LB Dion Jordan is the player most associated with the Eagles right now. There is some confusion about what his role would be so let’s address that to make sure we’re all on the same page.
Part of this ties into what defense the Eagles will run in 2013 and the future. If the team goes to a pure 3-4, then Jordan isn’t a player you need. In that situation Brandon Graham and Trent Cole would be the OLBs short term and then Vinny Curry would take over for Cole in 2014 or 2015. Jordan could still get picked, but it would not bode well for the future of either Graham or Curry. Some have asked if Curry could play DE in the 3-4. That’s possible, but not real likely. Most 3-4 DEs are in the 6-4, 300 range. Curry is 6-3, 266. He would need to pack on 25 pounds to be a small DE. Doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but I’ve learned that with Chip Kelly at the helm…never say never. A note on Trent Cole…as much as I love him you don’t make him part of any long term plans. He’ll turn 31 in October and is coming off his worst season.
Bill Davis ran the 4-3 Under while in Arizona. I wrote some about this previously. Here is how that would look:
* Predator (RDE)
* 3-tech DT
* 5-tech DE
* SAM (LB/DE hybrid)
Because the Predator is in a 2-point stance, the defense looks like a 3-4. It isn’t a 3-4 because the roles are different.
The 3-tech DT is supposed to get upfield and be disruptive.
The NT is actually called a “nose shade”. He gets on one side of the C and is supposed to get penetration, not just eat up blocks.
The alignment keeps the WILB clean. His job is to get to the ball and make plays. This was Karlos Dansby in Arizona. The SILB needs to be able to take on blockers and shed them. He’s more of a run defender.
The SAM is going to rush 70 percent of the time and cover 30 percent of the time. He’s not just a DE. He must be athletic and solid in coverage. Dion Jordan would be perfect for the SAM role. He is outstanding in coverage and has the skills to be a special pass rusher. At the Combine you could see his ability to fly off the edge and bend and turn fluidly. He didn’t post great sack numbers at Oregon because they took advantage of his skill set and used him all over the field.
No current player on the roster is a natural fit for the SAM. Again, don’t think of this as a normal 3-4 OLB role. This isn’t something that Woodley or Harrison run in PIT. Graham and Curry can rush the passer. I’m not sure about them playing a role where they would drop back 30 percent of the time. That’s a bit much. Curry does have the right build for the job, but isn’t a great athlete.
This is all the base defense.
The Eagles could go 2-4-5, 3-3-5, or 4-2-5 in the Nickel. I’m guessing the 4-2-5 would be used a lot. This would allow them to put Cole and Graham down in a 3-point stance and have them fire off the edge like conventional DEs. Curry would be the top backup at both spots. Jordan could be used as a pass rusher or you could put him at ILB and let he and Kendricks cover. That would be one fast set of ILBs. There really are a lot of possibilities. Davis would find out which group of players worked best together and would stick with them.
If you strictly think of Jordan as a pass rusher, then drafting him doesn’t make as much sense. You’ve already got Cole, Graham, and Curry in place. You have to think of Jordan as a chess piece that can be moved around. You also have to think that the front seven needs guys like him to chase down RGIII for the next decade, not to mention Wilson, Kaepernick, and the other mobile QBs of the NFC.
The Eagles have been vague about defensive plans so we’re all guessing. Jordan just makes a lot of sense. He’s tall. He’s fast. He’s versatile. This is the kind of weapon the defense could use. Jordan can be moved around and offers impact in a variety of ways. He has big potential and there is the added bonus that Chip Kelly coached him for 4 years.
Dion Jordan to the Eagles makes a ton of sense to me. As defenses get multiple and complex, you wants some guys you can have do different things and do them well.
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The Titans will not place the franchise tag on TE Jared Cook, making him a UFA. I’m sure the Eagles will have interest, assuming they want to be active in FA.
Tim McManus did a piece today on Chip Kelly and TEs. Cook has the size and speed that Kelly would love. He averaged 15.5 yards per catch in 2011, a very impressive total for a TE. Usually that’s down in the 10 to 11 range. 16 yards per catch shows playmaking ability. Cook won’t be mistaken for a good blocker anytime soon, but you know when you sign him that he’s an athletic weapon. He spent most of his time in TEN split out. That could work in Kelly’s offense. He’ll turn 26 in April so his best years are ahead of him.
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Brent Grimes did not get tagged today. Last year he did and he lost money because of that. NFL Gimpy explains why in his new MAQB column. Gimpy also explained why Joe Flacco was on the bench at Pitt. Good stuff from him today.
Tomorrow I’ll talk more about KCs moves, FA, and who did/didn’t get tagged and how that affects the Eagles.