There was an interesting discussion on Twitter today about how some teams will give 1st round busts a second chance, hoping to strike gold. NFL teams love talent. Guys taken in the 1st round might not pan out, but they had to show something to get taken in the 1st round. They normally have talent, even if it is more potential than reality.
That got me to thinking about 1st rounders and recent Super Bowl teams. I’m not talking about players drafted by the teams, but rather players signed as free agents or acquired in trades.
2013 – Marshawn Lynch, Percy Harvin
2012 – Bryant McKinnie
2011 – Antrel Rolle, Jimmy Kennedy
2010 – Charles Woodson, Ryan Pickett
2009 – Chris McAlister, Jeremy Shockey, Jonathan Vilma
Most of those guys were a big help to their teams winning titles. The interesting thing is that some of the players were disappointments with their first team and then became key players. Marshawn Lynch looked like he was going to be a bust when Seattle traded for him. He’s now a dominant player. Charles Woodson looked to be on the way out when the Packers got him.
The Niners haven’t won a Super Bowl in recent years, but they’ve had a bunch of former 1st rounders on the roster.
The Eagles had Mike Vick on the roster last year and he was the only 1st rounder from another team. The 2012 Eagles had several former 1st rounders….DRC, Nnamdi, Jason Babin and Vick. The 2011 Eagles also had Ronnie Brown and Vince Young. Clearly loading up on 1st round picks hasn’t produced the same results for every one.
The point is to have a strong core of developed players that can be complemented by outside additions. The Eagles had a flawed foundation in those years.
A couple of strong draft classes in a row have helped the Eagles build a strong core. This might be the offseason to bring in a talented project. I’m not going to list every potential candidate, but think about someone like Hakeem Nicks. He looked very good in the past, but was a huge disappointment this past season. I’d rather bring back Maclin and Cooper, but if they leave, the Eagles will have to consider signing a veteran receiver. Hicks could be a real interesting target. If he gets back to top form, he’s a tough, physical receiver who could thrive in Chip Kelly’s system. But…can he stay healthy? Can he stay focused?
Any time you add a former 1st rounder who is less than a “sure thing”, there is risk involved. You’re rolling the dice on talent. In order for the player to succeed, the team must make sure the fit is right. Is the player right for the scheme? Is he right for the coaching staff? Is the overall situation a good match?
I don’t see the Eagles as being a player away from greatness, but there is something to be said for taking a chance if the situation is right. You can’t force the situation. And you need to make sure you are getting a player who still has something left in the tank (as opposed to Nnamdi). If a team hits on the right player, he can be a big help in pushing the offense or defense to the next level.
This is all just something to consider as we discuss the moves the Eagles should make this offseason. The “dream team” offseason didn’t work, but we shouldn’t give up on signing former 1st rounders altogether. When done right, those moves can have major impact.
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Jimmy Bama wrote an interesting piece. He built the Eagles according to the way Eagles fans would like for the team to be built. The result is interesting to say the least.
I miss Derek Landri…