Back Draft: How QB Geno Smith is the Eagles best option
This is the weekend where NFL fans get their first "peek" of some of the players trying to make a big splash during April's Draft. The combine has become a spectacle of sorts, and now a favorite time of year for the off season junkie who loves the NFL.
While there will be a few prospects I will undoubtedly be following throughout the process, it makes me wonder which of them will make the biggest jump after this weekend. The most common names the Eagles have been associated with going into this weekends combine (in regards to mock drafts etc) have been OT Luke Joeckel, DT/NT Star Lotulelei and CB Dee Milliner (in that order). While CB Milliner would suit a "need" I don't think he's one of the top 4 prospects in the entire draft. If the Eagles priority is either 1A. Joeckel or 1B. Lotulelei does it really make sense to settle for any other player at pick #4? Which brings me to the player I highlighted in QB Geno Smith. How is it that he is the Eagles best option during this Aprils Draft? The answer: Trade Bait.
With the most recent signing of QB Dennis Dixon, I don't think the Eagles are going to take a QB early in the draft. While Geno Smith may be the only QB with a 1st round grade, I think that selecting him anywhere outside of the top 20 would be a mistake. Fortunately, the NFL is a "Quarterback League" so assuming Big Red doesn't make the mistake of taking Smith with the #1 overall pick (or the Raiders making the same blunder at pick #3) let's look at some teams who may be just desperate enough to make the move.
Arizona Cardinals (pick #7):
Sure, we already burned them with the Kolb deal, but with a new HC in town (Bruce Arians) this might be prime pickings once again. Last season Kolb was downright atrocious. And since Arians is the new man in town, he will want someone who could be the QB of the future. Kolb is clearly not Andrew Luck (nobody is in this years draft) so why mortgage off the #4 if there is very little difference in terms of "draft grade" between picks 5-15?
Buffalo Bills (pick #8):
Huh? Don't they already have QB Ryan Fitzpatrick? Didn't they just give him a massive contract? This is the exact reason they will be desperate for QB Geno Smith. While Fitzpatrick was good at times, there were plenty of times he was terrible last season. New HC Doug Marrone will be looking to add hope to the Buffalo faithful and Fitzpatricks days are numbered (literally). Fitzpatrick is due a $3 million roster bonus in March on top of a $4.25 base salary. Which makes more sense to cut Fitzpatrick, because it's cheaper to go with a rookie than it would be to keep him at $7.25 million dollars.
New York Jets (pick #9):
J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS! S-A-N-CHEZ SUCKS SUCK SUCKS! Honestly, if you are a Jets fan, how fast would you be running up to the podium in April's draft to select QB Geno Smith over the fledgling arm/talent of Mark Sanchez? GM Mike Tannenbaum was recently fired over Sanchez's lackluster performance (coupled with a terrible contract extension), and Rex Ryan knows he's tied to the hip of the QB's success. This is more than motivation to do what is necessary to draft Geno. And it gives the Eagles yet another option to move back in this Aprils draft.
While I might be disappointed that the Eagles won't get their "man" (assuming we don't get either OT Joeckel or DT/NT Lotulelei at pick #4). My inner GM starts to drool over the "bidding war" we could start in regards to 3 QB desperate teams who are located in near identical areas of the draft (pick 7, 8, and 9).
The draft is loaded to the gills with good OT/DL (OT Eric Fisher, OT Lane Johnson, DT Shariff Floyd, DT Sheldon Richardson) and there are a few linebackers who would be a nice fit in a 3-4 scheme (Demontre Moore, Dion Jordan, Jarvis Jones etc) and could still possibly draft CB Dee Milliner at pick #7-#9 based on his performance at the combine. There are still plenty of options in the top 10. And even if we did move back as late as pick #9 we would get an impact player while also adding depth in terms of draft choices (perhaps an extra 3rd round pick which would be at the top end of round 3). The Eagles could also be lucky enough to trade back a bit, while also snagging quite possibly the best player in the entire draft: OG Chance Womack (who many believe is better than Steve Hutchinson and could possibly be the next "Larry Allen").
This years draft is also considered a good year to draft a safety, so we are in good shape here as well. Especially if the Chiefs are desperate enough to trade their 2nd round selection for QB Nick Foles and we can land another impact player on the OL/DL (while also selecting a player like Florida S Matt Elam in the second round).
So many options, and this is even before all the "cap casualties" hit the open market along with Free Agency. Exciting times indeed. Stay tuned!
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