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Snap Judgments

Bloom, Browns did well; Giants with strange pick 

Posted: Sunday April 30, 2006 4:10PM; Updated: Tuesday May 2, 2006 5:08PM
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Jeremy Bloom last played college football in 2003.
Jeremy Bloom last played college football in 2003.
Gary Bogdon/SI
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NEW YORK -- The only decent skiing anywhere close will be a 90-minute drive away in the Poconos -- and decent may be debatable -- but I still think Jeremy Bloom stuck his landing Sunday when he became nascent property of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Bloom, the former Olympic skier and University of Colorado receiver and special teams standout, is now nicely set up for the biggest return of his football career: Making the NFL after a two-year absence from the playing field.

The Eagles took Bloom in the fifth round, making him the 147th overall pick, which is about where he was projected to go on Day 2 of the draft. He'll instantly upgrade Philadelphia's up-in-the-air return game, and there are few teams where Bloom would have a better shot at eventually seeing some playing time as a No. 3 receiver.

"It's a tremendous blessing to be drafted in the fifth round and more importantly than the fifth round, to a team that I think is a perfect fit for me,'' Bloom said. "I don't think there's a better fit for me than Philadelphia. It's a winning environment and they're going to be a playoff team. And they have a coach in (special teams coordinator) John Harbaugh that's one of the best. I'm looking forward to working with him.''

The Eagles last season had a return game by committee, with four different players returning at least two punts, and three different kick returners with at least 10 attempts. Bloom should put an end to those kind of statistics. In his two seasons at Colorado, the speedster was a human highlight reel, scoring on plays of 75 yards or more five times, including four return touchdowns.

The 5-foot-9 Bloom still needs to bulk up to about 185 pounds to withstand the pounding he'll get in the NFL (he's about 175 today). But since competing in the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, in mid-February, he has focused entirely on football training, starting with the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

"I feel comfortable playing football now,'' Bloom said. "I feel like I've been able to transition between those two sports very easily. Obviously, it's a much bigger challenge at the NFL level, and I think the transition will be steeper.''

Steeper, but not too steep for the elusive Bloom. Philly's going to love him. He'll be a modern-day Vince Papale, the special teams dynamo who made Dick Vermeil's first Eagles team in 1976 as an every-man walk-on out of the ranks of semi-pro ball.

Bloom and the Eagles are a superb match. With skiing now in his past, Bloom's career will be headed anywhere but downhill.

• When Eagles head coach and former offensive lineman/grunt Andy Reid says he believes you build a football team from the inside out -- stocking the offensive and defensive lines first -- the big lug means it. Philly's first four picks were all linemen: Florida State defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley in the first round, USC offensive tackle Winston Justice in the second round (a great value at No. 39 for the projected first-round pick), Cal-Poly defensive end Chris Gocong in the third round and Georgia guard Max Jean-Gilles in the fourth round.

The Eagles didn't even think about a skill position until taking Michigan receiver Jason Avant with their second fourth-round selection, 109th overall.

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