Let The Eagles Soar (NFL Draft Recap)

Posted by: Avinash on Monday, April 28th, 2008

DeSean Jackson was once slated to go in the top ten of the NFL Draft. Now he’s bound for a city which is not going to take kindly to underachieving, and they won’t even care too much if he underachieves because of how low he fell on the draft board.

I have little to say that the ESPuNdits haven’t already repeated verbatim, but there were several factors that might have been overlooked:

1) The recent rumblings about DeSean’s attitude might have affected his stock, especially with the Ocho Cinco brouhaha boiling over. Thus there was a wariness to go after what some scouts described a potential headcase, and why risk your biggest pick on someone who could hold your franchise hostage later?

2) Salary was a sticking point–do NFL teams want to commit themselves long-term to receivers, arguably the most overhyped position in the game? A lot of offensive linemen were drafted early, and that position probably bears more wait on a team’s performer than a receiver with return specialties.

3) Finally, there is the issue of Jackson’s size. How long can his body last enduring NFL-hits from secondary if he always struggled to hold up to Pac-10 contact? 165 is amazingly light, and you have to wonder how much muscle he’ll need to put on before he can feel relatively secure to ward the pounding he’ll get in the NFL game.

And talk about polar opposites from sunny Strawberry Canyon: There is no more unforgiving fanbase in football than in Philadelphia. They already endured one head case receiver and agonized through the underperformance of many others. Jackson will almost certainly be placed in the fire early if he falters–he does still have the ESPN hype machine around him. Add in a defining year for Donovan McNabb and DeSean is in a “need to step up” situation. Either he’ll flourish or he won’t. We shall see.

The Tennessee Titans made two moves on Golden Bears, snagging Craig Stevens and The Hawk. One thing that is a rarity in college is the developed tight end, so Stevens is a luxury for a team that has been needing run-block protection on the line, along with a good set of hands that can make plays down the field for Vince Young.

He’ll be joined by Lavelle Hawkins. I’ll admit, this move puzzles me. Hawkins can run some awesome routes and is probably more polished for traditional NFL offenses. Why the hell did he end up with Vince Young? It’ll be interesting to see how Tennessee utilizes him, but this smells like third/fourth option for me.

Thomas DeCoud probably drew the worst straw–he gets Atlanta, a team that’ll be starting Boston College lovechild Matt Ryan at QB (translation: He’s probably going to stink). DeCoud could see starting time pretty early–he’s playing in a thin secondary that features Lawyer Milloy. I like DeCoud’s pro potential, but he’s going to be on a dog team next year.

Mike Gibson is joining DeSean in Arizona. He might start, he might come off the bench. But I wish him all the luck protecting McNabb from those NFC East pass rushes.

Finally, Justin Forsett, the last Golden Bear to be taken, ended up in Seattle. Unfortunately, it seems like a competition round-robin for a position on the team. With Shaun Alexander unceremoniously on his way out, Tex will have to battle with T.J. Duckett, Maurice Morris and Julius Jones. It might be a a year or two before we get a chance to see Forsett debut in the NFL, but it’s a long uproad hill. Just as it’ll be for DeSean Jackson and all the drafted California Golden Bears.

(A thanks to KC Cal for his hearty weekend contribution. You’ll be seeing plenty of him, don’t worry.)

Topics: Cal Football, Draft, NFL

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