Eagles Draft Recap Day 2
After a fan-pleasing and for the most part normal Day 1, the crazy Andy Reid returned to true form on Day 2 of the 2009 NFL Draft. The riverboat gambler we have all come to know and love went all in Sunday afternoon and took some big pots. When all was said and done, the Eagles completed five Day 2 trades, gained three picks next year (3rd, 5th, 6th), added a veteran cornerback/return man (Ellis Hobbs) and six new prospects. Whew!!
The Day 1 bounty of Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy had Eagles Nation primed for another spectacular flood of riches on Sunday. It took awhile, but the brain trust didn’t disappoint. Once again, the Birds stuck to their draft board and waited for high value talent to fall into their laps. Rather than dip into a pool of tight ends in the third round, they traded back once, then out completely to the tune of 6 selections in the fifth-round. Most of the fan base was left to wonder, “What the hell are they doing, we still need a friggin’ tight end!” Ahhh… never a dull moment in the life of an Eagles fan.
My buddy texted me one simple word at 2:00pm: “Why?” I texted him back to be “patient.” I had an inkling Reid knew exactly what he was doing. Well, as exact as Big Red can be. You know what I mean. Anyway, I was certain the bevy of fifth-rounders was ammunition to move back into the fourth to land a coveted tight end. Wrong. Instead, they used two to score a young, veteran cornerback in Hobbs, dumped another on the Saints, then used the remaining three to select a cornerback, offensive tackle and finally, a tight end.
Let’s take a closer look at the fifth-round class of 2009:
Ellis Hobbs (CB) – The Birds were still a tad thin at corner entering the weekend. Problem solved. In Hobbs, they get a starting-caliber corner who can also return kicks. He started the last 32 games for the Patriots and has recorded nine career interceptions in four seasons. Smallish at 5’9″, Hobbs is a risk-taker who will get beat over the top on occasion (see Super Bowl XLII). But he’s a sure tackler who is very confident in his skills. I equate him to Terrell Buckley: Good, not great. Bottom line: he adds experienced depth and if needed, can start in a pinch.
Does Hobbs’ arrival have anything to do with Sheldon‘s recent feud with management? Maybe, maybe not. I wrote a week or so ago about Brown treading into dangerous territory with his trade demands. He had to know a move like this was imminent. Do I believe Sheldon will be traded? No. But if he continues grumbling and decides to stage a prolonged holdout, the Birds have themselves a nice insurance policy.
Cornelius Ingram (TE) – I’m not right very often, so I have to pat myself on the back when I am. Like McCoy, I nailed the Ingram pick Saturday morning, although I had him going in the third, not fifth.
Here’s the deal with Ingram. He’s extremely athletic, but very raw. He’s got an iffy knee and some have questioned his desire to play football at a high level. However, he did workout at the Combine and the Florida pro day, so his knee appears to be in good shape. It may not be 100% healed, but the Eagles’ training staff is among the best in the NFL. I imagine they did their home work on him. I don’t really know how to answer the “desire” question. Hey, if the guy isn’t motivated to be an NFL player, he won’t make it. Nuff said.
I would argue with those who consider the pick “risky.” He’s a second/third round talent who was had in the fifth-round. I’m sure he slipped because of the above reasons, but as they say, “one person’s trash is someone else’s….” He could be another Shannon Sharpe, or he could end up like Jerramy Stevens. Nobody knows. However, he’s a fifth-round pick. It’s a high reward, low risk selection. What if Brent Celek (also picked in the 5th) had been a bust after two seasons? No one would have gave him a second thought. I will admit relying on Ingram to be the #2 tight end is a roll of the dice, but I have a feeling the tight end picture isn’t completely settled.
Victor Harris (CB/S) – “Macho” likely projects to safety. I remember cringing when I watched him do back-pedal drills at the Combine. He was stiff and slow. I doubt he will make it as a corner in the NFL. He does have decent size (5’11”, 200) and a rep as a big hitter. His 15 career picks are impressive as are his return skills. At this point, I see him fighting to make the team. Looks more like a practice squad candidate. Harris had a third-round grade, so he’s yet another value pick. Let’s hope he’s better than 2007’s fifth-round safety C.J. Gaddis, who was a bust.
Now, the rest of the draft class:
Fenuki Tupou (OT) – I’ll leave this one to the experts. Scott Wright, over at the excellent draftcountdown.com, wrote this about Tupou. He’s considered a mauler better-suited to play guard. We’ll see. Reid loves his lineman.
Brandon Gibson (WR) – The Birds have a logjam at receiver all of the sudden. Gibson is basically another Jason Avant type guy. An inside, slot player who probably has little chance to make the team. Here’s more about Gibson.
Paul Fanaika (G) and Moise Fokou (LB) – Alright, let me get this straight. We have a Fenuki, a Fanaika and a Fokou. WHAT IN THE SAM HELL IS GOING ON AROUND HERE???!!! This will make for some fun interviews at Lehigh this summer. I’d like to buy a vowel, please. I don’t know a damn thing about these two and I don’t really care. If they make the team, great! I’ll send them a congratulatory tweet or something.
It was an interesting Day 2. One befitting of an Andy Reid draft. Trades, surprises, letdowns and thrills. They filled all their positions of need. I would have liked to see a linebacker earlier, only because I’m not in awe of the Gaither, Jordan, Gocong tripod. I still wonder how effective they will be in 2009. Day 2 gets a solid ‘B’ in my book.
Tomorrow, I’ll take a look at the off-season as a whole. It has been a long but successful journey. Stay tuned.