Monday, March 9, 2009

Tra Thomas is a Jag

Back in March of 1998 I was busy watching game tape of college prospects to figure out who should go where. One player and one team I knew for certain. I knew Tra Thomas was the LT that the Eagles needed and they'd pick him at 11. I coveted Tra Thomas.

Those where the days when Florida State was a powerhouse. I had more than half of their games on tape from the 1997 season (I still watch their 20-3 win over UNC from time to time). Tra was a great pass blocker. He was huge. The only down side was that he wasn't much of a run blocker. That didn't mean squat to me. Since Bernard Williams smoked his way out of the league in the summer of 1995, we'd needed a good LT.

Needless to say, I was ecstatic when Tra made it to pick 11 and the Eagles took him. I've been spoiled since then. 11 years of good LT play. Wow. Think about that for a minute. Not many teams have that kind of streak going.

I wish Tra all the best in Jacksonville, but I'm glad he's gone. We needed to get younger and more physical at LT. Whether the job goes to Todd or Shawn isn't critical to me. I'm excited to see either guy out there. They won't be as good as Tra at pass protection. He was gifted when it came to keeping McNabb clean. We will get more push in the run game and that's something our offense desperately needs.

Good luck, big man. It was a hell of a ride.

RB

Steve wanted to know what we should make of the Eagles being so quiet in the RB market to this point. I think the Eagles are finally going to spend a high pick on a RB. I'll be highly surprised if we don't go for a RB in the 1st or 2nd.

There wasn't much on the FA market to start with. There is very little out there right now. There are no RFAs of interest. That leaves us with 2 options. The Eagles can trade for a RB or they can draft one.

We could try to trade for a big back like Michael Bush. He'd be a great complement to Westy. Larry Johnson wants out of KC, but that doesn't seem likely. Fred Jackson of Buffalo would be ideal, but they have no reason to deal him. That leaves the draft.

The running game cost us wins in 2008. That wasn't necessarily the case in the past. I think losing games the way we did in WAS and CHI will cause Andy to realize that he must change things up. That's why I expect a RB in the 1st or 2nd. We could wait for the 3rd round if they think the right guy will fall there, but I'm not sure how likely that is.

I'm actually taking the non-action as a good sign. We're not going to make minimal changes. AR may have finally seen the need for another top shelf RB on the roster.

Lines

OC wants to know if there are any holes on the lines. I like our DL as is. That group is deep and versatile. We could use a #4 DT, but that is the only spot I see up for grabs. At this point, Juqua Parker might have a tough time making the roster. Remember that we have last year's 3rd Rder, DE Bryan Smith, ready to get on the field.

The OL is much trickier. I'm comfortable with the top 6 guys: Shawn, Stacy, JJ, Nick, Mike, and Todd. Beyond that I don't know what to think. We have guys like Chris Patrick and Mike Gibson who could be solid backups. Are they good enough? We have a prospect like King Dunlap to consider. Is he going to be good enough to earn a roster spot this year? How healthy is Max Jean-Gilles? I'm assuming Winston Justice is a goner, but they could always keep him around in case of emergency.

The Eagles could keep 9 or 10 OL. They have 6 spots sewn up. Max will probably take one spot, although he could hit the PUP list. Gibson/Dunlap/Patrick will produce either 1 or 2 players. That could take up 8 or 9 spots. We'll draft at least one player and stack up on UDFAs. We could easily take 2 players. I don't see more than 2 getting picked, unless they use a late pick and expect the guy to be Practice Squad material.
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1 comment:

Stephen said...

Are you hearing things that make you more certain now than before about Shawn coming back? I know we signed Stacey, but I didn't realize that we were now certain Shawn was coming back.

Getting Shawn back would be a TREMENDOUS boon to our OL. It just wasn't the same last year without him.

Also, lets not get too far ahead of ourselves on the "Andy must have seen the light" stuff, this is the guy who passed that ungodly amount of times with a struggling Donnie in the wind against Cincinnati, Im taking a wait and see approach in regard to another quality runner ;).