Its speculation time with Dan again ladies and gentlemen. Are we all ready for the Safety edition, I am and I hope you are too!
Let me paint the picture for you, its April 22 2010 and you already know the draft begins at 7:30 P.M. ET so you try and spend some time with the family, make sure your beverages are in order with some food for thought as the long awaited Draft begins, so figure the Eagles to be on board I'd say around the 9 -10 P.M. range. They in their minds have brought in the next expected impact player at the Safety position by bringing in DB Marlin Jackson for two years and the Front Office knows they have themselves at the very least TWO positions of need...Defensive End and Linebacker. You wouldn't think that the Eagles would use their 1st round pick on anything other than one of those two positions right? Don't hold your breath to long. What if one of the big name Safety draftees drops for some ungodly reason...then what? Ahh monkey-wrenches my fellow fans...monkey-wrenches!
What if a player named Earl Thomas is looking Andy Reid & Co. dead in the face, available and says I want to be an Eagle, do you somehow find a way to say you may..or may not need new "drawers". I know the likelyhood of Thomas being there at #24 is slim to none but I never in a million years would've thought someone like Jeremy Maclin would've slipped within the Eagles reach last year? So anything is possible, it all depends on what the teams picking 1-23 do unless the Eagles do end up what many are already thinking that McNabb or Kolb may be traded. I've read it would pretty much take a 1st round pick for the Eagles to even begin discussing anything. So lets play "Front Office" for a moment...c'mon play along, you know its fun!
As it sits right now the Eagles have some young talent in 3rd year man Quinten Demps and 2nd year man Macho Harris. Both players have a good football sense and I really don't have much as far as bad words towards either player.
Demps is fast and can be a dominating player but seems his best moments are on Special Teams stopping the ball on the 1 yard line. In the 9 games he did play in 2009 he had 12 tackles/5 solo and 1 INT which came in the November matchup between the two teams. Demps has some proving to do if you ask me, the signing of Jackson should put a fire under his belt, Harris too but moreso Demps I think.
Then the starter for the 2009 season Macho Harris whos natural position is CB came in under a new Defensive Head Coach Sean McDermott and a crowed CB scenario, Harris found a home as a Safety and played pretty good too but apparently not good enough to convince the Eagles to make him the man again in 2010! Macho had 46 tackles/31 solo and 15 assist in his first going as both a Safety and being a rookie in the NFL on one of the most winning teams in the past decade and if that wouldn't be enough to chew on there was probably the mentality of Brian Dawkins leaving roaming through his head. Thats a TON of reality for a young man to grasp, heck..for anyone! I think if he had an INT or a sack or both the Eagles may have resisted on the Safety signing! I really think Macho will shine if given an opporunity at the CB position!
Lastly at the Free Safety spot there is last years UFA Sean Jones. Sean in his first season with a new team actually didn't do bad at all. He had 72 tackles/47 solo, 25 assist, 1 sack and 2 INT's, so he is definitely the strongest candidate going into the next season right? Not so fast, first off Jones may not even be an Eagles in 2010 as I've seen reports that Jones is making a trip actually at this point the Safety spot is winner takes all betweek the players at training camp.
Below is a list of 5 Safety's coming into the 2010 draft in no specific order:
1. Eric "Superman" Berry/Tennessee/5'11 203 lbs - Berry is without question the standout for the Safety position in this years draft and for good reason. He's the complete package as far as a Safety is concerned. He makes hard hitting tackles and will pluck the ball from the air in the blink of an eye. In his 3 year college career at Tennessee Berry has accumulated 241 tackles/150 solo, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 14 INT's and 3 TD's. Berry has made a name for himself in the secondary and I have no question he is going to be an immediate impact for any team that receives his services.
2. Taylor Mays/USC/6'3 235 lbs - Mays is the second name here mainly because alot of fans have rendered it more likely he'll be available at #24. Mays so far in his college career has become a big hitter in his division. With 268 tackles/157 solo, 1 forced fumble and 5 INT's, he's not as much of a ballhawk as Berry is but he knows how to put himself in position to make big plays. Considered to be good enough to become an instant starter, if he is in fact there at 24 would the Eagles take him?
3. Chad Jones/LSU/6'3 231 lbs - Say what you will but looking at Chad's college career I think he is going to make a team happy in the late 2nd early 3rd but I still had to mention him here. In his 3 years at LSU he has some decent numbers but in this case he's made HUGE strides from year to year. His best season was last year when he gathered up 73 tackles/37 solo, 35 assist, 1 forced fumble and 3 INT's. For his college career he has 157 tackles/82 solo, 75 assist, 2 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 5 INT's. What this tells me is that Jones definitely knows how to be around the ball but his progress tell me alot about his work ethic, something every team covets and can definitely work with.
4. Earl Thomas/Texas/5'10 197 lbs -Next to Eric Berry I think Thomas is the most complete Safety coming into the draft and all you have to do is look at the stats. Only going through 2 years of college football, Thomas has quickly come out and made a name for himself. If I had to relate him to another player the Eagles have drafted I would say LeSean McCoy, he has the same amount of years in college but has put up some crazy numbers. In his college career, Thomas has rounded up 134 tackles/96 solo, 38 assist, 5 forced fumbles and 10 INT's...if the Eagles DO take a Safety in the 1st and this kid is available...he's my choice (unless Berry is there which...yeah right). He is a young kid and would have a tremendous amount of from with the Eagles new DB coach Dick Juron translating his skills, which are many, over from college to NFL so he could end up being something very special if he were to become an Eagle!
5. Morgan Burnett/Georgia Tech/6'1 210 lbs - I include Burnett's name here basically for being known as a bawhawk. Not saying he shy's away from making contact but its his INT stat that first jumped out at me. In 3 years at Georgia Tech he has 227 tackles/139 solo, 88 assist, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble and 14 INT's...see my point? Burnett is more of an under the radar Safety so he most likely will slip to the 3rd, no sooner in my opinion but if some of the other players mentioned are long gone the Eagles may have to surprise us here and yes, seeing the Eagles take Burnett in the 1st is a LOOONG shot because I'm sure Andy will be Andy and take the best player available but Burnett definitely has some upside to him and I really felt his INT count justified him being on the list.
My final note leaves me thinking the Eagles aren't going to select a Safety in the 1st due to the signing of newly acquired Marlin Jackson but as I stated before, if the Eagles get involved in a trade that brings in another 1st round or early 2nd round pick we very well could see a Safety in an early round! Keep the faith Philly fans...the draft is rapidly approaching!