Eagles Droppings: Scout.com's Caplan on Eagles Draft needs, Deion Criticizes, Preseason, McNabb Would've Been a Raider and McNabb's New Digs
By Lance Epstein
Scout.com Adam Caplan on Eagles Draft Needs:
According to Sirus NFL Radio and Scout.com's Adam Caplan, the Eagles biggest draft needs come on the defensive side of the ball. However, it might not be the positions that fans are thinking.
At the top of Caplan’s Eagles wish list heading into the April 22 draft is the cornerback position.
"With the trade of (Sheldon) Brown, cornerback becomes perhaps the biggest need for this team heading into the draft," Caplan wrote. "Ellis Hobbs, who is coming back from neck surgery, would be considered to be the starter at this point."
No surprise, Caplan confirmed that the safety position is still a giant question mark and an area of need. While the Eagles signed free agent Marlin Jackson to play the free safety position earlier this offseason, he is recovering from not one, but two torn ACLs. In addition, rookie Macho Harris and second-year safety Quintin Demps were unimpressive in attempting to fill the void left behind when Brian Dawkins left for Denver last year.
Although, there was a surprise for Eagles fans when Caplan wrote that one of the Eagles' biggest needs is a defensive tackle.
"Philadelphia needs a disruptive force from the interior of their defensive line," Caplan wrote.
While most fans will not agree with his analysis, Mike Patterson and Brodrick Bunkley did not establish enough pressure on the quarterback on a consistent basis. The last two games of the season against Dallas, they were manhandled by the Cowboys' interior line. In fact, there have been sources saying that the Eagles need to replace Patterson as the starter.
Caplan could be onto something considering that the Eagles brought in UCLA DT Brian Price. Price (6-1, 303) has a relentless motor and has a knack for making plays in the backfield. Furthermore, Price should be available when the Eagles are on the clock at 24.
Besides those top three positions Caplan stated that the Eagles some upgrades or depth at right tackle, right guard, running back, weak-side linebacker, strong safety and defensive end.
The Eagles certainly could use an upgrade at left defensive end since right now Darryl Tapp is not striking fear into opposing teams.
A little bit of a surprise is right tackle. Winston Justice just received an extension, but he was solid but not great in 2009. The Eagles might be looking to get a dominating force at that position like Jon Runyan had been for years.
On a side note, do not be surprised if the Eagles take Taylor Mays at 24 (if they stay there) as the eventual replacement to Quinton Mikell. Mikell is in the last year of his contract and is on the wrong side of 30.
Deion Sanders Blasts Eagles:
This should not come as any surprise to anyone who follows the Eagles and watches NFL Network. Deion Sanders is a McNabb homer and just flat out has a hatred for the Philadelphia fan base. If any one remembers, on his last trip to the Linc for the Thanksgiving game two years ago, he bashed the fans for cheering for McNabb a week after Andy Reid benched him.
Sanders told NFL Total Access host Rich Eisen that when he heard the news, he could not believe it and it was the most outrageous thing he has ever seen.
"First of all, I gathered myself and sat down because I couldn't believe that this was the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my entire life, except for that Hershal Walker debacle years ago," Sanders said "But you trade a guy in your own division that you got to see him twice, and you have [Kevin] Kolb, [LeSean] McCoy, [Jeremy] Maclin and DeSean Jackson - seven years amongst the complete trio of playmakers that you have for an 11-year guy that has taken you to five NFC championships and a Super Bowl. Man, are you kidding me?"
He then asserted that the Cowboys and Giants were the class of the division, while the Redskins would be battling it out for cellar dweller.
Then his always-opinionated co-host, Warren Sapp jumped in on the Eagle bashing and also predicted they would be in last place.
"You look at these two teams... they swapped quarterbacks," Sapp said. "Now the Philadelphia Eagles have the worst quarterback in the division, and the Redskins have one of the best defenses, and now you give him a veteran quarterback. Prime, Philadelphia's at the bottom of this division right now."
The segment finished with Sanders agreeing with Sapp.
"You know what, I would agree with you, big fella. I would," he said. "Dumbest trade ever. I'm still mad about this trade."
While Sanders makes a valid point about trading him in the division being shocking, this trade is not the worst trade of all-time. Think back a couple of years, when Saints head coach Mike Ditka traded his entire draft for running back Ricky Williams.
Moreover, the Oakland Raiders traded Randy Moss to the Patriots for a measly fourth round pick. Moss has resurrected his career in New England and helped lead the Patriots to within a game of having the second-ever undefeated season in NFL history.
Preseason Schedule Finished:
Last week, the Eagles preseason schedule of opponents was released with approximate dates but the exact times. Today, the schedules have been finalized and released. Here is the preseason schedule:
Friday, Aug. 13, Jacksonville, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 20, at Cincinnati, 8 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 27, at Kansas City, 8 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 2, N.Y. Jets, 7:30 p.m.
McNabb Would’ve Suit Up In Oakland:
In a radio interview on ESPN's Scott Van Pelt Show, Donovan McNabb spoke about the media and if he would have been traded to the Oakland Raiders. McNabb told guest host Ryan Rusillo that he would have shown up in Oakland if the Eagles shipped him there.
"I would have been at the workouts and working out with the team, throwing and trying to get the timing down with the corps of receivers and running backs they have and communicated with the offensive line to get ready for minicamp," McNabb said.
McNabb also laughed at the idea that he forced the Eagles hand by saying he would retire if he went to a team that he did not want to play for. Also, he criticized the national media (particularly ESPN) for their "sources" not knowing what they were talking about.
“This is the problem with some of these so-called key analysts and these smart guys out there who go by `sources.’ So many people listen to different sources `close to’ the individual, but never the individual, saying that I would have not showed up in Oakland, I would have been upset," McNabb said. "Hey, with my name always being in the media all the time because of trade talk, I’m just happy that it’s over.
"I don’t mind being on ESPN if it’s something positive for my play, not for where I’m going to land next. A lot of it was blown way out of proportion.”
Still, there are too many factors to why McNabb would not have gone to Oakland. He might put a smile on his face and laugh but at the end of the day, he did not want to play for a team that was not in the realm of contention. With Buffalo and Oakland, he was at least three to four seasons away from being a playoff team and that is if they made the right draft picks.
Additionally, McNabb might deny the rumors that sources close to the situation say he nixed any idea of playing for Oakland or Buffalo, there are too many reports stating otherwise to try and fool people.
McNabb Enjoying His New Home:
Since his arrival in Washington D.C., everyone in the Redskins organization has been raving about McNabb's leadership and what he brings to the team. Today, many of the players discussed how impressive he has been in practice (maybe because they have not had a good quarterback in years). Here are some of the quotes from tight end Chris Cooley, wide receiver Malcolm Kelley and cornerback Phillip Buchanon.
Chris Cooley on McNabb:
“Donovan is outstanding. It feels like he’s been here for a couple years. Instantly, he’s a leader. Instantly, he knows what it takes to have a team together. He’s talking to all the guys. He fits in extremely well. I don’t think anyone was worried about his ability to come and be the quarterback of this team and fit in as a teammate. He’s very good at that, very personable. And he knows what it takes. I think you like that as a player. You like a guy that’s been there, guy that’s been in five NFC Championships, been in the Super Bowl and understands what it’s going to take.”
Malcolm Kelly on First Impression:
“First impression, he’s a normal guy. He’s a lot more laid back than I would’ve expected, as far as how long he’s been in the league, but he’s a cool dude. That really brings the pressure of practice down when you have a guy that’s laid back but still is about his business. He has a real strong arm, and he’s accurate. I’m looking forward to it.”
Phillip Buchanon on McNabb being a Skin:
“I haven’t had the luxury to play against or even practice against him so this is my first time actually really playing against him. Practice will be my first time playing against him. With an older quarterback, a veteran quarterback like Donovan McNabb, he comes with a lot of experience. That’s hard for a young quarterback to actually gain or actually get right of the bat. He comes in with a lot of experience and that’s really going to help us a lot.”