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Draftniks' big day is finally at hand

TGIDD. Thank God It's Draft Day. The last chance for mock drafts has gone. Now, it's time to select those college players NFL teams think they need so, so bad.

Should the Eagles pick a safety, Miami's Brandon Meriweather might be the choice. They believe he can play either safety spot.
Should the Eagles pick a safety, Miami's Brandon Meriweather might be the choice. They believe he can play either safety spot.Read more


Thank God It's Draft Day.

The last chance for mock drafts has gone.

Now, it's time to select those college players NFL teams think they need so, so bad.

After months and months of scrutinizing players at all-star games, scouting combines and pro workout days, the Eagles and every other team in the league will finally get a chance to turn their picks into actual people.

If you're interested only in what the Eagles do in this draft, you are going to have to wait a little while longer, because if the Eagles stick with their allotted 26th overall pick in the first round, they will not make their selection until after 6 o'clock tonight.

Anyway, here's one final look at what the Eagles might do with their first-round selection:

A. Draft a safety.

B. Draft a cornerback.

C. Draft a defensive end.

D. Draft a linebacker.

E. Trade down and get an extra pick in the third or fourth round.

F. None of the above.

If the answer is A, the safety options appear to be Florida's Reggie Nelson, Miami's Brandon Meriweather, Texas' Michael Griffin, and Virginia Tech's Aaron Rouse.

Most draft experts project that Nelson will be gone by the time the Eagles pick, but the three other players on that list should be available.

Eagles general manager Tom Heckert said he believed that Meriweather, Griffin and Rouse could play either safety spot. Nelson, meanwhile, was more of a centerfielder at Florida, patrolling the secondary for interceptions rather than approaching the line of scrimmage to stop the run.

"I wouldn't call that a concern," Heckert said. "It's something you have to think about because you don't get to see him do it. I think he's tough enough and he comes up and tackles, but he has not been a box guy."

If the Eagles opt for Meriweather, it will be a fascinating selection just because of his controversial involvement in an ugly brawl Miami had during a game with Florida International last season.

"That's something we're really investigating," Heckert said.

Should the Eagles elect to go with Option B - and take a cornerback - they should have an opportunity to get a good one late in the first round.

"I think it's a pretty deep draft at cornerback," Heckert said, adding that he believes a total of five cornerbacks could be selected in the first round.

The two best that figure to be available for the Eagles are Texas' Aaron Ross and Arkansas' Chris Houston. Ross, at 6-foot-1 and 193 pounds, is bigger than Houston. The kid from Arkansas, however, showed that he could be outstanding in press coverage at the line of scrimmage.

"There's one guy, you don't see him do anything but press [on film]," Heckert said of Houston. "That's why there's probably mistakes made with corners because you don't get to see them do everything you need to see."

Heckert said that was particularly true with players like Houston, who entered the draft after his junior year. Only seniors are showcased in all-star games, where NFL scouts can ask to see players in multiple roles.

Option C - defensive end - could happen if one of the higher-rated players slips to the 26th spot in the draft. It's possible, but not probable, that Florida's Jarvis Moss will be available when the Eagles select. Moss, who weighs just over 250 pounds, can rush the passer, but his size could be a detriment when he has to play the run.

As for option D - linebacker - the Eagles could make a popular pick and take Penn State's Paul Posluszny if he falls to the 26th spot. Miami's Jon Beason and Florida State's Lawrence Timmons could also still be on the board, but it doesn't seem likely that the Eagles will take a linebacker in the first round for the first time since 1979.

Though the Eagles have moved up in the draft twice in the last four years to get a higher No. 1 pick, the more likely scenario in this draft is Option E - trade down. The Eagles probably would be willing to move down a few spots if they could pick up an extra selection in the second or third round and still get a player they think has good value.

"With the new CBA, the end of the first round is a little intriguing just because you can lock those guys up for five years," Heckert said, referring to the collective-bargaining agreement. "The second round, you can't do that anymore. That could be an issue, but I doubt somebody would give you a great pick just to get an extra year on the contract."

And what about Option F - none of the above? This is the NFL draft, so anything is possible. Just be glad you don't have to read or hear any more speculation about it.


Picking 26th Is Hit or Miss

The Eagles will be selecting 26th in the first round of today's NFL draft. The recent 26th picks have brought mixed results. Here's a look at the last 12 players selected 26th overall:

Year    Player             Pos.    College                   Pro    


John McCargo

DT      North Carolina State       Buffalo

Made just six tackles during five games before suffering a season-ending foot injury.

2005    Chris Spencer       C       Mississippi                Seattle

Started 13 of 16 games last year for the Seahawks.

2004    Chris Perry          RB      Michigan            Cincinnati

Has started three games in three years.

2003    Kwame Harris       OT    Stanford          San Francisco

Started every game the last two seasons.

2002    Lito Sheppard       CB    Florida                   EAGLES

Talk about a great pick - he's a two-time Pro Bowl choice.

2001    Jamar Fletcher       CB   Wisconsin                Miami

Is now with his fourth team, the Texans.

2000    Erik Flowers         DE    Arizona State            Buffalo

Had only six career starts before going to the CFL.

1999    Fernando Bryant    CB    Alabama             Jacksonville

Serviceable player who has played last three years with Detroit.

1998    Alan Faneca          OG    LSU                   Pittsburgh

Arguably the best guard in the NFL.

1997    Jim Druckenmiller    QB    Virginia Tech      San Francisco

A bust who played just four games in two seasons.

1996    Ray Lewis          LB    Miami                Baltimore

Likely future Hall of Fame selection.

1995 Devin Bush          FS      Florida State             Atlanta

Played for three teams during an eight-year NFL career.

- Marc Narducci