You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Posted: April 15th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 64 Comments »

Chip Kelly and his coaches have ideal player types. They want tall, athletic OL. They want OLBs that can rush, cover and play the run. They prefer tall, long CBs that can press. And so on.

Wanting those players and finding those players are 2 different things.

Teams have a limited set of choices. As I like to joke, they can’t just go down to the Player Store and head to the LB aisle. “Let’s see if pass rushers are on sale this week or if maybe they’ve got the brand new models in. They’re expensive, but man are they cool.”

While Kelly and Bill Davis might want complete OLBs, they’ll have to settle for what they can get. The same is true at most positions. Safety is another such spot. Davis has talked about the fact he wants to get to the point where there is no FS or SS,  but rather similar players that are the Right Safety and Left Safety.

That is a great goal, but the draft isn’t loaded with Safeties who are complete players. The Eagles brought in Deone Bucannon for a visit. He’s 6-1, 216, which is big for a Safety. He is a physical hitter with some coverage limitations. This shows you that the Eagles are being realistic.

Would you rather have a Safety that has okay ability vs the run and pass or would you rather have someone who can be a physical presence and then needs work on his cover skills?

There is no right answer, per se. The argument for a guy like Bucannon is that he can at least stand out in one area. He might have some issues, but that might be worth it if he can be a difference-maker at what he does well. You hope that the player then develops skills in the area where he is deficient. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t.

The Eagles are being reasonable with their expectations. They have talked to a pair of OL that at 6-3, 310. They looked at Will Clarke, a DT/DE tweener, as a potential OLB. They’ve shown interest in CBs that lack the Eagles preferred size.

The interesting part of all this will be to see where the Eagles make compromises, so to speak. And then it will be interesting to see how those players work out over time.

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  • Sconces

    Nice read Tommy, I do have a few questions I hope you can answer:
    -Do you think Keith McGill is a “perfect fit” for what Eagles want at CB?
    -Do you see Eagles making any more trades at all, including trading up or down, this offseason?
    -Favorite non-first round OLB?

    • GEAGLE

      McGill is old.l.CBs take time to be ready to play in the NFL…IMO he lacks too much polish for a guy his age to be drafted by the eagles..

      I think Chip will want to go with the young prospects like WRs Moncreif,Robinson,Devante, opposed to 23year olds like KB
      ….
      Be shocked if we don’t trade back a few times to pick up more picks..doubt we will be moving up. Because we lack ammunition

  • HazletonEagle

    Tommy! How ironic you post this piece just as we are having a long debate over the same exact thing in the blog!

  • SteveH

    You mean there might not be a tall, heavy, fast, hard hitting, ballhawking safety with shutdown corner coverage skills at pick 22?

    Life’s not fair, man.

    • Sean

      If that’s all he could do, I’d be disappointed. He also needs to be an elite deep threat who commands double coverage.

    • Insomniac

      The closest match that I know of would be Adrian Wilson. Too bad he’s so old now.

    • TommyLawlor

      That player is out there, but only I know his name. I’ll give it to the Eagles for one night with the cheerleaders…or $37, whichever they feel is more appropriate.

      • Will

        Maybe Antone Exum switches to Safety… is that what your thinking Tommy…

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

        ALL the cheerleaders? I’d bet Howie negotiates that down, maybe only guarantees 2 or so hours in the contract. You’ll be lucky if they let you stay past 3:30am, before you’re replaced with a taller, more athletic blogger

      • Maggie

        The money is probably more appropriate as the cheerleaders are real live people who might say, No Way!

    • Daniel Norman Richwine

      Needs to be a dynamic return man too, or not worth a first rounder.

  • Insomniac

    Maybe we could go with option C and go BPA instead of reaching for a safety.

  • Cafone

    Tommy, which defensive position, if any, do you think the Eagles could draft at 22 and get a player that would start on opening day?

    I’m not saying that should be the goal, I’m just curious if you think there would be any players available that could beat out any of our starters right away.

    • D3FB

      Haha and Fuller are the only players that would likely start opening day. I think that says more about lack of gaping holes on our team than any of the players. I would favor Louis Nix to beat out Bennie Logan, but it would only be like 60-40. Mosley and Barr would likely be used creatively, transitioning into more reps as the season progressed, more out of respect for Cole and Ryans than any fault of their own (that Aaron Rodgers kid sat the bench for a few years and turned out ok).

      • mksp

        How would you feel about CJ Mosley at 22? I’d prefer Fuller, but it feels like Mosley is more likely to fall. He’s dynamic and a playmaker, but a bit undersized (though he does have really long arms). Still, would be an opportunity to draft the best ILB in the draft and give us options next year (‘Meco) and potentially a long term replacement for Kendricks if his talent/$ doesn’t match next summer/in two summers.

        • D3FB

          I’m a big fan of both Fuller and Mosley. 6’2 is pretty solid height and 234 is like a big dinner away from what most linebackers play at these days. Mosley is the only surefire 3 down linebacker, because I’m not sure Shazier can hold up against the run. Mosley is also the best LB prospect He’s also would be better than anyone in the last three drafts not named Luke. Either one of those guys would be a valuable addition.

  • JJ_Cake

    I’d rather have my DBs better at defending the pass. Let the front 7 be responsible for the run, or pressuring the QB. Is that unrealistic these days?

    • D3FB

      Tales of Deone’s lack of coverage ability are greatly exaggerated. It stems from his lack of man coverage experience, some tightness in his hips, and what I’m willing to guarantee is some piss poor coaching on man coverage. He’s perfectly fine playing a deep zone. Will he be Earl Thomas playing cover 1 all game long? No. Can you leave him back there with confidence? Absolutely. You don’t have 15 career picks due to sheer luck.

      • Anders

        I would love us to draft Bucannon. Guy can do it all.

      • GEAGLE

        Yes, it’s very exaggerated…just like you will always hear someone say a safety with his size has “stiff hips”.,.washington often used him as the field safety instead of the hash safety, which shows they had confidence in his range….really be happy to see us add Buchanon! but I don’t expect us to draft a safety early.
        ..
        Think we will use our stop gap depth at CB and Safety(having 3 players we aren’t scared to play at each position) to take advantage and spend this draft really solidifying out front 7, and next years draft taking care of the secondary(although I do think we can add a corner and safety late like Exum and Dowling)

        Offensively, we are strong enough at OL to use this draft to get Chip his own weapons…so I’m expecting:

        2014 draft on front 7 and getting Chip his own weapons
        2015 draft on the secondary and getting younger on the OL

        • Dominik

          “2014 draft on front 7 and getting Chip his own weapons
          2015 draft on the secondary and getting younger on the OL”

          Would be really happy about that. Please no early O-Line this year. I know how important that position is and we all know how much Kelly values it, but we have 4 good starters and a solid one (Toddfather) + a great and versatile back up in Barbre. We need to get younger there over time, no doubt, but we don’t need it this year. At least not early, if there’s a guard that has value in the 4th or 5th I’d have no problem with drafting him (especially if we traded back one or two times).

    • Malcolm Jones

      I wouldnt mind them being better at defending the pass, but I think they must be willing tacklers at least.

    • GEAGLE

      Better be happy our CBs could tackle last year when our front 7 was getting little safety support in the run game…

    • anon

      Nate Allen said that difference between davis and prior schemes is that secondary had very few run support duties — made his job easier as far as decision making. not sure if that’s allen or the scheme, but if it’s the scheme that sort of tells you what we’re looking for.

  • GvilleEagleFan

    Hey Tommy, in this context, how viable would Kendricks be as a similarly-versatile OLB as Barwin? I understand his size could pose some concerns with him setting the edge in the run game, but he would have a similar ability to shoot gaps and cover TEs.

    The reason I ask is I’ve seen a few analysts mock C.J. Mosley to us at #22. I doubt he’ll last that long, but say for the sake of argument he’s a Kuechly-level talent in our scheme. Would a starting LB corps of Kendricks, Mosley, Ryans, and Barwin be an idea worth considering?

    • D3FB

      How viable is it? Minimally. You could probably design a small package a run some exotic stunts and blitzes from it, but if you line Kendricks up at ROLB or LOLB for a full game you’re going to get killed. He gives up way too much length and strength to set the edge, and doesn’t have anything in terms of pass rush moves.
      If we draft Mosley, (which I’m a big fan of if he’s available) he would be brought on slowly. He could start day 1 if need be, but likely he wouldn’t. Take time to learn from the sideline, and play in nickel, and certain packages. Get some experience for him and then in the offseason let Demeco go and replace him with Mosley.

      • GEAGLE

        Struggle envisioning how we could lim CJ more than KVN…Van Noy can eventually replace Meco! but while Meco is still here, KVN can move around and get snaps at different LB spots…I don’t believe Meco won’t be here next year. I think Meco and CJ can both be quality eventual replacements, but KVN can be had a round later, and we can get more out of him while Meco is still here because of his versatility

        • D3FB

          A couple of things to keep in mind. If you are going to have KVN play both inside and outside, you are going to overload his head. That’s a very large amount of playbook to learn. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I doubt it’s a productive use of his time.
          Also KVN didn’t play ILB in college. He’s a projection, and that brings with it an extra level of risk. I’m 98% sure Mosley becomes a good ILB. I’m only 70% sure KVN can even start at ILB.

    • Anders

      Rather have Cole on the field or play 3-3-5.

    • Anthony Hart

      If they draft an ILB it will be to move Ryans off the team, not to move Kendricks outside.

  • GermanEagle

    What were Brian Dawkins’ limitations when he was drafted? There must be a reason why a future hall of famer lasted to the second round, right?!

    • Anthony Hart

      Short and slow. If Dawkins was a draft prospect today the fanbase would hate the pick. He’d probably get compared to Jaiquan Jarrett.

      • GermanEagle

        Fair enough. Still would like to know Tommy’s thoughts. So do you have any pre-draft notes on Brian, Mr. Lawlor?

      • Andy124

        I think we’d also complain about his age.

        • Maggie

          Same with Brian Mitchell?

  • GEAGLE

    Compromise will be made at OLB…why. Because we don’t really have a choice…only legit prospects with the size we covet are Murphy,bum Hubbard and Clarke….they most likely go with someone like Marcus Smith who is two inches shorter then we would like, but has the arm length to compensate…

    ….don’t know what to think of Buchanon for us..but d be excited to see us add him, but if I’m being honest, it would surprise me because I think we want our safeties to have more free safety/CB ability, and less Strong Safety Ability

    One position we won’t compromise is WR…we will add the size, becuse we don’t have to compromise. Their are countless big body blazers at the position in this draft for Kelly to Mold…

    Have no Feat, Chip “khalessi” Kelly is building his army of unsullied warriors…this will he a fun year, but 2015 we will kick ass and take names!!!

    Wondering if we bust out some two back ZRs with Sproles in town, similar to what Cal was running in 2012…Fits well considering Peyton used to run a lot of those Sproles screens out of two back sets, of course Sproles won’t just be lining up in the backfield….but trying to trade for Spiller leads me to believe this is the next step of our offense…of course we will use a lot more 12 personel, similar to how we dismantled cardinals top ranked defense..you can expect a bigger role for Casey, I think we have seen very little of what he can do for us

    We won’t be adding any 5’9 Cbs, why? Because we don’t have to…plenty of size and length to develop at Corner in the later rounds

    • GEAGLE

      Have no fear….Chip

  • eagleyankfan

    AND…say the Eagles settle for a player who is not great, but better than what we have and he starts — STILL does not mean that player is greatest thing since slice bread.
    While that article is partially true — I do believe if you do your homework, you will find the players you want. Seattle did not throw a dart at a board to find their defensive players. Seattle did their home work.
    For safety — I’d want someone with better coverage skills. It’s a passing league now. Not someone with poor decision making and bad “paths” getting to the ball.

    • TommyLawlor

      You totally miss the point with Seattle. They take players of various sizes and skill sets and make them work. I don’t know that they have ideal targets. They focus more on players having one specific trait.

      • eagleyankfan

        I’m thinking you missed my point(which I’m not great at doing). Seattle Coach and DC decided on the type of players they wanted to find. They went out and found those players. They had a plan and executed it to perfection. isn’t that considered they did their home work? It wasn’t by pure chance that their D was just strung together…they did their homework to find the players they wanted. You can say they have one specific trait — but isn’t that identifying the players they wanted to fit their scheme?
        That’s the point I’m trying to make. Chip(and DC) need to identify their players traits(which they know) for their system AND find them. It can be done and I trust Kelly will find them. All signs point to Chip doing his homework.
        The article is eluding to that Chip will settle for players and I don’t think that’s the case. I think Chip IS doing his homework. I don’t think Chip will draft a Kolb in the second round. That’s where I don’t think Chip is 100% BPA either. Chip(I think) is more BPA that fits his scheme.

        • ICDogg

          BPA, I think, is not what a lot of people think it means. That is, a team’s draft targets are not based entirely on general quality. When we say best, we mean the guy who is best for the Eagles, which would certainly be a different guy than who would be best for, say, the Giants. So even if you believed that Kiper’s (or anyone else’s) list of best available players was done perfectly, it still would not be useful because it was not team-specific.
          But the one thing we are *not* taking into consideration when compiling this list of targets (using a BPA strategy) is who the Eagles already have on their roster. That’s the one and only thing that distinguishes this strategy from “drafting for need”.

        • Tumtum

          Not to get off topic but I think Kolb was a pretty damn good pick. It appeared as though he could be pretty good in Andy’s system. Had it not been for injuries who knows what could of happened. None of that matters though because we got DRC AND a 2nd round pick for him. DRC has one decent year and then mailed it in, but the talent was there.

          Essentially one back up turned in to two starters. Can’t call that a fail in my book.

          • eagleyankfan

            So it’s a genius pick to go into a draft thinking you can waste a second round pick and pray some pigeon will eventually trade for him? Finding someone to play very well for 1 year is a great thing? Kolb was one of AR’s dumb moves.

          • Tumtum

            They drafted him as the heir to Donovan. There was time to groom him. If it didn’t work out there was time for a plan B. It didn’t work out, there was a plan B and they got more for him than they paid for him.

            I just don’t see a fail there.

          • eagleyankfan

            it’s being a MMQB. The Eagles had no clue/plan, unless they are fortune tellers, to say “let’s draft Kolb and if he fails we’ll trade him for 2 players”. If that were true, the Eagles would win the SB each year.
            Going back and looking at that draft though — ooffaaaa. Kolb might have been the best pick. LOL.

          • Tumtum

            AND! He never really had the chance to fail here. I see you are coming over to my side. These are not the droids you are looking for.

        • Maggie

          Actually, Seattle spent the last couple of years going through numerous players until they got the combination that works. They will tell you this themselves. Also Pete Carroll sings the praises of the GM, who joined the team a while back. He and Carroll hit it off and began to make those changes. Took 4 years, don’t forget. I live about 2 hours from Seattle so hear a lot about the Seahawks.

          • eagleyankfan

            That’s what I call doing their homework and taking their time to find the right guys/mix. Chip isn’t going to solve the defense this year either. But there’s hope he finds 1 or even 2 pieces to that puzzle.

      • Tumtum

        Can’t really go wrong with Earl Thomas either…

  • Jernst

    When it comes to settling on preferred measurables, I don’t think there’s a more fascinating case study than Brandon Boykin. What happens if the man continues to lead the league in INT and proves consistently to be our best cover corner? Does he continue to be punished for his height regardless of his play or do they compromise with a shorter albeit extremely talented playmaker at the CB position?

    • Ben Hert

      Makes you wonder the exact reason that they don’t move him outside. I think it has to do less with his height and more with the inability to replace what he does in the slot. Maybe we see them draft a corner in the later rounds this year to take over in the slot and open the door for Boyking to get more reps outside as Scones ages gracefully.

      • Jernst

        Possible, but I’d have to think that, moving forward, if that was the concern they’d start him outside and then move him inside when the offense puts a slot receiver out there. It made some sense last year when Davis wanted him to focus on one position and he was the only defender that could play the slot. But, this yr he should have no problem playing slot and outside CB.

        • Tumtum

          It could be considered sort of like the Shaun Andrews conundrum. Do you move possibly the best guard in the NFL out to tackle where he is an unknown in the NFL? Well they did move him outside and it was about the time his back started giving him trouble so the experiment can’t really be judged. Didn’t they even move him back to guard before things really blew up?? If you were to judge it though the results were much more favorable at guard.

      • James Adair

        He looked pretty bad on the outside in the pre-season. He’s a good slot corner and that doesn’t always translate to the outside.

    • Anders

      I dont buy the height thing.

      Boykin is 5’10 with a great vertical. In 2008 when we had a top defense we started twó 5’10 CBs on the outside

      • Jernst

        Oh I completely agree and I’d love to see him moved outside. But I also know chip and Davis have a real desire to field two bigger than average outside CB and have been very hesitant to move Boykin outside. Heck, last year they put Roc Carmichael out there with him on the bench at times just to avoid it. So, I think it will be very interesting to see how much of a hard line rule this height thing really is for them . I’m hoping it’s negotiable. But, at the combine he measured in at 5’9″ despite being listed as 5’10” in college, so he is fairly short and will be a good litmus test as to whether or not Chip and billy will compromise on having big CBs.

  • GermanEagle

    Speaking of a lack in height: I would love the Eagles to draft Brian Rolle’s ‘little brother and ball of hate’ at Safety: Lamarcus Joyner

    That dude hits like there ain’t no tomorrow. Looks like a flying midget cannon ball out there on the football field!

    • D3Center

      Yeah but do you really want a guy of Joyner’s size matching up against players like Jimmy Graham or some of the other new breed of TE types? That would not be a great matchup especially considering he doesn’t have Boykin level speed. Also if Billy Davis really does want two versatile safeties I don’t see how Joyner fits with his physical limitations.

      • GermanEagle

        The Eagles could always plug in a 6ft7 Safety for goal line situations. Think these kind of safeties should be available in the 7th round..

      • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

        boykin has that nasty vert too

    • Anders

      For me that guy is verrett, best cb in the draft and great athletic ability

  • Tumtum

    I don’t need two Brian Dawkins. One Dawk and one Michael Lewis would suite me just fine.

  • Maggie

    A little late to the site, but I do like a little Rolling Stones from time to time.

  • austinfan

    They’ll settle on certain dimensions, not others. There are reasons for those measurables.

    So ILBs can be short, but OLBs will be 6’3 or taller, it’s one thing to keep Cole and Graham, quite another to use a high draft pick on Ford. Murphy may lack the speed they want, but has the length they like.

    Buchanon is actually close to their ideal, 6’1, 210 lbs, 4.49 speed, very similar to Chung, Wolff, Allen, Keelan Johnson. Jenkins is “only” 6’0 200 but has CB cover skills, they won’t look at Joyner.

    RBs are either inside runners or quick scatbacks.
    OL can be 6’3 if they’re inside, as long as they can play OG and C.
    OTs will be able to play OT and OG.

    Starting caliber WRs will be close to 6’0 and 200 lbs but not huge, they need to play all three spots, smaller guys will be late round guys who are upgrades to D Johnson as slot WR/return men.

    TEs will be 6’5 or so and close to 250 lbs, but unlikely to be 265 lbs unless they’re exceptional athletes and receivers for their size – TEs must be able to block on the move and be adequate in line, but they’re used to set up mismatches in the receiving game so they must be able to threaten the seam.

    It’s all about players to fit role, and ideally versatile players that can be moved around, removing “keys”: for the defense, while the same holds on defense, when you can shift Jenkins around, and Buchanon and Wolff can switch sides without telling a QB anything, and anyone of 4 LBs can blitz successfully on any play . . . edge Eagles!