Day two of my over-analyzing of what the Philadelphia Eagles could do with the 24 overall selection in the 2010 draft, I'll review some possibilities at the LB position from within, around the league via a possible trade and from the draft. Lets begin from looking within.
With the expected return of starting Middle LB Stewart Bradley coming off of a season ending injury which occured at the Philadelphia "Flight Night" on 8/2/2009, Bradley hopes he can return to the same level of play before the injury. He is still young enough to be able to fully recover and with the type of work ethic Bradley has he may come back even stronger but you always have to be concerned with injuries..especially a torn ACL. In his 4 years in the NFL Bradley has some very nice numbers. In 32 games he has 171 tackles/100 solo, 71 assists, 2 sacks and 2 INT's, lets face it...Bradley makes the Eagles D a much stronger D when he's on the field!
After that there are question marks all over the place. Is Omar Gaither going to be fully recovered and ready to go after being injured on Oct 18 2009 in the loss to Oakland with a Lisfranc Sprain? Gaither played in only 5 games in 2009 for 38 tackles/23 solo and 1 1/2 sacks. Can he contribute in 2010, your guess is as good as mine!
Chris Gocong, well ugh what can I say about Gocong, lately he's been getting beat everywhere. Rushers are running right past him around the edge and TE's salivate at the opportunity to exploit him. In 2009 he played in 15 games and put up gawdy numbers. 50 tackles/28 solo and a sack in 2009. Will the Eagles focus on his replacement in the draft...I sure hope so!
There's also Akeem Jordan who has moved his way up the ranks in the Eagles organization coming from the practice squad to becoming a starting weakside LB after beating Gaither outright in Training Camp. In 2009 he played in 12 games for 82 tackles/47 solo, a sack and a pair of INT's. Not jaw-dropping numbers by any means but what you have to look for is the progress...the increase in numbers from the year prior. If you look at that you will see that Jordan has cleared some big hurdles and I don't expect him to stop soon. Again I think it will be between Jordan and Gaither for the starting weakside LB spot but right now it's Jordans to lose.
Then there's last years 7th round pick out of Maryland Moise Fokou. Moise opened some eyes last year in Training Camp which earned him some playing time which he made the best of but he also made rookie mistakes, you know those boneheaded penalties that every coach/owner/fan goes "what is this guy doin" but lets look at a 7th round pick rookies numbers compared to some other "veteran players" the Eagles have. in 16 games he played in Fokou contributed 30 tackles/18 solo and 12 assists..not much different than Gocongs other than the fact that Gocong did get a sack but Fokou didn't get nearly as much playing time as Gocong did either. I could be wrong here but its going to take a whole lot of game tape for Fokou to be an effective LB and he's a real lightweight in terms of a LB @ 228. He's like a big Safety in my opinion.
After that the Eagles have players like Tracey White, Joe Mays and yes they still have Jeremiah Trotter. Mays in my opinion is a solid run stuffer but lacks in coverage, White is ok in certain situations but he had a nice INT last season and Trotter, does Trotter still have gas in the tank or is he running on fumes? I don't expect any of those three players to be big contributors in 2010.
So who's out there, what are the names being thrown around as possibilities in the Draft? There isn't anybody in FA that should be signed as "starters", situational guys sure but not starters and let me just say NO to Antonio Pierce, nope, no way..don't do it. Let another team find out if his neck is OK. So unless the Eagles make a trade for a LB it looks like the draft is the way to go right? With that said lets take a look shall we.
Richard Bowler from our very own www.bleacherreport.com composed a list of who he thinks are the top 10 prospects and taking a look I'd pretty much agree, maybe move a couple of players around on the pecking order but for the most part I agree. The two names I hear being tossed around from Philly fans are Florida's Brandon Spikes and Missouri's Sean Weatherspoon. Will either of them be around at #24 or will the Eagles try and move up in the 1st to land their man?
If the Eagles see someone they have a true interest in then they should try and move up if need be. They overdosed on sleeping pills at the start of Free Agency so they really can't afford to fall asleep in the Draft. I don't think fans have to worry about that though as Reid is known to do all sorts of things on draft day. What I'm more concerened with is I hope Reid doesn't decide to trade out of the 1st as he's done in years past. The Eagles have to many needs for pure talent to pass! Stay tuned Philly, next up is Safety!
Heres a direct link to Bowler's list:
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