Mel Kiper Ain’t So Wise

Posted: May 10th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Tags: , , | 27 Comments »

I meant to write about this last week, but it got lost in the shuffle.  I was looking around Bleeding Green Nation when I saw a post from Jason where he had Mel Kiper’s draft grade for the Eagles.  The grade was a C+, which is meaningless.  I don’t care what outsiders have to say.  What did bug me was the logic behind the grade.

As to the selection of Watkins, Mel informs us that he was taken early, but that might make sense because the Eagles may feel he can play tackle.  Oh boy.  Mel has been stuck on the notion of the Eagles going for a RT for a while.  Get over the playoff game, Melvin.  Winston Justice had a bum knee and got outplayed by Clay Matthews.  That hardly means you’ve got to drop the guy like a bad habit.  Watkins only went early in regard to the age factor.  He was the #1 Guard on plenty of boards.  We see the #1 G go in the mid-20s on a regular basis.  Watkins is here to be the RG right away.

Mel mentions that Jaiquawn Jarrett “provides depth at safety”.  Really?  We spent pick 54 on a guy for depth?  Jarrett is here to be the SS of the future and to challenge for the job right away.

The worst comment of all came in regard to CB Curtis Marsh, our 3rd round pick.  “…Marsh will be asked to step in early at CB”.  Wow.  Everybody friggin’ knows that Marsh is a project.  The guy started 16 games at CB in the WAC.  He’s here for the future, not 2011.

The problem with the guys who try to put out immediate draft grades on all 32 teams is that they don’t know what is going on with all 32 teams.  That’s why taking your time and trying to understand what each team did is the more prudent way of discussing a team’s draft.

I don’t mind criticism of the Eagles.  Just make it well thought out and insightful.  Had Mel said that taking a 26-year old O-lineman at #23 isn’t good value…that would be a legit argument against Watkins.  Had Mel focused on Jarrett going too early, that would have been a valid point.  Had Mel said that drafting a CB project didn’t make sense for this team, I could live with that.  Instead he made some bizarre comments which show he’s got no feel for what the Eagles are really doing.

* * * * *

Also from last week, had a 23 minute interview with GM Howie Roseman on the Eagles draft class.   It’s worth the watch.  Roseman doesn’t offer great insight, but has some interesting things to say.

I was pretty curious about Howie when he took over.  I liked Tom Heckert as GM and wasn’t in a rush to let him leave.  One thing that was a problem is that Heckert and Reid thought too much alike.  Both guys are very patient and big picture thinkers.  Howie is more aggressive.  He will roll the dice on players/moves.  That makes him a good counterpoint to Big Red and his way of doing things.  You want people that think differently, but share the same basic values.  Andy and Howie want the same kind of players.  They want the team run pretty similarly.  The fact that Andy is more patient and Howie more aggressive means we’ve got more options on the table, which I think is a good thing.

I’ll be writing a full column on Howie at some point.  Seems like it would be wise to wait for the “offseason” to start to see how he handles the Kolb deal and the RCB situation.

Former Eagles GM Tom Modrak was let go recently by the Bills.  He’s been gone from Philly for about a decade.  I’m not sure he was cut out to be a GM, but he was a good football guy and Tom played a big part in getting this franchise turned around.  He helped scout and choose Donovan McNabb.  There are stories about whether it was him or Reid who pushed for McNabb.  We don’t know the truth.  Tom was definitely involved in the process.

Modrak’s biggest strength was scouting the Eagles and making sure that guys like Troy Vincent, Bobby Taylor, and Brian Dawkins were all re-signed.  Modrak brought a sense of stability to the franchise.  That was huge back in 1998 and 1999.  For most of the 1990s there was no rhyme or reason to the personnel moves of the Eagles.  Harry Gamble, John Wooten, Dick Daniels, etc. all had good intentions, but the results weren’t what they needed to be.  Modrak was far from perfect, but he and Reid put together a plan and executed it.  That sense of vision and stability was important in getting this franchise headed in the right direction.

27 Comments on “Mel Kiper Ain’t So Wise”

  1. 1 Davesbeard said at 12:53 PM on May 10th, 2011:

    I felt exactly the same when reading his grade/roundup of the Eagles draft. Equally as annoying was his focus in all of his grades on teams picking for need. You can’t preach picking the best player available and then slate teams for not filling needs Mel!

  2. 2 Cliff said at 1:07 PM on May 10th, 2011:

    I, too, read Kiper’s “grade” and laughed. You’d think ESPN could take the money they pay bogus guys like Kiper, McShay, and Berman (sorry, he’s past his prime) and “decentralize” their NFL coverage a bit. I’m growing tired of the former-players and their analysis, too. Guys like Trent Dilfer don’t seem anymore insightful than anyone else when they’re just repeating the same stuff over an over. I’ll tune in 5 years from now when Peyton Manning is on the broadcast.


  3. 3 Eric said at 1:13 PM on May 10th, 2011:

    Putting aside the fact that the Saints got lucky and snagged Cam Jordan, I hate that immediately after day one, everyone and their mother were touting the Saints draft.

    I really hate when a team has 2 1st round picks – one they traded up for – and they are immediately praised for getting 2 “1st rounders”.

    Of course their draft looks good after day one. Very few teams ever have 2 1st rounders in any given year.

  4. 4 Eric said at 1:15 PM on May 10th, 2011:

    I respect Mayock far more than Kiper but I still respect Kiper’s knowledge. I couldn’t care less about what he thinks of a pick and the way the player fits onto that team. I do, however, respect his ability to talk about a random guy in the 7th round that ESPN doesn’t even have film on.

  5. 5 T_S_O_P said at 1:23 PM on May 10th, 2011:


    Had Chicago not traded in front of us in round 2 to pick Paea, do you suspect he’d of been an Eagle?I like Jarrett and feel sure the Eagles may have done something to acquire him too, but it did seem to me that we were beaten to our guy.

  6. 6 PhxPhilly said at 1:27 PM on May 10th, 2011:

    I never played organized football as a kid and I am not sure how many fans have played but I really would like to know more about ‘schemes’. Especially how it relates to the types of players on the roster.

    I think it is even more relevant with the major changes to the OL and DL, in addition to a new DC.

    I have been referred to some pretty good websites for general reviews of 3-4 defense, 3-4 one gap style, 4-3, and some coverages but I am an Eagles fan so I want to know more about what the Eagles do.

    My biggest question is do the Eagles use 1gap or 2gap DT’s. I always assumed 1gap then I heard from player interviews (I think) that they were running 2gap. Came as a big surprise to me.

  7. 7 izzylangfan said at 1:51 PM on May 10th, 2011:

    You guys are missing the point Kiper is great at disagreeing with Todd McShay. Regardless of the strength of his argument, he has presence. And, how about that hair?

  8. 8 Name said at 1:57 PM on May 10th, 2011:

    Mel Kiper is great and filling in the extremely boring parts of the draft with innaine facts and banter which sometimes amuses. His value as an entertainer is far greater than as an analyst, which is why he’s employed at the Endless Self Promotion Network.

  9. 9 mcud said at 2:21 PM on May 10th, 2011:

    At the risk of catching some eye rolls, I think Mel has been better the last couple of years, though the Eagles draft grade and analysis Tommy wrote about is indeed ridiculous.

    I must admit that while I vastly prefer the analysis given by the NFLN crew, I found myself giving ESPN more than a few minutes in the past two drafts. Started as just flipping over when there was a commercial on NFLN, but when I did, I sorta noticed something…Mel got lazy there for a few years, but the guy is motivated again, probably due to the crazy emergence of Todd McShay.

    While Mel has never been, and NEVER should be an NFL GM (he has zero sense of roster building even when compared to commenters here, much less NFL professionals), he has done a better job lately of doing his homework (or at least memorizing the homework of his tape-watching staff).

    I follow the draft and college game pretty closely, but its impossible to know everybody, which Mel seems to claim to. That said, even if somebody else is writing the scouting report and Mel is simply pawning it off as his own, I appreciate the information, and therefore, Mel’s involvement in delivering it. I like him right where he is…he should just stay away from commenting on players once they leave the college ranks.

  10. 10 mcud said at 2:24 PM on May 10th, 2011:

    Oh, and a tag on my last comment…I wish Todd McShay would be replaced. Perhaps by another former or retired GM. Someone who sees things from a roster building and NFL perspective. McShay is just a broke man’s Kiper.

  11. 11 Tommy Lawlor said at 4:30 PM on May 10th, 2011:

    RE: Kiper / McShay / Mayock

    This actually is a good topic for ScoutsNotebook. I’ll write something up. Quick note, I don’t hate Mel. I’ve followed him for 25 or so years. I’d love to have a beer (or 12) and talk about football with him. Seems like a good guy and behind the scenes I’ve heard nothing but good things about him.

    I think he gets spread too thin and that means he’ll make some comments that don’t make a whole lot of sense to those in the know.

  12. 12 McG said at 4:31 PM on May 10th, 2011:

    Spot on analysis of Kiper. My opinion on him has been that I enjoy his take on the quality of players, but I keep in mind that he is clueless when it comes to team needs, and the fact that each team grades players their own way.

    While we’re firing people… can we get rid of all the homers who are doing games? Aikman, Johnson, Collinsworth… please, or at least not allow them to call games for teams that they show a clear bias against (like our beloved Eagles).

  13. 13 Tommy Lawlor said at 4:33 PM on May 10th, 2011:

    @ PhxPhilly…

    I will do some writing on schemes. That’s a project I’m working on. I’ve been studying a TEN game to get a better feel for Washburn and what he wants to do.

    There will be a lot of guesswork on my part because we just haven’t seen a Juan Castillo defense. UNLESS…does somebody have access to high school games from Kingsville, TX in the late 80s? I’m also looking for episodes of Cop Rock. Let me know if anyone has access to either.

  14. 14 Tommy Lawlor said at 4:48 PM on May 10th, 2011:


    I did post some general draft thoughts over at SNB. There were some interesting things that stood out as I went back over the draft.

  15. 15 texasbart said at 4:58 PM on May 10th, 2011:

    Reid or Modrack on McNabb?

    I recall an ESPN story or some other show that argued that it was defintely Reid. My recollection of the story was that before McNabb went to Syracuse they were more of an option team. Pasqualoni recruited a ton of offensive talent and then sought out help for how to use McNabb, Kevin Johnson, etc. My understanding is that he went to Mike Holmgren who referred him to his QB coach – Andy Reid. Reid then worked with Pasqualoni over the next few years on their offense. During this time he developed a strong sense of McNabb and his abilities.

  16. 16 Thunderlips said at 5:25 PM on May 10th, 2011:


    You should get a Tenn vs Indy game tape and kill 2 birds with one stone. I’d love to get some insight into our new schemes on both sides of the ball.

  17. 17 mark said at 5:25 PM on May 10th, 2011:

    Tommy: I’m guessing the scout who taught you to “write what you see” was someone like Modrak.

  18. 18 ian no 2 said at 5:40 PM on May 10th, 2011:

    Kiper’s errors can be explained by:

    1. Watching Winston Justice get pulled in the playoffs, while the guard stayed in.
    2. Watching Patterson get toasted in the playoffs, and not being up on Marsh’s experience level.

    He does have a good point about getting ‘a lot of guys.’ Getting all those players may prove wise if one of the late round fliers that wouldn’t have been chosen with fewer picks pans out, but there’s something to be said for trading up when you already have a lot of 2nd year players already. National columnists didn’t like the Alex Henery pick, but reading up on Henery he’s not just the best college kicker this year, but perhaps a generation, and as I said then, it wasn’t a reach based on what I was looking at, and it’s better to pick a kicker when you have a lot of mid-round picks.

    Other than Jamar Cheney and Roseman’s amazing trades down for value chart, it’s too early to say that the first Reid-Roseman draft was a good one, and right now I like this bunch better, but it’s too early to say. It was a B draft, probably not as good as the Giants, Packers, Saints, and Detroit, but potentially as good depending as always on how guys pan out. Heckert in Cleveland had one of the all time best draft weekends, to the point where he should send his cell phone to Canton right now. The picks he made were solid value nuts and bolts guys, to go with the trade.

    The weak point of the Reid-Roseman team last year was pro player evaluations-trades in my opinion (not to get folks angry like over at some other board).. and there has been little of that this year.

  19. 19 The Reddgie said at 9:11 PM on May 10th, 2011:

    Come on Tommy, you know damn well Kiper drinks Pinot Grigio or Cosmos.

  20. 20 TSA said at 1:26 AM on May 11th, 2011:


    I have played DT for several years now both in high school and in college and in multiple fronts meaning I have played both a 1 gap and two gap scheme. While I obviously have never been coached by Jim Washburn I feel I can help try and shed some light on the subject at least primarily from the DT point of view.

    2 gap DT’s are taught to basically counter block their man. You are taught to jack the G/C up drive him back a yard, then drop your butt read the play, and react latterally. PROS: Effective against power blocking teams that will come at you in the run gain, primarily used in bend but dont break systems. Helps keep linebackers clean. CONS: Can make getting a pass rush on non obvious passing downs tough as the OL typically has time to reset in his protection and you then have to restart your upfield push. Also you better have good contain players on the edge because you will not be much help on sweeps.

    1 Gap DT’s are taught to get upfield into the backfield, almost as if they were pass rushing. They are there to create pressure and confusion. PROS: Great at stopping zone blocking run schemes. If a DT can get past his man and then get the running back dancing before he can make a north/south cut, help is on the way and will lead to TFL’s. Also makes pass rush alot easier as you’re already trying to get into the backfield. CONS: DT’s are vulnerable to getting trapped blocked. Also quick hit run plays are always a threat (think draw plays) because your linebackers are much more vulnerable to getting engaged by linemen. Screen plays also are a major counter to 1 gap DT’s.

    Just a few things to looks for in DT’s
    2 gap: Strength, ability to anchor, must be able to disengage and hustle to ball. Think Mike Patterson
    1 gap: Good burst/Reaction to the snap, ability to get into the backfield, MUST BE ABLE TO SOLO TACKLE.

    Hope this helps

  21. 21 Davesbeard said at 6:45 AM on May 11th, 2011:

    More a topic for discussion than anything,

    What would you guys think if the Eagles added Reggie Bush? Price would have to right obviously but a change of scenery/scheme + his talent could really be interesting. Will likely be asking for far more than we are willing to pay mind.

  22. 22 McG said at 10:46 AM on May 11th, 2011:

    The Eagles keep saying they want tough smart football players. Reggie Bush doesn’t seem to be tough or smart so I would say he doesn’t seem to fit the Eagle’s mold.

    Having said that (and I agree he will be overpriced), he seems like he is one of the few running backs who could be effective with very limited touches (as our 2nd and 3rd string backs tend to be). I would also value his ability to return punts to prevent the loss of a more valuable asset (Desean Jackson) to punt return injury.

  23. 23 Norman said at 12:21 PM on May 11th, 2011:

    Re: Kiper

    Get ’em, Tommy!!!

    I agree completely. He’s such a hack. But lets look at it this way, he’s asked to give analysis for 32 teams. I can see where he’d fall short on some places. Not to mention, he spends his extra time watching college ranks to better understand prospects. But still, his analysis is way, way, off.

    Re: Scheme

    I think someone above answered kinda what you were looking for, but not quite.

    Philadelphia recently asked their DT’s to play a 2 gap scheme, which made us more stout against the run in the middle. Instead of finding holes and attacking them, they were asked to hold their ground and “watch” the play develop infront of them.

    This is why you never saw “stellar” stats for guys like Patt and Bunk.

    Washburn, our new D-Line coordinator (and Castillo, the DC has confirmed this), we’re going to be switching our DT’s to the 1 gap scheme, where they’re asked to attack specific holes instead of waiting.

    So, TL;DR version, previously it was a 2 gap scheme, but its going to 1 gap this year.

  24. 24 Stephen said at 12:34 PM on May 11th, 2011:

    I can see reggie bush being the exact kind of gadget player andy reid would love. I don’t know whether I’d see us getting him as a bad thing or a good thing.

  25. 25 PhxPhilly said at 8:47 PM on May 12th, 2011:

    Thanks for the 1-gap vs 2-gap info. I think the DL has the most potential to swing the defense from average to excellent. Lots of previous high draft picks in that crowd, but can Washburn in a short season get them all going?

  26. 26 D3Keith said at 6:29 PM on May 13th, 2011:

    “The problem with the guys who try to put out immediate draft grades on all 32 teams is that they don’t know what is going on with all 32 teams.”

    This is true for a lot of national NFL analysis.

    Probably because following the nuances of all 32 teams is a difficult thing to do, especially when as many as 26 of them are playing at the same time. At USA Today, our NFL fantasy guy would go in the conference room and put the Sunday Ticket on the big screen and try to take notes on every game … and it looked like a whirlwind. It’s one thing to flip channels at home, it’s another to try to watch every team with the fervor that ardent fans do.

    It’s one reason I appreciate anyone who’s really good at the national beat. And it’s probably good that ESPN has gone to the division blogs, although I don’t really click on any Cowboys, Giants or Redskins links myself.

    I also really appreciate the in-depth NFLN roundup show because although it’s still highlights, at least you get a good 5 minutes on each game, which is about how much St. Louis Rams or Jacksonville Jaguars I can usually stomach.

    Bottom line is some people are looking to just dip their toes in the water with each team, and some of us need Iggles Blitz, BGN, etc. … It certainly helps, though, no matter the source, if the insight is actually insightful.

  27. 27 D3Keith said at 6:33 PM on May 13th, 2011:

    TSA, very good post on 1-/2-gap. Love being able to read something concise and insightful.