The Philadelphia Eagles are in a rare position this offseason where they can really move up in any round to acquire the dream targets in the 2012 NFL Draft to really take the next step as a true Super Bowl contender. The Eagles currently have one pick in the first round, two in the second round, possibly two in the third after they trade Asante Samuel and two more picks in the fourth round. They also have a pick in the fifth round and three more in the sixth round.
That is 10 picks in the first six rounds, and possibly seven in the first four rounds depending on what happens with Asante Samuel this offseason. This gives the Eagles plenty of ammo to trade up and go after their most desired targets in any given round.
The Eagles aren't a team right now that needs a ton of young talent. Just about every position is loaded with young talent. Defensive tackle and offensive tackle could use some more depth, while wide receiver and middle linebacker depend on what happens during free agency.
The 2012 draft could be a pretty spectacular one for Philly. They have the ammo to bring in some pretty special prospects in—it's just a matter of Andy Reid and company pulling the trigger.
I think most Eagles fans would like to see DeSean Jackson back for at least another season in Philadelphia. The problem with Jackson is he probably will want too much money for a receiver who is a liability in the red zone and hasn't produced the number of touchdowns the past two seasons (10) you would want in a big-name No.1 wideout.
I feel the Eagles will go another way this offseason at wide receiver and give quarterback Michael Vick that big target this offense so desperately needs.
Justin Blackmon is a very impressive wideout with a Calvin Johnson-like potential. He isn't as big as Johnson at just 6'1" and 215 pounds, but he can jump out of the building and plays more like a 230-pound wideout.
Blackmon is the most versatile receiver in the draft as you can line him up almost anywhere. He should run about a 4.5 40 at the NFL Combine in a couple weeks so he doesn't have that burned-type speed that Jackson has, but he has enough to gain separation deep.
He showed great ability in the screen game while at Oklahoma State. His strength and agility allow him to both break tackles and make defenders miss. His hands are probably his best attribute. They are incredibly strong and he has great body positioning. He comes back to the ball when the play breaks down and can make the circus-like catches.
Blackmon would thrive in Andy Reid's offense as a screener, another deep threat, a red-zone target and a dominating receiver when running crossing routes down the middle. The Eagles would have to trade No. 2 overall pick. The Eagles have plenty of second, third and fourth-round picks to deal along with a future first or second-round pick if needed to make this pick happen.
Blackmon is the type of player that is almost a lock to be a difference maker right away. If the Eagles have to spend two first-round picks and a mid-round draft pick or two to make this happen, then it would be worth it in the end.
Depending on what happens with Cullen Jenkins, defensive tackle could become a major need for the Eagles early on in the 2012 draft. Jenkins is due a $5 million dollar roster bonus on March 13th to go along with his $2.75 million dollar salary in 2012. Was Jenkins meant as more of a one-year renter for 2011 or do they want to take on his salary for another season?
If not, then the Eagles have the perfect target at defensive tackle in Fletcher Cox who is just as versatile as Jenkins was for the Eagles in 2011. Cox was lined up all over Mississippi State's line in 2011.
Cox is a very powerful lineman despite being under 300 pounds and is quick off the line. He has a knack for making plays behind the line of scrimmage as he had 24.5 career tackles for loss and five blocked kicks. He is the type of player that should thrive under defensive line coach Jim Washburn.
Cox is rated as a late first or early second-round draft pick. The Eagles could use any number of their two second, one third or two fourth-round draft picks to move up to take Cox late in the first round or very early in the second round.
A team like the New England Patriots that needs a lot of young talent injected into their roster could be interest in acquiring more picks in the 2012 draft. The Pats have had more success in later rounds in the draft and if they aren't set on anybody at their 27th or 31st pick in the draft, they could be the perfect target to trade up with. The Eagles could also trade up with a team early in the second round which is where Fletcher Cox probably winds up.
The Eagles probably won't have to trade up much, if at all to get their third round dream target, Joe Adams. Adams is a third to fourth-round rated prospect who will continue to rise throughout the whole process. The Eagles may just have to spend their third and sixth-round pick to trade up a few spots to make sure they get their guy.
Adams is the perfect replacement for DeSean Jackson at about a tenth of the price. He is a bit slower than Jackson, but so is everyone else in the league. He should run a mid 4.3 40 at the upcoming combine. He also has great ability as a punt returner, where he took four to the house this past season at Arkansas.
The thing that really impresses you with Adams is his surprising strength and his toughness. At just 5'11" and 174 pounds, you would think he would have a similar build to Jackson but he actually looks a lot stronger and plays like it too. He has the ability to break tackles all over the field without just using his speed and agility.
He is also a willing receiver over the middle, which will make him an ideal slot receiver early in his career. He should be able to come in and take reps as a slot receiver in the Eagles' offense right away and be the primary punt returner from day one.
A strong side linebacker is a bit unsettled for the Eagles at this point. Nobody really knows if the Eagles will keep Jamar Chaney at middle linebacker or move him back to the outside where he started at the beginning of the season. They also still have Akeem Jordan and Moise Fokou under contract, who have plenty of experience at the position as well.
The SAM linebacker spot probably won't be figured out until we get going in training camp. That means the Eagles need to bring in as many capable players in as possible. Keenan Robinson may be the best value at the strong side spot in the draft.
He is a fourth-round projection right now and has a much higher ceiling than most fourth-round picks. He was a bit inconsistent while at Texas, which is probably the biggest factor in his stock dropping along with a smaller number of 4-3 teams than in year's past.
Robinson has the skill set and the athleticism to be a good coverage linebacker while also possessing the strength and tenacity to be very effective against the run-and-shed blockers consistently as well.
If the Eagles are set on Robinson in the fourth, I would look for them to make a move up in the fourth or even late in the third to ensure they get their man.
If you want to go out and get a dynamic receiving threat at the tight end position, then there is no better value then Michael Egnew out of Missouri. He runs route like a wide receiver while he is built more like a tight end at 6'5" and 245 pounds.
Egnew has the athleticism and the size to be the next great receiving tight end at the next level. He played more like a wide out in Missouri's spread offense where he racked up 147 catches for over 1,300 yards and eight touchdowns with most of that coming in his final two seasons.
The biggest knock on Egnew is his lack of blocking ability, but that won't really affect the Eagles' decision on Egnew. They have two capable blocking tight ends already and they aren't a power-running team. He would be used more as an in-between receiver who can make plays inside the 20 and on critical third downs.
His versatility as a receiving tight end makes him a perfect fit in the Eagles' very dynamic offense. He should be taken somewhere late in the fourth or early in the fifth which means the Eagles would need to trade up in the fifth or take him in the fourth with one of their two picks in that round.
Markus Zusevics is the other Iowa offensive tackle that doesn't get the love that likely top 10-pick Riley Reiff gets. If you look at the game tape from the Indiana game this past season, Zusevics actually outplayed at times.
He is a very strong tackle despite being a bit undersized at just 300 pounds. He is pretty athletic at the position and has outstanding lateral quickness. He looks like the perfect fit for Eagles offensive line coach Howard Mudd.
He could come in as a backup right tackle right away and develop into a starter two-to-three years down the road. He has a great deal of potential. With the right coaching and system for Zusevics, which the Eagles have with Mudd, he could thrive.
Zusevics is a late fifth, early sixth-round draft pick. The Eagles have three sixth-round draft picks and could use two of those to trade up to get their man.