May 11, 2007

Heckert: Things are being ‘blown out of proportion’

By Bob Grotz, Of The Times Staff

The second the Eagles selected a quarterback with their first draft pick, they realized everything else thought it was more than just a pick.

When a telephone call to franchise quarterback Donovan McNabb went unreturned, the impression was his long-term future was in jeopardy.

Some even speculated a smear campaign was under way although the only smear, if you will, was the selection of Houston’s Kevin Kolb in the second round.

“That thing has been blown so far out of proportion,” Eagles general manager Tom Heckert said. “It’s not like we took Kolb with a top-five pick. I don’t think Donovan McNabb feels threatened. If we had taken Tony Hunt with that pick in the second round, would it have been Brian Westbrook who felt threatened? If you were a Pro Bowl quarterback and someone took a quarterback in the second round, would you feel threatened?”
In the week leading up to the draft Heckert pointedly said the Eagles would draft a franchise quarterback if one became available. Even McNabb conceded recently he was aware of the interest in Kolb. Those words have all but been forgotten.

Heckert obviously knew more about his craft than reporters and draft gurus for quarterback Brady Quinn, widely considered a top-five pick drifted all the way to 22. Kolb also moved all the way up to No. 36 overall in a lottery where four quarterbacks came off the board in the first couple of rounds.

“I don’t know why everybody is surprised,” Heckert said. “We’ve always said if the guy is the best available player, why not take him?”

Heckert reiterated that the Eagles at this stage aren’t married to Kolb. If McNabb bounces back from a knee injury and continues to play well, there’s a chance Kolb could be dealt a la Matt Schaub, the third-round pick the Atlanta Falcons by way of West Chester East High school who was traded to the Houston Texans.

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