Blog Entry

Draft previews: Eagles, Bears

Posted on: April 21, 2011 12:08 pm
Edited on: April 21, 2011 12:10 pm
Philadelphia Eagles 2010 record: 10-6, first place NFC East

2011 draft rundown    10 total picks (round): 23 (1); 54 (2); 85 (3); 104 (4); 120 (4); 149 (5); 153 (5); 227 (7); 237 (7); 240 (7)

   --The Eagles were awarded two seventh-round compensatory picks. The picks were awarded as compensation for the free-agent loss of DE Jason Babin and S Sean Jones.

Top needs:    Defensive end: Last year, the Eagles were concerned enough about their pass rush to trade up 11 spots in the first round of the draft and select Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham with the 13th overall pick. They also took another defensive end, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, in the third round and acquired yet another end - Darryl Tapp - in a trade. Despite all of that, defensive end remains a major need for them heading into next month's draft. The Eagles had just 39 sacks last season, including 15 in their last eight games. Their inconsistent pass-rush was a major factor in why they gave up a franchise-record 31 touchdown passes. Graham tore his ACL late in the season and isn't expected to be ready to play until well into the season.    Cornerback: The Eagles had 23 interceptions last season, but gave up a franchise-record 31 touchdown passes and had the worst red-zone defense in the league in nearly a quarter of a century. Their left corner, Asante Samuel, is a ball-hawking Pro Bowler. But they've got to find somebody on the other side to complement him. Last year's starter, Ellis Hobbs, suffered a career-threatening neck injury and probably won't be back.    Outside linebacker: The Eagles never have put a high premium on the position, but they need to change their thinking. They traded for weak-side linebacker Ernie Sims, but he was a bust. Strong-side linebacker Moise Fokou is a decent run-stopper, but isn't very good in coverage.    Right tackle: With quarterback Michael Vick being lefthanded, this is his blind side. Last year's starter, Winston Justice, didn't have a very good year. Coach Andy Reid talked up backup King Dunlap at the NFL meetings, but they need to go out and get a stud.

First-round focus
24th overall   -- After giving up a franchise-record 31 touchdown passes last season, the Eagles are badly in need of help at cornerback and coach Andy Reid, known for drafting offensive and defensive linemen in the early rounds, has said directly that the team also has to address the linebacker position.    Left cornerback Asante Samuel, a three-time Pro Bowler, is the best ballhawk in the league. He's got 16 interceptions over the last two seasons and 36 in the last five years. No defensive back in the league has more. The problem rests on the other side. Since trading Sheldon Brown after the '09 season, the right cornerback spot has been unsettled. Ellis Hobbs, who had been acquired in a trade with New England the year before, opened last season as the starter on the right side before a hip injury slowed him down. When he returned, he suffered a season-ending neck injury, his second in as many seasons, and might never play again. Joselio Hanson proved he's more effective in the slot and Trevard Lindley, a fourth-round pick in 2010, was ready for a full-time role as a rookie. Dimitri Patterson might improve, but the Eagles don't want to count on him as a starter after he was torched consistently last season.    Since there's no guarantee free agency will be an avenue for padding the roster at any position, the Eagles have to consider a top cornerback in the draft. The talent level dips dramatically after projected top-15 picks Patrick Peterson of LSU and Prince Amukamara of Nebraska. That could lead Reid to another offensive lineman. With a need at right tackle, Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi might be a natural fit.

Five names on Eagles' board:    --CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska    --CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado    --OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin    --OT Nate Solder, Colorado    --LB Martez Wilson, Illinois


Chicago Bears 2010 record: 11-5, first place NFC North

2011 draft rundown    Six total picks (round): 29 (1); 62 (2); 93 (3); 127 (4); 160 (5); 195 (6)

Top needs:    Offensive line: Line coach Mike Tice spent a good portion of last season trying to figure out who the Bears' best five were. After he did, the line showed improvement, but was never better than mediocre. Additional young talent is a must. Jay Cutler was sacked 52 times in 15 games last season, more than anyone in the NFL. Center Olin Kreutz will be 34 before training camp begins and right guard Roberto Garza just turned 32. There is some youth on the roster, but left guard Chris Williams and right tackle J'Marcus Webb are already starting, but not entrenched. Left tackle Frank Omiyale got better over the course of the season, but there is still much room for improvement, and he might be better suited at right tackle.    Defensive tackle: Anthony Adams is unrestricted and Tommie Harris has been released. Even if the Bears re-sign the underrated, underappreciated Adams, which they should, they badly need a 3-technique tackle to replace Harris. Marcus Harrison has been a career underachiever, but solid, blue-collar worker Matt Toeaina was given a contract extension.    Linebacker: The Bears cannot ignore their thin situation here, with just two players under contract. Pisa Tinoisamoa started 10 games last season at strong-side linebacker, and Nick Roach started the other six, plus 15 in 2009 when Tinoisamoa was injured for most of the season. But both are free agents, as are backups Brian Iwuh and Rod Wilson. That leaves only Pro Bowlers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs.    Wide receiver: There is some big-play ability here, especially with Johnny Knox and Devin Hester. Earl Bennett is a solid and reliable possession guy, but there is a crying need for a big, physical player who can win jump balls.

First-round focus   29th overall   --The Bears are prime candidates to trade out of this spot. Their obvious needs are on both lines -- offensive line, defensive line -- but the pickings figure to be slim at this juncture of the first round.   That won't present any unique challenge to GM Jerry Angelo, who hasn't made a pick in the first round of the past two drafts. And given the way their 2008 first-round pick, Chris Williams, has worked out, perhaps Angelo and the Bears are better off picking in the middle rounds.   They've mined some fine talent over the years in the second round and third round, plucking Danieal Manning (42, 2006), Devin Hester (57, 2006), Kyle Orton (106, 2005), Charles Tillman (35, 2003) and Lance Briggs (68, 2003) after Round One.   Offers should be there for the Bears to slide back, especially given the heightened interest in second-tier quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick (Nevada), Andy Dalton (TCU) and Christian Ponder (Florida State).   If the Bears wind up in the middle of the second round via a deal with Buffalo, Cincinnati or Jacksonville, their shopping list might shift to include the best available wide receiver, cornerback or outside linebacker. Those three positions should turn up fine value in the pick 35-50 range.

Five names on Bears' board:    --CB Brandon Harris, Miami (Fla.)    --CB-FS Aaron Williams, Texas    --OT Nate Solder, Colorado    --OT Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State    --OL Danny Watkins, Baylor

--Jeff Reynolds, Senior Editor,
Category: NFL Draft
Tags: Bears, Draft, Eagles

Since: Mar 6, 2011
Posted on: April 21, 2011 6:23 pm

Draft previews: Eagles, Bears

Looking at Reid's system and taste in players, you have to think Jimmy Smith is the guy they want. I dont know if he's going to be there, however. If not, I dont seem them dtaking Harris, but probably looking to the off.line.  Carimi seems a Reid kind of guy. If I had to guess, I would guess Carimi. Otherwise they might take Ijalana or Watkins even. I dont see them wanting a Sherrod type.  Just guessing. They need offensive line help. 
The Bears may trade, but if they stay, they could take Austin......character issues and all. Or Wilkerson.  The other need is Harris is possible. OL of its the same as with Philly. Bears might like Watkins even more. They would love his run blocking. I can chicago picking up a will rackley in the third round maybe, or even the he's another great run blocker.

Since: Dec 22, 2010
Posted on: April 21, 2011 2:33 pm

Draft previews: Eagles, Bears

Sorry about that Jeff.  Didn't realize that was your post.

Since: Dec 22, 2010
Posted on: April 21, 2011 2:24 pm

Draft previews: Eagles, Bears

Great breakdown Rob.
With regard to the Eagles selection, do you think that Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA is worth considering as 23 as well?  Ideally I think they'd want Smith, but if he is gone I think, in a draft where teams might focus more on immediate need than developmental upside, that LB is more pressing than OT and Ayers has a real knack for making plays.  
That said, I think the Eagles trust Justice who was really only ineffective after getting hurt and playing at less than 100%.  The real need on the OL is at Right Guard where there are a few guys with potential to claim the spot but no sure fire studs.  I could definitely see the Eagles targeting a RG in the 2nd or 3rd.
If they can't get Smith in the first, I'd really like to see them take Dowling in the 2nd.  They NEED a guy to play RCB and he seems to really have the most upside after Smith in my opinion.  Of course there will be some form of free agency and there are going to be a lot of solid CBs eligible (probably) so who knows what their plans are but that's my take.

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