Thoughts and analysis on the Philadelphia Eagles

What I want from this year's draft class


As the slow part of the offseason continues, I offer some more random thoughts... this time on this year's draft class and what I'd like to see from them all in order for me to consider them a success. We all love the draft on paper, but this is what they need to do on the field to still love it 1-3 years down the road...

Bunkley needs to win a starting job. If not in training camp, at least at some point in his first season. He's a high enough first pick that it's more than reasonable to expect him to start. Gocong needs to get himself on the field at least situationally, it's okay if he doesn't start right away. He's learning a new position and he's from a lower division in college... That said, this guy has a natural knack for getting at the QB and he should be able to step on the field and go after the QB from the SAM spot in certain situations right away. Bloom needs to win the PR or KR job. I don't care if he ever gets a snap at WR in year one, but he should at the very least be returning kicks for this team full time. I'd like to hear Gaither's name a few times on special teams this year, no one is expecting him to start but based on how the Eagles have praised his special teams abilities so far he should be able to at least contribute there very early on. Max Jean Gilles should at least make a strong challenge to start at LG, but if he doesn't this year it's okay. Herremens seems to have the inside track on that position, but MJG should at least put up a good training camp battle and hopefully get in some games on the goalline. If Jason Avant can just get on the field some times I'll be happy, I'm not expecting him to be a huge contributor in his rookie year. I've heard rumblings that maybe Winston Justice could line up to be an extra blocker from the TE position, especially on the goalline. That would be interesting, but overall it doesn't matter to me if he doesn't play alot. Normally you'd want a 2nd round pick to get significant time, but this is a special situation where he is here as the heir apparent to a pro bowler in the left tackle formerly known as Tra Thomas who is in his final year as an Eagle.

If that happens in year 1, I'll be happy with this rookie class.

In year 2, Justice needs to be starting. William(Tra) Thomas' contract is up this year and it almost a given that he will be gone for the 07/08 season. Justice was drafted specifically to be the Left Tackle of this team ideally for the rest of his career starting next year and he needs to do that to be a successful pick. Bunkley needs to be a full time starter from day one. Bloom should be returning everything and maybe be used as a toy occasionaly on offense, I'd like Gilles to start(however if Herremens is good I won't mind if he doesn't), Avant should at least be a #3 and be catching 3o or so balls, which is the bare minimum for a decent #3 WR. Gaither should be a legit solid special teamer. Chris Gocong should be starting at the point. A full year should be plenty for him to learn the position and get into the lineup, plus Dhani Jones in all likelihood should be out of by then. Nothing will be standing in Gocong's way and unless he's a flat out dissapointment he should be able to beat out whatever training camp body the team brings in to challenge for the SAM spot. I suppose I'd like to see 7th pick LaJaun Ramsey at least make the roster, not that a 7th round pick could ever really be considered a bust...

If that's what happens in year 2, I'm happy.

In year #3, I'd like to see Bunkley as a pro bowl calibre defensive tackle. If he's getting 6-8 sacks and is generally a difference maker on the interior of that line, I'll be ecstatic. Justice should good enough to be comfortable with at LT for the next 6+ years. Like I said, he was drafted to be this teams next franchise LT and he if he's become that or shown that he can become it by year three, we should all be happy. Bloom needs to be a legit return threat. He may not be much of a difference maker on offense, but as a guy drafted to be a return specialist he should at least be the type of guy that strikes fear into teams everytime they punt or kick the ball. If he's not that, he's probably not on the team anymore. Gocong should still be starting, Gilles starts at either G spot or sees some time at center maybe? I'd like to see Avant as good #3 or a decent#2 WR that's catching 40-50 balls, plus if the scouting reports on him are true he should at least be developing into a decent red zone threat. Gaither should be a special teams standout who is getting some snaps on defense hopefully showing that he can maybe play MLB...

If that's how the next 3 years play out with this class, I'll be more than satisfied. This scenario would make every pick worthwile. They could do better and be great picks or worse and be busts... but this would make them all solid picks.

Some playoff trends


So as we continue in the doldrums of the NFL offseason, I decided it would be a nice time to quickly discuss some playoff trends.

Since this is the boring time of year and it's tough for football writers to find things to write about... It not unexpected that they start to roll out their brilliant preason predictions. For the moment I'll ignore how pointless it is to make pics this far before the season in the NFL... If you look at the vast majority of picks out there, the so called experts have really gone out on a limb and picked the NFL to shake out almost exactly like it did last year, which as you may well know is probably less likely to happen than picking all teams that missed the playoffs...

I figured that I'd post a great post someone made on an Eagles message board about this subject. If I remembered who it was I'd give them credit, because it's a great little tidbit

Since 2000, no conference has had more than four playoff teams repeat from one season to the next. Four of these 12 times, two or fewer teams repeated. Three teams repeated five times. Picking even five teams to repeat in a conference's playoffs means you're ignoring every trend from the past six years.

Only one team that made the NFC playoffs in 2004 made them in 2005.

So why have guys like Peter King picked Seattle, Carolina, Dallas, & Tampa Bay in the NFC? 2 of the 4 teams that already made it last year and one 9-7 team? Because it's easy and they need something to write about. I hear alot of Eagles fans freaking out because they don't see the Eagles being picked to make the playoffs this year... No need to panic. These were the same writers that were picking the Eagles to go 12-4 last year and repeat as NFC champs.

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