Trade-happy Eagles open for dealing on draft day
Teams looking for a quarterback could have the Philadelphia
Eagles on speed dial before the NFL draft.
The inability to trade Kevin Kolb because of the lockout doesn’t
mean the Eagles aren’t an attractive partner for a club that needs
a quarterback. That’s because Philadelphia holds the No. 23 pick in
the first round in a draft where several QBs are projected to go
around that spot.
”Especially where we are in the first round, I think that’s
where you anticipate some of the quarterbacks coming up,” Eagles
general manager Howie Roseman said. ”Obviously we’re a great place
in the draft to get some of those quarterbacks where they’re
slotted to go if someone wants to come up and get some of those
The Eagles are known for their wheeling and dealing at the
draft. They’ve made 29 trades during the draft over the last eight
years, including 16 in the past three drafts and six last year.
They moved out of the first round in 2007 and made Kolb their
first overall pick in the second round. They moved up to get
defensive end Brandon Graham last year and wide receiver Jeremy
Maclin in ’09.
”We’re open to explore any options that we think make us
better, and whether that’s moving up or moving down, we’re
definitely open,” Roseman said.
If they stay put, there are several ways the Eagles can go at
No. 23 in next week’s draft. The defending NFC East champions need
to upgrade their secondary and offensive and defensive lines.
Cornerback is a major need because Philadelphia doesn’t have
either of their starting right cornerbacks from last season – Ellis
Hobbs and Dimitri Patterson – under contract. Hobbs is unlikely to
play again because of injuries.
Colorado’s Jimmy Smith should be on the board when the Eagles
pick. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Smith received first-team All-Big 12
honors from the league’s coaches. He had 70 tackles and five pass
breakups, and only allowed one touchdown in man coverage all
season. He didn’t have any interceptions because teams rarely threw
The concern about Smith is off-field issues, including two
arrests for underage drinking while he was at Colorado. Smith
visited the Eagles and had a good interview with team
”I think we wanted to make sure that we knew him. Jimmy’s a
good guy to talk to,” Roseman said. ”He’s enjoyable to talk to,
he’s got great energy and he did a great job when he was
LSU’s Patrick Peterson and Nebraska’s Prince Amukamara are
expected to be the first two cornerbacks selected. They’ll be long
gone by the time the Eagles pick unless Roseman engineers a trade
into the top 10 or 15. That would’ve been possible if the lockout
hadn’t prevented Philadelphia from moving Kolb, who lost his
starting job to Michael Vick.
”There are a couple of guys at the top who are very talented
and probably will go early,” Roseman said of the cornerback crop.
”Then there’s a group that I think if you took 32 teams, you’re
probably going to have 32 different draft boards of the next five
or six guys and when they come off and how they have them ranked. I
think people are just going to take who they like with that. I
think in years past, there’s more consensus top five and right now
I think you’d get a lot of different views on the top-five
The offensive line is an area the Eagles must address in the
draft, though Roseman doesn’t seem impressed enough to take a
lineman in the first round.
”I think this year we talk about the top not being as strong as
it’s been in years past, but maybe the depth is there more so than
in years past throughout the draft,” he said.
The Eagles have lacked a standout pass rusher and could take a
defensive end in the first round for the second straight year.
Graham had a disappointing rookie season and isn’t expected to be
ready for the start of the season after having surgery to repair a
torn knee ligament last December.
Poor performance from the ends cost defensive line coach Rory
Segrest his job, and the Eagles hired longtime Tennessee Titans
assistant Jim Washburn to replace him.
”I think the defensive linemen are so enticing and there are so
many of them that those are the guys that people are looking for,”
Roseman said. ”Obviously, it’s hard to find defensive linemen in
this league, guys who can get pressure on the quarterback, and this
draft has a lot of them.”
This is one year where teams could stick with the old
best-player-available approach. The draft is usually a last resort
for teams to fill needs, but free agency – assuming the lockout
ends at some point – will give GMs a chance to get players that can
come in and start right away.
”I think that you’re able to go and get the best players
regardless of positions, because at some point you’re going to have
another avenue to address those needs and fill them,” Roseman
said. ”So usually at this time of year, you’ve gone through free
agency, the bulk of the players have been signed and you go into
the draft saying, ‘I still don’t have this. For us to compete at
the highest level, we probably have to fill that.’ Now, you’re kind
of open. You can take anyone, and then eventually when it comes
around, those other avenues to address, if I need something on a
short-term basis I can go get it.”