Eagles 2009 Draft Needs

2008 Record: 9-6-1

 10 Total Picks: 1st Rd (2); 2nd Rd (53); 3rd Rd (85); 5th Rd (141 from Cleveland, 153 from Jets, 157, and 159 from Patriots); 6th Rd (194, 195 from Minnesota); 7th Rd (230) 

  1. RB – After two solid years of Pro Bowl production, RB Brian Westbrook slowed down due to injuries (936 yards in 14 games). Despite an anticipated strong return to the line-up by B-West, at age 30 and the only backup being Lorenzo Booker more is needed.  With the new trend in the NFL being the use of a tandem in the backfield (Giants, Panthers, and Titans), the Eagles need to find a partner for Westbrook.  Correll Buckhalter is now in Denver and the team finally gave up on Ryan Moats and Tony Hunt.  There are several high producing running backs coming out including several that have kick return experience.  Watch for Knowshown Moreno (Georgia) in the 1st round, Donald Brown (UConn) in the 2nd round or late round options Ian Johnson (Boise St) and Devin Moore (Wyoming).
  2. TE – It was evident by the Eagles continued woes in the redzone that McNabb’s favorite targets needed some assistance going into the ’09 season. The tight ends as a whole only caught 66 passes for 626 yards (9.5 ypc) and only 4 TDs.  The Eagles finally let LJ Smith (Ravens) go after “franchising” him and getting only 298 yards and 3 TDs.  The improved play of Brent Celek is exciting (career-high 10 catches, gaining 83 yards and two touchdowns against the Cardinals in the NFC Championship), but a better blocker needs to be added in the draft.  I know some in the Eagles front office are saying that Backup Matt Schobel is “serviceable”, but an impact player is needed.  The preference is for a blocking type that can also contribute on special teams.  Watch for Brandon Pettigrew (Oklahoma State) in the 1st round if Moreno is gone, Chase Coffman (Missouri) or Shawn Nelson (So. Miss) in the 2nd/3rd  round or late round options Cornelius Ingram (Florida), Travis Beckum (Wisconsin), and Jared Bronson (Central Washington).
  3. WR – So you want a receiver Philly fans…I can already hear Andy Reid’s 10-year common retort –uh, uh, [Throat Clear], “We are okay with our receivers”.  But even Big Red knows that 11 receiving touchdowns from your entire receiving corps is not good enough.  This unit needs to add another player to go with Kevin Curtis and emerging receiver DeSean Jackson (62 receptions for 912 yards and 2 TDs). Backups Hank Baskett and Jason Avant are good possession types, but they are not front-line guys.   And to say the least 5th year receiver Reggie Brown has to have a good training camp or he is gone.  The Eagles need to find a receiver in the second round or third round. This area could also be improved by trading for Anquan Boldin (Cardinals asking for a lot) or Chad Johnson (could be had from the Bengals for a 2nd or 3rd, but he will be another T.O). Watch for Brian Robiskie (Ohio State) in the 2nd/3rd  round or late round options Derrick Williams (Ohio State), Juaquin Inglesias (Oklahoma) and Patrick Turner (USC).
  4. CB – Just when you thought the Eagles Top 3 corners were set…veteran Sheldon Brown put it out there that he wants to be traded.  This group led by All-Pro Asante Samuel (4 INTs in the regular) and emerging nickelback Joselio Hanson were solid in ’08.  Samuel you know is going to better in his second year in Jim Johnson’s scheme, but the Birds need insurance with the Brown situation.  The way Sheldon is talking he could holdout or become a distraction like his friend Lito Sheppard, who talked his way off the field and out the door.  With so many teams going to four and five receiver sets (see NFC Championship Game), the Birds need another quality corner on the depth chart.  This draft is pretty deep at cornerback and there is some good value after the second round.  Expect the Eagles to add someone to help in the nickel, dime, and on special teams.  They also should consider someone with return skills as receiver DeSean Jackson may soon be too valuable to play that role. Watch for Victor “Macho” Harris, (Virginia Tech) in the 2nd/3rd  round or late round options Captain Munnerlyn (South Carolina), Darius Butler (UConn) and Don Carey (Norfolk State).
  5. LB – The Eagles NFC top-ranked defense’s linebacking crew is almost complete with youngsters MLB Stewart Bradley and SLB Chris Gocong coming of age.  But their weakside linebacker position needs to be addressed in the draft.  The Eagles linebackers still don’t make enough game-changing plays — entire unit only had 5.5 sacks and 1 interceptions.  The NFL is now built on hybrid players and schemes at the LB area, so another player should be added.  The good news is this draft is full of playmaking linebacker with many that should be available on Day 2.  Any player added should be able to help out on special teams. Watch for Anthony Heygood (Purdue and Cardinal O’Hara), Clint Sintim (Virginia) and Tyrone McKenzie (South Florida) in the middle rounds.  
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