Someone recently asked what the Eagles look for in draft prospects at each position. Let's take a look.
QB --- The Eagles seem to prefer guys that are about 6'3, have a solid arm, some mobility, and a good track record. Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb were both 4-year starters. Andy Hall had experience at Ga Tech and Delaware. He led the Blue Hens to a national title. A.J. Feeley was primarily a backup, but fit our likes in the other areas. We don't draft based on great size or a huge arm.
FB --- Let's keep this simple. We look for players who can block and catch. Any running ability is a bonus. This is a low priority position for us in the draft. We're more of a UDFA / develop guys team when it comes to FB.
RB ---We like versatile, productive RBs. Shady and Westy were above average receivers. Buck was primarily a backup at Nebraska, but finished as one of the leading rushers in Nebraska history. Ryan Moats was incredibly productive in the 2004 season. Tony Hunt was very productive at PSU. Hunt and Buck were easily the biggest of the group. We seem to prefer smaller guys that are slashers rather than downhill power runners. Once we have a player set we will look into a complementary back. With McCoy in place as the starter I think we'd prefer a bigger back. Look for someone who is a downhill runner. We need a N-S guy with McCoy already set as the starter. McCoy is the one who can dance and be elusive. If a player with terrific athletic ability, receiving skills, and return ability is available, we might not pass on him. That could be too much for AR to pass on. We have taken a couple of RB/FB tweeners in Tony Hunt and Thomas Tapeh. Both players played both spots for us.
WR --- This is somewhat of a mystery. We've taken a variety of guys. Try to find a common thread between Todd Pinkston, Freddie Mitchell, Gari Scott, Reggie Brown, Jason Avant, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Brandon Gibson. In recent years we've gone for guys with good hands. I don't know if that's by design or just what happened. DJax and Mac each had RS ability. Gibson and Avant were slower, but a bit bigger and more physical. I really focus on trying to find guys that are natural receivers early and polished receivers late. David Culley needs someone who is very gifted to work with or he needs someone who knows what they are doing and has less of a learning curve.
TE --- We like pass catchers. Reid has looked closely at some big TEs, but has yet to pull the trigger on actually taking one. LJ Smith and Cornelius Ingram were athletic pass catchers. Brent Celek was just a good receiver. Tony Stewart was more blocker than receiver, but didn't really stand out in any way.
OL --- We like OTs, especially LTs. Most of the offensive linemen we've drafted or signed as priority UDFAs played LT in college. John Welbourn, Todd Herremans, Trey Darilek, Artis Hicks, Jeremy Bridges, Jamaal Jackson, Fenuki Tupou, King Dunlap, and Calvin Armstrong all were on the left side. Shawn Andrews, Bobbie Williams, Mike McGlynn, and Winston Justice all played RT. We don't spend too much time on pure OCs and OGs. We like guys with a big, thick build. Arm length is important to Juan Castillo and Big Red. They'll take a 6'4 guy with 34 inch arms.
DE --- We like pass rushers. I generally think of Derrick Burgess as our ideal guy. He was 6'2, 260 coming out of college. He was tough and physical although not a huge guy. He was quick, but not explosive. He knew how to get to the QB, play the run, and be disruptive. We've obviously experimented with bigger guys. Victor Abiamiri is 6'3 1/2 and around 280. We had Brandon Whiting play LDE at 6'4, 285. We've also gone small with Bryan Smith at 6'3, 230. I don't know if tall guys are off the list or just hard to find. We talk about speed rushers and fastballs, but really like guys that are more quick than fast. We don't just let our DEs fly off the ball and play 100mph. Jevon Kearse remarked about how the scheme here caught him off guard at first. The Titans let him focus on getting the QB. Here, he was taught to play the run first and then get the QB.
DT --- Mystery time. We gone from smaller, quicker guys to power players. Now the question is whether we're looking to change back. I still don't have a clue.
SAM --- Another spot where we've been all over the place. The rule of thumb used to be that we liked former DEs to come in and play SAM. Carlos Emmons was a DE in college. Jason Short was a DE in college. The immortal Greg Richmond was a DE in college. No word yet on what position he'll be listed at in Canton. Then Jim Johnson threw us us a Dwight Gooden Lord Charles style curveball and went with Dhani Jones. That experiment was slightly less than awesome so we went with Chris Gocong. Now he's been replaced by the smaller Moise Fokou. I don't think we drafted Moise to play SAM. I think they liked what they saw in practice and just decided to try putting him there to see what he'd do. Now we have Alex Hall as the backup, a guy who did play DE in college.
MLB --- Odd mix. Trot was here already so it is hard to say how he's impacted things. Tyreo Harrison was 6'2, 235. Omar was 6'1, 235. Both were late round guys. Joe Mays was short, but had a thick build. Barry Gardner was 6'1, 245. Our best MLBs have been guys that played with good leverage and had lots of power, lower body strength. Think less of speed and more of power.
WLB --- We've taken all kinds of players, but there is a good link at this spot. Our best WLBs played MLB in college. Mike Caldwell, Shawn Barber, Nate Wayne, Takeo Spikes, and Akeem Jordan all played ILB in school. Omar Gaither had some experience inside. Matt McCoy spent a lot of time between the tackles. I don't remember with Quinton Caver. Look for players that are 6'1 or 6'2 and 240 or so. We like physical tacklers with some athletic ability. We'll see if Ernie Sims changes any of this.
S --- We like future All-Pro players from Clemson. Having Dawk really spoiled us. It allowed Reid to sit back and take Safeties in the mid rounds with hopes of developing someone. JR Reed showed a ton of promise, but one darn fence ruined everything. Sean Considine was a good college player, but just couldn't put it all together in the NFL. Both guys were productive players with some size and some athleticism. Quintin Demps was very productive and ran a blazing time at the Combine. He and Reed were both good KORs. We reportedly were on the phone with Brandon Meriweather when the Pats took him. That is the earliest I know of us showing interest in a Safety. Mike Lewis was a 1st round talent that slid due to a heart condition. He was a value pick as much as anything. There is no exact trend, but look for productive Seniors, possibly with RS ability. Thomas and Berry are anomalies. Owusu-Ansah could definitely be a target of ours at FS.
CB --- We've gone with a lot of veteran players at this spot. The draft picks went for Sheldon and Lito. Ikegwuounu was a value pick because of the ACL. Last year we had a pair of press corners targeted. Both got snatched before our picks in rounds 3 and 4. I'm guessing we look for a CB that can press, has a medium build, and solid ball skills. That is flexible depending on who's available. We aren't afraid to take underclassmen at this spot.
* The Eagles are very specific drafters. They find players they like and go get them. If they don't like the choices they will move back or trade for future picks. We don't take the best FS available just because we need a FS. We only take players we like. You can argue whether this is a questionable philosophy (being too choosy), but that is the way we do things.
* We have no problem with taking I-AA players. The rule of thumb is that lower level guys must have been dominant at their level.