Philadelphia Eagles News

Food For Thought: Draft Edition

One player I haven't written much about so far is Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty. I watched a lot of tape of him this weekend and finally started to get a good read on him. I was impressed. McCourty could definitely be an Eagles target if they pass on a corner in the first round. I see him as a second or early third-round type of target. McCourty is an outstanding tackler. He was Rutgers' second leading tackler. Those aren't fluffed up numbers, either. Put on the tape and you'll see him around the ball constantly, whether run or pass. McCourty is a tough, aggressive player. I think the Eagles would love his ability to be effective in man and zone coverage. Some guys need to play tight man coverage. Others are better when they can play off the receiver and then react to the pass. McCourty did both and did them well. He isn't a great athlete, but he is an outstanding football player.

McCourty is the best special teams player I've seen all year. In the games I watched over the weekend, he blocked a punt, returned a kickoff for a touchdown, downed a punt at the 1-yard line and almost chased down a kickoff returner. Although McCourty was unable to make the tackle that play showed great effort. He chased the returner down just inside the 5-yard line, but wasn't able to force him out of bounds until the player had crossed the goal line. McCourty chased him down from the other side of the field. He easily could have stopped and just let the guy score, but instead chose to give the play every ounce of effort that he could.

• The only skill player I think the Eagles should consider taking in the first round is running back C.J. Spiller of Clemson. There is virtually no way he gets to No. 24, but if the team pulls off a trade and ends up with a pick in the middle of the first round it would be hard to pass on Spiller. He is a gifted receiver. I literally think he could play wide receiver if he tried. He is the best kick returner in the entire draft. Spiller is also a dynamic runner. Unlike Reggie Bush, who takes so many plays outside, Spiller is willing to run between the tackles. What makes him special is that he can take plays outside when the defense funnels to the inside. Spiller has elite speed. We don't need a player like him, but he would be very tempting if things worked out so that we had the chance to take him.

• Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap is a very odd prospect. Back in August I thought he had a chance to be the top overall pick. Here we are two months from the draft and Dunlap is flying under the radar a bit. I watched some tape of him over the weekend. Dunlap wasn't the impact player this year that I expected, but you still see his size and athleticism. He's big enough for left end. He's athletic enough for right end. He played defensive tackle in the nickel. He got sacks rushing up the middle and also batted down passes. The frustrating thing is that he doesn't play with any sense of urgency. Put Brandon Graham's motor and work ethic in that body and teams would absolutely be throwing games to get the number one pick. Instead you see a guy with potential, but lots of question marks. I won't be shocked to see him go in the top 10, but I also don't think it is too crazy to speculate on him going in the bottom of the first or early part of the second round.

• One intriguing player that I saw this weekend is receiver Tim Brown of Rutgers. He is only 5-8 and 165 pounds. This is a small guy. He has very good speed and is a big-time playmaker. He caught an intermediate pass against UConn in the final minute of the game and then outran the defense for an 81-yard touchdown. Brown is a late-round pick or undrafted target because of his size, but I was impressed with him. The Eagles will take a smaller guy if he has the right skill set. Spending the pick on DeSean Jackson is the obvious comparison, but the Eagles also tried to sign receiver Danny Amendola coming out of Texas Tech. He spent a year in Dallas before coming here. Amendola got signed away by the Rams and played pretty well for them.

-- Posted by Tommy Lawlor, 11:40 a.m., February 23

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