Hope For Hunt + Draft Q&A

Posted: April 12th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Tags: , , | 11 Comments »
Is Hunt a CFL Vagabond or NFL Sleeper?

Is Hunt An NFL Sleeper?

 

Interesting note from PE.com.  The guy who did the SackSEER stuff last year (prediction model for pass rushing prospects) put a blurb about Phillip Hunt in his report for this year.  His model predicts good things for Hunt.  There are no guarantees.  Formulas and statistical models are interesting, but numbers on paper don’t always translate to NFL reality.  Still, maybe I undervalued the addition of Hunt.  Maybe he can become a good situational rusher for us.  I’m definitely more intrigued by him after reading the new report.

* * * * *

Draft Q&A

First topic … Casey Matthews.

There wasn’t one question with him, but rather several issues.  First, I’m not a Matthews guy.  I like Casey, but he’s not a player I’m enamored with.  Anyone who saw him play should at least like the guy.  I mention him a lot because I think Castillo will be a Matthews guy.  I think Casey has the kind of personality that Juan will want in his LBs.  When I list him in a mock draft it isn’t because I’m dying for the Eagles to get him.  I’m reading into the fact that the Eagles brought him in for a visit and that he fits what I think Castillo wants.

A few people touched on the fact that he’s only being talked about because of his brother.  Not true.  Clay’s success has impacted Casey, but not the way people think.  Both guys got their first college start in 2007, Casey as a Freshman and Clay as a Junior.  Casey became a regular starter in the middle of his Sophomore season.  Clay didn’t emerge as a regular player until his senior year.

Casey had 3 INTs, 3 sacks, a FF, and 3 PBUs as a Senior.  The top ILB in the whole draft, Martez Wilson, had 1 INTs, 4 sacks, 3 FFs, and 4 PBUs this year.  Casey’s numbers stack up.  He’s not just the product of his brother’s hype.  Casey was the leading tackler on the #34 defense in the country and a team that played for the National Title.  His brother’s hype didn’t have anything to do with that.  Don’t sell Casey short.  Good player.  Good prospect.  He isn’t anything like his brother in terms of NFL ability, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be a good starter.

I personally love him as a pass defender and effort guy, but have concerns about his ability to deal with blockers and handle inside run plays.  Guess what?  A lot of college LBs struggle with those issues.  I had serious concerns about Jamar Chaney’s ability to  shed blocks.  The Eagles coached him up on that and he responded well.  Matthews could do the same.

No QB in the mock?

We’ve talked about this a lot.  If Andy likes a QB, he’ll take one.  We don’t need a QB.  Andy looks at QBs every year.  The Eagles were the first team to call Brady Quinn’s high school coach about him as a prospect.  I’ve mentioned the fact that the Eagles liked Matt Leinart a lot.  Andy first noticed Kevin Kolb while watching him as a Freshman in a Friday night game on ESPN.  Andy will look high and low for QBs.  If he finds one he likes (and the value is right), he’ll take the guy.

What do you think of Mark Herzlich?

Love Herzlich and everything he’s done to overcome cancer and get back on the field. Projecting him to the NFL is tough.  The guy from 2008 was a 1st rounder.  Question was only how high.  I watched several games this year.  He was rusty early, but got better as the season went along.  He played in the Senior Bowl, but wasn’t impressive.  He just looked slow to me.

Mark ran in the 4.9 range at the Combine, which isn’t good for a LB, even one that is 6’3, 244.  When a guy looks slow on tape and times slow in a workout, that’s not good.  Now you wonder if he’ll ever get faster as he leg continues to get better.  If you think he can improve at all, that’s a big deal.  Him just getting down to 4.8 would be really good.  That’s functional speed.

I don’t think the Eagles will go for him.  Juan is putting his focus on findings LBs that run well.  He might be willing to make an exception with Herzlich because of his character and playing style, but I’m not counting on it.  Herzlich would play SAM for us.  Some teams could look at him as an ILB, but I think most people will value him most at SAM.  He still has excellent coverage instincts.  I think he’ll be a late pick, but I’d love to be wrong.  It would be great to see someone take him in the 4th round.

Why in the mock did you have us take a SS?  Why no backup FS?

I think Nate Allen will be the starting FS this year.  As of now, I’m projecting Kurt Coleman at SS.  That leaves Colt Anderson to come off the bench.  I certainly hope the Eagles look for a veteran, but we can’t count on that for now.  I think the Eagles should go for the highest rated Safety, regardless of FS vs SS.  If Nate gets hurt, Kurt can slide to that spot, as he did last year.

Ideally, Nate will be healthy all year and whoever we pick will challenge Kurt and Colt for the other starting Safety job.  Remember, this isn’t the old NFL where the SS had to be a ferocious run defender and the FS a ballhawk.  More and more we see interchangeable guys at Safety.  Offenses do a lot of shifting and motion to create mis-matches.  Your SS needs to have solid cover skills.  It’s possible the FS will have to move down into the box.  He’s got to be able to play the run.  Just get me a good Safety and I’m happy.

How does the CBA affect things?

Complicated question.  First, I do think that teams have to focus more on need.  You don’t know if or when free agency will happen.  You can’t assume you’ll find a RG or CB in FA that can come in and start at a high level.  You need to try to address them in the draft.  Now, that doesn’t mean drastically reaching.  You still need to trust your draft board.  In my mock draft for ScoutsNotebook I had a few teams reach for need, especially ones with a coach on the hot seat or a team that is ready to contend.  I could be dead wrong, but we’ll see what happens.  This is unknown territory.  Nobody is sure what to expect.

Someone else brought up the point of need and putting resources together to address those positions.  Call it quality vs quantity.  Why use all the picks?  Consolidate them for maximum impact since we have needs and this isn’t a great draft class?  I think the Eagles do need to land players who can contribute with the first 3 picks.  Beyond that, I’m flexible.

One thing you have to be careful about is listening to guys who say the Eagles are loaded with picks.  Yes, the team has 10 picks.  5 have some value, but the last 5 not much.  We’re talking:

5th – #149

5th – #152

7th – #227

7th – #237  Comp pick

7th – #240  Comp pick
The picks in rounds 1, 2, 3, and 4 are quality picks.  The problem is we need to use most of them to fill some holes.  If we had an extra 2nd or 3rd, I’d say let’s use it to move up.  That isn’t the case.  I don’t think we have the kind of resources to do a whole lot of moving around (aside from player trades).  We can’t trade the Comp picks, so even if they did have value we’d be out of luck.

The one wildcard in all of this is undrafted free agents.  The Eagles have been pretty good in the Andy Reid era with finding players from UDFAs.  As of right now, teams won’t be allowed to sign UDFAs with no CBA in place.  We may now use the 7th round picks to take players that we previously would have gone after as UDFAs.  Those late picks could have value in that sense.  I’m hoping something is worked out so teams can sign UDFAs, but have no idea if that will happen.  It would eventually, but I’m talking about sooner rather than later.


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00283968416092444778 T_S_O_P

    Interesting tidbit on UDFAs, 2003 was of course our best year in that regard accumulating Quintin Mikell, Jamaal Jackson, Roderick Hood, Sam Rayburn, Reno Mahe, and Greg Lewis. Since then we have added Joselio Hanson and Jon Dorenbos who were also UDFAs from 2003. I’m not sure how good that year was compared to average for UDFAs, but it also produced, Tony Romo, Antonio Gates and Kris Dielman.

  • http://Website Besnoah

    SackSEER thought very highly of Graham and DTO and very badly missed on Pierre-Paul.

    All in all, it was a pretty bad year for that system last year, which Nate Forster admitted in the opening paragraph of this year’s projections.

    Maybe over the course of 5 years (what the model was originally projecting), it will bear more fruit, but this year I’m going to take SackSEER with, at least, a tablespoon of salt, and that applies doubly to projections of guys like Hunt and DTO.

    Here’s this year’s article, fwiw:
    http://www.footballoutsiders.com/ramblings/2011/sackseer-lets-try-again

  • http://Website Stephen

    I agree, I wouldn’t put much stock in anything SackSEER says till the players have a solid 4 or 5 seasons under their belts. Short term there will be deviations, both positive and negative.

    I’m surprised he tries to quantify the number of sacks a player would get over the first 5 years, because it seems like that would be the time in a players career when there would be the most disparity between what a player is and what a player will become.

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    RE: 2003 UDFAs

    I didn’t realize that. Very interesting. That wasn’t a strong draft class. Maybe there is some correlation between weak drafts and strong UDFA crops. We’ll have to check that out with 2009 and this year.

    RE: SackSEER

    I’m not ready to put Hunt in the Hall of Fame quite yet, but I did think the blurb was good news. I’ve considered him a fringe guy since he was signed. That report at least gave me some hope that he’s got the potential to become a good role player.

  • http://Website Jeppe

    Hi Tommy

    Russel Lande had CB Sherman from Stanford ahead of Smith, and only behind Peterson and Amukamara in his GM JR draftguide. What do you think of him? Could he be the answer to our problems at RCB?
    He is also high on Gilchrist from Clemson, and loooow on Harris (sees him as a Nickel only) and House (6-7th round)

    By reading his take on this years CBs I came away thinking there’s only 4 players that can start at a high level for us in the first year: Peterson, Amukamara, Sherman and Smith… That probably means that we HAVE to use our 1st round pick on a CB to get a quality starter.

  • http://Website mattman

    Nick Cole and Artis Hicks were other Eagles UDFA’s of note, as well as the immortal Stephen Spach. But I don’t count Joselio Hanson, I believe he came from the 49ers organization.

  • http://Website ATG

    Someone on BGN, I don’t remember who, posed an idea that the Eagles could consider trading high picks from next year to move up and get a guy they want – Prince or whomever – then restock those picks with the impending Kolb trade. This idea seemed to fit Sam’s criteria the other day of not handcuffing yourself in the rookie pool with a high pick you didn’t make and not bypassing the spirit of the lockout rules, since it wouldn’t necessarily be the same team.

    I usually hate the idea of trading away future picks, but here it might make sense. Any thoughts?

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    @ Mattman…

    TSOP noted that Hanson was a UDFA, but not for us. We did sign him from SF.

    TSOP’s point was that many notable players around the league came from the UDFA class of 2003.

  • http://igglesblitz.com Tommy Lawlor

    @ ATG…

    I’ve gotten a few questions about trading 2012 picks. I’m open to it because of the ability to trade Kolb and recoup those picks.

    Sam will need to comment on any financial issues that may arise.

    The Cardinals would make a ton of sense. They could use #5 on a defensive player and then get Kolb to fill the QB need. Then they feel they’re going to be picking in the late 1st next year. Would Andy do a deal like that?

    One hang-up is that we wouldn’t get great value for a 2012 1st rounder when making the deal this year. Future picks have a lesser value.

  • http://igglesblitz.com Sam

    @ATG,

    No financial issues, no theoretical problem. Just the reality that a) the Eagles won’t give the appearance of a pre-existing deal for a player during a lockout and b) in the absence of a pre-existing deal, it would be a pretty high-risk move to hope to replace what you gave up for a pick, given that now the league knows the upper bound of what they have to replace. Don’t see it happening, but you never know for sure.

  • http://Website ATG

    I agree it weakens our position to have the trading partner know exactly what picks we are looking to replace. I think the weakness would be lessened somewhat if there are truly multiple teams interested in him, since it becomes more about them competing with each other and less about satisfying us in that scenario.

    I think the risk factor is why this looks to be a legitimate option. The other ideas, which I appreciate you putting to rest, seemed like ways to game the system and eliminate our risk. It does seem like there isn’t a good way to get it done for this year’s draft.

    If that is true, I am not sure what I see as best for the team. Kolb is certainly too valuable to allow him to walk in free agency, and it looks like we will be unable to trade him before the draft. Eliminating these worst and best possibilities, and ignoring the remote chance of a player-for-player trade, we are left with trading him before the season for picks next year or (assuming it will still be an option) tag and trade him next year. I am not sure how to balance the security of having him as a backup one more year with the decreased value of the huge salary he would carry next year, and the risk that the franchise tag isn’t an option.