Let’s be honest. When the Eagles offseason started, we wanted one thing: Nnamdi Asomugha. The thought of him lining up opposite of Asante Samuel gives me similar feelings to the Phillies starting rotation. In case you don’t follow baseball or live under a rock, I’m trying to say that it would make me beyond happy.
However, with the NFL in its current lockout, there is no free agency. Thus, the Eagles can’t make a move for Asomugha, or any other free agent for the matter.
Players they can make moves for are those coming out of college and entering the 2011 NFL Draft. With or without a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in place, the draft will go on as scheduled.
Keeping that in mind, could it be possible that the Eagles are interested in a young, elite corner? In this year’s draft there are two standouts. They are Patrick Peterson out of LSU and Prince Amukamara out of Nebraska.
Let’s start with Peterson. If the Eagles want this guy, they’re going to have to make a serious move to get him. He’s the clear cut best at his position, and some draft experts think that Carolina should take him with the number one overall selection.
Peterson stands at 6’0” and 219 pounds and ran a 40-yard dash of 4.34 seconds at this year’s NFL Combine. Tack on a 38-inch vertical, and becomes pretty easy to see that this kid is an athlete. Not to mention he’s got great skills as a return man.
However, playing corner in the NFL isn’t just about being athletic. Corners need to have good instincts and the ability to make reads on a quarterback. At LSU, Peterson showed both of these talents as he really shined in coverage. He’s very versatile as he has the ability to play press coverage as well as give receivers space off the line.
Another thing I love about his game is the fact that he’s a great tackler. Anyone that’s going to lineup opposite Samuel has to be able to tackle. Peterson isn’t afraid to get physical and had his fair share of big hits while in college.
He’s the total package, and that’s why he’ll be drafted so high. Clearly, he’s a top 10 pick, but could very easily end up in the top five. If there is no new CBA in place, and the Eagles can’t use Kolb as leverage, they may have to part with the 23rd overall pick as well as a 2012 first round pick to get anywhere near Peterson. Maybe even more.
It’s a lot to give up, but it looks like this kid is going to be really special.
If the price for Peterson is too much, they can make a move for another talented player in Amukamara, who can be had for a bit cheaper.
At this year’s NFL Combine, Amukamara measured in at 6’0” and 206 pounds. He registered a 4.43 second 40-yard dash time and a 38-inch vertical.
Amukamara is just as gifted an athlete as Peterson, but his coverage skills aren’t as solid. He’s talented, but I see some room for improvement. Another thing I noticed about him is that he tends to tackle high. This is something that can be worked on easily, and if he continues to tackle high in the NFL, he’ll learn to change his ways fast.
However, Amukamara is another corner that has the type of talent to be ready to start for an NFL team in their opening game. The Eagles still have a big question as to who will be starting opposite Samuel come the beginning of the season.
As mentioned, Amukamara will be available at a cheaper price then Peterson. Just how cheap will be very dependent on where Peterson is selected. If Peterson were to be taken in the first three picks, Amukamara may be selected in the top 10. If Peterson falls out of the top five, Amukamara could fall somewhere in the 10-15 range.
This is a range the Eagles moved into last year by trading their 23rd overall selection and two third-round picks in order to get Brandon Graham 13th overall. The Eagles don’t have two third-round selections right now, so they’d have to get a little more creative in this situation.
Overall, I think either player could have an immediate impact on the team and solidify a position that had a lot of inconsistent play surrounding it in 2010. I’d probably cry tears of happiness if the Eagles got Peterson, and do a lot of Tiger Woods type fists pumps for Amukamara.
Do you think the Eagles could make a play for either corner?