Sunday, April 30, 2006

Hollis, Hicks Depart

The Eagles followed an active first day in the draft with an even busier second day. And the team is doing its best to get younger after trading defensive tackle Hollis Thomas and offensive guard/tackle Artis Hicks in separate deals with New Orleans and Minnesota.
In both instances, the Eagles made the trade to move up in the fourth round and selected University of Georgia guard Max Jean-Gilles (6-3, 356) and University of Michigan receiver Jason Avant.
Jean-Gilles might have a chance to start, while the Eagles clearly need help at receiver and if Avant can quickly pick up the system, the might be able to contribute as a rookie.
Thomas is 32 and Hicks is 28 and the Eagles obviously felt they had to get younger.
Last season Hicks started 14 games and Thomas played in all 16 while making 12 starts. They were both big contributors, but in football there is little sentiment.
Everybody is all for getting younger, but judgement has to be reserved to see whether the players can actually perform.
Jean-Gilles was considered by some to be the best guard in the draft and Avant, while not a speed burner is a physical possession receiver.
These appear to be positive moves for the Eagles, but they will miss the leadership of Thomas and the savvy of Hicks. It's just that they felt they had to upgrade both positions, something that at least on paper has been done during the second day of the draft.