Philadelphia Eagles Soar in NFL Draft
The NFL draft has concluded. At the end of Day One, the Eagles left me cautiously optimistic. On one hand, they got what many considered to be a top 10 talent at pick No. 19 in Jeremy Maclin. On the other hand, was Maclin really what they needed?
Their second pick of LeSean McCoy at pick No. 53 had me excited. I think he was the second-best running back in this draft. He will provide not only a backup to Brian Westbrook, but possibly his future replacement as well. I was shocked that he fell so far and that the Eagles were able to snatch him up.
Initially, Day One may have left me a bit bewildered. On the second day of the draft, the Eagles’ plan came more into focus and left me more excited about their first two selections.
The Eagles did a lot of wheeling and dealing on the second day. They stockpiled extra picks for next year and did not make an actual pick until the fifth round when they selected tight end Cornelius Ingram out of Florida.
Ingram has huge upside. He is a tremendous athlete with soft hands. The only reason he fell to the fifth round was because he sat out all of the 2008 season recovering from an ACL tear.
Ingram played basketball in 2004 for the Florida Gators. There have been a few other tight ends in the NFL who were good basketball players that had pretty good careers. Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates come to mind.
Obviously, it is ridiculous to compare Ingram to Gonzalez or Gates at this point, but at 6′4″ and 245 pounds the Eagles may have found that dangerous Red Zone target they have been desperately needing.
At pick number 157, the Eagles selected cornerback Victor Harris out of Virginia Tech. Harris could give them some depth at cornerback, but he also projects as a possible free safety in the NFL. The Eagles could be looking to groom a possible replacement for the departed Brian Dawkins.
Speaking of their secondary, the Eagles also made a trade with the New England Patriots on the second day of the draft. Philadelphia sent two fifth-round picks in exchange for cornerback Ellis Hobbs. Hobbs will give the Eagles a good nickel or dime back. It also opens the door for the Eagles to possibly ship off disgruntled cornerback Sheldon Brown.
Sheldon Brown took the news as a step in the right direction for him being moved out of Philly.
“I think it’s great,” Brown told The Associated Press. “I look at it as great news in terms of me being traded.”
So far, the Eagles are not saying they have any plans to move Brown. It will be more likely they give him the same treatment Lito Sheppard received last year after voicing concerns over his contract. Mr. Brown, meet Mr. Bench.
With their final pick in the fifth round, the Eagles took Oregon offensive tackle Fenuki Tupou. At 6′5″ and 315 pounds, he has good size to play on the outside. I don’t see him as a starter, but he could become a quality backup. No harm in taking him this late in the draft.
In the sixth round, the Eagles selected Washington State wide receiver Brandon Gibson. Gibson showed decent skills as a junior. His stock dropped as a senior, but look at the team he was stuck on.
Like Tupou, he could develop into a decent backup on this team. How many studs are you really going to find in round six and seven? Not many.
Fanaika has great size and could develop into a similar player to Max Jean-Gilles in 2-3 years. Fokou has good speed and is athletic.
He struggles getting away from blocks and is a little slow to react to the ball. What do you want in a seventh-round pick though?
Coming into the draft the Eagles had needs at running back, tight end, wide receiver, and cornerback. They addressed all of their needs.
Maclin has explosive speed and could develop into threat to score from anywhere on the field. McCoy gives them a running back with a very similar skill set to Brian Westbrook.
Cornelius Ingram to me is one of the most exciting picks of the draft. If he is fully recovered from his ACL injury, the Eagles got the Red Zone threat that has been glaringly missing from their offense the last two years.
They have also been missing a consistant receiving threat at tight end since Chad Lewis retired. At cornerback, they pickup Ellis Hobbs in a trade that cost them nothing more than two fifth-round picks, of which they had six at the time of the trade.
Overall, on paper, this looks like one of the best Eagle drafts during the Andy Reid and Joe Banner era to go along with a fantastic off-season. The 2009 NFL season can’t get here soon enough.
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