Eagles Notebook

Posted: February 19th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 54 Comments »

The Jets cut Bart Scott and Calvin Pace today, among others.  I’ve already been asked on Twitter whether the Eagles should have any interest in Scott.  He is a fiery player and physical LB.  It is easy to see how some people would see that as a fit for the Eagles.  The problem is that Scott’s slowed down.  His tackle total has decreased each of the last 4 years.  He’ll turn 33 this summer.  He can attack downhill, but just isn’t as fast as he once was.

Assuming the Eagles go to the 4-3 Under scheme, the 2 ILB spots will be filled by Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans.  Kendricks is a natural for the WILB spot.  That was Karlos Dansby in Arizona.  Ryans can handle the other spot.  The Eagles do need some depth here, but not a starter.

Calvin Pace would have been ideal for SAM 5 years ago, but he’s going to turn 33 in the fall.  I could see a title team like SF signing him as veteran insurance for a guy like Aldon Smith.  Pace makes no sense for the Eagles.

* * * * *

We talked a lot about how the draft is weak at the top.  That doesn’t mean this is a bad draft.  The class is fine.  There are plenty of good players.  I’m actually pretty happy with the depth, especially at certain spots.

What this class lacks are elite players.

2012:  Andrew Luck, RG3, Trent Richardson, Matt Kalil, Justin Blackmon, Morris Claiborne

2011:  Cam Newton, Von Miller, Marcel Dareus, AJ Green, Patrick Peterson, Julio Jones, Tyron Smith

2010:  Sam Bradford, Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy, Eric Berry

2009:  Matt Stafford, Aaron Curry

2008: N/A

2007:  JaMarcus Russell, Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Joe Thomas, Gaines Adams, LaRon Landry

Not all elite prospects pan out, as you can see.  But they are guys who are so talented that they have the potential to become special players in the NFL.

Star Lotulelei is a good DT.  You can watch him shed blockers with ease.  Put on one of Suh’s college games.  I saw him overwhelm a triple team.  That is dominance.  That is a special prospect.

This year we have good players in the Top 10, but none that seem great.  If Joeckel were a bit stronger, he might be very close to Joe Thomas.  If Jarvis Jones were more explosive and athletic, he’d be close to Von Miller.  And so on.

The key is that not all great NFL players were elite prospects.  DeMarcus Ware was in the next category down.  I’d say he’s done okay.  Patrick Willis was on the fringe.  He’s been kinda decent in the NFL.  The Eagles can find a very good player at #4 if they stay put.  Or they can move back a few spots and still find a very good player.  There are no special prospects this year, but there is plenty of talent to be had and the Eagles have plenty of need for young talent.

* * * * *

Speaking of Star Lotulelei, Sheil Kapadia did an excellent profile piece on him.  Definitely check this out for lots of info.

The Eagles would land a good DL if they took him.

* * * * *

I didn’t really cover Dennis Dixon’s comment that the QB competition is wide open.  I’m sure Chip Kelly told him that.  I’m sure Chip means it, but Dixon would have to perform at a very high level to win the job.  When you’ve been in the league since 2008 and have minimal experience, you’re going to be a long shot.  That’s just reality.  Still, I think Chip will keep an open mind.  I just don’t think Dixon is going to light it up.

* * * * *

I assume everyone already saw the story about how Jerry Jones talked the Cowboys out of drafting LeSean McCoy in 2009.  If not, this is must read material (and short).

The interesting angle is that the story comes from Bryan Broaddus, who personally benefited from non-personnel guys making bad draft decisions.  Broaddus is a former NFL scout and the most forgotten personnel guy in Eagles history.  After the disaster of the 1997 draft (Jon Harris), Jeff Lurie forced Ray Rhodes to hire someone to run the draft in a structured system.  Broaddus worked for Ron Wolf in Green Bay and came over.  He put together the Eagles draft board that year.  Ray Rhodes was petrified.  The board didn’t have a ton of names on it and Ray thought for sure the Eagles would run out of players to pick.

Instead, the system worked brilliantly.  The Eagles had good values for players and took them when they should.  That 1998 class turned out to be outstanding.

1 – OT Tra Thomas

2 – traded to the Jets for Hugh Douglas

3 – LB Jeremiah Trotter

3 – CB/RS Allen Rossum

4 – DL Brandon Whiting

4 – CB Clarence Love

5 – LB Ike Reese

7 – DT Chris Akins

7 – OG Melvin Thomas

After the 1998 season, Lurie hired Tom Modrak as GM.  Broaddus moved on to Jacksonville.  I always wonder what would have happened if Broaddus could have stayed on.  He wasn’t a brilliant talent evaluator.  His specialty was collecting and organizing information and then building a good draft board from it.  That’s an underrated skill.

_


  • ICDogg

    Broaddus is now with the TCU Horned Frogs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565087931 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee

    To think that J.J. Watt wasn’t thought of as an elite project is just insane in hindsight. That just goes to prove why the draft is such a difficult and complex thing – and why it entertains a lot of us

    • TommyLawlor

      JJ was a guy I considered pretty special, but he wasn’t a consensus elite prospect. I think I had him rated 9th overall. Went 11th I think.

    • Skeptic_Eagle

      A lot of people grossly underestimated his athletic ability.

      • Anders

        I find it hard to underestimate his athletic ability when he was by far the best DL in almost every catagory at the combine.

        • Skeptic_Eagle

          He raised some eyebrows at the combine, but I still think people severely underestimated him, in terms of applying that athletic ability in game. The guy is freakishly quick, and can make moves work that aren’t even technically sound because of it. I don’t say this lightly, but he reminds me of Reggie White. I don’t think any combine numbers were going to convince anyone he had that kind of functional athletic ability.

  • http://twitter.com/makarov__ Songbird Rescue Cat

    Regarding QB position, in my mind Vick is the 2013 starter.

    Why? It’s simple. He’s the veteran and the veteran “gives you the best chance to win”. Assuming he makes the 53 man roster, he’s going to start. I just can’t see Foles or anybody else putting enough daylight between their performance and Vick’s to justify starting them.

    What’s the investment in Foles? A 3rd round 2012 pick and something like $3M over 4 years. In Vick, you have a $3.5M signing bonus and another $7M+ that fully vests a week after the season starts. He’s not being paid those bucks to be a backup.

    Maybe, maybe if Vick turns the ball over 4-5 times in 2 games in a row you consider giving Foles (or Edwards or Dixon) a shot. Still, you go back to the question who gives you the best chance to win. Clearly, if the Eagles were willing to throw another $10M at Michael Vick after two seasons as one of the leading turnover machines, they think he’s still worth it. If he’s worth it in February, he’ll be worth the chance to start in September and October.

    It’s a shame, because we’ll probably never really figure out what the Eagles have in Foles, unless Vick gets hurt early.

    • TommyLawlor

      Vick has to win the job. If he doesn’t win the job, that’s when things get interesting. Because Foles is so cheap, the Eagles could keep Vick around, even as a pricey backup. Would they do that? The Seahawks did that with Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson. Wilson won the job and Flynn was kept around as a backup.

      You could cut Vick and sign some other vet to a lesser deal. That would obviously save money, but it would weaken the team. That’s where you wonder what Chip is thinking in regard to 2013. Is he selling out to win or is he building for the future?

      I truly believe Chip when he says that there is an open competition at QB.

      • knighn

        Since you don’t believe Dixon has much of a chance: do you look at it like a two-man race for the QB position? (Vick an Foles). There are many who believe (see philly.com) that the Eagles are only keeping Vick because Chip Kelly prefers the mobile QB to run his offense… and that Foles, no matter how good he may turn out, will ultimately be gone. I, for one, hope that it truly is an open competition at QB. If Vick wins, on talent alone (not projected salary OR projected mobility) I will be OK with that, even though I know that he’s not a long-term solution.

        • TommyLawlor

          This is an open competition.

          The odds are stacked against Dixon because he’s failed to show much in his time in the NFL. His advantage is knowing Kelly’s system and having the skill set for it.

          Foles has an uphill battle due to his limited athleticism. His advantage is having played in an up-tempo type of system in college and also that he’s young and will do whatever the coach wants. He’s not been in the NFL long enough to have any bad habits sink in.

          Vick has an uphill battle due to his decision-making and the coachability factor. He’s never played in a system quite like Kelly’s and also hasn’t had a HC really push him aggressively in a long, long time. How well is he going to adjust to Kelly’s style of doing things? Vick isn’t a quick decision-maker. He likes to read a play and look for the home run. Kelly wants things done quickly and efficiently. Vick’s advantage is that he’s still a very talented QB and he has plenty of NFL experience.

          My advice to you guys is just to let the situation play out. Maybe Kelly falls in love with Ryan Nassib or Tyler Wilson or whoever from the draft. Maybe Kelly falls in love with Foles or Vick while doing classroom work and that guy gets a leg up on the situation.

          Just watch this thing play out. We’re dealing with too many unknowns to know exactly what will happen.

          • Ark87

            I think I saw a steeler’s game when…and I may be meshing some memories together here, but I think they were resting Roethlisberger or something and Charlie Batch broke his hand…i forget the context, but I seem to remember Dixon showing some flashes.

          • TommyLawlor

            He played one pretty good game for PIT.

  • SleepingDuck

    When players are recruited to colleges, they are ranked from 1 to 5 stars. What I don’t understand is how not all 5 star recruits turn into good pro prospects, while some 2 star recruits such as JJ Watt turn into All- Pro players. Are the college scouts wrong in their reports or do those high star recruits not try as hard?

    • D3FB

      One reason is, not to knock the guys at rivals or scout or any of the other sites, but you are trying to canvas the country. The sheer number of scouts they have on staff can cause inconsistencies. That’s not to even take into account how the players acclimate once they arrive on campus. Just like every other freshman in the country they are now free to do what they want. Do they go out and party instead of studying their playbook? Do they hit the weight room or hit up McDonalds? Not to mention high school grades are often issued before or during the players senior year. I would imagine you may have grown, gained or lost weight, etc from the time you were 16 or 17 to the time you were 21 or 22. There are a multitude of reasons players fail going from HS to college just as there are a multitude of reasons that some first round players “bust” while an UDFA may go on to make multiple pro bowls.

    • TommyLawlor

      High school recruiting is much more hit and miss. Lots of bad evaluations.

      Also, lots of politics. Kids from certain schools get better rankings from some guys that might be tight with their coaches. I also know of one guy who used to adjust the rankings of players who went to the school he cheered for.

    • livingonapear

      What Tommy said, but also because you have a lot of late bloomers. Some guys blossom in Senior year, and therefore slip under the radar. If I’m a high school scout, and I saw a guy suck in his Freshman year, I’m not that likely to give him a real look the second time I come around and he’s a senior. Confirmation bias is probably very high with high school scouts since there’s not that much of real code. If you saw a player suck before, you’ll find reasons why he sucks now and miss the things that contradict your original observation.

    • austinfan

      Projecting athletes at age 17 is pretty much guesswork, especially in a sport where physical strength is a high priority, in ice hockey, you can watch a kid in juniors playing against the best competition in his age group and easily see the exceptional ones, yet hockey teams make a lot of drafting mistakes.

      In collegefootball, you’re projecting a 17 year old kid at 210 lbs to a 21-22 (depending if they redshirt) at 240 lbs. You’re projecting a kid in simple schemes who dominates with pure athleticism to more complex schemes where instincts and intelligence are more important. You’re projecting kids who are growing into their bodies to a mature athlete with improved coordination and body control.

      Even in the NFL draft, with years of film of the kid playing against better athletes, you are still projecting, can that 290 lb LT add 20 lbs without losing foot speed? Can Jordan go from 226 lbs to 260 lbs and still be a fluid athlete? Can a small college QB with a big arm adjust to far more complex pro defenses and not be mistake prone?

      • Anders

        I think the NBA and NHL is the easiest to project stars, escpeaccially in when we talk the Crosby’s, Malkin, Lebrons or Bryants of the world

  • ICDogg

    Let’s say for the sake of argument that the best guy on your board is Chance Warmack, as Mayock seems to think. Do you take him?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565087931 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee

      I’d take him if we trade back to 8-10th pick, and assuming he’s the clear cut best player on our board. Even though he’s a guard and it’s not a flashy position, I won’t mind having him play at a PB level on our line the next decade.

      • phillyfan1987

        if people say 5 is similar to 25 ,Forget it he will be gone before 10 and if he is your best player then go for it

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

      No. Not before pick 20, and maybe not even then.

    • GermanEagle

      If the Eagles pick a G with their #4 OVR I am going to throw up, no matter if his name is Warmack or Superman.

      • Ark87

        I agree, It’s almost impossible to be a true difference maker at guard. The effect that exceptional guard play has on a game vs adequate guard play simply isn’t that impressive. Now if we had an exceptional C and RT and our RG was truly terrible, then picking up an elite RG would turn the right side of the line from leaky to elite. I just don’t see us in that “key stone” scenario

        • livingonapear

          Though the difference between exceptional guard play and Kyle DeVann is pretty noticeable, and there are more Kyle Devanns out there than there are Richie Incognitos.

          • Ark87

            It’s noticeable for sure, but the actual effect on a game or season is difficult to quantify compared to say a game changing D-lineman, CB, RB, WR or QB.
            Don’t get me wrong, an elite G can open up some exciting possibilities in the run game (solo pancaking a DT and getting into the second level with the free center turns a run play explosive). And I would be all about it if we can trade back, I just want more bang for my buck at #4

        • wee2424

          Remember when Shawn Andrews was dominating. Made a difference.

    • TommyLawlor

      I’ll be covering this today.

    • Skeptic_Eagle

      Well, if teams went for BPA, then Warmack would be going #1 to the Chiefs, despite the fact that they already have 2 good guards in Asamoah and Lilja. I find Tommy’s explanation of “stacking the board” above very persuasive. You can say you’re taking the best player available, but in reality, you’ve got to factor need into it. Otherwise you’d see a team running a 4-3 Defense do wacky stuff like drafting 3 middle linebackers in the same draft.

      In that sense, I think you can make due with a guy like Jake Scott at guard, and fill a need at a better value position for such a high pick.

      • ICDogg

        Well, yeah… but there is a point where the difference might be between getting a rare talent at a position of lesser need and getting a good but not super-exceptional talent at a position of greater need.

        • Skeptic_Eagle

          If you really want to cast a wide net, pretty much every position where you don’t have a top-tier guy is a “position of lesser need”, however, I get what you’re saying about grabbing a “special” guy when you can.

          Not trying to be obstinate, I just think a lot of lip-service is paid to “we’re going BPA, every round”, and I appreciated that Tommy sort of refined that above. Nobody goes purely BPA. It’s a team game.

          I still wouldn’t take Warmack w/#4, even though we need a guard. Maybe I’m not as high on Warmack as some; we had one of the best guards in the game last year. I just don’t think all the positions are created equal.

          I like the guard Larry Warford, out of UK. Reminds me a little of Leonard Davis–nasty, huge hulk of a dude. He wouldn’t fit our system, but if he gets to an angle-man blocking system, I think he’s going to put some DLinemen into the icetub on Mondays.

      • Ark87

        A puritan BPA draft philosophy can definitely result in some funky drafts. IMO the philosophy is flawed anyway, they still don’t order their board by the best football player, but they weight it by position, sorry #1 LB in the draft, the #3 DE in the draft is still on the board! Sorry #1 PK, the #7 OT still hasn’t been picked yet!

        Everyone deviates from BPA somehow.

    • holeplug

      Theoretically yes but once you adjust for positional value a guard will never be that high on your board since the position isn’t as important as others.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dmcgill3 Dan McGill

    Dude. You should make an Eagles trivia board game. And then win it repeatedly.

  • phillyfan1987

    Interesting Roseman quotes :

    “You get your board right, you don’t pick for need. If you do that,
    then you have the opportunity to come away with a heck of a draft. We’re
    excited about the class we had last year. We think we build on that,
    add a couple more and we can get a core group of players that are Philadelphia Eagles that can be here for a long time.”

    “That’s exciting for us, when you talk about linemen being the strength of the draft,” Roseman said.

    Roseman acknowledged the obvious – “we’re not going to be able to fill all our needs”

    Roseman sees benefits from the coaches “knowing what a
    player can and can’t do, from a learning perspective, knowing what kind
    of teammate he was.”

    “We want to make sure we’re getting core guys,” he said. “By the same
    token, we’re also committed to the players on our roster and being a
    homegrown, draft team . . . there’s also opportunities in free agency. I
    think it’s going to be closer to what we saw last year, when we thought
    we had a chance to get a key guy and we went out and did it [trading
    for DeMeco Ryans]. If there’s an opportunity to add a player that we
    think is undervalued, we’re going to try to get him.”

    Some things that stuck out to me was in Free agency going after some “undervalued” prospects….Going BPA in the draft and knowing what a player can and cant do and what kind of teammate he was…Just going off that there will be more deadweight cut, we go need in Free agency and BPA in draft.

    • TommyLawlor

      I agree FA will be limited this year and focused on value/need. I could see a couple of starters added, but don’t expect any major splash signings.

      Draft is the key.

      • austinfan

        The key is just stockpiling young athletes.

        Free agency should focus on players finishing their first contract, not the “hot” guys, don’t overpay for Kruger or Goldson, but the guys who’ll be affordable with upside, and at worst will provide depth. I’d rather add five of those guys this year than one “name.”

        I’d like to see them trade down as much as is feasible, and stockpile athletes who fit what Chip wants to do. This is the year to be very aggressive in chasing UDFAs because the Eagles will be an attractive landing spot, better chance to make the roster than most teams.

        Veterans can’t provide continuity or experience since few (Dixon being the exception and only for one year) will have experience with Chip’s schemes. Might be easier to find players on defense, but even there the 4-3 under hybrid is not utilized by a lot of teams, and teams like Seattle are two gap fronts with a true SLB. So there’s less reason to add or retain older veterans for experience. Even on the OL, moving from Mudd to Stoutland will be a major change.

        That means that 2013 will be a “free for all” in training camp. In 2014, players who don’t fit will be weeded out, the rest will have had intensive immersion into the schemes (especially with the high paced practices that Chip wants, with far more snaps than most teams), and the offseason will be more normal.

        • ACViking

          Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Hell, yes. And yes.

        • ICDogg

          I could go along with that.

  • Ryguy55

    Aldon Smith isn’t up there as a “special” prospect? Seems like the best pass rusher in the league now.

    • TommyLawlor

      Smith was on the fringe of being special. I was high on him, but not everyone was. He’s turned out to be better than anyone imagined.

      • Skeptic_Eagle

        Didn’t he have a quiet final season at Mizzou? Injury or something? IIRC, the only draft analyst that really thought he was a blue chip player was Wes Bunting, formerly of the National Football Post.

      • T_S_O_P

        Doesn’t he play on the outside shoulder of the other Smith who made all-pro at both DE and DT. That’s got to help some.

        • Anders

          His production dipped once Jason Smith got injuried.

    • http://twitter.com/KeeepSwinging Anthony Hart

      Paul Kruger was a more effective pass rusher at the 3-4 OLB position actually. Smith struggled a lot when Justin Smith went out and he didn’t have a clean break to the QB.

  • austinfan

    Broaddus made one mistake in that draft, trading down in the early 3rd rd and missing out on some guy called Hines Ward.

  • Lukekelly65

    Random fact Melvin Thomas was my high school O-line coach in allentown pa

    • TommyLawlor

      Interesting. Good coach?

      • Lukekelly65

        Yes he was a excellent coach he was extremely tough but he was the best coach ive ever had

  • T_S_O_P

    Tommy, the long and the lean has been mentioned before. At SAM or Predator 6’4¼” Barkevious Mingo, 6’5½” Dion Jordan, 6’4½” Sam Montgomery, 6’5″ Michael Buchanan, 6’4½” Quanterus Smith, and 6’5½” Willie Jefferson. At 5 Tech 6’5″ Ezekiel Ansah, 6’8″ Margus Hunt, 6’7″ Devin Taylor, 6’6″ William Gholston, and 6’6″ Joe Kruger. Ansah may be versatile and athletic enough to play both DE and OLB. Do you hae any thoughts on whether the long and the lean listed may get particularl attention from Camp Kelly?

    Of that list, I think that Mingo and possibly Ansah will benefit most from the numbers they put up this coming weekend.

    • TommyLawlor

      I’m hoping to do a post on Thursday about ideal players for Kelly at certain positions. Lots of guessing, obviously.

  • GermanEagle

    I think getting 2 starters on D doesn’t seem to be far fetched at all in this years free agency. If we’re lucky we might even get 3 without overpaying.

    Players like Bradie James, Brad Jones, Goldson, and one of the many NTs come to my mind. And there are still some quality CBs to be had, most noteworthy the young and upcoming Keenan Lewis.

    While the eagles certainly cannot address every need via the draft, the FA is a useful tool to help. :)

    • ICDogg

      I guess what we’re saying is we don’t want to build the roof of the house before we put up the foundation.

  • Arby1

    Hate to say it but left unsaid in the Bryan Broaddus piece from an Eagles perspective, is dropping back (instead of leap-frogging) and possibly making mistakes. What did we ultimately get by not selecting Sean Lee?