Eagles options at No. 24 or earlier

April, 21, 2010
PHILADELPHIA -- With the Eagles ranking 19th in the league in points allowed in 2009 -- their lowest ranking of the Andy Reid era -- the natural assumption is that Philadelphia's primary target is defense, especially in the early rounds of the draft.

But if they are unsuccessful in pulling off a trade up from the 24th pick in the first round, new general manager Howie Roseman could shift his focus to the interior of the offensive line, where starting center Jamaal Jackson is still rehabbing his surgically repaired knee and will not be ready for the Sept. 12 opener at Lincoln Financial Field against the Green Bay Packers. Roseman said Jackson's return is "fluid" right now -- not a good sign.

Backup Nick Cole started the final two games against the Cowboys and did not hold up well against Jay Ratliff and the rest of the Cowboys' D-Line. After Cole, the pickings are slim.

So, if the Eagles can't move from No. 24 spot in the first round, there could be two options available: Florida center Maurkice Pouncey, who is represented by Michael Vick's agent, Joel Segal, or, Mike Iupati, a guard from Idaho. He is a mauler who impressed Eagles coaches in a series of personal interviews and workouts.

Sal Paolantonio, who covers the NFL for ESPN, is the author of “How Football Explains America” (Triumph Books: Chicago).

Sal Paolantonio

SportsCenter correspondent / NFL reporter
Sal Paolantonio joined ESPN as a SportsCenter correspondent in August 1995, primarily reporting on the NFL. Beginning in 2004, he also served as host of NFL Match-Up, a weekly "Xs and Os" football show produced by NFL Films.



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