It is common knowledge by now that the NFL is at a standstill. Due to the lack of a Collective Bargaining Agreement and the decision to impose an owners’ lockout (until a new resolution can be formed between the NFLPA and the NFL), it will take a court case and possibly an Act of Congress to get this situation moving in the right direction. No free agency can occur, no trades between teams involving players – including Draft Day deals, which are an extremely valuable commodity in the NFL. War Rooms are usually abuzz with excitement as teams jockey up and down the draft board according to team needs, draft trends and the ever-present goal of getting the best players possible for as little money as possible. Ironic to think that when owners bandy about so many millions of dollars to recent college graduates (or non-graduates as the case may be and often is) they actually are bargain shopping!
As for our beloved Philadelphia Eagles, many rumors have pervaded the offseason, but none have taken shape due to the labor strife. Nnamdi Asomugha was rumored to come to Philadelphia and partner up with Asante Samuel for a mere $18M per season. This would have created the most formidable backfield dynamic duo in the NFL and could have been compared to the Phillies Phantastic Phour rotation. In other news, Albert Haynesworth, Jason Babin and other players were supposed to follow defensive line guru Jim Washburn to Philadelphia. The Eagles were also toying with the idea of using offensive line deity Howard Mudd to attract a new crop of offensive linemen into the fold. That one may still happen via the Draft.
Speaking of the Draft, it is still happening at the end of April. While no new CBA nor bargaining agreement exists between the warring factions, Eagles War Room has been abuzz with rumors regarding the fate of Kevin Kolb. The much maligned 26-year-old QB is in the final year of his current Eagles contract – one that he signed expecting to be the Eagles starting QB in 2010. Well, that didn’t happen as Michael Vick came straight out of Leavenworth to compete for the league MVP and has been signed to a franchise deal which will keep him in Philadelphia through at least the 2011 season… assuming there IS a 2011 season.
The rumor mill indicates that Kolb would likely fetch at least a first-round pick in return, perhaps more (first and second? third?). Such rumors persisted during the recent annual meeting of NFL Owners in New Orleans, where it became public knowledge that the Eagles have already been unofficially offered a Top 5 first-round pick for Kolb (meaning Carolina, Denver, Cincinnati, Arizona or Buffalo). Mind you, Kolb is a proven veteran who has played limited games but should be starting QB on nearly half the teams in the league (exemplifying the dearth of QB talent across the NFL). Kolb, in contrast with the unproven players available in the draft, has already proven he can perform at the highest level, twice earning the NFC Offensive Player of the Week award. So, with many quarterback-hungry teams across the league, the price tag could keep rising – especially considering Kolb’s value to the Eagles as insurance for Michael Vick. Other veteran QB on the market which may affect Kolb could include Carson Palmer, Matt Hasselback, Rex Grossman, Vince Young, Chad Pennington, Kyle Orton and Jake Delhomme. For some extra flavor, Donovan McNabb could find himself on the trading market if Washington decides he is not their man.
3/2/2011 – VICK SIGNS ONE YEAR DEAL (http://prosportsblogging.com/nfl-football/philadelphia-eagles/vick-signs-one-year-deal/)
2/14/2011- KOLB: DESTINATION ANYWHERE (http://prosportsblogging.com/nfl-football/kolb-destination-anywhere-nfl/)
1/21/2011 – WASHBURN BRINGS DEFENSIVE HOPE (http://prosportsblogging.com/nfl-football/philadelphia-eagles/washburn-brings-defensive-hope/)
1/14/2011 – NNAMDI ASOMUGHA EAGLES LYNCHPIN (http://prosportsblogging.com/nfl-football/nnamdi-asomugha-eagles-lynchpin/)
1/12/2011 – DECISIONS, DECISIONS… 2010 DRAFT RE-EVAL (http://prosportsblogging.com/nfl-football/philadelphia-eagles/decisions-decisions/)
It’s both easy and fun to let the mind wander and wonder what the Eagles might do if they found themselves in control of a top 10 pick. Draft Day has been a frenzied event in recent years as the Eagles have moved around via trades in the past. LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Macklin, DeSean Jackson, Brandom Graham and Nate Allen have all come in the first two rounds in recent years – and most of those picks due to trades. Supplemental picks resulted in Mike Kafka and Jamar Chaney. Last year the Eagles held 13 picks heading into the draft – the most in the NFL.
Considering that at least one potential top ten pick has shown interest in the Eagles, the possibility exists that Philadelphia could be on the clock earlier than expected on April 28 – provided some form of agreement allows player trades. If not, draft picks are still allowed to be swapped between NFL teams so the Eagles would have to package current and future draft picks in exchange for moving up in the 2011 Draft. Assuming that is the case, who among the elite prospects in this class could the Eagles target? Who fits among the top 10 prospects? Linebacker? Offensive Line? Cornerback? Safety? Running Back?
Historically, the Eagles always seem to be in the market for an offensive lineman and that is usually a safe pick – as immediate help is often needed and it protects the franchise from having to fork over huge contracts to Sam Bradford or Terrell Suggs. Right Guard and Offensive Tackle are areas in need of depth. Perhaps Linebacker is the position of greatest need? Jamar Chaney was a 7th round pick and performed well in relief of Stewart Bradley, but this is never an area of high priority for Andy Reid in recent drafts. Then again, a lot has changed for Reid. He has new coaches and new coordinators and new ideas very often pay off in wins and losses. What about the gaping hole at Cornerback? Samuel is locked up through 2013 and with no foreseeable chance to go after free agent Nnamdi Asomugha, this is an area of serious need. Secondary gave up 31 TD in 2010 (worst in franchise history and worst in NFL in 30 years) and cannot afford to challenge that record again. They are not likely to re-sign Ernie Sims and need to be more athletic at outside linebacker so perhaps Patrick Peterson (LSU) is the target? Another fit could be Prince Amukamara (Nebraska). Von Miller (Texas A&M) may be suited to be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 … But can he play OLB in a 4-3 and get to the QB? He has serious athleticism and can learn to drop into pass coverage. Should the Eagles be fortunate enough to move up into the top 10, Von Miller might be the best option, but he isn’t likely to last past the #5 spot. That price might be too high and may be a pipe dream.
Among the consensus top players in this draft, Peterson, 6-0, 219, is considered as surefire a future starter as anyone and would fit well into Juan Castillo’s new defensive scheme. The same could be said for Amukamara, 6-0, 206, who is likely to be the second cornerback off the board. Miller, meanwhile, would have an adjustment period if he were to step in as a 4-3 outside linebacker, but he’s said to possess world-class athleticism and a strong work ethic, so he could be the ideal player to break the string of Andy Reid drafts without a first-round linebacker. It is also possible that Miller (Arizona, #5) and Peterson (Denver #2) might be gone unless the Eagles trade into the Top 5. Should that be the case, there are a slew of excellent DE candidates – including Da’Quon Bowers (Clemson), Robert Quinn (North Carolina) and Cameron Jordan (California). Who else could be a possibility in the top 10? Though the Eagles are well-set at defensive tackle with Mike Patterson, Antonio Dixon, Brodrick Bunkley and Trevor Laws, the value could be too good to pass on if Alabama’s Marcell Dareus or Auburn’s Nick Fairley were to slide a bit. Both Da’Quan Bowers and Robert Quinn are talented pass rush projects, and we know how much Reid covets pressure on the QB – but note the term “projects.” Defensive ends rarely make a name as rookies in the NFL. Thinking of Brandon Graham? We all are.
In fact, the only position that could likely be ruled out if the Eagles jumped up is quarterback; but then again, crazier things have happened.We haven’t even discussed offensive linemen which might be the target outside of the Top Ten. Candidates could include Tyron Smith (USC), Anthony Castanzo (Boston College), Mike Pouncey (Forida), Nate Solder (Colorado) or Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin) but none are likely to go in the Top Ten.
So, allow yourself to imagine what it might be like in the Philadelphia War Room… the Eagles are on the clock with their pick of the elite prospect litter. You find yourself thumbing through photos, combine numbers, wonderlic scores and scads of video footage… Who would you want the Eagles to pick? You’re on the clock…
About the Author
Written by Christopher Rowe
Contributing writer Comcast Sports, NY Times contributing stringer 1996-2000, Contributing writer Yahoo Sports (2001 World Series). Contributing writer Newsday Long Island (1992-1994, Jets Training Camp) and Newak Star Ledger. Freelance Copywriter, Editor/Founder Atlantic Times Weekly (1993-2003) fantasy football magazine, produced screenwriter and general humorist. Hofstra University grad, Marist College honorary alum, Salesian; Purveyor of the Value and Valor of Philadelphia Eagles 1960 NFL Championship; Adrent believer that Eagles could have won Super Bowl XV...and Super Bowl XXXIX...plus modern decade of Eagles 5 NFC Championships... Believer in the Broad Street Bullies and the 1983 Sixers... Witness to Philadelphia Phillies World Series championships 1980 & 2008, Suffered Phillies first pro sports team to reach 10,000 losses,witnessed "1980 Cardiac Kids," 1983 "Wheeze Kids," 1993 "Macho Row" and many, many, many not-so-memorable seasons in-between... until the Philadelphia Baseball Renaissance of 21st Century, Five NL East division titles 2007-2011, 3 NLCS appearances 2008-2010, 2 consecutive World Series berths 2008 & 2009. 2008 World Champions of baseball [miss ya Harry and Richie]; "collector" of MLB ballparks (42 stadiums including 15 which are gone); Fantasy Football & Baseball player since 1992. Always a sports fan... Tenui Nec Dimittam Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org