Eagles Going Scatback At 37?
By Lance Epstein
According to ESPN's Sal Paolantonio and Scout.com's Adam Caplan the Philadelphia Eagles might be targeting Mississippi running back Dexter McCluster at No. 37 tonight.
Reports have surfaced saying that head coach Andy Reid is very high and has been 'smitten' with the idea of obtaining the 170-pound scat back. Like former Eagle running back Brian Westbrook, he has good hands and quickness, which will make him a threat in the open field. This is something the Eagles expect out of their running backs. Additionally, he can be used to create a matchup problem against linebackers.
Still taking McCluster at No. 37 would be a big reach considering he is not even the best running back on the board right now. Furthermore, the Eagles desperately need help at cornerback and safety.
While the Eagles believe Ellis Hobbs is a starting caliber cornerback, no one else around the league does. In his first season with Philadelphia, he showed nothing when he was on the field and then he injured his neck. Moreover, in 2008 Hobbs lead all corners in the NFL with touchdowns allowed, not good when facing high-powered offenses this season.
As for the safety position, the Eagles are counting on Marlin Jackson, who is coming off his second torn ACL in the consecutive years. He could be a player, but he is giant question mark for the Eagles. If he is not ready, Quintin Demps who was vastly disappointing last season might be forced to start. Or the team could try the failed experiment of moving corner Macho Harris to free safety again. However, as everyone saw, he does not have the instincts or ability to make plays at the position.
In addition, the Dallas Cowboys selected another big-time weapon in Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant. In fact, the Cowboys might have a better weapons on offense right now for emerging star quarterback Tony Romo with Jason Witten, Miles Austin, Felix Jones, Bryant and Roy E. Williams a than the Eagles do. Amazing how in one offseason, the Eagles offense has gone from being the NFC East's most prolific offense to second-best. This concern with the Dallas offense could lead to the Eagles getting some playmakers on defense like linebacker Sergio Kindle or defensive tackle Brian Price.
Despite both of these reports, the Eagles probably will go in another direction. They could go safety with Nate Allen or Taylor Mays. Mays was thought to be overrated as a first-round pick, but in the second round he is a nice acquisition. The Eagles brought in Dick Juaron to be the secondary coach and he is a great coach at getting secondary players to perform at a higher level. Although Allen is more of a true free safety because he can play in coverage and is adequate in helping out in the running game.
Another way the Eagles could go is to trade out of the No. 37 pick to get a future first-round pick or move back in the second round and get a third round pick as well. Some team obsessed with quarterback Colt McCoy or Jimmy Claussen could be willing to give up a lot of compensation.
Another position that would not be a surprise if the Eagles go is offensive tackle. There are three very good tackles still left on the board in Charles Brown, Roger Saffold and Bruce Campbell.
All three have the ability to be left tackles, but could also be converted to right tackle or even guard as they wait in the wings. Remember, Jason Peters was mediocre this past season and is getting paid a lot of money, so the Eagles might be looking to go a cheaper route if he fails in 2010. Also, Winston Justice is a nice right tackle, but not a dominant player whereas Brown, Saffod or Campbell could be.
Should be an interesting second night of the draft for the Eagles especially when the fans are screaming for them to improve the secondary.