There he is ladies and gentlemen, the man who the Eagles felt worthy to move up 11 spots in the draft to acquire.
Say hello to Michigan product DE Brandon Graham.
I thought, as I'm sure everyone else did, when the Eagles moved up 11 spots giving up their first and both third round picks to do so, Texas safety Earl Thomas was as good as ours. I was standing, anticipating the call, I looked at my friends Leroy (49ers fan) and Dave (Giants fan) and said, "Thomas is an Eagle."
No sooner those words left my mouth commissioner Roger Goodell proved me wrong. Am I shocked yeah a little bit, but am I disappointed? No way!
After I thought for a minute about why a defensive end over a safety I came to realize that if the Eagles front seven can get to the QB and disrupt the play, the corner's job becomes that much easier.
I also thought that with newly-acquired DE Darryl Tapp now an Eagle there wasn't a chance the Eagles would draft a DE in the first round, let alone move up to get one. So what does this mean for Tapp, who up until tonight I figured to be the starter opposite of Trent Cole?
I would imagine that the left defensive end position is now down to both Tapp and Graham, may the best man win.
I'm going to be honest though, Tapp has his work cut out for him against this young beast.
What the Ealges expect to get out of Graham is a phenomenal edge rusher who has a very quick initial burst. He uses his hands well to maneuver blockers against the run. Graham plays with a very high motor and was considered the Michigan Wolverines' most disruptive player on defense, spending a lot of time in the backfield.
Graham is an extremely tough, competitive guy who refuses to quit until the whistle and is able to get to the QB and make plays away from him in the run game.
He does have a couple of weaknesses, however.
Graham is not a prototypical defensive end as he lacks height at only 6'1". He sometimes appears to have stiff hips when playing out in space, which means his coverage skills are questionable and scouts also question his ability to stand up and play an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.
Its a good thing the Eagles run with a 4-3 then, isn't it!
Unless, and I'm knocking on wood here, injury were to occur at the linebacker position, I don't think the Eagles will use him there. Graham is considered a hybrid DE/LB, however, and I think that had more to do with him being drafted than anything.
The Eagles knew Graham would give defensive coordinator Sean McDermott a multi-dimensional threat on defense if need be.
But Philadelphia appears to be in relatively decent shape at LB with Stewart Bradley in the middle, Ernie Sims most likely on weakside, but he will compete with Akeem Jordan and earn the job, and a list of players who will compete for the strongside job in training camp.
Guys like Omar Gaither, who is coming back from injury, 2009 seventh round pick Moise Fokou, Alex Hall, who was acquired in the Browns trade, and we can't forget about Joe "the Headbusta" Mays, who had a fantastic preseason his rookie year and then simply faded in the depth chart after being involved in the revolving door at LB in 2009, will be competing for the strongside spot.
They could also still draft a very talented LB with their third overall pick (No. 55). With some of the craziest picks (anyone expect anything different from Al Davis?), LB's like TCU's Daryl Washington, Florida's Brandon Spikes, and both LBs from Penn State, Sean Lee and Navorro Bowman, are still on the board.
The reason I'm not saying a LB at No. 37 is strictly based off of what the Dallas Cowboys did drafting the best WR in the draft, Dez Bryant.
Now the Philadelphia Eagles need either a safety or a CB, and I'm actually leaning more towards a CB at this point. So who's out there?
As for the remaining safeties, there are players like Southern Cal's Taylor Mays, South Florida's Nate Allen, and Georgia Tech's Morgan Burnett. Of those three Taylor Mays takes the cake without question.
He is the highest ranked safety still available, so is he the Eagles' answer with the No. 37 selection, or will the Eagles risk getting one of the better safeties remaining and go with a CB?
The top five CBs coming into the 2010 draft are off the board. Joe Haden, Kyle Wilson, Kareem Jackson, Devin McCourty, and Patrick Robinson, in that order, all have new homes in the NFL.
That leaves draft hopefuls like South Florida's Jerome Murphy, Virginia product Chris Cook, and Oklahoma's Dominique Franks being the top three corners left in the draft.
Are any of them worthy of an early second round pick?
Out of the three mentioned names, I would want Chris Cook to be an Eagle. He is a monster of a CB at 6'2", 212 pounds who has tremendous size and strength for his position. He lacks speed to play out on man coverage, but is an active player against the pass.
Cook is best known for his run-stuffing ability in the box, which could be a valuable asset to new defensive coordinator Dick Jauron. He does have nice size to be a safety in the NFL and since he lacks that initial burst coming off the line he might be better suited as a safety in the NFL.
With an outstanding and proven DB coach like Jauron, Cook could be something very special!
Round one is done and in the books. I'm happy about the Eagles' first pick—are you?
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