Nick Cole the Likely Candidate to Replace Jamaal Jackson

Written By Bob Cunningham On Thursday, April 08, 2010

Is Nick Cole capable of running Reid's offensive line?

With Jamaal Jackson most likely sidelined for the first half of the season, one of the main focuses of the Eagles' offseason was to find a replacement. Many draft "experts" have the Eagles taking Maurkice Pouncey at No. 24 overall, but there are several problems with that.

One, the Eagles will not be selecting anyone at No. 24. They will trade up into the mid-teens and pick a guy they really want and think can start immediately. And two, there are a few guys coming out and saying Pouncey is a stretch anywhere in the first round.

On the most recent episode of "Path to the Draft," Charley Casserly was adamant in his belief that Pouncey should not be taken before the second round. Centers and guards usually aren't taken until the latter portion of the first round anyway, but Casserly doesn't believe Pouncey even deserves that.

That immediately would make me weary. This is the same guy who saw through the hype that was Reggie Bush and selected Mario Williams instead. He took a beating for it, and even lost his job in Houston, but he has been proven right when we look at the impact of both players.

So if it's not going to be Pouncey (unless of course he slips to 37th overall), it will most likely be the newly-resigned Nick Cole.

Cole has most of his experience at right guard, but with the anticipated return of Stacy Andrews he becomes a backup at that position. He came into the league as a center, and started two games there at the end of '09, but those two games were the back-to-back losses to Dallas.

In those games, Cole showed that he cannot handle Jay Ratliff one-on-one and was very shaky making the line calls. The pass and run blocking took a great hit without Jackson in the lineup to make the calls, but perhaps with an offseason to work at it, Cole can get that part down.

I've always questioned whether or not Cole is athletic enough to play in Reid's system, but it doesn't look like they will have any other option. Unless A.Q. Shipley comes on strong and shows he can make the calls and run the offensive line, Cole will be the starting center for the first six to eight weeks of the season.

Hopefully the Birds get lucky enough to avoid any 3-4 teams in that span.

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