Monday, April 28, 2008

Draft Recap

For the second year in a row, the Eagles traded out of the first round. At least they didn't take a QB this time.

Overall, I liked the draft. I would have been happy if they just stayed at 19 and picked Otah or Talib, but they got excellent value from Carolina in the trade. The Eagles drafted 10 players, traded for Lorenzo Booker, and collected two picks (1st and 5th rounds) for next year.

In spite of the 8-8 record last season, the Eagles have a solid, talented roster, and there wasn't a single player available at 19 that could have started for them. The 11 new additions will face still competition to make the team. As a result, the Eagles selected a few role-players and then made some risky boom-or-bust picks.

  • Trevor Laws, DT ND - He was the best player on a horribly disappointing team that continued to work his tail off in blowout after blowout. Good (but not great) strength and good (but not great) quickness to go along with a relentless work ethic. Intelligent and coachable, I expect Laws to work into the DT rotation as a rookie, play well, and have a solid NFL career.
  • DeSean Jackson, WR Cal - With sub-4.35 speed, he was the fastest WR at the combine this year. Returned 6 punts for TD in college. Short and slight, so he'll never be a starter, but could line up in multiple-WR sets as a rookie, and should make an instant impact as a returner. Fills a need spectacularly.
  • Bryan Smith, DE McNeese St - This is a weird pick. He needs to add at least 15 pounds, and probably more like 25, to play DE (he's only 230) but he started school late, so he's already 25 years old with a fully-developed physique. The Eagles, of course, think he's another Trent Cole, but they think every undersized DE is another Trent Cole. At best, he's hoping to make the team as the fifth DE and play some special teams.
  • Mike McGlynn, OT Pitt - I like McGlynn. I think he can play right tackle, although some scouts think he'd be a better guard in the NFL. The Eagles OL is going to be experience a major overhaul next season, and McGlynn will fill a spot somewhere.
  • Quintin Demps, S UTEP - I love this pick. Demps was a 4-year starter at UTEP who finished with 275 tackles, 41 passes defensed, and 17 INTs. He also returned kicks and runs a blazing 4.39 in the 40. Should be a valuable special teams/dime pacakge player immediately, with a chance to develop into a starter eventually. Sets up an interesting picture at safety this year, as Demps is competing against four players who have all started and played well at some point (Dawkins, Considine, Mikell, Reid) and the Eagles don't usually keep five.
  • Jack Ikegwuonu, CB Wis - Graded as a second-rounder before he tore up his knee in pre-draft workouts. Will be placed on IR and given a chance to rehab and then compete for a spot next year. Since he was the only CB taken by the Eagles, it's fairly clear they expect to keep Lito at least for this season. This is a good pick for a team that doesn't have enough open roster spots for rookies.
  • Lorenzo Booker, RB FSU (from Miami) - He wasn't a draft pick, but the Eagles traded a fourth-rounder for him, so I'll include him as part of the class. Another small and speedy back who catches well and returns kicks (the Eagles added three players today with blazing speed and return experience. Think they recognized that as a need?) He'll be a guy who lines up in the slot and catches some passes out of the backfield, and may spell Westbrook for a play here or there. And yes, in case you were wondering, this does mean the end of the Ryan Moats era in Philadelphia. If the Eagles decide to keep only three HBs, as they did at the start of last season (although it quickly expanded to four when they re-signed Mahe in week 2), it also means the end of either Buckhalter or Tony Hunt.
  • Michael Gibson, OG Cal - I don't know a thing about him, but he'll have to show a lot to make the team.
  • Joe Mays, ILB North Dakota State - Has an interesting scouting report which mentions that he might be 'too strong' at least three times. Apparently, he's such a weight-room freak that he has a tendency to get too stiff, like a bodybuilder. I don't recall ever reading that about a college player before. But he's got a chance to stick as a reserve Mike/special teams LB. The Eagles only have 4 LBs that are guaranteed to make the team, so there's at least one, maybe two open spots he'll be competing for.
  • Andrew Studebaker, DE Wheaton - Another guy that lacks the size to play DE and the athleticism to play LB. No chance to make the roster, has to hope he shows enough in the preseason that another team signs him.
  • King Dunlap, OT Auburn - An interesting story, if nothing else. A mountain of a man (6'9", 315) with the athleticism to play LT in the NFL. Would have been a second-round pick if he came out after his junior year, but stayed in school and had one of the most mind-bogglingly bad senior years imaginable. A combination of injuries, awful play, and a complete lack of motivation led to multiple benchings and the eventual loss of his starter's spot to a freshman. This guy's either going to turn his life around and become a storied diamond-in-the-rough example, or he's going to be bagging groceries by September. Classic risk/reward pick for the seventh round.

Although the Eagles snagged quite a few players I like, and didn't have any obvious misses, the best move was clearly the one they didn't make: Lito is still on the team. Good work, guys. Is it September yet?


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