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The 06 Draft Class, A look back

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Last year on my old Eagles blog I wrote a fairly simple post titled "What I want from this year's draft class." I gave what I thought were reasonable expectations for the next 3 years for every single draft pick from the Eagles 06 draft. I figured that since we are less than a month from this year's draft, we should look back and see how last year's draft haul met my expectations for last year and how likely are they to meet what I expected from this year...

Remember, this is what I expected from each guy to be considered a "successful pick."

Since it's lengthy, click Read More for the full player by player review..

However, my overall review is this...

Not encouraging, but too early to call this draft a failure. 5 of our 7 picks gave us absolutely nothing at all. There were mitigating circumstances that make it a little more acceptable considering 2 were on IR(Gocong, Bloom), one we knew wouldn't play(Justice), and one was unlikely to win a job(Jean-Gilles). Bunkley is no doubt a disappointment so far, but Omar Gaither is certainly a pleasant surprise. So of the two guys we got a good look at, one exceeded expectations.

I'll be looking back at this draft class somewhere around the midpoint of this coming season and before the draft next year. Hopefully as Bleeding Green Nation continues to exist and grow we'll be able to keep looking back on this draft class and future ones.

Broderick Bunkley

What I wanted

Bunkley needs to win a starting job. If not in training camp, at least at some point in his first season. He's a high enough first pick that it's more than reasonable to expect him to start.

What we got

Almost nothing. It was more than reasonable to expect the #15 pick in the draft to start and he didn't. At this point there's no other way to look at Bunkley's first year than as a disappointment. He missed the first 29 practices of training camp, he barely played, and wasn't even on the active roster for several games.

A look ahead to year 2

In year 2 Bunkley needs to be a full time starter from day one.

That one remains to be seen. The Eagles have criticized his attitude that he hasn't taken his move to the pro level seriously enough. They've also told him that he needs to improve his technique and not try to rely so heavily on brute strength to take on blockers.

He needs to take a big step this year to get himself on track. He's saying the right things and has seemed to acknowledge his rookie mistakes... we'll see.

Winston Justice

What I wanted

I've heard rumblings that maybe Winston Justice could line up to be an extra blocker from the TE position, especially on the goalline. That would be interesting, but overall it doesn't matter to me if he doesn't play alot. Normally you'd want a 2nd round pick to get significant time, but this is a special situation where he is here as the heir apparent to a pro bowler in the left tackle formerly known as Tra Thomas

What we got

Nothing. He didn't play at all. Like I predicted, that wasn't all that unexpected.

A look ahead to year 2

In year 2, Justice needs to be starting. William(Tra) Thomas' contract is up this year and it almost a given that he will be gone for the 07/08 season. Justice was drafted specifically to be the Left Tackle of this team ideally for the rest of his career starting next year and he needs to do that to be a successful pick.

Apparently I was misinformed back then and Thomas has another year on his deal. Unless he's traded on draft day, it appears as though he'll be back to start at LT. William Thomas had a great year last year and frankly I'm fine with seeing him keep that job. If he does, I don't think it necessarily reflects bad on Justice... Still, Winston should be trying to step up and take that job from Thomas.

Chris Gocong.

What I wanted

Gocong needs to get himself on the field at least situationally, it's okay if he doesn't start right away. He's learning a new position and he's from a lower division in college... That said, this guy has a natural knack for getting at the QB and he should be able to step on the field and go after the QB from the SAM spot in certain situations right away.

What we got

Nothing. He spent the year on IR. Reports were that he had trouble making the transition from college DE to pro LB.

A look ahead to year 2

Chris Gocong should be starting at the point. A full year should be plenty for him to learn the position and get into the lineup, plus Dhani Jones in all likelihood should be out of town by then. Nothing will be standing in Gocong's way and unless he's a flat out disappointment he should be able to beat out whatever training camp body the team brings in to challenge him for the SAM spot.

Well, they brought in more than just a "training camp body" in Takeo Spikes... Although it's unclear where Spikes will play, chances are it's going to be whatever side a young LB doesn't step up and take. If Gocong steps up and wins this job he's right back on track.

Max Jean-Gilles

What I wanted

Max Jean Gilles should at least make a strong challenge to start at LG, but if he doesn't this year it's okay. Herremens seems to have the inside track on that position, but MJG should at least put up a good training camp battle and hopefully get in some games on the goal line.

What we got

Nothing. I'm not sure how strong of a push he made to win the LG job, but he didn't. Like I said though, that's okay.

A look ahead to year 2

I'd like Gilles to start(however if Herremens is good I won't mind if he doesn't)

I suppose I feel the same way. For the success of the team I want the best guy at that spot. For the success of the draft pick, Max should be challenging for a starting job.

Jason Avant

What I wanted

If Jason Avant can just get on the field some times I'll be happy, I'm not expecting him to be a huge contributor in his rookie year.

What we got

Basically just what I wanted. He got on the field at times, did some things. Not much though. He was right on target for where I expected him to be last year.

A look ahead to year 2

Avant should at least be a #3 and be catching 30 or so balls, which good for a decent #3 WR

We'll see. It looks like it will be between Avant, Baskett, & Lewis for that #3 spot. He has just as good a chance to win that job as anyone else. Since he's the highest draft pick(the only guy drafted) of those three he should have the talent to win that job.

Jeremy Bloom

What I wanted

Bloom needs to win the PR or KR job. I don't care if he ever gets a snap at WR in year one, but he should at the very least be returning kicks for this team full time.

What we got

Nothing. He spent the year on IR. Officially it was because of a hamstring injury, unofficially it was because he needed a year to get his body into football shape. Normally I would say that not being to beat out Reno Mahe last year makes this a disaster of a pick, but there were mitigating circumstances.

A look ahead to year 2

Bloom should be returning everything and maybe be used as a toy occasionally on offense

He could very easily get himself back on track. His only real competition in camp is Bethel Johnson with kickoff returns. Assuming he can stay healthy, he should have every chance to win both return jobs.

Omar Gaither

I'd like to hear Gaither's name a few times on special teams this year, no one is expecting him to start but based on how the Eagles have praised his special teams abilities so far he should be able to at least contribute there very early on.

What we got

Gaither is the first guy in this draft to not only meet, but exceed expectations. Gaither found himself starting in the second half of last year and made the most of it. He still has alot of work to do, but Omar showed good instinct and some play making flair.

A look ahead to year 2

Gaither should be a legit solid special teamer.

Obviously I wasn't expecting much out of Gaither in year two... Suffice to say the expectations for him have changed. He comes into camp with the opportunity to win a starting job at either WILL or MIKE. At the very least, he'll likely be spelling Trotter in the middle on passing downs.

LaJaun Ramsey

Make the team

What we got

I'd say he exceeded expectations somewhat. He not only made the team but was playing the first 6 or so games of the year. He ended up inactive alot later in the year, but overall I'd say we should be happy with what we saw from the 7th rounder.

A look ahead to year 2

I suppose I'd like to see 7th pick LaJaun Ramsey at least make the roster, not that a 7th round pick could ever really be considered a bust...

It certainly looks like he's going to make the team this year. With Walker traded, all the DTs on the roster could theoretically make the team. I'd imagine Andy will draft another one in the late rounds though. Still, Ramsey should only have Sam Rayburn and maybe a rookie to beat out to get on the roster this year. That's more than reasonable to expect.

Final Review

Not encouraging, but too early to call this draft a failure. 5 of our 7 picks game us absolutely nothing at all. There were mitigating circumstances that make it a little more acceptable considering 2 were on IR(Gocong, Bloom), one we knew wouldn't play(Justice), and one was unlikely to win a job(Jean-Gilles). Bunkley is no doubt a disappointment so far, but Omar Gaither is certainly a pleasant surprise. So of the two guy we got a good look at, one exceeded expectations.

I'll be looking back at this draft class somewhere around the midpoint of this coming season and before the draft next year. Hopefully as Bleeding Green Nation continues to exist and grow we'll be able to keep looking back on this draft class and future ones.