Holmes to NY Helps And Hurts the Eagles
By Lance Epstein
Many Eagles fans will see the trade of Super Bowl XLIII'S MVP Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets (for a measly fifth round pick) as news that does not even concern them or their team.
Although, they should not think that way because this changes the entire draft philosophies of the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets, which may influence the Eagles' draft. Ultimately, their decisions could benefit the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round, but hurt them in the second-round with their newly acquired pick.
Before the trade of Holmes, the Steelers and were most likely targeting two players that the Eagles have a ton of interest in. Those two players would be Idaho guard Mike Iupati and cornerback Kyle Wilson.
Now, the Steelers only have four wide receivers on the current depth chart, so they could be looking to upgrade the wide receiver position. The Steelers only have four wide receivers on the depth chart with extensive experience. In addition, Hines Ward is 34 years old and might be closer to retirement than a elite receiver.
As for veterans Antwaan Randel-El and Arnaz Battle, both are over 30 years old and neither possess the skills to be game-changers or big-time stars. In 2009, the two wide outs combined for 55 catches for 570 yards and zero touchdowns.
Finally, former second round pick Limas Sweed and practice squad player Martin Nance have combined for an unimpressive 10 receptions for 102 yards.
This leaves Mike Wallace as the only young wide receiver that is in the Steelers' long-term plans and who is a proven commodity.
Certainly, the Steelers will still have major needs at corner, guard and defensive tackle that they could go after with the 18th-overall pick. However, most draft experts have seen the stock of top wide receiving prospect, Dez Bryant, drop over the last couple of weeks due to off-the-field problems.
Todd McShay of ESPN has Bryant falling 21st to the Cincinnati Bengals in his most recent mock draft. McShay is not the only one that thinks the ultra talented but troublesome wide receiver will slip, NFL.com's Charles Davis has him falling all the way to 26.
So how does this trade even remotely affect Philadelphia? Well the trade of the fourth-year wide reciever makes drafting a wide receiver much more of a reality of the Steelers. Since wide receiver is not a position of need for the Eagles and if the Steelers decided to go in that direction, one of the prospects that the Eagles are covet might fall into their hands.
On the other hand, this changes what position the Jets will go in the first round, which affects the Eagles sitting with the fifth pick in the second round. At 29, the Jets could select one of the prospects head coach Andy Reid and GM Howie Roseman have their eye on in the early second round.
Before this trade went down, New York had three big positions of need, which were wide receiver, defensive end and safety. With the acquisition of Holmes, it all but eliminates any need or desire to add a wide receiver.
The Eagles received the 37th overall pick from the Washington Redskins in the Donovan McNabb trade. When Philadelphia acquired the pick, they probably intended and are still planning to take a cornerback, defensive end or safety (depends on which position the Eagles go in round one—my guess corner or Iupati).
Since the Jets no longer have a void at wide receiver, they could snatch a player that the Eagles are very interested in selecting. Some of those players that could be on New York's radar at 29 that might be similar to the Eagles wish list are Nate Allen, Taylor Mays, Carlos Dunlap, Jerry Hughes or Ricky Sapp.
Of course, the Eagles could move up if they truly yearn for a particular player that has fallen in the draft. Fans should not fear though because with the 37th overall pick, they will have plenty of talented and great options available.
While you might have heard the news and did not think twice about the Holmes going to the Jets, it does have significant consequences on the Eagles draft.