|Johnny Football's Enabler|
1-10 Chiefs: Carolina, at Cleveland, at Oakland, Indianapolis, at Denver.
2-9 Jaguars: at Buffalo, New York Jets, at Miami, New England, at Tennessee.
3-8 Browns: at Oakland, Kansas City, Washington, at Denver, at Pittsburgh.
3-8 Eagles: at Dallas, at Tampa Bay, Cincinnati, Washington, at New York Giants
First, let's talk about this draft. It's supposed to suck. since the top QBs (Geno Smith of West Virginia and Matt Barkley of USC) have clear flaws; Smith is probably overrated from that one perfect defense-free day he had earlier this year, and Barkley bears the stigma of coming from the school that has produced as many high draft flops at QB as any other school you can name. (I don't know squat about college football, and even I know that USC QBs are hateful.) But when you have as bad a team as the Eagles have, a top five pick meas an immediate new starter at any number of places (I dream of a stud T, others would rather have a CB, but I'd gladly take either), and we are in Tear Down Mode here; one high pick and/or magic QB is not going to make this team into a real contender. A foundation needs to be built over 2-3 years, and this is not likely to be the only very high draft pick that's coming this way.
So let's get into the trash.
The amazing thing about the Chiefs is that three, and maybe even four, of those games are actually winnable. KC still has a defense that tries and a top-flight RB in Jamaal Charles, and since I kind of enjoy hurting myself and own Dwayne Bowe in fantasy, I've actually seen more of their recent games than anyone should. They led the Steelers, were in it for a long time against the Broncos, still have a home field advantage, and might have won more than one game had they ever gotten their turnover problem under control. It's not out of the question that they could win some games, and the magic of this draft is that there's no Suck For Luck going on. If they finish with just one win, I'll be amazed.
Jacksonville has shown more fight in the past two weeks than we've seen from them all year, and it coincides with the ascension of QB Chad Henne. He's clearly playing for a starting job in 2013, and the Jags aren't going to lay down for anyone. I think they get their third win either this week or next, and wouldn't be shocked if they get to four. Besides, they've lost so much recently that tanking for position is not going to be appealing at all.
Cleveland has the tiebreaker edge on the Eagles thanks to that Week 1 slopfest loss that really should have given us all more of a clue about how this year was going to go; if the teams played now, it's obvious who would win, since the Eagle defense has moved into Historically Generous Mode to QBs. The schedule isn't kind -- it' s hard to see them winning any of those last three games -- but Oakland might be the worst team in the league right now on the field, and someone's got to lose that Kansas City game.
Finally, the Eagles. Um, they aren't winning another game this year. I'd be amazed if they are within 10 points of any of these teams. That's certainly how I'm going to bet.
Now, is there a real benefit to moving up? Of course. Smith isn't really necessary here, so the first pick isn't all that necessary, and while Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o would be exciting (imagine, an Eagles team with a stud LB -- I'm all a flutter here), he's also not the biggest need. The third pick might get you Star Lotuleli (NT from Utah), which isn't going to be the move with Fletcher Cox actually looking good. Which leaves us with the two guys that really work here: Texas A&M OT Luke Joeckel or Alabama CB DeMarcus Milliner.
Personally, I want Joeckel, in that I have the dream of having a good line again quickly with a return to health from Jason Peters and Jason Kelce, teaming up with Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans. (Notably absent: 2011 bust Danny Watkins. What a waste.) Put that line together, run the ball 30 times a game, and you might resemble a football team sooner rather than later, especially if the head coach has any idea at all in regards to defense. And Joeckel is large, fast, mean, used to playing at a high tempo and in front of a mobile QB. There's nothing there that this team doesn't need in spades. Milliner is a big and physical corner who, unlike the current starters, actually shows an interest in tackling, and plays for a team with a far better defense than the Eagles. In that Alabama cares, and hits. But I digress.
Oh, and there's one last thing the team needs to do. But you aren't going to like it. Check back tomorrow for that.
So, in summing up... the Eagles currently hold the fourth pick in the 2013 draft. They are going to get a very good player with that pick. Now, the trick is to make sure the pick is as high as possible... and that the GM is actually competent or not. But I have hope -- because there is no way that 2013 can be as bad to watch as 2011, or 2012. Bring it on!