I’m behind on answering some questions so here goes.
The Eagles cancelled their meeting with CB Dee Milliner. Does this mean anything? I really don’t think so. The Eagles could have had a logistical reason for cancelling. Or maybe they realized they didn’t need the meeting. Milliner is a star player from the top football school in the nation. There can’t be too many unknowns. I don’t expect the Eagles to take Milliner at #4, but if the team is able to trade back, he could definitely be a target.
What do you think of us drafting Oregon players? I have no problem with that. If we had hired Brian Kelly instead of Chip Kelly, I’d still have major interest in adding LB Dion Jordan, OL Kyle Long, ILB Kiko Alonso, and S John Boyett. RB Kenjon Barner is the only guy who might be truly helped by Chip being the coach. The other players are good on their own merit. Barner is to a certain extent, but not all coaches like smaller RBs.
One point must be emphasized. The scouts have been writing reports and doing research since last summer. Oregon players won’t suddenly shoot up 2 rounds in value since Kelly came here. They might fit the systems better, but their grades won’t change significantly.
What about “whiffability”, the idea that certain positions are more likely to produce busts in the draft? NFL teams are embracing certain aspects of the Moneyball mentality. Studying draft successes and failures would be part of this. I don’t know how much of this the Eagles have done. Howie Roseman has a different background so I can see him being more open to this than some old school GMs. You can bet with Chip Kelly coming on board and his openness to new ideas that the Eagles will study as many things as they can, looking for any advantage.
That said, no one has yet to come up with any formula of who/what to take or not take that seems to truly hold up over time. There are so many variables in a player’s success or failure that it can be hard to find definitive patterns that you make plans around.
Brent over at Eagles Rewind has done some good research on certain positions being safer than others. Maybe the Eagles have also done that same research.
What’s your opinion of Ryan Nassib? He’s talented, tough, and an overachiever. I like all those things a lot. He’s a limited athlete with erratic pocket presence and that scares me. Nassib was able to get away with some odd things in the pocket at the college level. He was very jumpy. He would move several feet at a time when pressured. He won’t have that ability in the NFL. You move a step or two in the pocket. You side-step the rush.
I think Nassib could play in Kelly’s system. He will run. He’s just not fast at all. Nassib is coachable, having played for Doug Marrone at Syracuse. Nassib led Syracuse on a few game-winning drives this year. He’s clutch. I could live with Nassib if the Eagles took him in the 2nd round. I don’t fully believe in him, but there is a lot to like.
What happens at Safety? This is a tricky position. Many of you want to invest a 2nd round pick on a S prospect. I completely get that logic, but it won’t surprise me to see the Eagles wait til the 3rd, 4th, or even 5th round. The team likes Patrick Chung at SS. FS is more up in the air, with Kenny Phillips and Nate Allen set to battle for the job. It almost makes more sense to draft a mid-round player to battle with them. None of us trusts Phillips or Allen right now, but those players could pan out. All Phillips has to do is stay healthy. Allen just needs to get his confidence back and play to his full potential. We’re not asking these players to do something they aren’t capable of.
Now if the coaches think Nate Allen is beyond redemption and that Phillips is too unreliable, then go spend a high pick if the right player is available at the right spot. I want us to get back to having good Safeties, but I don’t want the organization to make a panicky move. Eagles fans know as well as anyone just how hard it is to draft and develop a good Safety.
Tavon Austin. I continually get questions about whether the Eagles could have interest in Austin. Absolutely. I think Chip Kelly would love to have a player like him. If I had to list a shocker pick at #4 it would be Austin. If the Eagles do trade back, I think Austin could be a key target.
Chip Kelly loves playmakers. The one thing the Eagles don’t have right now is a guy that can catch the ball on a quick screen and deliver a big play with RAC skills. Both DeSean and Maclin head for the sideline. That can work with blocking and help from the defense. Kelly would love someone like Austin, Marquise Goodwin, or Cordarelle Patterson that has great RAC ability. I don’t think Chip has the mentality that he “must” get this player this year, but I’m sure he’d love to.
One way to help the QB and OL is with quick throws. That requires receivers to catch the ball in the slot and get up the field. They must be able to work in traffic. And the receivers around him must be willing/able to block. I think DeSean might react well to this and become more of a weapon on short throws. Maclin has the ability to be terrific in this area, but we just haven’t seen it so far in his NFL career.
Trading back. I love the thought of trading back, whether to just 7 or 8, or if the Eagles go all the way back to #12. I desperately want another 2nd or 3rd round pick.
Sheil Kapadia put together a must-read post on trade scenarios. Great info on trade partners and possible compensation.
The next time I do a mock draft for the Eagles I will mix in a trade.