TREVOR LAWS remembers draft day a year ago as kind of an ordeal, actually.
"I remember a lot of waiting and waiting. Nervousness, tension and anxiety. Just wanting to know where I was going to be spending the next period of my life. It's crazy being in a position where you can be moved anywhere around the country for your job, and you don't know where you're going to go," Laws recalled this week. "Your mind is racing with the possibilities."
For Laws, a defensive tackle from Notre Dame, the wait lasted until the 47th pick, well into the second round, when the Eagles made their first selection of the day, after trading out of the first round for the second year in a row. Sitting by the phone at his parents' house in Apple Valley, Minn., a half-hour south of Minneapolis, Laws had no idea he was headed for Philadelphia, a place he'd never been.
"I probably talked to 28 teams throughout the process," Laws said. "The Eagles, I never had any contact with. I didn't talk with one representative from the organization. It was a big, big shock. When I got the phone call, on my phone it said 'Pennsylvania' - I thought it might be the Steelers. I was thinking 'Oh, no, man, I gotta learn the 3-4.' I picked up the phone and heard, 'Hey, Trevor, it's Coach Reid. Just wanted to know if you wanted to be an Eagle.' "
Subsequently, Laws learned that Eagles coach Andy Reid and Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis were close, and that Weis had talked to Reid about Laws more than once.
Sometime after 4 p.m. today - long after, unless the Eagles trade up from the 21st pick in the first round - some player somewhere will be the first this year to get that congratulatory call from Reid. Many mock drafts predict that player will be Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno, who plans to be hanging out in his grandmother's home in Belford, N.J., about a 90-minute drive from the NovaCare complex.
Certainly, the Eagles are expected to target a running back somewhere in the first three rounds, with Correll Buckhalter gone to Denver and Brian Westbrook turning 30 before the season starts. Connecticut's Donald Brown, Pittsburgh's LeSean McCoy and Liberty's Rashad Jennings are other possibilities, perhaps not in the first round. Ohio State's first-round rated Chris "Beanie" Wells probably doesn't fit the Birds' system.
The Eagles rarely do what outside experts predict. They might be just as likely to take, say, Tennessee defensive end Robert Ayers, or UConn corner Darius Butler, or Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew with their first pick. (Pettigrew would be a bit of a surprise, because the Eagles seem to like Brent Celek, and probably can find a decent complementary tight end in the draft.)
Of course, the Eagles have traded out of the first round the past two seasons, moving some fans to predict they'll do that again. That makes little sense, really - the Eagles traded up 2 years in a row, 2003 and 2004, but as it turned out, they didn't keep doing that, over and over forever.
Trading down certainly is more possible than it looked a few weeks ago, when the Birds also held the 28th overall pick; they shed that selection in the trade for Buffalo offensive tackle Jason Peters. If the Eagles can't get Moreno, and their target really is running-back help, they probably could trade to the bottom of the first or high in the second and achieve that goal.
If they do want Moreno, though, they might need to trade up to 14th or 15th in the first, ahead of San Diego, which is rumored to covet him as well. Would they need to burn a second-round pick to make that swap, or would a third do it? Under the old draft-pick value chart teams have used, the 21st pick is worth 250 points fewer than the 15th pick, and the Eagles' third-round choice, 85th overall, would be worth only 185. But with first-round picks getting so expensive to sign, many people that think the chart is outdated and that moving a half-dozen slots or so wouldn't be as costly as the chart might indicate.
Somewhere in your draft calculations, you have to throw in yesterday's ESPN report that the bidding is back on for Arizona wideout Anquan Boldin, with the asking price having dropped from a first-rounder to a second-rounder. However, Cards general manager Rod Graves denied that to the Arizona Republic, and an Eagles source told the Daily News the Eagles are unaware of any change in the Boldin situation.
Graves denied ever having placed a specific, first-round price.
"We've never said what we were looking for," he told the Republic. "All we've said is that we're willing to listen and certainly would consider something of commensurate value."
On the team's Web site, Graves said a trade of Boldin was looking unlikely.
WIP Radio's Howard Eskin said yesterday that the Eagles have made an offer for Boldin. Graves, in his Web site remarks, indicated he had gotten one offer that he didn't consider "serious."
Whether or not they get Boldin, the Eagles probably will draft a wideout at some point this weekend, a corner and a center, in addition to a tight end and a running back. They are always looking for defensive-line depth, and like just about every NFL team, they certainly could use another Pro Bowl-level pass rusher, to play opposite Trent Cole. (That's why Ayers might be a first-round possibility.) The Birds have 10 picks overall, six of them in the fifth and sixth rounds. The first two rounds are held today, the final five tomorrow, starting at 10 a.m.
Laws has one piece of advice for the players awaiting calls today and tomorrow.
If he had it to do over again, "I would definitely try to worry less, put my mind a little more at ease . . . calm down, let what happens happen," Laws said. "I tell myself that now, looking back on it. But you're sitting there in the heat of the moment, and that big of a decision is coming down, that you're not a part of at all, it's tough not to let the mind race." *