Drafting of Andrews far out move
PHILADELPHIA -Somewhere out there, a mock draft not only had the Philadelphia Eagles trading up to No. 16, but also selecting University of Arkansas offensive tackle Shawn Andrews in the first round of the 2004 NFL draft.
Somewhere way out there. Beyond Pluto.
But the Eagles made just that move Saturday. They sent their first-round pick (28th overall) and second-round pick (58th overall) to San Francisco in exchange for rights to the 49ers’ first-round pick at 16.
That part of the trade was only a mild surprise, because an Internet report had said the Eagles were trying to trade the 28th pick and left guard John Welbourn to San Francisco to move up to 16. The Eagles also had made a similar move up a year earlier, when they traded from 30 to 15 to select Miami defensive end Jerome McDougle.
This time, it was widely believed the Eagles would make such a move to select a linebacker or a running back, two positions where they more obviously need quality depth.
So the surprising part was the selection of Andrews, even if Andrews was rated the second-best offensive lineman available Saturday behind Iowa’s Robert Gallery, who went to Oakland at No. 2.
“I had no idea whatsoever [of Philly's interest],” said Andrews, who visited six cities – though not Philadelphia – in the days leading up to the draft.
But Andrews – who entered the draft after his junior season and with a six-foot-four-inch, 373-pound body he said is now down to 345 – was available when the Eagles were on the phone with the 49ers Saturday.
Also available were a couple of running backs, Steve Jackson of Oregon State and Kevin Jones of Virginia Tech, and Miami (Fla.) linebacker D.J. Williams; three of the players the Eagles were thought to be eyeing if they moved to No. 16.
“You win with the offensive and defensive lines,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “We needed to advance [the offensive line], and we did.”
Reid said Andrews could play either tackle position, and will be given a chance to compete for playing time at guard.
The Eagles later selected UCLA cornerback Mike Ware with their third-round pick (89th overall). The six-foot-two-inch, 210-pound Ware also has experience at safety. Like Andrews, he declared himself eligible for the draft following his junior season.
The Eagles had rights to seven picks in Sunday’s fourth, sixth and seven rounds.
Although Welbourn had publicly criticized the Reid regime in recent days its unwillingness to renegotiate his contract, Reid said the Eagles had targeted Andrews earlier in pre-draft preparations.
“I’m disappointed in [Welbourn's] comments – absolutely,” Reid said. “But I’m not going to make a rash decision. Our eyes have been on this guy for a while, well before John [Welbourn] let us in on his thoughts.”
Andrews said he is ready for any eventuality, including the possibility of competing with either left tackle Tra Thomas or right tackle Jon Runyan for their starting jobs.
“All I can do is go in and try to improve myself, and reinforce that they made a good pick,” Andrews said. “I would not have a problem with [moving to guard] at all. I love playing the game. Now, it’s a job and I have to take what the coaches say.”
Andrews missed Arkansas’ Independence Bowl victory over Missouri because of a sinus condition, and said it was medication for that sinus condition that also led to his ballooning up to approximately 400 pounds in early January.
He was listed at 373 pounds in a bio sheet distributed by the Eagles.
But a healthy, in-condition Andrews was named the Southeast Conference’s offensive player of the year after the past regular season.
According to the assessment in Ourlads’ guide to the draft, Andrews is “a powerful drive blocker. Fairly quick off the ball. Explosive. Strong with his initial jolt. … Can stop a [pass] rusher in his tracks at the line. Has fairly good feet for a big man.”
On the downside, however, Ourlads says Andrews “gets out on linebackers with decent quickness, but is inconsistent in his ability to adjust and control them. Not real active; will stand around idly after beating his man rather than look to go after him again or look for another defender to attack. On the ground too much – not quick to get up.”