Bob Ford | Eagles, if not fans, happy with what they have

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Coach Andy Reid, here with team owner Jeffrey Lurie, said: "I feel pretty good about the guys we have coming back."

You were wrong.

The Eagles are just fine.

Turns out they didn't need anything for this coming season from the NFL draft.

They didn't need to use a first-round pick for help in the defensive backfield or to polish the linebacker corps or buy some insurance on the defensive line. They didn't need another wide receiver to work into the mix, or a tight end or a running back.

Nope, you were wrong. In fact, they didn't even need a first-round pick. Might as well send it to the Cowboys, a little hands-across-the-water gesture within the division.

It was great, too. Owner Jeff Lurie was given the assignment of calling Dallas owner Jerry Jones and brokering the deal. That's quite a thrill for a guy who, when he was just a fan, would gather his friends on draft day, and they would pore over their own lists and guess along with the teams and play the part of basement general managers. Must have been a hoot, but nothing like this, nothing like wringing third-round and fifth-round picks from the Cowboys for the honor of swapping the 26th and the 36th selections. (Of course, New England dumped its first-round pick two spots later and got a fourth-rounder and next season's first-round pick from San Francisco, which will probably be in the top half of the round. But, nevertheless, good job, Jeffrey.)

The point is this, to repeat: The Eagles are just fine. There are no gaping chasms on the depth chart. Draft, schmaft.

"You always say you're going to take the best player on the board, but a lot of times you're steered towards a [certain] position if you're a little short at that position," head coach Andy Reid said. "But I feel pretty good about the guys we have coming back."

Reid added: "I didn't feel like we had to concentrate on one single position going in. We have done a nice job in free agency and we signed our own players. I thought we had good depth. More so than good depth, we had good quality depth. You take the best player out there even though you might have a stack at that position and let them jump in there and compete."

So it was that Kevin Kolb becomes the first young quarterback to knock on the door and ask Donovan McNabb if he is done in there. He won't be the last, but if McNabb can't play again this season because of injury, it will be A.J. Feeley, not Kolb, who steps in. Feeley is not the future, though - even though he wears his hat backward and has the Peter Pan quality of perpetual boyishness. Feeley, who turns 30 this month, is only six months younger than McNabb.

The perception of the Eagles' brain trust is that the future will arrive some day, but it is still quite a way off, and the present doesn't need much augmentation. At least not through the draft.

Reid said this was really the first year in which he didn't feel the team had to draft for a specific need. Or, considering what the Eagles did with their first-round pick, didn't really need to draft at all.

The fans do not necessarily share that confidence, remembering the team's 5-5 record in McNabb's starts and the porous defense and the terrible play that preceded The Jeff Garcia Miracle.

But you were wrong. The team is fine.

Jevon Kearse, backed up by Darren Howard and Jerome McDougle, are the left defensive ends on the current depth chart. If you're counting, that's three question marks.

Brodrick Bunkley is the starting right defensive tackle.

Chris Cocong is the strong-side linebacker.

Sean Considine is the strong safety.

Jeremy Bloom is the first-team punt returner.

Aside from replacing Donté Stallworth with Kevin Curtis at one of the wide receiver slots, and returning McNabb to the starting quarterback position in place of Garcia, the offensive starters are the same.

No worries. No need to trade up in order to join the feeding frenzy for defensive backs that saw five of them taken between the 18th and 24th picks. No need to go for defensive end Anthony Spencer of Purdue, which is what the Cowboys did with the 26th pick they received from the Eagles.

No reason to grab wide receiver Craig Davis of LSU, Anthony Meacham of Tennessee, or Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio State, all of whom went in the late first round. Forget about tight end Greg Olson of Miami or Zach Miller of Arizona State. Even after they traded down, safety Eric Weddle of Utah and cornerback Chris Houston of Arkansas were still around. But Reid said, "We have pretty good people [in the defensive backfield]. We're OK there."

So you were wrong.

Wrong about everything.

Except Dhani Jones.

Maybe you had something there.


Contact columnist Bob Ford

at 215-854-5842 or bford@phillynews.com.

Read his recent work at http://go.philly.com/bobford.