The Combine is officially over. We have a lot of info on a lot of players. We’re still filling in the blanks on some, Star Lotulelei for instance, but for the most part we have a good feel for the Top 350 NFL prospects. So who should the Eagles take at #4?
Go get Dion Jordan. Oh wait, he’s “only” 248 pounds. He’s not a polished pass rusher. Forget him.
Go get Luke Joeckel. Oh wait, he’s not a great athlete and has been beaten on some inside moves. Forget him.
Go get Dee Milliner. Oh wait, he doesn’t have great ball skills.
Go get Eric Fisher. Oh wait, he played at Central Michigan and didn’t face much NFL level competition in his career.
Go get Star Lotulelei. Oh wait, he’s got a heart issue and also wasn’t consistently dominant at Utah.
Go get Shariff Floyd. Oh wait, he’s “only” 297 pounds and is very similar to Fletcher Cox in terms of skill set.
I won’t even get into the QBs.
There is no perfect pick. There is no flawless player that is such a great fit that we absolutely must get him or the draft will feel like a failure. We can make arguments for and against each player. I’ve already started doing that and will do even more of it in the next 2 months.
The Eagles need to get a pick that fits what the team wants to do and has the potential to develop into a Pro Bowl player. If they think any of the guys can be a true difference-maker, go get that guy.
Did the Combine change my views on any of the top players? No. Dee Milliner running a 4.37 did catch me off guard, but it doesn’t mean we must take him or that had he run 4.47 I’d be completely against taking him. He’s a big, physical corner with a lot of talent. That was true last week and today. Knowing his speed just bumps him up a notch.
I do think free agency has to play out before we’ll know what’s going to happen in the draft. That’s one reason I’m so hesitant to say who I think we’ll pick right now. If we go sign Paul Kruger to play SAM, Dion Jordan becomes irrelevant. If we sign a 5-tech DE, then Shariff Floyd wouldn’t make any sense. And so on.
The bad news is that there aren’t any elite prospects that we’re dying to get. The good news is that there are some really talented guys who can help us, especially on defense.
I will discuss free agency in the next week or so. I’ve made some preliminary lists. There are some players of interest. The problem is trying to gauge just how active/aggressive the Eagles will be. I don’t expect any players to get huge deals, but the team could still add a couple of starters. You don’t want to build through FA, but when you need to rebuild most of the secondary, trying to do that all in the draft is darn near impossible.
I am looking forward to the Eagles making some moves. That will help us understand Chip Kelly and what he wants to do. You have to go back to the early Reid days since we’ve been so unsure of what the team will do.
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I’ve been a bit under the weather the last 2 days so I haven’t finished reviewing all of the DL/LB/DB stuff from the Combine. There were a lot of players who did impress me. I’d really love to have extra picks in the 2nd or 3rd rounds.
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According to Bryce Johnston of EaglesCap, the Eagles should now have about $33.8M in cap room. They can be active in FA if they want to. As I’ve said before, I’m thinking the team will look to mid-level and ascending players rather than top flight stars.
The problem with star players is that they have egos. This doesn’t mean they’re all “me guys” or snobs, but they can be hard to fit into the team culture if they’re used to doing things a certain way. After all, that’s what got them to play well and earn the big money.
Get guys who will buy in to your systems and style of doing things. That can make up for lack of elite talent in some cases.
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We’ve talked a lot about the front seven and what changes will take place. Derek from Iggles Blog put up a post illustrating just how good Brandon Graham’s numbers from 2012 were. Derek thinks Chip Kelly will/should build around Graham, despite the fact that Brandon is less than an ideal fit for what Kelly ideally wants on defense.
I need to do a full post on just Graham. He did have a good year in 2012. However, I think we need to be careful about keeping his performance in context. I need to re-read some notes and do my own research.
Chip did say he’ll scheme according to the players on the roster, but long term plans are a whole other story. You need to be one of Chip’s guys to stay for the long haul. Not even Chip knows what to make of Graham right now. As he said at the Combine, he needs to get the guys on the field so he can coach them and see them up close. That’s when he’ll start to figure out what he really thinks.
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NFL Gimpy posted the new MAQB column. He has some thoughts on the Combine. He also took a look at the Alex Smith trade situation. He’s thinking the Chiefs are the key target. I’m still not so sure. Gimpy does explore the other teams and uses good logic. Really boils down to what the Niners want for Alex Smith and what the other team has at QB.
Here’s an interesting question. Andy Reid says the KC job reminds him of the Eagles in 1999. Well, that year he had the #2 pick and got a franchise QB. Does Reid say the heck with it and take Geno Smith first overall? Does he trade for Nick Foles? Does he use the 2nd round pick on a QB, thinking that he coached Foles up in 2012 and could do even better with Nassib or Wilson or Barkley or whoever?
Coaches and GMs look to the past to figure out the future. In GB they traded for Brett Favre. Here he got McNabb. There is no obvious solution in KC, but the two prior models focused on getting a young, star QB in the first year so you could build around him. What will Big Red do?