Draft Strategy, Part 1

Posted: February 11th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 160 Comments »

Not all drafts are created equal. Some drafts have more stars. Others have more depth. Sometimes the team has very specific needs that must be addressed. Other times the team can focus on finding the best players. Each year the personnel people for a team have to map out a strategy for how to attack the draft.

We obviously don’t know what Howie Roseman is thinking right now, but one idea he should consider is trading back to acquire more picks. Why? There are a record number of underclassmen in this draft. That means there will be more good players than usual in this class. It also means there is a decent chance that next year’s draft class will be a bit light, since so many guys who would have been key Seniors won’t be there.

The Eagles were conservative last year and that strategy served them well. They didn’t make any major moves up the board. They didn’t move back, since there were players they wanted at each pick. It was important for Chip Kelly to get very specific players last year. He was laying the foundation for his program. He needed the right guys. Now that the foundation is in place, he’s got a bit more flexibility.

And the Eagles need depth. Think about CB. The starters are okay. Brandon Boykin is a terrific nickelback. After that, the cupboard is basically empty. Roc Carmichael got on the field enough for me to feel like there isn’t a whole lot more there. Curtis Marsh hasn’t shown anything to make us think he’ll pan out. The Eagles could draft 3 CBs and hope that 2 of them pan out.

Safety is wide open right now since so many guys are free agents. If the season started tomorrow, Earl Wolff and Keelan Johnson would be lonely. Patrick Chung is still on the roster, but I’m sure the team would like to cut him and move on. The Eagles probably want to re-sign Nate Allen and Colt Anderson, but there are no guarantees that will work out. The Eagles could very well draft a pair of Safeties.

The Eagles could try to bring in a couple of O-linemen. Three starters are older than 30. Backup Allen Barbre isn’t a young guy. There is a need for some depth here, depending on what the team thinks of guys like Michael Bamiro and Dennis Kelly.

There is room for depth on the DL. At the least, the Eagles need a backup NT and competition for a backup DE spot.

OLB is more of a mystery. We don’t know if Brandon Graham will stick around. Heck, he could be someone you trade to acquire extra picks. Travis Long will have a chance to be the backup to Connor Barwin this year. I can’t imagine Casey Matthews will be back in that role. The Eagles could draft an OLB or two.

WR might need help, even if Mac and Coop come back. I have to think Jason Avant will be cut or dealt. Damaris Johnson seems like a goner. Jeff Maehl was serviceable for 2013, but needs to be upgraded. Brad Smith is a guy I think could be a solid contributor. Arrelious Benn and BJ Cunningham are guys you hope pan out, but simply can’t count on.

TE could be a spot to add to. Brent Celek was terrific, but isn’t getting any younger. Zach Ertz looks like a star in the making. We have no idea what the plans for James Casey will be moving ahead to next year. Emil Igwenagu has a cool name, but has never looked like anything more than a role player.

Spots like QB and ILB could be draft targets.

There aren’t a ton of holes in terms of starters right now and that hopefully will be even smaller after free agency moves, but there is room for depth. The Eagles could load up on 2nd, 3rd and 4th round picks. With the underclassmen in this draft, you could get some real interesting players. They may need time to develop, but could possibly be good role players right away.

Roseman could look at this differently. He could see the possibility of trading up to get some really good players. And the UDFA class could be very good with the extra bodies that will be pushed out of the draft.

There is no right or wrong strategy here, just different ways to approach the situation. The execution of the picks is the real key. You can spend 10 picks to find 5 good players or you could spend 6 picks to find 5 good players. It will be interesting to see what Roseman and the Eagles do. I don’t know if Chip Kelly will have much of a say in draft strategy. That’s more of a GM thing. I’m sure Roseman will talk to him about the subject, but I’m not sure Kelly will have strong feelings.

I labeled this as “Part 1″ because the strategy discussion could change quite a bit based on who the Eagles do sign/re-sign and who they lose in free agency.

_


  • Anders

    Im really a fan of adding as many top 120 picks as possible this year. For me drafting is a bit like buying lottery tickets and the more you buy, the greater the chance of winning.

    • Neil

      If our GM approached drafting like a lottery, I’d want him fired. You need to speculate, not gamble. It’s always a tradeoff, more opportunities not to whiff versus a greater chance at landing impact players.

      • Iskar36

        I would upvote this many times if I could. I think discussing trading back without the context of who is available while we are selecting implies too much of a lottery mentality when it comes to drafting. You have to trust scouting and determine values of draft prospects. If a guy you don’t value at that spot is not available, then you trade, but talent does not drop off linearly the way draft position does, and if you scout well, the guys you would generally value at the top of the draft can have long lasting impacts on a franchise, something that is significantly more rare later on in a draft.

        • Andy124

          This is all true, but…
          Nobody knows who will be available at #22 (or earlier if we’re talking about trading up) or exactly what Howie can negotiate in return, but people still want to talk about the merits of moving up or down in the draft.

          So I think we can be generous in our assumptions and automatically caveat all posts on the matter with the “as long as it makes sense given who’s available” addendum without typing it every time.

          • Iskar36

            I understand what you’re saying, but far too often the logic for trading down is “having a couple extra picks in the 3rd round would be nice”. When that is the supporting reasoning, I don’t buy the argument.

            In the post above, Tommy at least put the logic that there are a record number of underclassman in this years draft to provide logic why moving down for extra picks later may make sense. While I don’t necessarily agree with him, he does provide an argument in terms of context. On the other hand, in Anders post (and not trying to single his post out, there are tons more posts like that throughout the last several offseasons), the logic for trading back is simply to acquire more because it “increases your chances.” It only increases your chances if all players are created equal, but if you scout effectively, that’s simply not the case.

          • bill

            But you also have to understand that even with the best scouts/evaluators/etc., talent evaluation is far from an exact science. There’s an issue with false precision that bad teams fall for all the time. Is a grade of 80 really that much better than a grade of 78? Most likely, that difference is attributable to measurement errors, inter-subjectivity issues, etc.
            You have to have good scouts, but you also have to have decision makers who understand statistics and error ranges.

          • Neil

            This is true but you can’t draft like it. This is how you trade down and lose Julio Jones. If you are going to draft based on doubting your ability, you are not qualified for the job.

          • bill

            I guess we just agree to disagree then. It’s irrational to ignore the reality of subjectivity and error inherent in these evaluations. Ignoring reality is how you end up making really crazy decisions. You have to make a rational attempt to quantify the error ranges, and use them accordingly. Otherwise, you’re being irrational in your approach and probably have a bright future working for the Cowboys.

          • Neil

            Sounds good. But I will say that the whole trading down from 18 with Sharrif Floyd still on their board at like 7 is one of the more egregious examples of what I’m talking about. They had value on their board, they doubted their scouting, and look what it got them. You should be estimating something like a bust factor for each individual pick and incorporating it into your value calculation of him. You should not conduct your whole draft around the idea that you might be wrong about everything. Then you start making decisions like “well, I have great value where I’m at, but I might be wrong so I should trade down and select two lesser talents because that gives me a better chance of getting a good player.” Yes, it does, but you’re missing a variable in your equation. You forgot that for the benefit of increasing your odds of landing a good player, you decreased your odds of finding a great player.

          • bill

            Agreed. You have to use an error range, you can’t just be uncertain. If the grades are outside the error range, it’s irrational to treat the grades as equivalent.

          • Andy124

            But don’t those comments almost always follow in the wake of the, “Not a top heavy draft but plenty of depth” narrative?

          • Neil

            That shouldn’t be an addendum. That should be the whole philosophy. Do what makes sense given who’s available. See value? Take it. No? Try to trade down, hopefully someone bites.

      • Anders

        More in that no matter how well you scout a guy, he can be a bust, se Aaron Curry, the safetest pick ever and then you have UDFA or 5th round turn into HOF or pro bowlers.

        • Neil

          Right, but if you as the scout aren’t so confident that you think you are going to hit every single pick (and therefore will take value when you see it), you should probably find another job.

          • Michael Winter Cho

            This doesn’t make sense to me.
            1. Scouts and GMs are different jobs, aren’t they?
            2. Unrealistic and irrational confidence in your abilities, as opposed to realistic and rational confidence, should be a prerequisite for be doing a job?

          • Neil

            The distinction isn’t between irrational and rational confidence. The distinction is between confidence and doubting yourself.
            In the grand scheme of things, all confidence proves irrational. Does that mean you should draft scared?

            Look down further. I discuss assessing risk/a bust factor. That’s different from drafting scared.

          • Neil

            Also, GMs do a lot of the same things as scouts. It’s too big a job for one person, that’s all. GMs have the added responsibility of managing scouts and always make the final decision, thus ultimately have responsibility for every decision.

        • xeynon

          There are probabilities involved though. Yes, you do get the occasional top 10 pick who’s a total bust, but there are fewer Currys and Jonathan Sullivans and Ryan Leafs than there are nameless 5th and 6th round picks you never hear about failing because they were cut during their first preseason and never resurfaced.

          Not all lottery tickets are created equal. A first round draft pick is a lottery ticket with maybe a 50% chance of paying off. Low round picks are much cheaper but also much less likely to pay off. You need to buy a lot more of them to get the same expected value as you do out of one first round pick.

  • Anders

    Im gonna post it here again as this relates to the draft:

    http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/multimedia/videos/Scouts-Notebook-Evaluating-TEs/2c6306e3-870f-499b-96e5-e76dde497589

    The Eagles just did a break down of what scouts look for in TEs via the dream team of media draftnicks :P

    • Zivetor

      Thats what I’m thinking get Jace Amaro at 22 and put him on the field with Celek and Ertz. I don’t think a lot of defenses are gonna be able to matchup with that line-up, especially if you have McCoy and Jackson on the field as well

      • Vince

        Yes! Jace Amaro is exactly who I want at 22. he would be a matchup nightmare with ertz jackson and hopefully an upgrade at WR.

  • dislikedisqus

    Two mantras should guide a good draft:

    1) Don’t be arrogant — don’t believe you have magic powers that make you smarter than the great mass of analysts and decisionmakers. Don’t believe you are so accurate an evaluator that you can trade bushels of draft picks for one guy. Don’t draft someone to play a different position (Chris Gocong, Danny Watkins), or believe you can coach someone to become a great football player if they just have the raw material but haven’t produced already. No Jeremy Blooms, Rashad Barksdales, etc. Consistency of high achievement is the best guide.
    2) BUA – biggest upgrade available. It’s not just drafting to fill your needs or BPA. You need to weigh the two so that each pick increases your on the field talent as much as possible. There is no point in passing up a HoF OL or WR to draft a mediocre safety just because you need safeties. You will get another chance to draft a good safety but not to draft a HoF OL

    • Maggie

      The only concern is that half the league is looking for safeties and there aren’t nearly as many available as there are WRs. Agree OLB, backup Corner and OLine all need some fresh blood for sure

    • D3FB

      Part of the problem with rule 1 is that’s how you end up with Daniel T’eo Nesheim.

      • mark2741

        Yeah #1 is flawed. The knock on Lane Johnson was that he was mostly an ‘upside’ guy, not a known quantity like Joeckel and the others. You gotta be able to project a player to the nfl.

  • Mike Roman

    When you’re trying to decide on a player in the first round and you have two players graded closely, both at positions of need, how much do you factor in the number of snaps that player is going to get? For example, Safety is a bigger need than Wide Receiver but the Eagles could use both. At #22, say there is a WR there that has a higher grade than the Safety. Do GMs say, “well, the WR is only going to be on the field for 35% of the snaps, whereas the S is going to play 85% of the snaps (whatever) because we’re penciling him as the starter”? How much does something like that factor in?

    Another question, in regards to Brandon Graham. Any trade value to the Browns (considering they get their shit together) if Cleveland were to franchise TJ Ward?

    • D3FB

      I doubt the Browns would have much value for Graham as they already have Mingo, Kruger, and Sheard who are all better than BG.

      • Mike Roman

        Heh. If only I had thought for a moment before asking the question.

  • Iskar36

    “We obviously don’t know what Howie Roseman is thinking right now, but
    one idea he should consider is trading back to acquire more picks.”

    I wouldn’t be against trading back if a player that can upgrade the team is not there, and I also certainly understand your logic about trading back, but it seems to me “trading back to acquire more picks” is a draft strategy you hear fans pushing for every single year for the last several years. The argument is always the same in that there will be more talent elsewhere, but I seriously wonder if we are just now overvaluing draft picks. Trading back is not necessarily a bad strategy to use, especially if you view the draft largely as a lottery, but I also think at some point you have to simply trust your scouting. You have to trust that if you view a player to have a certain value and that you can get that player at that value, getting cute with trading down to acquire more picks can hurt your draft. It seems the Eagles have done a good job with that recently and whether or not they trade down, I just hope they stick with that strategy.

    • Michael Winter Cho

      “Trading back is not necessarily a bad strategy to use, especially if you view the draft largely as a lottery, but I also think at some point you have to simply trust your scouting.”
      One would assume that you would trade back only if your scouting report shows it warranted.

  • ceedubya9

    This would be a really good year to trade down. I’d love if they were able to pick up an extra 3rd or, dare say, an extra 2nd.

    • D3FB

      That likely won’t happen. Last year Dallas traded back from the 18th overall pick to 31. They only got a third. That’s 13 spots with a more valuable pick. Plus while it’s too early to really tell where exact players should get drafted, somewhere between the top 15-20 prospects people start to really differ with their grades on players, so I just don’t know that there will be somebody available that will make a team want to jump up, that the Eagles wouldn’t rather have themselves.

      • Tom W

        Last year was a historical weak draft for talent … cowboys got a less than ideal return …. there have been years teams have given up the following years’ first (and present year 2d) to get back into the draft to get a qb or Jeff Otah. no two drafts are the same.

        A very high third rounder is most likely but not set in stone.

        • D3FB

          ceedubya posited that we should trade back but remain within the first round. My comment was in response to that.

          Last years draft wasn’t historically weak. It lacked top end sexy marquee names but there was alot of good talent to be had on day 2. This time last year everybody wanted to trade back and pick up more 2nd and 3rd rounders. I’m not sure this years class is much stronger in terms of overall studs. The QB class is better. Overall It may be deeper, but that would actually dissuade teams from trading up.

          • ceedubya9

            True it isn’t likely, but that’s not to say that it isn’t possible. Who knows how much one of the teams at the bottom of the round really wants a certain player that they don’t expect to last until their pick. Still, I don’t really expect any type of movement anyway. But hey, dare to dream I guess.

  • shah8

    The bad thing about being a mediocre or low talented team is that too many spots are dumpster fires, and you’re forced to take marginal talent rather than people with good upside. I would take Roseman’s comments about BPA with a truckload of salt, because we just have too many needs. If I have a complaint about last year’s draft, it is precisely that we went too BPA. Lane Johnson has great upside, but we more truly needed Star Lotulelei. Ertz was drafted onto a team with a stable of reasonably talented TEs, and even then, he doesn’t seem to have a great chance for high upside (his pick is particularly egregious in opportunity costs–Geno Smith, Larry Warford, Kiki Alonso, Kawann Short, Robert Alford, Jamie Collins, etc). Barkley is in serious danger of not getting a real chance to be a starting QB or even getting to be a backup in the league, simply out of the practicalities of the situation, and Matt Barkley is talented enough that he deserves better. So, while it’s a given that Roseman strongly prefers to do BPA, the excess of that philosophy last year probably constrains his ability this year.

    • Mac

      Wow I hit the load button to see who posted because I was already in the article when you post appeared and before I could finish reading what you had written there was a downvote.

      • shah8

        I don’t pay attention to that sort of thing. It’s just cultist losers that want to chase out people they don’t like.

        • Buge Halls

          You might jut be the only person to look at Ertz and not see “a great chance for high upside”. He has already supplanted Celek as the #1 TE (or will by the start of next season). And if I read your comment right you apparently value Geno Smith (GENO FRIGGIN SMITH) higher? Yeah, he had a great year. But then again, I’m sure you think he’s a better QB than Foles (lest we forget that to you TDs, INTs, Wins or other stats don’t matter, as long as they can run out of the pocket!)!

          • NinjaP

            Geno Smith sucked balls last year. He was probably the worst qb in the nfl.

          • SteveH

            He’s no Joe Webb, that’s for sure.

          • shah8

            Here’s the thing. You can only talk up people like Foles so much, beyond the obvious success and his good stats. You can only talk people like Geno Smith or Joe Webb so far down, particularly Webb–they obviously have magic. Whether they can play well enough, consistently enough, is the mystery.

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

            guess Vick’s “magic” is what kept him so mediocre this past decade?

          • A_T_G

            I’ll take “obvious success and good stats” over “magic” any day. By the very definitions, ahem…

            Success –
            1.the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals.

            Magic –
            1.the art of producing illusions as entertainment by the use of sleight of hand, deceptive devices, etc.; legerdemain; conjuring: to pull a rabbit out of a hat by magic.

            … anyone should choose actually accomplishing one’s goals to an entertaining and fleeting illusion. You prefer the illusionists?

          • A_T_G
          • Neil

            It’s amazing how appropriate the term magic is because of how few of the immensely talented players actually pan out and do something.

          • Weapon Y

            So obvious success and good stats are actually a bad thing? I’m convinced you’re trying to be the NFL fan version of the Onion (or the Cleveland Browns).

          • xeynon

            It’s only a mystery to you. Pretty much everyone else has acknowledged that neither the Tooth Fairy nor Joe Webb’s undiscovered All Pro-caliber quarterbacking talents are real.

          • Cafone

            starting QB for one of the few teams that seems to have interest in Vick as a starter.

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

          Geno’s already shown enough to be better than Ertz, eh? just for clarification, is that in the short term or long term?

          • A Roy

            Geno’s a much better QB than Ertz.

        • Andy124

          <– Just so you know at least one of the people you're calling a cultish loser. Of course, personal insults are looked down upon around here. Or so I'm told.

          • Ben Hert

            Doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a point. Shah could post that the sky is blue and I’m sure it would be downvoted purely out of spite.

          • Andy124

            He wouldn’t post that unless the sky was overcast and grey. ba-dum-chh.

          • Ben Hert

            Hahaha okay that was good.

          • A Roy

            Sorry. Added my post and then read yours. Same sentiment.

          • Andy124

            I upvoted it anyway, ’cause it was still funny the second time.

          • A Roy

            Yes, but he would post it on a cloudy day. Which come to think of it, is every day in Pshaw’s world.

          • A_T_G

            Actually, he would condescendingly explain why, while we all foolishly flock to to the traditional mindset of thinking blue skies actually denote a nice day, in reality what it truly takes for a nice day is fast moving clouds racing across the sky. While they may occasionally block out the sun, bring rain, or cause widespread death and destruction, those are necessary evils and should not be held against the clouds. See, here is the thing: those clouds carry magic.

            Also, he would somehow insult Nick Foles.

          • planetx1971

            That was just AWESOME. Wish I had something useful to add, but I’m DYING!

          • SteveH

            Doing things like calling posters on here “cultist losers” might have something to do with why people downvote him so vigorously. It’s almost like people don’t care for reducing things to a personal level and actively discourage people who do those things from hanging around.

    • mksp

      Man, you and your Geno obsession…..

      Given what we know today, I would take Alonso/Collins/Alford over Ertz.

      • shah8

        Hmmm? Geno Smith is 8-8 as a starter. Now, you *could* say that he was helped by a run game and defense, but compare Christian Ponder’s record. Just as bad receiving corps, almost as bad OL, but great run game, and the defense was okay for a stretch of 2011. Ponder has had far fewer TOs, but he was a nonfactor overall in most of his games. Or you can compare with Blaine Gabbert, who was 4-10, with far better assets than either Ponder or Smith, evenly applied overall in 2011. Geno Smith is a far more sound and talented passer than Foles (and a reasonably decent rusher, fast, not that agile), for example, and he is a better bet for long term success. Smith is a late first caliber prospect gotten slightly cheaper than expected for the Jets. I like Matt Barkley more than Foles too, strictly speaking about passing, leaving aside the obvious issue of arm strength. Matt Barkley should be a backup, and not some third string developmental–but we really should have a vet backing up someone as young as Foles.

        • shah8

          edited a poor word choice.

        • Tom W

          What a troll.

        • bubqr

          Just to make sure, are you tring to prove geno Smith is a good QB because of the Jets W-L record (carried by their defense) and by saying he is better than elite QBs like Ponder and Gabbert?

          Hell of a case.

      • Tom W

        I wouldn’t take any of them over Ertz. You don’t judge a career or a draft on one year.

        Ertz looks like a probable perennial pro-bowler. He has more upside than any of the players you mentioned.

        Alonso played great but what impact did he have on the team itself

        Collins and Alford played good not great. And both were overdrafted whereas Ertz had a first round grade.

        • mksp

          Eh, we’ll have to disagree here. Alonso & Collins both proved to be playmakers.

          Ertz did as well, but those guys are more physically talented than Ertz (simple facts), and so technically have more upside.

          No problem with Ertz, like the kid, think he’s a good fit for the offense, but is not the disruptor that those guys could be.

          • Tom W

            Collins I could see your argument based on his freakish numbers at the combine but to be truly disruptive at his position he will need to become an edge rusher or he just becomes Conner Barwin. Hence why he had a second round grade by most teams even w the best combine numbers last year .. even more so than Dion.
            Kiko while a great player is more of a high motor, great football player … but his physical tools aren’t off the charts by any means …
            Ertz is younger and didn’t have the benefit of an offseason or any work with the coaches and qbs last year until august. also came out a year early. I think we see a much more disruptive player this year and his true ceiling is revealed. his rookie numbers are right in line w other probowl tes as rookies.

          • Insomniac

            His ceiling is Jason Witten and at worst Brent Celek if he can work on his blocking. That’s not truly amazing considering how the really dominant TEs are now these days.

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

            Ertz didn’t play meaningful snaps until much later than Kiko, and had a limited offseason due to graduation. I like both the other names you mentioned (liked Collins a lot leading up to the draft, but thought he may have been there in the 3rd).
            Lastly, Ertz was learning a much more complicated scheme, along with the rest of the team, in an entirely new system. I do think the defensive side of the ball, especially at LB, lends itself to an easier transition for those great athletes. If you’re terrific at play recognition, wrap-up tackling, or shedding blockers, chances are you’ll be pretty good in those respects at the next level. I think there was a much greater learning curve for Ertz (and the Eagles overall), with it being hindered further by those issues stated in the first paragraph.
            All that said, I just think it’s unfair to judge those guys after 1 year, since the only thing being equal between them is the technical “GP” column on the stat sheet

        • bubqr

          I am not 100% sure why people are convinced of that? Ertz did not show anything great/special in his rookie year, he looked exactly what I expected: A below average blocker with slightly above-average athleticism. Good but nothing special as an athlete, solid but not great hands, below average blocker – calling him the next Jason Witten or a perennial Pro-Bowler is some serious optimism. From what I’ve seen so far, both in college and during his rookie year, I see something like a Greg Olsen career, solid receiving TE. Even if I can hope for more, I’ve seen nothing that can let me believe he’ll be out there with Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, Vernon Davis, or even Jordan Cameron, as a regular Pro-Bowler.

    • Andy124

      *So in your first sentence you lament that mediocre or low talented teams have to take marginal talent rather than people with good upside a.k.a. draft for need.
      *In your third sentence, you complain that we went too BPA a.k.a. didn’t draft for need enough.
      *Then you use the pick of Ertz who, according to you wasn’t the BPA and has a low upside as condemnation of sticking to BPA and drafting guys with high upside.
      *Finally you complain that Barkley might not get a chance to even be a backup, when he’s the odds on favorite to be the backup this year.

      So in summary, you’re sad that we’re so bad that we can’t afford to draft BPA while simulaneously being sad that we tried too hard to draft the BPA last year and Ertz proves that we shouldn’t try so hard to pick the BPA because he wasn’t the BPA and if we had focused on need we may have gotten the BPA. Makes sense.

      • D3FB

        My head. It hurts now.

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

        that would have taken me hours.

      • A Roy

        How could you possibly infuse logic into a Pshaw discussion?
        Bottom line is we have several needs. Expectation is that we will take BPA that fits one of those needs.

      • planetx1971

        E=MC…holy CRAP my head is spinning. Feel like I just rode the logic tilt-a-whirl. PAINFULLY impressive :)

      • bill

        Again, it’s posts like these, with the obvious rhetorical paradoxes, that make me think he’s a brilliant troll instead of just crazy. But we’ll probably never know for sure.

    • Neil

      Being a team lacking talent sounds like a reason to go BPA.

    • Cafone

      I disagree with just about everything there.

      Lane Johnson was a great pick at a need position. With Peter’s age, we actually still need another OT.

      Ertz has tremendous upside. I don’t know how you could not see that.

      Barkely is in a great position to be a backup. Assuming Vick does not return, he enters camp as the clear #2, backing up a 3rd year player, with one year in the system under his belt to help him stave off competitors. I don’t think many 4th round QBs can ask for a better position.

      • shah8

        We needed a difference maker at DT/DE far more than we needed a project at LT, put in at RT. At the end of the day, especially with the narrative you all were going about how we couldn’t stop all those quarterback sneaks–Fletcher Cox and Star Lotulelei/Kawann Short could have controlled their position far better, with the result that Bennie Logan doesn’t look so bad, and Kendricks takes fewer bad angles, etc… That makes far more of a difference than what we got out of Lane Johnson this year, who was a liability more often than not–but did get better quite quickly. It’s a balance, and the reason it’s a balance is that you’re trying to get more bang for the buck. If you draft for need well enough, then you can draft for BPA no matter what.

        I’m not quite sure what the deal with the Ertz selection. It does have some things to do with need, but I do think the selection did have much to do with BPA sensibility, however pure that sentiment was. Ertz was a pretty refined receiving TE who played at a high level in college, and he’s more ready to play than many players picked around that spot. Before the 2012 season started, there was some thought Ertz would be a first rounder. Thus, I do think that to a large degree, Ertz was more of a BPA pick than a need pick. As for his upside? Nah, it’s not tremendous. Ertz isn’t really enough of an athlete to be tremendous. Jordan Cameron has tremendous upside. Ertz can be very good.

        I do not think Kelly would seriously be willing to go with Barkley if Foles should go down, or melt down. Also do not think he will allow himself to make such a decision until training camp next July/August. There are always suckers that think Matt McGloin or Gradkowski are just blue-collar results oriented QBs that just gets the job done, it’s just that the team around them is so bad…but no *coach*, unless they’re Dennis Allen, is going to be enthusiastic.

        • D3FB

          Jason Witten isn’t a great athlete. He’s done pretty well for himself.

          • Insomniac

            Witten was faster than Ertz when he was drafted though. They have the same style of play. They’re the safety nets that will rarely separate.

          • D3FB

            Witten clocked a 4.67
            Ertz clocked 4.68

          • Andy124

            Well, he didn’t say how much faster…

          • Mitchell

            Lol that may as well be timing error!

          • Insomniac

            I was using the official combine numbers but yea..I tend to not care about pro days unless they were injured.

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

            They’re the safety nets that will rarely separate.

            It’s funny you say that, only because Jimmy K just tweeted this hours ago

            Watching some all 22 the last few days, without even looking specifically at him, it stands out how much Zach Ertz gets open.— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) February 12, 2014

        • Jerry Pomroy

          It’s no secret that Kelly likes TEs. We had Celek & some reasonably talented guys behind him already. But they went out and signed Casey & still went out and drafted Ertz. Having those guys significantly helped the offense when the run game stalled and Kelly then started using more 2 TEs. I think his love for the TE position plays right into the offensive strategy of creating & finding mismatches. Ertz creates a mismatch being on the field & even more so when both he and Celek are on the field & can get out into space. So Ertz is not only a safety valve in terms of the QB, but also having a player of his size and ability helps the offensive strategy click.

    • Iskar36

      Using Howie Roseman’s strategy of targeting BPA as a negative… that is definitely a first.

    • Tom W

      Ertz has pro-bowl upside nitwit. And hindsight is 20-20. All you are doing is judging the draft after the benefit of an entire season. Howie made good picks at the actual time of the draft without that benefit and still nailed the first 3 and wolfe. barkley is a premier position pick in the 4th rd when most teams had him graded as a 2d rounder. It was a no-brainer for a team w unsettled qb play.

      And the success of our bpa strategy last year (and the year before) strengthens Howie’s approach and make it more likely the same will occur this year. U wrong again

      And the best part of the BPA approach is it doesn’t constrain you at all … Nothing Howie did last year during the draft is constraining us in this year’s draft. Not one of the players you mentioned would have filled a gaping hole that we need to fill in this year’s draft. So another point you are wrong on.

      Logan worked out well … hence deflating your Star louteleli whining. wrong again.

      Geno Smith? Robert Alford? seriously?

      And you may be one of the worst writers ever … your need to insert extra adjectives and adverbs hurts my head.

    • Weapon Y

      In what planet, is Matt Barkley being mistreated? He had more interceptions in less than 2 games than Foles did in 10. Nice try pal. Foles is here to stay. I can’t wait to hear how Chip Kelly wants to trade up to get Johnny Manziel lol and get rid of Foles.

      • shah8

        Dude, if I had Johnny Manziel on the team, he’s starting over Foles and that’s without thinking. I have an issue with Manziel’s arm strength, but Foles’ arm isn’t better, not practically so (unless Manziel is like Ponder and can’t be accurate if he throws very hard). Johnny Manziel can throw jump balls just as good as Foles can, and he can throw to the sidelines accurately, and consistently without *too* much loft. And of course, Manziel is a good QB rusher. Not that fast, but very agile, and can reset down and distance as needed.

        Not that I actually *want* Manziel, because the game is still the same–not strong enough arm, and not good enough technical passer, and not a talent that translate into NFL dominance on the ground, either.

        • Andy124

          and that’s without thinking

          Obviously.

    • Christopher Miller

      Isn’t a team with many holes best served by taking the bpa? There are few if any positions on the team that could not use a great player..rb maybe.

      I liked the pick of Matt…at the time we did not know Foles would play as well as he did but also did not know he wouldn’t so picking up a guy in the 4th round that one year earlier was believed to be first round talent seems good.

    • xeynon

      Only in shah8′s world is failing to draft Geno Smith an opportunity cost.

  • Tumtum

    Basically the Birds are not set at any position is what I get from this. I would have to agree. Well accept maybe RB.

    • Cafone

      I’d say DE too. We’ve Cox and Thorton, with Curry backing them up, and Logan who can also play DE if we get another NT. Sure, more depth never hurts, but there are so many other needs that I’d hope depth could be addressed in free agency.

      • D3FB

        And Kruger, don’t forget the kruger.

        • Mitchell

          Activate Kruger?

          • D3FB

            Part of my Kruger love stems from the fact that last April Tommy swore Kruger would go in the fourth. Maybe late 3rd but almost certainly no later than the fourth. I of course had a second round grade on him so I called Tommy a dumb dumb poopyhead who had been hanging out with Jimmy Bama too much.

            Oooooopppppps.

          • Mitchell

            I always say “Activate Kruger” because it is from Elysium with Matt Damon.

      • kajomo

        I would have serious interest in a guy like Hageman who would play DE for us. The guy has elite potential. We could then trade Curry and add maybe a 3rd rond pick. Hegeman isnt my first choice, but I have seen several mocks with him as BPA

        • ICDogg

          To quote the late Joel Buchsbaum, “All-Pro from the neck down.”

  • Andy124

    Any draft strategy works if you hit on your picks. Any draft strategy fails if you miss on them. That being said, my favorite move is “The Belicheat”; trading a 2nd this year for a 1st next year.

    And I agree that this looks like a good year for trading back if there isn’t a player with exceptional value for the spot your drafting in.

    • ACViking

      When Bobby Bethard was the Washington team’s GM, and later the Chargers’ GM, he swapped a future 1st for a current 2nd a bunch of times.

      The only player I remember panning out was CB Terrance Shaw for the Chargers.

      Dan Reeves did the same thing with the Falcons in the draft following their SB loss after the ’98 season. He acquired a TE named Reggie Kelly in Rd 2 with a pick acquired from the Ravens.

      Atlanta dropped from 14-2 to 5-11 in ’99. The Ravens ended up with Atlanta’s 1st Rd pick, which was 5th overall, and Ozzie Newsome drafted RB Jamaal Lewis — and helped the Ravens win the SB. Kelly never panned out for the Falcons and became a blocking TE for the Bengals.

      It’s a fun move on draft day. Just doesn’t seem to work too often.

      (Probably a 50-50 proposition, like most draft picks, in reality.)

      • Andy124

        Just to be clear, I want to be on the receiving end of the 1st next year.

        Love the history lessons as always. Jamal Lewis also helped me to quite a few FF wins.

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

        Ozzie!
        Had Billick pulling his hair out, but confident all along that the guys he scouted (and wanted) would be available later. And sure enough, WR Brandon Stokley and G Edwin Mulitalo were there in the 4th.

        And with a GM like that, I would absolutely take Anders’ draft strategy mentioned above- the lottery ticket approach or > number of mid-round picks in deeper drafts for greater hit rate. Look at what he’s done when entering a draft with at least 9 picks:
        http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2013-03-18/sports/bal-sports-blitz-ravens-ozzie-newsome-compensatory-picks-20130318_1_ravens-gm-ozzie-newsome-nfl-draft-tony-pashos

        Hopefully, we’ll consider along our current path of more hits than busts in the draft. If ’12 and ’13 are any indicator, hopefully we’ll have articles like that written about Howie one day.

  • Daniel Norman Richwine

    Based on his comments, I imagine Howie and co have a point system which weighs tangibles, intangibles, positional scarcity and team need in a complex matrix, which generates each potential player a score. When their draft pick approaches, they have a program which weighs the available players and possible trading scenarios to move up or down based on the scores.
    I have to assume as Barkley slid down, their computers started flashing green lights and sirens last year.

    • Andy124

      Were the flashing lights midnight green, or kelly green?

      • Maggie

        Midnight green, like most dark or intense colors, makes a stronger statement. eg, if buying a Corvette, would you rather have RED or ~pink~? Btw, I have drooled over a Corvette more than once, but they should NEVER be any color other than RED or BLACK.

        • Andy124

          I’m not a Corvette guy, really not much of a car guy in general, but I think they look pretty good in yellow too.

        • A Roy

          Sorry, Andy. Gotta agree w/Mags. Friend of mine has an orange Vette. Ugly as sin. Of course, so is he.

          • Andy124

            I could see burnt orange, but straight orange? That sounds ugly. I’m wichu.

        • ICDogg
    • Tom W

      Much like advanced ff draft software … sure they also saw the only top 50 prospect still available at the 90th pick and thought hey thats great value.

  • Arby1

    Tommy, I know it would be a huge project but I’d love to see a breakdown of how successful trading back in the draft was for the Eagles during the Andy Reid era. I suspect it was not as fruitful as we’d like to imagine it. I’ll take quality over quantity any day and I trust Roseman/Kelly to do a better job at discerning quality than Reid/Banner/Roseman. I know it takes longer to build your team if you have fewer choices but maybe you get there quicker if you’re making quality choices.

    • A Roy

      That’s tough to compare because you don’t know who we would’ve drafted with the original pick. I think AR/Banner traded back for more picks because they thought there was a greater chance on hitting on 4/11 than 4/7, regardless of round.

      • Arby1

        Right, I understand that, but there was one year when LB Sean Lee was sitting there for us in the 2nd round and we desperately needed a LB. We traded the pick to Dallas and then what happened….? Did that end up being a winning trade for us? But yeah, impossible to go too far back with this stuff…

        • disqus_jB7dl5fzvO

          We traded back from that pick and got Daniel T’eo-Nesheim in Round 3.

          I still have nightmares. I still need therapy.

          • Arby1

            But didn’t we also get Riley Cooper in that trade and a CB that didn’t work out?

        • BreakinAnklez

          And he’s always hurt

      • anon

        Sounds like some things haven’t changed.

  • ACViking

    Speaking of strategies on draft day . . .

    I’d still like to know why the Eagles passed on WR Jerry Porter in Rd 2 of the 2000 draft in favor of Todd Pinkston.

    Compounding that miss, the Eagles drafted WR Freddie Mitchell in Rd 1 of the 2001 draft. Passing on WRs Reggie Wayne, Chad Johnson, and Chris Chambers.

    • ICDogg

      My favorite I think was when they traded up from 12 to 7 with Tampa to take Mamula, and Tampa took Sapp with the pick we traded them.

    • SunShine

      Happens to every team. Teams passed on Lesean McCoy and Djax. Turned out to be very fatal for a few teams that needed a few gamechangers

      • anon

        People passed on Foles.

        • SunShine

          Exactly. Such a great pick at the time.

      • Insomniac

        Considering how many WRs in the same draft class as Djax were busts..thank god we took Djax.

    • Anders

      1 team passed on McNabb. 31 teams passed on Dawkins, some of them twice. 31 teams passed on Brady. Jerry Rice and Owens was late round picks.

  • Insomniac

    “Strengths: At 6-2, 205 pounds, Reynolds possesses the lanky build scouts are looking for at the position. Physical and instinctive. Demonstrates good agility and acceleration to handle covering athletic tight ends out of the slot as well as supply deep help over the top. Reads the action and moves fluidly, showing a nice late burst to close on the ball and terrific vision and open-field running ability once he possesses it. Understands his role as the last line of defense and generally takes excellent angles in pursuit.

    Force in run defense. Savvy defender and reliable open-field tackler. Breaks down well in space and delivers a pop on contact, often driving ballcarriers back.

    Weaknesses: Missed 2011 season due to knee injury (ACL). Aggressive nature can be used against him at times, getting burned on occasion by cut-back runs from quicker ballcarriers. Ejected from one game in 2013 for targeting, displaying bad habit of leading with his helmet, which will draw personal fouls in the NFL.”

    Only one highly-productive season in terms of creating turnovers while playing on a defense with dominating front seven, and must prove he can make impact plays on consistent basis.”

    –Rob Rang (1/14/14)

    You’d think from the scouting report it’d be Calvin Pryor or Clinton-Dix but nope..it’s not. I wouldn’t be surprised if we took another player in the second round from Stanford this year in Ed Reynolds. He’s buried under the Calvin Pryor hype and doesn’t get much attention. Of course, the lack of video breakdowns on him doesn’t help.

    • Andy124

      You had me at ACL.

      Sincerely,

      Howie

      • Insomniac

        A bigger version of Nate Allen. How can you resist?

        • Anders

          You know that Allen is 1 inch lower but 5 pounds heavier?

    • Mitchell

      Like you said, I wish he had more tape. I came away unimpressed by what I saw.

      • Insomniac

        It’s really hard to assess how good he is when he’s in a role of a center fielder. You can’t always see what he’s doing when he’s off the screen. Despite that, I see a solid safety prospect with good size and discipline. The scouting report is almost spot on.

        I watched the new Michigan St. tape on him. He showed good closing speed and makes the tackles when needed. Solid coverage but not so much by his teammates which could make him look bad. Although…I cringed when #13 kept shoving him away (rapid stiff arms?) near the 7:05 mark.

        • D3FB

          The #13 incident looked like Reynolds was trying to poke the ball out initially, then when he realized he’d given up an extra 10 yards with this strategy, doubled down, and then kind just couldn’t get his arms around to make the tackle.

  • SunShine

    I trust Howie and the FO. Also helps that Tom Gamble’s rich knowledge of scouting is part of the team as well. No problems with trading down as a lot of the posters and this article have said: There is talent here
    Be nice if they can draft a player that can/will be great but having strong depth is more important imo. Add that to the competitive atmosphere and coaching excellence that Chip provides and I like our chances

  • mksp

    Hey draft people: Thoughts on Kyle Fuller? CB / Va Tech // 6’0 // 194

    Watched a little tape on him, really liked his game. Lean, lanky build (kinda reminds me of Cary Williams actually), good tackler, decent ball skills, projected to go 2nd/3rd round.

    Like him a lot more than SJB who still seems stiff to me.

    Still love the idea of trading back to pick up an extra 3rd.

    An Odell Beckham / Fuller / Christian Jones / Brent Urban type draft over the first 3 rounds would be pretty rad.

    • D3FB

      He’s my top corner. Against Alabama he controlled Amari Cooper who will be a first round receiver in next years draft. He got physical at the line at times and then was in Coopers hip pocket throughout the progression of the route. Later in the season VT lost their rover type player so Fuller kicked inside and played up right in the box. Blitzing all over the place, jumping over linemen, taking on blocks, stuffing ball carriers in the backfield.

      He’s got good size. He’s fast enough, as evidenced by sticking with Cooper who can scoot. He can press. He can play off. He’s a better tackler than alot of safeties and linebackers. The one thing I noticed on tape that is a concern is on deep stems when playing off he let some guys get behind him. I can’t tell off film whether this is an issue with his hips, or a scheme issue. (I.e. expecting safety help over the top, being told to sit on shorter routes etc.)

      Best case I think he’s a top ten maybe top five corner in the game. Worst case if it is a hip issue I think you can move him to safety and he can be a quality starter there.

      • Mitchell

        upvote for using the word scoot.

    • Anders

      I would love that, tho I still wish we could draft an OLB somewhere.

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  • Alastair Lucas

    I love the idea of acquiring extra 2nd and 3rd round picks. There seems to be a lot of value there with guys like Kyle Fuller, Christian Jones, Lamarcus Joyner, Marcus Smith, Jarvis Landry, Dion Bailley, Luchiez Purifoy and Jared Abbrederis. Players who can be solid backups as rookies and potential high-quality starters down the line.

    Any thoughts on where Aaron Colvin might be drafted now he’s torn his ACL? It seems the Eagles really liked him at the Senior Bowl; perhaps worth a late round pick?

    • Anders

      Im also mostly for trading back, but if some serious talent is there at 22 or we can move up a couple spot, we should do that.

  • Anders

    A kinda hate Kelly for his big people beat up small people because right now, my 3 favorite defensive players are Joyner, Verrett and Ford. If we got 2 out of 3, I would be very very happy.

    • Alastair Lucas

      I agree, those are three fine players. Apparently Kelly spent a lot of time watching Ford in Senior Bowl practices. I would love him to be an Eagles pick given how much he dominated the Senior Bowl and Championship game. I look at how effective Robert Mathis was for the Colts this year; Ford could be our equivalent. If Kelly can overlook his height…

    • Neil

      I think people are really making this size thing into a much bigger deal than it is to Kelly. We’re just so used to Andy completely ignoring size that we think Kelly’s obsessed with it. I think all he thinks is that size is a talent like most coaches. You can be small but you better make up for it elsewhere. And in a broader view, at some point you will have to get some big guys if all you’ve been able to acquire is the small guys because being too small a team can ruin the factors that made you like all the small guys.

      • Anders

        I know Kelly loves length. Look at his DL, OL or LB at Oregon. He also began to recruit bigger WRs and DBs

        • Neil

          Kelly doesn’t care about size as much as he does about production. If you managed to produce at 5’6 150, he wouldn’t care. He just realises size can have a big impact on production. I think those three players you mentioned (especially Joyner in my opinion) have demonstrated that despite their size they make it work. They’re not as good as they would be with a few more inches of length, but they would be valuable contributors to the team.

      • anon

        kelly has measurements, some of which are non negotiable. some players play bigger than their size but if you want good yield you play by the rules. might be a reason boykin never goes outside.

        • Neil

          It would be hard to prove whether measurements are non-negotiable or not, so instead let’s ask why would that be the case? If you had a guy who only weighed 290, for instance, but was somehow strong enough to play nose very effectively, what would be the problem? Or an OLB who’s 6 feet tall, but he gets to the passer and is one of the best in the league at batting passes?

          • anon

            Howie hinted as much in an interview. i could find it but who cares really.

  • Ramsay

    Random thought, and I’m sure someone might have already thrown this out here. How about Michael Johnson our ROLB? Heard he wasn’t going back to cinncy. And I know he is something like 6 foot 7 , but isn’t Dion Jordan as well? Not to mention he is an established vet and already has put some nfl weight on. Just speculating because i know he wouldn’t come cheap

    • Anders

      Michael Johnson is a 4-3 DE. Normally a 3-4 OLB is a little shorter than a 4-3 DE.

      Remember Cole is a pretty normal sized OLB, but was a small DE.

      • Ramsay

        Well i know that, that wasn’t my point. If there was interest in Jordan, why wouldnt there be interest in johnson. Both are the same height

        • D3FB

          Because Dion played standing up at Oregon, he covered slot recievers, he dropped in coverage. Michael Johnson has never done any of these things.

          • Ramsay

            Wasn’t such a big deal for Mathis to make that switch. He played with his hands in the dirt most of his career. Like i said random thought , but it can be done. He is still young too. Plus even as a DE you are still expected to drop in coverage from time to time, so it’s not a concept completely foreign to him

          • Ramsay

            Johnson played OLB in college and in the pros till 2011. So he has experience

    • anon

      last sentence says it.