The Philadelphia Eagles are coming off what some might call the most surprisingly good season in recent memory.
When everyone thought 2010 would be a rebuilding year under Kevin Kolb, Michael Vick, re-emerging as one of the league’s most exciting players proved a pleasant surprise.
Vick had a career year and, more importantly, restored the franchise as a Super Bowl contender.
So with Michael Vick secure as the Eagles starter, what types of weapons should the Eagles acquire in the draft to best serve their chances for a deeper playoff run next season.
To answer that question, you need to take a look at the attributes of Vick, which isn’t always easy. Saying Vick is a unique quarterback is like saying the Godfather was a good movie; the adjectives used to describe both things don’t do them any justice.
Vick is beyond unique; he transcended the quarterback position. His freak athleticism when he’s on the run combined with his effortless deep-passing ability makes him unlike any other quarterback in NFL history.
So since Vick can throw the deep ball, you should surround him with speedy receivers that specialize beating receivers down field right? Well, the Eagles already have that covered.
Elusive receiver DeSean Jackson has been one of Vick’s favorite targets past 40 yards, and Jeremy Maclin has also come into his own as a playmaker. Running back LeSean McCoy has also been solid in the passing game.
Despite so much upside at the skill position, the Eagles still have an offense that, like almost all teams, has its share of weaknesses.
If head coach Andy Reid wants to get the most out of his offense this season, here are the types of players he should be looking at to fill those weaknesses.
1) A solid No. 2 running back.
When I say solid, I mean it literally. A short-yardage back is something the Eagles have needed for a long time. Red zone scoring has always been an issue, going back to the days of Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook.
Westbrook, although phenomenal in the open field and in the passing game, wasn’t always a sure thing when it came to scoring from 2 yards outside the goal or on a crucial third and inches play.
The Eagles current running back, LeSean McCoy, shares a lot of Westbrook’s qualities. Jerome Harrison has been a nice complement also, but he isn’t a short yardage guy either.
Someone they could look to in the later rounds to fill this void is Wisconsin running back John Clay. At 6’1" 230 lbs, Clay is a load to bring down and although he’s not fast, opposing defenders will have a tough time putting him on his back as he’s barreling toward the end zone.
Also, we won’t see the Eagles illogically resort to running a play with Vick, one of the smallest quarterbacks in the league, on a keeper up the middle.
2) An offensive guard that can move up field.
If the Eagles are going to get better running the ball, they need a guy that can move up the levels quickly. The passing game was also a mess last year, as the offensive line gave up 49 sacks.
Of all the guards, only Todd Herrimans notched an above average season.
They could also go for a tackle here too, but I like the quality of this draft’s guards better.
The Eagles should spring early on this position and go for Mike Pouncey out of Florida, if he’s still available in the first round. He gets to the second level quickly and he can also play Center in a pinch.
3) A tight end that can block.
As much as I love Brent Celek, his primary strength is his catching ability, yet he displayed none of it in 2010 once Vick took over. Tight ends typically get their catches in the red zone or on broken plays when no receiver is open down field.
However, Vick prefers to scramble on broken plays, leaving Celek to block downfield, which isn’t one of his strengths.
At 6’5, 248 lbs, Charlie Gantt out of Michigan State could fill this spot nicely. He’s also a guy they could get in the later rounds.
The overall focus of this draft should be protecting Vick.
He showed everyone he still has the tools last season, if the Eagles can trim their number of sacks down to under 30 for the year and keep Vick from injury, this could be a special offense.