By Ryan of The Sportmeisters
Even though they “kissed their sister” against Cincinnati, the Philadelphia Eagles managed to win four out of their last five to sneak into the playoffs, and then made it all the way to the Conference Finals before falling to Arizona.
However, despite their consistency (five NFC Championship games in eight years), the team projects they are a team with some big holes to fill if they expect another championship run. With twelve total picks, including two first rounders, Philadelphia needs to grab the right playmakers to give aging QB Donovan McNabb a shot at a Super Bowl ring to silence all the critics.
Philadelphia Eagles Draft Picks:
Round 1, Pick 21 (21)
Round 1, Pick 28 (28)
Round 2, Pick 21 (53)
Round 3, Pick 21 (85)
Round 4, Pick 21 (121)
Round 5, Pick 5 (141)
Round 5, Pick 17 (153)
Round 5, Pick 21 (157)
Round 5, Pick 23 (159)
Round 6, Pick 21 (194)
Round 6, Pick 22 (195)
Round 7, Pick 21 (230)
Team Need 1: Offensive Tackle
This draft is one of the most abundant in quality offensive lineman, and since the Eagles losing Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan in the off-season, they will need quality help.
Bringing in Stacy Andrews in free agency is a minor gap filler, but they could ill afford to miss out on a franchise left tackle here. With two first-round picks, the Eagles can afford to wait until their second pick to grab a quick tackle like Ebon Britton. Or they could use their first pick on a guy like Michael Oher.
There is also a possibility of packaging both picks to move up and grab another top-rated tackle, but with glaring needs elsewhere, that is an unlikely scenario.
Team Need 2: Tight End
Former Franchise tight end L.J. Smith was allowed to leave in the offseason, leaving Brent Celek as the only one on the roster. There isn’t a huge amount of quality tight ends on the board in 2009, so the optimal move for Philadelphia would be to use their top first-rounder to grab someone like Brandon Pettigrew, if available.
If not, Philadelphia would be wise to wait until the second round to grab a sound blocker like Shawn Nelson, who’s 6’5’’ frame would make for an optimal target for McNabb. Outside of the top three or four rated tight ends, the Eagles shouldn’t waste their picks in drafting a project, and should focus on other needs.
Team Need 3: Running Back
The team has Brian Westbrook, but he is not the most reliable, health-wise, and without Correll Buckhalter, that leaves Lorenzo Booker behind Westbrook. While not a bad choice, Booker is in the same mold as Westbrook, and the team could afford to look for a big bruising back. That would allow Westbrook the chance to rest on short yardage, power situations.
Considering most teams use a platoon system anyway, Philadelphia would just be following the rest of the league. A strong possibility would be using their second-round pick on 6’1’’ Chris Wells. His injury problems make him questionable, which would be why he could fall to Philadelphia in the back end of the first round.
With an abundance of late picks in the fifth round and beyond, grabbing a project would not be a bad decision. Rashad Jennings is 6’1’’, 231lbs, and could bring the power-back game Philadelphia lacks. With most running backs are in the 5’10’’ range, waiting for Jennings might be an option the Eagles choose to exploit.
The Eagles have talented weapons, but age, free agency, and injuries are cause for concern. Now is the time to grab the future of the team, allowing the older guys to use the opportunities they have for good, without wasting their talents. Philadelphia needs offensive help, and could get a lot of opportunities in the 2009 NFL Draft.