Tick. Tock. The countdown to the 21st pick in the NFL draft is here and the hours are flying by. Not for us, mind you. For us the days are agonizingly slow. Saturday can't get here fast enough. For those in the know, those who are making decisions, the time is going by very quickly. What's happening at the NovaCare Complex? A lot. Meetings all day and most of the night. Options being presented. Phones ringing constantly.
What will the Eagles do with the 21st pick in Saturday's draft? How will they maximize the picks they have, 10 in all? These are the questions the Eagles are trying to answer right now as they set up scenarios they can fulfill or ignore on Saturday.
I don't know which way to lean, honestly. Part of me says the Eagles couldn't pass up a player like Knowshon Moreno if he is there at 21. Another part says that if the top-rated tight end in the draft, Oklahoma State's Brandon Pettigrew, is still available at 21, the Eagles should strongly consider taking him. And then history smacks me in the face: Andy Reid has dedicated his last five first-round draft picks to the line of scrimmage. Jerome McDougle in 2003, Shawn Andrews in 2004, Mike Patterson in 2005, Brodrick Bunkley in 2006 and now Jason Peters using the 28th pick in this year's draft that was acquired by trading last year's first-round selection.
So what is it going to be? Do the Eagles trade up? Do they trade back a few spots and pick up an extra selection in the second or third round? Do they trade out of round one again? Do they trade 21 for a veteran player?
All possibilities are in play. I don't have an answer. I don't think any NFL team knows on Monday with certainty what it will do in the draft that is five days away.
Too much time. Not enough time.
The Eagles are considering every angle here, and the mood at the NovaCare Complex is excited and fully understanding of the opportunity ahead.
REPORT: SHELDON BROWN ASKS FOR TRADECornerback Sheldon Brown went public to voice his unhappiness with his current contract, which has four years remaining. ESPN reported on Monday that Brown has requested a trade. According to published reports, the Eagles have denied that request. Here is the team's official statement on the situation.
"It's very unfortunate and counterproductive that Sheldon has chosen to go public with his feelings about his situation. After thorough evaluation by himself and discussions with his family and agents, he chose to accept an extension of his rookie contract early that provided his family financial security for the rest of his life. It removed any concerns about health or performance that all other players in his draft class had to worry about. He has four years remaining on that contract and, after taking the signing bonus and his first two years of salary into account, we feel that Sheldon is being paid fairly. Focusing only on a player's salary for a given year is not a valid analysis.
"There have been league MVP's, Super Bowl champion quarterbacks, and perennial Pro Bowlers who have been in a similar situation. All of their teams have required them to wait until their contract expired or there was only one year remaining before any adjustment took place. It is only in the most extraordinary, in fact, less than a handful of circumstances in the last 10 years that any players two new years into a contract with four years left have been adjusted. We don't think this qualifies as an extraordinary circumstance.
"Sheldon's comments under the circumstances actually serve to devalue him in a trade if we were willing to consider it, which we are not."
TAPE REVIEW: PETERS AND HOW HE FITS IN
I watched more film on Jason Peters on Monday and saw some of the mistakes he made in Buffalo. He had his ups and downs last year, no question about it. But what you notice when you see the man play is his incredible athletic ability, his nasty streak and his strength. I think that once Juan Castillo gets some work in with Peters, the Eagles will be in great shape at left tackle.
What is the difference between Peters and the departed Tra Thomas? A huge age difference, for one thing. Athletic ability for another. And the ability to dominate in the running game. The Eagles should have a lot of confidence running to the left side this season.
THINKING: WILL OFFENSIVE APPROACH CHANGE?I am not so sure the Eagles are going to reverse field on their X's and O's approach to the offense. The key words that they always use are "running the ball more efficiently.
"We have to be better there, and I think we will," said offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. "We've made some additions, we're much younger on offense and I'm excited to see what Leonard Weaver can do to help us. He is a good fullback. We have to work hard, put in all that time and effort, and I think we're going to be improved in short-yardage situations and in the red zone. We've been working hard on that in the off-season.
"We did a lot of good things offensively last year. We're striving to take it to another level, and that means being more consistent. Really, that's what I'm looking for -- more consistency across the board. It isn't one guy or one position. Everybody has a part in that."
DEFENSE: ALL SET OR A SURPRISE AT TOP OF DRAFT?Everyone out there seems to think that the Eagles will address the offense first and foremost on Saturday, but that isn't necessarily a slam dunk. The Eagles will never look the other way if there is a defensive lineman on the board that they love. They may look to challenge the linebackers, and you know how much the team values cornerbacks and how many new faces the team already has at safety.
The trendy pick in draftnik land seems to be Tennessee defensive end Robert Ayers. He is supposed to be a standout prospect. I just wonder what the fallout would be if the Eagles take a defensive end high in the draft. They already have six ends they like on the roster. No way could they carry seven ends on the team. Makes me think there so many scenarios the team is considering, and that trading a veteran or three from this existing roster isn't out of the question for Saturday and Sunday.