ILB Targets

Posted: April 28th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 83 Comments »

Let’s continue the discussion on ILBs. Today we’ll look at some of the players the Eagles are considering.

1ST ROUND

CJ Mosley – Alabama – Not a dynamic playmaker or great athlete, but a true MLB. Smart, instinctive, tough. Sheds blocks and is an outstanding tackler. Right at home in the middle of the field. Physical player. Solid in coverage. 3-down LB. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll reach pick 22.

Ryan Shazier – Ohio State – Freak athlete. 6-2, 237 but he ran 4.36 at his Pro Day. Wow. And that speed shows up on game tape. The problem with Shazier is that he’s best suited to WLB in the 4-3. That doesn’t mean he can’t play in the 3-4. Take a look at Daryl Washington of the Cards and see how they use him. Similar size and build. Shazier covers a lot of ground and would be an interesting addition for the Eagles since they need speed in the middle of the field. The downside is that he’s not the most instinctive player and he isn’t a great tackler.

2ND ROUND

Kyle Van Noy – BYU – Played OLB for the Cougars. Primarily a pass rusher in 2012, but spent most of his time in coverage in 2013. Great motor. Relentless in pursuit of the ball. Good blitzer. Good cover skills, which he really showed off at the Senior Bowl. My biggest frustration with Van Noy is that he doesn’t use his hands well. He didn’t engage blockers and then shed. He went around them with spin moves, dips and things like that. An ILB must be able to stack and shed blockers. I do think Van Noy is a smart player and that skill can be coached. Okay athlete, but not as good as I hoped for at the Combine.

3RD ROUND

Christian Jones – Florida State – This is a guy that could really interest the Eagles. Jones played LB in 2012, but spent most of 2013 playing DE. He is 6-3, 240. Only runs 4.7, but he doesn’t look slow on the field. 3-year starter for the Noles. Led them in tackles in 2012. Didn’t have many sacks to show for 2013, but he was a disruptive pass rusher. The Eagles would like Jones a lot because of his versatility. He has played on the edge and on the inside. He could play OLB in the 3-4 as well as ILB. That makes him good depth, but also means you can be creative on gameday with who you rush and how you use your players. For him, let’s look at a 2013 and 2012 game.

And now see him as a true LB.

Telvin Smith – Florida StateI already covered him here.

4TH ROUND

Christian Kirksey – IowaI already covered him here.

* * * * *

I’ll go over some of the other guys like Jordan Zumwalt, Jordan Tripp and Preston Brown in another post.

Chris Borland could be a 2nd round pick. He was a stud ILB for Wisconsin, but is just a shad under 6-0 and I wonder if the Eagles have any interest in him. They haven’t shown any. I don’t know that they’d want another short ILB to pair with Mychal Kendricks.

Shayne Skov is a huge ILB, but he has battled injuries and only ran 5.2 at his Pro Day. I think he could be a UDFA, as crazy as that sounds.

_


  • GermanEagle

    Forget ILB in the 1st round. The Eagles will draft Johnny Football instead – according to a ‘reliable’ source that is not so reliable, according to Peter King. #lolrumours

  • LostInChiTown

    Tommy – any chance you’ll create a mock draft board for the Birds? It’d be great to have your take on players the Eagles should have interest in and what round you have them valued. If we see 6 players you’ve graded as late first round that should be Eagles targets, we can have an idea who they might take, or think is available after trading back.

    • TheRogerPodacter

      i believe that Tommy put together something like this last season. its a huge help for people like me who aren’t nearly as familiar with the guys coming out in the draft.

  • Mac

    Read an article about Troy Vincent banging the drum for the use of iPads in the NFL. If he really wanted to be cutting edge, he would be talking with Evan Mathis about how to deploy google glass.

    • A_T_G

      Some people just take things too far. Players already have helmets, face masks, and visors. Now they need pads for their eyes too?

      The only way I could support this is if the eye pads for players are clear silicone pads like those used for breast enhancement. And if each player sponsors a local woman to receive the same pads as the player uses as actual enhancements. And if these women were given free Eagles gear which highlighted the results And if I knew these women personally.

      Otherwise, Vincent is just being ridiculous.

      • SteveH

        My father would be proud of this pun.

        • mtn_green

          Funny stuff.

    • A Roy

      Wonder how long before the coach calls the play and the blocking scheme appears on the player’s google glass based on the (shifting) defensive alignment.

      • Mac

        This is what I’m talking about… or giving the QB literal eyes in the back of his head to avoid getting murdered by a d-line… or a defensive player having a computer that analyzes the players current weight shift against historical data of movement trends and helping him predict what angle to take to make the tackle or just avoid being juked out of his shoes. A heads up display inside a visor could send in so much data the possibilities are virtually limitless. Just the fact, as you’re saying of not having to signal plays in at all would be nearly mind blowing. Imagine how giddy Chip would be being able to call his own audibles.

  • eagleyankfan

    15 mock drafts reviewed and not 1 had the Eagles selecting a safety in the first round. Interesting. Most predict a WR.

    • A Roy

      Although they could, that’s just laziness on the mockers’ part.

    • Mac

      Most non-Eagles fans see Jackson -> Redskins and think… oh shit, they need a WR, this is an easy pick.

      • Sb2bowl

        Agreed– I’m actually happy that the safeties aren’t the “hot topic” right now leading up to the draft. I know (most) teams have their board set, but maybe somehow that position slides in their memory, and we are able to pick up a 1st round safety while still trading back with our #22 pick

        • GEAGLE

          Considering there are only two round 1 safeties, and both are probably a little over rated, I don’t really see how we could ever trade back from 22 and come away with a round 1′safety….
          ….
          Such a deep loaded drafted, I’d stay away from the few positions this draft crop is weak in, like Safety….if you want to add to the secondary, I think the best value would Be in a round 3-5 CB….safeties is slim pickings, i would be ok with:
          1) Dix at 22(pipe dream)
          2) Buchanon in round 3 (long shot)
          3) Dontae Johnson who just visited in rounds 4-5 IMO is most likely for us…

          Pryor is my fav safety in this draft, but I’m not sure that he is what we value stylistically….Dontae also played 5 games at CB this year…sounds more like an Eagles safety target to me..
          .,,
          I also don’t rule out moving Antone Exum back to safety..

          • Mac

            As much fun as it would be to have an impact safety… from what I’ve seen you’re right on the money that we’d be more likely to improve the back of the defense with one of the CBs coming out this year.

          • Sb2bowl

            I know it’s a long shot/pipe dream, but stranger things have happened in the draft. I like Pryor; however, no matter who (if) we draft, some “seasoning” time (in my opinion) is needed to acclimate to the NFL game. I love the idea (similar to how the Steelers did it in the early 2000′s) of drafting someone and having them sit/learn/grow as a rookie with spot duty and even an occasional start. Let them sit and learn (as it stands now, I’m not “upset” about our safety positions this year) and in year 2, become impact players.

            We don’t have the patience for that in Philly anymore, but throwing a rookie secondary player into the fire before they are ready can ruin their career.

    • lonfident

      I’ve been reading mock drafts for months (Hey, don’t judge lol) For a long time almost everyone had them taking Pryor, but yes, that has changed.

    • D3Center

      The safety talent just isn’t there in the first round. The only guy I’d be willing to take in the first is Haha and he won’t be there. Pryor might be but I wouldn’t take him until at least the 3rd with as much development as he needs and Buccanon and Jimmie Ward aren’t first round guys as much as I like them.

      • GEAGLE

        Earl Wolffs college bud, Dontae Johnson just visited with the eagles and I think a guy like him in the 4th is much more realistic than the eagles taking a safety in the first two rounds

      • Sb2bowl

        I like Ward and Buccanon in the 3rd as well; would prefer we go that route rather than forcing something in rounds 1-2

        • D3Center

          I would be happy with Ward or Bucannon in the second but I’m not sure either will be available at 54.

        • D3FB

          Deone, Ward, Smith, Attachou, out of that group, MAYBE one makes it to 54.

          • Sb2bowl

            With the lack of secondary depth overall, I think you are correct in that those players (Ward, Deone) will probably be “overdrafted” by some that judge such things

          • D3FB

            Ehhh I have top 50 grades on Ward, Deone, and Smith.

  • Insomniac

    My only gripe about Jones is that he plays with bad pad level and gets taken out easily because of it.

  • SteveH

    re: Shazier, I’d never want to take a linebacker that has questionable instincts. We don’t need another shark in the water.

    • Sb2bowl

      Agreed– watching that “high light” video made me cringe a bit. I know there is a huge learning curve when coming into the NFL, but I really look for instincts and block shedding as 1 and 1a qualities for LB’s coming out of college.

      • Anders

        That is not a high light video, it is a cut up of 1 game.

        • Sb2bowl

          I used the wrong term, but thanks for catching that– I just wasn’t impressed with his (in)ability to get off blocks, and to me it looked like he guessed in some holes where he thought the RB would be…….. only to be out of position.

      • SteveH

        Agreed, a linebacker without instincts, I just don’t know how you can expect him to function in the middle of a defense, where sniffing out plays is crucial.

    • ceedubya9

      Yeah, I like the idea of Shazier, but if I’m picking, I’ll take the total package of Mosley any day of the week.

  • ChaosOnion

    I have a question about this 3-4 base defense. Where can the Eagles afford to *not* have star talent? Does this defense need starts at ILB? I thought we just needed solid tacklers who could blitz the A-gap every once in a while. Am I wrong in that the DEs and NT do not keep these guys clean like the DTs in a 2-gap 4-3? I am trying to understand where the Eagles can afford to sacrifice talent.

    Everybody wants talent at every level of the defense, but nobody can afford it at every level. Or do the Eagles save on offense because “system guy?” Sorry if this comes off a bit annoyed, but in the course of the off-season, the Eagles needs have gone from S, OLB, CB to OLB, S, WR, CB, ILB, not necessarily in that order.

    • Baloophi

      I was trying to get at this the last couple of days by asking about priority of positions on defense. Many people who know the 3-4 much better than I do suggested that an ILB is key to the defense in that they’re on the field a lot, patrol the middle of the field, and hold the scheme together. (I believe Tommy pointed to the linebacking corps of the great Steelers’ defenses over the years). I guess the thinking is that if DeMeco falls of a cliff or gets injured, we’re in a lot of trouble.

      Like you, I feel like we’ve been on a roller coaster in terms of needs this off-season. Next up? We desperately need a TE since Celek is aging and a versatile TE makes the offense tick. And let’s not forget that our magician long snapper is one hidden trapdoor mishap away from catastrophe.

      I wonder if the rotating priority of needs this off-season reflects an overall need for depth on the team, and/or a general unfamiliarity with Chip Kelly and how he prefers to assemble a team…

      • mtn_green

        My understanding is that in 3-4 two gap defense the two OLB are where you want to spend your capital in getting big upgrades. The DE and NT need skills but aren’t your expensive pass rusher de like 4-3 they need to do their jobs and push the guards back and then shed the OL once RB chooses a lane. On pass plays they maintain their gaps and push OL back into QB. ILB is to make the most tackles blitz often, cover RB and TE.

        In 3-4 you can save money capital in de and nt, but spend mightily on OLB and make sure your ILB are thumpers that can cover TE, RB and sometimes blitz. Really you can’t skimp anywhere but you need guys that can play their roles well. Physically imposing de and nt that can attack OL then shed to grab attacker, OLB that can rush passer at elite level and cover a RB/TE from backfield, and set edge so RB can’t get to outside of defense. ILB clean up and attack the RB at any gap he comes through, sometimes cover RB/TE and sometimes blitz.

        OLB>>>>>>>ILB>>>>>>>>>>nt>>de

        • Anders

          Yep, agree in theory a 3-4 works perfect with 3 Thornton type who just eat blockers and let the LB do the work. Of course if you can get a Richard Seymour or a Wilfork, your defense just becomes even better, but they are not a need.

          • GEAGLE

            Yeah I would say the 5tec is where we can best afford to not have a star

          • Anders

            For me the order of important in a 3-4 2 gap is:

            OLB, NT (but super rare), S/ILB, CB, DE

          • Sb2bowl

            Anders— Based off of your statement “Yep, agree in theory a 3-4 works perfect with 3 Thornton type who just eat blockers and let the LB do the work” –

            Do you think we are wasting the potential/skills that Cox possesses? Originally drafted to play as an attacking linemen in the Wide (give up) 9 (yards a play) scheme, it almost seems that we are misusing his skills in our current scheme. Now, he proved last year that he could 2 gap, and he was mostly effective when opportunities came to attack the QB, but I’m curious to find out if it would be better to have a “better suited” 2 gap player.

            EDIT: I hadn’t seen your post/reply below (to ChaosOnion) but I’ll keep my post/comment/question here to see what else you can add

          • D3FB

            Cox has the ability to be a good 2gap DE. He shuts down the run efficiently, and needed last season to get used to the system, and techniques. Cox has the added benefit of being able to play an explosive, penetrating role and get after the QB. Rather than having a Thorton and subbing in Curry on passing down Cox can do both. Would he probably be most effective in a one gap penetrating style of defense? Probably, but he still has alot of value due to his “versatility”.

          • Anders

            As I noted, you can get by with a Thornton, but if you have a Cox type player who has chance to be Richard Seymour good, it adds another dimension.

            Yes we are wasting him a little, but not much because he aint 2 gapping all the time.

      • D3FB

        Wrote this in regards to Shazier not being physical enough for us to like him last night:

        “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. 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. “

        • Media Mike

          So we need 270 lb Levon Kirkland, not 300lb Levon Kirkland!

          • BobSmith77

            Nothing can stop the Blob!

        • Anders

          Why I like Goode last year, he was like a mini Trotter just slamming and pushing the guards back

    • Anders

      Traditionally in a 2 gap scheme, you need at least 1 very good DL, often the NT, but for us we hope it will be Cox. It is then the job of the LBs to make plays where in a 1 gap scheme it is often the DL with maybe 1 LB.

      The CB and Safeties are not really part of this in terms of who makes plays in the front seven.

      For our scheme to work we need at least 2 good stars and a few rotional pieces. You then need at least 2 star(or very good) LBs with one of them needing to be the ROLB. Barwin is one part of the very good, Kendricks has shown flashes, but we still need that star ROLB.

      If Cox and Kendricks develop and we get that star OLB, we can actually save abit on secondary. The Steelers only star secondary player was Polumalu and he was more pseudo-LB who plays near the LOS than the great cover safety.

      There is also some people who think the Eagles might try and save money on offense and not use too much draft resources on offense, but I really doubt it. We used the first 2 picks on offense last year and the James Casey was a prime target FA last year.

      • Sb2bowl

        I would argue that Ryan Clark was a “star”, though he never gained the recognition he deserved. For years he was a lock down CB who would take the best WR on offense and make his day miserable.

        If we could have a star at all “levels” (DL, LB, Secondary) it certainly makes the team stronger overall.

        • D3FB

          Clark is a safety. Do you mean Ike Taylor?

          • Mac

            Though it would have been moderately uninspiring, i wanted Ike when he was a free agent.

          • Anders

            I think he meant Taylor and I would put him more on the Sheldon Brown or Bradley Fletcher type CB level and not Bailey or Revis type

  • Greg Richards

    Although not specifically rumored, LB Marquis Flowers(6-3, 231) seems to fit the physical mold of the other players the Eagles are rumored to be interested in. Due to the BC connection, I also wonder if they’ll have interest in Kevin Pierre-Louis. He is probably shorter than they’d like at only 6-0.

  • Mac

    What’s the current trade value of Eli Manning?

    Do you guys think the Giants could benefit from an extra 5th round pick for him?

    Would you rather have Eli or Rivers going into this season?

    • mtn_green

      Eli has really got to be the most mystifying player in NFL. Favre is the only other player that would stink then be good and alternate in such a ridiculous fashion.

      Eli only has value to giants. Who else would take him on at his age with such inconsistency.

      You think QB needy teams would be excited to have Eli?

      • Mac

        It’s kinda the reason for asking the question. How does this guy not get into the HOF with 2 rings? BUT, how does it get into the HOF with so many absolutely horrible seasons?

        It shouldn’t be the end of his career, and he seemingly should have value, but he really doesn’t.

        • Media Mike

          Jim Plunkett has two rings and isn’t in the HOF. Eli’s career numbers are well short of a HOF player. That room of voters will destroy him when his candidacy comes up……….. if he even makes a final 15.

          • Mac

            That info may help me sleep a little more soundly tonight. Thanks!

          • A Roy

            So far, he has 2 SB rings. Although they’re down not, he could potentially get another in 4-5 years at the end of his career. Any QB with 3 that is not in the HOF?

          • D3FB
    • Insomniac

      Rivers and no. He makes 13 million this year…

  • Insomniac

    I asked if anyone here had any knowledge about the Furr twins a few months ago. They were troubled athletes who slipped into obscurity in DII football. Seems like there’s some footage on one of them now.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0_VlZmCSOk

    pro day results

    http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1632992/deron-furr

    • A_T_G

      My amateur observations:

      He hits like a ton of bricks.
      He wraps up only when forced to.
      He was clearly faster and stronger than the competition.
      He is a personal foul flag waiting to happen on every play.
      He is a playmaker.

      How did this guy end up in DII again?

      • D3FB

        http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2019049-2014-nfl-draft-safety-deron-furr-battled-teammates-and-life-on-path-to-draft

        Thats Deron’s story (they overlook his role in instigating the altercation)
        The younger brother Leron went to Oklahoma State and blew out his knee, and then got caught by the police with weed.

        • A_T_G

          Honestly, that wasn’t as bad as I expected. Is he expected to be drafted or a undrafted rookie? I wouldn’t mind giving him a shot. And his ending quote might be secret code that he is hoping for a shot here: “I can’t wait to play. Been getting overlooked, but it’s OK…the chip is bigger than ever.”

          • Insomniac

            Undrafted. He’ll bring some additional attitude to special teams if he makes the cut. I’m not sure that he’ll continue to blow up FBs and OL at the next level though.

          • D3FB

            UDFA. Probably not even a priority one.

  • GEAGLE

    I also doubt we would have interest in Boreland, tho I love that kids intensity.. Kid needs to go play somewhere with a Mamouth NT who will keep him clean to run around and be a tackling shark. Think he is perfect to play James farriers position in the steelers 3-4…

    For us, my guess would be our wish list looks something like:
    1) KVN
    2) Christian jones
    3) Christian Kirksey
    4) Telvin Smith..

    Obviously we would have interest in Mosely, but Many say he is a top 12 player in this draft who won’t ever fall to 22…what I love about him is he was a subpackage player before this year so he can play on 3rd down while Meco plays in our base this year…

    What I’m curious about is will the ILB we draft as Meco’s eventual replacement QB our front 7, or will Mykal Kendricks make the calls when Meco is gone? If we want the kid we draft to eventually take over as QB of the defense, than I think we will really like KVNs intelligence and leadership…

    A future star at ROLB is the most important priority, but if we can get a stud to eventually take over for Meco! we could have a sick LB corp which is the key to any 3-4…then again, we play a lot of 4man Iines in Nickle so it’s probably too simplistic to talk about our defense in term of pure 3-4

    • Anders

      Height or length matters when covering TEs. Kendricks really struggled with them because they are often 6 inches taller than him

    • D3FB

      Height plays a factor because it allows the player to better see into the backfield, and is part of the “length” factor allowing them to better defend passing lanes.

  • Cafone

    Andy Reid has only been gone a year. I need more time before the Eagles draft another player from BYU, or Temple, or Rutgers.

    • Sb2bowl

      I’m fine with Rutgers (though the LJ Smith pick still ticks me off, dude had all the athletic ability a TE could want, but he was never able to “figure it all out”) and Temple– draft away.

      But BYU? Nope, not ready yet either……. I guess that’s why I’m not a huge Van Noy fan

      • Mac

        So it’s safe to say you will be van-noyed if he is the pick?

  • Media Mike

    Not a bad list, but Jones is a 4th round player. I’d prefer to not overdraft him in the 3rd.

  • GermanEagle

    So in (Chippah’s) other words, it was DeSean’s fault that the Eagles lost to the Saints in the playoffs. And I thought for a minute our defense was to blame. Stupid me…!

    • SteveH

      That’s a remarkable stretch of imagination.

  • Vick or Nick

    Unlike Tommy, I think Van Noy can be a good outside rush linebacker.

    Tommy has been pretty adamant about him being an inside backer.

    I see it differently.

  • mtn_green

    KVN and trent Murphy really look good on tape I like their versatility instincts and ability to take over a game.

  • BobSmith77

    So the Eagles didn’t say anything about Jackson for over 3 weeks and now Kelly/Lurie come out and both speak to the media today including Kelly’s blanket it ‘had nothing to do with off-the-field issues’ and Lurie’s statements including the bizarre statement about how Lurie also weighs playoff performance in evaluating a player.

    At this point, they should have just let it go and not said anything. This whole issue has been handled as poorly as I can remember the Eagles’ handling PR/media relations over an issue.

    • Allen3000

      It does seem pretty convenient/contrived that he would publicly address the issue now – a time when 99.9% of sports radio is discussing the Donald Sterling incident and has begun to move on from the Desean saga.

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  • baxter322

    Van Noy fits best by far. I’d gladly trade up for down for him in the 1st or up in the 2nd cause I doubt he lasts until 54.

    One source I read called him the best at stacking and shedding of any LB in this draft. He’s also pretty unanimously called the most instinctive- like he’s the first guy moving on every play.