Gauging Eagles' interest in No. 1 possibilities

Posted: April 26, 2007

Daily News sports writers Les Bowen and Paul Domowitch have targeted eight players the Eagle could draft Saturday with their first pick, 26th overall. Here is what they have to say about each player and a rating from 1 to 10 on the likelihood that he will be chosen by the Birds (1 is least likely and 10 is most likely).

BOWEN

PAUL POSLUSZNY, linebacker, Penn State

Not flashy, but the kind of guy the Patriots go to Super Bowls with. I'll be a little surprised if the Eagles draft him. Could they use him? Absolutely.

2

REGGIE NELSON, safety, Florida

Nelson, a big hitter who is smooth and speedy in coverage, has actually been compared to Brian Dawkins, though he lacks Dawkins' impressive physique. There might be some question about his ability to quickly learn the Birds' complex system.

6

JARVIS MOSS, defensive end, Florida

Comes from Jevon Kearse's school and has a similar build, along with Kearse-level quickness. Never dismiss the idea of the Eagles' drafting a defensive end - they're very important players in Jim Johnson's scheme, and great ones are hard to find.

3

MICHAEL GRIFFIN, safety, Texas

Might be more of a second-round type (as was Dawkins, in fact). Had a slightly disappointing senior season, but is versatile and athletic. Could be a strong safety or a free safety. If the Eagles don't get a safety in the first round, and Griffin remains on the board in the second, they might nab him there, as they did with Winston Justice last year.

4

BRANDON MERIWEATHER, safety, Miami

I really think the Eagles will take him if he's there. Meriweather has the coverage skills so important in a free safety today, and he can hit. Is said to have excellent anticipation. Meriweather could even play nickel corner while waiting to succeed Dawkins.

7

GREG OLSEN, tight end, Miami

Nearly everyone agrees that Olsen is the only elite pass-catching tight end available. After he ran a 4.47 40 at the combine, mock drafts started listing him as a top 20 pick. That might be a little high. Would the Eagles take a TE first? Probably not, but L.J. Smith can be a free agent next spring and Olsen might be their best shot at replacing him. Stranger things have happened.

4

AARON ROSS, cornerback, Texas

When the Eagles let Rod Hood walk in free agency and then only signed Will James to a 1-year deal, it told you they'll be looking to add a corner out of this draft. At 6-0 1/2, 193, Ross has good size and coverage skills, plus he's run a 4.44 40. Could also be an elite punt returner.

4

CHRIS HOUSTON, cornerback, Arkansas

Eagles GM Tom Heckert mentioned recently that while it's hard to find tape of some corners playing press coverage, that's all the tape ever shows Houston doing. Given that he runs a 4.32 40, he can probably cover down the field a little, too.

3

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DOMOWITCH

PAUL POSLUSZNY, linebacker, Penn State

3

The Eagles have made it pretty clear that unless the second coming of Lawrence Taylor comes along, they're not ever likely to spend a first-round pick on a linebacker. Posluszny is first-round-worthy, but alas, he's not the second coming of LT.

REGGIE NELSON, safety, Florida

5

Nelson is the second-rated safety behind LaRon Landry on many draft boards. He's got good ball skills and instincts, but the way he was used in the Gators' defensive scheme wasn't good prep work for what the Eagles ask their safeties to do.

JARVIS MOSS, defensive end, Florida

5

The 6-6 ½, 250-pound Moss is a Jevon Kearse clone who has a bright NFL future as an edge-rusher. But unless they think Darren Howard is toast, it's unlikely the Eagles would take a defensive lineman in Round 1 for the fourth time in the last 5 years.

MICHAEL GRIFFIN, safety, Texas

7

Griffin is an appealing possibility for the Eagles, and probably still will be on the board at 26. Has played both safety spots, as well as some corner. That kind of versatility is appealing in Jim Johnson's scheme. And Griffin would contribute immediately as a special-teams stud.

BRANDON MERIWEATHER, safety, Miami

7

Meriweather isn't as big as you'd like a safety to be, but he's the best cover safety in the draft. GM Tom Heckert may be fibbing, but he says the Eagles have given Meriweather a thumbs-up on character. Remains to be seen whether he'll still be on the board at 26, though.

GREG OLSEN, tight end, Miami

5

With L.J. Smith entering the last year of his contract, Olsen could become a possibility here if he drops to the Eagles and the corners and safeties they like are off the board. Olsen is a vertical threat who can't block a lick, but that didn't stop them from taking Smith 4 years ago.

AARON ROSS, cornerback, Texas

6

Ross is a natural corner who has the size to play safety in the Eagles' scheme. As with Griffin, that's appealing. So is the fact that he was a pretty good punt returner at Texas. But he's probably better suited for a team that plays Cover-2.

CHRIS HOUSTON, cornerback, Arkansas

5

As with Nelson, Houston's college background doesn't mesh with Jim Johnson's scheme. He was exclusively a Cover-2, press-coverage corner for the Razorbacks and doesn't have much experience playing off the line of scrimmage.

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