Washington Area Players Are Sprinkled Throughout the NFL Draft
Monday, April 27, 2009
As yesterday afternoon drifted into evening, Moise Fokou's cellphone kept ringing, and each time the former Maryland linebacker thought he was receiving the call. The Rams, Dolphins, Bears and Steelers all dialed Fokou's number, but none ended up selecting him in the final stages of the NFL draft.
"As it got to the sixth and seventh rounds, I started getting a little nervous," Fokou said. "I was actually about to leave my house when the Eagles called."
A Philadelphia representative asked Fokou the same questions the previous teams had. Are you healthy? Are you ready? Then the team official put the head coach on the phone, and soon Andy Reid was offering congratulations.
"Congratulations for what?" Fokou asked his new boss. "You haven't told me anything yet."
Fokou glanced at a nearby television and saw his name flash across the bottom of the screen. The Eagles made Fokou, a Rockville native, the 230th overall selection, one of three Maryland players chosen in the seventh round and one of several players with local ties taken on the draft's final day.
Virginia Tech cornerback Victor Harris was selected by Philadelphia in the fifth round with the 157th overall pick. It was lower than anticipated for the second-team all-American.
Harris was plagued by running the 40-yard dash in 4.68 seconds at February's scouting combine. He joins an Eagles secondary amid transition. The Eagles traded for veteran Ellis Hobbs from the New England Patriots yesterday. Returning starter Sheldon Brown has publicly complained about his contract, and the team lost former Pro Bowl players Lito Sheppard and Brian Dawkins this offseason.
Harris might fit into the mix as a safety, where his physicality could accommodate a position change.
"They told me they drafted me because I was versatile," Harris said. "Brian Dawkins left this past year, so that's a hole in the defense. Like I said, I'm going to tell these coaches what I told them at Virginia Tech: 'I'm here to help.' "
Harris was in his car when the Eagles called. Once he spotted an area code he did not recognize, Harris knew it was the moment he had anticipated.
"It was like I had the whole world off my chest," Harris said. "I was just relieved."
Harris spoke to Reid, defensive coordinator Jim Johnson and special teams coordinator Ted Daisher. He did not expect the Eagles to draft him. College scout Ahmad Russell spoke to Harris at the combine, and an Eagles representative called earlier this week to confirm his draft-day phone number, but he did not hear from the Eagles as much as other teams during the pre-draft process.