Trade seems remote as Eagles ready for draft

Posted: April 25, 2009

The time for speculation, rumors and mock drafts has finally ended.

It's draft day, which means the Eagles' decision makers will convene in a giant conference room at the NovaCare Complex and add to the roster.

Indications last night were that it was more likely they would be rookies rather than the veteran receivers who have been the subject of so many trade rumors in recent weeks.

An Eagles source said yesterday that the team had fielded plenty of calls, but they were not in any serious trade discussions.

There were a flurry of new rumors and reports yesterday, some denied or discounted within minutes. An ESPN report said that the Arizona Cardinals had lowered their price for wide receiver Anquan Boldin to second- and third-round picks. As far as one Eagles source knew, that wasn't the case. The Arizona Republic said a Cardinals official had also denied that report.

If the Eagles decide against dealing for a veteran receiver, the player in this draft who seems to have created the most excitement among the fans is Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno. It seems unlikely that he will still be on the draft board with the 21st pick, but the Eagles, with 10 picks overall, probably have the ammunition needed to move up if they desire.

Should the Eagles remain at No. 21, they could take tight end Brandon Pettigrew from Oklahoma State. Pettigrew is considered the best tight end in the draft, and the Eagles lack depth at the position.

Though it seemed unlikely a week ago that the Eagles would go after a cornerback with a first-round pick, that scenario may have changed when Sheldon Brown requested a trade because of his contract situation earlier this week. An Eagles source did not reply when asked if the team was receiving trade offers for Brown. Two cornerbacks who should be available at No. 21 are Illinois' Vontae Davis and UConn's Darius Butler.

Regardless, team president Joe Banner said the draft room is always filled with energy and emotion on this day.

There's a board on the front wall with how the Eagles have ranked the players, and there's a wall in the back of the room that posts the picks as they are being made. Owner Jeffrey Lurie, coach Andy Reid, general manager Tom Heckert, vice president of player personnel Howie Roseman and Banner all sit at a table in the front of the room.

Two other tables in the room are for the team's scouts and medical staff. Banner said the rest of the coaching staff usually comes into the room when it gets close to the Eagles' turn to pick.

"It's different than a game, but it's very emotional," Banner said. "There's so much sitting around and anxiety about who's doing what. When you finally make your pick, there is an exuberance about the selection."

Banner said the draft room is run by Reid, but everybody in the room has a role.

"If we're just making a pick, Andy will discuss it with Tom and Howie, but he'll sometimes look to the scouts to see if they have anything to add," Banner said. "If there's a discussion about a trade, Jeff and I participate. I may be the person on the phone either getting or soliciting offers."

Although it's often mocked when teams say they got the players they wanted in the draft, Banner said that is truly the case.

"Right, wrong or indifferent, when you make those picks you have guys you really liked," he said. "You might not have gotten every guy you wanted, but they are guys you liked. That's true all the way through the seventh round."


Contact staff writer Bob Brookover at 215-854-2577 or bbrookover@phillynews.com.

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