Saturday, April 26, 2008

Another Good Day to be a Philly Fan

WOW, folks, by almost any measure Saturday was a damn fine day to be sports fan in Philly.

The Phillies stomped the Pirates to take their road-trip to a 5-1.

The Flyers rebounded strong from a disheartening OT loss in Game 1 to even up their best-of-seven series, beating the Canadiens 4-2 and wresting home-ice advantage for the hometown boys on Broad Street.

And did the Eagles ever make some waves on Day 1 of the NFL Draft. Did they have the best day? No, it hard to make the best impression when some other teams (Carolina, KC, Dallas) came away with multiple first rounds picks. That said, the Eagles scored themselves some DT depth with ND Trevor Laws and go themselves a KR/PR and a potential contributor, match-up nightmare guy in Cal WR DeSean Jackson.

Its not the players themselves that have Eagles fans buzzing, it's how we got there. The Eagles FO swung 3 draft-day trades on Saturday.

First they got a sweet-offer for their first-round pick, #19, from Carolina. You see, Carolina wanted an OT. There were five certifiable blue-chippers this year (Yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear you, two, maybe three of them will pan out and live up to expectations, but all five are considered really good). Well the top 4 prospects were gone by pick 15 (when KC moved up to take Branden Albert), and hell, even Detroit got into the act and picked up a non-Top 5 OT at Pick 17. So Carolina was desperate. They wanted them at OT, and there was NO CHANCE that a guy like Jeff Otah from Pitt (shout out to my old alma mater) was going to linger around until the second round.

So Carolina forks over a #2 and #4 pick this year, and next year's #1 selection to for Philly's #19 this year. Lo' and behold, they select Otah. Just to show how this tumbled even more teams to fall all over themselves. It helped the Washington Redskins too, because then Atlanta panicked, and seeing 6 of the Top 8 OL gone, they traded with Washington for the Redskins pick at #21, and they selected an OT as well.

So they then had two #2, one #3 and three #4 picks (along with 1-5th, 4-6th and a 7th).

Then the Eagles ship their own #4 (not Carolina's, it was higher, and they can't trade the comp pick) to Miami for scatback Lorenzo Booker. Evidently, a guy they wanted to draft last year but didn't get the chance.

However, this left the Eagles without a first round selection, and the fans, well, they were a-howling. We want to see picks! We want to debate the selection and all that fun shit. And here the Eagles are, trading down, amassing more picks in a draft were we already have 11!!

So finally, after HOURS of waiting it the Eagles turn again in round 2, and there are still a TON of quality players out there...they lost out on WR Devin Thomas, who the Redskins snagged with the second rounder they got from Atlanta, but NO wide receivers went in the first round, and Eagles were sitting there at #43 (overall) with their choice of a bevy of Wideouts...

and what do the Eagles do??

THEY TRADE DOWN AGAIN!!!!! Augh, the howls got louder. Dave Spadaro and Merrill Reese on Philadelphia are going looney...

They trade with Minnesota....Minnesota gets the Eagles #43 pick and Eagles lone 5th round pick (#152). The Eagles get Minnesota #47 pick and Minnesota's 4th round (#117).

So, for moving down 4 slots, the Eagles get to move back up into the 4th round (essentially moving a pick "up" 35 slots....) Here is the thinking folks...the next teams on the board following the Eagles were the Bears, Lions and Bengals. They were probably assured by the Viking that they wouldn't take a player the Eagles were targeting....So the Vikings take a safety (T Johnson), the Bears reach for a RB (M. Forte), the Lions reach for a LB (J Dizion) and the Bengals go for a hella-reach and chose some WR few people outside of the draftniks have even of and pluck some dude from Coastal Carolina (yeah, watch this dude rock). So the Eagles, still have their choice of some top-tier WRs.....and now its #47, followed, quickly by #49. THe only team in between - WASHINGTON. And the Redskins already picked a WR.

So I think this was the Eagles thinking - the Reskins need to shore up their OL and DL, so lets chose our DL first, and heck there is no way the Skins can chose all the WRs, so we're still sitting pretty. With #47 - The Eagles select Trevor Laws, DT Notre Dame. Then the Redskins go TE, and the Eagles pluck a guy many suspected they pick (if he was still around) at the #19 position - Cal WR Desean Jackson.

So to summarize: the Eagles got a 3rd down back from Miami, their 3rd DT and some much needed depth at DT, and their KR/PR+potential slot WR threat in Jackson.

I see potential immediate help from both players. Laws should be able to step in and join Bunkley and Patterson in the DT rotation. The DE are pretty much set with Cole, J. Thomas, Clemons and Abiamiri. Jackson can flat out fly. So I'd hope that in addition to return duties, the Eagles O-minds could come up with some personnel packages designed to isolate Jackson on a safety or 4th CB and just see if the young guy can blow by them.

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