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Except for the 1999 selection of Donovan McNabb, Eagles fans have had reason to worry


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Monday, April 23, 2007

http://www.nj.com/columns/expresstimes/fierro/index.ssf?/base/columns-0/117730112350700.xml&coll=2

This is the time of year when Eagles fans are most on edge, because when it comes to the NFL Draft, it's been all downhill for Andy Reid in the first round since he took over as coach in 1999.

His first pick that year, quarterback Donovan McNabb, remains the centerpiece of the franchise, the player around which the entire offense has been built. He's earned five Pro Bowl selections and is one of the league's elite quarterbacks.

Since then, Reid's first-round résumé has been shaky at best.

Defensive tackle Corey Simon (2000) is no longer with the team and his career might be over. Wide receiver Freddie Mitchell (2001) stuck for just four mediocre seasons and is out of football. Defensive end Jerome McDougle (2003) has never started a game and almost certainly never will. Brodrick Bunkley (2006) hardly played as a rookie due to his inability to grasp the team's two-gap system.

This season, general manager Tom Heckert promises, they will "get a good football player (with the 26th player overall). Now, whether he plays as a rookie, that remains to be seen."

What could be working in the Eagles' favor, ironically, is the offseason legal troubles encountered by Reid's sons Garrett and Britt, who are each facing multiple charges following separate traffic incidents on the same day. Garrett, an admitted heroin user, checked into a drug rehabilitation facility shortly after that, and Andy took some time away from the team to help straighten his sons out.

In his absence, Heckert, vice president of player personnel Jason Licht and director of pro personnel Scott Cohen carried on with the offseason evaluations of both college and pro talent and began to assemble the team's draft board for next Saturday.

Actually, Reid already was delegating more authority before his sons ran afoul of the law. That can only be seen as a good thing, in light of some of Reid's top picks over the years.

"I was able to stay up on the personnel (decisions)," Reid said of his five-week leave of absence. "I have a projector that I can look at film, so I was able to do that and evaluate. Tom did a great job of guiding me in the right direction with the players. He and (president) Joe (Banner) and (vice president of football administration) Howie (Roseman) work very close together with the other part of it."

Although this year's draft is not considered as deep as last year's, it doesn't preclude the possibility of the Eagles landing an impact player with their first pick.

If they draft a strong safety who proves himself worthy in training camp, for example, he might even become a starter in his first year.

Since last-year's rare in-season change in the depth chart which resulted in Sean Considine starting in place of Michael Lewis, the Eagles have yet to adequately fill the position. Considine, who struggled in run support more than Lewis struggled with pass coverage, really projects as more of a free safety.

Michael Griffin of Texas might fill the role nicely.

All three linebacking spots also are up for grabs, following the physical deterioration last season of Jeremiah Trotter and Matt McCoy, the emergence of Omar Gaither and the offseason acquisition of Takeo Spikes.

Spikes is capable of playing all three spots. The Eagles project Gaither as a middle linebacker, despite plugging him in for McCoy on the weak side last year. And strong side backer Dhani Jones certainly is no lock to keep his job.

Reid recently proclaimed every linebacking position open, and the Eagles likely will add one with one of their six picks, though it's doubtful they'll reach out for one in the first round. If they do, Penn State's Paul Posluszny is a strong possibility, as is Florida State's Lawrence Timmons and Florida's Brandon Siler.

After losing nickel back Rod Hood in free agency, the Eagles wouldn't surprise anyone by drafting a cornerback with their first pick, either.

Heckert said that because of the stability of the roster -- 21 of 22 starters return -- and the way they handled free agency, the Eagles are in perfect position to draft the best available athlete.

Still, Eagles fans have every right to be nervous right about now, have the right to wonder if the athlete actually can play the pro game.

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Since then, Reid's first-round résumé has been shaky at best.

Defensive tackle Corey Simon (2000) is no longer with the team and his career might be over. Wide receiver Freddie Mitchell (2001) stuck for just four mediocre seasons and is out of football. Defensive end Jerome McDougle (2003) has never started a game and almost certainly never will. Brodrick Bunkley (2006) hardly played as a rookie due to his inability to grasp the team's two-gap system.

Talk about slanted.

Cory Simon was a good pick, considering he was the heart of many good defenses over the Reid era. I guess they didn't envision him getting sick and getting completely out of football shape later in his career when they drafted him.

The Eagles don't run a two gap system that is just stupid. Bunkley needs to learn how to prepare physically and mentally for the NFL period.

Over this time period, they also picked Lito Sheppard, Sean Andrews, and Mike Patterson. (two probolwers and a full time starter)

I guess you can make any teams first rounders look bad when you neglect to mention any time they hit on a player, give up on any player who doesn’t translate to immediate success, and ignore the valuable contributions of long time starters because they aren't with the team anymore...

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What a ridiculous story. He doesn't mention Probowlers Lito Sheppard, Corey Simon, or Shawn Andrews.

BTW, is anyone ready to give up on RM because he didn't play a lot last year? I'm in the same position with Bunkley. He has off the chart measurables and dominated at the college level. That doesn't buy you anything in the NFL but I want to see him not produce when playing before I call him a disappointment rather than do it now based off a miniscule sample size.

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With the exception of McNabb?

What exactly has he accomplished other than a tremendous amount of disappointment and heartache in the city of brotherly love?

Even with the gift of hindsight, which QB in the 98 class would you have taken over him? Forget that, which player would you have taken?

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Even with the gift of hindsight, which QB in the 98 class would you have taken over him? Forget that, which player would you have taken?

With perfect Hindsight, you trade with the Saints, grab Mcallister, Baily or Tait and Draft Brady in the 6th in 2000.

Edit (holt would not have been on the board unless St Louis wanted McNabb.)

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Even if Bunkley is great one day, everyone around here will seem some sort of vindication because he wasn't dominant from day one.

You mean, like you said he would be? :laugh:

No, WB, the criticism was the hype for a rookie who was not likely to help your team last year...as he didn't.

It's foolish to think even late round first rounders will contribute right away.

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In the McNabb draft...

I find it funny you found a way to criticize a move that both of us know, even given hindsight, you wouldn't change if your team were doing the drafting. It is actually comforting.

Out of all the QBs from those 5, he's had the most success, sure, but using your little hindsight theory, I can name a lot of things I would do differently if I were the Eagles.

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:laugh: Only because you said he was "unblockable." You're never going to live that one down. ;)

and the fact he kept saying "how will anyone be able to run the ball against the eagles" in 06, claiming he was going to start and make a huge impact. and attacking anyone who questioned him. or pointed out that Bunky might not be all that right away

etc...................

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and the fact he kept saying "how will anyone be able to run the ball against the eagles" in 06, claiming he was going to start and make a huge impact. and attacking anyone who questioned him. or pointed out that Bunky might not be all that right away

etc...................

Actually, I said you wouldn't be able to block the Eagles defensive line and through two games, while their best defensive lineman was healthy, they were simply unblockable. I think they had like 14 sacks in 2 games and were on pace to obliterate the single season record. Bunkley couldn't crack that lineup at the time because of the rotation and the fact he held out.

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Fun story. Two busts out of 8 drafts? McDougle and Mitchell.

McNabb - good

Simon - Good for years. What happened to everyone saying what a loss he was when he went to the Colts? And then he gets sick and is out of football after leaving the eagles and it's somehow their fault for making the pick 5 years prior?

Freddie - bust

Sheppard - good

McDougle - bust

Andrews - good

Patterson - good

Bunkley - a bust after one incomplete year, let's just cut him now....

Did I miss anything?

But please, just make Bunkley jokes (Bunky?), don't discuss anything thought provoking for a change.

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It's shallow but i think i am on to something. The meaner a player tries to look in his profile pics the greater the chance he will bust. Every time i see a player scowling like he is trying to intimidated the entire world i just can't but think he doesn't understand why he is standing there

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Fun story. Two busts out of 8 drafts? McDougle and Mitchell.

Allow me to fix your list:

McNabb - good, but not good enough to win the big one.

Simon - GREAT when he played for the Iggs, but the cheap FO let him go.

Freddie - Extreme bust

Sheppard - decent

McDougle - bust

Andrews - Excellent

Patterson - okay. Showed something his rookie year, but took a step down last year.

Bunkley - bust, but still could turn it around. But when you're the 14th overall pick and you play in less than 5% of your team's defensive snaps, you've got bust written all over you.

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Allow me to fix your list:

McNabb - good, but not good enough to win the big one.

Simon - GREAT when he played for the Iggs, but the cheap FO let him go.

Freddie - Extreme bust

Sheppard - decent

McDougle - bust

Andrews - Excellent

Patterson - okay. Showed something his rookie year, but took a step down last year.

Bunkley - bust, but still could turn it around. But when you're the 14th overall pick and you play in less than 5% of your team's defensive snaps, you've got bust written all over you.

On Simon: why would you call them cheap for letting him go while neglecting the fact that he quickly fell out of football once outside Philly? Perhaps the Eagles let him go because his dramatic downfall was not a surprise.

On Sheppard: Get real. Sheppard was one of the best corners in the NFC last year and was laughably better than anyone in the NFCE.

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