Well, well, well.
If you are a die hard, like me, and have been watching the Eagles, I bet you have some raised eyebrows today.
Before I delve into the trade, lets go over the people we lost this season:
1. Michael Lewis: Farewell Mike, we hardly knew ya. I'd say that this was a loss for the team, but certainly his production waned in the last year. Part of me thinks that his production waned because the coaches put in other players over him to give them playing time, rather than his skill. That's just my opinion.
2. Rod Hood: I'll miss Rod. I liked him. Sort of like Al Harris but without all the penalty flags around him. He wanted his shot to be a #1, and he can't languish on the Eagles hoping that someone gets injured for his chance.
3. Shawn Barber: I'm still angry he turned us down to go to Kansas City 3 years ago. He should have stayed. He's old, and I don't care that he left.
4. Jeff Garcia: Look, I think Jeff far exceeded anyone's expectations, including myself. I don't think anyone expected he would be such a tremendous player and leader to get us into the 2nd round of the playoffs and nearly upsetting the Saints. As Caesarion learned from Octavius, there can be only one Caesar. I don't think it would have been very good for the Eagles to have Garcia on the bench if McNabb was having a bad game. Imagine the fans & the press in Philly the day after a disasterous loss to the Cowboys or Giants? It would be "Put in Garcia!" headlines. I think Jeff did a great job, and I think everyone in Philly thanks him for it. But that aside, McNabb is our quarterback and will be for the next 4 years, at least, if not longer, before his performance would really be questioned. Look at Peyton Manning as an example. Colts were a good teams, always in contention, for years. He couldn't get over that hump (thanks, in part, to New England). Now that he finally did it, he's the golden child in Indy. McNabb has the same demons to exorcize, but his issue is injury. I'm all for Jeff going to another team and wish him well.
5. Darwin Walker: Hate to see him go, but he basically became expendable with Reagor signed and the chance to snap up TKO.
Here's what I see with notable re-signs and new players:
1. Montae Reagor: I can't say I know who he was on the Colts. He has 162 tackles and 16 sacks in 8 NFL seasons. 2 sacks a season on average? Meh. Also his eye injury isn't thrilling me much. At 6'3 and 280 pounds he needs a few more cheesesteaks in him to crack 300 pounds. We need a fat boy in the middle.
2. Kevin Curtis: Lots of people speculating that he is just as good as Donte' Stallworth, when they look at the stats. I know a few Rams fans who also said they really liked the kid. Considering the Eagles spent $32 million on the guy, I have a strong feeling they did their homework here. For the West Coast offense, I think he will be a good fit. Give me someone who can run crisp routes and have good hands. Just don't give me Na Brown.
3. Takeo Spikes: When he was a free agent 2 years ago, I was hoping the Eagles would try to pick him up. He went to the Bills and had 2 pro-bowl seasons before he injured his achilles in 2005. In 2006 he started off a bust rusty and tweaked his hamstring, missing 4 games. By the end of the season, he was looking very good, but it will be hard to tell how he plays for the Eagles. Personally, i'm cautiously optimistic. I think with Jim Johnson unleashing him on a downhill attack, TKO will be the kind of linebacker that can freak out offenses. I fully expect that Takeo will be replacing Dhani Jones. I expect the starting three to be Trotter, Spikes and Gathier, which I think will be our best linebacking core in the last 5 years.
Here's the positions we still need to address for the draft...
1. Secondary: I'd throw a first round pick here. Get me a safety or corner. Why? Well, for one, Dawkins isn't getting any younger. I love Dawk and would clone him to make an army of superheroes for our team, but we can't do that....yet. We seriously need to get depth in our secondary with Lewis and Hood gone. I'd also use a 4th or 5th round pick on a defensive back, too. We should get some compensation picks to use in the 4th round for losing Hood or Lewis.
2. Wide Receiver: Yes, I know we need a WR. This year is a great year for WR, from what the experts say. The problem I have is that it is really a crapshoot with WR. Look at Fast Freddie. Where's he now? I'd spend a 2nd rounder on that position.
3. Linebacker: Sure, we got Takeo. We have McCoy and Gathier in the wings. I still say get another LB, because Trotter is getting long in the teeth, and we will need to address this eventually. If Trotter left tomorrow who would be our linebackers? Takeo, Gathier and...? McCoy? Gathier? Both are questionable, and you gotta have depth there.
4. Quarterback: Sorry, Holcomb doesn't get me that excited. Get a QB in the mix with a later pick.
5. Offensive Line: Worth a mid round pick because Runyan and Thomas are both getting old. I know it sounds like a broken record, but we have a lot of older key players that are an injury away from leaving us with a huge gaping hole. Runyan or Thomas gets injured, i'd slide Andrews out from guard to tackle and plug in Winston Justice as a guard. You are going to want to have depth here, and worth a 4th round pick on this.
6. Running back: Buck is back, but a late draft pick should be set aside for running back. Someone big and quick, used to relieve Buck or for goal line situations. I can see this being used by the 3rd or 4th round.
With a good draft, I think the Eagles are going to be in great shape next year, but there are notable question marks that could make things hard on us. The number one question mark will be McNabb. Personally, since I know a thing about leg injuries, I think its very hard to be 100% before year one. I think when September rolls around, he will be about 85%. He will be able to run on it, but won't be quite as fast. Realistically it won't be until 2008 that he is 100%. Fortunately, he is a QB. Which is good, in my opinion versus being in a position that is so dependant upon speed (like WR or RB). I think he will be able to move around, in the pocket and won't have major issues throwing the ball. Just have to design lots of plays that allow him to quickly dump the ball and avoid getting hit.
Our run defense looks a lot better, and our pass rush is going to be extremely better with The Freak back. Lots of us forget that last season we basically played without our best defensive lineman. Also I expect next season to be a make or break season for Broderick Bunkley. Will he be another McDougle? God I hope not. The kid needs to spend the entire offeseason just working on technique. I think he can be very good if he gets the right training.
With the current off-season moves by the front office, i'm fairly satisfied that the Eagles addressed the LB, WR and DT situation, which gives us depth at key positions that we really needed help at. I'm looking forward to the draft, and just waiting for that first minicamp!!