Friday, April 25, 2008

It's the most wonderful time...

Yes, the NFL Draft is here again.

This will be one of the more exciting drafts in recent memory. I can't recall a board that was so fluid, with so many teams having legitimate options to go in widely different directions.

As usual, I'm focused on the Eagles. With 11 picks total and their seeming determination to trade Lito Sheppard and make the team worse as a result, there's an excellent chance they'll be looking for opportunities to trade up for players they covet.

Here are some first-round possibilities for the Eagles:

G/T Branden Albert - No chance he'll still be on the board at 19, in spite of one expert opinion that he falls to the Steelers at 23. My guess is that the Eagles already have a deal set with Buffalo if he gets to 11. Lito Sheppard heads to lovely western New York and the Eagles swap first-rounders to take the versatile, athletic OL prospect that Andy Reid covets. Buffalo wants a WR anyway, so dropping to 19 still gives them a shot to draft the best WR on the board and they pick up a Pro Bowl CB in the process. Meanwhile, there's much teeth-gnashing in Denver at #12 as Albert is snatched away from them.

CB Leodis McKelvin - I have no idea if the Eagles like him as much as I do, but he's the best CB in the draft and another possible target if they move up. A real bonus with McKelvin is that he's a speedy, dangerous kick returner as well. If they do trade Sheppard, it only makes sense to draft his replacement.

OTs Chris Williams, Ryan Clady, or Jeff Otah - There's a good chance all three of these guys are gone if the Eagles stay at 19, but if not, expect them to draft one. I don't consider any of them worth trading up for, but any of them would be a decent pick at 19.

CB Aqib Talib - Talib has the size (6'1", 202) and the speed (4.44) to match up with big WRs like Burress and T.O. that tend to give the Eagles fits. He showed some poor technique in college, as well as a tendency to gamble too much, which isn't usually the kind of player the Eagles take a first-round chance on...but his combination of size and speed is rare and is exactly the kind of CB they need to match up with the WRs in their division.

DE Phillip Merling - Has good, but not great speed off the edge. Still, he's likely to be the best DE on the board for a team that never has enough DEs. If all the OL prospects are gone, I would not be shocked (or disappointed) to hear Merling's name called.

S Kenny Phillips - The Eagles need a safety, but this draft doesn't have any first-round safeties. If the Eagles trade down - very unlikely, but possible - it may be with the idea to target Phillips in the late first/early second round. Or they might just cross their fingers and hope to grab him at 49.

WR - no thanks


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