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Countdown For Draft Weekend Is Here

The silence is deafening, and it is typical for an Eagles organization that keeps its draft plans very much to itself every year. April 25-26 constitutes the most important weekend for this team since, well, last draft weekend, and if you think you have a handle on what Andy Reid might do with 12 picks, including two in the first round, you are among the few.

Most draft predictions suggest the Eagles will take at least one offensive lineman among their first two picks, either 21 or 28 in the opening round. Of course, many of those same looks into the future say the Eagles have holes at left tackle and that the team is in need of fortification on the offensive line with Tra Thomas gone to Jacksonville and with Jon Runyan recovering from knee surgery.

I don't agree.

I think the Eagles could go into the season with Shawn Andrews at left tackle, Todd Herremans at left guard, Jamaal Jackson at center, Nick Cole at right guard and Stacy Andrews at right tackle and have a good group in front of Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook. In fact, I think the Eagles could go into the season with the team they have right now and win the NFC East and contend for the Super Bowl.

This is a good football team right now. Oh, there are some places where the Eagles need to add some depth -- specifically, running back and tight end -- but every team has the same holes. Actually, most teams have more gaping, obvious needs and from that standpoint the Eagles are ahead of most of the pack in the NFL.

Certainly, though, the draft affords the Eagles the opportunity to become a better team and to add to the youthful core already in place. It is an absolutely critical draft. The Eagles need to be smart, resourceful, creative. They have a lot of assets, and they are going to have a lot of opportunities to swing trades, to move up or down in each round. They have to be precise in their talent evaluation and they have to hit their targets.

I just don't think it is easy to pinpoint what the Eagles are going to do. That is what makes April 25-26 so interesting. Yeah, they're going to take a running back and they're going to take a tight end. At least, it makes sense if they do. But when? Who? Do they trade for players at those positions or do they use draft picks on those spots? When is the last time Andy Reid and the Eagles did something so clearly obvious in the draft? Brodrick Bunkley in 2006? Yeah, probably, and that has worked out pretty well.

I'm just like you at this time of the year. I'm all over the Internet and I read every rumor and talk to the draft "experts" and I hear what they have to say. If you believe everything you read, the Eagles are interested in almost every prospect at almost every position. There is some truth in that, by the way. The Eagles could take a player and add to virtually every position on the team. They have that many draft picks. They have a chance to really challenge this roster in the draft and upgrade the bottom third substantially in the latter rounds.

But I'm sitting here 3 1/2 weeks away from the draft with the kind of anticipation I haven't had in a long time. I don't have a handle at all on what the Eagles will do at 21 and 28, much less after that. Who will be on the board at 21? The first round of the draft this year seems so unpredictable. Names are flying on and off the mock drafts. It is difficult to get a true feel of what pool of players will be there when the Eagles pick.

Things are quiet at the NovaCare Complex, at least to those who aren't behind the closed doors, grinding away through the talent evaluation process. The Eagles are working the phones, they are trying to hone in on their draft prospects and they are, at the same time, continuing to evaluate what they have on the current roster.

This is a good team right now, and the Eagles know they have some areas to improve. The draft is the foundation for every team and the Eagles are giving -- and won't give -- a clue as to what they are thinking.

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