I had a discussion with Matt Alkire on Wednesday evening about what the Eagles could and/or should do in the 1st round. One of the points I brought out was to forget about our needs and focus on the available prospects.
We allowed 27 TDs last year. We have a hole at RCB. The initial thought is to go get the best CB available. That's logical, but not necessarily the right way to think. Joe Haden and Kyle Wilson are the top CB prospects. Both guys are good players. I'm especially fond of Wilson. Still, neither guy is special. Not even close.
Flip over to the Safety position. There are a pair of unique talents in Eric Berry and Earl Thomas. These guys aren't just the highest ranked players at Safety. They are special players. You can refer to them as playmakers, difference makers, weapons...whatever you like. Just know that Earl and Eric are off in their own category.
We've talked quite a bit on here about how much we all covet Berry. I posted some scenarios the other day for how we could get him if he slides toward the 9 or 10 spot. Unfortunately, no matter what scenario you come up with, the notion of us landing Mr. Berry is a major longshot.
Thomas is a bit of a mystery. Mike Mayock likes him more than Berry and would spend a pretty high pick on Earl. I mention that because there could easily be a team that feels the same way.
Any of those teams could grab Earl. The Giants did sign Antrel Rolle, but their Safety play last year was dreadful. Kenny Phillips knee is no lock to be good in 2010. Don't rule out FS for them.
Having Earl get through that gauntlet of teams isn't real likely. The question is how much we covet him. I have no idea what the Eagles think of Earl. I haven't heard his name mentioned by anyone in the know. I'm simply making an assumption, one that seems pretty logical.
If the Eagles do in fact like Earl and see him as the kind of playmaker we desperately need in the middle of our defense, then it will be up to Andy Reid and Howie Roseman to decide how badly they want him. You can bet our guys will be working the phones.
I'm not going to get into specifics right here. We've got multiple landing spots to talk about and all kinds of tradeable picks. The point is that we've built up a deep group of picks and that gives us freedom. With multiple picks in rounds 2-4 you feel less stressed by the notion of making a move.
We have holes to fill on the roster so I don't want us putting together some massive ransom to move up. I am willing to use one of the extra picks to help us land a special talent at the FS position. I have no problem with Big Red and Howie being aggressive. I just hate the thought of overpaying with so many good players in the middle of the draft.
I've talked about Thomas quite a bit this year. His tackling against big RBs can be a major issue. That gets pushed aside because of his speed, range, instincts, hands, and athletic ability. Earl has great ball skills and simply makes a ton of plays. Putting him at FS would potentially be a great move. We had a playmaker in the middle of the secondary from 1996-2008. That spoiled us. Having JAGs in 2009 wasn't a lot of fun. I appreciate the need for a playmaker in there. Also having someone that runs well and covers ground is very appealing. Earl takes good angles in pursuit. Think how different the first Dallas game might have been if we'd tackled Miles Austin at the 20 or 10 instead of letting him go for the TD. A good FS can clean up a lot of mistakes.
We're less than a week until the action gets started. Until then we'll just keep talking, guessing, and arguing for our guy.
Worst sub-headline ever? The Dolphins traded for Brandon Marshall. That could very well make WR/KOR Ted Ginn expendable (right Rambo?). Ted could be of definite interest if the price is right. Miami doesn't seem real high on Ted. If they shop him and get poor offers, that could put him on the bargain rack. I'd love to get him with a 6th round pick or something like that. We could use a KOR and backup WR. Bobby April game-planned for how to stop Ginn for 3 years while both men were in the AFC East. I'm sure Howie and Louis Riddick will talk to Bobby to get his thoughts on whether Ginn is worth calling about.
Oklahoma State QB Zac Robinson visited Philly the other day. He could be a good late round target. Earliest he goes is late 4th. Could be anywhere in rounds 5-7. He can run and throw. Has good size. Solid passer. Didn't have a great year, but a lot of his weapons were hurt or suspended. Kevin Kolb came to Philly back in 2007 for a pre-draft visit. Zac won't be taken early. He's not that good of a prospect. I do like the fact we're really checking him out. He's our type of QB and might be a great value pick.
RE: what if Dez Bryant falls
Trade the pick to someone who needs a WR. Don't take a headache at a strong position. That's getting too cute with BPA.
RE: loss of Heckert on draft weekend
I think Howie has been preparing for this for a couple of years. Andy wouldn't have let Tom leave if he didn't feel we were prepared. That doesn't mean there won't be any issues. Any time you have change there will be some mistakes. Let's hope that any issues that arise are of the small variety and don't affect the overall class in any significant way.
RE: prediction about a player that is likely to become an Eagle
Tough question. Let me think about that.