With the NFL Combine set to start tomorrow in Indianapolis, the momentum of the 2010 offseason is about to move to full throttle.
Over 300 prospects will be at Lucas Oil Stadium over the next week trying to prove that they belong in the big league.
For many teams, this may be the most important draft in recent history.
It’s getting more and more likely by the hour that 2010 will be an uncapped season.
What’s included are restrictions regarding which current NFL players can be free agents and which teams can pursue them.
Due to these rules under the current collective bargaining agreement, the main way for teams to improve their rosters outside of trades will be the selections they make in late April.
With the Philadelphia Eagles, there are plenty of holes to fill to make this team a legitimate contender again. Fortunately for them, this year’s draft is going to be fairly strong in some of the positions of concern (e.g. Defensive End and Free Safety).
The goal is to not just fill the positions, but also find the guys who best fit the team’s style of play.
In many mock drafts, names such as Taylor Mays (S-USC) and Sean Weatherspoon (LB-Missouri) are predicted to be the Eagles first round pick.
While these guys may end up being great NFL players, it’s more important that the Eagles pick players that fit their scheme.
In addition to the various tests and drills the prospects must perform, each team is allowed to interview up to 60 players.
After reading various scouting reports, these are the 10 players the Eagles need to look into the most.
Nate Allen-FS (USF)
Nobody will ever replace Brian Dawkins in Philly. Everyone knows that.
But, if there’s one player who has the potential to having anywhere near the impact of Weapon X, its Allen.
His coverage skills, hard hitting, and work ethic could make him a starter his rookie year. I wouldn’t be surprised if Allen is higher than Mays on the Eagles draft board.
Initially, Allen was looked at as a late second rounder but he keeps moving up in mock drafts.
Brandon Graham-DE ( Michigan )
The Eagles don’t need just a defensive end, they need an every down guy for the left side who can rush the passer and play the run. Graham is probably the best guy who might be available when the Eagles make the No. 24 pick.
Myran Rolle-SS ( Florida State )
Rolle spent the 2009 season at Oxford University, but he still has a strong desire to play in the NFL.
Currently projected to be a fifth or sixth round pick, the former Seminole could move up the chart with a great Combine performance.
Under the radar this offseason is Quintin Mikell turning 30 in September, and going into the final year of his contract.
The Eagles might want to explore their options at strong safety in the middle and late rounds.
A.J. Edds-LB ( Iowa )
It has been said that Edds might be the best pure strongside linebacker for a 4-3 defense. Everyone in the Delaware Valley knows by now that this position needs to be filled.
Edds is projected to go somewhere from the second to fourth rounds. That projection will probably narrow down this weekend.
I’m sure the Eagles will play close attention to his performances.
Carlos Dunlap-DE ( Florida )
Dunlap was once considered the top defensive end to be available in the 2010 draft, but a DUI, and negative reports about his work ethic have decreased his ranking.
Currently, he’s projected to be a low first round or high second round pick.
I’m sure Dunlap’s interview sessions will be the most important part of his Combine weekend. If he’s drafted by the right organization, he could be huge addition.
Ben Tate-RB ( Auburn )
I thought about LeGarrette Blount from Oregon, but I’ve given up my hopes for a power halfback after the Eagles granted my wish by drafting Tony Hunt in 2007.
Knowing the release of Brian Westbrook was likely coming, I was already thinking about who the Eagles would replace him with. The current roster behind LeSean McCoy hasn’t quite proven to be NFL ready, but I don’t see the Eagles picking a running back higher than the third round.
Tate seems like the right choice in the middle rounds. His size and skill set fit the Eagle’s preferences. His scouting report reminds me of Correll Buckhalter.
Chris Cook-CB ( Virginia )
There are numerous reasons the Eagles need to look at cornerbacks to draft. Sheldon Brown will be 31 this year and his body is starting to show wear and tear of someone who’s played over 140 consecutive games.
The Eagles could use a corner 6’0” or taller to compete with the taller receivers in the league. They could use physical corner who likes to tackle to possible relieve Asante Samuel on rushing downs and in the red zone.
The Eagles probably won’t address cornerback until the third round or later. This is where Chris Cook comes in. He fits all of these needs and likely will be available on day two.
Mike Iupati-OG ( Idaho )
The Eagles can afford to keep Shawn Andrews on the roster but they can’t afford to keep hoping he’ll return to his 2007 Pro Bowl form after two back surgeries.
The reports on Iupati remind me when Andrews was drafted in 2004. He’s versatile and could start immediately at right guard.
The question is: Do the Eagles want to draft an offensive lineman in the first round? If the answers ‘yes’ then you know they’re pretty much finished with waiting for Andrews return.
John Jerry-OG ( Mississippi )
If the Eagles want to focus on other needs in the early rounds, they’ll still need to address the right guard position.
This is where Jerry comes in.
He has the size that Andy Reid covets in his linemen and could flourish under O-line coach Juan Castillo. Jerry should be available on day two.
Everson Griffen-DE (USC)
Griffen has the size and skill set to fit the Eagles need at left defensive end.
While most reports have him projected to be a middle first round selection, a few others have him rated as a fourth rounder.
It’s not good for a player to need his draft status to hinge on his Combine performance, but the Eagles can’t afford to not look further into Griffen.