Another ILB Target

Posted: April 26th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 67 Comments »

The Eagles are looking long and hard at ILB prospects. It would seem that DeMeco Ryans is in his final year as an Eagle. Ryans is still solid, but age is starting to catch up to him. We could see signs of his decline last season. He’s never been a blazer, but the speed he had earlier in his career is gone.

The latest ILB for the Eagles to check out closely is Christian Kirksey of Iowa. He was a 3-year starter and 2-time team captain for the Hawkeyes. He played on the outside for them, but at only 6-2, 233 he projects to ILB for the Eagles.

Kirksey is a solid prospect, but he’s not dynamic in any way (size, athleticism, production, etc.). I think he goes in the 4th or 5th round. Kirksey could develop into a solid starter. At the least, he should be a good backup and STs player.

There is a lot of projection when you watch tape of Kirksey. He played OLB for Iowa and they have that player line up over the slot receiver most of the time. Since the spread is so common in college football, that meant most of Kirksey’s snaps for the last 2 years came out in space.

The first thing that jumps out at me is how hard he plays. Kirksey will chase the ball all over the field. If there is a pile, he will dive on it. He wants to be in on every play. He will attack blockers in front of him. If that is a RB or WR, Kirksey is going to win. If it is a TE, things go 50-50. He needs work on shedding blocks of OL, but there is no lack of effort or physicality.

This MIN game shows Kirksey playing a lot in traffic because the Gophers aren’t a spread team. Solid showing by him.

Kirksey could end up being a potential replacement for Ryans, but there will be options. The Eagles have checked out closely/met with several prospects.

Ryan Shazier – Ohio State
CJ Mosley – Alabama
Telvin Smith – Florida State
Christian Jones – Florida State
Preston Brown – Louisville
Jordan Tripp – Montana
Jordan Zumwalt – UCLA
Lamin Burrow – LSU

Expect the Eagles to add an ILB, whether as early as the 1st round or as late as the 5th. They want more speed in the middle of the field.

* * * * *

For PE.com, I wrote about some mid-to-late round prospects that could be of interest to the Eagles. There should be some names in there that I haven’t covered so far. At a certain point, you get tired of discussing the same handful of prospects over and over.

_


  • GEAGLE

    A weapon in sub packages. A LB version of the honey badger who u can use to matchup against all types of offensive weapons. Love this kid for the direction the nfl game is headed. LBs who can cover on 3rd down

    • Jerry Pomroy

      “for the direction the nfl game is headed”

      That reason is why I’m so down on Dee Ford.

      • GEAGLE

        I have a 4th round grade on him…I liked him before everyone lost their mind and started over rating him after the senior bowl..

        “The people at auburn don’t believe he can stand up and play LB, and they had him for years”-Greg Cossell….IMO, he is what we thought mIcheal Sam was, a 4th round pick

        • Jerry Pomroy

          It’s not that I think he’s that bad a player. I just think he’s a bad player for us. There aren’t many highly touted 4-3 DE prospects this year at the top. That’s why I see guys like Ealy & Ford going to 4-3 teams hungry for edge rushers. I just hope that doesn’t cause 4-3 teams to shrivel up the OLB prospects like Smith & Attaochu. Two guys that can play both up or down.

          • nopain23

            can we trade graham to any of these 4-3 teams for say…a 5th or 6th RD pick?
            that would be sweet!

          • GEAGLE

            Possibly a 6th, def not a 5th….

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Well the Cowboys are one such team. Would you trade Graham to the enemy for that extra 6th?

          • GEAGLE

            Hmmmmm.
            ,,.
            Think it’s simple…land a top rated pass rusher like Barr, Attaucho or Marcus, and you can pull the trigger and give BG up for a 6th or 7th..

            Miss out on one of the few quality pass rushers and settle for a guy like Ronald Powell later and you are better off keeping BG as stop gap insurance, letting him walk in FA and taking the compensatory pick the following year…

            To the cowboys? Hmmmm If we let the redskins use Desean against us, can we really cry about BG going to the Cowgirls?

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Yeah and these days you’ve got a better chance at getting value from compensatory picks than trading away to another team.

          • nopain23

            i would for a 4th no doubt! This draft is very deep. dallas is dysfunctional just like washington. good players become average joes over there

          • GEAGLE

            I agree.,,,I liked the kid all year as a prospect…but I think there are plenty players better suited for what we do…..drafting him is a lot of projecting…not only do you have to project how he will rush standing up, you have to project how he drops in coverage, and you have to project how he rushes on the right side as opposed to the Left….don’t see how you can even take him in round 2 over guys like Marcus and Attaucho who have played in even and odd fronts, have dropped into coverage…

            I was a fan of Dee ford, until everyone lost their mind and started to over rate him at the probowl….I think he can carve a niche as a pass rusher for a defense like Seattle who uses specialists..I see no place for him on a defense that requires versatility like ours…

            Think he would be a horrible pick for us…and even in the 4th round, I probably couldn’t call him a good pick for us

  • D3FB

    Kirksey is ok, but everytime I watch Iowa I always get drawn to 44. James Morris is just flat out fun to watch.

    • GEAGLE

      I could watch Kirksey blanket slot WRs all day

    • A_T_G

      I not a huge fan of Morris, but his son sets my world on fire.

  • barneygoogle

    If Ryans was slowing down last year–at what point, maybe this year, does he become ineffective? Trent Cole is just a “best we got” OLB at age 32. Kendricks has height limitations. That’s no way to build a great defense.
    Ray Didinger counts 36 draftable WRs in this draft. So maybe we have to go D heavy earlier, and still get a pretty good WR in round 3 or 4. I hope Dion Jordan is still on the radar somehow.

    • GEAGLE

      What is there to suggest that one of the guys who played the most snaps last year has slowed down? He was never awesome in coverage..so what hints have people seen that he has slowed down?…

      • barneygoogle

        This defense couldn’t get off the field, most games. At the end of the year they were being run on consistently. The Saints in fact, chewed them up.
        Ryans was traded to the Eagles because Houston shifted to a 3-4 defense and he came here to play 4-3 under Reid. He’s an okay player, but he clearly is not able to be a playmaker in a 3-4, where LBs make more tackles and apply more pressure . Bad leg injury, now over age 30..well, you start to worry.
        If the Eagles want to be a championship team, they need many upgrades on defense, including several LBs.

  • Ray888

    On mid-to-late round prospects, I hear TE Richard Rodgers can be had for a “song”! …,…

    • TommyLawlor

      How many will get that reference?

      Nicely played.

      • GEAGLE

        Question…you see how basketball players who didn’t play football are often found in the NFL…how does a team go about AQUIRING a basketball player who didn’t play football in college….Baylor has a 6’7 monster, many have suggested has an NFL career ahead of him…would he have to declare for the draft? Or can you just sign him as an Undrafted Free agent and give him a camp invite?… Ricco gathers!!!!

        I ask because I have heard Howie talk about how finding a basketball player they can convert to a quality NFL player is something he has been looking at for years..sort of one of his white whales…

    • Maggie

      O-o-o-klahoma! where the wind comes ….etc. Bali Hai may call you….

  • Dave

    Why is everyone so quick to dismiss Ryan’s? Yes he will be 30 soon, but come on, he is the quarterback of the defense. He may be a little slower now, but sheesh Tommy, you rode London Fletcher’s jock for years while he was in his 30s. Drafting a potential replacement is fine but to think you need to replace a former high draft pick just because he is 30 is a little premature. Anyone remember how its going replacing Dawn, who also lost a step.

    Yes I understand he is due to make a lot of money, but that may be able to be renegotiated. My point on his contract is that if we cut him, he will find work and not be retiring. I would rather have a 30 year old Ryan’s with a high salaryand use draft picks this year for replacement guard, or cornerback, or safety, etc.

    • GEAGLE

      Yeah it’s crazy.. Fools think this is Meco’s last year in philly..as if his contract can’t be renegotiated and as if Chips is going to play musical chairs with his leaders…I’d bet Meco us on the field for us not only this year, but the following year..

      Yes We need a young buck behind him, to apprentice as our eventual QB of the defense, and we need a subpackage alternative to Meco for passing downs, but he isn’t the complete liability that you never want on the field on 3rd down…he does some things really well like knocking WRs on their ass before they can get out and run their pattern..also good at coming away with INTs when dropping into zone…good, but not great Blitzer…I wouldn’t pay any attention to his contract, Meco will be here next year, but by the start of 2016, his apprentice needs to be ready to QB our defense full time

    • TommyLawlor

      Trying to balance ability and intangibles is tough. No doubt about that. We all love DeMeco as a leader and person, but leadership doesn’t make tackles. At some point you have to move on to the next player and see if they can play and lead.

      There is risk involved. The replacement might not pan out on the field. Or you might miss the leadership more than you anticipated. But at some point you have to make a move.

      The saying in football is that it is better to get rid of a guy a year too soon than a year too late.

      • GEAGLE

        I’d wait til you see Meco play two years in this new scheme! before it put the nail in his coffin….doubt Howie traded a 4th round pick for someone who he thought could only play 3 years…defense QB is one thing, but Meco is the face of the entire defense..the one we trot out to the podium every day to answer all the Questions…he also isn’t some jerk who will act a fool if a young kid takes his snaps…
        ..
        “You know you have a good team when the veterans are teaching the young players how to take their job”….bet anything Meco is an eagle in 2015…but we will see. My guess, he has a better year than he had last year…we are talking about one of the players who played the most defensive snaps in the NFL last year…after all the crap this city said he couldn’t do, since he got here..I think he deserves better than to talk about him slowing down, before he actually shows some hint of it

      • Dave

        Point taken. I’m more concerned that he is the guy that directs the defense and makes the adjustments. The cerebral part of his game makes the decision to replace him worrisome. With many teams most-likely to employ some sort of copycat hurry-up offense, his positional value has never been higher IMO.

    • Anders

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6moZT0JMuc#t=131

      Look at this play on how slow Meco is, it was like he is running in sand.

      • Dave

        Lol, you cherry-picking one play to prove your point.

        • Anders

          That was just one of many. As Tommy noted there was also the Dez Bryant play and I also remember a few RBs smoking him

  • GEAGLE

    I think KVN will be more valued as the eventual replacement for Meco over anyone named above! Meco’s replacement should:
    1) be able to play ILB
    2) be a smart SOB capable of QBing a defense
    3) versatile enough to get snaps at other spots while Meco is still here
    4) High character..

    I just described Kyle Van Noy to a T

    • nopain23

      love me some KVN. my second favorite player in this draft after lamarcus joyner. KVN in the second and joyner in the 3rd or 4th and i’m happy with this draft. hearing rumors that san fran is looking to move up into the early 20′s to draft the best WR available. i say we swap our 1st with them and get an extra 4th .then
      RD1 attaochu
      RD2 KVN
      RD3. joyner
      RD 4. top WR on our board
      RD4 san fran pick top: OG.CB on our board
      Solid draft improves most importantly our D

      • GEAGLE

        I will dance naked in the street if we can pair KVN with Attaucho(who will be a 21yr old rookie and is already mature, prepare like a pro, has experience in even and odd fronts, and dropping into coverag….I am blown away that he will be a 21yr old rookie.,.,

        Best case scenario we can trade out of round 1 and add Allen Robinson,Attaucho and KVN

    • Jerry Pomroy

      Dude, I wasn’t kidding a while back when I said that I’d love to package KVN as sub package specialist and line him up all over, including as a 3rd safety. He’s an excellent blitzer and we all know he’s good in coverage. Put him up close to the line opposite the slot. Is he coming or going? Let him creep up behind the DE on 4 down linemen sets.

      • GEAGLE

        Really hoping he blew Chip away at the interview….take the on field ability out of the equation…if you had to pluck a LB out of this draft to QB your defense can you really come up with a better option than KVN? Dude is just a playmaking SOB…versatile as it gets..high character, Commited, will run thru walls for the good of the team….would love to see KVN and Kendricks shooting those A gaps,while Cox is twisting outside and Attaucho is crashing inside!!

        Really want to find a way to end up with:
        A-Rob or Cody Lat
        KVN
        Attaucho or Maaaaarcus darling

        It all starts with trading back from 22

        • Jerry Pomroy

          I was sold when I saw him go from sideline to sideline to make a diving attempt to push a player out of bounds to keep them from making a 1st down. That’s heart!

          Funny thing is, someone argued with me that KVN’s skill set was the same as Kendricks and also that they thought KVN was too small to play inside. Obviously they are not actual fans seeing how KVN is like 2″ taller than both Meco & Kendricks and weighs almost as much.

  • GEAGLE

    Geez…just realized, that liKE A-Rob, Attaucho will be a 21yr old rookie..kid seems so mature, I would have never guessed he is so young…

    A-Rob/Attaucho has to move to the top of my round 1/2 wish list…

    • Mitchell

      Trade down, pick up a third, draft A-Rob or Latimer in the late first/early second, then get The Nigerian.

      • Jerry Pomroy

        The Nigerian? That’s offensive coming from a Canadian…lol.

        • Mitchell

          Isn’t Attaochu Nigerian?

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Yeah man. I’m just busting your chops & having some fun. Too much time before the draft and it’s late here so I’m tired and a Lil loopy.

          • Mitchell

            lol, if we draft him, I hope the name sticks. You can be the witness that I came up with it!

        • Maggie

          en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Igali

  • Brian Pillion

    I do like what I see from Kirksey, though he definitely seems on the small side.

    On a side note, can we all just change our handles to GEAGLE, so that rather than a mere 75% of the comments on every single thread coming from GEAGLE, the comments section might reach its long destined apex, as the GEAGLE inner-monologic schizophrenia spectacular?

  • Baloophi

    I’m with some others here in that I’m not so convinced this is or should be Meco Suave’s last year as an Eagle. At least, I don’t know how comfortable I’d be kicking him to the curb next season (especially if we ask Henery to do it).

    I understand the contract, and that he’s not getting any younger, but I don’t seem to recall that many missed tackles… at least, not as easily as I recall about 7 years in a row where we couldn’t find an effective MLB.

    Obviously we should always be looking for tomorrow’s starters and at any position, but aren’t we just as vulnerable at CB, DT, and certainly OLB? And those aren’t positions you expect to captain the defense…

    • D3Center

      Meco isn’t really missing tackles its more that he isn’t getting to places fast enough to make some of the plays you’d like. The best example for him is an aging short stop who still makes most of the places but range is clearly declining and they just can’t get to some plays. I don’t know if this will be or should be his last year but that’s where people are coming from.

      • Baloophi

        Okay. Gotcha.

        That said, I kinda feel like the progression of the “replace DeMeco” narrative began with his contract and has evolved into a “declining range / age” issue, possibly as a result of people looking at C.J. Mosley as a target as #22 and looking to justify that selection.

        Did I just miss commentary during the season where we were talking about him as a liability?

        Again, I totally get the “replace earlier rather than later” mantra (it’s like the old “timing belt” debate on a car), but I just wasn’t fully aware replacing DeMeco was such a high priority.

        • D3Center

          I know later in the season talks about his range started to crop up but in the off season rewatching film you can just see instances of him not getting where he needs to be. I know Tommy I think posted a video of Pryor’s run against us last year and you could just see the lack of range. And age has always been an issue since we acquired him.

          • Baloophi

            Okay… I must have been blacked out for those talks, then! I’m also scarred from all those years of mediocrity at linebacker so I’m probably a little more defensive (ha!) when it comes to jettisoning the first guy who performed above-average since Will Witherspoon’s first game.

            This is not a question aimed at “keeping DeMeco” or anything, but do you think an improvement at ROLB would – in effect – somewhat alleviate range concerns for an ILB? In other words, since we can’t invest in both a premium ILB and an OLB (at least in one year), would you get better return with an OLB?

            I guess I’m just ignorant to the importance and ideal skill-set of ILB’s in the 3-4 as far as desired range vs. coverage ability vs. tackling, etc. Obviously you’d like someone who is great at everything, but that’s not realistic.

            Put another way, if you were assembling the perfect backer corps for the Bill Davis defense, what do you want out of your ILB’s and how would they differ?

          • D3Center

            A ROLB wouldn’t alleviate concerns because his role would be completely different as he will be your primary pass rusher. I don’t think you want different ILBs in the league anymore which is why Mosley would be so perfect as a replacement. Basically if Kendricks can play up to his ability your concerns will be alleviated because we’ll have one stud ILB still. But another LB with similar skills to Kendrick would be ideal. The issue we had for years though was we didn’t have any good LBs in the 4-3 but that isn’t an issue in the 3-4 as long as we have Kendricks and Barwin.

          • Baloophi

            Okay… I guess your point: “as long as we have Kendricks and Barwin” is one of the reasons why I’m sort of confused by the urgency behind replacing DeMeco.

            But yes – always good to bring in young talent, and obviously Mosley would solidify the interior of our backing corps… as long as Kendricks becomes more consistent.

            Where would you (or anyone!) rank the importance of finding a DeMeco replacement in terms of priorities this off-season? To simplify the issue, where would you rank it terms of defensive priorities?

          • D3Center

            I think it depends on how the draft falls. If Mosley is there in the first then you take him most likely or if another highly rated available player is available later take them. But I think when it comes to the draft at the place the franchise is at, you take BPA but hope it fills a need in a few years rather than next year because that’s when the players you take now will be ready to take over and you won’t be relying on a rookie.

          • Baloophi

            D3Center –

            Thanks for entertaining my ignorance today!

        • Jerry Pomroy

          For the record, I’m not looking to replace Ryans. I’m looking to add a playmaker in the event we do lose him. Replacing him wouldn’t be an easy task & that’s why I want someone to spell him on 3rd downs to preserve him, learn and be ready, while also being in on sub packages, contributing on special teams, etc.

          I think KVN could be a sub package specialist and also the prime backup to both ILBs, as well as both OLB spots (but primarily to backup Barwin on outside).

    • Maggie

      Meco Suave! ;~D

    • NinjaP

      I think something that kind of fails to get realized around these parts after years of Andy Reid. Is that we are a 3-4 team now. We are supposed to draft OLB/ILB every year. Can never really have enough now.

  • mtn_green

    Why are the college football sack leaders not high draft picks?

    Trent Murphy led all players in sacks in 2013.
    Michael Sam lead SEC in 2013.
    Will Sutton lead all players in 2012.

    Why no love?

    • oreofestar

      It is kinda like with Heisman winners where they don’t always translate, I like Murphy and I think he will go in the 2nd round but lacks ideal athleticism and Michael Sam does not have a true position, is unathletic too, Will Sutton I think may be a steal but he is a bit undersized

    • Insomniac

      Because college production is only part of the equation.

    • D3Center

      Look at Damontre Moore for the Giants last year. Great college player, will probably never even be a good starter. Those players you listed generally get their sacks on effort not talent and athletic ability which doesn’t translate to the NFL.

    • NinjaP

      Good NFL pass rushers are explosive athletes.

  • HazletonEagle

    Hey Tommy it should be noted that our OLBs coach met with Zumwalt not our ILB coach. That’s interesting to me but while Zumwalt lined up outside quite a bit he definitely needs to stay at ILB.

    • TommyLawlor

      Zumwalt is an ILB. I think the Eagles did that as a matter of simplicity. Why fly 2 LB coaches to UCLA? Bill McGovern coached several great LBs at Boston College. He’s the man who tutored Luke Kuechly. He knows ILBs as well as OLBs.

      • HazletonEagle

        I guess maybe that makes sense. Though he stuck to OLBs on every other visit. Except for Zumwalt. But Ill believe you because its the only way it comes close to making sense. Like you said, Zumwalt is an ILB. I refuse to believe theyve considered him as an OLB.
        The LB we need from UCLA is Myles Jack. Cant wait till he can enter the draft and hopefully play in philly.

  • Matt Gosline

    I feel like Quincy Enunwa would be a cool late round/udfa addition. He’s 6-2 225 and ran a 4.45 at the combine. Type the guy’s name into youtube and the first three clips are “big hits”. Sounds like a perfect special teams development project.

  • Insomniac

    So…anyone have any ideas of how we can smuggle Doriel Green-Beckham into Philly and detain him here for a year? We just need to fatten him up with cheesesteaks/pretzels/water ice/roast pork sandwiches so he runs slow at the combine next year. Oh and find him anger management classes, a therapist, and make him buy into zen classes in the meantime.

    That’s not too much to ask for right?

  • Jerry Pomroy

    Taking suggestions…

    I currently do not have cable or satellite TV. Is there any outlet of streaming the draft live online including the commentary? I could go to my neighbor’s but that’s a lot of time to be hanging with Ravens fans (live in Ravens country now) & you can never hear the commentary at the local watering holes plus I’m not that big a drinker these days. I wouldn’t last 32 picks out at the bar. I know I can track the draft picks online, but that’s kind of like watching a horror movie with the TV muted. Just isn’t the same.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated. I know there are a lot of Eagles fans abroad that read Tommy’s stuff and comment here.

    • ICDogg

      I think NFL.com streams the NFL network, but you might need a login from a cable/satellite provider.