Eagles May Look For Future In QB Selection

The Eagles likely will take a quarterback with one of their second-day draft picks. They have seven choices in the final four rounds, including three in the fourth and they may use one of those fourth round picks on a potential quarterback of the future.

This off-season, the Eagles signed Jeff Garcia to back up starter Donovan McNabb, but that move is for the present. The Eagles are looking for a young quarterback they can develop to take over from Donovan McNabb, who will turn 30 in November.

There has been some speculation that one of the top passers like Matt Leinert or Jay Cutler could conceivably drop out of the top ten, but it's not likely. Even if one of them dropped to 14, would the Eagles pass up filling a definite hole to build for the future? That would be a tough call, but not a likely move for the birds.

The Eagles worked out Oregon quarterback Kellen Clemens and he could be a candidate for the Eagles. They liked what they saw, but whether or not Clemens will go before the first day of the draft is over, isn't certain. Ideally, he would fall down to the fourth round and the Eagles would think about grabbing him there. Bowling Green quarterback Omar Jacobs has good size (6-4, 233 pounds), but he is a likely first day pick and the Eagles aren't likely to grab a quarterback on Saturday. Same story with Brodie Croyle (Alabama), although he doesn't have quite the size that the Eagles would like.

One passer the Eagles do like is Brett Basanez of Northwestern. Quarterbacks coach Pat Shurmur flew to Evanston, Illinois last week for a visit with Basanez. They spent a couple of hours watching game film together. "He wanted to know why I did this, why I did that," Basanez said.

If the Eagles decide that they want a Donovan McNabb clone - which wouldn't be a bad idea, considering the clone could learn from the original for a couple years - the closest they are likely to get in this draft would be Texas A&M's Reggie McNeal. No, he doesn't have the size that McNabb has, but his ability to avoid the rush compares fondly. McNeal isn't afraid to run and has the ability to simply outperform other players on the field. He also has a good, quick release that scouts always love.

If they want a guy who will command respect on the field and has the ability to put a team on his back and carry them, the Eagles would be smart to go with Bruce Gradkowski (Toledo). The problem with Gradkowski is that he lacks size and some scouts wonder just how durable he would be as an NFL starter.

So, if size is the issue, there's Clemson's Charlie Whitehurst. At 6-4 3/4, 223 pounds, Whitehurst has the size that would allow him to take a beating and to see over NFL linemen to find the open man. Therein lies the problem, since Whitehurst doesn't have the best of arms and tends to hang on to the ball a little too long, which means he'll need all of his size just to withstand the beating that he could take.

Then, there's the question of whether or not the Eagles will even decide to address the quarterback spot at all. As they look ahead, they know that their secondary is likely to need some attention after the 2006 season and probably could use at least a little help now. Plus, there are needs on both the offensive and defensive lines, at linebacker, receiver and possibly in the backfield. In other words, McNabb's successor simply might not come from this crop of candidates and the Eagles will decide instead to wait until next year - or whenever - to address that particular need.


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