In this week’s issue: a look at the three Eagles selected in last weekend’s NFL Draft and my comments on each player’s likely impact this season. Also, I will comment on several interesting things that caught my attention this weekend.
Three Eagles selected on Day 2:
Mike Chevallier ran an article on Monday discussing the three former Eagles selected on Sunday, so I won’t belabor the point, but I just want to make a few observations. First, I want to congratulate Brian St. Pierre, Dan Koppen, and Antonio Garay for making Boston College proud.
We did not get to hear any of their names called, as the NFL does not announce any of the selections beyond the first round, but seeing BC on the big screen (well, my TV is more of a little screen) looked and felt good. Now, I want to look at each player and discuss what I feel about their chances of making an impact this season.
Brian St. Pierre: In a surprising turn of events, the former Eagle gunslinger was the first of his mates selected on Sunday. With the 28th pick in the fifth round (163 overall), the Pittsburgh Steelers chose St. Pierre to add depth at the quarterback position.
With the departure of Kordell Stewart to Detroit in free agency, Brian St. Pierre will move into possibly the best position of the three Eagle draftees. Incumbent starter Tommy Maddux is 31 years-old and missed several games last year to injury. His backup, Charlie Batch, couldn’t catch on with Detroit after a solid rookie campaign. With his intelligence, leadership abilities, and solid mechanics, St. Pierre will have every chance to compete in Pittsburgh. One false step by Batch or an injury to Maddux, and he will shoot right up the depth chart.
Playing time for any rookie, especially a fifth-round quarterback, can never be counted on, but with a good training camp and a few fortunate misfortunes, Brian St. Pierre could end up taking some snaps for Pittsburgh this season. Of course, we have no idea how that will turn out…
Dan Koppen: Projected by many experts to be off the board by the fourth round, Koppen slipped to the fifth and was snatched up by New England in the pick following his former quarterback (164 overall). His situation might not be as fortunate as St. Pierre’s however, as he will find former Eagles Damien Woody penciled in atop the depth chart at center.
However, it appears that the Patriots may be considering moving Woody elsewhere on the line in the future, so Koppen could very well be groomed as the center of the future for his local NFL team. ESPN.com lists two centers on New England’s roster, Woody and third-year man Lonie Paxton, so Koppen will have to work his way up the chart, but he should be given every opportunity to do so. I fully expect him to be the backup center by opening day and he should see some playing time this season for the Patriots.
Antonio Garay: Listed by many as a first-day talent, Garay’s stock plummeted when he was unable to workout at the pre-Draft camps due to injury. He was eventually selected 22nd in the sixth round (195 overall) by the Cleveland Browns. In Ohio, he will join former Eagle Willie Green.
Garay goes to a team with seven defensive ends listed on the roster, but all but Kenard Lang have three or fewer years of NFL experience. Thus, he will have to work for some playing time, but earning a spot in the two-deep is not too far out of the question. If he can stay healthy (which is always an if), Garay may be one of the steals of the draft and will prove to be a solid defensive end with great pass-rushing ability.
I expect Antonio to struggle some in the beginning in getting his speed down, but he should settle in quickly and turn some heads in the Cleveland camp. He probably will not see much initial playing time, but I could see him begin to move up on the depth chart by midseason, assuming he stays healthy.
Side Notes: St. Pierre, Koppen, and Garay were the only Eagles selected in the 2003 NFL Draft, but several others have a more-than-decent shot at making at least an NFL practice squad. Several reports on the message board cite that Vinny Ciurciu signed on with the Carolina Panthers and Jamal Burke was picked up by Atlanta immediately following the draft. Vinny should catch on quickly as a tough-nosed special teamer and Burke has an opportunity to make the practice squad or the bottom of the depth chart on a team looking for targets for Mike Vick.
Other players who I think could catch on somewhere would be fullback J.P. Comella and guard Mark Parenteau. Receiver Keith Hemmings and safety Ralph Parent have a very outside chance of signing onto a practice squad or fighting for special teams time.
How is it that there were fifty to sixty first round picks on every team’s draft board? Last time I checked, there were 32 picks in the first round of the NFL Draft. However, players such as Kelley Washington (third round), Chris Simms (third round), Dennis Dockery (third round), and E.J. Henderson (second round) were all worthy of first round picks according to the teams that drafted them. With that in mind, I should have called up the NFL teams and told them I was the best water-boy in the business. Do you think, then, that I would have been first round material?
Another question: How did Minnesota screw up again? Last year, they passed on one pick because they could not get in their card on time. It cost them a trade and led to a lengthy hold-out by self-conscious Bryant McKinnie. This year, the Vikings passed on two picks because they once again could not get their card in on time. They ended up drafting DT Kevin Williams ninth, but both Jacksonville and Carolina rushed to the podium with their cards to ensure that they got the players they wanted. If they could turn in their cards in less than 30 seconds, how could Minnesota not be able to do so in 15 minutes?
Finally, I was wondering if anyone knew if Champ and Boss Bailey have another brother. If so, do you think his name is Chief or Theman? Or, if he was a mistake, do you think his parents called him Loser or Lastplace? What about Runnerup or Alittleslow? Those are just some suggestions, what does everyone else think the third Bailey brother would be named? Or better yet, does anyone know what his name actually is?
Well, there you have it for another edition of Thursday Evening Ramblings. I hope you enjoyed it and I’ll see you next week.
Aaron Rose is a staff writer for EagleInsider.com. He can be reached with suggestions for the third Bailey brother’s name at InsideTheEagles@yahoo.com.