Donovan McNabb and the Haunting of The Eagles

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Donovan McNabb and the Haunting of The Eagles
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Halftime of the November 23 Eagles-Ravens game of last season, McNabb appeared to have taken his last snap as a starter in Philadelphia. Thirty minutes of regulation later, he had an unexpected gift fall into his lap: leverage.

Rumors earlier this year swirled that Donovan McNabb requested more play-makers on offense or to trade him to a ready-made contender like Minnesota.

The duo of Joe Banner and Andy Reid has been conservative at best, in the free agency market trying to become younger at a thrifty rate to help their franchise quarterback.

More recent moves have propped up mostly minor concerns in the defensive secondary, right tackle, and fullback, with a possibility at linebacker.

Safety Sean Jones (27) signed a one-year, $3 million contract on March 6 to help soften the blow that of Brian Dawkins signing to DenverRashad Baker (27) also signed for a one-year tender to add depth to the safety position before the draft.

Right Tackle Stacy Andrews (27), elder brother of Right Guard Shawn Andrews, pinned the biggest of the offers from the Eagles thus far for six years. It can be compared to Jamal and Andre Jackson from the movie "The Replacements."

Fullback Leonard Weaver (26) signed a one-year $2.5 million deal, 70 percent guaranteed, on March 21. The signing gives the team a blocker behind the line and a third-and-short threat.

The franchise has recently expressed interest in ex-Bills outside linebacker Angelo Crowell (27) as early as March 13, but a contract was not offered. Crowell later signed to Tampa Bay for a one-year, $3 million contract on March 18.

The Eagles, as of now, seem to have plans to enhance certain positions, namely left tackle, in the first two or three rounds of the NFL Draft, with selections at 21, 28, 53, and 85.

They also have picks later on with the twenty-first pick of rounds four through seven, along with selection 5 and 17 of the fifth round and selection 22 of the sixth round. The trading of CB Lito Sheppard and WR Greg Lewis is partly responsible for the additional draft choices.

With many predictions of the 2009 NFL Draft available online, it can only be estimated who the Eagles could draft in each of the first few rounds.

OT William Beatty seems to be a favorite selection for either the twenty-first or twenty-eighth picks for most mock drafters. Though a product of the University of Connecticut, Beatty hails from York, Pennsylvania, continuing the Eagles' interest in local products.

Depending on how the first 20 picks shake out, OTs Eben Britton, Andre Smith, and even Michael Oher are out there.

Other possible selections in the first round include RBs Knowshon Moreno, LeSean McCoy, and Beanie Wells, TE Brandon Pettigrew, and WRs Hakeem Nicks, Percy Harvin, and Darrius Heyward-Bey.

Round two brings the possibilities of WR Kenny Britt and TE Jared Cook, while the next round could present RB Donald Brown and OT Jamon Meredith to the Eagles.

With the stock load of picks towards the later rounds, and players that could be trade-bait (OT Winston Justice, WR Reggie Brown), the Eagles could even move up their selections in the earlier half of the NFL draft.

Legendary players like S Brian Dawkins, OTs Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan may have been casualties of the franchise's latest off season, due to McNabb's influence. If the Eagles, however, can make the right choices next month, not only will the situation go from rebuilding to reloading, but a green-clad parade could present itself on Broad Street in February of 2010.

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