2011 was a tumultuous season that saw the Eagles proclaimed a “Dream Team” by a backup quarterback, start the season 1-4, lose its quarterback for key stretches and ultimately watch the hated New York Giants win another Super Bowl.
In the aftermath, Eagles fans have been chomping at the bit for the 2012 offseason more than any in recent memory. Free agency opened, and the team went about taking care of the current roster, making a potential blockbuster trade for a middle linebacker and signing an experienced left tackle to help ease the injury to Jason Peters.
That sends Philadelphia and the rest of the NFL hurtling toward the highly anticipated 2012 NFL draft. It is very much up in the air what the Eagles will do with their picks at this point.
They could use help on the interior of the defensive line, at outside linebacker and at safety. They need to address depth along the offensive line and at running back. They could also use a return man and a big-bodied receiver. What are the Eagles going to do?
Latest Eagles Draft News, Rumors and Speculation
The Philadelphia Eagles are always one of the draft’s true puzzles. It is very rare that anyone can figure out what the team will do.
Of the 30 allotted private workouts the Eagles have held on team premises, the Eagles have used 12 with a 13th on the way. Prospects making the trip* to the NovaCare Complex include:
|Omar Bolden||CB||Arizona State|
|Kirk Cousins||QB||Michigan State|
|Stephen Hill||WR||Georgia Tech|
|Janzen Jackson||S||McNeese State|
|Janoris Jenkins||CB||North Alabama|
|Robert Turbin||RB||Utah State|
|Jerel Worthy||DT||Michigan State|
The Eagles have also reportedly scheduled a visit for Dennis Kelly, a late-round offensive tackle prospect from Purdue.
In addition to the official visits, the Eagles have conducted outside private workouts** with the following players:
|Fletcher Cox||DT||Mississippi State|
|Michael Floyd||WR||Notre Dame|
|Cody Pearcy||WR||Huntingdon College|
|Ryan Tannehill||QB||Texas A&M|
|Bobby Wagner||LB||Utah State|
The Eagles have also worked at pro days with with Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry and Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly.
After months of every mock drafter having the Eagles taking Luke Kuechly, now the consensus seems to be on Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.
Cox’s versatility and athleticism have him climbing draft boards to the point of possibly moving higher than the Eagles will pick. Popular belief among Philadelphia media is that the Eagles will target a defensive lineman early.
Michael Brockers, Dontari Poe and maybe Devon Still are other first-round possibilities.
*Sources include: Philly.com, Scout.com, Sirius Radio, NFL Network, Fox Sports, Adam Caplan, ESPN Chicago, New York Daily News and San Francisco Chronicle
**Sources include: Philly.com, Scout.com. Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bleedinggreennation.com, UWBadgers.com, Montgomery Advertiser and Palm Post
Latest Eagles Trade Rumors and Speculation
4/18: ESPN.com is reporting have started shopping CB Asante Samuel.
The Eagles, whether outsiders realize it or not, are one of the teams that makes the most trades when it comes to the NFL draft. They have been wheeling and dealing all over the draft board for years. They just don’t come up very often in the rumored draft trades.
This year has been quite the exception to that rule.
The first area of business regarding the Eagles and trade rumors is Pro Bowl cornerback Asante Samuel. He has been the subject of trade discussion basically since the lockout ended.
He was nearly traded to the Lions for two second-day draft picks last summer, and he is still being shopped heading into the 2012 draft. The most recent rumors have his possible destinations as the Lions again and the Tennessee Titans.
The juiciest bit of trade news was served up by Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. She reported that the Eagles were among a group of teams that have inquired about the No. 4 pick in the draft, owned by the Browns.
The speculation was that the move would be for Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
The Eagles have friends in the Browns organization, which make it plausible and maybe even possible, but Sports Illustrated’s Peter King seemed to squash any ideas of a move that high, saying the Eagles’ interest in Tannehill has been overstated.
There is definitely no shortage of interest in what the Eagles are planning for this draft. Dan Pompei of National Football Post wrote recently that there is a buzz around the league that the Eagles will be drafting a quarterback high.
So if you do the math, the Eagles could make a Kevin Kolb-type move for a player like Kirk Cousins or Brandon Weeden, depending on how things are shaking out in the second round.
Also, don’t be surprised to see the Eagles move up a few spots in the first round if there is a defensive tackle they think won’t fall to No. 15.
Since this writing Tony Pauline of Sports Illustrated has reported that if the Eagles do trade up the target would be Fletcher Cox.
Will the Eagles Get One of the Elite Defensive Tackles?
Fans seem to be pretty united on the idea of the Eagles landing a defensive tackle. There aren’t many things that Eagles fans hate more than seeing their beloved defense get run all over. A stud tackle could help prevent that.
Andy Reid has always been enamored with building the lines on both sides of the ball, so it seems to be a match made in heaven.
The problem is, it seems like much of the rest of the league wants to fill that position as well. There are three players in this class that appear to be viewed as elite defensive tackles: Michael Brockers, Fletcher Cox and Dontari Poe.
Most mock drafts have one of these three still on the board at No. 15, and whoever created that mock draft has the Eagles taking the one remaining.
Poe was a favorite of fans after his stellar performance at the combine, but opinions have cooled a bit on him over recent weeks. At 345 pounds, he also doesn’t really fit the mold of an Eagles defensive tackle.
Brockers and Cox seem to be the two favorites now, and the jury is split as to which one is the better prospect. Cox appears to be a perfect fit for the Eagles scheme, and he brings a lot to the table with his ability to play inside and out.
If Carolina takes the second defensive tackle off the board with the ninth pick, don’t be surprised if the Eagles move up a few spots to get the remaining one. They may not do that or may not be successful in their bid, but at least there is some really good depth at the position to address it in Round 2.
It would really be shocking if the Eagles didn’t come away with an interior defensive lineman with one of their first three picks.
Will the Eagles Aggressively Pursue a Top Quarterback?
As previously mentioned, the Eagles have been linked to quarterback Ryan Tannehill in recent weeks. They have also been mentioned alongsideRobert Griffin III as well asPeyton Manning. No matter the degree of interest or realistic opportunity, that says something.
It says that the Eagles are in the market for a quarterback. The Eagles are known for their poker face, and they generally don’t do things that outsiders expect. Having said that, there seems to be at least something to it.
Reid’s love for quarterbacks is well documented, and the Eagles are coming off an incredibly disappointing season with Michael Vick. Does this mean the Eagles are gearing up to part ways with Vick? Not necessarily.
Vick was incredibly banged up last year, and the Eagles, more than any other team, really bought into the idea that the lockout held them back. That means that Vick will have every opportunity to prove he is, in fact, the quarterback everyone remembers from 2010.
However, the Eagles probably aren’t totally confident in his ability to remain healthy enough to make the type of impact they hoped for.
The Eagles are highly unlikely to move up to get Tannehill, and there is zero chance to go after RGIII. In the second round, though, there are a couple of popular candidates that the Eagles have kicked the tires on already.
Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins and Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden are those two prospects. A lot of scouts love Weeden’s ability, but in the aftermath of Danny Watkins, Eagles fans may not like the fact that Weeden is already 28.
Cousins is known as a cerebral quarterback as well as being a great leader. That would be extremely welcome in Philadelphia. He doesn’t have the type of raw tools that Michael Vick has, but he brings a lot to the table that a lot of football people like.
He is a gym rat who lives and breathes the game, and despite his lack of elite arm strength, he is a passer.
Michael Vick may well prove his doubters wrong and lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl, but the Eagles appear ready to groom the next franchise quarterback, and there is a great chance that he will be one of their two second-round selections.
Is 2012 Really a Make-or-Break Season for Andy Reid?
Andy Reid has been in Philadelphia for a long time. It seems like forever. He’s had a really good run, but it’s fallen short of great. Greatness isn’t for everyone, and greatness hasn’t touched the Philadelphia Eagles since 1960.
After 13 seasons and so many close-but-no-cigar seasons, there has been a lot of chatter that Andy Reid needs to win the Super Bowl or he’ll be sent packing at the end of the year. That hasn’t been stated by anyone with the power to do so nor by anyone in the know.
There is no way to be sure one way or the other until the season ends, but there may be a big hint on draft day.
There may be no closer link in sports than head coach and quarterback. Generally a coach and quarterback get equal credit and share equal blame. Many of the greatest champions have had that strong link.
It is rare for a leftover quarterback from a departed regime to be viewed favorably by a new coach, so if Reid drafts a quarterback with a significant pick, it seems to point to Reid having a longer leash than many would like to think.
Personally, I believe Andy will be here until he has another complete failure of a season. He is likely to draft a legitimate quarterback prospect, and in my estimation, he will be here to groom that player and let him take over.
If this season was truly do or die, Reid would use his picks on players that will make a difference this season, not on a player who won’t truly help until 2013 at the earliest. If Reid drafts Cousins or Weeden, don’t expect him to go anywhere after the season.