[UPDATE: Asante Samuel traded to the Atlanta Falcons on a 3-year deal for $18.5m]
Despite the thousands of mock drafts leaning towards a defensive tackle being taken by the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round, I think people need to look at the broadened picture. Many people are overlooking the big problem on the defense, the cornerbacks. Even though the Eagles have Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Asante Samuel and Nnamdi Asomugha stacked as of now, in a year from now, Nnamdi may be the only one remaining.
There is no doubt the Eagles are shopping Asante Samuel around in order to get an extra draft pick or two. Odds are, once the 2012 season opens, Samuel will be elsewhere. The other problem that people are overlooking is that DRC is already in his final year of his contract. Granted the Eagle may have intentions of re-signing him, that leaves DRC and Nnamdi…and Nnamdi isn’t getting any younger. Last season, Nnamdi recorded 40 tackles and 3 interceptions. While that seems average, look at Jason McCourty of the Tennessee Titans with a league-best 103 tackles amongst corners. As a matter of fact, Nnamdi, DRC and Samuel combined for only 92 tackles, 11 less than McCourty. See where I’m getting at?
When it comes to the draft, the Eagles always seem to love drafting the big guys first. Tomorrow night, I would not be surprised to see a re-occurance either. However, when it comes down to it, the Eagles desperately need to find that franchise cornerback that will stay with the team and change the direction of the defense. Remember the Lito Sheppard/Sheldon Brown and Brian Dawkins days? Yeah, that’s what the Eagles are missing most.
So who can the Eagles potentially look to take in the draft this year? Well Morris Claiborne would be great, but odds of him slipping to #15 are literally zero. However, Dre Kirkpatrick is another guy with outstanding skills who only gave up one touchdown his entire career at Alabama. Kirkpatrick may be available for the Eagles in the first round, and I think the Eagles would be absolutely foolish to pass him up. Janoris Jenkins would be steal in the second round if still available, but let’s not bank on that.
What will the Eagles do? Will they take the routine DT or change things up and go for a cornerback in hopes to have a solid leader? Perhaps they’ll trade up with Jacksonville?
Either way, the Eagles desperately need a corner. Samuel will be gone, DRC has one year left, and Nnamdi isn’t in his element in Philadelphia. Defending the running game is big and the Eagles addressed that by adding DeMeco Ryans, but in this pass-first game, the Eagles need to defend the air.