Some ILB Talk

Posted: January 29th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 64 Comments »

I mentioned during Senior Bowl week that the Eagles were checking out and talking to some ILB prospects. I wrote an article for BGN explaining why the Eagles would do that.

One thing the Eagles would have to figure out is what kind of ILB they wanted. I think this is a deep, talented group of ILB prospects.  Here are some quick thoughts on a few of them.

* Christian Jones – 6-3, 232 – Florida State – If the Eagles want a versatile player, Jones could be of serious interest. Played ILB, OLB and DE for the Noles. Jack of all trades, master of none. The Eagles could use him creatively. Has a good frame and could bulk up to as much as 245 if the team preferred him bigger. His frame and long arms could help him to cover TEs over the middle. Neither Ryans nor Kendricks is ideal vs TEs right now.

* Kyle Van Noy – 6-3, 244 – BYU – I’ve written plenty about Van Noy recently. Some think of him as an OLB, but I think he could be a really good fit inside. Spent his Junior year going after the QB and piled up 13 sacks and 6 FFs. Dropped into coverage more as a Senior and proved to be very effective playing in space. Had 2 INTs and 7 pass deflections. Smart, instinctive LB that could thrive as 3-4 ILB where he’s used to cover and blitz.

* CJ Mosley – 6-2, 238 – Alabama – One of the first concerns with regard to Mosley is whether he’ll last to pick 22. Doesn’t seem likely. Mosley didn’t post gaudy stats, but put on the tape and you see a really good football player. Can attack downhill or make plays sideline to sideline. Very good tackler. Can take on blockers. Plenty of experience covering as well as playing the run.

* Ryan Shazier – 6-2, 230 – Ohio State – If the Eagles want a smaller, more athletic guy, Shazier could be the target. He posted some freaky numbers in the last 2 years: 11 sacks, 39.5 TFLs, 7 FFs, 15 PDs. He was a playmaking machine. In the past, you didn’t want ILBs his size in the 3-4, but Daryl Washington has been a force for the Cardinals and he’s only about 6-1, 230.

* Chris Borland – 5-11, 245 – Wisconsin – A polarizing player. Some see him as Mr College Overachiever while others see a tough, instinctive LB that will have a good NFL career. Mike Mayock predicted he will be this year’s Kiko Alonso. Borland finished his career with 50 TFLs and 15 FFs. That’s impressive as heck. He has a compact build and short arms so Chip Kelly may not have interest in him. I like Borland. Fun kid to watch.

* Jordan Zumwalt – 6-4, 231 – UCLA – Zumwalt has a frame that I’m sure Kelly would love. His stats aren’t special at all, but put on the game tape and you’ll have fun. Zumwalt is one of the more violent LBs in the draft. He does remind me of Kiko Alonso, in build and style of play. Eagles fans would love watching Zumwalt. He would pair up nicely with Kendricks.

* Shayne Skov – 6-3, 245 – Stanford – Kelly saw plenty of him when Stanford battled Oregon over the years. Skov started for 4 years and is everything you’d want in a player in terms of intangibles. If only he was athletic. Skov tore up his knee in 2011 and that has hurt him. Lacks speed and overall athleticism. Best when used as a downhill player. Can be effective when he does attack, which is what many 3-4 ILBs do. Skov isn’t going early and might not project to being a starter, but Kelly could love his size and I could see Skov interviewing very well. Could be a player you take a chance on since you know he’ll do everything in his power to succeed.

There are other ILBs to talk about. These guys are the biggest names and players I have somewhat of a feel for. I’ll cover other ILBs as we move on toward May.

* * * * *

You guys ask a ton of questions about draft prospects. I’ll answer as best I can, but I’m not going to get to every question.  I can’t write about every player at once so I’m trying to stay topical and keep things interesting. Some will be covered in the form of a post rather than just a quick answer in the comments section. I also like to be thorough with my research so I’m giving you informed opinions and not just knee-jerk reactions.

_


  • Randy

    Christian Kirksey of Iowa is a 3-4 ILB I really like. Very smart LB, underrated athlete, plays the run well and great locker room guy. Could be a nice pickup in the 5th. I’m interested to see how he runs at the combine. I also really like Lamin Barrow and I want to learn more about Andrew Jackson. Overall this isn’t a overly deep position in the draft, but some good players. Christian Jones is the most likely pick of this entire group for the reasons you mentioned.

    • theycallmerob

      I like Barrow a lot too, I really hope he drops to ~4th rd. I think he’d be a tremendous kid to groom behind Ryans or (quite possibly) Kendricks. The Hack King Kempski wrote about him in his ILB wrap-up, since the Eagle’s coaches/scouts talked with him. In short, he’s short. Also not much college production. Like the Benny Logan of LB, right down to the #18

      http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/red_zone/A-review-of-the-ILBs-the-Eagles-spoke-with-at-the-Senior-Bowl.html

      Also a fan of Jordan Tripp (Montana). I’d put him at ILB.
      http://www.nfldraftscout.com/ratings/dsprofile.php?pyid=97062&draftyear=2014&genpos=OLB

      • Anders

        problem for Barrow is that he is not a cover guy and we need a cover ILB more than just a tackling machine

    • A_T_G
      • TommyLawlor

        Are you being dumb? Ol’ Hickory isn’t the kind of high character player Chip Kelly wants on this team.

        Weirdo.

        • Jamie Parker

          Yeah, he was 6’1″ but only 140 lbs. That might be better suited to basketball.

        • D3Center

          If we’re talking Chip Kelly type prospects this is a guy I think we can all get behind. Tall, strong and high character. Although some concerns about head injuries.

          http://www.ipl.org/div/potus/alincoln.html

          • D3FB

            You need help.

        • Sean

          Fair point, but you just know he would absolutely massacre the Redskins.

          • A_T_G

            Well played.

        • A_T_G

          Good point, maybe we should be looking for more of a Casey Mathews type?

          http://www.ipl.org/div/potus/gwbush.html

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            heck, I’d take Franklin Delano (post-polio) over caseymatthews
            speaking of Franklin…..
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-PkutG_Q2Q

          • A_T_G

            I meant more in the huge-disappointment-after-getting-chosen-on-name-recognition-based-on-his-family-ties kind of Casey Mathews way.

        • James Adair

          Actually Ol’ Hickory is exactly the kind of high character Chip Kelly is looking for. He’d be the toughest Safety in the NFL by far…and those guys in D.C. would never beat us.

      • Oscar

        I think this prospect is a lot like Skov. He has the brains and intangibles that Chip would love but has some mobility concerns.
        http://www.ipl.org/div/potus/fdroosevelt.html

        • Sean

          The problem with him is that he’ll demand a new deal right away.

          • A_T_G

            Wow, you found your niche with this topic!

  • TJB

    No love for my favorite OLB prospect Marcus Smith

    • Randy

      Maybe if this was Some OLB Talk. I like Smith a lot. Good 2nd/3rd round value at OLB.

    • TommyLawlor

      Love Marcus Smith. I’ll cover him in depth with the OLBs.

    • GENETiC-FREAK

      Dude seems legit! Can cover too

  • theycallmerob

    Beautiful to see such a deep LB draft at a time when (1) we need OLB and ILB help, and (2) we have a head coach who appreciates a good ‘backer. With our young and talented DL, we could rival the 49ers front in a year or two.
    Add a guy like Ward/Byrd and some kids to groom in the secondary and I’m feeling goosebumps I haven’t had since JJ

  • Mitchell

    Remember when all Kendricks did was cover TE’s? Seems pretty silly now. He needs to basically just attack attack. We have Barwin now and can maybe add a ILB that can cover the bigger TE’s as well.

    • TommyLawlor

      MK is still effective on TEs at times, but the length issue means he can’t do that full time.

      • Mitchell

        That’s what I was getting at, thank you Tommy.

  • livingonapear

    Might they use Van Noy as an ILB/OLB hybrid? He showed a lot of versatility in college, even though he didn’t look as dominant this year.

    • Anders

      That is the reason why Tommy likes him at ILB. He is not a polished pass rusher, but he would be a very effective blitzer.

      • livingonapear

        I feel like this may be more what Billy Davis wants, effective blitzing from the middle. He tried a lot of it with Kendricks, but if he had someone he could shift inside, outside, and back, then you have a very dangerous chess piece.

        I think the blitzing is the biggest disappointment this year. Safety play was worse, but I had no expectations there. There were a lot of 3rd down blitzes that just never got home, and ended up in 3rd and long completions. I’m hoping that as Davis’ defense matures and grows together, those blitzes start finding their mark.

        • Anders

          I think Kendricks is fine. He had 4 sacks, but Ryans could be upgraded in blitzing and coverage.
          Van Noy or Christian Jones would be really nice at ILB next to Kendricks and then a guy like Attaochu or Marcus Smith at OLB

          • livingonapear

            Kendricks was great. But if they know he’s the fastball coming, then it diminishes his effectiveness.

          • Anders

            That is why I want a guy like Jones who can also blitz.

          • Mitchell

            Stop. I’m salivating. (in the least gross way possible)

  • Mitchell

    Wouldn’t that be just awesome if we could trade back in the first and grab and extra 2nd/3rd?!? Also I am liking the Soap trade more and more, even for a 5th round pick. This draft seems pretty deep on talent and I truly think we can find a future starter in the 5th this year.

    • anon

      I like the trade but it’s a late 5th pick.

      • Mitchell

        That’s the wrong attitude to have. You never know when you will hit on a player. Might as well move up and possibly increase the chances of getting a good player.

    • Anders

      Would love to trade back, but I think every team wants to do that.
      I have even seen people suggest doing like in 2008 when we traded back and got a 1st the year after. For people who hate that, remember that trade got as Peters a year after.
      So the question is, would you trade Michael Oher for Jason Peters?

    • mksp

      Not really a 5th. The trade was Soap + our 6th for NE’s 5th. So we just moved up, didn’t get an extra pick.

      • Mitchell

        I misspoke. That’s right.

  • Insomniac

    Keep in mind that our ILBs that started games were between 5’11-6’1. I wouldn’t want another short guy like Borland though. I reallllly like Christian Jones too. He just seems like he could be great if you give him time to adjust and learn. Shazier is actually the same size as Daryl Washington. Would you consider him at 22?

    I’m seeing this Louchiez Purifoy talk on BGN. I see the guy as a poor man’s DRC. Stay away and touch with a 50ft pole.

  • shah8

    At ILB, I will take another swig of that Darth Al juice and draft some big and fast nasty in the later rounds, and hope that the coaching staff can do something with him. Ultimately, I don’t think anyone should mind Demeco’s salary, particularly if it doesn’t mean picking up an expensive multi-year option. Satisfied enough with the ILBs such that really? A force on the DL, whether that be the other DE or the NT, will make ILBs look smarter and better.

    As for the guys on that list, I’ll take Zumwalt, please.

    • Anders

      I think Zumwalt fits your Darth Al Juice player (if we draft Zumwalt, that will now be his name)

    • CrackSammich

      I agree about Demeco’s salary. If there was some FA they were trying to fit under the cap, I could see the urgency, but we have the money.

      • Anders

        Money not spend this year can be used next year when or in 2016 when Foles, Cox, Kendricks and Boykin all need new contracts or 2017 when Ertz, Logan, Wolff, Johnson is most likely needing new contracts

  • Mitchell

    Question on what it means to lack pass rush moves: What exactly does this mean? Can’t moves be taught to players? We have talked about Marcus Smith and one of his knocks is he doesn’t have many rush moves. In my opinion I’ll take a guy lower if all he is lacking is rush moves, teach him said moves, and turn him loose in a couple years.

    • D3FB

      Yes and no. It is a coachable skill that can be taught like anything else, pass blocking, route running, etc. At the same time though there are aspects of it such as handfighting and the ability to bend around the corner. Handfighting can improve with time, but so much of it is being able to instantly see what the lineman is trying to do and keeping their hands off you. Bending around the corner is another thing that can only be marginally improved. Robert Mathis is amazing at this skill. Other players find different ways to get around it. Attachou and Smith both get knocked because they don’t have a full repertoire of pass rush moves, but I think it’s largely overblown. I’ve seen Attachou successfully use: speed rush, bull rush, swim move, fake outside rip inside. That’s more than enough. I’ve seen Smith use: speed, bull, and he has a sick spin move. As long as a pass rusher has the ability to speed rush, bull rush (semi-effectively they don’t have to be Reggie) and at least one counter then I dont get too worked up over it.

      • Mitchell

        Great as always. Thank you. So you would be ok with Attaochu in the first? Does he have that kind of talent/potential? What’s your take on Barr?

        • D3FB

          I would be ok not thrilled with Attaochu. For me it goes Barr, Mack, Smith, KVN, Attaochu (leaving clowney and ealy off b/c they are better 43 ends). After that though the quality of rusher drops. Granted if Dix, Mosley or Lewan are avaiable there who knows what happens.

          I like Barr. He has huge upside. He is inconsistent but I think with coaching and a few years he will be a 12+ sack guy every year. Kind of like Quinn. Took him a while but good god watch out.

          • Mitchell

            You think Mack will come close to Bars production in 3 years? I love what I see in Mack

          • D3FB

            I think today, Mack is the better player. I think in 2016 Barr will be far better. I think ceilings is basically D-Ware vs Lamar Woodley

          • Mitchell

            well maybe, just maybe Barr will fall to us. One more question. How do you compare Barr to Jordan? I always have a hard time projecting players

          • D3FB

            Similar in the pass rushing category, Dion was lightyears ahead in coverage.

  • GvilleEagleFan

    Sorry to be totally off-topic, but I just finished reading Sheil and McManus’s article on the WR position: http://www.phillymag.com/birds247/2014/01/29/offseason-outlook-eagles-wide-receivers/

    Do you think Cooper could fit in the slot? I don’t remember him doing much of that when I watched him in college, but then again our passing offense wasn’t super high-tech with Tebow at QB. In terms of build, he reminds me of Marques Colston who seems to do alright in the slot. He also doesn’t seem shy about going over the middle, and I think you’d want your better blocking WR closer to the OL on run plays. Thoughts Tommy?

    • anon

      not good at creating separation, we started using tes instead.

  • Weapon Y

    It would be very convenient to get an ILB in rounds 3-4 who could sit behind DeMeco for one year and replace him the next. Same goes for Cary Williams at CB and Todd Herremans at G. Now is the time to start planning how to phase out expensive veterans so we aren’t screwed when Foles wants a big contract. The Eagles need to get some future starters in the mid rounds to stay competitive.

    • Anders

      Christian Jones, Brandon Thomas, Terrance Mitchell.

      • Mitchell

        Well that was easy!

        • Anders

          with Attaochu or Pryor in the first :)

          • Mitchell

            But seriously. It is so nice to have faith in the people responsible for the draft. Howie and co will get it right.

  • P_P_K

    Completely off topic, but Hollis Thomas slams Belichick and those cheating Pats. Fun read.

    http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/eagles/20140130_Hollis_Thomas_says_Eagles_should_have_won_2004_Super_Bowl.html

    • SteveH

      Beautiful.

  • nickross23

    You can never go wrong with a PSU linebacker and Glen Carson as a mid rd pick interests me a lot. ILB with good size, decent movement skills, always around the football with solid coverage skills. Would give us plus value on SP teams and could replace that stiff Casey Matthews.

  • barneygoogle

    By far, the biggest problem the Eagles have is safety. Chung was a disaster. I understand that Earl Wolf was cleared to play against the Saints, but told coaches he didn’t want to play. (re Howard Eskin.) I wonder if Wolf now has lost the coaches faith? That’s something they don’t forget.
    If so, we are sinfully weak at safety, with only two-hand touch Nate Allen pencilled in.

    • Mitchell

      Even worse, Nate is an FA!!! :O

  • dan quisenberry

    As a Buckeyes fan, I’m naturally biased towards Shazier. Just been watching him make crushing, pinpoint tackles the last few years and think he’d be a great fit for the Eagles D. He would also brings intangibles like leadership, which will be needed when DeMeco departs. The other ex-Buckeye the Eagles should take a long look at is CB Bradley Roby. Probably gone by pick 22, but he’s got the speed and athleticism to be a shutdown corner in the NFL. He just needs excellent coaching, and I think he’d flourish under Chip Kelly.