It was an interesting season for Philadelphia in 2008, but what else is new? Donovan McNabb was benched and controversy ensued, but when Andy Reid?s back is against the wall he seems to deliver - a blow to the wall (I feel sorry for the wall).
The Eagles made the NFC Championship against all odds, and they are looking to regain the NFC East crown, which will not be easy. Washington added arguably the best defensive player in the NFL in Albert Haynesworth. The Giants made a few big upgrades in free agency. The Dallas Cowboys traded away T.O. (yay for NFC East defensive backfields). Will the 2009 NFL Draft catapult the Eagles as NFC East favorites?
Let?s get to their Draft range in the first round with their picks at Nos. 21 and 28:
Left tackle: The Eagles do not have a capable left tackle on the roster. Michael Oher, Eben Britton and William Beatty will all get heavy consideration in the first round. I personally think Oher and Beatty are better left tackles than Britton because they are more athletic, but I am not the Eagles scouting department either.
Brandon Pettigrew: Can someone logically explain why on Earth the Eagles made a good decision in franchising L.J. Smith? Are you kidding me? Pettigrew is a complete tight end who blocks, runs sharp routes, and has soft hands. He would be a huge threat in this offense.
Kenny Britt/Jeremy Maclin: I feel like these are the only two receivers the Eagles will seriously consider in the first round. Maclin is more of a vertical threat (like DeSean Jackson), but Britt is more of a possession receiver and an end-zone threat.
Chris Wells: Wells would be the ultimate compliment to Brian Westbrook. I am not buying these comments from Tom Heckert in terms of ruling out a prospect. If a team rules out a prospect, I will tend to think the opposite and feel they are smoke screening to ensure their player falls to their pick.
After the first round, several tight ends could make an impact immediately if Philly opts not for Pettigrew in the first. Jared Cook, Cornelius Ingram and Travis Beckum are very enticing options in the second or third rounds. They would all be great vertical threats for Donovan McNabb.
Brian Robiskie and Hakeem Nicks would be perfect possession receivers to add in the second round if they don?t draft Britt or Maclin in the first. Robiskie has more size, but Nicks has better separation ability. Both have two of the softest pairs of hands in the 2009 NFL Draft.
If the Eagles opt not to select Chris Wells in the first round, then they must add a running back later on in the draft. Shonn Greene, Andre Brown and Rashad Jennings could be had in the third round. As late-round picks for this offense, I like Arian Foster, Chris Ogbonnaya and Gartrell Johnson because of the power they bring to the table at tailback.
The Eagles must get this draft right and emphasize need. Adding players like Trevor Laws and Kevin Kolb in the past with other needs has not paid off dividends yet at this point. With two first-rounders, Philly will keep things interesting, as usual.