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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
I don't know about you, but I cannot wait for Friday, April 23, the second day of the now three-day NFL draft.
For one thing, I love draft trades, and I think we're going to see some deals on Day Two, when Rounds Two and Three will take place, as the longer wait between the first and second rounds lends itself to teams talking trade. Clubs will restack their draft boards, and the trade chatter will begin. And there could be more of that than usual this year, because this is regarded as a strong draft.
I also have Round Two on the mind because of The Associated Press' recent scoop that the Eagles want a top-42 draft pick in any deal for QB Donovan McNabb. This intrigues me greatly, for it signals the Eagles are willing to take a high second-round pick for their starting quarterback. Speculation runs rampant about who might be targeting McNabb, with Buffalo, Oakland and St. Louis — QB-needy teams all, and each with second-round picks in a range that falls within the top 42 — at the top of the list.
Let there be no doubt: McNabb would help each of those teams. But here's what really intrigues me about all the McNabb trade chatter: if the Eagles are open to trading McNabb for a draft pick … well, whom do they covet?
This is no small matter to me. The Eagles have sharp eyes for talent. I'm keenly interested in their Draft Day moves. Look at their roster. They have rebuilt without even giving the impression they are rebuilding. If they were carpenters, we could give them a reality show called "The Amazing Dustless Remodeling." In a span of three drafts, they breathed new life into their offense, drafting McNabb's replacement (Kevin Kolb) in 2007, one of the NFL's premier deep threats (DeSean Jackson) in 2008 and a young, very intriguing runner (LeSean McCoy) in 2009. All of those players were chosen in Round Two.
See why the Eagles have my attention?
Another team I'll be watching closely is the Browns, who have a dozen draft picks, including a high second-rounder (No. 38 overall) and three third-rounders (Nos. 71, 85 and 92). If they were the subject of a home improvement show, it would be called, "Pardon Our Dust — Again."
The Browns effectively took themselves out of contention for McNabb when they signed former Panthers QB Jake Delhomme — a curious move, since their new general manager, Tom Heckert, had spent the previous four seasons in the same position with Philadelphia. But Cleveland still needs help at quarterback, and it is expected to draft a quarterback, likely on the draft's second or third day.
Here's what intrigues me about the Browns: do they move up in the draft, perhaps in Round Two, for a passer, or do they stand pat? Either way, you have to take note of whom they select. Team president Mike Holmgren's track record for finding quarterbacks after the first round is very good. Look no further than the selections of Mark Brunell (Round Five, 1993) and Matt Hasselbeck (Round Six, 1998) during his tenure as the Packers' head coach. The quarterbacks he drafted in Seattle didn't pan out nearly as well, but he smartly traded for Hasselbeck.
With a glut of second-day draft picks — and with those picks rather valuable this year, considering the quality of prospects available — the Browns are afforded many options. They can stand pat and exercise their picks, but they also have the flexibility to move up or down — or to perhaps start stashing picks for next year. I have a feeling teams will be willing to trade 2011 draft picks in order to move up in this draft.
The Browns, if they so choose, can be in the middle of the action on what could be a very busy second day of the 2010 draft. They also could come away with their quarterback of the future.
I'm not sure what is going to happen, but I suspect it will be interesting. The NFL has picked the right year to break the draft into three pieces, for the middle leg of the journey figures to have some twists and turns.
For the most authoritative NFL draft news and free-agency analysis, visit ProFootballWeekly.com.