I’m sure 90 percent of you get the reference in the headline. It comes from the classic comedy Dumb and Dumber. In this case, it works as a fancy double entendre for the upcoming NFL Draft.
There is a sure chance…Chance Warmack.
There is a possible chance…the Eagles drafting Chance Warmack with pick #4.
See how smart and creative I am?
For PE.com I wrote about the Eagles options with pick #4. I included Warmack as a possible target. This is a 180 from my thinking just 10 days ago. Chip Kelly is to blame.
People have asked me about Warmack for a couple of months. I’ve always shot down the notion. You just don’t take a Guard with the #4 pick. You don’t do it. It doesn’t happen. I know what I know from years of watching football, reading about football, and studying the game of football. Guards simply don’t go in the Top 10. Case closed.
And then that jerk Chip Kelly went and messed with my brain. He was asked about the position of Sports Science Coordinator at the most recent PC and responded with this:
“Yeah, the game of football has evolved. I think we as coaches have to evolve with it. And to always harken back to, well, we did it because that’s the way it’s always been done, I just never bought into that theory in my mind.
I want to know why we do things and everything we do. Whether it’s the athletic training room, the strength and conditioning room, to anything that touches this football team. And the only answer I won’t accept is because we’ve always done it that way.
If you look back 50 years ago, people trained in football, and they weren’t allowed to have water during the game. There was a bucket on the sideline, and you had a ladle and you scooped it out and had a sip, but if you drank water, you were soft. Obviously, we’ve evolved from a science standpoint.”
While Kelly wasn’t specifically addressing the draft or roster building with these comments, I think it is important to understand his mentality. Howie Roseman will have to explain why a Guard can’t be taken 4th overall. Don’t talk about unwritten rules. Don’t talk about tradition. Explain why in a logical sense. If Howie can do that, I’m sure Chip will agree.
I don’t want the Eagles to take Warmack with pick #4. I don’t think Chip Kelly necessarily does either. The point is that we are in a new era. We have to adjust our thinking to Chip’s thinking. Why does something have to happen? Why can something not happen?
There is a good chance Warmack will be one of the top 4 players on a lot of draft boards. He will be the top rated player by a few teams (if not more). Maybe the NFL is right to pass on Guards until after the 10th pick. Maybe that’s outdated thinking that has led to some bad picks. You would need to do a lot of research to statistically back-up your argument. In place of that, I’ll just offer a couple of quick thoughts that advocate for a player like Warmack.
The NFL passing game has evolved over time. Teams have become more and more efficient. Completing 60 percent of your throws is no longer a big deal. Short, safe throws are a regular part of all 32 passing attacks. Many teams with elite pass rushers have seen offenses neutralize them with the quick passing game and chip blocks.
Defenses have responded with 2 ideas. The first is overload blitzes. The solution to this is the QB reading it pre-snap and getting the ball out appropriately. The next adjustment is focusing on pressure up the middle. JJ Watt played DE in the base unit for the Texans, but slid in to DT in passing situations. He was disruptive from both spots. The Packers defense hasn’t been the same since Cullen Jenkins left. His pressure up the middle hasn’t been replaced.
Justin Smith is a DE for the Niners that slides inside on passing downs. When he got hurt this year, Aldon Smith had 19.5 sacks. In the 6 games after that, Aldon had no sacks. Justin only missed 2 1/2 games, but wasn’t the same disruptive force. SF’s defense had not given up more than 26 points in a game with Justin healthy. They gave up 27 or more 4 times after the injury.
Pressure up the middle is crucial. It bothers Brady, Manning, Brees, Rodgers…all of them. There is no pocket to move up in. The pocket collapses.
How do you stop this? By getting the best possible Guards that you can. Find guys that can anchor when facing a bull rush. Find guys that have good feet so they can slow down the quick, athletic types. Find guys that use their hands well and can ride a rusher wide of the QB if beaten off the ball.
Chance Warmack can do all of that. And he does it well.
That’s the best argument I can make for Warmack from a general perspective. You add in that he is an outstanding run blocker that could help in short yardage and Red Zone situations. Run blocking OGs can be found anywhere, but combining that with the pass protection skills, size, and athleticism is what makes him special.
Here are a couple of videos of Warmack in action. What are we looking for?
Watch his feet. He’s nimble for a big, thick guy. Watch his hands. He’s able to use them as weapons (when attacking defenders) or shields (when pass protecting). Watch his balance and agility. You don’t see Warmack on the ground much. Hitting the ground is a no-no for OL. Can’t block anyone from that spot. He can pull and block in space. Look how naturally strong and powerful he is. Warmack doesn’t have to be in perfect position to make a block. His calf muscles are the size of Chad Hall. Really thick, natural build.
One more time…
I’m not saying I want the Eagles to take Warmack. I’m not saying Chip Kelly does either. I do think we have to be careful about the way we think. Chip is going to do some things outside the box. It will help us to understand them if we adjust our thinking beforehand.
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Jimmy Bama did a good post on the Eagles needing to use Dion Lewis more in 2013. I think we all want to see the coaches use multiple backs on a more regular basis than what Marty did.