I think about the draft a lot. If you knew how much, I’d probably be banished to a padded white room where the general public would not have to fear me. I love to think about scenarios and theories. Some are sound, some nuts. Part of the fun is in thinking about things in a variety of ways.
I’ve been thinking long and hard about the move to the 4-3 Under defense. We need a SAM. We need depth for the DL spots. We might need depth at ILB. And we still need DBs and OL help. An odd thought occurred to me. Chip Kelly and Bill Davis talk about using the current roster the best way they can. What if we don’t shift to the 4-3 Under this year, but instead just run a 3-4?
This isn’t an ideal solution, but you could almost make the transition with just the current guys.
OLB – Trent Cole … Vinny Curry
DE – Fletcher Cox … Ronnie Cameron
ILB – Mychal Kendricks … Casey Matthews
NT – Antonio Dixon … Mike Patterson
ILB – DeMeco Ryans … Jamar Chaney
DE – Cedric Thornton
OLB – Brandon Graham … Phillip Hunt
The reason you would do this? It would allow you to spend the 2013 draft fixing the OL and secondary. There are a lot of good O-linemen in this draft. There are a lot of good CBs and Safeties. What were the 2 worst units on the 2012 Eagles? The OL and secondary.
You could go:
1 – CB
2 – OT/OG
3 – S
4 – OT / OG
5 – CB
The key, obviously, is still to pick the right players. Just loading up at positions isn’t good enough. You must draft well.
By doing this you would add talent to the secondary and youth/depth to the O-line. You would also buy some time in making evaluations on what to do with the defense. Does Trent Cole need to be replaced? Is Brandon Graham a player you want to keep and build around? Is Vinny Curry a possiblity at SAM or is he a Predator? Can Cedric Thornton be a good starter?
There are good OLB/DE types in almost every draft class. OL/DBs are positions where you can run hot and cold. This is the best Safety class in a while. There are lots of good CBs. This is the most athletic OT class I can remember (or maybe ever). Play to the strengths of the draft, especially since they match up with the areas on the team that need the most help.
The picks/positions listed above are not written in stone. That’s just one possibility. The team has an idea if there should be players in those draft spots that they like and play those positions. The larger point is to build a strategy of who/what to draft. If a highly rated player (say LB or DL) falls, grab him. Don’t pass up talent.
But do have a specific idea of what you want to do.
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Geoff Mosher has a report up that the Eagles could target CB Sean Smith. The key note is that they only want him if the price is right. The Eagles don’t want to break the bank for anyone this year. The Eagles handed out mega-deals to Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel in the last 5 years. They got mixed results. Smith is younger than them and is the kind of big DB that Bill Davis and DBs coach John Lovett say they want, but I think the Eagles will be hesitant to overpay free agents after the 2011 situation.
Landing Smith would give the Eagles even more freedom in the draft.
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I wasn’t as focused on the Eagles in regard to today’s Combine workouts. I don’t see the team taking a RB early. I don’t see a WR early. A few of you surprised me with Cordarelle Patterson questions. No chance the Eagles go for a WR at #4 or move back to add a WR. Bad value.
We’re frustrated with Jeremy Maclin, but let’s see what Chip Kelly and the new staff can do with him. Mac has talent. He needs someone to push him. Kelly might be just the guy. DeSean Jackson is still a major weapon. I hope Chip uses him better.
We don’t yet know what Chip wants at WR, but I think he’ll like big guys. That could help Riley Cooper, Marvin McNutt, and BJ Cunningham. And we still have Damaris Johnson here as a smaller guy who can make plays.
I’m open to the Eagles taking a big WR late. I’m just not sure who I want. I did think Ryan Spadola from Lehigh was interesting. He’s 6-1, 204 and ran pretty well. I’ve not watched a lick of tape on him. Rodney Smith from Florida State has great measurables. He flashed at the Shrine Game. There are several other guys that were interesting. The key is to find someone you think can be had late.
One RB that caught my eye was Jawan Jamison from Rutgers. He’s only 5-7, 203, but Chip seemed to like having smaller RBs when at Oregon. Not sure if that will be the case.
What about QBs? Geno Smith showed good athletic ability, but that shouldn’t have been a huge surprise. He isn’t a runner, but that’s by design…not lack of ability. I did think he threw well and had an impressive day. I’m still not interested in him for the Eagles.
Nothing I saw today made me change my mind on any of these QBs. Ryan Nassib has grown on me, but I just can’t say I’d like to commit to him long term as the future of the franchise. I’m not just looking for a starting QB. I’m looking for a starter that can play at a high level and lead this team to big time success.
I am fascinated by Matt Scott as a late round project.
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David Syvertsen posted some notes on risk/reward players, including the Honey Badger.
Quick Combine note…Star Lotulelei will not work out. The medical tests revealed some issue with his heart. The NFL wants Star to meet with his doctor before working him out. This could be a big deal or something simple to fix. We’ll just have to wait and see.