Trading Back

Posted: February 28th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 89 Comments »

Do you take a top flight player up high or move back to get extra picks?  There are examples of success and failure for just about every strategy when it comes to the draft.  The Falcons look pretty smart for dealing up for Julio Jones right now.  The Saints looked like idiots for selling out to get Ricky Williams.  Back in 2003 our very own Eagles moved up for Jerome McDougle.  How did that work out?

The devil is in the details.  The Falcons were a good team looking to get over the top.  They didn’t have a ton of roster holes and felt Jones was a special player.  The price was worth it to them.

Mike Ditka made the deal in 1999 because he thought Williams was special and could be a Walter Payton type of presence for the Saints.  Ditka was going to build the team around Williams so that price made sense.

The Eagles lost Hugh Douglas in free agency.  They signed KGB (remember him?) to an offer sheet, but the Packers matched.  The Eagles were desperate for a DE and felt Jerome McDougle was the best available pass rusher they could afford to move up and get.

Jones has proven to be a special type of player.  That move worked.  Williams didn’t have the mental/emotional make-up to be the center of a team and the deal got Ditka fired.  Williams did become an outstanding RB in Miami.  McDougle’s career was ruined by injuries.  Even when healthy, he only showed glimpses of what the Eagles hoped to see.  That move failed.

The Eagles have to balance out a few things in regard to this year’s draft strategy.  If they stay at #4, the team must identify the 4 players they most want and thoroughly examine the situations.  I’m using 4 players because the Eagles pick 4th.  One of their Top 4 guys will be on the board.  Maybe a couple.  Heck, maybe all 4.

There is no question that the player picked at #4 will be highly talented and have a great resume.  The Eagles need to evaluate the player’s ceiling.  Can he be a Pro Bowl player…a difference maker?  Or is the player more likely to simply be a good starter?  Think of this as the difference in Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware.

The Eagles need to think about fit.  Does the player fit the schemes the team will use?  How does the player fit into the lineup, short term vs long term?

Character must also be a factor.  And not just has the guy been arrested.  Is this guy a leader?  Is he so highly motivated that he’ll do whatever it takes to succeed?  Does he absolutely love the game of football?  Does he have the personality to be a key piece in the foundation of the team?

Think about that last point for a minute.  Freddie Mitchell and Shawn Andrews were immature and their careers fizzled out for odd reasons.  Corey Simon had some issues.  You must find guys that can be building blocks.

When the Eagles go through all of this, they’ll figure out if anyone at pick #4 is so special that he simply cannot be passed up.  That doesn’t guarantee the pick will work, but you need to be confident that the player will succeed.

The NFL is a league of parity.  If you can find players that are truly difference-makers, they are invaluable.  Just look back to 2011.

Cam Newton
Von Miller
AJ Green
Julio Jones
Aldon Smith
JJ Watt

Those players have had a tremendous impact on their team.  The problem is that you can go look at the top of the 2009 and 2010 drafts and not find true difference makers.  Good players, yes.  But not guys that have been able to consistently be special.

Just because you draft early does not mean you’re getting an elite player.  And this ties back into the questions the Eagles must ask themselves about these players.  Who can be special?  How would that happen?  How likely is that to happen?

* * * * *

Trading back isn’t perfect either.  Just because you have extra picks doesn’t mean you’ll select wisely or that the players will work out.

The primary reason for trading back is that your roster has multiple holes that need to be filled and you feel that quantity over quality is the way to go.  This situation generally happens when a new coach or GM takes over a team or when a coach or GM has let a team get old and he decides to rebuild on the fly.

It is easy to say that Cleveland was dumb to give up Julio Jones for DT Phil Taylor, WR Greg Little, FB Owen Marecic, and QB Brandon Weeden.  Nobody would say that’s an even deal.  But what if the Browns had replaced Taylor with Colin Kaepernick, Little with Randall Cobb, Marecic with Richard Sherman, and Weeden with S Harrison Smith?  Slam dunk for the Browns.  Those players were available when the Browns picked.

Trading back is fine.  You simply must pick the right players.

One of the great examples of the value in trading back is what Jimmy Johnson did with the Dolphins in 1996 and 1997.  He inherited a team that was a bit old.  Jimmy wanted youth and speed.

The 1994 and 1995 drafts (under Don Shula) delivered these players of note:

DT Tim Bowens – quality starter … 2 Pro Bowls
C Tim Ruddy – quality starter … 1 Pro Bowl
LB Brant Boy – 10-yr STer
TE Pete Mitchell – became good player for JAX
DT Norman Hand – solid starter

Jimmy worked his way down the board in 1996, hoping for as many picks as possible. He added:

DT Darryl Gardener – quality starter, dominant player at times
RB Karim Abdul-Jabbar – effective starter
FB Stanley Pritchett – solid starter
DL Shane Burton – starter and rotational player
LB Zach Thomas – HOF type player
S Shawn Wooden – 2-yr starter

1997:

CB Sam Madison – good starter … 4 Pro Bowls
DE Jason Taylor – HOF type player
LB Derrick Rodgers – solid starter
OL Brent Smith – mostly a backup OL (30 starts in 5 yrs)
DT Barron Tanner – became starter for ARZ
TE Ed Perry – STer and LS for many years

Jimmy had plenty of misses.  WR Yatil Green was a 1st round pick who tore up his knee and didn’t pan out.  CB Dorian Brew was speedy, but couldn’t cover.  LaCurtis Jones was supposed to be the next Darren Woodson.  Never played a game for Miami.  Jerome Daniels was a massive OL that was going to be Nate Newton or Erik Williams.  Never played a game for Miami.

Jimmy wanted a lot of players.  He knew there would be misses.  He didn’t care.  The more youth and speed, the better.  Jimmy also wanted guys that were tough and physical.  He wanted big OL that could run block.  He wanted guys that played with an edge.

Jimmy also wanted competition.  He was trying to get rid of the country club atmosphere on the Dolphins.  Miami had been a finesse team with Don Shula and Dan Marino.  They had a poor running game and mostly played bad defense for the last decade.  The first 2 years under Johnson were more of the same, but the Dolphins led the NFL in scoring defense in 1998.  They had last done that in Marino’s rookie season of 1983.  There was not a 1000-yard rusher in the Marino era until Johnson came to town.  He got Abdul-Jabbar to rush for 1,116 yards as a rookie.

The Eagles aren’t going to get some massive haul for the #4 pick.  Heck, they might not get any offers.  If a team like the Bills offered a 3rd and 4th round pick to slide back to pick 8, I’d do that.  Maybe they’re desperate for a QB and want to get in front of the Cardinals.  That’s a reasonable price.  Dion Jordan might still be on the board at #8.  You could go for an OT like Lane Johnson or might feel S Kenny Vaccaro is okay value there.  Those are still very good options and you’d have the extra picks.

Howie can trade down in the 2nd, 3rd, and even 4th rounds.  He won’t pick up massive gains, but might feel it is worth it to get the extra picks.

I know some people think the Eagles have traded back too much in the past.  They passed on Sean Lee and that’s going to drive us all nuts for a long time.  Last year they moved back in the 2nd round.  GB got DL Jerel Worthy.  The Eagles got Vinny Curry and Brandon Boykin.  That trade feels pretty good.  It really is what you do with the picks.  Howie showed last year that if we stick to the board, we can land some really good players.

The other aspect to keep in mind is that we need to add Chip’s type of players.  This won’t happen all at once, but if you can bring in a draft class of 10 to 12 guys, that jump starts the process.

It does help quite a bit if the coaching staff can tell the scouts what they want and then the coaches embrace the new players.  Jim Washburn liked Vinny Curry.  But he loved Darryl Tapp.  That meant Vinny sat.  I didn’t like that decision then and it drives me crazier now. Once things started to slide, there was simply no reason to play Tapp over Curry.

I really believe that maybe the most important angle here is competition.  There was way too much complacency and entitlement in the last couple of years.  Every guy on the roster needs to feel that he must prove himself.  Chip Kelly didn’t play favorites at Oregon.  He didn’t have a ton of guys who started 3 and 4 years.  Players earned jobs each spring and summer.

A great way to create competition is to load up on rookies.  Then let them and the veterans know that the best player will get the job.  Last year Andy Reid told us he couldn’t bench members of the secondary because the guys behind them weren’t any better.  That type of thing can’t happen.  You must be willing to bench anyone and play anyone.  If the players on your bench aren’t some kind of a threat to your starters, get rid of ‘em.

That isn’t to say that Dennis Kelly and Todd Herremans are equals.  Todd is clearly the better player.  However, Todd has to know that you are willing to sit him and play Kelly if Todd isn’t playing his best football.  There has to be accountability.  There has to be competition.

I think Chip Kelly will want Howie to bring in a deep class and some top UDFAs so that the Eagles can have serious competition this spring and summer.  Trading back can be a big help to that process, but it will only work if the team makes the right picks and the coaches handle the players correctly.

* * * * *

Jimmy Bama put together a great post on release times for Michael Vick and Nick Foles.  Don’t tell  him I said it was great.  He’ll develop a sense of complacency and entitlement and I’ll have to send in Jerry Azzinaro to yell “MORE VIOLENCE” at Jimmy while he types.

For PE.com, I wrote about prospects from the Combine that the Eagles might like.

_


  • austinfan

    Don’t know if Howie had a bad board or didn’t follow it in 2010. Lee was coming off a knee injury, Eagles have avoided that after getting burnt a few times.

    Nate Allen #37 – TJ Ward #38,
    Teo #86 – Bowman #91
    Lindley #105 – Hernandez #113 (note Verner #104, sometimes the guy you really wanted goes just before you pick)
    Clayton #121 – (Gene Atkins #120)
    Kafka #123, Harbor #125 – Chancellor #133

    Imagine if they drafted Ward, Bowman, Hernandez and Chanceller – it would have been a legendary draft.

    • TommyLawlor

      Hernandez and Bowman both slid due to marijuana issues.

      • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

        How would Janoris Jenkins look in our uniform right now?

        • TommyLawlor

          The Eagles wanted Jenkins. He was taken 39th. The Eagles chose 46th. If he was on the board, very good chance the Eagles would have taken him.

          I had concerns with Jenkins and wasn’t a big fan.

          • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

            They also had the ammo to move up for him, and he was widely considered a top 10-15 talent.

          • TommyLawlor

            The Eagles didn’t want to move up for the guy. He was a risky player. You don’t want to sink too many resources into those guys.

          • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

            I would say he was perceived as risky. It seems as if the evidence against the league’s stance on weed guys in the draft grows more damning every year.

          • TommyLawlor

            It wasn’t just weed with Jenkins. He was kicked out of Florida. Do you know what you have to do for an SEC school to kick you out?

            And the risk is real. When he’s been clean in the league for 4 years, then we can talk about him being a guy you can completely trust.

          • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman
        • Mac

          Are you serious? He’d probably just be dipping his blunts in grey poupon.

          • TommyLawlor

            Now that’s funny.

    • Ark87

      5 years after the fact people love to reorder the board knowing what we do now, every team looks dumb in hindsight.

      • http://www.insidetheiggles.com/ CalSFro

        Yeah, I genuinely hate these kinds of comments about “what could have been” in the draft, or how a season would have gone if so and so just hadn’t gotten hurt. Decisions aren’t made in a vacuum. Just because Kam Chancellor is a beast with the Seahawks doesn’t mean he’d be one with the Eagles.

        Once the draft is over, where or when a player was picked no longer matters. How they perform as professional football players matters. Which is exactly why people trying to assign a certain value to Foles because he was a third round pick last year is ludicrous. Sure, you could use it as a loose barometer for a starting point in negotiations, but what’s more important? Where he was originally drafted or how he played?

    • Anders

      There is great chance all the above players wouldnt be what they are now if they landed with the Eagles

  • Ark87

    Quantity has a quality all its own.

    There is no such thing as a safe pick. I like having more chances to find the gems.

    But that’s just me, every round there will be a player or two that the personnel department salivates over still on the board about 5 before our pick, if that person(s) is still there when we pick, we will grab them,if not we trade back, as always. I doubt they will theme the draft any particular way.

    Can’t help but wonder if there is anyone they salivate over in the top 4 of the board.

    • Baloophi

      I’m with you in the quantity game…

      And something tells me they’re not salivating over anybody for pick #4. In terms of trading partners – we’re going to need some help. We need some team to pop an organizational boner for Milliner and fear Detroit taking him at #5 (paging the Bills), or Joeckel to get skipped somehow (the Alex Smith – to – KC trade makes that very unlikely). Both seems like long-shots, BUT, we should see how FA plays out…

      • ICDogg

        Well, I doubt that FA will have much impact on our top pick, but it may well have impact on our other picks. For example, if we picked up a couple of guys like Kenny Phillips and Tracy Porter… well, that would make our secondary look a lot different before we even look at the draft. (Whether or not the Eagles are interested in these guys, I have no idea).

      • Ark87

        Yes FA should drastically change/reveal the landscape of who needs/wants what. The Alex Smith trade alone has scrapped a ton of Mock drafts. FA will give us a lot of hints about not just the Eagles intentions for the draft, but also hints about everybody else’s intentions in the draft.

    • Mac

      I like quantity of picks. Football is a brutal game, every player on the roster is one play away from a season or career ending injury. I like the model that identifies the sweet spot in the draft and tries to bulk up on picks there. Some have said this draft is sweet from 5-25… So maybe this year we try to nab 2 1st rounders via trade back and then trade up.

    • Iskar36

      I definitely understand the quantity argument for the draft. There is a lot to be said about the uncertainty of the draft and in many respects, having a higher quantity allows you to attempt to overcome that uncertainty. On the other hand, if/when you find a player you truly value, I strongly favor quality over quantity.

      To me, a single elite player is not equivalent to multiple average starters. When you can get a difference maker, I think the risk of missing the opportunity of having that player outweighs the risk of him becoming a bust. Tommy’s example of Julio Jones is a great one. Yes, the Browns COULD have drafted great players, but the likelihood of them hitting on all those picks is very small, while obviously Atlanta truly believed in Jones’ potential to be elite. Regardless of who they missed out on, I think Atlanta would redo that trade without blinking an eye.

      At the end of the day, it really comes down to good scouting. When there are players you believe can be difference makers available, I think you have to go after them. It’s only when those players are not available that I think you should favor quantity over quality. So for me, the mind set going in should be find the best quality players possible. If the quality isn’t there, that’s when you try to expand your resources.

      In terms of this draft, I can definitely understand trading back because the players that will be available at 4 do not seem to be guys you truly believe can be difference makers. If that’s how the scouting department feels, I fully support them trading back. On the other hand, if they are sitting there with a guy they think can be a difference maker and debating whether or not to go for him or trade back and take a lesser player + some extra picks, that’s when I think the trading back strategy is flawed.

      • Arby1

        Agreed.

      • Ark87

        It’s a tough call. Both work. Even down to the basic philosophy of 1 star player vs many starters at the core is a philosophical choice with no right answer (chiefs sent 6 players to the pro bowl but don’t have enough starting caliber players in the right places to compete, but there are obvious counter examples where super-stars have carried their teams to glory).

        But then calculate in that no picks are certain. Pro bowlers and HoF players can be found in all rounds (albeit they become much rarer later in the draft, and HoF-type players aren’t in every draft). You may be trading a high round bust for 3 Pro bowlers or you may be trading the next hall of famer for 3 journeyman, never can tell. If I were a team like the Giants or Packers, who consistently draft well, I would be a trade-down fiend. If I weren’t a strong drafter, I’d stay put as it is harder to whiff (completely) higher in the draft.

  • shah8

    I think a trade back will be impossible. If anything, it’s the good teams at the back of the round one who will get the most offers for the teams that are eying the more marginal talent, especially at QB. I.E., Arizona taking whatever OL that falls to them, and moving up to the late first round for a QB they like. Or something like that. For what it’s worth, every team will have a substantial number of “acceptable picks” up until, oh, pick 12 or so. And I don’t think any of the high round teams want to drop *all* the way out of picking top end (for this draft) talent.

    The Bama post strikes me as rather pointless, as all of these release time posts. That’s a set of info that’s too noisy to say much of anything. Only of ax-grinding value.

    • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

      I think when you break it down the numbers actually show that Vick and Foles got the ball out in virtually the same amount of time after the offense was altered to accomadate for a depleted O-line after Week 4. It would be nice to see the data combined with play type/passing distance. That’s a lot of work, though.

    • Ark87

      Not really, it was a solid post. The relevance was in that Chip wants a quick release from his QB (even the mobile ones). He then put up a disclaimer that Chip may be able to get that from Vick with different coaching/scheming/play calling.

      The numbers do back up the image that Vick is one to hold onto the ball looking to make the big play, put the team on his back. The question is if and older QB can change his game at this stage in his career.

      Bama doesn’t like that Vick’s still here. You find it asinine that he posted numbers that back up his position, but it’s no less asinine than dismissing the numbers as pointless because they don’t support your position.

      • ICDogg

        “The numbers do back up the image that Vick is one to hold onto the ball looking to make the big play, put the team on his back. The question is if and older QB can change his game at this stage in his career.”

        I think the question is how much of what he does is a result of what he is asked to do compared to what he would do if asked to do otherwise.

        Vick has a really big arm, and not just he, but the coaches, would like to take advantage of that. In order to do that, he can’t throw the ball within 2 seconds because there will be no one to throw it to.

        • Ark87

          I agree:
          That is the real question here, the one that Chip wants to be answered before the team makes any long-term decisions on Vick.

          “Vick has a really big arm, and not just he, but the coaches, would like to take advantage of that. In order to do that, he can’t throw the ball within 2 seconds because there will be no one to throw it to.”
          This is true that in 2 senses. The first is that you have to hold onto the ball to let deep routes developed, and that is definitely on coaches.
          But the other thing is that Vick throws only after he identifies an open receiver, anticipation isn’t his thing (not always a bad thing when playing against the Asante Samuels of the world who play the QB not the WR, which is why Asante is best against elite anticipatory QB’s like the Manning brothers). This adds some time to your release time.

          My major question in Bama’s data collecting is when did he stop the timer on Vick during scrambles, when he ran past the LoS, when he “tucked” the ball (lol Vick doesn’t tuck, I mean puts the ball down with clear intent to run), or did he throw out the scrambles to eliminate the subjective nature of clocking those plays.

      • Neil

        I think shah has a point. When I look at Jimmy’s numbers and remember what I saw in the games, I think the fault lies with the coaches, not Vick. They called many more short plays with Foles in the game. Vick would have changed his stripes last season if the coaches had called a different offense. We have no reports of Vick being insubordinate, right?

        • Ark87

          Which are all points that Bama concedes in his findings.

          Just because the data doesn’t prove Michael Vick is hopeless doesn’t mean it is pointless. It does provide some interesting insight. First it shows a clear trend in Vick’s release time going down, clearly this was an objective for the Coaches and Vick alike. It demonstrates that Vick can improve his release time through coaching, play calling, and personal motivation. But it also demonstrates that the game plans, play calls, and skill sets that fit Foles best tend to result in a shorter release times, even in a rookie.

          Vick did initially struggle with holding onto the ball until he got hit or made an ill-advised throw under extreme duress. He admitted that he was working on not trying to do too much. You could see his progress as he learned to throw the ball away and avoid unnecessary contact on scrambles. The question I have is can he change enough to be what Chip wants in a QB. We know he can change, but is it enough? In terms of getting the ball out, neither Vick nor Foles are where Chip needs them to be, but Data-wise and anecdotally Foles appears to have the inside track in that particular race.

          • Neil

            Yep, good points.

  • Judy Thomas

    Would love to trade back but the big question is would anyone want to trade up.

    • TommyLawlor

      Judy, this is the key question. It doesn’t feel likely, but you never know if a team in the 7-12 range will fall in love with a prospect and be willing to pay the price to move up. I hope some team does make us an offer. Even if we don’t make a deal, it would be great to have the option.

      • Eric Weaver

        I think there’s a 50-50 shot some team wants Milliner and they may want to get ahead of the Lions.

  • T_S_O_P

    We could just trade our 1st and 2nd to Zona for their 1st, 2nd and 3rd plus a pick next year. The get the OL and QB in 1 and 2. Implausible,but a plan just the same

  • Baloophi

    Question for the forum:

    If we traded from #4 to the middle or bottom 3rd of round 1 in what would be a massively unlikely scenario, would you consider Tavon Austin with the pick? WR doesn’t seem to be an immediate need, but he sure seems like a special talent…

    Presumably, you’d then have the ammo to move up to get a CB, S, OT, or DT either later in the round or (more likely) in the 2nd.

    Follow-up: if we drop a few spots and draft someone else near the top of round 1, would you consider packaging to move up from our 2nd rounder to pick him if he’s lingering at the end of round 1?

    • TommyLawlor

      I love Tavon Austin and would be fine with taking him. I think Chip Kelly would need medication if he got hold of a weapon like that.

      • Anders

        I wouldnt mind Austin at all.

        I do really wonder if De’Anthony Thomas enters the draft next year, where he will go and if the Eagles would go hard after him. Just think about it, Thomas, Jackson, Austin, McCoy, Brown. That is some serious speed and playmaking ability (yes Im allowed to dream)

    • D3FB

      I feel Tavon’s skills would be a bit redundant on our team. If we go WR I would prefer Quinton Patton, Markus Wheaton, or Chris Harper in the 2nd or 3rd.

    • Arby1

      No interest in dropping back that far but if we did, I’d target value and need with a CB like Xavier.

      • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

        I don’t think he will be there. The only question about Rhodes before the combine was his long speed and he silenced that. I don’t see him lasting past #13 and I think there’s a good chance he winds up being the best corner picked in the first round when we look back at this draft in a few years.

    • austinfan

      He’s a tinker toy. Someone you draft after you’ve put both your lines together and have your core in place.

      This year is when you lay the foundation, not when you put pretty shutters on the windows.

      If you can’t block or rush the QB, a guy like Austin ain’t gonna do much for you, and his longevity will always be a question mark.

      • Arby1

        I agree – this is our chance to start over with low to no expectations. Rebuild the lines and the secondary. Try to position yourself for a QB next year.

  • http://www.insidetheiggles.com/ CalSFro

    Trading back in this draft would be great for the simple fact that we have a lot of roster spots to fill. And if the recent past is any indication, Howie is a quantity guy when it comes to the draft. Draft early and often and you’re bound to hit on a few quality players. I guess he got that from Johnson.

    Couple of free agents I’d love to see the Eagles target…Roy Miller and Jermichael Finley.

    Finley could be the big, athletic tight end/receiving threat (especially in the red zone) we’ve been missing and that Chip apparently loves. And Miller could be a good, young (see: ascending), blocker-occupying nose tackle.

    • Mac

      If Finley stays healthy he can be a beast in the passing game. Plus that would mean decreasing our need to spend picks on a tight end if we’re gonna keep more than 2 on our roster this year.

      • Adam

        Why would you wanna spend big money in FA rather than invest a draft pick in a TE? That’s the complete opposite way you want to build a team. Build through the draft.

        • Mac

          Outside of Kelce’s little brother, there’s no TE that I’m particularly interested in acquiring.

          • fran35

            I really like Eifert, although he won’t last long come 2nd round.

    • http://www.facebook.com/justin.sengstock.7 Justin Sengstock

      My father is a Packers fan, and I watch at least half of their games every year. Finley is trash. Bad hands and a total headcase. No way in hell should we pursue him.

      • http://www.insidetheiggles.com/ CalSFro

        Come on. Trash? Really?

        His talent level is phenomenal. He doesn’t have bad hands, just poor focus/concentration. That’s coachable.

        • Neil

          I don’t know, if GB couldn’t get more than inconsistent play out of him, I wouldn’t bet on other teams doing better. Might happen, but not likely.

          • http://www.insidetheiggles.com/ CalSFro

            Sometimes all it takes is a change of scenery. You see it all the time. Especially since his personality seemed to clash with the small town feel in Green Bay.

          • fran35

            He seems lazy and inconsistent. Blocking is alot about effort and this guy doesn’t seem to put much effort into blocking. The effort and sense of entitlement would not fit well with Chip and especially this city after the last three years. No thanks. Give me Celek over him.

          • http://www.insidetheiggles.com/ CalSFro

            I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Celek is half of what you want at the TE position these days. You have to upgrade the other spot(s).

          • TheRogerPodacter

            sorry man, i have to disagree with you on this…
            i’m not as convinced as the others that finley isn’t very good, but i am very convinced that he would not be very good for us.

            the change of scenery would in no way be better for him. he is catching passes from aaron rodgers. no matter how much we like foles or even vick, they aren’t going to hold a candle to rodgers.

            if you are inconsistent for GB and come to this rather dysfunctional team, youre going to have a bad time

          • http://www.insidetheiggles.com/ CalSFro

            He played on a team with about 4 starting caliber wide receivers. If he had been on the Eagles the last few years I guarantee he puts up much better numbers simply because he’s targeted more.

          • TheRogerPodacter

            we’re just going to have to agree to disagree. i think that playing with rodgers is only making him look better than he is. and i’m not sure how great he has looked recently, either.

          • http://www.insidetheiggles.com/ CalSFro

            Fair enough. I just think one mans partial under achiever is another mans star TE/slot receiver.

        • austinfan

          His talent level isn’t close to phenomenal.

          He’s basically a big WR, doesn’t block well, has inconsistent hands, has decent but not great speed.

          As a #2 TE, he’d be a great addition at a reasonable price, as a #1 TE, with a big salary, he’ll be a disaster.

          People like to diss someone like Harbor, but imagine Finley trying to make those wham blocks on Ware that Harbor made last year.

          • http://www.insidetheiggles.com/ CalSFro

            He’s a #2 tight end? You’re going to say with a straight face that Brent Celek is more talented than he is? If you want to talk about Celek’s effort, by all means, go for it. But don’t sit there and say that Finley is a #2, while someone like Celek is a #1 (As much as I really do love Celek). You’re essentially equating Finley to Harbor in an overall sense as a tight end, and saying the only difference is that Harbor can block. That’s ridiculous.

            And why in the world would you sign a receiving threat like Finley and then worry about how he blocks? That is beyond me. Sure, it’s something he’d have to do. But I doubt he’s lining up in-line very much. He’ll be in the slot if anything.

            And yes, he is incredibly talented. All these people are clamoring for Jared Cook. Finley and Cook are very similar. Except Finley actually has some production and Cook is mostly projection.

          • austinfan

            He is not “incredibly talented.” I’m a Longhorn fan, I saw him in college and the pros. He’s basically a big WR who’s is called a TE, ran a 4.82 at the combine and a 4.66 at his pro day, good but not great speed for a H-back.

            His last two seasons he’s averaged 717 yards, caught 64% of passes thrown his way, and 7.9 yards per throw.

            Celek the last two seasons has averaged 748 yards, caught 65% of throws, and 8.2 yards per throw.

            Celek is bigger and a much better blocker than FInley, who is one of the worst blocking TEs in the NFL. The only edge Finley has is better speed down the seam, but even there he’s not exceptional.

            Chip wants to emphasize the running game, so Finley would be a liability much of the time. Makes no sense to pay good money to Finley for a 3rd down role.

          • http://www.insidetheiggles.com/ CalSFro

            Wait so the coach who loves TEs and athleticism wouldn’t want Finley who, regardless of whether you want to accept it or not, is much more than a third down option?

            And the Celek vs Finley comparison is moot…Celek, limited though he may be athletically, is and has been the third receiver on his team. Finley plays on a team with about four wide receivers who could/should be starters in this league. GB throws the ball a lot, but they spread it around.

          • http://www.insidetheiggles.com/ CalSFro

            Celek is also neither bigger or a particularly good blocker. Nor does he have great hands.

  • nopain23

    It looks like Luke will go #1 to KC now with the recent trade.

    At #4 I say you take the guy with the heighest ceiling if you can’t trade back. That guy seems to be Jordan at the moment.
    In the 2RD take best safety available . I like ( cyprien or elam) one of them should be there.
    3RD best CB prospect available. I have no idea who will available in ther 3rd.
    the the best NT prospect available. I’ve said it before I hope HW listens to gamble.
    If Mathieu is there n the 6th,5th Rd I say you take chance and pull the trigger.
    Been hearing that SF has 15 picks First of all . Is that even true. There are 7RDs how in the hell does ateam amass 15 picks!!!!!??????? If this is true can we trade our 4th for their # 31 nad their next 7 picks???.. They have no big holes to fill. No way they draft 15 rookies. And can they affrord to pay 15 rookies??..mind boggling
    Finally can we please just cut Nnamdi already. That bum gave up on the taem last year. I see NO reason to keep him on the team .

    • D3FB

      Doug Martin was drafted 31 last year and made $1.2 million. Anybody taken after the third round or so is going to get right around league minimum. Compare that to pick number 4 Last year Matt Kalil who signed a 4 year $20 million dollar deal. So our pick number four is gonna cost us about as much as 31 both second rounders and a couple of the third rounders.

  • Gregory Post

    We do have to get lucky. Aaron Curry was seen as the surefire pick back in 2009. Its interesting how you said that the Browns would have gotten the better end of that deal if they picked the players you indicated, but how would they measure up if they did indeed suit up for the Browns? They are as much a product of the system as the system is a product of them. Colin Kaepernick with poor pass protection and no run support could have injured his arm in week 2 and never been the same player. Brady Quinn could have gone on to be a star if drafted by Baltimore. Its hard to tell what the future of these players would be if they were on different teams.

  • A_T_G

    So, you think Trent Edwards is nervous yet?

    http://www.csnphilly.com/eagles/source-eagles-sign-qb-gj-kinne

    • Mac

      Guys who are as cool as Trent Edwards in the pocket don’t get nervous mate.

  • Guest

    Tommy, would love you thoughts S Kenny Vaccaro, best safety since Earl
    Thomas in the draft imo, maybe we do trade back, could we take Kenny?
    Would be a huge upgrade at S imo. Also wondering your thoughts on Jake
    Stoneburner as a day 3 TE target, coming out of HS he was a highly
    regarded player until the woes of playing in that awful Ohio State
    Passing Attack where the TE is hardly covered happen, also peeing on a
    wall? I don’t see NFL teams worried about that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548999324 Matt Hoover

    Tommy, would love you thoughts S Kenny Vaccaro, best safety since Earl
    Thomas in the draft imo, maybe we do trade back, could we take Kenny?
    Would be a huge upgrade at S imo. Also wondering your thoughts on Jake
    Stoneburner as a day 3 TE target, coming out of HS he was a highly
    recruited player until playing in that awful Ohio State
    Passing Attack, also peeing on a
    wall? I don’t see NFL teams worried about that.

  • http://twitter.com/LuvJones1987 Malcolm Jones

    Tommy what are you thoughts on G. J. Kinne and how does adding another Duel Threat affect what we hear Chip say about Nick and what will actually happen as far as trade talk.

  • http://twitter.com/bubqr Virgile – Bubqr

    Hey Tommy, I m curious, what is your current safety rankings (not updated on Scoutsnotebook) ? I haven’t had as much time as previous years to go through cutups of potential targets, so I’ve focused on my favorite positions: safeties. I have 4 that I really like, then others:

    4. Cyprien: Solid all around, I think people might get excited because of his physique a little bit too much – I don’t see special instincts (the 3 games available + Senior Bowl dont give much though), but I don’t see a huge gap with Vaccaro either

    3. Elam While I really love what I see of Elam at times (at his best downhill), and could see him becoming a real force, he scares me with his habit of not wrapping up. He, not Shamarko “awful angles” Thomas looks like Bob Sanders at times though. I could see him becoming a real force as well as just being Merriweather part 2 (inconsistent, too many penalties and missed tackles).

    2. Vaccaro: I find him very good all around, solid tackler, can play the ball, can cover man to man, but I don’t see the “special” some people are talking about – Which game should I have a look at?

    1. Eric Reid: I wonder why he is not the clear cut#1 ? He looks like a good athlete, good instincts, angles, hand, GOOD WRAP UP TACKLER, physical – What am I missing? Honestly looks like a top prospect, not Eric Berry like but just below, on par with Earl Thomas (not the centerfieder Thomas is/was, but more reliable vs the run) to me

    Others:

    Philip Thomas: Great hands/cover skills, but just not physical. He just doesnt like it, go watch some of his game vs Boise, you got one good tackle for 5 plays where he s jogging to the action, and not willing to come put that extra hit when the guy is wrapped up – Go watch the Oregon cut-ups, on this game he looks like crap, despite a FF/FR. I think Eagles fans would get mad at looking at him in run defense, he s worse than Allen, Coleman, Anderson in that regard. The INTs could be worth that for some though.

    TJ McDonald: Could only see vs Stanford, where he looks good rushing the passer, mediocre otherwide. He s playing half the time on the LOS as a OLB on this tape. Not very physical either (striking after you’ve had a look at Elam)

    Jefferson: So many missed tackles…Once again, I just dont see the added vallue vs Nate Allen

    Rambo: I see Taylor Mays – I cant remember how you described it at the time but it was spot on – Tough vs defenseless receivers, but soft and jogging around vs the run. We might have high expectations because of Dawkins, but I m so tired of those guys. Shawn Williams looks better on his tape.

    Shamarko Thomas: Just poor instincts and very bad angles, once again I see people getting excited by his athleticism a bit too much. Solid tackler, and physical/fast player though.

    Swearinger: I dont want to sound like a broken record, but where is the physicality? And yeah, that hit: you wont be able to put that kind of shoulder check big hit on NFL RBs. Once again, the guy just doesn’t like getting dirty, fighting blocks and hustling for the tackle or the FF. It doesn’t mean he is a bad prospect, he ll probably be picked in the 3rd/4th but I can’t be a fan.

    All in all I think there is a gap between my top 4, which I really like and could all picture becoming good to very good all around safeties, and the rest.

    • http://twitter.com/benjabad Ben Hert

      And a happy Friday to you too!

      In all seriousness, that is a pretty depressing list right there. Safety is my number one issue I want addressed this year, more so than QB,CB, DL,OL, or anything else. Seems like there are always plenty of OL/DL to go around, but the lack of good safeties in the past 4 or 5 years is just depressing. I will say that I’m still perfectly fine with giving Nate Allen one more chance to prove that he can be the player we drafted him to be, and the player he showed glimpses of seeing in his time here, so far. I would still like to draft someone in the late first or second.

      I as well can’t wait till Scouts Notebook gets updated with this year’s prospects. My go to for my annual draft day betting game.

    • Mac

      Enjoyed reading your insights on the Safeties coming out.

  • SteveH

    Wow what an epic haul that would have been for the Browns if they had drafted that way. Kaepernick, Sherman, Harrison Smith and Cobb. Talk about laying the foundation for your team on offense and defense.

    I might be in the minority here but I still think Atlanta gave up too much for Jones. I mean Jones is a good, pro bowl caliber WR, but he’s not Megatron or Larry Fitzgerald or Randy Moss. When you give up those kinds of resources for a WR I’d hope it would be for someone who was a cut above.
    In Eagles talk, we have had some bad luck with high draft picks. Freddie Mitchell turned into a prima donna, Corey Simon decided that consuming epic amounts of peeps was more important than football, Shawn Andrews went off the deep end, Jerome Mcdougle got shot… Not saying that Mitchell or Mcdougle would have been stars or anything, but they could have at least contributed, and Corey Simon/Shawn Andrews were pro bowl caliber players before they had their issues.

    • Mac

      You may be in the minority, but you’ve got my vote. On draft day, I’m not giving all those picks up for Jones.

  • Jeff

    This is a bit off topic, but Tommy mentioned Corey Simon’s issues. I have read this type of generic statement many times, but does anyone know what those issues actually were? Just wondering. He flamed out spectacularly after a very good start to his career.

    • the midatlantic
      • the midatlantic

        Wikipedia says he retired due to “polyarthritis”, ie arthritic problems in >5 joints simultaneously.

        • Jeff

          Thanks guys. I had always heard the “mystery illness that is not life threatening” spiel, but hadn’t heard about massive arthritis.

    • TheRogerPodacter

      lol i was wondering the same thing, and didn’t know it was even illness related.

  • PhillyBirds

    Sorry this is off topic but I see where LeSean McCoy came out and said absolutely he thinks Vick will be the starter. This is the biggest reason I wanted this guy off the team. All of these guys who have played with him the last few years continue to think he’s some god like player. I understand they’ve been in the trenches with him but how can they not see that Vick is simply not a good qb. It’s this sense of entitlement that by their names only, they continue to think they are these stud players who have accomplished something with their careers…which they AREN’T.

    So frustrating. I know it’s an innocent comment, and surprising to see him stick up for his boy, but it’s like some of the guys on this team can never see the real picture. They just see their big, inflated heads tell them to see, including Michael Vick being any good.

    • xeynon

      That may be McCoy’s opinion, but he doesn’t make that decision, Chip Kelly does. If Kelly decides Vick is not the best quarterback on the team, he won’t start, no matter what the other players think.

      • Ark87

        The point is you don’t need to be picking sides before a starter is announced. This tired BS is never good for a locker room. Tally 1 star RB in the Vick corner, let the controversy begin.

      • Iskar36

        I agree with this, but I do think the point PhillyBirds is making is still relevant. If players are in the mindset that Vick is the starter and he ends up being benched, that may come off as a defeat to the team. It can have a negative affect on the team chemistry if the team is not rallying behind their QB.

        At the end of the day, Kelly will pick the QB that can most effectively run his system, so in that sense, you are completely right. The question is, will this team fully support whoever that QB ends up being?

    • Ark87

      Good points. Tommy mentioned that players need to not feel entitled to anything, and competition helps that. But here is an example of something akin to that self-entitlement. This is every man for himself, you earn your job, the guy that starts next to you earns his. Preconceptions of who will or who should start need to go.

      • PhillyBirds

        Exactly Ark…you put it into better words than I did. It’s just not helpful at all for the star running back to be making comments like this. In the article he says “I think people forget we’re talking about Michael Vick”, but what does that even mean. It’s like some of his own team mates don’t even see how unproductive he has been over the last few years because they can’t get over the crush they’ve had on him since they were growing up, playing Madden using Vick as their QB.

        I realize that LeSean saying this has no bearing on what Chip thinks/will do, but it just frustrates me this team can’t get out of their own way sometimes with comments.

        • Iskar36

          While I agree with you that comments like LeSean’s are not helpful, I don’t know that I agree with your reasoning. I think LeSean is most likely trying to be positive about his QB. If he is asked a direct question about Vick, he can’t say things like “well he sucked last year…” That would be significantly more damaging of a comment in terms of team chemistry. I think all the players know that Vick struggled the last two years, but IF he ends up winning the starting job, as a teammate, you have to support him fully and trust that he will be successful.

          For me, the issue comes if players end up supporting Vick over Foles. If Shady is so certain that Vick will be the starter, but then Kelly picks Foles over Vick, there is a risk of losing trust in both your QB and potentially even your coach. I doubt things would escalate to that level, but I would rather avoid the entire situation altogether by having players view the QB spot to be open competition between two qualified players.

    • shah8

      This is deep la-la land. In what universe do you think you are more qualified to know better than a major component of the offense? Could you at least admit that there is some chance that you might be wrong about Vick? Or just let things play out?

      /me facepalms…

      I know that these days, it’s acceptable to live in some universe of your own making, facts be damned–but…in realitylandia, Vick is a starting grade QB, and not one that’s near replacement level like the A. Smiths or TJacks of the world. If he had left, he would have easily found another starting job. Moreover, if Vick actually plays well next year, the restructured contract is favorable in its brevity, and he can get a new, better one, instead of the old one that ultimately wasn’t too bad in the later years. Foles is not a starting grade QB, and there was never the prospect of getting a third round pick, let alone a second for trading him.

      Sure, you can defy the laws of nature, and as the Vikings did last year, even succeed a bit–mostly because the little boy at QB had a pet T1K android as his RB and a much improved defense. Even so, you get very pissed off people, like Percy Harvin, with trade rumors galore, and everyone doing the fakey smiles and reassuring quotes.

      Chip Kelly sees himself as a consummate professional, and he wants to succeed, and he needs the professionals on his team to buy into his approach. He’s not going to do any Speilman bull, guys. The only way Nick Foles gets to be the starter is by injury or proving to the surprise of many (or me, at least), that he is too a good starting QB.

      Talking smack about one of those key professional’s opinion as if he knows nothing and you do is just supremely clueless.

      • PhillyBirds

        I’m not trying to act like I know more than anyone. And also in the same way you mock me for having doubts about Vick, how can you completely dismiss Foles as a starting level quarterback. You ask me to “let things play out”, but we have let things play out the last 3 years, and besides a 10 game stretch it has turned out pretty terribly for Vick. And it’s not like he was lighting the world on fire in Atlanta all those years. I think he developed a reputation somewhere along the way as one of the most exciting guys in the league and rightfully so; but lets not mistake that for one of the best QBs, because that he is not.

        My issue is more cultural than anything else. I don’t deny that Vick can start for other teams in the NFL, but I just don’t want it to be here. Just my opinion. I don’t like the way LeSean endorses Vick as if he’s some sort of superstar, because he is not, and quite frankly rarely ever has been one in his career. The guys on the team seem to love him and that is great because the guy plays his heart out, but where is the support for Nick Foles? If the coach is declaring it an open competition and some of the key players make their feelings known about who they think it should be, then I think that’s a situation to could cause some discontent. It is just one in a line of many comments made by players who just can’t seem to keep their mouths shut at a time where the fanbase has little patience for any sense of entitlement for anyone on the team, whether about themselves or a teammates job.