The Eagles should get Michael Floyd to be the big WR. And Mark Barron to play SS. And any number of guys to be the backup RB.
To that, Riley Cooper, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Kurt Coleman, and Dion Lewis all say “What about us?”.
Many Eagles fans agree. Some like this player, some like that player. Different players have different amounts of support. I like all 4 guys and would love to see them step up and excel in 2012. I’d rather be able to rely on current Eagles than rookies and/or outsiders.
Here’s the thing…we’re dealing with a mixture of facts and projections. Riley Cooper has had great plays. He has had good games. What he hasn’t done is play well for a whole month, let alone a whole season. There are a lot of factors why (in his defense), but the bottom line is that we can’t count on him to have a breakout year. Cooper could go 58-858-11. That’s what Laurent Robinson did for Dallas last year. He never had more than 37 catches or 2 TDs prior to 2011. The circumstances were finally right and he excelled.
Cooper did get better from 2010 to 2011. He didn’t make significant progress, but he’s at least headed in the right direction. On the flip side, he’s a late round pick 2 years into his career and we still don’t know for sure how good he is. I’d love for him to go all Laurent Robinson on us, but again…we cannot count on that. And that’s why we need another big receiver, whether a TE or WR. If we’re lucky, they’d both pan out and then we’d have the problem of how to get everyone enough touches.
Lewis could be the backup RB in 2012, but he’s 5-7, 193 and a late round pick. I saw good flashes from him last year, but not enough to say “I’m 100 percent comfortable with him as a key player for us”. I think we need another RB in the mix. Let the guys fight for playing time.
I think all of you know that I like Kurt Coleman quite a bit. I have acknowledged that ideally he’s the #3 Safety, but I think way too many people are way too dismissive about his level of play. He’s shown to be an adequate starter at the least. I’m not as big of a Jaiquawn Jarrett fan, but I do want to see what he can do with a full offseason of practice and lifting.
The difference in this spot is that JaiJar was an early pick. He has the background and potential to be an outstanding starter. That’s why I’m willing to take a chance on him making it in 2012. Cooper and Lewis were taken as late round projects with some potential. JaiJar was a player the Eagles sought to come in and start right away. His career got off to a disappointing start, but that hardly means the guy is a bum and can’t play. He’s an unknown commodity, like the others.
Having Coleman behind him also gives us a bit of a safety net. That is why I’m against drafting a Safety early. I’m fine with signing a veteran on a 1-year deal, but don’t want an early rookie. If a mid-round or late round guy is taken, I’m fine with that. Competition is a good thing.
There are more than a few current Eagles who are going to be fighting off competition to keep their jobs. Some are good veterans like Jason Avant and Joselio “MmmBop” Hanson. Others are young guys like the ones listed above. This doesn’t mean anyone is against the current guys or is a “hater”. You always want the current players to step up. One way for that to happen is to challenge them. And the current players do have an advantage. Cooper has made an NFL highlight catch. The rookies haven’t. Lewis has had some impressive NFL plays. Rookies haven’t. And so on. The guys already here know they can play in the NFL. They just need to play better. Rookies are a whole new mystery.
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Someone asked on Twitter why we’d want to count on a rookie over current guys already in place. If there is enough concern at a position, you’re going to spend a high pick on a player. Dion Lewis is small and has minimal experience. If we draft a RB in the 3rd or 4th round to be the primary backup, chances are he’ll be bigger than Lewis. You would hope the player has an NFL type body. That would give him an advantage, despite being a rookie and unproven. Having a certain amount of size, talent, and/or skill can trump experience. Look at how quickly DeSean Jackson took Reggie Brown’s job. And the Brown bashers forget that just 2 years prior, he averaged almost 18 yards per catch for a whole season and had 8 TDs. Brown was solid. He just wasn’t DeSean.
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Today is the day offseason workouts begin. QBs can throw to receivers…with no other players involved. Most importantly, strength coach Barry Rubin can get hands on with the players. We need him all over Jeremy Maclin, Jarrett, and all the young LBs. Jarrett may be his most important pupil. Jarrett needs to get bigger and stronger. His size was good enough for him to be a punisher in the MAC, but not the NFL.
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We talked yesterday about the importance of Peter King. Check out his draft thoughts.
Sheil Kapadia has up some draft nuggets. He made mention of Sam and something he said on Twitter. Always a good read, even better when Sam gets a mention.
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Fletcher Cox mentioned in a recent interview that Jim Washburn did go down and work him out. This isn’t huge news to me. Cox is such a perfect fit for the Wide-9 that I’ve assumed the Eagles interest in an almost factual way. Kinda like if you tell me there’s a Megan Fox look-alike who sells pudding for a living…you know I’m interested.
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Matt Alkire wrote about finding elite players in the top of the draft.