Thursday, April 22, 2010

Philadelphia Eagles Should Boldly Move Up and Draft CJ Spiller

ACC Championship  - Clemson v Georgia Tech

All the various mock drafts and recommended selections for the Philadelphia Eagles, including my own, have centered on filling team needs. This has become the norm as opposed to the old "take the best available athlete."

The more contemporary approach is for teams to evaluate their roster and identify their specific areas of need. From there, it becomes a matter of evaluating the talent pool, predicting how other clubs may draft and projecting the likelihood of the team's targeted prospects being available in their draft slots.

Sometimes it makes sense for a team to break from conventional wisdom. This year may be one of those times for the Eagles.

Chances are that Kansas City will stay put and draft Eric Berry with the fifth pick. If not the Chiefs, Berry will likely be chosen by one of the first six teams on the board.

Assuming this to be the case, the Eagles should make a bold move to trade up to the 7th to 10th spot to select a true difference maker. They have the ammunition to do it.

With Berry most likely not an option, Andy Reid and company should shock the football world by selecting Clemson running back C.J. Spiller.

There will be players that can help them if they stand pat and select in their current slots— players who have the potential to be good to very good. However, Spiller would give them a player with the potential to be great.

The team just traded its franchise quarterback in favor of keeping a "West Coast" formula quarterback who does not seem to have the arm to stretch the field or the legs to turn a sack into a gain.

Earlier this offseason, the Eagles released one of the best running backs in team history. In his place, the team will have second year player LeSean McCoy, who is solid, but does appear to have the potential to be great.

Adding an explosive playmaker like Spiller would provide balance and open up the short passing game that the team will now employ. It would also take tremendous pressure off of Kevin Kolb by forcing defenses to always account for a running back who is a touchdown waiting to happen.

Drafting Spiller would be like going back in time and getting a healthy, 22-year old Brian Westbrook. Or, getting another Chris Johnson— the 2009 NFL Player of the Year. Like the Titans' back, he runs eye popping times (4.27 to 4.37 in the 40.)

Spiller has a resume filled with success, but often flew under the radar because he spent much of his college career splitting time. Last season he rushed for 1,212 yards, grabbed 36 passes for another 503 yards, and added another 965 yards returning kicks.

Overall last year, he found the end zone 20 times, including four TD's on returns. If that was not enough, Spiller also tossed a touchdown pass each of the past two seasons. And, he averaged 5.9 yards per carry over his four year career at Clemson.

Neither the Browns at No. 7, Bills at No. 9 or Jaguars at No. 10 would list running back amongst their greatest needs and might be inclined to trade down in order to fill a couple holes. Perhaps the Eagles first rounder and their own second round pick would get it done?

Spiller, along with Berry, appear to be best able to step into the NFL and make an immediate impact. And, even more importantly, a running back tandem of Spiller spelled by McCoy, along with DeSean Jackson, Brent Celek, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant sure would make the transition to Kolb so much smoother.

With the Redskins' pick at the top of the second round and two more picks in the third round, the Birds should be able to get a pretty good safety, linebacker and/or defensive end.

Call me crazy, but if this team wants to win a Super Bowl, they should go for it. Find a top ten trade partner and put Spiller in midnight green. I can think of another former Clemson Tiger player who looked pretty good in those colors.

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