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Old 03-26-2009, 09:41 AM   #1
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Default Handicapping Picks 21-25

Here is a preview of how picks 21 through 25 may play out in the upcoming NFL Draft.

21. Philadelphia Eagles - The Eagles have several key areas to address this offseason the most pressing of which is offensive tackle. They have already made one move to replace Jon Runyan at right tackle by signing Stacy Andrews away from the Bengals but with Tra Thomas signing with Jacksonville they know need to figure out who is going to be the starting left tackle. Winston Justice was selected in the draft a couple of years ago with the idea that he would supplant Thomas when the time was right but he has failed to live up to expectations and is rumored to be on the trading block. I cannot imagine he will fetch much on the trade market given the need the Eagles have for tackles right now. Other key needs are finding a tight end to replace L. J. Smith and finding a back to spell and/or compliment Brian Westbrook.

With two first round selections and 12 picks overall there has been a ton of speculation as to what the Eagles may do leading up to and during the draft. It has been reported that they may try to leverage some of their picks to move into the top 5 of the draft to select someone like Eugene Monroe or Jason Smith. There has also been speculation that they are talking to the Browns about Braylon Edwards that would involve Reggie Brown and picks going to Cleveland.

The consensus has been that the Eagles will take the best available running back at this spot with an eye on picking up a tackle with their second pick in the first round. Knowshon Moreno, Chris "Beanie" Wells, and Connecticut's Donald Brown have been mentioned as possible selections here. Of the three Wells probably has the most upside and talent. At his pro day workout he showed he does have the type of speed teams are looking for and displayed better than anticipated receiving skills in the position workouts. Wells is also built to be able to run the ball between the tackles which is an era the Eagles were lacking in last season. Moreno has a lot of flash and name recognition but his workouts have only been so-so while Brown is good solid back who gives a little bit of everything but does not necessarily excel in any one area.

The Eagles could also look at grabbing a tackle here with Arizona's Eben Britton and UConn's William Beatty being mentioned as possibilities here.
However, given the Eagles recent history of packaging mid-round picks to move up in the first round do not be surprised if they make the aforementioned move to get to the top of the draft and grab one of the elite tackle prospects available.

22. Minnesota Vikings - The feeling in Minnesota is that they are a quality quarterback away from being legitimate Super Bowl contenders. However, Tarvaris Jackson did show signs that the light was starting to go on as he completed over 60% of his passes in his last three starts and threw for over 230 yards in two of those contests while throwing 7 touchdowns and just one interception. Although he was exposed against the Eagles his play down the stretch was encouraging for the Vikings and he may won himself a reprieve for the time being. The Vikings also went ahead and acquired veteran quarterback Sage Rosenfels in the event that Jackson backslides and Brad Childress has to go with plan B again.

With that being said the consensus seems to be that the Vikings are targetting someone who can upgrade the receiving corps in Minnesota. Bernard Berrian is coming off a season which saw him average 20.1 yards per catch and score 7 touchdowns but he struggled with consistency and caught just 48 balls. Tight end Vinsanthe Shiancoe had a breakout season catching 42 passes and scoring seven times so the Vikings would love to find someone to compliment him and Berrian in the passing attack. Hakeem Nicks and Percy Harvin are the two most prevalent names being floated around as possibilities for the Vikings. I have to think that Darrius Heyward-Bey will be in the mix as well if he is still on the board.

23. New England Patriots - The Patriots do not have a ton of needs and the feeling is that if not for Tom Brady going down the first week of the season they would have been right there defending their AFC Championship in the playoffs. The Pats do not have a ton of needs and are likely to focus on getting younger on the defensive side of the ball. Key defensive contributers Tedy Bruschi, Junior Seau, Adalius Thomas, Roosevelt Colvin, and Shawn Springs have all been in the league for 10+ years.

Three key names to consider as possibilities for the Pats are USC LB Brian Cushing, Wake Forest CB Alphonso Smith, and USC LB Clay Matthews. Cushing is expected by many to go higher but he could very well be sitting here for the Pats to grab. Matthews continues to gain steam with each passing month he has gone from after thought to potential first round selection in the past year. Smith would give the Pats a dynamic corner they have been missing since Asante Samuel flew the coop to Philadlphia. He is on the smallish side but has good wheels, a nose for the football, and reminds me a bit of Lito Sheppard.

24. Atlanta Falcons - The Falcons are coming off a huge turn around going from 4-12 to 11-5 last season. The Falcons are pretty set on the offensive side of the ball with Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, and Roddy White leading the way. They are reported to have an interest in finding a tight end though.

The defense, however, is another story altogether. The run defense leaves a bit to be desired and the pass rush basically consists of John Abraham and little else. Abraham was the only Falcon to register more than 4 sacks last season.

Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew and Georgia Tech defensive end Michael Johnson have been the two names prominently mentioned in relation to the Falcons. Pettigrew was once considered a lock to be a first round selection however his stock dropped a bit after he posted a 4.83 40 time at the combine which has led to the speculation that the Falcons may now be looking at Johnson as their man. Johnson is considered to be a guy with a ton of physical talent who never quite lived up to it in college. He has everything teams look for in an end it is just that the production has never live up to that.

25. Miami Dolphins - The Dolphins had a huge turnaround last season as well going from just one win to eleven. The Dolphins have needs but they don't seem to have any glaring needs that jump right out at you. They are simply good but not great in most areas. They move the ball fairly well on offense and do not turn the ball over and they play good enough defense to stay in most games.

There does not seem to be any real consensus out there on who the Dolphins will take at this spot. Hakeem Nicks could go hear as they do have a need for a bigger receiver to compliment Ted Ginn. Percy Harvin has been mentioned but he seems to be just another version of Ted Ginn which would not make a ton of sense. They could go with Clay Matthews or Larry English in an effort to compliment Joey Porter at the other linebacker spot. Vontae Davis could also be an option in an effort to beef up the secondary.

Ultimately the Dolphins will likely settle on the best available player as opposed to looking at someone to fill a need. I would not be shocked at all to see Parcells trade out of the spot altogether and look to pick up an extra pick or two.
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:13 AM   #2
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History strongly militates against the Eagles drafting a running back in the first round, as they haven't done such a thing since 1986! (Keith Byars).

But they nonetheless have a chance to put themselves in sync (did I really say that?) with prevailing realities by drafting Chris Wells if he's still available at #21. Surely the Lurie/Banner/Reid triumvirate has heard of names like Adrian Peterson, Steven Jackson, Darren McFadden and Matt Forte - not to mention Brandon Jacobs, who of course they could have drafted four years ago? Big backs are so "in" these days; will the Eagles finally get with it, or will they insist on continuing to be the Don Quixote of the NFL, forever tilting at windmills?

Last edited by Anthony; 03-27-2009 at 04:09 AM.
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2009 nfl draft, alphonso smith, brandon pettigrew, brian cushing, chris wells, clay matthews, darrius heyward-bey, donald brown, eben britton, eugene monroe, hakeem nicks, jason smith, knowshon moreno, larry english, michael johnson, percy harvin, philadelphia eagles, vontae davis, william beatty

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