Archive for January, 2011
A lot of Eagles fans have been getting sucked into all the hype surrounding impending free agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. I can’t say that I’ve been very successful in avoiding it myself. I would like to make clear that he’s my top priority for this coming offseason if I’m the Eagles front office, but the problem with that is he will probably be the top priority for some other teams as well. Detroit, Jacksonville, and Houston all come to mind. So, if we get outbid for Aso, the Eagles need an alternative in place. The situation is that they will likely have around $45 million in cap space, give or take ten percent of that, once free agents hit the open market, if they hit the open market. They would need to make sure they had at least $10 million left over for the draft and emergency training camp signings or late offseason trades. That leaves at least $30 million for free agents this offseason, but keep in mind the Eagles don’t like to cut it close when it comes to the cap. I doubt they will spend more than $20 million, which will be my budget as I lay out several scenarios, none of which include Nnamdi Asomugha, who would cost us around 80% of our budget on his own.
1. Operation AFC North
Cincinnati cornerback Jonathan Joseph is not the elite player that Asomugha is, but he’s three years younger and has now put together two very, very solid seasons in Cincinnati. He has forced 16 turnovers in his last 46 starts and had 6 picks in 2009, his breakout season. He has good size and speed and is a very complete corner. He would be perfect, though not dominant, across from Asante Samuel. Cincinnati may let him go if they feel like they need to rebuild and dump all their big contracts. The other primary target would be Jared Gaither, the Ravens offensive tackle. He’s only 24 years old and is 6’9″, the frame the Eagles prize in their pass protectors. He spent 2010 on injured reserve and isn’t getting along with his coaching staff very well. He has some maturity issues, and some question his commitment to the game. This hasn’t affected his play though, as he can anchor the right tackle spot for eight to ten years for the Eagles. If he’s not available, his backup, Marshal Yanda would be a great option as well who can play either guard or tackle.
Price: Joseph – 6 years, $45 million, Gaither – 6 years, $40 million ($14 million per year average)
2. Operation 3-4 Transition
This scenario is only possible if the Eagles decide to switch to a 3-4 defense. The Eagles would be in desperate need of some defensive ends to fit the new scheme, so who better than 305 pound Cullen Jenkins? He plays for the Packers, and could follow one of his coaches here if the Eagles hire a member of the Green Bay staff, which is likely. Jenkins is an ideal 3-4 player, and would team nicely with Antonio Dixon and either Mike Paterson or Brodrick Bunkley to form a solid defensive line. Paul Soliai would be the other addition to the line, who could be the prototypical nose tackle the Eagles need. He will be in high demand in the offseason, but Miami could let him go with Randy Starks and Jared Odrick already anchoring their trenches.
Price: Soliai – 5 years, $35 million, Jenkins – 5 years, $25 million ($12 million per year average)
3. Operation Big Apple
Teams always look to steal good players under other organizations’ noses, especially when it comes to division rivalries. The Eagles may look to beef up their pass rush with Mathias Kiwanuka, who can be effective in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. He had a scary injury in 2010 that will scare teams away from offering him big money. Should the Eagles switch to a 3-4, the Jets’ Shaun Ellis could be a great short-term answer at the 5 technique spot while the Eagles groom a young player for that plot. The final addition would be Jet cornerback Antonio Cromartie, the flashy and loud playmaker who can generate turnovers, something the Eagles love.
Price: Cromartie – 6 years, $48 million, Kiwanuka – 3 years, $12 million, Ellis – 2 years, $6 million ($15 million per year average)
Both NFL Network and ESPN are now reporting that the Eagles plan to give Michael Vick the franchise tag. They will also entertain trade offers for Kevin Kolb. I don’t think this is the best course of action. The Eagles are right to choose Michael Vick over Kevin Kolb, but I don’t like how they’re handling the situation. First of all, I believe it is very important to reach a long-term deal with Vick. This would be advantageous for two major reasons. It would allow the Eagles to rest assured that Vick will be their quarterback over the long run and they would not have to worry about resigning him next season. Secondly, Vick’s annual average in a long-term deal would be much lower than the franchise tag value. Seeing as Philip Rivers is making around $14 million per season and Tom Brady recently signed a $16 million per season extension, Vick is probably worth between $12 and $15 million per season. In contrast, the franchise tag value (which has not been set yet, and still may not even exist for the 2011 season) has been estimated to be as high as $24 million for quarterbacks by NFL Network. I think that figure is grossly overestimated. It should be closer to $18 million. Throw in a probably extension for DeSean Jackson, and the Eagles will have a payroll slightly over $90 million. Once the Eagles pick through the role players they want to retain, they should have between $40 and $50 million in cap space to work with. This isn’t as much as my previous estimate, but it’s more than enough to go after somebody like Nnamdi Asomugha.
I’m also disappointed with the Eagles for being so open about shopping Kevin Kolb. I would try to make Kolb happy in Eagle green because he’s a very valuable backup quarterback who isn’t in a bad spot here. He plays behind a quarterback who runs a very high risk of injury each and every time he steps out on the field, and if/when Kolb gets on the field, he will have unparalleled offensive firepower around him. I believe the Eagles could have at least tried to talk him into accepting the backup role, but it seems that ship has sailed with the report that Philly will be actively shopping him. What should we get in return for Kolb though? A lot of teams have needs at quarterback, and beyond the team that gets Blaine Gabbert, nobody will be thrilled about having Cam Newton, Ryan Mallett, or Jake Locker as the future of their franchise. In other words, if teams treat Kevin Kolb as a draft prospect, he would be the second quarterback on nearly every team’s board. That means a team would likely be willing to spend the equivalent of a first round selection for Kolb. Two likely scenarios both involve Kolb going to an NFC West squad. The Eagles could swap first round picks with San Francisco (7th overall for 23rd overall) or acquire Arizona’s 37th overall pick as well as another second rounder in 2012. But, the Eagles must ask themselves, is a developmental player or maybe two equal in value to Kevin Kolb? Can Mike Kafka win a couple of games if Vick goes down for a month or two to keep playoff hopes alive? Only the Eagles know the answer to these questions, but I would hang onto Kolb unless he grows very unhappy or if the Eagles are offered a great deal.
Ultimately, the Eagles can’t complain about their quarterback situation regardless of what happens. A number of teams would kill to be in the position we are in, but I’m not sure Andy Reid will play his cards right. I know Bill Belichick would absolutely cash in if he were faced with this “problem”.
Reports have it that the Eagles have zeroed in on Packers’ safeties coach Darren Perry as their leading candidate for the defensive coordinator job. Perry was an NFL safety as a player and went on to coach some of the outstanding defensive backs in today’s league including Raider cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and Steeler safety Troy Polamalu. More recently, he has coached Packer safety Nick Collins to the pro bowl. If he is hired, the Eagles would play a defense similar to Green Bay’s, which may not be a bad thing considering they are playing in the Super Bowl. Perry is famous for running fire zone blitzes, which overloads one side on the blitz while playing a 3-3 zone in behind it.
What are the positives and negatives that Perry brings to the table? He’s young, smart, and will run one of the league’s most effective defenses. The transition to a 3-4 will be rocky, but Green Bay went from the 21st ranked defense in 2008 running a 4-3 scheme to 2nd in 2009 under a 3-4. This was only possible due to the two first round picks used on B.J. Raji and Clay Matthews though. By transitioning to a 3-4 scheme, the Eagles create more needs for themselves. That’s a significant downside. We all saw what happened to the Redskins when they tried to jump to the 3-4 with no defensive linemen. The Packers already had Cullen Jenkins and Ryan Pickett in place and still felt the need to further improve the defensive front.
Could the addition of Perry increase our chances of landing Nnamdi Asomugha? Asomugha was selected to his first two pro-bowls during Perry’s two seasons in Oakland, so there is probably a pretty good relationship between the two. Allow Perry to work with Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel while bringing along youngsters such as Trevard Lindley, Nate Allen, and Kurt Coleman and the Eagles could have an elite secondary for a long time. Reportedly, DeSean Jackson is recruiting Asomugha to the Eagles while both were in Hawaii practicing for the pro bowl. Perry knows what he’s doing, and should bring stability to the secondary, possibly the most important group in football nowadays. However, his hiring could result in short-term struggles for the Eagles that could mean that 2011 will not be our year. If the defense cannot compete for a title in 2011, Perry should not be hired. The unit doesn’t have to be great just yet, but it cannot be worse that it was last year. My main concern is the run defense because the Eagles don’t have a lot of players who have a lot of experience in a 3-4, especially along the defensive line. The Eagles like their linemen to be short and squatty so they can gain leverage. In a 3-4 players have to be longer to occupy blockers and keep them off the linebackers. Antonio Dixon is the only player on the roster who is 6’3″ or taller and in excess of 300 pounds. Ideally, all three defensive linemen in a 3-4 are at least that size. Still, if the Eagles feel that Perry is one of the top young defensive minds in football, they should pounce on the opportunity and hope for the best.
Today’s Senior Bowl was not particularly exciting as the South team cruised to victory. I didn’t come away very impressed with any of the players either. The only prospect who suited up who looks anywhere close to being a pro-bowler was Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller. He wasn’t all that dominant himself though, but definitely proved to me that he can play linebacker in a 4-3 scheme. It seems as though when everything is all set and done, Miller will either be a Buffalo Bill or Arizona Cardinal.
Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder won the MVP award pretty much by default as the other two quarterbacks on his team went down with “injuries” at some point during the contest. That being said, he looked crisp out there and I think he can start in the right system. He doesn’t have a great arm, but is accurate, athletic, and smart. He’s an early third round pick. Once again, no running back established himself today, but undersized Kentucky product Derrick Locke rattled off a few crafty runs in a row. If he proves himself as a kick returner, he could be a nice third down back and special teamer at the next level. I came away quite impressed with Miami receiver Leonard Hankerson. He separated from defensive backs with ease and ran very precise routes. He was tough to cover and looks like a really solid complementary receiver at the next level like a Jordy Nelson. He should be taken in the later part of round 2 and can help a team in need of depth at receiver such as the Jets, Chiefs, or Falcons.
Unfortunately, Wisconsin’s Gabe Carimi did not play, but there were still plenty of intriguing prospects to watch on both offensive lines. Florida State’s Rodney Hudson played better than I expected him to, but he’s still a mid-round prospect who I doubt will do much in the NFL. Slippery Rock’s Brandon Fusco was invisible barring a poor penalty, so he really did not help himself. At offensive tackle, I was really disappointed with Arkansas’ DeMarcus Love, who I thought had a great practice on Wednesday or Thursday. He has terrible feet and is strictly a guard. Nate Solder still has proven nothing to me, and he gave up a sack fumble to Texas’ Sam Acho, who isn’t one of the game’s highly regarded defensive linemen. He will be drafted in the top 15, but I still give him a second round grade. Boston College’s Anthony Costanzo was average, but I liked how he played at guard and I’m viewing him as a little less soft and finesse now. However, Alabama’s James Carpenter stole the show in my opinion. He wasn’t on my radar at all heading into the game, but he stoned Ryan Kerrigan on almost every play and I’m starting to believe that he can be a starting tackle at the next level. If the Eagles can get him in the third or fourth round, I don’t think there’s even a discussion.
Defensively, a bunch of players had their moments, but none really took over. Texas’ Sam Acho is an edge rusher who can play any scheme who I believe is very underrated. He should be an early third round pick and will help his future team get to the passer. Arizona’s Brooks Reed was also impressive, playing a relentless style that will allow him to have success in the NFL. On the interior, I came away amazed with Stanford’s Sione Fua, who looks like a third round pick who will be a starting nose tackle down the road. Baylor’s Phil Taylor was very powerful as well, and somebody will take a chance on him in the 25-40 overall range. The Texans make a ton of sense at 42 overall. At linebacker, Miami’s Colin McCarthy was all over the place in the box, out in space, and on special teams. He looks like a tough competitor who will start for somebody. LSU’s Kelvin Sheppard looked bigger, stronger, and more instinctive than the rest of his teammates and the more I watch him, the more I like him. He or McCarthy would be very good fits at SAM linebacker for us.
The cornerbacks are the group that I paid attention to the most, because as all of you know, I consider corner to be the Eagles’ greatest position of need. North Carolina’s Kendric Burney was excellent. He was tough, a good tackler, and was great at jumping routes. However, it’s obvious that his height and speed will be serious disadvantages for him at the next level, and he may not be a good fit on the outside. A more gifted player is USC’s Shareece Wright, who was very good again today. He’s a very good athlete and one of the more complete corners in the draft. He has jumped all the way up to be my sixth rated cornerback in this class behind Peterson, Amukamara, Aaron Williams, Ras-I Dowling, and Rashad Carmichael. The Eagles should consider him with their second round pick because he has a ton of potential. Texas’ Curtis Brown, who is regarded as a player who could stand to tackle better, lay the lumber on one of the North’s receivers. I was really impressed by the recognition of the route, the break on the ball, and the violence of the hit. If that play had taken place eight months later, he would have been fined though. No safeties stood out as my personal favorite Ahmad Black did not play due to illness. So, there you have it.
Senior Bowl week comes to an end today and eveybody who has paid attention to the practices and interviews has formed new opinions about the players down there. For me, North Carolina cornerback Kendric Burney confirmed his status as a real sleeper to me. I was also impressed with TCU quarterback Andy Dalton, Boise State receiver Titus Young, LSU linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, and USC cornerback Shareece Wright. However, my opinions are not nearly as important as those of Eagle talent evaluators. I have compiled a list of seventeen players that the Eagles have been spotted meeting with, a list which I find interesting. The most fascinating part is that not one defensive lineman is on the list. That tells me that the Eagles either will go after a guy like Jason Babin or Albert Haynesworth in the offseason or that they really believe in Brandon Graham and some of the youngsters like Ricky Sapp and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim. Without further ado, here’s the list.
Ahmad Black, S, Florida: Black is one of my favorite players. He’s small at 5’9″, 183, but is a great open field tackler and is always around the ball. He always finds a way to make plays and is not unlike last year’s seventh round pick Kurt Coleman. Black started out at Florida as a corner, and while he doesn’t have the height or long speed to start for us there, he could drop down and cover slot receivers one-on-one in certain situations. He’s probably a fourth round pick at this point, but the Combine could really make or break his stock.
Jalil Brown, CB, Colorado: Brown is a big, physical corner who gets off blocks as well as any defensive back in the country. He can play bump-and-run and off coverage, and is a pretty complete corner. He is over 6’0″ and weighs 202 pounds, and has the potential to be a starter at the next level. I actually like Brown better than his teammate Jimmy Smith, who is regarded as the better prospect. Brown is not a lock-down guy though, and he may struggle with the speed of the game at the next level. He’s probably a fourth round pick right now.
Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin: At 6’7″, 315, Carimi is a very tough player in the mold of an Eagles offensive tackle. He reminds me of Jon Runyan with his wingspan and nastiness. He is also a better pass blocker than Runyan, although Carimi comes off as a bit lazy to me. He’s a legitimate first round pick though, and he would certainly cost us 23rd overall should we want to make him an Eagle come April.
Rashad Carmichael, CB, Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech always seems to produce good NFL defensive backs even though the Eagles missed on the last one they drafted (Macho Harris). Carmichael is a competitor and instinctive and certainly has what it takes to start at the next level. He’s a second or third round prospect who will remind some of Brandon Flowers, the outstanding cornerback for the Chiefs selected 35th overall three seasons ago.
Brandon Fusco, C/G, Slippery Rock: I have never seen Fusco play, but division II players rarely get invitations to the Senior Bowl, so he must have been special. At 6’4″, 302, Fusco has adequate size to start in the NFL, and he reportedly held his own in drills. I don’t know an awful low about him, but he looks like he will go between rounds four and six.
Marcus Gilchrist, DB, Clemson: Gilchrist is a corner/safety ‘tweener who doesn’t look like a starter to me. He doesn’t have ideal speed to play corner, and he is a little small for safety (5’10”, 193). He looks like a great special teamer who can be a reserve safety and/or a dime corner. He’s a fourth or fifth round prospect.
Eric Hagg, S, Nebraska: Hagg looks like an Eagle. He is a blue collar, versatile defensive back who loves to hit and relies on instincts. He has pretty good size (6’1″, 206) and very good quickness. Look up his 95 yard punt return TD against Texas if you don’t believe me. Hagg isn’t an immediate starter, but will be a star special teamer and provide good depth. He should be drafted in the fourth round.
Mark Herzlich, OLB, Boston College: We’ve all heard his remarkable story, but I’m not sure Herzlich is what this team needs right now. He is physically very similar to Stewart Bradley, but unfortunately he is just as bad in coverage. This team needs quickness at linebacker, and Herzlich cannot really provide that at this point. He’s a mid-rounder.
Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State: The Eagles could use another running back because at this point, there is not enough depth behind LeSean McCoy. Hunter fits what the Eagles want to do offensively as he is not only a tough and elusive runner, but he is a fearless pass protector and an adequate receiver out of the backfield. He will be drafted in the middle round.
Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon: Matthews is very average physically at 6’1″, 232, and he looked just as average all week at Senior Bowl practice. He’s tough and has great pedigree, but looks like more of a special teamer at this point. He will also be a better fit in a 3-4, which is still a possibility for the Eagles. He’s a fourth or fifth round selection.
Bilal Powell, RB, Louisville: Powell plays bigger than 204 pounds and looks like one of the more complete backs at the Senior Bowl. He has good vision, burst, and can run both inside and out. He won’t be a game-breaker at the next level, but can be very effective in spelling LeSean McCoy. He’s a mid-round pick.
Da’Norris Searcy, S, North Carolina: A big, physical strong safety who is very good in the box. He’s also a good enough athlete to return punts. The coverage skills aren’t quite there yet, but Searcy is a guy who could develop into a very good role player in the NFL. He’s yet another mid-round prospect.
Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State: Sherrod is certainly not as good as Gabe Carimi or Tyron Smith, but he is a good technician and an overall solid player. He has the makings of a starting left tackle in the league, although his Senior Bowl coaches said that he should not be a day 1 starter. Ouch. He would be our first round pick.
Lee Smith, TE, Marshall: Smith is by far the biggest tight end at the Senior Bowl at 6’6″, 269. I’ve never seen him play, but he is supposedly a great blocker and gets the job done as a receiver. He has 61 catches in the past two seasons. He is probably a fifth round pick or so at this stage of the game.
Nate Solder, OT, Colorado: Solder is massive at 6’8″, 314, which is exactly what the Eagles look for in their tackles. He could also run in the neighborhood of a 4.9 40 yard dash, which could mean that he will be long gone by 23. I personally have not been impressed with him as he is a project. I’d rather go with Carimi or maybe even Derek Sherrod in the first round.
DeMarcus Van Dyke, CB, Miami: Van Dyke has unmistakable physical gifts at 6’1″ and is regarded as one of the fastest players in all of college football. However, he is only 168 pounds and may not be able to hold up in the NFL. His 40 time will dictate his stock, but it’s hard to envision him coming off the board before the fourth round or so.
Lawrence Wilson, OLB, Connecticut: Wilson is only 225 pounds and it shows. He is engulfed by blockers and is not very physical at the point of attack. However, he’s very comfortable in space and makes some great plays in pursuit. He is a clone of last year’s fourth round pick Keenan Clayton. He’s a mid-to-late round pick.
17. New England Patriots: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
The Patriots desperately need to find some players who can thrive in the 5 technique role as Gerard Warren and the youngsters are not getting it done. J.J. Watt seems like a Patriot player as he is very versatile and finds ways to make plays. They may even be able to stand him up as an outside linebacker at times.
18. San Diego Chargers: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
The Chargers will always find success with Philip Rivers at the helm, so their primary concern is to make sure Rivers stays upright. With right tackle Jeromy Clary hitting free agency, the Chargers will be searching for a bookend tackle across from Marcus McNeill. Carimi is a perfect fit.
19. New York Giants: Mike Pouncey, G/C, Florida
All five starters on the Giant offensive line are 3o-years-old or older, so they need to start injecting youth into that group. Pouncey will provide great depth at several positions and will be ready to become the full-time starter at any time.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
The Bucs will never be able to take the next step into the playoffs without upgrading their pass rush. They need a terror off the edge to pair with Gerald McCoy’s disruptive-ness on the inside, and Clayborn is the man for the job.
21. Kansas City Chiefs: Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor
The Pioli-Belichick tree always drafts defensive linemen first when a need is present. Ron Edwards will be 32 before next season and has been very pedestrian at nose tackle. His replacement will be Phil Taylor, who has generated an amazing buzz at the Senior Bowl and one that has been well deserved. Come April, this selection will not be regarded at the reach that it is today.
22. Indianapolis Colts: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
The Colts were knocked out of the playoffs because they could not stop the run if their lives depended on it. This is their number one need and they have a few front seven defenders to choose from here. Akeem Ayers is the best one, so he’ll be the pick, although Stephen Paea will garner strong consideration in the war room.
23. Philadelphia Eagles: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
I’m getting the sense that the Eagles believe that defensive end is one of their biggest needs. I disagree, but then again, I’m not the one making decisions around there. On a side note, this must mean that Brandon Graham is not recovering from his torn ACL very well. Ryan Kerrigan is a steal this late in the first round though, and will work wonders alongside Trent Cole and Darryl Tapp.
24. New Orleans Saints: Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
Indications out of New Orleans are that this selection will be used on a front seven defender. The Saints would love to trade up to grab either Akeem Ayers or Adrian Clayborn, but if they stay put, Stephen Paea should be the pick. He’s the squatty type of player they love at that position that can get into the backfield and disrupt plays.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
The Seahawks really need a quarterback of the future, but Jake Locker and Ryan Mallett have seen their stock plummet and Pete Carroll doesn’t really like running threat guys like Cam Newton. So, the Seahawks should add another playmaker to the mix because Mike Williams is all they’ve got right now. Also, Baldwin is a good fit because Pete Carroll loves receivers who are up near 6’4″ and 6’5″ who will win jump ball situations and stretch the defense.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia
The Ravens will surely look to target an edge rusher in the early parts of the 2011 draft. Terrell Suggs is very good, but when he can’t get pressure, nobody else steps up and gets to the quarterback. Justin Houston may change that as he is a very effective pass rusher and is a perfect fit at left rush linebacker for the Ravens.
27. Atlanta Falcons: Drake Nevis, DT, LSU
The Falcons can go in any number of directions with this pick, but one area they need to improve is their defensive line. They could go with a seven technique to help out John Abraham or bolster the inside, and the pick will come down to whether they like Cameron Heyward, Allen Bailey, Jurrell Casey, or Nevis the best.
28. New England Patriots: Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
The Patriots have already selected J.J. Watt, and can now turn their attention to replacing Randy Moss. Wes Welker is a great slot receiver and Deion Branch is pretty good on the outside, but New England needs to do a lot better than Brandon Tate as a deep threat. Torrey Smith is a home run hitter who is as explosive and dangerous as any player available outside of A.J. Green and Julio Jones who can also return kicks.
29. New York Jets: Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple
The Jets will probably allow either Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes to leave in free agency, so receiver will be a big need for them. However, with four already off the board, they can turn to defensive end, where Shaun Ellis will be 34 and Trevor Pryce will be 36 before next season begins. Wilkerson has extensive experience in a 3-4 scheme as well and has prototypical size for the 5 technique spot.
30. Chicago Bears: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
The Bears have had a ton of issues along their offensive line, especially at tackle. Sherrod would be an enormous upgrade over J’Marcus Webb, who has been absolutely terrible this season. He is also capable of replacing Frank Omiyale at left tackle, allowing him to slide back into guard or over to the other side.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
The Steelers are in very good shape roster-wise, but in this league, you can never have too many cover guys or pass rushers. So, Pittsburgh could stand to add another corner to the mix because Ike Taylor is turning 31 and none of their other corners really impress me. Brandon Harris seems like a good fit in the Steelers’ system because he’s tough, confident, and loves to hit.
32. Green Bay Packers: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
The Packers will have a scary team next season with guys like Ryan Grant, Jermichael Finley, and Nick Barnett scheduled to return. However, what’s scary for Green Bay is that Chad Clifton is about to turn 35 and he is their only quality pass protector at this point. Castonzo will push Bryan Bulaga for the left tackle of the future role.
One reason I believe Andy Reid is brilliant is how he has managed to transition out of the Donovan McNabb era. The Eagles have lost William Thomas, Jon Runyan, Jeremiah Trotter, Brian Westbrook, Brian Dawkins, Jevon Kearse, Sheldon Brown, and Lito Sheppard and have not skipped a beat. In fact, dumping all of these overpriced veterans has allowed the Eagles to enjoy one of the lowest payrolls in the league going into 2011. Jason Peters and Asante Samuel are the only two Eagles scheduled to make over $5 million next season. After Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson will likely be added to this list, the Eagles should have in the neighborhood of $60 million in cap space, assuming the new CBA is reached and includes a salary cap. Therefore, there is no excuse for failing to adress our class A need. The Eagles should not lose the bidding war for Nnamdi Asomugha, which may cost us $16 million per season. Should Asomugha choose Jacksonville, Houston, or Detroit instead, the Eagles should look at Jonathan Joseph, who has been very solid for the Bengals the past few seasons. He should cost about half of what Asomugha will get. Carlos Rogers would be the third option should the Eagles miss on both Asomugha and Joseph. Essentially, I want the Eagles to go get a long-term answer at corner and draft a whole bunch of offensive lineman at all three positions. The Eagles, like the rest of America, are out to win the future. How? Spend wisely and draft well.