Everyone has an opinion, and that's fine. Why have the Eagles made the moves they've made? What kind of quarterback can Kevin Kolb be? Will the Eagles feel differently about trading Donovan McNabb within the division when it is all said and done? We are now in the home stretch of this roster-improvement phase of the year, the time when the Eagles hunker down for the draft, and at the same time keep their options open on other moves. What happens next?
With 11 draft picks and five in the first three rounds and the chance to really take hold of the April 22-24 weekend, the Eagles hold the ammunition to do as they please. So what do they please? They need to address the defense, of course, and I'm not ruling out a semi-major trade or two before and during the draft.
The team did it last year when they acquired Jason Peters from Buffalo a handful of days before the draft. That moved turned out to be a crucial one for the Eagles, who solidified their left tackle position for years to come with the addition of Peters. The cost was a first-round draft pick and then some, and the Eagles certainly have the goods to move a draft pick or two to find a player of that caliber should they want to do so.
In the draft, the Eagles bounced around a few times and landed cornerback Ellis Hobbs from New England, and he played an important part for half of the 2009 season as a reserve cornerback and an excellent kickoff return man. Now, as the Eagles line up their cornerback prospects on the other side of Asante Samuel, Hobbs is at the top of the pecking order.
The question, of course, is what kind of players are available out there? Part of the evaluation process Howie Roseman and his staff -- particularly Louis Riddick, the team's director of pro personnel -- have now is finding those players who are available, who make sense, who are worth approaching a team about.
If you expect the Eagles to bolster this team solely with draft picks the rest of the way here, well, you aren't giving Roseman and Co. (and, of course, Andy Reid is the boss here) enough credit for their creativity and their ambition. The goal is to find the best players, not just the best players in the draft. The Eagles have certainly gone out of the box to add players already in the off-season. They have used the unrestricted free agent route to sign defensive back Marlin Jackson and wide receiver Hank Baskett. They have signed Mike Bell as a restricted free agent. They traded for defensive end Darryl Tapp. And, of course, they brought in draft pick by dealing away veterans McNabb, Sheldon Brown and Chris Gocong.
So, there is more ahead. Who and how and when, I don't know. I know the Eagles have a ton of scenarios to consider. I know they have a lot of assets. I know they have some areas they certainly need to address -- and you can hit this defense in every area, and add to the offensive line of scrimmage, too -- and I know the Eagles have a plan.
Does that plan include acquiring some veterans and using all of those draft picks as trade bait? Could be. The Eagles are capable of anything here.
NEWS, NOTES AND A LITTLE OF THIS AND THAT
Here is an interesting scenario to consider: What happens if the ultra-talented wide receiver Dez Bryant falls all the way to 24 and the Eagles are sitting there trying to stay true to their draft board and he is clearly the most highly-rated player available? Would the Eagles go with the best-player-on-the-board theory and take Bryant, even though they are as solid as they have ever been at wide receiver? It could happen. It could be a picture they need to think about.
- I've seen running back LeSean McCoy around the NovaCare Complex every day and I have to say that he has been so impressive. He looks great, he is relaxed and he is clearly comfortable in the role as the team's starting halfback. Attacking the off-season conditioning program will benefit McCoy -- who had never been in a serious program -- as much as any player on this team.
- I certainly think the Eagles could trade Michael Vick, but it seems kind of like a made-up story right now. The Eagles have a veteran quarterback who knows the system backing up Kevin Kolb. Why mess with that? The Eagles take the backup quarterback position and the No. 3 spot very, very seriously. Vick is going to be so much better than he was a year ago. He is going to be a weapon here. Now, if a team blows the Eagles away with a deal ...
- Moise Fokou is going to make a strong push for the SAM linebacker job. I'm not saying the Eagles will ignore the position, but they have to like how Fokou has approached the off-season. He told me is up to about 240 pounds, that he feels so much more advanced in the defensive scheme and that he has a lot of confidence right now. We'll see. I liked what I saw at times from Fokou last season. He made plenty of mistakes, but the kid goes hard and is not afraid to sell out on every play.
- Offense or defense with the first pick on April 22? I can honestly tell you the Eagles could go either way. That's just the way Reid has been in the draft. I participated in a mock draft for the NFL Network the other day and when it came time for the Eagles' pick at 24, I went with Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson. He was the second cornerback off the board and I figured, what the heck?
- Then there is this from NFL Network's Mike Mayock: "You start talking about the Eagles at pick No. 24 and at pick No. 37, these key early picks, I think you're going to wait and see how the board plays out. I think you'll see them target cornerback, defensive end and offensive line and if they need to move up and take a player of significance, they have the firepower to do so. At No. 24, I think Jason Pierre-Paul, Derrick Morgan and Brandon Graham will all be gone from the defensive end position, leaving possibly an Everson Griffen. I think among corners, Joe Haden and Kyle Wilson will both be gone at that point. Depending on how you have Devin McCourty, Patrick Robinson and Kareem Jackson lined up, one of those three could be your pick. Don't forget, I think four offensive tackles will be gone by the 24th pick, but there is quality with Mike Iupati and Maurkice Pouncey, the two interior offensive linemen. One of those names will likely be the Eagles' selection if they stay put."