What a wild day one of the NFL Draft for the Eagles. The guy everyone thought was “their guy” was gone at pick 12. Knowshon Moreno got scooped up by the Broncos, who now have 34 running backs on their roster. I wonder what Buck is thinking right about now? He inked a four-year deal to be what, a backup again? Too bad for Buck.
Instead of panicking and trading out of round one, Reid and Co. stayed at 21 and waited. For some reason, Jeremy Maclin kept sliding. All the pre-draft rankings had him rated as a Top 10 prospect, but after the Raiders foolishly reached for Darrius Heyward-Bey, the market for Maclin seemed to fade.
As Maclin fell into the teens, the Birds started fielding calls about teams wanting to trade into the 21st spot to grab the Mizzou standout. Apparently, the Iggs said, “Hey, why not us?” So, Reid pulled the trigger and traded up to 19 to take Maclin. Whether you like the player or not, it is an incredibly high value pick. Maclin doesn’t have to come in day one and be “the man.” With the depth the Birds have at receiver, he has time to mature and ease into the offense. At this point, he replaces Greg Lewis!! Major upgrade, right?
I was not a fan of Mizzou’s nutty spread offense, but Maclin’s talent is unquestioned. His route-running needs work and he does have a history of injury. However, his speed and athleticism are as good as any receiver in the draft, including Michael Crabtree.
Several message boards are comparing him to DeSean. I would call that inaccurate. Maclin is 6’0″, 200; DeSean is 5’10”, 175. That’s a sizable difference. A fairer comparison would be Reggie Wayne, who is the exact same size and weight. By all accounts, Maclin is faster than DeSean. He’s been clocked in the 4.3 range. He also returns punts and kicks. I’ve also heard complaints about his hands. Every scouting report I read disputes that and says his hands are sound and he’s known to make the difficult catch. I’m not saying he’s the next great superstar, but I just wanted to clarify a few misconceptions. He and DeSean are different players.
I’ve never positioned myself as a draft guru, but I like this pick. Imagine a Jackson/Maclin combo for the next 7-8 years. Could be very impressive. When (if) Kevin Kolb takes the reigns, he will be behind a massive offensive line with two potential studs at wideout. Something to look forward to not just now, but down the road.
Hey, I actually got one right. LeSean McCoy was the pick at 53. Again, the Birds were patient, stayed true to their board and let the back I think they planned on taking all along fall to them. Some late mock drafts had McCoy going to them at 21. McCoy is only 20-years-old. He was super-productive and a touchdown machine. Rushed for more yards than Tony Dorsett did in his first two years at Pitt. In fact, Dorsett said he’s the one back who reminded him of himself. I call that high praise.
McCoy is elusive with nifty feet and great balance. His initial burst is fantastic. His lateral quickness might be the best of any back in the draft. He won’t run away from a defense often, but he will run around one. Plays bigger than his size and still has room to grow. Like Westbrook, he catches the ball extremely well, which is a must in the Reid offense. Pitt utilized a pro style offense, so his transition should be somewhat smoother. Okay, his blocking skills are suspect. Coaching will fix that, folks. He’s not going to be asked to start this season; he has plenty of time to improve in that area. He’s a great fit and has the coolest nickname I’ve heard in years: SHADY. I’ll leave the Eminem references alone.
Overall, I think the Eagles scored big on both selections. You want weapons? Here are two good ones, who will provide immediate help this season and could be part of a bright looking future on offense. The Eagles added talent and got much younger on day one of the draft. That’s a scary thought when you consider how young they already were.
Look for tight end or cornerback in the third round. I also think they will package some of those 5th rounders to move back into the fourth round. It has the makings of a great day two.