Most of us are still hurting over the losses of future Hall of Fame free safety Brian Dawkins, road grader Jon Runyan, Tra Thomas, and Correll Buckhalter. This year's draft is vital to the future success of a franchise that has the firepower to win it all but just falls short. Let's get right to it...
In the 2009 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select...
Wait a minute...let's get a moment of silence for the loss of BDawk...
Okay, here we go.
21st pick: Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew
This just makes the most sense; he is a big target at 6'6", has soft hands, and loves being a road grader. Brent Celek would flourish with him in a two-TE set, and teams wouldn't be able to really key on one without the other. It would give the Birds endless possibilities, and Donovan McNabb loves getting the ball to them in stride (although he's rushed to throw it in the dirt some of the time).
28th Pick: Ohio State running back Chris "Beanie" Wells
Okay, we have to start looking for Brian Westbrook's replacement, but he would be the "Thunder" to the "Lightning." Beanie wouldn't be pressed to carry the load right away, and he would excel on short yardage, something we as fans covet but haven't really had since Duce Staley or Keith Byars.
We already have Lorenzo Booker in the fold, so let's see how he does as the season unfolds, but Beanie gives them the attitude and power. He will come in with a huge chip on his shoulder and would want to prove that he can be effective while staying healthy.
53rd Pick: Arizona tackle Eben Britton
This guy is a workhorse who understands the game, has a decent frame, and could contribute from day one. Andy Reid loves big linemen, and offensive line coach Juan Castillo personally loves this kid. I think he could possibly play guard if Shawn Andrews is kicked out to tackle and could move Nick Cole over to compete with Jamaal Jackson for the center spot.
85th Pick: North Carolina State RB Andre Brown
Andre weighs 224 pounds but was the fourth fastest running back at the combine with a 4.49 40. He also had 24 reps of 225 pounds and a 37-inch vertical jump. He never produced a 1,000-yard rushing season for the Wolfpack, but he also never had more than 175 carries.
Good hands out of the backfield, good size, not a lot of wear and tear (remember Oregon State running back Ken Simonton from a few years back? He had close to 400 carries in a single season a few times, and where is he now? All those carries wear you down; it's unfortunate what happened to Cadillac Williams down in Tampa). He's underrated, big time.
Now, this is the meat of the draft. We've built depth over the years with this portion, and the same can be said about this year's mid-rounds. We have one fourth round selection, three fifth round selections, two sixth round selections, and one seventh round selection. Plus, there's an additional fourth or fifth round pick from the Greg Lewis to New England trade.
I'm going to list the remaining eight spots and add detail to it. We won't know the exact numbers of each pick until the compensatory picks are announced.
Fourth Round: Penn State WR Derrick Williams
The guy can flat-out play. He could come in and instantly contribute on special teams and spot duty at wide receiver. He has good character and would benefit from learning behind the young veterans we have.
Fifth Round: Cincinnati CB Brandon Underwood
Kind of raw but produced for the Bearcats when Mike Mickens went down. Redshirted at Ohio State before transferring to Cincinnati. He was a 2008 first team All-Big East free safety and showed nice versatility playing cornerback. Tall and rangy; could jump into special teams and make plays right away.
Fifth Round: Penn State center A.Q. Shipley
Man, this guy can read a two and three-gap adjustment great on the fly. He's small (6'1", 304) but makes up for size with heart, agility, and relentlessness. He reminds me of Hank Fraley. Great character guy who could fit right in behind Jamaal Jackson.
Fifth Round: Liberty RB Rashad Jennings
He's a horse; he finished his collegiate career with 4,051 yards and rounded out his senior year with 1,507 yards and 17 scores. He's a threat catching the ball as well as running with it. He reminds me of a young Jerome Bettis, and that's great company to be compared with. He has that "WOW" factor.
Fifth Round: Purdue QB Curtis Painter
Now wait a second...don't we already have two QBs in the mold? Yep, but this would add depth (even if he's limited to the Practice/Taxi Squad). This guy is a passing highlight reel; he's tough, runs the no-huddle with persistence, and is great at putting the ball where it needs to be for his receivers/backs to go get it. After an outstanding collegiate career, he would benefit from sitting behind a potential Hall of Famer in McNabb.
Sixth Round: Central Washington TE Jared Bronson
If you guys haven't heard of this kid, you will soon. Not a flashy player but gets the job done catching the ball and pass protecting. He might need to fine-tune his blocking, but he would be a great complement to the guys we have. He really would be a steal if he dropped this far. He runs in the low 4.6s in the 40 and put up 225 lbs. 21 times at his recent Pro Day.
Sixth Round: Rutgers CB Courtney Greene
Man, this guy can cover like a bookie in Vegas, boy! He's highly underrated in my book. His coverage and hitting skills give him a menacing, lurking vibe from opposing receivers. Does that remind you of anyone we know? Hmmmm, Weapon X...YEAH!
He's 6'0 213 and runs in the low 4.5s in the 40. He also benched 225 lbs. 21 times. Consider he was prompted to enter last year's draft early but came back and laid an egg early on. From midseason to the Papajohns.com Bowl, he really lit it up.
Seventh Round: Abilene Christian WR/KR Johnny Knox
Holy Goodness, this guy can flat-out fly! He runs a low 4.22 40 and has soft hands. He excels in open space and could INSTANTLY spell or replace DeSean Jackson and/or Quintin Demps as a kick returner/punt returner. He caught 62 passes for 1,158 yards and 17 TDs. Bring him into training camp and let's have a track meet! No, seriously though; the guy could add another dimension to what we got last year in DJax and Demps.
And there you have it; we can only speculate as to what Andy, Joe Banner, and the Wiz will do on draft day. Each of these picks was hand selected by me after extensive research and watching film on each of them. Let me know what you think and point out if they could go in another direction at any point.
Take it easy!