The Eagles roster has been set. A.J. Feeley was released this morning. Fenuki Tupouhas been placed on IR.
The loss of Stewart Bradley now becomes glaring on the depth chart with a few new names at the LB position. Here’s a good read on rookie LB Moise Fokuo, Fokou who? Word is also going around that Macho Harris may have the starting FS role over Quintin Demps.
It’s also good to know that Danny Amendola and Jack Ikegwuonu have been added to the practice squad. The practice squad also includes guards Paul Fanaika and Mike Gibson.
Quarterbacks (3) – Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb, Michael Vick
Running Backs (3) – Brian Westbrook, LeSean McCoy, Eldra Buckley
Fullback (1) – Leonard Weaver
Wide Receivers (7) – DeSean Jackson, Kevin Curtis, Jason Avant, Jeremy Maclin, Reggie Brown, Hank Baskett, Brandon Gibson
Tight Ends (2) - Brent Celek, Tony Curtis
Offensive Lineman (10) - Jason Peters, Todd Herremans, Jamaal Jackson, Stacy Andrews, Shawn Andrews, Nick Cole, Max Jean-Gilles, Winston Justice, Mike McGlynn, King Dunlap
Defensive Lineman (9) – Trent Cole, Brodrick Bunkley, Mike Patterson, Victor Abiamiri, Chris Clemons, Juqau Parker, Jason Babin, Darren Howard, Trevor Laws
Linebackers (6) – Chris Gocong, Omar Gaither, Akeem Jordan, Joe Mays, Moise Fokou, Tracy White
I’m back from a vacation and ready to get into some Eagles draft coverage. This article highlights my thoughts on the Eagles’ first two draft choices: Trevor Laws and DeSean Jackson. Coverage on the remaining picks will soon follow.
Eagles 2008 Draft Selections:
Round Pick Player Position School
2. (47) Trevor Laws DT Notre Dame
2. (49) DeSean Jackson WR Cal
3. (80) Bryan Smith DE McNease State
4. (109) Michael McGlynn OG Pitt
4. (117) Quentin Demps S Utep
4. (131) Jack Ikegwuonu CB Wisconsin
6. (184) Michael Gibson OG Cal
6. (200) Joe Mays ILB North Dakota State
6. (203) Andrew Studebaker DE Wheaton
7. (230) King Dunlap OT Auburn
When I saw that the Eagles traded their first-round pick, I was less than thrilled. I was really hoping the Eagles would take Branden Albert, but he was off the board. Jeff Otah would have been a mediocre pick, but the fact that the Eagles traded away the 19th pick shows that the Eagles didn’t rate Otah too highly. Unless they thought Otah was going to be a stud at tackle, there was no point in drafting him and I’m glad they didn’t.
The Eagles got a steal from the Panthers with their 2009 first round pick, especially since they should be around a .500 team next year, and they got a 2008 second rounder and fourth rounder to boot. On the draft-trade chart, they Eagles gave away a pick worth “875 points” and picked up picks equivalent to “1,546 points.” They made out like bandits and still got a player that they could have easily have drafted in the first round: DeSean Jackson.
After the trade, I was then hoping the Eagles would be able to draft Brian Dawkins’ heir to be: Kenny Phillips. I was livid when Phillips ended up going to the Giants with the 31st pick, but there’s a reason 30 teams passed on him and it appears that his game has major flaws. Since he’ll be forced to be a starter next year in New York since Gibril Wilson left to sign with with the Raiders, those flaws should be exposed by most teams.
At the conclusion of the first round, not a single receiver was taken, which relieved my fears that this year’s draft would become a disaster. I was then hoping the Eagles would be able to trade up to land James Hardy, but with the plethora of teams with WR needs, I knew that it was highly unlikely. With two second-round picks, I was confident the Eagles would still be able to walk away with a solid defensive talent and a wide receiver. That’s exactly what happened when the Eagles selected Trevor Laws and DeSean Jackson two picks later.
I found both picks rather curious, but I think they were both wise choices. James Hardy, the top receiver on my board, was snatched up by the Bills. Devin Thomas also went a few picks earlier to the Redskins. When the Eagles were up after the Laws pick, DeSean Jackson, Limas Sweed, and Malcolm Kelly were options for the Eagles.
I put Sweed and Kelly ahead of Jackson, but the Jackson pick makes much more sense after I gave it a second thought. Jackson may never be more than a third receiver in his career, but I think the pick was better for the Eagles than Sweed and Kelly for a number of reasons. First, Jackson’s role as a kick returner is a good enough reason to draft him over Kelly and Sweed. Plus, as the 49th pick, it was great value since he could have easily went in the first round. Additionally, when a team drafts a receiver, they rarely contribute as a rookie and don’t contribute much in their second season either. Typically, a receiver takes about three years to finally come into his own. With that said, if the Eagles took Kelly or Sweed, guys with potential to be the “No. 1 receiver” Eagles fans want, they wouldn’t be able to reap the benefits of that player until a few years down the road. With Jackson, the Eagles not only have an excellent Hester-esque kick returner, they have a speedster they can immediately put on the field in three- or four-receiver sets who can stretch the field and give Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown more room to make plays. Basically, with Jackson on the field, it will create more mismatches for defenses and it gives the guys around him a better chance to make plays — “the Reggie Bush effect.” I also think Jackson is a great fit in the West Coast system since he has the ability to turn a short catch into a ton of yards. A receiving trio of Reggie Brown, Kevin Curtis, and DeSean Jackson should work much better together than if you interjected Limas Sweed or Malcolm Kelly into the mix.
When the Eagles selected Trevor Laws, I was slighly disappointed because I would prefer to address a position of need over a position where the Eagles are set. The Eagles used their 2005 and 2006 first-round picks on their two starting DTs Mike Patterson and Broderick Bunkley, and last year they were both outstanding. The Eagles love rotating linemen, so the pick makes sense because outside those two guys, the Eagles didn’t get much contribution from any reserve DTs. I truly believe the Eagles took the best player available at that spot. I’m absolutely shocked a team with question marks at DT, like the St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders, or Cincinnati Bengals, didn’t pull the trigger to get Laws in the second round. Laws is easily the third best DT in the 2008 draft class behind Glenn Dorsey and Sedrick Ellis. Laws is the only lineman in this year’s draft class to amass over 100 tackles with 112 tackles, including 14.5 tackles for a loss, 6 sacks, 5 pass breakups, and 3 blocked kicks. The guy has a non-stop motor [YouTube Video]. Here is a video of his combine work out. 35 reps on the 225-pound bench press — the guy is a beast!
The Eagles learned their lesson after the New Orleans playoff loss two years ago and improved immensely against the run last year with the development of Bunkley and their young linebackers. With another year of experience for their young front seven and Laws in the mix, the Eagles should rank in the top five against the run in years to come. Although I may have scratched my head at the first two picks at first, I’m going to have to say that they were rather brilliant picks.