DeMeco’s Future

Posted: April 27th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 71 Comments »

I opened Saturday’s post with these 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.

A few of you had questions about that. Why even talk about getting rid of DeMeco right now? Is he a problem on the field? And what about his value in running the defense and being a great leader?

These are legitimate questions so let me try to explain the situation.

DeMeco is a declining player. No matter how you describe his performance (good vs solid vs average vs whatever), there is no disputing that he’s in decline. Age and wear and tear are taking their toll. This happens to most players, and certainly to all inside linebackers. You can’t play such a physical position without it wearing you down. It happens to some players quickly. Others last longer. Jeremiah Trotter played lights out in 2004 and 2005. He got old in 2006 and was a backup in Tampa in 2007. Trotter only started 124 games in the NFL, or just under 8 full seasons. His body broke down quicker than others. Brian Urlacher started 180 games. Ray Lewis…227.

DeMeco Ryans has 118 starts under his belt. He’s at the point where age should really kick in. And let’s understand the word “decline”. That doesn’t mean “bad”. It certainly has a negative connotation, but it needs context. Ryans is declining from being a good ILB. That doesn’t mean he’s no longer an effective starter. You can win with Ryans. He can still make plays. What you don’t know is when he’ll make a big decline and become somewhat of a liability. This could be 2014, 2015 or even down the road in 2017 or 2018.

London Fletcher is a guy that I thought would get old, but it took forever to happen. I kept waiting for the guy to show his age. He was a freak. You can’t compare Ryans to him. Fletcher never missed a game in his career. Ryans already suffered one significant injury. And I don’t think enough people understand just how good Fletcher was. He is a borderline HOF’er. Ryans was a Pro Bowl player at his peak, but isn’t in the same class as Fletcher (or Lewis or Urlacher). An example of Fletcher being a freak…in 2008, at age 33, he had a game against the Eagles where he blew up C Jamaal Jackson, who was trying to block him on a run play, and then covered Brian Westbrook step for step on a pass route downfield. You know you’ve got a special player when he can take on a 330-pound blocker in the trenches and then cover a gifted RB down the field. Doing this at 33? Freakish.

DeMeco didn’t get any help from the Eagles style of play last year. According to this chart, he played more snaps than any other defender in the NFL in 2013. That can take its toll on a 29-year old ILB.

Ryans issues are more about speed than anything else. He is still a good tackler. He can still take on blockers and shed them. Ryans is a smart, instinctive LB. He just can’t cover as much ground as he used to. Ryans can make up for that a bit by reading plays well and anticipating plays, but there are other times when he’s in trouble. Dez Bryant caught a crossing pass against the Eagles in the season finale and Ryans looked like he was caught in quicksand. You don’t expect your ILB to run with a WR, but you hope he can stay in the same zip code.

There were some coverage breakdowns late in the year where Ryans looked to be at fault. We don’t know anything for sure (without knowing the exact defensive call), but it sure appeared he was not where he needed to be. PFF had Ryans rated low after last year, but I don’t always agree with what they have to say.

The Eagles are smart to be looking for Ryans replacement now. If Ryans has a great year in 2014, he keeps his job. The young ILB would sit for another year. I don’t anticipate that happening. I expect Ryans to slide a bit more and need replacing for 2015. This is a projection, not a fact. The old saying in football is that it is better to get rid of a player a year too early rather than keeping him a year too long. You are essentially erring on the side of caution.

What about the value of his leadership? This is the hardest thing to quantify. Leadership has a value, but at the same time, it has never made a tackle. Leadership has never picked off a pass or sacked a QB. You have to factor leadership and intangibles into whether or not you keep a player, but performance is the key.

London Fletcher was a terrific leader for the Skins, but he was a borderline liability on the field last year. Age finally caught up to him. The Skins kept him a year too long. The Eagles will hopefully develop some other players who are leaders. Connor Barwin is one already. Bennie Logan could be a leader. Mychal Kendricks could be one. Certainly Malcolm Jenkins will be a leader. It isn’t like a group of 11 rookies would be on the field without Ryans.

The Eagles need more speed in the middle of the field. They will add an ILB somewhere in this draft. I hope that player is worked into the lineup so that Ryans isn’t on the field for 1100 snaps. His performance would likely be better by playing less. We’ll deal with the future down the road, but enjoy Ryans while you can. The smart money says that this will be his final season in Philly.

_


  • Greg Richards

    He’s an ideally two-down ILB that’s being paid like a complete, Pro Bowl LB. He’s paid too highly this season and next. We don’t have any better options for this season. I wouldn’t say you necessarily draft his replacement, but at least get a good nickel LB so he doesn’t have to be in there on 3rd down. Or commit to playing more 3 S alignments. I don’t think he’s necessarily gone after this season but he should be gone at the salary he’s scheduled. If he’ll take a pay cut to approximately half that, then he’s still a valuable player.

    • TommyLawlor

      That would be great, except that the NFL is such a passing league that you can’t always be situational.

      • Greg Richards

        If he was an absolute liability against the pass, then sure. I think that overstates his struggles last year and his relative loss of speed. Pass coverage isn’t his strength but he’s still serviceable IMO.

        • GEAGLE

          Sure you can’t ask him to man cover Dez Bryant! but you can still ask Meco to drop into zone(he did just have a career high in INTs), and he happens to be pretty good at bully WRs into the dirt..WR can’t run his patter and catch a ball, if Meco is knocking him on his ass……Decent at blitzing,,,don’t thnk it has reached the point where we NEVER want him on the field if teams are passing

          We absolutely need alternatives to Meco in coverage..but I think it’s silly to talk about him as if he was London Fletcher who couldn’t do anything if teams passed the ball…

    • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

      3 S on the field? we barely have one… lol

    • Maggie

      Well, if leadership never made a tackle or intercepted a pass, half a salary won’t do it for sure! Anyway what does money have to do with the subject of the article? The piece is about players’ bodies wearing down, not their effort.

  • Joe Minx

    “Leadership has a value, but at the same time, it has never made a tackle. Leadership has never picked off a pass or sacked a QB.”

    Love this quote.

    • GEAGLE

      Did you love it when our secondary had no leader, and we were constantly blowing coverages, WRs walking into the ENDZONE with NNamdi and Kurt Coleman pointing at each other? Did you love the quote then? Figured we seen enough of secondary running around like chickens with their heads cut off to be devaluing this sort of thing…

      Personally, I never seen a SB winner that didn’t have really really strong leadership

      • Anders

        That defense was more about lack of skills and bad scheme than leadership. 100% even with an old Dawkins back there that it would have been any better

        • GEAGLE

          Not so sure about that…we certainly Lacked talent in a major way, but I think the communication breakdowns were obvious..no matter what the talent level, our players not knowing what they are doing is unacceptable…of course, coaching played it’s roll, so it’s not all on the leadership…

          But the eagles can’t sit and say that Malcolm is a better signing than Byrd because he will QB our secondary, and then In the next breathe, cut Meco and downplay him QB our defense….

          What’s going to be really interesting is, when Meco is gone, will Kendrick take over making the calls, or will that roll go to the kid we draft to replace Meco?

          • oreofestar

            well Jenkins was not better than Byrd… Byrd is the word

          • Anders

            “But the eagles can’t sit and say that Malcolm is a better signing than Byrd because he will QB our secondary, ”

            The Eagles havnt said that. They said one of the reasons they liked Jenkins was his leadership.

            But remember two guys the Eagles cut/didnt keep? Vick and Avant, both talked about their leadership, but the moment they wasnt making plays or became too expensive they was either benched or cut.

      • Joe Minx

        You must have missed the part that says “leadership HAS a value”. Tommy’s not discounting it completely, just putting it into its proper context.

  • Weapon Y

    This article makes me convinced Ryan Shazier could be the pick in the first round. There is an understated difference between 3-4 ILBs and 4-3 LBs. An ILB in the 3-4 must be better at covering the middle of the field. This is why Kendricks is a good fit for the scheme, but not Ryans. I think Shazier would split reps with Ryans in year one and take over the full time starting job in year two, while a backup subs in sparingly. In this defense, it is imperative to rotate starters with quality backups due to the enormous workload.

    • D3FB

      I don’t think Shazier is ever going to be physical enough to play ILB in this defense. I think he’s really better off playing somewhere where he’s “protected” from linemen getting a free release on him all game

      • Stevo

        Question for you on that. How much is shedding blocks strength/physicality vs. technique? Could the technique be developed? He put up respectable numbers on the bench, so you think he’d be “strong” enough.

        • D3FB

          It’s a combination of the two. Mr Olympia probably couldn’t stack and shed a good guard, but at the same time the 220lbs linebacker William & Mary who has perfect technique probably doesn’t stand a chance either. It also revolves around instincts as well, as what angle you take the lineman on with depending on what running scheme is being executed, and where the back is flowing also play major roles. Plus there’s the need for the player to want to do it. Some guys will crush running backs and blow up receivers over the middle all day, but ask them to go head to head with a lineman, and suddenly they aren’t the pound on my chest tough guy anymore. I think Shazier probably could be taught to stack and shed effectively, but he’s never going to be great at it, and his skill set fits better as a 43 Will or some other linebacker spot where he’s protected by his DL.

          • Stevo

            Awesome, appreciate the explanation. Very informative.

      • Weapon Y

        Wouldn’t a two-gap, 3-4 defense be designed to do precisely that? Letting Cox, Logan, and Thornton absorb blockers should free up Shazier.

        • D3FB

          Yes and no. In the traditional 34 with a big War daddy in the middle of the defense, offenses typically had to put two hats on him in order to get movement on him. However I feel pretty confident in saying the Eagles dont want that kind of player but rather someone like a slightly larger logan. They prefer this kind of player because it allows them to run more stunts up front and Logan is much better in pursuit, which is very valuable against teams running zone blocking schemes. Think of all the times the redskins tried to run the Shannanhan staple of the stretch play an when Morris would put his foot in the ground, the NT or backside DE was there to stop him for no gain. A 340lbs war daddy doesn’t get there, and opens a massive cutback lane.
          In the 34 both guards are uncovered. This gives them a free release up to the linebacker if the blocking scheme calls for it. Any OC game planning against us is going to find ways to have his guard get a helmet on Shazier immediately, to both eliminate his speed, and to put him in the turf.

  • Greg Richards

    I’d love to get Van Noy in the 2nd round. He could contribute at OLB this year and move to ILB down the road. If you can trade down in Round 1, you can pickup more of a pure pass rusher later in the draft.

    • TommyLawlor

      Van Noy is also of interest to me in the 2nd.

      • A Roy

        By that, I would expect you mean #54 and not if they trade #22 for, say #37 (and #69.) There should still be better talent at #37ish.

  • GEAGLE

    With all do respect, since Meco arrived, all I have read is what he can’t do…can’t return from the Achilles injury to be a productive player, Can’t play in a 3-4, yet he keeps producing. The only reason Meco’s liabilities were even on display last year is because we had no depth, and lacked subpackage alternatives…..the way the league is trending where your LBs have to be able to cover on 3rd down, half the good LBs in the league will become two down players anyway…

    The Eagles Absolutely should draft his eventual replacement! that doesn’t mean Meco and that player can’t and shouldn’t coexist for a year or two..
    ….
    We basically played defense with 15 guys last year..only depth we had was a DL rotation, and Boykin as our Nickle back…that’s a problem. Teams should have 18-19 defenders they use in games, throwing out different personel driven subpackages…we didn’t have any of that, so Meco was forced to do more than he will be asked to do this next year, because you can bet depth is on the way…

    Sure leadership never made a tackle…but after the Nnamdi kurt Coleman pointing at each other while WRs would waltz into our ENDZONE, sounds pretty foolish to down play the QBs of your defense, having to make the right checks to give our defenders a chance to be in position to make those tackles… The only reason people are down on Meco is his contract and because we asked him to do way too much last year instead of only putting him in positions where he can thrive…

    If I had to bet, I would say Meco will be here this year, and next year, while his role reduces more and more while the young depth we add becomes more game ready……I have a feeling Chip will think keeping him in a diminished role, is going to be wiser than just playing musical chairs with our elders every single years….leaders emerge, and the next year the media wants them gone lol….Id bet Cary,Meco,Barwin, Jenkins are the leaders of this defense, and we will want to keep them in place for two more years…of course we would have some contract renegotiating to do…But Meco isn’t some jerk who will act a fool when a young kid starts eating into his snaps…

    “Leadership never made a tackle”..true, but I prefer this quote much much better: “you know you have a good team when your veterans are teaching the young players how to steal their job”…One way or another Meco’s career is winding down, but it’s absurd to see people talking about him as if he is Jason Avant and has nothing left in the tank. INstead of just ripping the Meco bandaid off and thrusting a young player into a starting role, and the role of QB of the front 7, I have a feeling Meco’s departure will be gradual, seeing less and less snaps as our young players are more and more ready.. And by the beginning of the 2016 season, our new young LBs need to be ready to handle life without Meco..

    • MichaelFloyd84

      Couldn’t agree more. We just got that role filled with Demeco, and he’s been great, and now all of the sudden people are talking about his 29 year old self as old? Or his 6.8 mil cap hit as expensive when they already have 20 mil in room?! Give me a break. It’s disappointing to watch a team run such a productive loyal leader out of town for no reason.

      • GEAGLE

        Because Meco isn’t going ANYWHRE, I’d bet the ILB we chose to eventually replace him is versatile enough to player other LB spots so he can still find a way to get snaps while Meco is on the field….Meco’s eventual replacement will be:
        1) smart high character leader capable of eventually QB the defense
        ..
        2) Versatile enough to play other LB spots while Meco is still here, and good enough in coverage so we can get Meco off the field in certain subpackages..
        ,,.
        To me, this SCREAMS Kyle Van Noy

    • TommyLawlor

      @ GEAGLE…

      I have said plenty of good things about DeMeco. You may have read elsewhere about his issues or limitations. I’ve been a big fan of his since he got here.

      I’d love to see Ryans prove me wrong and remain our starter for a few years, but I just don’t think that will happen.

      • GEAGLE

        Talking Media…nowhere did I single you out..

        Am I lying? Has the media not spent every single offseason trying to tell us what Meco can do since he arrived? Don’t think i made that up…

        I think Meco has more left in the tank than you might…that’s fine.you think this is his last year, I think 2015 will be… I obvious have no tangible evidence to support my opinion is right and yours isn’t, and my post really wasn’t even in contrast to yours, more of against the general media consensus….when I agree or disagree with your posts specifically, I always start my post addressing you by name
        ..
        Philly media couldn’t possibly be more wrong last year about the defense, and I find myself disagreeing with them yet again…won’t be the last time…meant no disrespect to you or your opinion…at the end of the day, it’s not like we view things that differently…Meco is on his way out! I just think it will be more gradual of an exit

        • GEAGLE

          Correction: what Meco CANT do so he arrived

        • TommyLawlor

          Okay. You started off with “all due respect”, which makes it sound like you’re being contrary to me.

          And you’re certainly welcome to have a different opinion. As I said, I’d love to be wrong. DeMeco is a fun guy to cheer for. I don’t want him gone. I just think it will happen.

          • GEAGLE

            Yeah I realized later…just a saying, poor choice of timing by my part…I mean, we are practically saying the same thing, I just think he has one year longer in a much diminished roll(kind of splitting hairs(

  • Sean Stott

    No way he gets out of top 15, but CJ Mosley should be a target in round 1.

    • phillychuck

      Mosley seems to be dropping. I’ve seen him very late in round 1 in a couple of mocks.

      • Sean Stott

        I think teams value a solid MLB in the vein of a Navarro Bowman much higher than draftniks will. Same reason I think Pryor will slide way more than draftniks think.

  • PeterAkkies

    Tommy, how should we think of Acho and Knott? Backups? Functional starter if not great players? Someone said this week that the Eagles don’t have much depth at ILB. What are your thoughts?

    • TommyLawlor

      They are mysteries. Najee Goode has shown the most of the backups at ILB. I wanted him on the field with Kendricks in the Nickel, but Davis played Ryans instead.

      Knott is a player the coaches like, but we’ve seen him on the field only a bit. Acho impressed us last summer, but the coaches don’t seem to like him as much as we do. You can’t count on those guys. You hope they develop, but you can’t bank on it.

  • Sifter

    IF Ryans declines more in 2014, he’ll probably be cut next offseason. And since he’s a great leader and role model, you want to use him in a guiding and mentoring role while you still have him. So it’s the absolute best year for a draft pick to come in, learn the ropes and take a few snaps away from him. If Ryans plays well in 2014 and earns his 2015 deal, great, you’ve got extra depth and you’ll have that competition that Kelly loves.

    I hope we draft an ILB high-ish (Van Noy makes so much sense, but it could be another). Could be Christian Jones a bit later. Whoever it is needs to show some blitzing/pass rushing ability because Ryans seemed to blitz a fair bit last year.

    • TommyLawlor

      Exactly. Get a rookie and let Ryans help to teach the kid.

  • Cafone

    I’ve got one word for yous: sports-science.

    Now that the messiah has delivered us from DeDevil he will give Ryans to drink from the smoothie of health and youth and he will play until 46.

    • TommyLawlor

      I could live with this.

  • flying dutchman

    One word of caution on Demeco, don’t discount the possible effects of Chip’s training program. Most of our guys stayed quite healthy last year. At 29 he is not at all too old to make substantial gains physically and turn back the clock a bit. In general I fully expect most of our team to be stronger, better conditioned and hence a bit better performing as they dedicate themselves to improved training and nutrition.

    • TommyLawlor

      Dutchman, good to hear from you. I hope all is well.

      It will be interesting to see what effect a full year of Chip Kelly has on players. These guys didn’t get put into his program until March or April of last year. I’d love to see Ryans and Trent Cole with an extra spring in their step. I don’t expect that to happen, but I’d sure love to see it.

  • Podeekwah

    That makes a whole lot sense dutch, but Tommys going “odds are” scenario.
    I say he wasn’t fully healed from his past injury and he will make a jump this year and you just confirmed my belief that he just might have a few seasons of Eagle fuel left in his tank.

  • izzylangfan

    Yes, there is a decent chance that the decline is so large that Ryans can’t play effectively THIS season. So his replacement is needed now. In my view this should be the Eagles top priority early in the draft, especially since there are good WRs and rush LBs to be had later in the draft. Although, CBs maybe not so much. There seems some possibility that CJ Mosley falls to 22, but someone wrote that he was not a good fit for the Eagles (was that you). Who are the inside linebackers that the Eagles could target – that are both good enough to draft early, might be available at 22 or 54, could have a chance to start right away if needed and are good fits for the Eagles? Are there any?

    I hope you will take a shot at what the Eagles draft board will look like. The piece you did last year was great.

  • Baloophi

    I was peppering D3Center with DeMeco-related questions yesterday and he was courteous enough to respond… sorry, Tommy, if that forced you to write this very excellent article.

    I did ask him one thing that I want to throw out at large: Assuming we’d like to draft an ILB for eventual DeMeco replacement, what priority do you put in drafting that position? Ignore BPA for a moment and pretend you have an ILB and a player at every other position rated the same in every round – when would you take the ILB? In other words: How important is drafting an ILB compared to the other future holes we have on defense?

    People are mentioning C.J. Mosley and Kyle Van Noy as possible Round 1 and Round 2 selections (respectively) – and they are fantastic players – but relatively speaking, wouldn’t a CB, OLB, or S be just as important, if not more? Cary Williams is also 29, we don’t know what we’ve got at S, and we have a 31 year old converted DE playing rush OLB.

    • Greg Richards

      That’s what makes Van Noy so appealing. He might not be the most studliest pass-rusher you could get if that’s what you’re looking for, but he’s fully capable of contributing at OLB this season and ILB down the road. Or even start at ILB. He’s more in the Barwin mode(obviously shorter) as a versatile player that would be good in coverage for a 3-4 OLB than he is a pure Predator rusher but you can typically get more one-dimensional pass rushing prospects later in the draft. So say take Van Noy in the 2nd and then a Ronald Powell type in the 5th.

      • Baloophi

        I guess I’m looking for a philosophical discussion about the relative importance of positions (as opposed to arguments for specific players).

        Everybody wants the best guy at every position but that’s not a reality, so in my hypothetical experiment where you have players at every position rated the same, where do you rank the importance of an ILB in this defense?

        • Sifter

          I think going by DeMeco’s insane snap count last year, ILB is pretty damn important. He was playing every down, every package. If a potential LB like that can be identified, then he’s at very least more important than safety, maybe corner too and if your edge rusher is rotating in and out, perhaps more important than him as well.

          • Baloophi

            Cool (and thanks for replying!). So ignoring offensive picks, in my hypothetical world, you would take an ILB you have rated the same as other defensive positions in Round 1.

            The number of snaps argument makes sense to me, as does the importance of having somebody who can both consistently stop the run with tackles AND have an impact on 3rd down coverage.

            That said, do you weigh the “potential” impact of a given position if your pick becomes a regular all-pro? As in, if you take an OLB and he turns into DeMarcus Ware, is he more valuable than a regular all-pro ILB? That’s not a rhetorical question, either, I’m curious what people think…

          • D3FB

            So DeMarcus Ware vs. Patrick Willis? I think it doesn’t matter what position they play, all-pro’s are going to have a large bottom line impact to W’s and L’s. However at the point we are drafting at, there are no players remotely close to guaranteed of being all pro’s. Some players have very high floors, but will probably only ever make a couple of pro bowls. Others have the potential to be very good but they have just as high of chance of not being on the roster come opening day 2016.

        • D3FB

          OLB, ILB, CB, S, DE, NT.

    • TommyLawlor

      LBs are the key to the 3-4. OLBs are most important, but ILBs are crucial as well. Look at SF. The great Steelers defenses always had studs in the middle. LBs must be playmakers for the 3-4 to excel.

      • Baloophi

        So – in a way – a stud ILB can help overcome deficiencies at other spots more so than other positions.

        Sifter makes a good point below about how the number of snaps DeMeco had last year is evidence to the importance of the position.

        This is a terrible year to have only 6 picks… my shopping list exceeds my purchasing power.

        • phillychuck

          Which is why you trade down from 22.

      • bsuperfi

        You know, I wouldn’t be too surprised if we picked up 2 LBs early in the draft. I buy Tommy’s assertion that we’ll go bpa tilted by need. But good 3-4 teams always think they need more good LBs. Management may tilt the draft this way more than the public gives them credit for.

    • Mac

      I respectfully disagree with Collinsworth assessment re:Kendricks. I think it would be nice to bring in an ILB this year and next to compete for spots. I would guess that chips ideal woyld be versitile, which kendricks is, but also a sure tackler. My problem would be not wanting to spend a 1st round pick to get said player(s).

      • Baloophi

        I don’t think you ever need to “respectfully” disagree with Collinsworth…

    • GEAGLE

      Don’t see how the secondary matters if you aren’t right in the trenches first…keep getting no pressure on QBs and you better draft the second coming of Dion sanders,,,,..thinking Cary,Brad,Nolan is an opportunity to wait til after round 3’for a CB to groom for a year..and Nate,Wolff and Malcolm are adequate stop gaps..
      ..
      No way for us to build Rome completely with this draft..I think what we have on our roster is an opportunity to use this draft to get your front 7 in place, and get Chip his own offensive toys to play with, and use the 201 draft to get younger in the secondary and OL…
      ….
      In the 2015 draft Lane will be going into his 3rd year, which means we can draft a guard high and stick him in between Lane and Kelce as a rookie..without knowing what we have in Tobin,Bamiro!Kelly! I don’t get this assumption that we will draft OL in mid rounds…a 5th round guard sits on the bench, but 1st and 2nd round guards are draft and play players…so why not spend the 5th on a CB to start grooming, instead of a OG, and just draft a OG high next year and start him day one?
      ….
      Don’t think it matters til you are right in the trenches. we are good on the offensive side of the ball, so we can draft skill players…but our front 7 needs help and I’d rather solidify that, and worry about the secondary next year…
      ….
      I mean we have Cary!Brad,Nolan,Boykin,Wolff,Jenkins and Nate. That’s 7’players we are comfortable playing in a game..if that’s not an adequate stop gap to not draft a CB in round 1, then I don’t know what is..

      • bsuperfi

        I think an adequate stopgap is exactly what it is. It can last for maybe a year. Hope for more. If it turns out that Allen really keeps getting better or Wolff can learn how to use his athleticism, we’ll have hit the lottery. And we need to be real that Jenkins seems like a good pickup, but there’s no guarantee (even when not considering the dream team debacle).

        On the other hand, if we’re in the same place next year or even worse, I think we’ll be scrambling for an adequate stopgap again. At that point, you need to start focusing on continuity in the secondary. Especially if the corners end up being merely average after couple years in the scheme.

    • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

      The reason people are talking about Mosely is because he’s better than anyone likely to be around where we picked other than Anthony Barr and Brandin Cooks. It’s entirely about BPA. The guys a stud.

      I also love Shazier. I’d be all in for Barr, Cooks, ODB, Shazier, Mosely or Lee at 22.

  • Scott J

    The same was said about Dawkins. Hopefully the Eagles will find a replacement BEFORE letting Ryans go, unlike how they let Dawkins sign with the Broncos and not have anyone to replace him.

    • TommyLawlor

      Oh, they had someone to replace him. Quintin Demps had shown real potential as a rookie. Once Dawk left, Demps knew the job was his. Instead of embracing the opportunity, he acted like he was already a 5-time Pro Bowler. He lost his edge and then lost his job to rookie Macho Harris.

      You really never know about a replacement until you see him with the job on a full-time basis. That’s what makes replacing veterans so tricky. You know their ups and downs.

      • suthrneagle

        Maybe leadership did make tackles. Cause once Dawkins left,so did Demp`s production.

  • Sean Stott

    Demeco’s cap hit is ridiculous. I think he gets restructured or cut after draft.

    • oreofestar

      no way…

  • dislikedisqus

    Whai I would say is the Eagles don’t have any “holes” as they go into the draft. They have at every position their starter from last year or a bona fide veteran relacement (Jenkins,Maclin). So the focus can be on building for the future. They have 1/3 or more of their starters 30 ormore. So draft the BPA at those positions so you are positioned for the future.

  • mtn_green

    If we can have 2013 Meco for next two years, worth the money. But draft BPA all the way.

  • planetx1971

    I Just want to take a second to mention how much I will miss Demeco once he does move on. We’ve had so many duds in our forays into the world of free agency. It makes me appreciate a guy like #59 so much. I hope whoever ends up taking his spot has HALF his class, leadership & work ethic. Everything I’ve read has led me to believe that due to his salary, he likely won’t be around long enough to mentor an incoming newbie. That’s a damn shame because I can’t think of a single guy better suited to the task. I also don’t personally see where his skills have diminished yet anywhere near the point that he should be “holdin a clipboard”. I’d LOVE to see him work with a young gun for say… 2 yrs or so. A new LB would be one lucky S.O.B. to learn the ins & outs of the game from such aclass act. IMO the Demeco experiment can be considered nothing short of an unmitigated success.

  • Media Mike

    I like this article a lot, but I’d highly dispute that London Fletcher is anywhere near a HOF candidate. Great player, yes. Underrated for years, yes. Possessing enough recognition to merit a serious run at the HOF, no.

    Fletcher is a 4 time pro-bowler and a zero time all-pro (and no, 2nd team all-pro doesn’t count); those aren’t levels of recognition needed for HOF candidacy.

    Fletcher was never able to argued as one of the best 2 or 3 ILBs/MLBs in the NFL over the scope of his career.

    Look at Eric Allen’s career. Allen can’t get a sniff for the HOF, but he was a 6 time pro-bowler, 1 time all pro, and spent a decade as a player who could be argued was in the best two or three guys at his position.

    Fletcher shouldn’t be that close to the HOF.

  • MariettaEagle

    I’m still a fan of seeing what Goode can do after learning another year from ‘Meco. The kid has skills to be a pretty good starter in this leauge. I think he also has some star potential

  • MariettaEagle

    And honestly my dream is trading down. Picking up Jeremiah attachou and De one buchannon in the second and Christian Jones in the third. Oh boy. Some stud linebackers get learning experience from the older guys(cole, Ryans, and barwin) and we pick up the guy that I think is the most versatile safety in the draft