Depth is certainly not an issue when it comes to defensive ends in the 2010 NFL Draft.
The only issue is there may be more questions instead of options.
And with uncertainties abound, the Philadelphia Eagles may be forced to sign Julius Peppers as early as Friday, March 5, the first day of free agency in the NFL.
It may sound like a quick decision, but the Eagles displayed that type of efficiency when the markets opened up in March 2004. That was the year they signed highly sought-after defensive end, Jevon Kearse, on day one of free agency.
Eagles head coach Andy Reid may be targeting defensive ends Carlos Dunlap, Everson Griffen, Jason Pierre Paul and Brandon Graham through the draft. All are highly regarded and all can make an impact in their rookie season.
With so many teams in the same boat as the Eagles, Reid may not have the opportunity to draft the defensive end he truly wants.
And even if a player like Graham falls to them, they have to question if he fits the mold of a defensive end or if he is better suited to play outside linebacker.
Perhaps Dunlap will drop to the Eagles due to his December DUI arrest. But if that’s why he falls, then are the Eagles willing to take a risk on a player with character issues?
Drafting a defensive end that can make an impact next year becomes such a crap shoot that the Eagles may be forced to pony up the money and sign Peppers, who according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, has the “the Eagles on his short list of teams.”
Ignore the fact that Peppers indicated he has the Eagles on his list and instead focus on the brevity of his list.
A short list of teams most likely means that Peppers is not going to be on the market by the time the draft rolls around. This really makes things even more confusing for Reid, because now he can’t wait to see how things unfold Thursday, April 22, the first day of the draft, to make a decision.
So, what is Reid to do? Does he play defensive-end roulett or does he double down and go for Peppers?
Both options are a gamble. The risks of the draft are all listed above. The risks for Peppers include his age, contract and the haunting reminder of Kearse being a free-agent bust.
Reid now must answer all of these questions and fin figure out the best way to compliment Pro Bowl defensive end, Trent Cole.
His answer may just be Julius Peppers.
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