I hate this pick, and I think this means the end of McNabb is closer than a lot of people think. Not only did they pass on a lot of good players, but they let a divisional rival trade up to get a good player. Then they take a big reach on a QB, who probably would have not gone for another round. I like the rest of the draft, but this pick sucked.
By JEFF OFFORD phillyBurbs.com
PHILADELPHIA — Don't read too much into it, Andy Reid said Saturday.
That won't be easy.
The Eagles made a deal with the devil on the first day of the NFL draft, then made a move that two years ago would have sent hell freezing over.
With all of their coveted defensive players already gone, the Eagles traded the 26th overall pick to the Dallas Cowboys for a second, third and fifth round pick Saturday. Moving down to the No. 36 slot, the Birds selected University of Houston quarterback Kevin Kolb.
The decision to take Kolb so early in Saturday's draft doesn't mean the Donovan McNabb era in Philly is over, but it seems clear now the franchise is preparing for life after McNabb.
The Eagles seemed set at quarterback for at least another decade after McNabb led the team to the Super Bowl following the 2004 regular season. McNabb was considered one of the best — if not the best — QB in the league then.
Times have changed.
McNabb, 30 years old and with a contract through 2010, has been injury prone. He suffered a sports hernia in 2005 and tore his anterior cruciate ligament last year. Both injuries were season ending.
Because of McNabb's history of injuries — he also suffered a broken ankle in 2002 — there has been some talk recently that the team would eventually draft a quarterback and groom him to replace McNabb. However, most NFL experts thought that probably wouldn't happen for at least a couple of years.
“For the first time since I've been here we've been able to sit there in the draft and take the best player available on the board at that time and that was Kevin,” said Reid, in his ninth year as head coach of the Eagles. “I'd like to make it very clear that this is not about Donovan McNabb and his progress. He's doing great and he will continue to do great. He's going to have a heck of a year. This was strictly with sticking with what we had on the board and taking the best player at that time.”
Kolb is a 6-foot-3, 221-pound right-hander who threw for a Conference USA record 12,964 career yards. That number also ranks fourth in NCAA Division 1 history behind former Eagles Timmy Chang and Ty Detmer, and Philip Rivers.
According to draft guru Mel Kiper Jr., Kolb is the perfect fit for the Eagles. Kiper said Kolb benefited from playing in the same system in college that he did in high school but that he has “the necessary skills throwing the football, but will need some time to adapt to the pro system.
[Kolb] is the type who could pay some dividends down the road to a patient organization.”
It remains to be seen how patient the Eagles will be. Quarterbacks drafted as high as Kolb usually don't stay understudies forever, especially if they show talent.
Kolb said Saturday via conference call from his parents farm in Texas that he has no doubt that when he gets his chance, he'll be ready.
“Yeah, absolutely,” Kolb said. “That is the reason they took me, that's the reason they had faith in my skills in what I do and I am anxious to get behind these older guys and get to learn from them over the next however long. I want to learn the ropes and get them to teach me and soak up everything I can. Be a sponge for however long it takes to get my turn and then get in there and win ball games when I get the chance.”
Reid tried to call McNabb after picking Kolb but received no answer. He left a voice mail telling McNabb not to worry.
Before the draft, it seemed like McNabb had little to worry about besides recovery from his torn ACL. Jeff Garcia, who led the team to the playoffs in McNabb's absence, signed with Tampa. A.J. Feeley and Kelly Holcomb, acquired in the Takeo Spikes trade, were backups.
With the 26th pick, most experts had the Birds picking a defensive player — a safety, corner or linebacker.
The Eagles liked Florida safety Reggie Nelson, Texas safety Michael Griffin and Miami safety Brandon Meriweather. But all, including Florida defensive end Jarvis Moss, were gone by the 26h pick.
That's when the Eagles decided to make the deal with Dallas. For the 26th pick the Eagles received the 36th pick, the 87th pick and the 159th overall selection.
Jeff Offord can be reached at jofford@phillyBurbs.com.
April 29, 2007 8:56 AM