Monday, April 28, 2008

Experts weigh in on the Eagles Draft

Grading a draft the day after it happens is always a silly exercise. You never know what "sure thing" will turn into a bust, or what late round selection turns into the next Tom Brady. Usually you need to wait at least three years to really get a good gauge of how a team did. Regardless, here are a smattering of experts and their thoughts on the Eagles draft:

Mel Kiper, ESPN:
Trevor Laws had a very good 2007, and was arguably Notre Dame's best player. I like where the Eagles got DeSean Jackson because he's an exciting player (when healthy) who will help out in the return game. Bryan Smith is a combination DE/OLB, and Michael McGlynn had a nice season at right tackle opposite Jeff Otah. Cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu is a pick for the future; after declaring for the draft, he suffered a knee injury in January and isn't expected to play in 2008. Andrew Studebaker out of Wheaton has the potential to be a situational pass-rusher.

John Czarnecki, Fox Sports:
For the second straight year, the Eagles traded out of the first round. This time they picked up Carolina's first-round pick in 2009, one that the Panthers used on Pitt OT Jeff Otah. Notre Dame DT Trevor Laws is strong inside, but he can be blocked when he doesn't stay low. Coach Andy Reid went for Cal playmaker DeSean Jackson with his second pick, and he should be an excellent punt returner. Jackson has game-breaking speed, but will have trouble getting off the line against NFL cornerbacks. Pitt guard Mike McGlynn brings a roughhouse attitude, while Wisconsin CB Jack Ikegwuonu tore his ACL in January and may not be ready for training camp.

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports:
Best pick: Second-round pick DeSean Jackson will become a big-play return man immediately. He could also be a factor in the passing game as a rookie.

Questionable move: Trading out of the first round and not picking until No. 47 in the second round. But they did add Carolina's first-round pick in the 2009 draft to do so.

Second-day gem: Safety Quintin Demps has great speed and coverage skills. Some teams had him ranked third at the safety spot, so he's a bargain in the fourth round.

Charles Robinson, Yahoo! Sports: C+
The 10 picks touched on all the major needs, but the class doesn’t have the “wow” factor. It’s a little reminiscent of the 2004 draft that went 10 deep but didn’t produce much. However, Philadelph
ia’s fleecing of Carolina for the 19th pick will produce future dividends. Jackson is explosive and a potential steal in the second round. Ikegwuonu has a lot of talent and could move over to safety when he recovers from his knee injury. McGlynn could move to tackle and Dunlap could make the team because of his size.

Larry Weisman, USA Today
Bailed out of first round rather than take a WR too high and then got the guy they liked, DeSean Jackson, in the second. Need that sort of playmaker. Picked up Carolina's No. 1 next year. Got o-line help in Mike McGlynn but reached a bit for him, added secondary help later and those were at least slight reaches too — though FS Quintin Demps shows some real ability. CB Jack Ikegwuono has knee problems and may be facing burglary charges.

Clifton Brown, Sporting News:
It paid off to trade down. DeSean Jackson gives them a much-needed deep target for Donovan McNabb, and a draft-day deal gives them the Panthers' first-rounder in '09.

And finally something positive:
Peter King, Sports Illustrated: No grade, but he includes the Eagles in "
The five teams I like" section of his draft column.
The Eagles always ask for too much in trade. Always. They couldn't get rid of Lito Sheppard last weekend, but that was primarily because Sheppard, who gets hurt too much, wants a new contract even though he has four years left on his current one. But the Eagles were able to auction off the 19th pick in the draft for a mind-boggling sum, which they got from Carolina -- second- and fourth-round picks this year and the Panthers' first-round pick next year.

On the draft-trade chart, the 19th-overall pick is worth 875 points. If you assign Carolina an average 2008 season and give them the 16th pick in the first round next year, this trade will be worth 1,546 points on the trade chart -- almost double what the 19th pick is worth. In terms of real additions this year, DeSean Jackson as a receiver/returner with the 49th pick is excellent value.

My thoughts: Overall, the experts seem to feel that the Eagles draft is pretty average. In order to fully assess this year's draft, we are going to have to wait and see what the Eagles do with the first round pick they got from the Panthers for the 2009 draft. If that pick turns out to be in the top ten, then the Eagle draft grade should go way up. None of the players they drafted this year will have a huge impact in 2008, but the Eagles didn't have very many holes anyway. With two first rounders in next years draft, they have positioned themselves nicely for the future while sacrificing some talent for this year.

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