Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles 2011 Draft Watch: Defensive End in the First?

Is Eagles head coach Andy Reid thinking Defensive End in the 1st?
Is Eagles head coach Andy Reid thinking Defensive End in the 1st?Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Dan PennwynCorrespondent IFebruary 4, 2011

Over the past few weeks I’ve been digging into all the mock drafts that are coming out of every crevice on the web. And for the most part there are two positions that most draft experts say the Eagles are highly likely to address, those being the cornerback and tackle positions.

However one website, NFLDraftDog has boldly stated their case that the Philadelphia Eagles are going to select defensive end Robert Quinn, who is a Junior at North Carolina—are you kidding me, a defensive end?

We do have to accept what the Eagles do on draft day. Will they move up or stay put? If they do make a trade to slide up in the first round, will it involve a player? Even if they do, I highly doubt it is going to involve one of his starting defensive ends.

The Eagles could be forced to just take the best player available in the first-round if one of the prospects they have their eyes on is off the board. So sure there are things that could happen but again, but even if that is the case, I don’t think a defensive end is a position the Eagles are looking at this early in the draft.

I’ll be the first to admit that Eagles head coach Andy Reid is among the most unpredictable people on the face of the earth, but I think it’s a safe bet to say there is no chance he is going to invest another first round draft pick on another defensive end. Call me crazy, but let me explain why!

For starters, there are currently seven members on the Eagles roster who play the end position, ranging from all years of experience in the NFL.

Trent Cole (seventh), Juqua Paker (10th), Brandon Graham (first), Darryl Tapp (fifth), and Bobby McCray (seventh) have all played in the league for some time. There are three rookie defensive end players also in 2010 first round pick Brandon Graham, Ricky Sapp, and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim.

Is it likely that every one of those players will return in 2011? No, it isn’t, but the fact of the matter is that the Eagles are set at the defensive end position. There is the possibility the Eagles' front office could bring in another defensive end to challenge the depth, but they have their starters and even backups who could be starters on other teams (Parker).

Couple those players with new defensive line coach Jim Washburn, who’s among the best in the business and is expected to shed a whole new light on this D-line. The expectation is that the front four will be able to reak so much havoc in the backfield that the linebackers will be able to sneak in for the sack or drop back in coverage.

The potential the D-line has to be spectacular in 2011 is real, possibly the best in the entire league. The pieces are set in place for them to have an extraordinary year. If the Eagles are going to select a defensive lineman at all, I would have to believe it would be a defensive tackle.

That’s not a pressing need for the Eagles either, but they could absolutely use talented depth there, which is why Washington Redskins Albert Haynesworth’s name has been brought up a lot in recent weeks.

Again, Reid is unpredictable, but I don’t see how he over looks the cornerback and tackle positions early in the draft.

Below are the top five cornerbacks and tackles entering the 2011 NFL Draft listed by position ranking.

Cornerbacks

  1. Patrick Peterson: LSU – 6’1, 212 lbs
  2. Prince Amukamara:  Nebraska – 6’0, 205 lbs
  3. Brandon Harris: Miami (Fla) –  5’11, 195 lbs
  4. Jimmy Smith: Colorado – 6’2, 205 lbs
  5. Aaron Williams: Texas – 6’1, 195 lbs

Offensive Tackle

  1. Anthony Costanza: Boston College – 6’7, 305 lbs
  2. Nate Solder: Colorado – 6’8, 314 lbs
  3. Tyron Smith: Southern California – 6’5, 285 lbs
  4. Derek Sherrod: Mississippi State – 6’6, 312 lbs
  5. Gabe Carimiri: Wisconsin – 6’7, 315 lbs

 

Eagles projected 1st round pick by majority of analyst and experts.

 

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