Sunday, April 30, 2006

Draft, day 2

The Eagles continued to trade up to grab the players they targeted. They traded away Hollis Thomas and Artis Hicks to move up. Both would have been squeezed out anyway due to the extensive drafting the Eagles have done on the offensive and defensive lines.

It was no surprise to see Thomas go. He is an 11-year veteran who would not have been resigned after his contract expired this year. He underachieved last season and has been unhappy with the money he's making. Hicks played ok in spots, can play guard or tackle, and is still fairly young, so it's a little shocking for him to be shipped out. But when the Eagles drafted the monster guard Max Jean-Gilles, someone had to go, and Hicks was the odd man out. Jean-Gilles is a 350lb mauler, who would have been a first- or second-round guard if he could stay away from McDonalds. Very althetic for his size, and can be a starting NFL guard even with his weight issues. Should he ever find some discipline and get into the 320 range, he'll be a potential Pro-Bowler. Great risk/reward pick in the 4th round.

The Eagles' second fourth-round pick was another good one - Jason Avant from Michigan. Has very similar physical skills to Derek Hagan that I've been crowing about, but is less polished and didn't produce as much in college. A developmental prospect who could develop into a solid #2 receiver in 3-4 years. Another good value.

The fifth round saw them take Jeremy Bloom from Colorado. At least he'll improve the Eagles' ski team. Seriously though, he fills a glaring need in the return game and has the ceiling as a WR of someone like Brandon Stokley. He's an interesting guy, who on film looks very fast (he outran both the FSU and Oklahoma defense for long scores) but timed a mediocre 4.60 in the 40.

With the Eagles drafting two receivers, it seems likely that Billy McMullen and Greg Lewis have seen their last game in green and silver...barring pre-season injuries of course. Fourth and fifth WRs need to help out on special teams, and neither McMullen nor Lewis has shown much capacity for returning kicks. Unless the Eagles have finally given up on Todd Pinkston, which would be fine with me (although he does have more upside than the others.)

Overall, I am glad to see the Eagles address both lines heavily in this draft. Yes, they have some other areas of need...namely a safety to take over for Brian Dawkins, a RB that weighs more than 180 lbs, and a LB that can run, but you can't go wrong by winning the battle at the line of scrimmage. And with this draft, the Eagles have basically solidified their OL for years to come. Within two years, you'll have Todd Herremans, Shaun Andrews, Jamaal Jackson, Max-Jean Gillis, and Winston Justice as a starting OL with Scott Young providing depth across the line. If 'C' is an average grade, I'd have to give the Eagles a B+ for this draft, only falling short of an A with that third-round mistake.

Update: With their last pick of the day, the Eagles grabbed Omar Gaither from Tennessee. I'd expect him to make the team as a special teams contributor, and he has the potential to develop into a serviceable sam LB down the road. Solid pick.


Post a Comment

<< Home