As draft day ticks closer, one of the biggest questions for the Philadelphia Eagles – who do they select with their first pick? The Birds get the 22nd selection in the 1st round, but could wheel and deal to move up if they so choose. Recent rumors swirling around the Internet suggest some interest in Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans among others. Reading through the various opinions, some think it’s a sign the Birds are legitimate concerned about replacing wide receiver DeSean Jackson, others think it’s a clever way to divert attention away from defensive players that the Eagles need as well. Either way, isn’t every draft pick a gamble?
Throughout the history of the NFL Draft, there have been players considered “draft busts,” high picks that fizzle out when they hit the field (see quarterback Ryan Leaf). On the flip-side, some players chosen in later rounds turned out to be superstars (see quarterback Tom Brady). The truth is, a vast majority of drafted players fall somewhere in the middle. It’s then up to the player to understand the team’s dynamics, learn to balance their life in the NFL and stay out of trouble, and ultimately work their way into a successful career. Remember back in the days of Brian Westbrook – becoming a formidable weapon in both the passing and running games, drafted in the 3rd round of 2002 NFL Draft, he put in the hard work and dedication, and it paid off with 2 Pro Bowl appearances, and a bunch of other individual and team accolades.
The Iggles team as it stands now needs more help on the defensive side of the ball. General Manager Howie Roseman and Head Coach Chip Kelly have both suggested a “take the best player available” strategy. But if a potentially solid offensive option is available for a trade-up in position, would they make the move? With only 6 picks in this year’s draft, giving up more than one of those picks could turn out to be a bad decision, or could result in the Eagles picking up a superstar for years to come. A lot of it depends on how the team grades the players, but more importantly how the drafted player responds to the team. Kelly has shown in words and actions a willingness (and some say aggressiveness) to create a focused, team-first atmosphere. It could be the perfect environment to properly groom another Pro Bowl-caliber player. With needs on both sides of the ball, perhaps the Eagles won’t need to gamble, but if they do, the homework and preparation put into scouting the players will hopefully pay off with wins during the regular (and post-) season.