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Eagles turn focus to 'Donovan pick'

4/23/2010

PHILADELPHIA -- On Day 2 of the draft, the debate among the Eagles brain trust is what to do with the Donovan pick -- the No. 37 pick in the second round, which Philadelphia obtained from the Redskins for Donovan McNabb.

There is a lot of pressure on the Eagles to turn that pick into a productive player. And there will be a lot of pressure on that young player. No matter how much head coach Andy Reid will try to minimize it, the question in this often unforgiving town will always be: What did the Eagles get for trading their franchise quarterback? For better or worse, that player will have to live with that.

So, what will the Eagles do? After moving up 11 spots in the first round and making Brandon Graham of Michigan the first defensive end taken in the 2010 draft, the Eagles must address their depleted secondary. Trading Sheldon Brown to Cleveland has left a big hole at right cornerback. New general manager Howie Roseman has tried to peddle the idea that Ellis Hobbs, who is coming back from neck surgery, will be ready to step in. But that has been greeted with skepticism.

Then there is the free safety position -- also up for grabs. Free-agent signee Marlin Jackson, after back to back knee injuries, is said to be ready to participate in some team activities in the three day minicamp beginning next Friday, but that is another iffy proposition. The Eagles have moderate interest in Southern Cal safety Taylor Mays, who is still on the board.

But Reid is smitten with Dexter McCluster, a 170-pound scatback out of Mississippi. He's quick and has good hands -- perfect for what the Eagles ask of their running backs: catch the football and work in space. But taking McCluster at No. 37 might be a reach.

Another option would be this: Move back from No. 37, perhaps picking up a third-round pick (the Eagles traded both of their third-round picks to Denver to move up for Graham) and take McCluster later in the second round and pick up a corner or safety with their other second-round pick (No. 55). Indiana offensive tackle Rodger Saffold also is someone the Eagles are considering in the second round.

"That's the debate their having right now," said one league source familiar with the Eagles' thinking.

As Roseman said last week, "I like having the fifth pick on Day 2." Well, now the pressure is on to turn that pick into a player or players as memorable as McNabb.