Saturday, April 29, 2006

No. 2 By Eagles Has No. 1 Ability

NEW YORK -- Winston Justice was a No. 2 draft choice with a No. 1 grade. And that's why the Eagles made a trade to move up and take the USC offensive tackle in the second round with the 39th pick.
Justice is 6-foot-6, 319-pounds and has good athletic ability. He ran the 40-yard dash in 5.19 seconds, and has a 35 inch vertical leap.
Whether that means he can block NFL defensive ends remains to be seen, but Justice was one of those draft-day droppers.
He was projected by many to be a first-rounder, and that is why the Eagles moved up six picks to draft him. The Birds swapped No. 2 picks with Tennessee and threw in a No. 4 (116 overall pick).
Now the Eagles have drafted two players who they graded as first round talents, Justice and Brodrick Bunkley, the defensive tackle from Florida State.
Bunkley was considered a Top 10 pick, who dropped to No. 14. With the unknown status of Tre Thomas' back and the aging of Jon Runyan, the Eagles need to groom a young offensive tackle and Justice has the ability to be a major contributor, if not immediately than certainly not that far down the line.
Right now, the Eagles have to be pretty happy with their first two picks.
There is, however, still need for depth at receiver.
The Eagles can't be happy to see that Denver acquired Jevon Walker from Green Bay for a second round pick, but for a 6-10 team that needs to reestablish itself in the NFC East, the Eagles have gotten off to a good start in this draft.

Eagles Fans Go Extra Mile At Draft

NEW YORK - The popularity of the NFL draft can be seen here in Radio City Music Hall, where the seats were full of fans, many wearing their favorite team's jersey.
And not surprising, the Eagles fans made their presence known. Prior to the Birds' first-round selection of Florida State defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley, a group of fans started the E-A-G-L-E-S chant. And even though this is a draft that was dominated by Jets and Giants fans, the Birds' rooters could be heard.
And this being New York, the local couldn't help themselves by responding back "Eagles (bleep), Eagles (bleep)."
You get the picture.
One group of four Eagles fans, all 19-years-old, said they waited in line six hours on Friday night to get a braclet that would give them entrance into the draft. Then they waited another hour to get into the draft on Saturday.
That's dedication.
"It is worth it," said Mike Evian, a Lower Merion resident who was wearing a Donovan McNabb No. 5 jersey. "We love the Eagles."
They must. the four came on Friday night, stayed over in New York, which isn't exactly cheap and then came to the draft to cheer for a team that was back in Philadelphia.

Eagles Select Bunkley

NEW YORK -- With the 14th pick in the first round, the Eagles have selected Brodrick Bunkley, the defensive tackle from Florida State.
Bunkley had been projected to be picked much higher, but he slipped to the Birds and could make an immediate impact.
At 6-foot-2 and 300 pounds, Bunkley had 66 tackles and nine sacks as a senior. He is much more than a run-stuffer.
It's the fourth straight year that the Eagles have drafted either an offensive or defensive lineman first and Bunkley will no doubt be a popular choice and a good value at No. 14.

Eagles on the Clock

NEW YORK - The Cleveland Browns just selected Kamerion Wimbleyand now it's the Eagles turn with the 14th pick in the first round of the NFL draft.
Due to some surprising selections, some of the players the Eagles reportedly eyed at No. 14 will be there. Brodrick Bunkley, the defensive tackle for Florida State, who had nine sacks as a senior is still on the board.
Winston Justice, the USC offensive tackle, is also available. Things have gone well from an Eagles perspective and no doubt, the braintrust will say that they didn't think whomever they selected would be there at No. 14.

Bills Could affect Birds

How one team picks in the NFL draft could affect what happens down the road. The Buffalo Bills just selected Donte Whitner, a safety from Ohio State as the No. 8 pick. The player that many associatd with the Bills was Brodrick Bunkley, a defensive tackle from Florida State.
It's no secret that the Eagles are looking for another defensive tackle. If Bunkley or Oregon's Haloti Ngata is available, then it could be an interesting choice for the Birds, who have taken either an offensive or defensive lineman with their first pick in each of the previous three drafts.

Jets Control Draft

NEW YORK - Now comes the real intrigue. The draftniks in the crowd were buzzing. This is no doub ta New York Jets day at the 71st annual NFL draft in Radio City Music Hall.
And a major of the fans are clad in Jets jerseys, waiting for the fourth pick in the draft.
Mario Williams of North Carolina State came to terms on Friday with Houston, assuring his spot at the top pick.
USC running back Reggie Bush went second to New Orleans (although there continue to be rumors of a trade with the Jets).
The Tennessee Titans took Texas quarterback Vince Young and now the Jets are on the clock.
The crowd is buzzing. It normally does when one of the New York teams has a high choice. The Jets also have the 29th and 35th pick in the draft so the faithful view this as a way to rebuild a team that needs plenty of rebuiding.
The Eagles pick 14th and right now that seems like an eternity away, or at least a good two hours from happening. For now, the Jets are at center stage.
Teams are allowed 15 minutes to make their first round picks and the Jets were expected to use every last second.
In this case, the Jets didn't disapppoint. The Jets selected Virginia offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson and while many fans were hoping for USC QB Matt Leniert, Ferguson received a loud ovation.
And so far, a draft that was expected to have plenty of mystery, especially at the top, has gone pretty much according to form.

Catching A Draft

NEW YORK -- The city of New York is alive with draftniks. The lines were more than a block long for fans waiting to get into Radio City Music Hall. This is a draft that will be dominated by the Jets, at least as far as the fans go.
Scores of fans wearing Jets jerseys are in the draft, no doubt anticipating their team's expected busy day.
As for the Eagles, they pick No. 14 and there has been considerable talk of them either trading up for a defensive lineman, or possibly trading down and getting multiple picks.
Anything is possible in what is expected to be a wild day. The only certainty is that North Carolina State defensive lineman Mario Williams will be the first pick of the Houston Texanas, after agreeing to a six-year $54 million deal with more than $26 million guaranteed.
After that plenty of intrigue should take place on what has become one of the most anticipated days on the sports calendar.