With the 21st pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select:
Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
Say what now? A cornerback? And one with character issues to boot?
Yes. Yes, indeed.
Davis is the perfect Andy Reid draft choice:
- He plays a high-value position in which first-round athleticism makes a huge difference.
- No one sees the pick coming.
- On its face, the pick is completely inexplicable.
But what about offensive line (you ask). Or tight end? Or running back? Or all the other places the Eagles have actual needs? Not cornerback, where we have a Pro Bowler, a solid starter, a very wealthy nickel man and a "first-round talent" prospect coming off a knee injury.
Let me explain. First of all, as a cornerback, Davis is very, very good. He's also -- for a cornerback -- very, very big. The brother of Vernon Davis is a physical freak. You don't find many 6-0, 200-pound guys who can turn and run with most wide receivers. Can I get a "Plaxico Burress" anyone?
Secondly, everyone remembers the story of how the Eagles drafted Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown even though they already had Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor locked in as starters. What most people don't realize is that Sheldon Brown is now older than Taylor was when his replacement was drafted (and only one year younger that Vincent was at the same time.)
Cornerbacks don't age well. You can never have enough guys around to keep pushing them.
Now, with that said, the other intriguing thing about Davis is that he may actually project to FS at the next level. He's a born hitter, loves contact, and his "tremendous athleticism" at the cornerback position would translate to "Hall of Fame caliber athleticism" at the safety position.
New SS Sean Jones is a one-year stopgap, we still don't know for sure what we have in Quintin Demps, and Quintin Mikell turns 29 later this year. Another safety prospect would not be a bad thing to have around.