The trade of Sheldon Brown leaves the Eagles thin at cornerback. Ellis Hobbs is the projected starter at right corner, but the team will likely want to take a player to challenge him. This is a good class of corners. There isn't much first-round talent, but it is a deep group.
Joe Haden and Kyle Wilson are the top corners. Both should go in the first round. Most people feel Haden is the best of the whole class, but Wilson has his share of supporters as well. Haden is a talented junior from Florida. He lacks ideal deep speed, but is a very talented prospect. He is very good on underneath routes. He hits and tackles well. He can make plays. Wilson is a senior from Boise State. There is nothing great about him, but he's good in every area. He had a very good career and then played very well at the Senior Bowl. Wilson had a good showing at his pro day. He feels like a safe pick. Both players should go in the 15 to 25 range.
The second round is more crowded. Early on the Eagles could target Devin McCourty from Rutgers. The only thing keeping him from the first round is the fact that he's more football player than athlete. Normally, that isn't a problem at all, but cornerback is a position where pure athleticism can be the difference between a solid starter and very good starter. Alabama's Kareem Jackson is only a junior, but he is a gifted cover corner that could go early. Later in the round, the Eagles could go for Brandon Ghee from Wake Forest. He has good length, speed and cover skills. The problem is that he's a limited playmaker. Florida State's Patrick Robinson is very talented, but also very inconsistent There really are plenty of choices. This is just the first couple of rounds. There are talented prospects beyond this.
A.J. Jefferson of Fresno State has really good physical skills, but didn't always play up to his potential. He's also very gifted as a kickoff returner. If the Eagles want a big, physical corner they could get Virginia's Chris Cook. He really opened some eyes at the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine. Jerome Murphy from South Florida has a lot of talent. He is a very aggressive player with good athleticism. One of the most fascinating players is defensive back Akwasi Owusu-Ansah of Indiana (PA). He has excellent size at 6-1 and 207 pounds. He has good return ability and was a playmaker in school. Some teams prefer him at safety while others like him as a physical corner.
It's going to be very interesting to see how the Eagles go about addressing cornerback. Barring a trade, it has to be a priority position. The good news is that we don't have to spend a first-round pick to address the position with a quality player.
• If the Eagles are looking for a mid-round pass rusher they will have a couple of options. Senior Jermaine Cunningham from Florida never developed into a star, but he could be very effective in a rotation. He has pretty good size at 6-3 and 266 pounds. He played right and left end. He has good quickness off the ball. He isn't explosive. I was impressed with his agility. He rounds the corner naturally when trying to get to the quarterback. Some rushers are straight line and don't turn well. This was always a problem for Chris Clemons. Cunningham stays low and uses a good rip move. He finished his career with 18.5 sacks and five forced fumbles.
• Jason Worilds left Virginia Tech after his junior year. I think that will hurt him a little, but he is probably a solid third-round pick. Worilds has an interesting build at 6-1 and 254 pounds. He looks more like a linebacker. He played left end in 2009, but struggled when teams ran at him. I think he'd be more comfortable on the right side. I'm not sure if he could ever be a full-time starter in the NFL or would have to be strictly a situational rusher. Worilds had a great showing at the Combine. He is a terrific athlete. He was productive, finishing his career with 15 sacks and 34 tackles-for-loss. I think Worilds would also be a terrific special teams player.
• Now that there is an opening at quarterback I think the Eagles will spend a pick at that position. The guy that interests me the most is Jarrett Brown. He spent most of his career at West Virginia waiting for Pat White to leave. Brown only started the 2009 season. That lack of experience means that he will need time to develop. He is gifted. There are times when I watched him play and thought of my days scouting Donovan McNabb back in 1998 and early 1999. Brown has good size. He runs well. He has a strong arm and is physically gifted. The mental side of things is what kills him. Brown only got one season to read defenses in the heat of battle. His decision-making is all over the place. Normally that would be a real concern, but because he is so raw you like to think you can teach him how to play quarterback and develop his natural gifts. Brown does have the potential to be a good NFL starter.
• I think the starting offensive line is pretty well set, but there is room for depth. Zane Beadles of Utah could be a good fit in the mid-rounds. He started at left guard in 2006 and then moved to left tackle for his final three seasons. He has a lot of experience. Beadles has the potential to play left tackle in the NFL. I don't think you'd want to project him there as a starter. He is probably a better fit at guard. Beadles would be a good insurance policy at left tackle. He has OK size at 6-4 and 307 pounds. He isn't a gifted athlete, but has functional agility and quickness. Beadles played tackle, guard and even some center at the Senior Bowl. His versatility and experience could make him a target for us.
• Last time out someone raised an interesting point. They talked about bias for or against particular colleges. I was biased a long time ago. I wanted players from certain schools to do well and hated prospects from other places. That all changed in the mid-1980s. The Eagles spent a high pick on a kid named Jerome Brown. He'd been a major star at the University of Miami. Ugh. I hated Miami with a passion. Those players were evil personified and had to be stopped. Then I saw Brown put on an Eagles uniform. He got into the backfield and destroyed running backs and quarterbacks. He did his best to make sure Troy Aikman's life was miserable. I learned a good lesson from Jerome. Leave the colleges in the past. That stuff is for fans. Focus on the players and how they translate to the NFL. I could care less whether a player went to Penn State, Portland State or The Colorado School of Mines. I put on the game tape and write down what I see. I judge performances, not uniforms or names.
• Check out the latest two-round mock draft we've got up at ScoutsNotebook.com. Think it'll be all defense?
• In this week's Fan-Demonium column, I analyze why the Eagles made the right decision in trading veterans Donovan McNabb and Sheldon Brown.
-- Posted by Tommy Lawlor, 5:10 p.m., April 7