A few quick hits on various things that crossed my mind after the first round of the draft Thursday.
How Watkins makes the pieces fit: Remember that time, so long ago, when the Eagles moved Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator, and Andy Reid made a big deal about all of the puzzle pieces fitting together? How he liked Castillo for DC, but wouldn’t move him unless he had a quality replacement on the offensive line? I’m seeing echoes of that in the speculation over whether Todd Herremans could move to right tackle now that Watkins is on board.
Reid was cagey when asked about the possibility, so we don’t know if it’s going to happen. But the selection of Watkins might help the pieces click together. He and Mike McGlynn could play guard, Jamaal Jackson goes to center and that allows the team to move its most consistent linemen to the most crucial spot: Michael Vick’s blind side. The risk: you’d be moving Herremans from a spot where you know he works well and putting him in an unfamiliar location that may or may not work out (going from left side to right and inside to out). (Yes, he’s played tackle a bit, but not a lot). Herremans wrote on Twitter this morning: “I love how y'all ask me what position I'm gonna play this year like it's my decision. Good thing I'm versatile. #swissarmylineman”
He can block, and he’s funny, too.
Where might Kevin Kolb go: Cross off potential suitors Tennessee and Minnesota. With Ryan Mallett and Andy Dalton still available, another couple bidders could be out of play after today. Arizona and San Francisco both passed on QBs, but the 49ers’ look like more likely Kolb pursuers, despite many Eagles fans pining for Patrick Peterson from the Cardinals (an unrealistic hope, I say; more on that below).
SI.com’s Peter King wrote this morning that the Cardinals love Peterson. And why wouldn’t they? By some accounts he was the best player in the draft. I don’t see them giving up such a talent. There were also reports that the Cardinals plan to sign Marc Bulger. If true (and at draft time anything could be a smoke screen) it points to a stopgap there while they maybe look to the 2012 free agent class and draft.
The 49ers, on the other hand, might be in play. King had this: GM Trent Baalke, asked about passing on a QB, said "There are situations out there that will allow us to address the position. You have to let them play out.” Might mean a look at Kolb when trades resume. Or it might mean a QB pick today.
Corners in the rest of the draft: Jeff covered most of this earlier. I'll make one point: Howie Roseman talked up nickel guys even though the corner class wasn’t considered deep.
Then again, Roseman also talked up trading back, getting a defensive lineman early and the depth that would allow the team to get good offensive lineman after the first round. How’d that work out?
If the Eagles don’t find a cornerback fix, they may have problems early: they play Atlanta week 2. That’s Roddy White on one side, Julio Jones on the other.
Speaking of corners: I’ll be fascinated to watch Prince Amukamara battle Jeremy Maclin and/or DeSean Jackson twice a year for what could be a long time. We won’t have to wait long: they meet up Sept. 25 at the Linc, Eagles home opener.
Draft predictions: I took the easy way out and hedged my bets in my draft predictions, laying out five scenarios and several names the Eagles might target. About the only thing I had right was that I thought they’d pass on Jimmy Smith. Everything else? Total miss. So feel free to disregard everything above.
Could Kolb be traded for a star early pick, like Patrick Peterson? This has been raised in chats for weeks and I’ve always had the same answer: there is no way the Eagles have a wink-nod, behind-the-back-under-the-table-fist-bump-handshake deal involving Kolb and someone drafted early last night. There are so many reasons for this I don’t even know where to start, but let’s focus on the ridiculous risk entailed by making a deal that then might sit on hold for weeks or months, allowing either side to back out or for some unforeseen circumstance to ruin the whole plan, leaving one side holding a big, nasty bag. Let’s look at the Kolb-for-Peterson theory, the birther argument of Eagles fans – ridiculous, and undying among a certain small but devoted segment.
For example, say the lockout continues, the trade is waiting completion, and in the meantime Michael Vick suffers a freak injury. Suddenly, Howie Roseman is on the phone to Arizona: “Hey guys. Sorry about this, but actually, we think we’d like Kevin to stick around this year. Good luck paying Peterson top 5 money, even though you didn’t want him and picked him for us!”
– Click. –
Or say the Eagles thought they were getting Peterson and that’s why they passed on trading up for Prince Amukamara or taking Jimmy Smith. Then Kolb pops a hamstring. Now Arizona doesn’t want him and the Eagles have no corner.
Or some other team gets desperate during the lockout and as soon as its over they offer the Eagles a deal they can’t turn down – and now the Birds back out on the Cardinals, who are left with a guy they didn’t want and no QB. I could keep going for a long time. The point is, no team is going to risk passing on a top 10 prospect they love in order to draft for someone else’s needs in a double-secret trade that may never come off.
This was only reinforced by the Bears-Ravens fiasco last night. They actually agreed to a deal, only to see it fall apart due to some odd circumstances and then one side changing its mind in a matter of minutes, not weeks.
Could the Eagles have the parameters of a Kolb deal in place? Yes, but it would involve either future picks or veterans already on a team’s roster – guys who wouldn’t force the other team to invest in someone new or pass on using their pick the way they see fit. Rant over.