Five reasons Vick makes sense for the Eagles

To the surprise of many, the Eagles went out on a limb and signed free agent quarterback Michael Vick to a one-year, $1.6 million deal with a $5.2 million team option for 2010. Below are five reasons why this move makes sense for Philadelphia.

1. The Eagles are going for broke this season.
This offseason, Philly traded a first round pick to Buffalo in exchange for Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jason Peters and also signed lineman Stacy Andrews. They also added playmakers Jeremy Maclin and LeSean “Shady” McCoy via the draft, so it’s clear that the Eagles are stocking their roster with as much offensive talent as they can. Vick was once highly regarded as the best athlete in the NFL and at $1.6 million, Philly is willing to take the risk in hopes that they just added even more talent to their brimming roster.

2. The Eagles offer a solid support system.
The Eagles have always been a model organization and they wouldn’t have made a move like this if they hadn’t first consulted Tony Dungy (who is mentoring Vick) and weighed all of their options. Vick leaves a lot to be desired as a human being, but Andy Reid, Joe Banner and Tom Heckert must believe that he can turn around his life and are willing to take him in. Plus, one would assume that Vick will be on his best behavior and Reid isn’t going to put up with an attitude. Another key to this situation is Donovan McNabb, who has the respect of his teammates and will certainly take some of the attention away from Vick’s arrival.

3. Kolb’s knee injury maybe worse than the Eagles are letting on.
While Vick doesn’t pose a threat to McNabb’s starting job, he does put pressure on backup Kevin Kolb, who was carted off the practice field at the beginning of the week after spraining his left knee. While reports state that Kolb should be fine, the signing of Vick may indicate that Philadelphia wants some insurance behind McNabb and Vick, despite his two-year playing absence, was the best QB on the market.

Of course, it’s entirely conceivable that the Eagles were working on a contract with Vick before Kolb’s injury, in which case maybe Philly just isn’t that high on Kolb’s development after two years. It’s a shame to think that a team would give up on a 24-year old former second round pick after just two years (especially a quarterback), but maybe the Eagles just don’t see much of a future in Kolb.

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An early look at the running back class for the ’09 NFL Draft

LeSean “Shady” McCoy has decided to forego his final two years of eligibility at the University of Pittsburgh and enter April’s NFL draft.

So how does McCoy stack up against the likes of Knowshon Moreno (Georgia), Chris “Beanie” Wells (Ohio State), Donald Brown (Connecticut), P.J. Hill (Wisconsin) and Shonn Greene (Iowa)? Let’s take a look.

Even though he had a major setback earlier in the year when he injured his foot/toe in the Buckeyes’ first game of season, Beanie Wells has all of the intangibles NFL teams look for in a back. He’s big (6’1” 237 pounds), fast (he should run in the 4.5-range for the forty at the combine) and might even grade out better than Darren McFadden, who was selected No. 4 overall a year ago. He has had some durability issues, but after watching him over the course of the second half of the season, it didn’t look like he was suffering any lingering effects from the injury. Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel believes that Beanie is a top-5 pick and when you look at the entire package, it’s hard to disagree.

Knowshon Moreno will probably go somewhere in the first round, but it’s hard to speculate at this point whether or not he’ll go in the top 15 or fall in the 20-25 range. He doesn’t have a ton of experience (he only played two seasons at UGA), but that also means he has fresh legs and he was incredible the two years he played at Georgia. He is being compared to Thomas Jones and Cadillac Williams in that he’s a grinder who doesn’t necessarily have great top-end speed, but makes up for it with outstanding instincts and vision. If he falls past the top 15 picks, he’s going to be a steal for whichever team grabs him.

At 5’11, 210 pounds, Shady McCoy isn’t the biggest back in the draft, but his change-of-direction skills are unrivaled. After what the Texans’ Steve Slaton (a similar back with great speed) was able to accomplish in his rookie season, as well as the growing popularity of the “Wildcat” formation in the NFL, a lot of teams are going to value McCoy’s versatility and athleticism. His ability to make people miss will certainly separate him come draft time and he should run a forty in the 4.4-range at the combine.

Shonn Greene is perhaps the most intriguing back in this draft because his stock couldn’t be higher after rushing for 1,850 yards and 20 touchdowns for the streaking Hawkeyes. He also won the Doak Walker Award, which is given to the nation’s top running back and given his powerful running style, he might be a sleeper pick in the top three rounds. He’s overshadowed by Wells, Moreno and McCoy, but his skill set is outstanding.

Donald Brown rushed for 2,083 yards at Connecticut this season and will likely draw comparisons to Kevin Smith of the Lions come April. Like Smith, Brown racked up a ton of yardage at the collegiate level, but doesn’t have elite speed or athleticism. Instead he excels because of his vision and creativity and unlike Smith (who played at Central Florida), Brown faced some decent defenses in the Big East so the “weak competition” knock shouldn’t be applied come draft day.

P.J. Hill will be a late round pick given his durability issues at Wisconsin and the fact that he’s not much of a pass-catcher. He’s a bowling ball of a runner, but won’t draw much consideration in the top three rounds.

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