Paul Domowitch | Recent draftees need to make impact

Posted: April 27, 2007

YOU DON'T want to hear this, but no matter how

astute the Eagles are in their

decision-making this weekend, there's a pretty good chance that none of the players they select in this latest draft crapshoot is going to make much of an immediate impact beyond special teams.

If they take a safety or cornerback in the first round, the best-case rookie scenario, unless somebody gets hurt, is that he plays a half-dozen snaps in their dime (six defensive backs) package on passing downs.

If they select a linebacker on the first day, he'll take a number and get in line behind Takeo Spikes and Jeremiah Trotter and Omar Gaither and the cast of thousands that will be auditioning for the strongside starting job and hope Jim Johnson still remembers his first name come late-August.

If they take a running back early, well, if Brian Westbrook and Correll Buckhalter don't break or tear anything next season, the kid will be lucky to get 20 touches.

You're probably asking yourself right now, what's my point here? Well, my point is that the key to the Eagles' improvement this season won't be the level of contribution they get from their 2007 draft class.

It will be the level of contribution they get from their previous two draft classes.

The Eagles selected a total of 19 players in the 2005 and '06 drafts, 16 of whom still are on their roster. They got some production from those two classes last season, but not nearly enough.

They need defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley to step up and be the player they thought he was when they spent the 14th pick in the 2006 draft on him. They need their other high-priced, first-round tackle, Mike Patterson, to play better than he did last year.

They need defensive end Trent Cole (fifth round, '05) to stop running out of gas in the November-December homestretch (no sacks in the final six games of the last two seasons).

They need strong safety Sean Considine (fourth round, '05) to prove he can be a solid NFL starter.

They need Chris Gocong (third round, '06) to prove that this whole defensive end-to-strongside linebacker experiment isn't the dumbest idea by this organization since former owner Norman Braman gave Mike Quick a clubless golf bag as a retirement gift.

They need linebackers Matt McCoy (second round, '05) and Omar Gaither (fifth round, '06) to make solid contributions in whatever roles they wind up in. They need LaJuan Ramsey (sixth round, '06) to earn the fourth spot in Jim Johnson's defensive-tackle rotation. And they need wide receiver Jason Avant (fourth round, '06) to develop into a productive backup. It'd be nice, too, if Jeremy Bloom (fifth round, '06) proves he can handle kickoffs and punts as well as he does ski slopes.

In other words, if the Eagles don't make it to the Super Bowl this season, don't blame it on the decisions they'll be making this weekend. Blame it on the ones they made the last two Aprils.

Draft stuff

* The Redskins really need to hit on their first-round pick (No. 6 overall), since they won't have another one until the fifth round. They traded away their second-, third- and fourth-round selections in shrewd deals like the one for long-gone running back T.J. Duckett. They are expected to try to trade down and add at least one more pick. If they stay put, though, they may ignore pressing needs along the defensive line and take safety LaRon Landry, who probably is the second safest pick in the draft after wide receiver Calvin Johnson. "When you are picking sixth, the biggest thing you do not want to do is draft based on need and take someone that is not worthy of that pick," said Redskins player personnel chief Vinny Cerrato, who is expected to get his long-overdue walking papers from owner Dan Snyder after the draft. "What you want to take at the sixth pick is someone that has Pro Bowl potential." Wow, how profound!

* The Redskins really need to hit on their first-round pick (No. 6 overall), since they won't have another one until the fifth round. They traded away their second-, third- and fourth-round selections in shrewd deals like the one for long-gone running back . They are expected to try to trade down and add at least one more pick. If they stay put, though, they may ignore pressing needs along the defensive line and take safety , who probably is the second safest pick in the draft after wide receiver . "When you are picking sixth, the biggest thing you do not want to do is draft based on need and take someone that is not worthy of that pick," said Redskins player personnel chief, who is expected to get his long-overdue walking papers from owner after the draft. "What you want to take at the sixth pick is someone that has Pro Bowl potential." Wow, how profound!

* The Eagles intend to make frequent mention of Bunkley's 2-week holdout last summer to whomever they select with their No. 1 pick. The team has blamed Bunkley's wasted rookie season largely on the training-camp time he missed during his holdout. "We're going to use Brodrick as an example," general manager Tom Heckert said. "We're going to say, 'Hey, this guy missed time and it certainly affected him. If you're willing to basically miss a year, [then hold out].' " During the Andy Reid era, the Eagles have had a better on-time-arrival record than most teams. But there have been some exceptions. "You talk to the players [about reporting on time] and they say, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah.' But their agent is the guy who's actually getting them their money. So they listen to him over us. And it usually doesn't work out to the player's advantage."

* The Dolphins still intend to select a quarterback early in the draft even if they acquire Trent Green from the Chiefs before or during the draft. They view Green, who will be 37 in July, as a short-term fix.

* SI.com's Don Banks reported that Adrian Peterson, the draft's top running back, reinjured his collarbone in Oklahoma's Fiesta Bowl loss to Boise State in January and might need surgery that could delay his training-camp availability. This isn't news to NFL clubs, who have known about it since Peterson's medical examination at the NFL scouting combine in late-February. Whether it will affect his draft stock remains to be seen. Peterson is expected to be one of the first six or seven players taken. He says the injury has healed properly and he will be ready for minicamp.

* Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said this week that agent Drew Rosenhaus is the primary reason he put the kibosh to the trade of unhappy linebacker Lance Briggs to the Redskins. Rosenhaus represents Briggs, who has vowed never to play for the Bears after they placed the franchise tag on him in February. The Redskins have offered their first-round pick to the Bears for Briggs and their first-round pick (31st overall). Last month, Rosenhaus incensed Angelo when he paraded Briggs in front of other teams at the league meetings in Phoenix in an attempt to drum up trade interest. "I was very turned off by that," the Bears GM said. "We are a business. We are a profession, and there are certain ways you do business." Angelo said he won't trade Briggs now because it would look like Rosenhaus had engineered it. "It's important that message comes through loud and clear," he said. "Based on [what Rosenhaus did], we'll never do that deal because then the deal looks like [the agent orchestrated it]. You can't operate that way."

Stat of the week

Where do Hall of Famers come from, Daddy? According to Gene Frenette, of the Jacksonville (Fla.) Times-Union, a good many of them come from very high up in the draft. Thirty-nine of the 66 Pro Football Hall of Fame players drafted since 1967 were taken in the first round, including 20 who were top-five picks. Eleven were second-round selections. Just four were undrafted free agents: Jim Langer, Warren Moon, Larry Little and Steve Young. And the only reason Young wasn't drafted was because he signed with the USFL. *

Where do Hall of Famers come from, Daddy? According to , of the (Fla.) Times-Union, a good many of them come from very high up in the draft. Thirty-nine of the 66 Pro Football Hall of Fame players drafted since 1967 were taken in the first round, including 20 who were top-five picks. Eleven were second-round selections. Just four were undrafted free agents: and . And the only reason Young wasn't drafted was because he signed with the USFL. *

Send e-mail to pdomo@aol.com

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