Wednesday, August 27, 2014
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Thoughts on mock drafts; NFLPA firms up draft event

As the draft approaches, we're seeing a shift away from Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi as the most popular presumed Eagles target at 23rd overall in the first round, toward Colorado corner Jimmy Smith.

Thoughts on mock drafts; NFLPA firms up draft event

Are the Eagles targeting Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith with their first-round pick? (Darron Cummings/AP)
Are the Eagles targeting Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith with their first-round pick? (Darron Cummings/AP)

As the draft approaches, we're seeing a shift away from Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi as the most popular presumed Eagles target at 23rd overall in the first round, toward Colorado corner Jimmy Smith.

My view, this reflects the fact that we're almost certainly heading into the draft with no free agency. Obviously, if the Eagles signed Nnamdi Asomugha, they wouldn't draft Smith, but it sure seems neither the Birds nor anyone else is going to know before draft day arrives whether they can sign Asomugha, or any other potential veteran target, at any point this offseason.

So, what's the Eagles' most critical need from 2010? A starting right cornerback. Yes, they certainly could use o-line and d-line help, but this is a draft deep in those areas, where you might be able to plug in, say, a rookie second-round o-line starter. Odds against getting a starting quality rookie corner after the first round are pretty steep.

All that said, I'm not gaga about Smith. Yeah, he's 6-2, 205. But at the NFL Scouting Combine, Mike Mayock, the analyst I think knows the most about these guys, was not sold on Smith's makeup or his consistency. Maybe Mayock has a different read now. But you don't want to reach for somebody in the first round because you have a crying need. As Eagles GM Howie Roseman likes to note, that's how you make big mistakes.

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What we really need is for Judge Nelson to issue an injunction ending this lockout, and for the Eagles to sign Nnamdi as soon as she does. Then the first-round priority is OL or d-line. I'd like to see Temple's Muhammed Wilkerson, myself.

***

The NFLPA announced plans for its alternate draft event, and those plans will not conflict with the actual draft.

The invited guests will take part in a dinner for family Thursday, April 28, from 4-6 p.m., leaving plenty of time for players to get to the draft for the first round.

A reception and dinner is schedlued for 4:30-6:30 on Friday before the draft begins with Rounds 2 and 3.

Players will take part in a fitness and skills clinic and lunch in Harlem on Saturday morning. A "One Team Celebration Party" is scheduled for Saturday night.

The invited and confirmed players thus far are:

Prince Amukamara, Nebraska

Marvin Austin, North Carolina

Adrian Clayborn, Iowa

Marcell Dareus, Alabama

Nick Fairley, Auburn

Blaine Gabbert, Missouri

A.J. Green, Georgia

Mark Ingram, Alabama

Julio Jones, Alabama

Cameron Jordan, Cal

Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue

Corey Liuget, Illinois

Von Miller, Texas A&M

Rahim Moore, UCLA

Cam Newton, Auburn

Patrick Peterson, LSU

Robert Quinn, North Carolina

Aldon Smith, Missouri

Daniel Thomas, Kansas State

J.J. Watt, Wisconsin

The current and former players scheduled to attend are:

Charlie Batch, Pittsburgh

Cornelius Bennett, Former player

Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City

Sam Bradford, St. Louis

Ahmad Bradshaw, New York (Giants)

Roger Craig, Former player

Zak DeOssie, New York (Giants)

Eric Dickerson, Hall of Fame

Eddie George, Former player

Marshall Faulk, Hall of Fame

Felix Jones, Dallas

Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville

Dustin Keller, New York (Jets)

Brandon Marshall, Miami

Kevin Mawae, Former player

Willie McGinest, Former player

Brian Mitchell, Former player

Warren Moon, Hall of Fame

Sean Morey, Former player

Shaun O'Hara, New York (Giants)

Ray Rice, Baltimore

Tony Richardson, New York (Jets)

Takeo Spikes, San Francisco

Mike Vrabel, Kansas City

 Mitchell and Morey are the only two former Eagles mentioned.

***

If you hate it when a football blog veers off into other sports, you can stop reading now.

 A long time ago, I used to cover the Flyers. Over the weekend, when Brian Boucher got the Yanick Dupre award for being a class guy with the media, I started thinking about Dupre, who died more than 13 years ago and seems to have slipped completely out of Philadelphia's sporting conciousness.Yanick Dupre

I doubt many of the fans who saw Boucher accept the award had any idea who Dupre was. That's a real shame.  He was a courageous kid who should have had a solid NHL career, and gone on to live a full, rewarding life afterward.

"Duper" was a hard-skating two-way winger who didn't have a chance to leave much of a statistical mark, playing just 35 NHL games and 207 minor-league games, all for the Flyers and their affiliates. His career was just getting started when he was first diagnosed with leukemia, 15 years ago this week.  He'd been playing with it, scoring his first NHL goal on a feed from Craig MacTavish, on a January night in San Jose, a few months before Dupre started feeling tired and rundown.

 The diagnosis became public the same day Dupre's friend and mentor, Eric Desjardins, accepted the Barry Ashbee award as the Flyers' top defenseman of 1995-96. Ashbee, of course, died of leukemia in 1977 and the team has been heavily involved in fighting that disease ever since.

Dupre achieved remission without a bone marrow transplant, regained the 40 pounds he'd lost, back to 6-0, 202, and was preparing to resume his career a year later when a blood test showed his leukemia had returned.  This time the bone marrow transplant resulted in infection  that killed him two months later, as his teammates prepared for their 1997 training camp. His agent said he weighed 130 pounds when he died.

This was part of what I wrote about him then:

Off the ice, Dupre was restless and energetic, a writer of poetry who spoke in intense bursts of words. After the leukemia recurred, a reporter speaking to him tried to gently ease into the subject of his planned comeback. Dupre cut the reporter off. ``Right now, that would take a friggin' miracle!'' he exclaimed, with no apparent unease.

There is nobody on the Flyers now who ever played with Yanick Dupre, but I hope there is somebody around the team still -- trainers, equipment guys, reporters -- who knew him as more than just a name on a trophy. It helps a little that the AHL also honors his memory with a "man of the year" award.


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