How much better are the Eagles now?
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
If the Eagles are able to complete a trade with Buffalo for left tackle Jason Peters, I think it's a significant upgrade. Not to take anything away from Tra Thomas, but Peters is an elite player who has a chance to become the best left tackle in the game.
There's a tradition in the NFL of college tight ends becoming effective offensive tackles. Cowboys Hall of Famer Rayfield Wright comes to mind. Peters and the much-improved Todd Herremans should form one of the best left sides in the league. And now the Eagles have filled both offensive tackle spots, don't be surprised to see them go after a center in the draft. Head coach Andy Reid dropped some hints in that direction during the NFC coaches' breakfast last month.
So how much better are the Eagles with Peters at left tackle? Well, I think having an elite left tackle is one of the greatest luxuries a team could have. Thomas certainly did a nice job, but Peters is a much more dominant (and younger) player. He's athletic enough to block some of the division's top pass rushers such as DeMarcus Ware, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. If there's a better left tackle currently playing in the Beast, feel free to provide a name. Here's how I would rank them: 1. Peters 2. David Diehl 3. Chris Samuels 4. Flozell Adams.
Under the Tony Sparano (offensive line) regime, Adams played like an elite left tackle at times. Now he appears to have trouble getting out of his stance. On Wednesday, I looked over the Eagles' schedule and predicted 10 wins. With Peters, I'm willing to give them another win -- and perhaps two.
The Eagles can now focus on landing a tight end and a running back (and perhaps a center) in next weekend's draft. A lot of folks seem convinced the Eagles will take a running back with that No. 21 pick. I've never been convinced of that -- and today's news hasn't changed my opinion. There's a better chance of the Eagles going after Oklahoma State's Brandon Pettigrew than one of the top running backs.
So what about Anquan Boldin? I think the chances of him landing in Philly are pretty remote at this point. And that's not something Eagles fans should be all that upset about. DeSean Jackson's already an impact player, and now he should be more consistent. Kevin Curtis should be healthy and Jason Avant has become a lot more reliable as a third-down receiver. If someone like Brian Robiskie's hanging around in the second round, that's certainly a possibility.
Philadelphia Daily News columnist Rich Hofmann agrees that this trade is quite a coup for the Eagles. The Eagles have always built from the lines out -- so I guess this move shouldn't come as a surprise. It's so rare to find a 27-year-old Pro Bowler at one of the most important positions in the game. I need to revisit the NFC Beast schedules now.
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