DeMeco, Luke, SAM, and Pick 15

Posted: March 22nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 126 Comments »
DeMeco

DeMeco Ryans soaks in the greatness of Les Bowen and Reuben Frank.

The dust has settled from the big move.  I hope everyone enjoyed DeMeco Ryans Day.  It was a pretty spectacular day.

Couple of follow-up thoughts on DeMeco.  One of the big selling points with him is his leadership.  We heard yesterday that his nickname in Houston was Cap, as in captain.  Even the freaking owner down there called him Cap.  Normally being a team captain in football isn’t a huge deal.  Santonio Holmes was a captain last year, if that gives you any idea.  With DeMeco it feels different.  This is almost like hockey, where being a team captain is a big deal.  It feels like DeMeco is a guy you trade for in part because he is a captain and he can come in and be a true leader.  Welcome to Philly, Cap.

I loved the fact Andy Reid referred to DeMeco as the QB of the defense.  That’s exactly what we need.  DeMeco doesn’t have to make every single tackle.  If he can just get guys lined up correctly and he can be in the right gap, that will be a big help to those around him.  When a guy tries to do too much, he leaves cutback lanes and RBs can kill you.  That was the problem on the Steven Jackson run to open the season.  Do your job and get the others around you to do their job.  That’s the foundation of good, sound defense.

* * * * *

Does the presence of Ryans now make Luke Kuechwalker a non-factor at pick 15?  No, not necessarily.  The Eagles are set at WLB with Brian Rolle and in the middle with Ryans.  SAM is wide open.

(Ed. Note — the Rolle comment is causing questions.  By set, I mean the Eagles have a solid projected starter at WLB for 2012.  Rolle played well enough as a rookie to earn the right to start there in 2013.  I’m all for challenging him, but not by adding a key FA or using a high draft pick.  That would be a mis-use of resources.  Rolle showed enough that you can trust him as the starter.  You challenge him with Keenan Clayton.  You possibly move Matthews out there, depending on what happens at MLB.  You could also shift Jamar Chaney there.  He played WLB in the mini-camps of 2010 as well as one year in college.  Rolle can certainly be upgraded, but the Eagles have more pressing questions so WLB just isn’t a position I think the team should spend resources on.  )

The Eagles could look at taking Kuechly at 15 to play SAM for a few years before sliding into the middle to replace Ryans.  I’m sure DeMeco will retire after the first couple of Super Bowls.  No reason to be greedy.

The question the Eagles have to look into here is what they think of Casey Matthews long term.  If they think he can develop into a starting MLB, then Kuechly may not make sense at 15.  I don’t think you spend that pick on Luke to draft him as a long term SAM.  I think you do it to get him into the fold and use him at SAM for now.  If you think Casey can develop into starting MLB material, then you have to consider finding another SAM and using pick 15 on an impact player.

This is where things get tricky.  The Eagles can’t use 15 on a WR or OL.  Those positions are set.  DE would be awkward since Cole just got an extension and Babin is signed.  I don’t see a CB who makes sense for us (slot/RS type).  There is no Safety close to being worth pick 15.  RB?  Do we even need to discuss this?  The Eagles use 1 RB.  Adding a 2nd would be a complete waste.

QB does make sense, but I don’t see Ryan Tannehill getting to 15.  That leaves DT and LB.  Do the Eagles think Fletcher Cox has a chance to get to pick 15?  Do the Eagles have any interest in Dontari Poe?  Is there any way Jim Washburn wants Michael Brockers?  I think Cox is the key guy here.  He can play in the 4-3 or 3-4 so all 14 teams ahead of us could have interest.  If the Eagles think there is a legit shot to get Cox at 15, I think you have to build your draft plan on him.  If the Eagles think that is a long shot…then the pickings at 15 aren’t so great and maybe Luke is the smart target.  Remember, this isn’t just do we take Luke or not.  You always have to factor in who you are passing up to get him.  Impact DL are more likely to win games than solid LBs.

Let’s jump back to Luke for a second.  I do think he can play SAM in our system.  Remember, we don’t put the LB up on the LOS like we used to.  The SAM now is back off the ball and plays like an ILB to a certain extent.  Luke has the size to handle TEs on short routes.  He has the quickness to hang with them.  He’s also very smart.  You don’t want him on Jimmy Graham 25 yards downfield, but how many LBs do you want in that position?  Luke is big and strong enough to handle run plays that come at him.  He uses his hands to take on blockers, something Juan Castillo prefers (to shoulders).

Drafting Luke at 15 would also give you an insurance policy in case DeMeco Ryans got hurt.  If Big Red is making a Super Bowl push in 2012, you have to think about injuries and how we’d overcome them.  Luke would be ideal in that sense.

Is Luke our only hope?  No, there is another.  I would love to see the Eagles sign Jo-Lonn Dunbar to play SAM.  He was a MLB in college, but has played MLB and SAM in the NFL.  The more tape I watch on this guy, the more I like him.  I don’t care what grade PFF gave him.  I’ve watched a lot of him recently and think he’s a quality LB.  I trust my eyes.  Dunbar would also give you a MLB insurance policy.  He could slide inside if needed.  Signing him would free up pick 15 to be used on whoever the Eagles wanted.  They could move up for Cox or drop back and target some other player should the right choices not be there at 15.

The Eagles have some interesting options.

And DeMeco Ryans.  (just love saying that)

* * * * *

On the draft front…Eagles LB coach Mike Caldwell ran the LB drills at Luke’s Pro Day at BC.  Caldwell has been keeping a close eye on Luke so the Eagles are more than just casually interested.

Caldwell also ran the LB drills at Nevada’s Pro Day, where James-Michael Johnson worked out.  JMJ is a good MLB prospect.  Most likely a 3rd round target, for the Eagles if they are seriously interested.  He’s 6-1, 241 and plays more like a pure MLB than a SAM type.

* * * * *

Old friend Brod Bunkley got 5 yrs, $25M to sign with the Saints.  He is a good run defender, but I don’t think he’s sacked a QB since 1887.  They’ll ask him to play the run.

I’ll put up a separate post on BountyGate some other time.   NFL Gimpy posted some BountyGate thoughts over at ScoutsNotebook.

* * * * *

I wrote about DeMeco for PE..com.

* * * * *

I wasn’t able to answer many questions yesterday.  Sorry about that.  Please hit me up with anything I missed that is still relevant.


  • Thunder_lips

    Did you catch any of Howie’s interview with Spadaro? He said they’ve set the team up to the point that they have the luxury of taking BPA at 15. Seemed like he was hinting that LB is still a possibility.

  • Cliff

    Guy does have nice eyebrows. That’s a quality you look for in a MLB.

    • TommyLawlor

      They are made of some special metal alloy. They protect him and hurt others.

    • Donald Kalinowski

      Trent Cole and Brandon Graham have nice eyes as well.

      • Cliff

        …. ok, Donald, you took it too far. LOL

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AHVR5EZERRCZSD77DMKWAEEPLA Steve H

        Ah so thats the secret of finding quality pass rushers! All these years and its been right in front of our faces. Someone get word of this to Howie.

      • Kammich

        Trent Cole’s eyes scare the hell out of me, which is awesome. When they show those close-ups of him lined up in the wide-9, watching the ball to anticipate the snap… he looks like the fucking Chupacabra. QBs must shit themselves when they see that coming.

  • GermanEagle

    “Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports that Wallace wants a contract that surpasses the eight-year, $120 million deal that Larry Fitzgerald signed with the Cardinals.”

    LOL, good luck with that, Mike!

    • TommyLawlor

      Yeah, now we know why teams aren’t in a rush to make a run at him.

    • Kammich

      Pretty insane. The WR market has been really out of control this year, which is why I’m still impressed at the price tag that we got DeSean at. I think that is going to look like high value a few years from now.

      Conversely, it really sucks to be an RB in today’s market. Michael Bush, the top free agent runner, is gonna get like $3.5 mil a year from the Bears. I think Chris Johnson is going to be the last ‘blockbuster’ RB extension that we see for awhile, which should bode well for our extending of Shady.

  • mhrinda

    Set at the weakside with Rolle?

    Are we sure about that?

    • TommyLawlor

      Set in the sense that he’s the starter. Challenge him, but there is no need to go sign a significant WLB or draft one early.

      Keenan Clayton, Jamar Chaney, and/or Matthews could all push for that job.

      MLB had to be addressed.
      SAM could use an upgrade because there is no returning starter of note.

      • mhrinda

        I like Rolle. He is a hustler. He plays hard and has an energetic additude.
        I hope he continues to develop and set his spot on the weakside.

        I figure Clayon Chaney and Matthews have an important camp ahead. I hope they ready to compete and show themselves worthy to stay on the roster (as well as our other 2011 LBs)

      • Davesbeard

        Chaney with an offseason learning one position and learning from Demeco ‘Like a Boss’ Ryans could end up being a pretty decent SAM?

  • http://www.facebook.com/bassman51891 Ben Aven

    Do you think Juan wants to give Chaney another chance to earn the starting SAM spot or they view that as a position they absolutely have to add someone?

    • TommyLawlor

      I’m sure the Eagles want to get Chaney back on the field, but I don’t know if they fully trust him. Jamar made a lot of mistakes last year, mental and physical. Some players bounce back from that. Others don’t. Plus, he’s got the neck issue.

      I don’t project that guy as a starter. At the least, I’m bringing in a draft pick to seriously challenge him.

      • http://www.facebook.com/bassman51891 Ben Aven

        On that note, who is the best SAM draft prospect for our scheme in your eyes?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Pillion/1007742 Brian Pillion

    You mention that you can’t see the Eagles going WR in the 1st. Yet, I can’t help but wonder, with DeSean’s new-found good attitude, if someone like Michael Floyd were to somehow be around at 15, do you think there’s any way we take a shot? The logic would be entirely predicated upon DeSean’s ability/willingness to play a higher percentage of his snaps out of the slot.

    • Cliff

      But for that to work, DeSean needs to be good at playing in the slot. I just don’t think he is. I’d rather spend #15 on somebody else and find a good slot receiver elsewhere.

    • TommyLawlor

      $10M/yr to DeSean.
      Mac makes good money.
      No way you can spend a 1st round pick on a WR. Only possible way you could rationalize that is if the guy was a dynamic RS.

      • Donald Kalinowski

        What if someone falls in the 2nd round? Stephen Hill? Alshon Jeffery? Mohammed Sanu?

  • nopain23

    If cox and Luke are gone at 15…I really hope the FO can trade back and pick up extra picks.I’m not a big fan of Poe.heis a work out warrior..but doesn’t jump out at you on film.If we do trade back..I say u take a chance on Zbrown.we need competition at LB.he has all the talent in the world and the beauty of the Ryans trade is that he can aid the on field development of a rookie like Zbrown.You know..get him..in the right position..diagnose the play and just unleash him..It’s like if Bdawk was here..there is no way you guys can tell me that our young safeties wouldn’t be more polished players right now.Cap is a gift..that might just keep give on giving…

    • TommyLawlor

      I think trading back could be a serious option. And I’m fine with that.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Pillion/1007742 Brian Pillion

        The thing is, with the size of the rookie classes the last two years, there really aren’t a ton of holes on the roster. Assuming we pick up a vet S and RB somewhere in FA, the only spots I think we really need to come away from the draft having addressed are: SAM, WR, slot CB, and DT. Otherwise, most of the depth competition you want for training camp is already in place. So, in addressing draft strategy, do you then identify key targets and move up to get them? Or do you trade down, where the smart play is to acquire picks for next year, despite knowing that this is supposedly a ‘do or die’ season?

      • A_T_G

        Seems like a great year to begin my free-2nd-round-pick-for-eternity plan. Trade the first for a 2nd and a first next year, then repeat next year.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GWMNZ32U6YPGGA7N4JNWH4OSJE Mac

          Agreed… I’ve had a similar thought. It’s remarkably similar to what Belichick does up in NE.

          • laeagle

            Except contrary to popular opinion, Belichek sucks at drafting. Think of all those extra 1st and 2nd rounders they’ve had over the past 5 years. Look at how many were spent on defense (most). And look where most of those picks are today (not with NE), and at what New England’s biggest weakness was last year (not their offense).

            For all the grief the Eagles get about drafting and the “gold standard”, the supposedly true “gold standard” isn’t better.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GWMNZ32U6YPGGA7N4JNWH4OSJE Mac

            They’ve had crazy amounts of picks and keep rolling them forward. It’s not my fault they haven’t drafted well with said picks.

        • Cliff

          Not a bad idea.

        • Eric Weaver

          Or a 2nd this year for a 1st next year.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GWMNZ32U6YPGGA7N4JNWH4OSJE Mac

            Or you could trade your 1st this year for a 2nd this year and a 1st next year and trade the 2nd this year for a 1st next year and have 3 1st round picks in 2013… I guess… haha

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000462635892 Thorin McGee

        I feel like we trade back or reach for need too often. I’d rather they just take the best guy on the board and let him become something. Definitely Keuchly if he’s there. I’m as excited about DeMecco as the next fan, but he’s already missed a season. The last time we thought we had this figured out, look what happened to Bradley.

        Build some depth. Take an LB or DT or OL or even a WR. Let ‘em push the incumbent stars. Your second team can overlap with your first, they don’t all have to compliment each other. That’s the only way you know you have adequate depth. If they’re all complimentary, it’s one missing piece away from falling apart.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000462635892 Thorin McGee

          I’d even like to see us take a DE. We have Cole and Babin, sure, but the Wide 9 can use essentially 4 starting DEs because it rotates so much.

    • http://twitter.com/bebinabraham bebin abraham

      trading back is good…but zach brown brings the same things rolle does…redundant much?

  • ACViking

    T-LAW:

    The best argument *for* LKuech is Lance Briggs.

    The best argument *against* LKuech is the noticeable drop in Babin’s production when T-Cole was injured.
    ____________

    BRIGGS: The Bears’ defense has been very, very good for the past several years — despite some shortcomings along the Dline — because the Bears had two great LBS. Now, maybe the Bears’ success was based on their scheme, which could be LB-friendly. I have no idea. But having two super-talented LBs has gotta be better than having one.
    ____________

    T-COLE’S INJURY: The Eagles’ pass rush sagged noticeably when Cole was hurt last season.

    Now I understand the contract extension stuff.

    But whom do the Eagles have behind Cole and Babin that has anyone in the NFL concerned?

    And both Cole and Babin are or will be 30 years-old or older by the end of 2012.
    ____________

    Bottom line for me: If the Eagles can add a young, high-value DE, they should do it. Because losing either Cole or Babin could kill the pass rush.

    • Cliff

      Good arguments for both cases.

      Do we roll the dice hoping Cap is enough to solidify the LBers?

      Or do we roll the dice and hope a good backup emerges at DE? What if this is the year Brandon Graham finally shows up? Is it OK to look at the DL as a whole a draft a pass-rushing DT, hoping that helps if there’s an injury at DE?

      Lots of questions. Can’t wait another month.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1118400638 Patrick Clausen

        In my mind we take Cox or Kuechly. One of them should drop. I think Luck, RG3, Tannehill, Kalil, Reiff, Martin/Glenn, Decastro, Blackmon, Richardson, Coples, Ingram, Claibourne, Kirkpatrick goes before the second of Cox/Kuechly.

        Personally i wouldn’t hate a DE like Mercilus, but with Vinny Curry, Chandler Jones etc, going later, id rather have Luke or Cox. Then again, there is good options at both DT and SAM in the 2./3. too.

      • Davesbeard

        I think if Melvin Ingram or Coples (who I don’t like at all but I reckon Wash could do wonders with him) fell to 15 it’d be hard to argue with the value.

        Cole – Babin
        Tapp – Graham
        Ingram/Coples – Hunt

        Would be some serious depth. I even think hunt could beat out Tapp or Graham this year.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GWMNZ32U6YPGGA7N4JNWH4OSJE Mac

          Assuming Ingram drops… which he may.

          @ 15 I want Cox, Ingram, or Kuechwalker… other than that I’m trading back.

          • Kammich

            I like Ingram a lot on a surface level, but I question what he could bring to our rotation because he is such a strikingly similar prospect to Brandon Graham. Granted, Graham is a huge question mark coming off of the injury(s)… but if we go DE early, I think we should go with someone who brings a little something different to the rotation.

            I agree 100% with Cox and Kuechwalker, though. If they’re both gone, I’m riding the “trade down” bandwagon until the sun sets.

  • Donald Kalinowski

    I’m reading between the line and am assuming that you have no faith in Chaney being a starter in the future?

  • nopain23

    Red Alert..Shady is vying for the Madden Cover…hell NO..as an Iggles fan I want no part of this..curse or no curse…..Tommy rally the troops…all of iggles nation should vote him OUT of that contest…..no offense Shady..but you’re to valuable to risk it.If Giants fans wanna vote for Eli..go for it….just keep our probowl..possible Superbowl mvp RB..off that cover!!!!

    • Cliff

      AGREED!!!!!

      I was thinking about this last year when Vick was in the running. I say we all vote for Tebow!

    • Kammich

      I am not a superstitious person in my every day life, but I am extremely superstitious when it comes to sports. I’m happy that Shady is getting (well deserved) admiration, but I never evah evah wanna see him on the cover of Madden.

      Just put the Giants 2011 team photo on the cover and call it a day.

      • TommyLawlor

        Love this idea.

  • Donald Kalinowski

    Based on the way this team operates and thinks, I think they have Chaney penciled in as the starting SAM. I also think that they are comfortable with him there and envision him as the future SAM. That’s my take. I really don’t think the Eagles plan to bring in another starting LB, when they believe that Chaney, Matthews, and Fouku will all be starters

  • Septhinox

    We should definitely draft Jan Micheal Vincent, I mean James-Michael Johnson. We’d have fun with that name. lol

    • http://twitter.com/alex_karklins Alex Karklins

      “Airwolf!”

      • TommyLawlor

        Airwolf. That’s a show you don’t see mentioned very often.

        • Cliff

          Man, you guys need to let the 80′s go… LOL

    • TommyLawlor

      Jan Michael Vincent is really great in a movie called Tribes. All Kubrick fans should check it out. I don’t know if Stanley saw that and FMJ was influenced by it, but it certainly felt that way.

      • 47_Ronin

        We have Eagles LB and draft talk plus Jan-Michael Vincent and Kubrick all in one thread, AMAZING! Re: Kubrick/FMJ (one my favorite directors and movies) Full Metal was based on a slim war novel “The Short-timers” by Gustav Hartsford(?), and the basic training section of movie adheres to the book’s storyline (intense Marine DI breaking recruits).

        Re: JMJ, another movie of his that’s good (for ’70s action movies) is “The Mechanic” with Chuck Bronson.

        • TommyLawlor

          The Mechanic is very good. The remake sucked. Highly disappointing.

        • Kammich

          My dad and I watched “The Mechanic” like 20 times when I was a kid. We’re both massive Charles Bronson fans. Great flick.

          • 47_Ronin

            +1 to your dad

            The Mechanic is a great movie, love it that the first 10 minutes or so of the movie has no dialogue (and it’s not even noticeable), just Bronson doing his “craft.” I don’t understand why some Hollywood bozos would produce such a terrible remake of the film.

  • Donald Kalinowski

    ” RB? Do we even need to discuss this? The Eagles use 1 RB. Adding a 2nd would be a complete waste.”

    If I guy like Trent Richardson was available, you’d have to consider right? It’s like drafting James Laurinaitis over Adrian Peterson.

    • Cvd52

      but its more like drafting Laurinaitis over Peterson when you already have chris johnson. makes more sense when you add the last part

  • http://igglesblitz.com Sam Lynch

    Set with Rolle? Matthews obviates drafting anybody? You’re killing me, Tommy.

    • Donald Kalinowski

      It’s the Eagles’ perception. They are high on Chaney, Matthews and Rolle:

      Rolle has proven to be effective in this system and will be a decent player
      Matthews needs time to develop but he will be a quality LB
      Chaney was inconsistent last year but he is a star in the making

      Ryans bridges the time and our group of LBs are good enough for us to contend for a Superbowl.

      I think that is what the FO’s mindset is right now.

      • 47_Ronin

        I think the Eagles are good at “Reidspeak” i.e. saying good/positive platitudes to the public and media concerning players, but really doesn’t mean much behind closed doors. So I’m not sure how “high” is their assessment of Chaney, Matthews or Rolle. I don’t think Chaney has “grabbed” the SAM spot by the horns, Reid was careful at Ryans presser yesterday not to indicate any of the other starting LB spots. I think they realize that some serious competition for SAM is needed

        • GeorgeFleep

          well like reid said at the Ryans press conference they, all defensive coaches, will need to about the SAM pos. i wonder how far in discussion they are. Anything can change with a backup player once role of pos changes.

    • TommyLawlor

      Rolle played well enough at WLB that I think he earned the right to start there in 2012. Challenge him? Sure. As I said, Clayton, Matthews, and possibly Chaney could be slotted there to battle with him. Am I spending a 2nd or 3rd round pick to battle him for the WLB job? No. I don’t think that is a good use of resources.

      As to the Matthews comment…not sure what you are getting at. If the Eagles are comfortable with him as someone to develop at MLB and we have Ryans here for the short term…we don’t have a need to draft a MLB of the future. Matthews would be that guy.

      That is all based on how the Eagles feel. I don’t know if they are really down on Casey or still think highly of him.

      If the Eagles see Casey purely as a role player and have serious doubts about him, then drafting a MLB of the future is likely, whether that is Luke or JMJ or whoever.

      • Donald Kalinowski

        Did Chaney play well enough at MIKE in 2010-11to make you think that he earned the right to start there in 2011-12?

        • TommyLawlor

          Chaney started 3 games at MLB. That’s it.

          Rolle was the WLB for almost the entire season. Huge, huge difference.

      • http://igglesblitz.com Sam Lynch

        So let me get this straight. The premise is that:

        1) There could be a LB on the board at #15 overall who the Eagles like enough to take at that level, even in an era where LBs are rarely considered first round quality (let’s call this LB “Keeklee”)
        2) They have a LB on the roster who they didn’t feel played well enough last year to keep a starting job and doesn’t project to play well enough this year that he is favored by the team to get a starting job;
        3) The Eagles have one guy who could be a three down linebacker and could, in theory, use two.

        You would have to believe that Matthews’s future is so bright that he will be a starting three down LB by 2014 (the last year of his deal) and that it is sufficiently certain that it compensates for how certain the team must be that “Keeklee” will be a three down LB from day 1.

        I would say that it is impossible for anyone’s future to be that bright, given the facts in point 2 above. Impossible. Not good enough before, not good enough now. You can’t project him with a high degree of confidence to a level that few LBs attain in the NFL, let alone with certainty to a starting role.

        With respect to the more general point, ideally, there are two 3-down LBs on the team. I don’t think you prefer a platoon, you prefer sufficiently high talent that a guy can excel against the run and in coverage. If we are calling SAM the second 3-down role, then maybe you can be ok with a nothing-special, probably better on STs LB like Rolle playing on run downs. If the WIL is the 3-down role, then he is nowhere near acceptable. We have to do better.

        Getting so hung up in MIKE vs WIL vs SAM types, especially in the draft, is just crazy. I’ve seen MIKE prospects excel at WIL and SAM, and guys who were “limited to” be WILs turn into effective SAMs and MIKEs.

        If we had good LBs, we could be more particular about finding complementary skill sets. At this stage, we are still two NFL-caliber starters short of the minimum threshold for a LB corps, in my opinion. If you can get a second above average NFL starter, there is zero reason for anyone on this roster to make you hesitate. Worry about who fills what role later.

        • http://twitter.com/n3th3rman Christopher Miller

          Totally with Sam on this one…we have seen too many times the Eagles put all their hopes in one guy, or their idea of plan B is a late round rookie. I think we should still go after Hawthorne who might still come at a reasonable price and has the ability to fill multiple roles and draft a good prospect for the future (I would like Lavonte David personally). Put Ryans in the middle and let the battle royale commence with everyone on the roster for the remaining 5 spots. Now you have quality depth, a blend of youth and experience, and it still leaves you the option of BPA for the first 2-3 picks (maybe you need to move up a little with the 4th pick to get David).

          Also don’t agree that we trade back if a guy at ANY position falls to 15 that is a good value at that spot. If there is nobody there worthy of the pick, by all means trade back, but if somehow Floyd was still there @ 15, I would take him in a heartbeat. For a passing team, I don’t know how you don’t take that guy, especially since you don’t have a guy with that build AND potential on the roster. Are the $’s @ 15 even really that prohibitive any more if the guy is worthy of that pick? The only position where we are so loaded that I would not worry about an injury is CB, and I expect that too will be a different story after they move Asante.

        • TommyLawlor

          The Giants just won a Super Bowl with Matthias Kiwanuka, Chase Blackburn, and Michael Boley at LB. Boley is above average on a good day. The other two are situational. Hell, Blackburn is a guy they found on the street.

          I think you’re making too much of a possible scenario here. In the scenario we’re discussing there is:

          WLB – Rolle
          MLB – Ryans
          SAM – unknown (but not Kuechly) / Chaney

          The Eagles could have a FA at SAM. They could have a 2nd or 3rd round player there. I didn’t get specific. That guy would battle with Chaney for the job. I do think that would be an acceptable LB corps.

          It is hard to say more without talking about specific names. I didn’t have time to go into 4 or 5 different scenarios of who might have the spot.

          Rolle played full time in the Nickel most of the year. Late, the team started using Casey and Keenan in the Nickel, but Rolle still got some snaps there.

          Rolle and Matthews should both improve on what we saw in 2011. How much? I don’t know. No one does. They could get significantly better or make marginal progress. Hell, they could regress.

          You are right that we shouldn’t pigeon-hole LBs so much, but we also need to be smart about how to project the #15 pick in the NFL draft. That’s a guy we want to hit a home run with. Is Kuechly a home run at SAM? Is he a solid starter there? Let’s not act like the positions are completely interchangeable without there being some potential difficulties.

          As to Casey’s future…the Eagles had him projected as a 3-down LB going into 2011. Clearly they were wrong on that. He did do some good things in the Nickel D late in the year. So the question now becomes whether they think he can be a solid starter again. They have seen him handle the Nickel role. I do not know what their thoughts are on Casey, long term. He did get switched to WLB last year so that remains a possibility for his future.

          I don’t think the Eagles are ready to give up on him, but we’ll find out soon enough.

          • http://igglesblitz.com Sam Lynch

            So, just so we are clear, the terrible Michael Boley is on a 5 year, $25 million contract signed in 2009. A value that the Eagles are reluctant to pay because they don’t value even that kind of quality at the position, regardless of how terrible you think he is. The other two hacks include a first round pick. Chase Blackburn is a BS comparison, because he only gets to play because Jonathan Goff and Clint Sintim and others get hurt — the Giants had bad luck at LB this year in terms of health. Comparing the plan here in March to how you patch holes in January is asinine. None of our LBs other than Ryans, would start over any of the Giants intended LBs, IMHO, even now.

            But that’s all beside the point. The point is that if you are deciding whether or not to draft Luke Kuechly in round 1, you aren’t evaluating a world where you platoon guys. You are evaluating a world where you have a chance to have two every-down LBs. That is a clean analysis.

            As to Rolle, I know you like him. I don’t get it. He’s just a guy, to me. He’s no different than any other WIL we have rolled out there since the first iteration of Shawn Barber in 2001, and I expect him to have a similar impact on the team as those other guys. If you get a chance to get someone better, the fact that you already have Brian Rolle shouldn’t even cross your mind.

          • TommyLawlor

            I like Mike Boley and have since he was in college. Still, the guy is inconsistent. I have never called him a terrible player that I’m aware of. I like his game and when he makes plays, Boley is an above average LB. He just doesn’t always do that.

            I do like Rolle. You don’t. If you want him replaced, that’s fine. I feel differently. And I’m betting the Eagles do as well.

            No one is putting Brian Rolle in the Pro Bowl anytime soon. The guy had a solid rookie year. I’m betting that with a year under his belt and an offseason that he will become an even better player.

            SAM and MLB are the holes to be filled in my book. We’ve got Ryans as the short term solution at MLB (and possibly for the next 3 to 4 years).

            SAM must be addressed.

            Uprgrading at WLB is something I would put on the back burner.

            As for comparing our LBs to the Giants…clearly Ryans is the best MLB. Boley is the best WLB. SAM is unknown because we haven’t chosen our guy yet. Kiwi works in their system, but isn’t a guy that we would like. Doesn’t make him bad, but he’s meant to only be a 2-down LB. If you want a big SAM to stuff the run and blitz, he’s your guy.

          • http://igglesblitz.com Sam Lynch

            Look, I’m not the one comparing us to the Giants. That was your move. My main point is that it isn’t valid as you did it, and especially in the flawed way in which you did it, comparing end of season patchwork due to injury to beginning of season intentions.

            I still don’t know what you think a SAM LB is in our system. Or a WIL. Maybe that’s why this is flawed. Do you see SAM, WIL, and Nickel as three separate positions? If so, that could explain the disconnect. Because they don’t have to be. They can be two positions, at least aspirationally. I also see SAM as the better role to join with nickel behind a wide 9 front.

            If SAM is just a two down role, we should absolutely not waste draft capital in the first couple of days. You don’t need much more than a limited player. Same with WIL.

            But if we aspire to have a second player who can actually play on three downs — and I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t aspire to that — then we need better talent. Much better talent.

          • TommyLawlor

            I think we need one 3-down LB. I would prefer to have 2, but don’t see that as a need. Using a guy like Clayton alongside of a guy like Ryans can work for me.

            I do think we need to upgrade SAM so that we have a good starter there. I’m not looking for Fokou or Jordan, v. 37. I’d like a player that is flat out good.

  • Septhinox

    What do you think about drafting Sean Spence in the 3rd Rd to challenge Rolle?

    • TommyLawlor

      Not a fan of that. See my Rolle comments that I updated in the article.

  • http://twitter.com/alex_karklins Alex Karklins

    As a University of Montana alum, I’m wondering if CB Trumaine Johnson would fit on the Eagles, either as a big press corner or ball-hawk safety. I think Boykin is definitely a good target as a slot corner and KR, but if the Birds miss getting Boykin, I think you could do worse than a 6′ 2″ 204 lb defensive back, who put up pretty decent numbers at the combine ( http://www.nfl.com/combine/profiles/trumaine-johnson?id=2532877 ). I’d envision him as a backup to Nate Allen. Plus, the Eagles have had decent production from d-backs from the University of Montana. Tim Hauck ended Michael Irvin’s career, and Colt Anderson is (was?) a special teams stud. Any thoughts?

  • Kevin_aka_RC

    Assuming Coples, Cox and Kuelchy (likely our three top targets) are off the board @15, where do we go? The Cap needs another buddy to play with.

    • Donald Kalinowski

      Trade down or settle for the next best DT- Brokers, Poe, Brockers, or Still.

    • TommyLawlor

      I really don’t know. I don’t see good fits. Partly depends on who Washburn likes and/or what he’s looking for. I think we need an under tackle to play behind Cullen Jenkins. Wash might have a 4-3 NT that he likes. Really hard to say at this point.

      Too bad Zach Brown can’t tackle. He would be ideal.

      • Kevin_aka_RC

        Zach Brown in a Wide9 would be terrifying. Talk about running around blocks. Under this scenario, I’d probably draft Janorice Jenkins. He’s a CB who can play inside-out and provide immediate impact in nickle/dime packages. It also allows us to trade Asante Samuel without worrying about depth.

        I’m not sure how Howie would feel about his character concerns. The other CBs (Kirpatrick/Gilmore/Robinson) are too straight-line to play inside IMO.

        • TommyLawlor

          If Jenkins had a clean record, he would be a target. I didn’t get good vibes from him at the Senior Bowl. Came across as the athlete who says what he thinks you want to hear, but really could care less. Just my perception, but Jenkins is not a player that would be on my draft board.

  • TommyLawlor

    Not a fan of that.

  • Donald Kalinowski

    I think Rolle played well enough to be a starter at SAM. I don’t Chaney deserves to be penciled in as a starter, but the Eagles are really high on him right now. I can’t imagine them going out and signing or drafting a guy to be their SAM.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AHVR5EZERRCZSD77DMKWAEEPLA Steve H

    Please please please Tommy… just purge the thought from your mind that the Eagles should have anything in mind for Casey Mathews other than depth and the occasional family dinner.

  • Donald Kalinowski

    What about the K position? If the next Sebastion Janikowski falls to us we can’t pass him up, right?

    • Kammich

      We should probably just trade our 1st to Oakland to get Seabass himself. We’d lead the league in Polish extraditions next season.

  • aub32

    Hey Tommy I love reading your stuff but I think your man crush on Luke is clouding your judgement. DeMeco is through the 2015 season. If we were to draft Luke to play SAM he’d be playing outta position for the next 4 seasons. That’s not really a good idea for the 15 pick overall IMO. I think we can find a good SAM in later rounds and I’m willing to bet that 4 years from now there will be another good MLB prospect available at some point. I really like DL for pick 15 especially since there’s a lot of talent there and our starting Dline is up there in age. Also Trent Cole spoke about loving the alpha bravo system that Wash employs so even if we went DE they still stand to make a contribution. Remember when Cole went down, it really hampered Babin’s production. I think going DE makes sense if a guy like Coples fell to us and with buffalo and the jags having more pressing needs not to mention signing DEs this off season. I think he just may.

    • TommyLawlor

      DeMeco can stay the MLB as long as he plays well, but don’t count on him finishing his whole deal. London Fletcher is the exception, not the rule. Most MLBs start to break down.

      I would be thrilled if DeMeco played well enough to finish out his contract as our MLB. That would mean he played at a high level.

      Just don’t count on that.

      • aub32

        I see your point, but even if he lasts 3 years I still think that’s too much time for Luke to play out of position. This is the kind of draft where we could go D line with our first and second pick and get two both a DE and DT that have great potential to contribute now as well as replace Babin and Jenkins in a couple years who I believe will reach the end of their career before Ryans (solely based on the fact he’s 27 while they are both in their 30s). Also do you think there’s a realistic chance of Coples or Ingram dropping?

        • TommyLawlor

          Maybe. Nothing is set in stone here. We’re talking about options and what could happen down the road.

          If the Eagles have a high enough grade on Luke, maybe they take him no matter what. BPA.

          Or maybe the Eagles think Luke isn’t worth pick 15. So hard to say.

  • 4Who

    My opinion may be worth less than the normal 2 cents, but I really believe the team needs a cornerback very early. 3 corners play a good number of snaps each game, there is not much depth behind DRC if Samuel is traded, DRC is on the last year of his contract, and I thought Nnamdi played well inside against TEs. Any thoughts on Kirkpatrick and Jenkins? Also, could that MLB for Cal, Kendricks, have similar benefits to being a future replacement for Ryans, or an injury fill in, as a weakside LB for the Eagles?

    • TommyLawlor

      Jenkins has major character issues. I’ll be shocked if the Eagles like him.

      Kirkpatrick is good, but I don’t see him playing in the slot. If the Eagles take a CB in the 1st Rd, he must be able to play the slot. DRC will get locked up long term at some point.

      I do think the Eagles have CB targeted in the 2nd or 3rd round. This is an area of need.

      • Donald Kalinowski

        I was hoping that the Cowboys would draft him. But that doesn’t seem likely with the Carr signing. :(

  • GermanEagle

    Why do I get the feeling that Ryans has only got a couple of years left in his tank to spot the middle of our D, after reading some of the comments here?!

    The Cap is only 27 years old and despite is structured contract I can honestly see him being our QB of the Defense for the next 5 years!

  • wee2424

    Tommy-

    Just curious what you think. I think Ryan’s is better then all the fa lb that were/are out there. But how do you compare him to them?

  • http://twitter.com/theguyotc the guy

    One common complaint about the Eagles drafting is how few players stay on the roster a couple years after they come in.

    What people possibly forget or ignore is the Eagles consistently have more than their share of draft picks. I’d guess they usually enter the draft as a top 5 team in terms of number of picks. And it’s not like the roster is devoid of talent every year.

    Players taken after the first 2 rounds that might have stuck around on another roster sometimes can’t in Philly, meaning they don’t get time to develop and realistically compete for a position. And if they didn’t need that time, they probably wouldn’t have been picked later than the 2nd round to begin with.

    Thinking about this, I’m worried that’s why the Eagles are bringing in so many FA/veterans. The sheer number of new players each year crowds the roster, giving them less of a chance to develop or earn playing time, until the coaches give up and address the position with a veteran.

    Given the new rookie wage scale, I think I’m actually more interested in moving up in the draft than down. I don’t follow college (and am not qualified to judge players anyway), but if there’s someone the Eagles like, I’m all for them moving up to get him, even if it’s expensive.

    • Eric Weaver

      It’s been my gripe for years now that they don’t allow their offensive linemen to develop.

  • Matthew Butch

    I’d love Luke at SAM. I like the injury protection it gives and the long term prospects it gives. Imagine Luke and DeMeco for 4 years! Also, Castillo said that SAM is very important in his scheme. That makes it more important than normal.

    • TommyLawlor

      Castillo’s original vision was for SAM to be critical role. He wanted someone with SS type cover skills and LB run D skills. Kuechly would be great vs run. Not sure about how he would project as cover guy vs what Castillo had in mind.

  • Zachary Kaplan

    I know I’m beating a dead horse – but why not a WR at 15?

    We may have 2 very good players, but we don’t have a great one at the position. Our 3rd WR is about as much a threat to score a TD as I am….okay he has a few more career TD’s than me – but he’s played in about 90 games more than I have…I kind of like my odds.

    Last point I’ll make (and re-make and continue to make until someone, anyone agrees with me)…the NFL is a passing league. Having the Ray Lewis, Clay Matthews Jr. and James Harrison as your 3 LB’s would be great, but at the end of the day – they aren’t defending Fitz or Megatron. Adding another player who could score points and catch passes is all that makes sense to me at this point.

    • Zachary Kaplan

      Just for some fun stats on Jason Avant…Mike Vrabel has as many career TD’s as Avant….Mike Bartrum only has 4 fewer! Lance Moore has a year with as many TD’s as Avant has in his career. Moss has a year with more than Double Avant’s career.

      Just so I’m not comparing him to super star starters and (LB’s and LS’s) Indy’s 3rd WR – in 2004 scored 10. Austin Collie in 2009 and 2010 scored 7 & 8 in the slot.

      Jason just is absolutely a non-threat. We might as well line up a 7 foot NBA center and hope he has hands, because he’d be just as likely to break a reception for a long gainer as Avant….and more likely to get open in the Red-Zone.

      • Cvd52

        I totally agree w picking a WR but only if a good one kind of falls to us, or we have a chance to move up and grab good one or trade back and get picks. I don’t want to take one like we need one but if the right deal is there I want one.

        I don’t agree that avant is useless. Austin Collie with Peyton Manning was having really good seasons. I agree avant will NEVER break a long run, wherever he catches it he is down. But maybe he does things that AR likes, he seems to catch a good amount of passes and move the chains. Moving the chains is the one thing eagles offence is not good at. Its like we always want a 60 yard TD or nothing, although that changed a little bit in the middle of last season.

        But I agree we need to try to upgrade at WR unless Maclin breaks out. If you can score points and rush the passer you are more likely to win. AR’s thing is finally becoming what everyone says you need to do. AR was just doing it with a QB that was not good enough to do it consistently and in big games, hopefully Vick can do it

      • TommyLawlor

        You and I have discussed Avant before. Upgrading him is fine with me. You just don’t do that at pick 15.

        2nd or 3rd round? That’s fine.

  • AustinMax

    Tommy – if you compare London Fletcher to Demeco – who would you consider better…I like the signing of Demeco but am little bummed that we could not bring London Fletcher here and draft Luke as his replacement (I was hoping that would happen)…

  • Cvd52

    i actually think we could use a WR at 15 if the right one was available. or trade back and pick a WR. i think DT, LB, WR, DE

  • ACViking

    Speaking of Pick 15 . . . and mock drafts . . . PFT.com, via Evan Silva, just posted its first Mock of the season. http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/03/22/2012-mock-draft-take-one/

    PFT/Silva has the Eagles taking South Carolina CB Stephen Gilmore at 15.

    Why? Because, per Silva, the Eagles are dumping Asante and Gilmore “would replace” him.

    Does Silva know that DRC was acquired last year and will be starting at LCB next year (we think)?

    Does Silva even know about DRC?

    I have no problem with the choice. And I’d have no problem if Silva said “Gilmore’s a great slot guy”. Or the BPA.

    But I do have a problem with an explanation so clearly ill-informed.

    • Kammich

      I just saw that mock draft before coming here. That is a classic attention-getting mock. Filled with a bunch of “out there” projections with the intent to drum up traffic for the website. Griffin over Luck, Glenn over DeCastro, Doug Martin in the 1st, Brian Quick in the 1st.

      Don’t get me wrong… I like when people think outside the box. I just don’t think thats the case here. I think Silva is just trying to be dramatic and stir up discussion.

      • Cliff

        Agreed. This mock was poorly thought out. The Griffin over Luck projection says it all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/xbcsmith Brett Smith

    PFT (I hope they are joking) mock has us taking Gilmore. I think I want a DE or DT not another corner… we have a pile of them.

    http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/7442/stephon-gilmore

    • http://www.facebook.com/xbcsmith Brett Smith

      Give me Fletcher Cox at 15. I will take Ingram or Mercilus if we could… would take a lot to move up and get Ingram.

      Mercilus is he better suited to be an OLB in 4-3?

      In a wide 9 is the difference between the DE and OLB that much?

      • Kammich

        I think Mercilus would be a pure DE for us. He’s extremely raw, and rushing the passer is just about the only thing he does well at this point(that said, he does it very well). He’s got the motor and burst off of the ball to be a really nice fit at DE in the wide-9… I just don’t think I’d spend the 15th overall pick on him. Too much of a project, not enough of an area of need.

        Gotta love his name, though.

  • NoDecaf

    How much should/could we read into Calwell running LK’s pro day?

    • TommyLawlor

      Eagles are probably trying to figure out just how much they like Kuechly. I think all 32 teams would love to have the kid. Terrific player. Seems like a terrific person. Good NFL potential. You just have to figure out his value relative to your roster and your needs.

      We’re lucky at this point to have no glaring holes in the starting lineup. We can take him if we want…and assuming he falls to 15.

    • wofj

      Tommy

      I love the Eagles basic commitment to speed but I would sure like to see them try to find some size AND speed once in awhile, especially on D. Can they please find a DE and LB who are long and fast?

      I suspect the Eagles go for a DT or a DE (perhaps a combo like Coples who could move out to DE when Coles/Babin decline). I don;t know how good Coples can be but I really miss them having a freakish 3 down DE who can rush the passer and play the run. Not too many of them out there I know, is Coples capable of it?

      I’d be thrilled if they went with Kuechley too, would make alot of sense because it vastly improves depth – guys that can play multiple positions always help with that – and you should have MLB covered for the next 10 years.

      I love Rolle’s play and attitude, but again he is small and I have a hard time accepting him as a full time player on a SB challenger. He reminds me of a Dexter Coakley who was a good player on a bad team, but probably not the type to be on a championship caliber team as a starter. I think Chaney is who starts at WIL. I like his athleticism and speed but I think he has poor instincts. Plus, I don’t like him at Sam because I think he is too short. 5’10 guys are at a disadvantage when they are asked to cover 6’6 TE’s… He is best at WIL if you ask me.

      Give me Chaney/Rolle at WIL, Ryans at Mike and Kuechley at SAM, with Matthews basically able to fill in at any of these roles on a limited basis, and that lineup looks pretty good. If Graham steps up to the plate and is a viable third DE they are looking pretty solid all around.

      No way they draft a WR in round one, Maclin’s contract will be the hot issue next year, can’t have three stars there in this day of salary caps..

      Round 1 and 2 should yield a LB who can play Sam and fill in at Mike, a DE and a DT, don’t care about the order as long as they hit on 2 of the three picks. Corner would be next followed by an OL and a QB to try and develop.

  • Adam Shaw

    Tommy,
    I was curious what your top 5 4-3 MLB’s are in the game today. and where does Ryans fall if he isn’t in that top 5.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5AFRQX6FXV7DOAKN76I4AOA6YQ Steven Dileo

      Tough question because Ryan wasn’t a 4-3 LB last season. He was a MLB in 2009, but that was 2 years ago prior to his injury. Rating him among other LBs is purely speculative. It’s tricky because Patrick Willis would make a better MLB than Jonathon Goff, but you can’t put Willis on the list because he doesn’t play MLB.

      My list of MLBs from last year would be:

      1. Brian Urlacher
      2. Pat Angerer
      3. D’Qwell Jackson
      4. James Laurinaitis
      5. E.J. Henderson
      6. Curtis Lofton
      7. Stephen Tulluch
      8. David Hawthorne
      9. Rolando McClain

      Beason isn’t on the list because he was injured.
      Mayo, Fletcher, Willis and Bowman should be on the list but they’re not MLBs.

  • Arby1

    I’m glad you’re not advocating trading up for Cox. Unless we got a SAM in FA, I think BFA (Luke, if he’s there) or trading back are our best options. But if we get a starting SAM in FA, then I’d be more comfortable giving up one of our 2nd’s to move up for Cox. Let’s see how FA plays out. I don’t think we’re done yet. In other words, Luke + Boykin + Curry/Crick > Cox + Boykin.

  • James Casagrande

    Tommy,

    I agree that it looks like DT or LB are by far the best options at 15 (barring someone talented sliding). That said… why are you drafting Cox or Devon Still when YOU SHOULD BE RESIGNING DEREK LANDRI FOR ANY AMOUNT OF MONEY HE ASKS FOR!!??!?

    Seriously, there’s no way he’s asking too much because there’s no market for him. Wtf is going on there?

    And if I asked you, ‘who was the best DT on the Eagles last year’ – can you say anyone else with a straight face?

    • TommyLawlor

      Love Landri, but Cullen Jenkins was clearly better. Mike Patterson vs Landri is difficult discussion. Landri played limited snaps so he could go 100 mph.

      Problem with Landri is that he’s a backup DT. Teams are focused on starters right now or guys that are minimal backups (Mike Gibson). Landri will get some action soon…I hope.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5AFRQX6FXV7DOAKN76I4AOA6YQ Steven Dileo

    Sooo, was Chaney/Matthews the worst MLB in the league last year?

  • nickross23

    After watching the Stanford PDay, Cody Fleener is a TE I really wanted the eagles to target with one of the two 2nd round picks. But after his impressive workout im afraid the Gaints would b a perfect home for him. As a late round target at rb I really like chris stewart at 6’1 218 he is a good inside runner who can block and catch whenever shady needs a blow

  • Cliff

    Looks like we’ve gone from anxiety over who the Eagles would get to play MLB to anxiety over who the Eagles will draft at #15.

    I just want one stress-free day from Eagles Nation. How about February 4, 2013? Can we at least have that day?

    • TommyLawlor

      It’s an attitude like that which keeps us from winning the SB!!!

      Everyone blame Cliff.

      • Cliff

        You know, I hear that a lot these days…

  • BC1968

    Believe it or not, Bunk had a sack against the Steelers in the playoff game. It was a Rothlisberger taking a lot of time play where he kind of just rolled into Bunkley. The reason I remember is because I was thinking, wow I forgot that he went to the Broncos. LOL

  • RC5000

    Guess I’m a little tired of taking players that are marginally special. Worthy has a quick first step as does Still but it’s still not clear to me that they are enough better than other tackles you could get later like Reyes though I think Worthy is a candidate especially in a trade down scenario. Then again you can possibly add Landri and consider Thornton who they do like. Landri’s motor and relentlessness in this rotation was fine. Washburn seems to be able to mold DTs also. Like Worthy but still not sure that’s a great use of resource at 15. Then the corners and Floyd have some off the field issues of varying degrees and Boykin and even Gilmore later are at least in the ballpark. Boykin should be able to play in the slot and he’s physical like Kirkpatrick (I realize Kirkpatrick is much taller).

    OTs just don’t do a lot for me right now. Your line is set and unless Dunlap gets a bigger offer than people think he’s worth, sign him if you’re looking for depth because a first round OT sitting on the bench to me is also a waste of a resource. You can say any position someone might get hurt and the Eagles aren’t expected to let go of Peters after next season so what’s the point in grooming a first round OT for two years. Draft a guy later like Zusevics or Potter or other OTs in this draft.

    Though I think they trade down if the BPAs they might like such as Tannehill, Kuechly, Cox and Coples are gone, BPA at 15 could be Kendall Wright. He’s going to be a star with obvious field speed (throw out the 40 time), hands, ability to adjuts, comes down with the deep ball, has savvy and competitiveness like Blackmon, is tremendous after the catch and plays bigger than people realize. However, you can get a WR later and it is not necessarily the greatest use of resource though Wright could potentially contribute more than an OT and who’s to say Desean, Maclin won’t get injured? Even Cooper gets nicked up.