Reviewing the draft: Philadelphia Eagles

In years past Philadelphia has consistently been the most frugal of NFL teams, signing modestly priced free agents to their roster. Thus it came as somewhat of a surprise when they inked Jevon Kearse and traded for Terrell Owens within a matter of days during the off season. Hoping to make the Super Bowl rather than experience yet another loss in the NFC Championship Game, Philadelphia culminated an aggressive free agency period by doing something similar on draft day.

Picking late in round round the Eagles traded up into the middle part of the frame for the second consecutive year, nabbing junior offensive lineman Shawn Andrews.  The big tackle from Arkansas will likely start off his career as an offensive guard though he should settle into one of the tackle spots before too long.  While the biggest concern with Andrews is his commitment to staying in shape, he has great upside and potential if coach Andy Reid can get into his head and motivate him.  Matt Ware was the Eagles second selection and represents good value for a team that lost both of it's starting cornerbacks in free agency.  Ware is still a project at cornerback but does have the size and speed to be a good bump and run cover man, something the Eagles love to do. At the very worst he offers solid potential at free safety.  J.R. Reed gives the Eagles yet another young defensive back to develop.  While Ware will likely be the teams nickel cornerback Reed is better suited to playing safety.  He will be given every opportunity to earn the third safety spot during his rookie year and the heady defender fits the type of player Andy Reid likes and should be productive on special teams.  Philadelphia went back to the offensive line with it's next pick, selecting Trey Darilek.  Darilek is strictly an offensive guard who overcomes limited athleticism through hard work and effort.  He should earn a spot as a backup guard.  Thomas Tapeh gives the Eagles a solid triple-threat fullback.  He can be used as a short yardage runner in a single back offense or as a receiver coming out of the backfield as well as a lead blocker.  Tapeh showed well at the Senior Bowl and is a great value in the fifth round.  Andy Hall is likely just a camp arm for the Eagles but he could find his way onto the practice squad if he impresses the coaching staff.  Dexter Wynn was the third defensive back selected by the Eagles.  While he is a solid cornerback best in zone coverage, Wynn's real value is as a special teams player, where he excels as a return specialist.  Adrien Clark could be the best value pick of this draft by the Eagles should he get his act together.  A big and dominant blocker, at the top of his game Clarke has starting potential at either guard spots and could fill in at left tackle in a pinch.  Yet if Clarke continues to get by on natural ability and not apply himself he will quickly be looking for a new line of work.  Running back Bruce Perry brings another explosive body to the Eagles "backfield by committee" approach.  Not big enough to play every down, Perry can contribute as a third down back or a change of pace runner.  Center Dominic Furio's best shot is to make the team as a snapping specialist.

Overall Philadelphia appears to have addressed what it considered the primary weakness on both sides of the ball.  With three defensive backs selected the team appears ready to move on after the loss of two starting cornerbacks in free agency.  Shawn Andrews by himself helps to rebuild an offensive line but with other picks thrown into the position Philadelphia appears to be readying themselves for future departures.  Taking everything the Eagles have done this off season into consideration it is difficult to believe they will not be considered the front runner in the NFC in 2004.

Scout NFL Network Top Stories