Memo to Eagles fans who think what the team does this weekend in the draft is what you expect them to do. Uh, not good for the blood pressure. Not good for your cool, calm demeanor. And not exactly the way the Andy Reid era has operated during draft weekend.
I'm taking this approach: I am going to be surprised by what the Eagles do. Repeat after me: I am not going to over-evaluate after the round one pick is made. I am going to wait until seven rounds are completed before I judge the Eagles' moves.
Can you do that? Is it possible in this world of instant gratification to simply let things play out and then offer an opinion?
Give it a try. See how it works. Because if you go in thinking that the Eagles are going to take a running back or a tight end with their first pick because they have needs at these two positions, think again. Anything is possible. Just about every position is in play. Yeah, the Eagles are going to address running back and they are going to address tight end, but thinking those will be the first two positions off the board is *not *the way to go into this draft.
Look, I'm just thinking of your sanity. It has been a long, long off-season. It has been crazily emotional. And at the end of the pre-draft period, now that we're here, the Eagles have come out looking really, really good. They have rebuilt their offensive line and have added two players in Stacy Andrews and Jason Peters whom the Eagles think will flourish under the precision and enthusiasm of offensive line coach Juan Castillo. They have a real, true fullback in Leonard Weaver, who has more ability at the position than the Eagles have enjoyed in a long, long time.
The defense returns 10 starters and some young players who are going to push for playing time to add to a group that ranked third in the league last year.
Of course, there are some areas to address, and there are concerns dotting the roster, but that happens in every NFL city. The Eagles are in great shape heading into the draft.
Now, what will they do when they get there? Twenty-one is not exactly no-man's land in this draft, but there doesn't appear to be a lot of difference between the 11th pick and the 30th pick in this draft. Twenty-one overall? Who is going to be there? What will the Eagles take?
Maybe it's easy to think about what they won't take. And all I can think is that they won't take a quarterback, no way, no how. They won't take a fullback. They probably wouldn't take a linebacker, because they really like this group they have. Then again, the draft is loaded with excellent linebacking prospects, so maybe the Eagles see one they love and challenge Chris Gocong, or move Stewart Bradley to the strong side, or bring in somebody to challenge Akeem Jordan and Omar Gaither at the WILL spot.
What else would this team not take at 21? A kicker. A punter. A safety? Maybe they would if there were someone rated highly enough, although the Eagles want to give Quintin Demps a real shot at winning the starting job at free safety and they like the way Sean Jones has approached the off-season conditioning program and Rashad Baker is more experienced than you think.
My thoughts? Should running back Knowshon Moreno remain on the board, he would be difficult to pass on. Good talent, seems to fit in well within the scheme and is experienced as a pass catcher. Tight end Brandon Pettigrew is a complete package who fills a very definite need. Good options with both players, and one of them should be available at 21.
But both players also play positions that are deep and talented, so how much would the Eagles lose by waiting to address those positions in rounds two or three? I don't know that answer, but it is one the Eagles understand and are continuing to evaluate.
So I'm saying a running back at 21. Or a tight end. Or a help for the defense, either along the line or at cornerback. And why do I think Andy Reid would take a highly-rated offensive lineman, no matter how many he already has on this roster?
I'm going into the draft trying to be patient, because that is the kind of off-season it has been. Had you over-reacted to the first couple of days of free agency, you would have missed quite a party. The Eagles made a clear commitment to make this roster younger, more athletic, more powerful. They have been consistent with that approach, and I don't expect that to change this weekend. Will the Eagles trade for a veteran? Maybe, because I know they are talking to every other team about probably more scenarios than we could ever imagine. Will the Eagles trade one of their veterans? I have that feeling that something like that will happen, yes. But that's just a guess.
I think anything goes. I think just about anything *will *go, but I doubt at this point that the Eagles will make a monster move and go up in the draft toward or in the top 10. Not sure I see a player worth trading up to acquire.
A trade back? Yup. What if Moreno isn't on the board? Or Pettigrew? The Eagles could easily move back and get an extra pick or two.
This is going to be a fun weekend. A great time. A lot of things are going to go down, and I'm going to wait until the end to evaluate. I am not going to over-react.
And maybe if I say that enough times, I will actually believe it. Truth is, it's going to be madness. Welcome to the fun!