Posted: April 21st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Tags: | 19 Comments »

I assume that most of you got your history lessons from the movies.  That’s how I know that Mel Gibson led Scotland to conquer the world.  Mel then won the Revolutionary War.  He also is heavily involved in the future.  Why didn’t he retire after Attack Force Z?  His career has been downhill ever since.

The movie Midway taught me a lot of interesting things.  One of them was that the Japanese flooded the radio waves with all kinds of traffic prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor.  This flood of messages would make it extremely difficult for US intelligence to figure out what was going on.  Not only did they have to decipher the messages, they had to figure out what was legit and what wasn’t.

Listening to pre-draft rhetoric by teams is much the same thing.  The Eagles have openly said and done things in recent weeks that serve only one purpose – spreading  mis-information.  The Eagles have also done some things that are completely legitimate.  Figuring out which is which…well, we need a good codebreaker for that.  Or the guy from Lie To Me (if that show still exists).  Let’s try to sort through some of what we’re hearing.

Eagles are open to moving up or back.  This is pretty obvious.  The Eagles haven’t stayed put in any of the last four 1st rounds.  This isn’t so much about needs as it is players.  The Eagles target specific guys and then move around to get them.  Sometimes that is up, sometimes down.  Why use pick 23 on a guy if you can get him at pick 38?  Why hope a player falls to pick 23 when  you can move up and get him?  Find your target and go get him.

The Eagles are getting calls about Mike Kafka.  Weird.  I’m not so sure I buy this.  Mike didn’t put up great numbers last summer, but he did have some good moments.  He showed he is a talented, but young QB that needs more seasoning.  It is possible there’s legit interest in him.  Say a team like the Vikings wants Donovan McNabb.  They could deal for Kafka as the young guy to sit for a couple of years and then be ready to take over as the starter.  There will be a run on QBs and once you get outside the top 7 there is a major drop-off.

It is also possible this is a rumor floated by Reid and the Eagles.  This could be for two reasons.  First, maybe the Eagles are trying to see if there is a market for Kafka.  If there is, that would give Reid the option to take a QB in this draft and deal Kafka when the CBA is resolved.  The flip side of that idea is that Reid offered this nugget to the media to make other teams think that he wants a QB.  If other teams want to draft a QB, they need to jump up to 23 to secure their guy.

The Eagles are getting calls from teams who want #23 so they can draft a QB.  This ties in to the previous bit.  Why announce this unless you are trying to create a market for pick 23?  The fact the Eagles are talking like this sure makes you feel like they want to move down.  Or is this all great mis-direction?

Let’s suppose for a minute the Eagles do want to move back.  Are they hoping to land a 1st rounder for next year or a couple of other mid-round selections for this year?  Howie Roseman is an aggressive GM that likes to make moves so it might drive him crazy to add picks for the future.  He hasn’t had a chance to make any deals.  The extra picks this year would give him the chance to be very active in the middle of the draft.

Eagles will/won’t draft _________ at 23.  Jeff McLane says on Twitter that “Reading in btw lines: #Eagles aren’t drafting an OL or CB in 1st rd despite need and will take DL at No. 23 unless they don’t trade down.”  Possible, but this doesn’t sound like the Eagles.  They don’t tend to think in terms of positions like this.  As I said earlier, they focus on specific players.  I don’t think the team will go for an OT in the 1st round.  That isn’t because they won’t draft an OT early, but I don’t think they see any of the Seniors being such an improvement on Winston Justice that the pick makes sense.  Should Tyron Smith slide to 23, all bets are off.

So what about CB, specifically Jimmy Smith?  The Eagles wanted to draft a CB last year.  The problem was that they didn’t like the group available in the draft as much as they did some of the pass rushers.  They focused instead on DE.  Howie and Andy know they need a CB.  They will add one early, whether that is the 1st or 2nd round.  They know they need someone who can push for a starting job.

Jimmy Smith is the guy who has been linked with the team a lot.  He won’t go in the Top 10, despite having that kind of talent.  Will he make it to 23?  Would the Eagles pass on him?  Could they pass on him?  I think there is a good chance that Smith gets to pick 23.  He does have some character issues that will hurt him.  There is likely to be a run on OL/DL/QBs from 10-22.  There isn’t a gauntlet that Smith would have to get through to reach 23.

Howie was asked about him today and responded that Jimmy “is a good guy to talk to”.   Is this Howie’s way of laying the groundwork for when we pick him?  By speaking positively of him now it lessens some of the draft day paranoia about a guy that is universally considered to have character issues.  At the same time, how often do the Eagles talk about a player they like before the draft with the intention of actually taking that guy?

I have felt for weeks that Smith was the primary target.  The Eagles need a big, physical CB.  Smith is outstanding in press coverage and there isn’t a guy remotely close to him on the roster in terms of his size/skill set.  I won’t be shocked if the Eagles pass on him, but I will be disappointed…depending on what they actually do instead.

Do we know anything for sure?  No.  We’re all guessing.  I think I generally have a good feel for the Eagles, but I’m still scratching my head this year.  Hopefully I’ll have a vision or something like that and all things will be made known to me.  Or may Joe Rochefort can get me the answer.  Either way works for me.

FWIW…here are a couple of nuggets I posted in an Eagles Draft Preview last year:

Let’s talk about trading up. Why do it? The Eagles believe in acquiring top flight players when possible. The thing to do is identify special players and target them. Here are the guys that I think are special:

FS Eric Berry
FS Earl Thomas
DT Ndamukong Suh
OG Mike Iupati
RB CJ Spiller

There are some fringe guys. Rolando McClain might be special to 3-4 teams. Brandon Graham could be special to teams who are okay with his size. These won’t be the top ten picks necessarily because the need for LTs and QBs can throw things off. These players all did special things during the year in terms of production and have the traits that project well to the NFL. They do have issues. Iupati isn’t a gifted pass blocker. Spiller isn’t a great inside runner. McClain has average speed. Graham is a bit shorter than you’d ideally like. Etc. Derrick Morgan has the measurables, but not the production to fit this category. His numbers were good, but not great. I’m not sure how that will affect his value. Is he still the #1 DE or does that lower him just a tad?

You can bet the Eagles will work the phones and try to land a pick to take one of these players. The question is how steep a price we’re willing to pay. If you want to eat steak you don’t expect hamburger prices. The Eagles will give value to get value, but they won’t pull a Ditka and overpay.

* * * * *

Out of this list I want the Eagles to get 4 players…guys I covet (more or less)

RB Ben Tate
RB Charles Scott
WR Andre Roberts
TE Tony Moeaki
OT Jared Veldheer
OL Chris Scott

DE Jerry Hughes
DE Brandon Graham
DE Daniel Te’o Nesheim
DT Torrell Troup
DT Al Woods
LB Sean Lee
ILB Lee Campbell
FS Eric Berry
FS Earl Thomas
SS Kurt Coleman
CB Kyle Wilson
CB Kareem Jackson
CB Devin McCourty

19 Comments on “Codebreakers”

  1. 1 Thunderlips said at 5:16 PM on April 21st, 2011:

    I know it’s very early, but what is your sense for how strong the 2012 draft is and in what positions (assuming we have some extra picks to work with).

    Also, how often have the Eagles taken the guy everyone thought they would take? I can’t remember that happening other than the Bunkley draft. Based on their history, it seems like the following scenarios are in play:

    1. Someone they like drops to the 15-20 range and they swoop in (a la the Maclin/Graham drafts)

    2. They stay at 23 and take Smith (a la the Bunkley draft)

    3. Smith is taken, or they pass on him and move back (a la the Kolb/Laws drafts)

  2. 2 Tommy Lawlor said at 5:36 PM on April 21st, 2011:

    That’s a good job of boiling it down to basic scenarios. The key is trying to figure out which players the Eagles covet and who they don’t have interest in.

  3. 3 Thunderlips said at 5:41 PM on April 21st, 2011:

    Upon further inspection, my scenarios may not be all that insightful (they can move up, stay put, or move back).

  4. 4 nicolajNN said at 5:44 PM on April 21st, 2011:

    Only a week left.

    I read an interesting quote from Roseman, it was basically th opposite of what we think regarding FA after draft. He said that it would allow them to think less about needs.
    I guess it’s because now they still have a chance to fill the needs later, which isn’t the case normally as no “good” FAs are left. Can you follow this thinking or do you still believe they will draft more need based?

    How would you compare this draft to last year’s concerning special players?

  5. 5 deg0ey said at 6:37 PM on April 21st, 2011:

    Out of interest, do you have a similar list of ‘guys you covet’ for this year’s draft? I’ve got quite a full schedule on at the moment and haven’t had the time to look into it as much as I imagine you have – would be nice to have some pointers of some guys to look out for when the draft comes along 🙂

  6. 6 ATG said at 7:03 PM on April 21st, 2011:


    I was going to comment poking fun at the same realization you had in your second comment. Before I got to it, though, I realized you analysis is about as accurate as I could offer, or any of us.

    From Birds Eye View, McLane had a post up saying:

    “The New York Giants announced last month that they wouldn’t require their season ticket holders to pay anything until there was a resolution between the owners and players. […] The Panthers asked for 10 percent up front and will defer the remainder until there is a new collective bargaining agreement in place.”

    Was McLane just careless in his wording, or did these teams really allow for the possibility that the judge ends the lockout, play continues under the old rules without a CBA, and season will start before season ticket holders are required to pay their bill?


  7. 7 Davesbeard said at 9:02 PM on April 21st, 2011:

    Not bad, getting 4 players from your list of players you coveted!

    As degoey said, if you have a similar list for this year it would really be interesting to pay attention to them through the draft this year! I’ll be following the scoutsnotebook forum topic as always but it would be a nice extra 😀

  8. 8 Arby said at 9:04 PM on April 21st, 2011:

    I heard Rick Gosselin say today that he thought next year’s draft was really deep in linebackers and wide receivers.

    I think trading back is a serious possibility this year. A bunch of teams will probably try to move up from the top of the 2nd round to nab a QB from that 2nd tier of QB’s. What if the Eagles are targeting players whose value falls between pick 23 and 54? I could definitely see them valuing more ‘character’ guys this year like Ras-I-Dowling and Danny Watkins, etc.

    BTW, I looked at more tape of Jimmy Smith and see that he’s a great cover but still don’t like his tackling and getting off blocks. I really like the way Dowling hits and tackles and his coverage seems pretty good too, so given that he much more of a team guy and is roughly the same size and speed as Smith, I’m thinking he could be more the target. Thoughts?

  9. 9 Tommy Lawlor said at 10:45 PM on April 21st, 2011:

    RE: list of coveted players

    Guys, I’ll post a lengthy draft preview. Don’t worry about that. Tuesday maybe. If I can get it up sooner, I will.

  10. 10 Kammich said at 12:28 AM on April 22nd, 2011:

    Obviously, a ton of the recent reports from the likes of Schefter and Mortensen are proclaiming that, without a doubt, numerous teams will be looking to deal back into the bottom-half of the 1st round to grab one of the 2nd tier QBs.

    This has me absolutely smitten.

    For the first time all off-season, the Eagles may be able to capitalize on the lack of a CBA. All those teams who would’ve/should’ve been suitors for Kolb will now be looking to ante up picks to grab a 2nd-tier QB, in-turn pushing other, better prospects down the board. I have Dalton ranked #58 on my “big board,” Kaepernick #79, and Ponder #83. So if Cincy, Arizona, Buffalo — whoever — want to jump the gun and trade up to #23 to get one of those guys, please, BE MY GUEST!

    I’d be perfectly fine with a scenario like trading #23 to Arizona for #38 and #69. with those picks, our native picks, and our additional 4ths and 5ths we could continue to maneuver(either up or down) from there. flexibility is going to be key for us, in my opinion. we’re good enough on paper to be considered a contender. so the front office needs to target the guys that THEY want, and do what it takes to get them. don’t act out of desperation, and don’t rest on your laurels either. be, aggressive, B-E-aggressive.

  11. 11 eaglesfan646 said at 2:02 AM on April 22nd, 2011:

    Tommy, I’ve been hear a lot of talk about giving up our first and kolb or a first in the top 5 if it becomes possible. To me, that is absurd, the need for quarterback teams have is should allow for an NFL experienced quarterback such as kolb, who some have as high an opinion on as the top QB’s in the draft, to garner a first round pick without giving up our own first. He could possibly get the eagles even more knowing how stingy they are when it comes to trades. If it were up to me have to give up our first and kolb for another, better, first isn’t good enough and I’d rather have a safe and reliable back up to Vick. That said, I would really like to hear your opinion and thoughts on the matter, as well as what you think is more likely when and if the time comes. Thanks.

  12. 12 T_S_O_P said at 2:37 AM on April 22nd, 2011:

    Tommy, where will the draft day discussion be this year? Still on the message boards over at ScoutsNotebook?

    When will you release your covet list this year? It is always nice to know before hand who the Giants and Cowboys will be picking 😉 :p .

  13. 13 Eaglesfanatlarge said at 3:35 AM on April 22nd, 2011:

    Never start a land war in Asia, never match wits with a Sicilian when death is on the line, and never trust a fat man in a Hawiian shirt!

    My crystal ball says the Eagles take a DE in the first round, either at 23 if top talent falls, or they trade up with 23 plus extra late round picks or 2012 picks. They’ll recoup equivalent vlaue of the 2012 picks or more once the CBA is signed and they can deal Kolb.

    DE is needed because Graham won’t be ready for the season opener, Parker is too slow to catch an NFL QB, and Cole isn’t getting any younger.

  14. 14 Arby said at 9:33 AM on April 22nd, 2011:

    This morning I saw your post on Dowling on I followed the Gil Brandt link and found another link to the Lions website with this quote. Dowling: “I feel I can do a lot more things than a lot of what other corners can do. Just being physical, especially as a tackler. I do a lot of things well.” This is saying a lot but he reminds me a little of Brian Dawkins. Off the field – very humble, religious, team-first guy; on the field – a hard tackling, turnover-producing player. I don’t know that he plays with Dawkin’s-like emotion but there is intensity and leadership there. I like this guy.

  15. 15 Stephen said at 11:27 AM on April 22nd, 2011:

    Kolb for Patrick Peterson, strait up. If they can get this CBA thing figured out thats my dream scenario.

  16. 16 The Reddgie said at 12:38 PM on April 22nd, 2011:

    If we trade out of #23, then my ideal preference would be for a 2012 #1 + add’l picks in 2011 or 2012 in return, although I have read that teams are a little weary of doing so (trading for 2012 picks) b/c the CBA resolution hasn’t been reached.

    My second preference would be to trade way up and get Peterson, thinking that we went Quantity last year in a really deep draft and have a lot of guys on our roster who will contribute in the very near future. Because of this, we only have a few positions that need to be addressed, primarily RCB, and can afford to go Quality this year.

    However, I think that we will ultimately trade down and it will be for 2011 picks. My concern is, are there enough legitimate players to be had in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th to make trading down from #23 a smart move?

    I realize that teams are going to draft QBs earlier than they should (out of necessity), resulting in players to be available later than they should, per your Draft Big Board (ie a guy you have valued at #30 may be available at #40 or #45, making it a tremendous value pick). But how good are those guys who fall really gonna be? Above average starters? Solid Contributors? Backups & Special Teamers? Practice Squadders?

    Interested to see what folks think about my thoughts. Thanks, and have a great day! The Reddgie

  17. 17 deg0ey said at 12:50 PM on April 22nd, 2011:

    @Reddgie: I could be mistaken, but I thought the reason for the hesitation about trading for 2012 picks is because there are questions over the legality of the draft – could be deemed to be restricting the freedom of players to choose their employer. Having said that, entry into the draft is not compulsory so it’s difficult to see how that argument would stand up.

  18. 18 The Reddgie said at 1:06 PM on April 22nd, 2011:

    @degoey: You are probably right, I was fuzzy on the exact particulars as to why teams are hesitant to trade for 2012 picks, I just knew that teams were hesitant. My thinking was that the CBA resolution would clear up the “cloudiness” of the specifics regarding the 2012 draft and teams would be ok with trading for picks.


  19. 19 Eric said at 1:10 PM on April 22nd, 2011:

    Hey, Tommy

    I know it’s not the Eagles’ MO to trade away future picks, specifically 1st rounders, but could they this year if they feel there’s a guy in the back end of the 1st or early 2nd?

    Say they target Jimmy Smith at 23 and get him, but there’s another guy in the 25 to 35 range they covet, would they give up next year’s 1st to get that person?

    I don’t like trading awake future 1st rounders as much as anyone, but if you think you’re in win now mode, then giving up the 32nd pick next year for 25 to 35 this year is value.