Eagles-QB-Draft Update

Posted: March 21st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 61 Comments »

Paul Domowitch, a young Philly sportswriter on the rise, put out a column today about the Eagles and their need to find a QB in the upcoming draft.  He focused on 3 main players:  Geno Smith, EJ Manuel, and Matt Scott.

The Eagles have been linked to these players so that does make sense.  You could think of Smith as a potential 1st round target, Manuel a 2nd round target, and Scott a 3rd round target.  There is also a case to be made for each player.

Smith is the top QB in the class.  If the Eagles truly think he can be a franchise QB, take him and be done with it.  Manuel has the highest upside of the trio.  He is big, strong, athletic, and went 25-6 as a starter at Florida State.  Scott runs the best of the trio and seems like the most natural fit in Chip Kelly’s offense.  He’s also not going to take a super-early pick so there is less risk with him.

Obviously there is a case against each player.  While Smith is the best QB this year, he would have been 4th or worse last year.  He isn’t great at anything.  He just happens to be the top dog in a weak QB class.  Manuel is a project, but started for 2 full seasons at a major school. That’s a red flag.  Scott is also a project, but only started one full season.  He’s more raw than the other two QBs.

I agree that it is important for the Eagles to add a rookie QB to the fold.  It would be great for Chip Kelly to have someone to start developing.  The key is for the Eagles to find a QB they do like, whether in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or whatever round.  Obviously there is a big difference in taking a QB early and taking one late, but the point is that you can’t force the issue.  You must find a player you like.  Based on Chip Kelly’s comments about players yesterday, I don’t think we have to worry about him being casual with QBs.  He’ll only bring someone in that he does want and believes can succeed.

Let’s talk about a few prospects now.  Gil Brandt recently said on Twitter that he doesn’t see the top 5 teams taking Geno Smith, despite the fact those teams are meeting with him and working Smith out.  Brandt reads this as false interest to make someone trade up.

Daniel Jeremiah (aka MoveTheSticks) did a recent mock draft for NFL.com and had the Eagles taking DL Star Lotulelei and Geno Smith falling to Buffalo at #8.

I’ve state my case against Smith.  I just don’t think he is worth the #4 pick.  It seems that Brandt and Jeremiah feel the same way.  That doesn’t mean we’re right.  This is just how we’re thinking.

I won’t be angry if the Eagles take Smith.  Right now, I trust Chip Kelly.  If he wants Geno, go get him.  My guess is that will not be happening.  We’ll find out in a month.

Manuel is a lightning rod-prospect.  Some draftniks, bloggers, and football people love him.  They see a big guy that has excellent potential.  Manuel seems like a high character kid.  He went 4-0 in bowl games at FSU.  There are lots of reasons to like him.

I don’t.  I get worried when a star high school player goes to a major football school and comes out still a major project.  Think of this as the Jake Locker rule.  Locker played a ton of football at Washington, but came out as raw as he went in.  He’s the same guy in the NFL.  You love his toughness and athleticism, but Locker isn’t an efficient pocket passer.  I see Manuel as a similar player.

You can make a really compelling case for why teams should like him, but I see a guy with too many question marks.  Had he played for a small school or just one year or gone to an option team or something like that, I could accept the fact he’s so raw.

Jeremiah offered some thoughts on Manuel that somewhat meshed with mine.  He said Manuel would need time to develop.  He mentioned that he doesn’t see Manuel as a franchise QB.  He also added this:

“During his career, E.J. Manuel has started 7 games against top 25 opponents. Stats: 6 TD’s, 9 INT’s (3-4 record)”

I know many people want to compare Manuel to Colin Kaepernick, but I think that is a forced comparison.  I’ve mentioned this before.  Kapernick came out of Nevada an overachiever.  Manuel never became the star at FSU he was supposed to be.  He was good.  No question about that.  But Manuel was supposed to be a stud QB that would play at an elite level.  Instead, he leaves with a good career and as a pro project.  I’m just not investing a high pick in that guy.

Chip Kelly may feel differently.  He recruited Manuel to Oregon, as many people like to point out.  The problem is that Manuel just spent 4 years at FSU and is a different player now.  He played for a team that believed in good defense.  They were somewhat conservative on offense.  Manuel threw 47 career TDs.  Redshirt Freshman Marcus Mariota threw 32 for Oregon this year.  That should give you an idea of how different the attacks were.  Manuel still has raw ability, but based on the pick involved to get him, he might not be worth the risk.

Matt Scott is the guy I’ve liked for a while, but he’s got issues as well.  I love the fact that he’s a natural QB.  He can run and throw and makes it look easy at times.  Real good arm.  Scott has good physical tools.  The biggest concern is the mental side of things.  Arizona ran a very simple passing attack this year.  Scott made a ton of quick throws.  I know he has the physical tools to be an NFL QB, but I don’t know if he can read defenses and consistently make good decisions.  He threw 14 INTs this year.  He forced the ball at times.  The question is whether he did so due to confidence in his arm or because he didn’t see the defender and it was more of a mental mistake.

Since Scott played so little, he doesn’t have bad habits built up over time.  You could possibly coach that stuff out of him.  Meeting with him and picking his brain would be crucial to making a good evaluation.  As an outsider, I’d value him in the 4th round.  If you think he’s a really bright guy that just needs coaching, he might rate a 3rd round pick.

There are other QBs to cover.  I focused on these 3 since Domo did and they’ve all been linked to the Eagles.  The team sent a group to West Virginia to meet with and workout Geno.  Matt Scott came to Philly to meet with the team.  They’ll send a coach out to do a full workout with him (you can’t do individual workouts at the team’s facility).  The Eagles have a meeting scheduled with Manuel.  I’m not clear if that’s in Philly or Florida.  We don’t know who the team likes, but they are checking out all 3 guys closely.

* * * * *

Jimmy Bama wrote something on the Eagles and high school stars.  Kinda interesting.

_


  • Ark87

    Really nice insight on Manuel. Growth is something that is so hard to judge in a prospect, but probably the most important aspect. A prospect that doesn’t grow is an automatic bust.

  • Anders

    I think Manuel would be great value in the 3rd round. Im just not sure he lasts that long and AR would most likely pick him up there before us.

    • TommyLawlor

      It is possible Manuel goes in the late 1st round.

      • GGeagle21

        I keep getting the feeling that the niners will snatch up EJ before he makes it to us in round 2……..Then again, I also don’t think we will add any QBs in this draft..maybe we take a flier in rd 5 or 7…..We could really use this draft to help our team tremendously…I also think, we should probably let chi find out what he has in our QB who we after in the 3rd round last year, before we just go drafting QB’s every year…Fact of the matter is..If we draft a QB in this draft, I HIGHLY doubt any of these guys can prove to be our future as rookie’s. They will all need time…so 90% of the fans who want Geno,EJ,Scott will just want to draft a QB again next year anyway

  • Anders

    Also Im getting really intrigued by the Benn addition. Somebody over at BGN suggest that with Benn and Casey now on the team, we could have Maclin, Jackson, Benn, Casey and a RB on the field, the other team are forced into a nickle or dime package and then the Eagles could just line Benn up as a TE and Casey as a FB and run it down the throat of the defense and they wouldnt be able to do anything about it.

    • EaglesHero87

      I wonder how many snaps Benn/Casey would share with Celek, too. It’s also going to be really exciting to see the split-back set with Shady, Brown, and/or Casey in the backfield. Imagine how often Casey would go in motion to keep the defense on their toes.

      • Anders

        We got so many options and we know Kelly will exploit em

        • GGeagle21

          they might not be our best skill players, but Casey and Benn will be our most valuable(assuming chip can resurrect Benn)..Those two players on the field together is what will allow chip to puppet master opposing defenses to death..Just think when we go with a Heavy TE power run set with Benn as the Lone WR:
          if defenses don’t stack the box, then pound Bryce n shady all day..once they stak the box, we can run play action, or motion them out per-snap, stretch the defense out and throw the ball…when they decide to try and stop it with Nickle, and dime backs, you motion them back in tight and pound the ball. Casey and Benn will allow Chip to do what he did in college…get to the line of scrimmage, read the defense, per snap motion into something that will take advantage of the defense

      • http://www.facebook.com/jakwaggoner Jack Waggoner

        Benn Casey? Wasn’t that a TV doctor show?

        • A Roy

          50 years ago, old timer.

          • http://www.facebook.com/michael.w.cho Michael Winter Cho

            They had TV back then!?

          • A Roy

            B/W. No cable.

      • Ark87

        Lets see, Celek, Casey, Shady, Bryce Brown, Benn…and we would put our smurfs on the field….why?

  • A_T_G

    I think the symmetry of drafting Scott, making him sit behind Foles, then sending Foles away and making him the starter is worth whatever it takes to get him. Third rounder, no question. Fourth overall? For a storyline like that when I watch the road to the SB(s) recap with my kids in 20 years? Worth it.

    • TommyLawlor

      Classic.

  • shah8

    I would compare Manuel to Tarvaris Jackson. Jackson isn’t chopped liver, but if you can get TJack with faster and better decisionmaking, then Manuel would be well worth it. Manuel is a more accurate passer than Locker, and his Lewin rating suggest that there is little risk of lack of development. My gut feeling is that Manuel will be the second QB picked.

    As far as Geno dropping, I really just doubt it. I remember all the bull about Cam Newton dropping and all the intrigue with Gabbert being played up before the draft. Geno Smith is roughly at the level of Mark Sanchez or Matt Ryan as far as draft attractiveness goes. Thus, it’s really unlikely he drops to eighth, and one probably shouldn’t take mocks that has Jacksonville taking Dion Jordan over Smith too seriously. Geno Smith is reasonably relatively unique as a QB prospect–thinking deeply about it, he’s closest to Byron Leftwich, and he’s not mechanically or physically that similar. I do think it’s relatively unlikely that he busts, though. High floor type, like Ryan.

    Don’t really know Matt Scott.

    • TommyLawlor

      Matt Ryan was a better prospect than Geno.

      Geno falling is different than Cam. The big question with Cam was intangibles. His college accomplishments were the stuff of legend. His comeback vs Bama is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.

      There is nothing great or compelling about Geno. And that’s part of the reason I expect him to not be a Top 5 pick.

      • austinfan

        Put it this way, Mariota was as impressive as a freshman as Geno was as a senior. Kinda puts Geno’s career in perspective, a product of padding stats against weak defenses and a system that let’s you rack up the numbers. Doesn’t mean he’s born to lose, but he’s not the sure thing, top of the draft guy you have to take.

        • ACViking

          Put Geno Smith on Oregon . . . . and maybe his stats for 4 years would be better than Mariota’s.

          Is it fair to compare the production of players on teams so vastly different in terms of talent, scheme and coach?

          It would seem to like comparing the production of QBs from different decades after a burst of evolutionary change in the passing game.

      • A Roy

        The thing is, they’ve now got me convinced they’ll take Geno unless someone trades up (to 1 or 3), and I don’t want him.

      • shah8

        I do not think Matt Ryan was a better prospect than Geno. The stats don’t bear that out, and neither does the tape. Matt Ryan was really prone to erratic decision-making for a high end prospect, leading to high INT totals. He also did not really have anything but enough arm to unquestionably play as NFL starter. Just had mostly good form, mechanically, and good ability to digest an offense. Matt Ryan was the quintessential “high floor” dude that paid off, not least because nobody had any illusions about how much he could carry an offense. Any question about that can simply be answered by looking at the stats of some peer high draft picks like Philip Rivers or even Eli Manning. If you think those guys are too old, take a look at Sam Bradford stats and vids from Oklahoma, and Bradford has had his share of bad games in big spotlights, injury questions and other marks. Simply put Matt Ryan was a *very* weak top QB prospect based on statistics and tape, in a limited sense, weaker than even Mark Sanchez! He’s basically a pretty boy who actually can play the game, some.

        Geno Smith has the better arm, by a bit of a margin, but his release isn’t quite as tight as I’d like to see it, but he makes better decisions on the playing field. He’s a better athlete that can cope with a weak OL, and moves in the pocket well. Like Matt Ryan, Geno Smith isn’t quite the guy who can spot some lonely WR out there and just get the ball there, ad hoc. He has somewhat weaker mechanics than Ryan, but clearly has a higher ceiling if that can be cleaned up. Should not be in a WCO with lots of short passes until he shows better touch on them (yes, I know, threw lots of short passes in college). EJ Manuel, for example, has nicer mechanics, but is substantially less able to make plays than Geno. Barkley is probably the one that drops, since he doesn’t truly have an NFL arm (unless some team likes him as a pretty boy for the nonce). Tyler Wilson is a much better QB than Ryan Mallet, but he only has just enough arm–think Andy Dalton.

        Seriously, Tommy, I find it very doubtful that Jacksonville won’t draft Geno Smith. He is a material grade or two above Gabbert, who should have been a project in the late first or early second like Kyle Boller or JP Losman. Gabbert, who has plainly showed why he didn’t produce at Missouri, and if I’m reading the rumor-wire correctly, has not endeared himself to the coaching staff or teammates.

  • holeplug

    The argument for Manuel is he never had good coaching at FSU. Jimbo Fisher is a great recruiter but he has no idea what he’s doing on offense. Its the main reason why they haven’t challenged for a national title despite killing it in recruiting since he got there.

    • GGeagle21

      I know this is stupid to think about but:
      I can’t help to wonder, where Foles would have been drafted had he played his college career in Geno’s mostly clean pocket, throwing to Tavon and steadman Baily…Conversly where would Geno have been drafted, had he played his college career behind the terrible Oline, and weak skill players that Foles had to play with to make himself into a 3rd round pick.

  • austinfan

    If Chip thinks he can coach up a QB in his relatively simple system, he may not feel the need to draft one high (look what he worked with at Oregon), same with skill players, quick smaller RBs, big blocking WRs with average speed, H-backs are always available in rounds 3-5.

    That would make the key picks OT and defense. The games Chip lost where when defenses could physically manhandle his Oregon OL, so an athletic, physical OL that can win battles against most defenses may be a bigger priority than skill players. And if he thinks he can coach this team into 25 ppg (they averaged 22 ppg in Foles’ last five starts with a subpar OL), then building a defensive that holds opponents to less than 20 ppg wins you the division in 2013.

    • TommyLawlor

      I’m also curious about what Chip wants at QB. Does he go for major star or coachable player that will have a chip on his shoulder?

      • A_T_G

        Whomever he picks, you can bet they will have a Chip on their shoulder.

        • TommyLawlor

          Ooooh…that was bad. Do 50 sit-ups in your driveway.

          • A_T_G

            Okay, but I’m waiting for the media to arrive first. Next question.

  • GvilleEagleFan

    Glad to hear you’re skeptical of Manuel. The ‘Gville’ part of my screen name is due to having gone to UF, I say so for full disclosure whenever I’m about to bash a Seminole prospect. Manuel doesn’t lack talent, but whenever I’ve watched him in close games on a big stage he’s looked uncomfortably Romo-esque. I wish he had gone to Oregon because four years of Chip’s tutelage could have turned him into a legit comp to Kaepernick, but Manuel isn’t close to being enough of an upgrade to be worth our 2.

    • A Roy

      Romo-esque. I like it. Defined as: “The propensity to throw a “Texas Leaguer” while under pressure at the most inopportune time.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/jakwaggoner Jack Waggoner

    Lots of server errors tonight, or else something is wrong on this end

    • Ark87

      same here, it’s been killer

    • TommyLawlor

      Sorry bout that.

      • Mac

        Stop eating pudding and get back on the bicycle that powers your servers.

        Either that or you need to upgrade your guinea pig team…

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hWLQxkffFM

      • A Roy

        I was blaming Comcast, just because I like to.

  • A_T_G

    Slightly off topic, but I am hoping that Chip’s desire to have competition at all levels leads him to give Bryce Brown and Michael Vick a shot at the SAM position. Both are athletic enough to cover a TE is space, and their propensity for creating turnovers could really boost the defense.

    • CampDracula

      I tell enough bad jokes to know one when I see one. That, sir, is a bad joke.

      • Ark87

        Oh come now…wait, you’re not Mike Vick are you?

  • Will

    Tommy,

    Any thoughts on Ryan Nassib? Greg Cosell just came out today and agreed with Russ Lande and called him the best QB in the draft.

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

    I don’t know what you’re talking about, I’m not having any problems connecti

  • T_S_O_P

    Tommy, I know you hadn’t forgot about this guy -

    Good luck to Mike Hermann as he travels to Stony Brook for his Pro Day on Friday. All #NFL expected to be in attendance.

    Beware, the Hermannator cometh.

    • D3Keith

      My man. RPI in the building.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509888566 Addison Abdo

    Jimmy, what do you think about the addition of another TE in the later rounds? I think we should think long and hard about Nick Kasa out of Colorado. Former DE, converted to TE and has a HUGE frame (6’6″ 260) and is an athletic freak. Seems like the ideal, vertical threat TE that Chip is looking for. I am a Colorado fan and he was able to see his potential every game, despite playing for a historically bad team. What do you think?

    • TommyLawlor

      The Eagles have shown some interest in Kasa. He is player I need to study more. Didn’t watch CU hardly at all this year.

  • GGeagle21

    my humble opinion: You invested a 3rd round pick a year ago in a QB who has shown a certain amount of promise. because he got experience as a rookie in the most dysfunctional situation a young QG could ever be thrust in…..and he Never came close to BREAKING. That says something. I also really don’t believe much in this QB draft class…Next years class will be so much better. You can use the Barkley argument that we don’t know what will happen to these QBs in college next year, to justify drafting the sexy QB position…but the fact of the matter is, there isn’t just one or two good QBs next year, there are a handful, and not all of them will go the bArkley route….

    All we have to do is play Foles this year, and find out exactly what we have on our hands. That can go two ways:
    1)Foles takes a huge step in year two in terms of quality of play leading us to a respectful 7-9, 8-8 record, proving that he can be our Qb of the future..

    2)He doesn’t improve drastically from his rookie year and we struggle to a 5-11, 6-12 record…Which isn’t the end of the world because we would get a high draft pick, and be in position to land a Teddy,Taj Boyd type…Keep in mind, the number 1 pick will not be a QB, it will be Clowney.

    • Lukekelly65

      I totally agree with you on Foles i think you make it a battle in training camp to push everyone but you hope that Foles wins out. i know if we start vick he might give us a better chance to win because he is a better chip kelly fit (questionable) but i still think if your thinking of the future at all you have to lean towards Foles… like you said he showed enough last year behind an awful o-line to give you hope.. i really think he could thrive behind a better o-line and with Kelly coaching him up, also about the 2013 vs 2014 QB class i think its risky to let a strong class next year effect your choices this year if Chip has Matt Scott ( or any other QB) rated as the best player on the board at that time they are picking you shouldnt be reluctant to take them just because you like player at the same position in the next class i understand that pick could be used on another position of need and we might end up spending a high pick on a QB again next off season but i think we all know how picking for need turns out and if you dont im sure jaiquawn jarrett could explain it to you

      • GGeagle21

        I trust chip…if he believes in one of these QBs that will be in this draft, then I will get behind it. Chip has my trust until proven otherwise..but as a fan, who doesn’t believe in any of these QB prospects, leading up to the draft I can’t argue in favor of taking a Qb…but if it happens, I will get behind the pick

  • Warhound

    Sorry, I have to put on my – where’s that armband? – my Grammar Nazi uniform. Ahem: “We don’t know who the team likes, but they are checking out all 3 guys closely.” That’s “whom”.

    • TommyLawlor

      Keep fighting the good fight. I’ll learn eventually.

      • A Roy

        Considering how many he’s fighting, it’s probably Don Quixote time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/watkinsont Tom Watkinson

    Thought Domo’s article was poorly written and ill-conceived. The tone was set to portray the eagles would be in dire straits if they didn’t draft a qb in the first 3 rds. I disagree completely because you would still be grooming Foles. Its very very possible our franchise qb isn’t in this draft so why force a pick on qbs our coaching staff isn’t in love w like Geno and EJ. I liked it better when Scott was projected in the 5th, but 3d seems a bit high for a one year starter on a bad team.

    • Lukekelly65

      i agree that it feels like people are forcing a QB in the draft i dont think Geno or EJ is the answer i dont think either of those guys is truly better then Foles i think NIck has alot of talent i think the only way we should take a Qb this year is if one slips slightly and the value is to good to pass up i think if you put better pieces around Foles rather then use a pick on a guy to replace him you would help the team alot more.

    • Ark87

      Dire straights would be busting a high draft pick by forcing the issue on a QB, rather to get a top notch starter at another position. Not saying any QB that we pick up will be a forced pick and a bust, but it’s not a situation where we HAVE to take someone and anyone.

  • dislikedisqus

    Really good column. It would be a shame to waste a high pick on guys who have nothing more to offer than Nick Foles. None of them says Super Bowl to me. So let’s get the BPAs and start fixing this team.

    • D-von

      I agree

  • ACViking

    Re: QBs of the Future

    The whole analysis seems a simple one that boils down to 1 question:

    “Is the QB accurate.”

    (Touch and timing are next in line.)

    I can’t think of a SB-winning QB — or consistently dominant QB — who isn’t scary accurate.

    Just for example, McNabb was really, really good. But accuracy was the difference between good and great for him. Tom Brady? I remember in the 2004 SB a pass that Brady completed to David Patten over the middle — just over the fingertips of Sheldon Brown. Besides the mental side of the game, Brady is very, very accurate.

    But unlike McNabb (who had his moments) . . . there’s Brees, Big Ben, Rodgers, Manning I and Manning 2 (who wins SBs when he gets hot on a accuracy streak), Warner, Marino. Look at this year’s playoffs, Flacco was red-hot accurate.
    _________________

    The great Bill Walsh said about finding a QB that the foremost quality was not size, speed, or arm strength. It was accuracy. (Plus touch and timing.)

    http://www.sportsxchange.com/DS97/walsh/walsh2qb.htm
    _________________

    Matt Scott seems like a nice QB who can run.

    EJ Manuel’s a physical specimen.

    Geno Smith is mobile with a good enough arm.

    But are any of these guys accurate . . . NFL-level accurate?

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

      Obviously this ain’t in-game accuracy, but if you want an apples-to-apples comparison of Flacco and Manuel throwing at moving targets during their pre-draft process, here you go:

      youtu.be/Vj6vOEeYKGs

      youtu.be/fnxMp9yt8Jc

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.w.cho Michael Winter Cho

    What’s up with Jimmy on his comments section? Seems like he’s taking some fairly reasonable questions personally.
    On an unrelated note, I saw Howie Long last night at a gig. He was talking to the Hall-of-Fame golfer who hired me and was very respectful and soft-spoken. Looked rather small for a DE!

  • GermanEagle

    Tommy
    would you trade for Branden Albert? According to Schefter the Chiefs want a second round pick and another conditional pick in 2014. Compared to the other OT’s in this year’s draft, where would you rank Albert?
    His age (will turn 29 in November) and working out a long-term deal are issues, but I was wondering if there’s any other OT worth taking ahead of Branden Albert in the second round.

    • holeplug

      He’s not worth a 2nd + probably a 4th considering he isn’t young and has injury concerns.

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