With just a little over a month to go to the draft, I figured it was time once again for a mock draft roundup. For today I'm just going to put up the first round picks.
The Eagles signed one of the top free agents on the market this offseason in Asante Samuel. But adding a safety in the draft like Kenny Phillips is a possibility. The Eagles have been unable to find the playmaker Donovan McNabb has been asking for and they still haven't addressed their need for a return man. Cal's DeSean Jackson answers both of those questions and gives the Eagles instant offense on two levels.
Draft Tek - WR Devin Thomas - Michigan
Huddle Geeks - OLB Keith Rivers - USC
HC Andy Reid isn't too keen on grabbing a WR in the first round but after failing to reel in WRs Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald, what other route could they go? They addressed their need at CB with Asante Samuel plus OT Jon Runyan is getting back to full form, despite his age. QB Donovan McNabb struggled in the red zone because of the lack of a go-to guy across the middle. Hardy is the "no non-sense" pick that Eagles' season ticket holders have been hoping for.
This goes against everything I've been saying about Andy Reid's draft philosophy. Just look at the positions Big Red has drafted in the first round since 2003: DE, G, DT, DT. He has also spent tons of money on Jon Runyan, Jevon Kearse, Darren Howard and the like.
But the Eagles have desperately been trying to obtain a No. 1 receiver this entire offseason. They almost landed Randy Moss. They offered the Cardinals Lito Sheppard and a second-round pick for Larry Fitzgerald. They've inquired about Roy Williams and Anquan Boldin.
I have to believe the Eagles will obtain a top-notch wide out, no matter what it takes. They're going all in this year. They want a veteran wide out for Donovan McNabb to recapture the magic they had in 2004 - without all of the whining in the locker room. This, in all likelihood, is McNabb's final year in Philadelphia. Reid knows this could be his last chance to win a Super Bowl until Kevin Kolb develops. He'll do anything for the Lombardi Trophy, even if it means eschewing the norm and drafting someone half his size.
Draft Board Insider - WR DeSean Jackson - California
Even though they signed Asante Samuel to a big free agent deal that might end up being somewhat of a lateral move since Lito Sheppard will probably be traded, which means they still need help at cornerback. Everybody's talking about Leodis McKelvin, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Aqib Talib but Mike Jenkins is just going about his business and sailing through the draft process with flying colors. A wide receiver like DeSean Jackson will garner a lot of consideration here as well and he would be the offensive playmaker they so desperately need while also providing a major upgrade on special teams. With Thomas and Runyan getting old don't rule out a tackle either.
Philadelphia has been working hard to improve their receiver position, first targeting Randy Moss and then Larry Fitzgerald. They have two solid starters in Reggie Brown and Kevin Curtis, but neither excels at creating separation. The addition of the speedy Jackson should hopefully give both players room to work underneath. Jackson is not a perfect prospect, as he is undersized and is likely to struggle off the line of scrimmage, but he has fantastic speed and agility and will be a deep threat at the NFL level. Jackson also could give the Eagles a boost in the return game. He seems a better option for Philadelphia than physical player such as Malcolm Kelly or Limas Sweed here. The Eagles traditionally like to build along the lines and may opt for an offensive tackle or defensive end, but there is little of value available here.
The members of Philadelphia's offensive line are either inept or aging quickly. Jeff Otah would provide a huge boost in the talent level, allowing them to try Winston Justice on the right side. Otah is still slightly raw, but has as much upside as any lineman in this draft.
Scout's Notebook - OT Jeff Otah - Pittsburgh
New Era Scouting S Kenny Phillips - Miami