coach like Juan Castillo, who can fix his weaknesses. When coached at the Senior Bowl, he made some good strides, and Juan Castillo had to see Render as a possible project. If his technique improves, he could become a good starting guard in the NFL.
Maurkice Pouncey (Florida) – (Projected Round: 1-2)
Center is an interesting position. Many good centers come from late rounds, and are often undrafted. Teams hesitate to take them in round one, so the Eagles may steer clear of Pouncey until their turn at round 2. If they like him, they may be able to trade back, but still a second rounder is high for a center. I am not sure how good he really is either. He’s athletic, but does not have the best technique (Reaches). If the Eagles are sure that he can be a pro-bowl center in the future, then he is worth the Eagles first round pick. If not, I see the Eagles giving Mike McGlynn a shot to start next year.
- Kyle Middleton