Twitter Mailbag: Pondering A Tavon Austin Pick

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @heemy224:  each year the Linc has that huge photo of a player on the stadium symbolizing the face of the team.Who is the face of the Eagles now?

Funny you should mention that. I was driving past the stadium with my wife recently and we noticed that there is only one of those long, vertical images attached to the outside of the Linc at the moment. I believe the jersey number was 25 but it didn’t have a real likeness to LeSean McCoy. From what I gather those are designed to be generic and not represent any specific player, but didn’t one just recently closely resemble DeSean Jackson? Am I crazy?

Anyway, I think the answer is that no player is the face of the franchise right now. And the Eagles aren’t trying to force one, either. They’re focused on selling the name on the front, not the back, at least until a clear-cut leader emerges (likely in the form of a franchise quarterback).

Consider their three top-selling jerseys from 2012:

1) McCoy
2) Jackson
3) Michael Vick

McCoy is coming off that ugly Twitter exchange with the mother of his child, Jackson is a risky bet, and Vick has not been guaranteed the starting job (plus he has one year left on his deal). There is no reason to try and heavily market any of those players right now.

What I also found interesting is that Brian Dawkins‘ jersey was very competitive this past season in terms of percentage sold. Yes, he had his number retired, but it also speaks to the connection fans continue to feel with No. 20, and maybe the lack of connection they had to last year’s team as well.

With no player standing above the rest, the face of the team has to be Chip Kelly. There is a freshness and an excitement surrounding the new head coach, and I fully expect the Eagles to embrace that.

From @aerelorn: I’ve seen more than one person mock Tavon Austin to the Eagles at 4 or after trading down. How likely do you think that is?

So Kelly has gone through the game tape of all these potential picks by now, you would imagine. Picture him in a dark office. The projector comes on. Up flashes cut-ups of Austin. Darting through traffic. Cutting, stopping, starting. Embarrassing Division I athletes. Lining up in the backfield. Returning punts. Returning kicks. Scoring touchdowns.

It’s enough to give an offensive junkie the shakes, right?

I am sure the powers-that-be have talked about him, and I’m sure I am not the only one that wonders if he can be Kelly’s NFL version of De’Anthony Thomas.

The Eagles have been adamant that they plan on taking the best available player. It is not inconceivable that they have a very high grade on Austin. If they stay true to the plan, maybe they would take a skill position player over, say an offensive lineman,  if they truly felt he was best available. (Would anyone be shocked if Austin won Rookie Of the Year, by the way?) It all depends on that top-secret draft board of theirs.

While this draft in particular is difficult to project, it seems likely that the Eagles could trade back a bit and still snare the West Virginia receiver if that’s their target. I am not predicting it happens, but I can’t say I would be shocked.

From @Barltrop19: if a team offers the Eagles enough for them to trade down to mid 1st, who do they take? Hope OT Johnson or DT Star falls?

Even if Austin is not their man it is certainly possible they trade out. (Sheil has a good breakdown of what they could potentially get in return.)

The most likely scenario to me would be if Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher are both off the board by the time they are on the clock. They might be able to move back a few spots at that point and grab OT Lane Johnson or a player with a similar grade. Star wouldn’t be a bad bet, either.

My sense is that teams feel there is a drop-off after the first 11 or 12 picks, so I don’t anticipate the Eagles moving too far back if they decide to give up the No. 4 spot.

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