Instant Impact

Posted: April 16th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 59 Comments »

Someone asked an interesting question the other day. They wanted to know what player or position would be most likely to come in and win a starting job by opening day. Sounds simple enough, but that is actually a tough question to answer. Let’s start by taking a look at the projected lineup on defense.

DE Fletcher Cox
NT Bennie Logan
DE Cedric Thornton
ROLB Trent Cole
ILB DeMeco Ryans
ILB Mychal Kendricks
LOLB Connor Barwin
S Malcolm Jenkins
S Nate Allen/Earl Wolff
CB Cary Williams
CB Bradley Fletcher

There aren’t any holes, per se. There are certainly spots that can be upgraded. NT, S and CB are iffy.

Bennie Logan showed promise in 2013, but does need to play better this year. If the Eagles spent a 1st round pick on someone like Louis Nix, it is certainly possible that he could win the starting job.

The Eagles brought Nate Allen back because they like him. That said, he’s here on a 1-year deal and isn’t a player that anyone is in love with. The right rookie could steal that job away. Earl Wolff could play either role…the guy who takes Allen’s job or the guy who loses the startin gig to the rookie.

Both CBs had ups and downs last year. A rookie who plays well could steal a job from either guy.

As much as we all want an upgrade at OLB, don’t assume that means the rookie will get Trent Cole’s job ASAP. Cole got better as the year went on in 2013. He’s a smart, tough, proud veteran that won’t give up his job easily. The rookie would have to win the job. Trent won’t be giving it away.

Obviously I’m leaving injuries out of the equation. They open doors for all rookies on every team. 

I don’t anticipate a rookie winning a starting job on offense. I guess RG and WR could be possible. It just seems like the offense played so well last year that Chip Kelly will try to keep the same players in place as much as he can. You never know when a rookie will play lights out, but that is more of the exception than the rule.

My expectation for the first couple of picks is that they’ll be somewhat like Zach Ertz. They’ll have roles and get more playing time as the season moves along. Ertz was behind schedule due to the dumb NFL rule about him not being able to practice until his class had graduated. That hurt his development. Hopefully these rookies will have more impact early on, but my point is that they won’t be forced into the starting lineup. They’ll be worked into the lineup and then be rewarded with more snaps if they play well.

Really good teams don’t have to rely on rookies. Go check out the Seahawks draftees and then think about the impact those guys had in 2013. I’m not saying the Eagles are at that level. It takes time to build up the team to get to that point. But…the Eagles are a good team that doesn’t have obvious holes in the lineup. Don’t get caught in the mindset that rookies who don’t play a ton right away are somehow failures.

I do think Kelly’s background in college means that he will be open to playing rookies, even on a good team. Some old school coaches obsess on having veterans in the lineup. Kelly had young guys playing all the time at Oregon so he’s not afraid to give young guys a chance. The Packers have done a terrific job of embracing rookies and continuing to be a top flight team.

As much as I’d love a rookie to come in and play great, it would be a better sign for the overall team if none of the new guys cracks the starting lineup this year.

* * * * *

Q&A

Do you think Keith McGill is a “perfect fit” for what Eagles want at CB? Not perfect, but he has the size the Eagles love and he’s a good press corner, which is what Bill Davis prefers. McGill is 25, which hurts his value, and I don’t think he has great ball skills.

Do you see Eagles making any more trades at all, including trading up or down, this offseason?  I would be surprised if the Eagles sat still this draft. There are going to be a lot of good players available. That could mean trading up to get one or moving back because some team offered you a good deal.

Favorite non-first round OLB? Jeremiah Attaochu, who might be a 1st rounder. If not him, then Marcus Smith.

Could Mychal Kendricks move to OLB? No. He doesn’t have the frame to take on OTs on run plays. He’s also not a gifted pass rusher. Kendricks can blitz, but that’s different than rushing the passer. Blitzing is more about running and timing. Rushing the passer requires athleticism and specific skills.

What were Dawk’s limitations when he came out? Why did he go in the 2nd round? Dawk was the last pick of the 2nd round so it is even worse than you think. Dawk was a S/CB tweener. He didn’t have the ideal size for S, but didn’t have ideal skills for corner. He got bigger and stronger in the NFL and became a great player. Maybe we’ll talk more about this in the summer.

Why trade up for Anthony Barr when you can trade pick 22 for Dion Jordan? Good logic, but the problem is Miami might not deal Jordan at all. The Eagles have talked to the Dolphins. I think they’ve let Miami know they’re very interested. If no deal gets done, that likely means Miami wants to keep Jordan.

What are the odds that the Eagles move back in the draft? I really struggle with this question. I want more picks. No doubt about that. But there is another part of me that keeps reminding me that the Eagles don’t have a ton of holes. There is something to be said for staying put, or even moving up. The 2014 Eagles need quality more than quantity from the draft.

I hope the team moves back 8 to 10 spots and adds a 3rd and 4th or 3rd and 5th…something like that. This, of course, assumes that there isn’t an ideal player on the board at 22. If the right guy falls, take him there and don’t be greedy.

_


  • shah8

    I think this will be a *very* situational draft for the eagles. It really depends on who falls. Moreover, I think that the draft is much shallower on blue-chip defensive prospects. So ultimately, how it shakes out depends on when the run for high quality defense guys happens. If it happens earlier, then high end offensive guys will drop to the point that the Eagles could trade up for an Evans. If it happens later, then the Eagles probably cannot get much other than defense. Maybe a good OG, or WR. In this case, I’d expect guys like ODB to already be gone. I wouldn’t mind Nix. Not really my thing, though. I wouldn’t mind some other players, but there aren’t a whole lot of high ceiling dudes that might be available at 22.

    • mksp

      “I wouldn’t mind some other players, but there aren’t a whole lot of high ceiling dudes that might be available at 22.”

      Mosley and Fuller are two, maybe Barr at #22.

      Buchannon, Attachou, M Smith, Ward are all some high ceiling guys that could be there in the 2nd.

      Will Clarke, Urban, Desir, Gaines, Christian Jones in the 3rd…..

      Dunno about you, I’d be psyched with a combination of the below with our first three picks….

      • GermanEagle

        Where’s your below? ;)

        • mksp

          Above! Dammit!

      • Mitchell

        I watched Urban play a few games and I was pretty impressed on size alone. He actually used it!!!!! I didn’t see him get pushed back one time and it didn’t seem like team were willing to run the ball towards him. I also saw him take on several double teams. I think he could work on his awareness a bit because there were a few times the back would run right next to him and he didn’t see it, but hey, he’s a third/fourth for a reason. Would like to have the URBANATOR.

    • Scott J

      I don’t think the Eagles have enough ammo to move up. If a player like Evans falls, teams like the Niners will move up and grab him. I think the Eagles will have a list of players in the first round, and if those players aren’t there at 22, then they’ll try trading down.

  • Arby1

    Another question to ask of a 1st rounder is: can they be a game changer? That’s a lot to ask for pick #22 but I think Odell Beckham’s jitterbug moves and return ability and Brandin Cooks’ speed potentially qualify. On defense, Calvin Pryor’s forced fumbles and Justin Gilbert’s interceptions and return ability have the ability to turn a game around. But the defensive guys are unlikely to be there at 22 while the offensive guys could be.

    • Poppi

      I agree – of course its possible for a rookie to make a huge impact, but not to be expected on defense which is my vote for using the top draft pick. I would hope out of this draft you and get 1-3 defensive starters for the future, not necessarily this year. Interesting to look at Tommy’s projected staring lineup and only one player is new to the team, a veteran of course, but i bet there are starting caliber players from other teams that become available as the draft evolves and perhaps later as players get cut from teams stacked at certain positions.

    • D3Center

      If we draft Justin Gilbert we will all be having flashbacks to the days of Mile Markers 23 and 24. The guy does not like to hit people to say the least.And Pryor will drive us nuts with missed tackles.

      • Mitchell

        It’s a bit harsh to say he is as bad as 23 and 24 but he isn’t as physical as the Eagles want on defense. I don’t think the Eagles would have a ton of interest and would rather look for their playmaker at the OLB spot as of right now.

        • D3Center

          In some of the film I watched of him it was just as bad as those guys. I don’t think they’ll be interested either but if they go corner my guess is Fuller will be the guy.

      • Media Mike

        I don’t see us having to worry about Pryor being an Eagle unless we moved up. Safety play in the NFL is so horrifically awful right now that he’ll be gone before we pick. Looking at all 32 rosters in the NFL doesn’t really yield a plethora of quality safeties.

      • Arby1

        I know Gilbert’s tape isn’t as good as others but I hear nothing about him slipping in the draft. Odd. Focus on measurables?

  • GermanEagle

    Thanks for answering my Dawkins question.

    • SteveH

      Hah. Tommy’s a busy man, there’s still so many PBRs that have yet to be drank, so many pudding cups that have yet to be savored…

  • mksp

    SF is such an obvious trade partner it hurts. Everyone thinks the Chiefs go WR at #23, so #22 is our chance to extract real value for a chance to pick ODB/Cooks/Lee.

    Personally, if ODB is still there I take him. But if its Cooks and Lee, I easily take back a 3rd and a 5th (or whatever) to move back 8 spots.

    • Media Mike

      SF works, but I want to get all picks instead of picks and players if we dance with them. Our pick at #22 is worth 780. San Fran’s pick at #30 is worth 620 and their pick at #13 (77 overall) in the 3rd round is worth 205. I’d do that deal.

      • mksp

        Agreed.

  • zbone95

    What is your opinion on Beshaud Breeland from Clemson? He is versatile, team leader, good technique, ball skills. He has some injury concerns so do you think he could be a 3rd round target?

  • CrackSammich

    You know why the draft is great? I forgot about Sanchize for a couple of days.

    • AZBird

      Seriously

    • Insomniac

      You had to remind us…

    • Anthony Hart

      That possible 3rd string QB is going to be the downfall of this team smh.

  • anon

    The 49ers “have been shopping” third-year RB LaMichael James.

    It’s been speculated James would be available since early in the offseason. The 61st overall pick in the 2012 draft, James has earned just 44 offensive touches in two seasons with San Francisco. His kickoff-return production dropped sharply as a sophomore, and he fumbled two punts. An undersized, straight-linish runner with no power and little elusiveness, we don’t have particularly high hopes for James even if he finds a new home. He’ll be 25 in October.

    From Roto — kinda interesting which of Kelly’s former players he goes after. Wasn’t james his most successful RB? I’d take a James at 25 vs Sproles at 30+.

    • Insomniac

      Hopefully none of them. They haven’t been successful at all and were mostly gadget players when they were drafted.

      • anon

        But they’d be back in his system. Or are you saying none of them has what it takes to play as well in the NFL if in CKs system?

        I do generally agree w/ your statement about his players.

        • Insomniac

          I can’t say that Chip is like Shanny and can get RBs to produce regardless of limitations yet. While it’s true that Chip can get maximized performance from players, his scatbacks are really limited to role-players.

  • Baloophi

    Any rookie placekicker should have a decent chance of winning a starting role…

  • bubqr

    Apart from Kicker, a position that could have immediate impact is ILB. LB is a position where rookie can shine immediately(look at past DROY), and if for example Mosley drops to the Eagles (which I think is likely, I think he is slightly over-hyped), I am pretty sure he will replace either Demeco or Kendricks quite quickly.

    • planetx1971

      I think if Kendrick just tightened up his game (mistakes) a little bit, he & Moseley could be a really nasty tandem. I don’t think anyone expects Demeco to be around much longer right? With his salary/age/pass coverage liabilities & so forth.

      • Tumtum

        Isn’t he the nickle and dime backer? Don’t think the team looks down on his pass coverage ability.

        I’m Jaded though. I really like Demeco.

  • Sifter

    It would have to be safety I think, if a first day starter is coming from the draft. The Allen/Wolff starting spot is the roster spot with the least amount of money tied up in it, therefore they won’t get as long a leash as say Cary Williams will, or Cooper/Maclin. A good rookie could pounch quickly at safety. If it’s Cole or Ryans replacement, then no way, the vets will definitely be starting come wk 1, and a rookie only rotating in slowly.

  • mheil

    Each of the first three men picked by Baalke for SF (in 2011) — linebacker Aldon Smith, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and cornerback Chris Culliver — have found themselves in awkward situations, to say the least.

    The fifth-round pick in 2011, guard Daniel Kilgore, also has an arrest this year, for public intoxication.

    The first two players selected in 2012 haven’t done anything wrong. But they also haven’t done anything good. First-round receiver A.J. Jenkins is long gone, and second-round running back LaMichael James has landed on the trading block.
    Does Gamble bear any responsibility here?

    • anon

      Take it from me — it’s easy to find yourself in awkward situations when you’re rich and famous — that’s why i only post as anon. CK hasn’t done anything wrong. Aldon Smith is a pro bowler, CK is a pro-bowler. That’s more pro bowlers than we’ve drafted in that time period. Not every player will be a choir boy. I also wouldn’t put anyone in the same category as Smith who has done some bad stuff.

    • Tumtum

      Really tough to say without being on the inside. If you really want to simplify it Gamble shouldn’t of been the guy determining the weight of each player attribute for the draft-decision-equation. I think you have to base your judgement of Gamble form his time there in the form of talent. All of those guys are very talented.

      Hypothetically his thoughts on character would be moot if the powers above him devalued it.

  • eagleyankfan

    I’m guessing nobody projected Dawks growth. That’s where I’m hoping Chips “homework” comes into play. Isn’t that why he’s measuring wrists etc? I think there are players like that in every draft. They are still kids who haven’t filled out their frame yet. That’s where I’m hoping Chip finds a guy or 2.

  • xmbk

    I think the $10 million hit the Dolphins would take for trading Dion is a deal killer. Only way that works is if they pick up a player whose cap hit has already been absorbed by another team. Just don’t see how it makes sense for them.

  • Daniel Norman Richwine

    What would shock you for the Eagles to take, position wise? RB? QB? ILB?

    • A_T_G

      Goalie.

      • Mac

        Fireman

        • Baloophi

          Missionary?

          • D3FB

            Reverse Missionary?

  • Mike Roman

    One position that we don’t need help at, yet this intrigues me:

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/04/16/report-49ers-shopping-lamichael-james/

    • Mac

      If we did want him, and they have shopped him… then we’re probably waiting for his contract to run out or for him to be cut.

    • Media Mike

      And what’s funny is that Evan Silva OWNED James on Twitter last night and James got all kinds of irked over it.

    • Tumtum

      Certainly someone who is intriguing. If Lattimore is recovered their use for James could really be nill. Would not be surprised to see him cut.

  • Pingback: The Linc – Calvin Pryor is a Big Fan of Brian Dawkins | Sports Feedr

  • Mike Roman

    I was looking at BGN’s big board and it got me thinking. They have 18 players with first round grades. Of course, there are 32 teams. So in that scenario, if all 18 players are gone by the Eagles pick at #22, logic states that you trade out of the first round.

    But maybe breaking down the big board by single rounds isn’t good enough. If I were running the draft, and let’s thank that I’m not, I’d tier within the rounds. Group A is worthy of a top-10 pick, group B is worthy of top-20, and so on.

    What gets tricky is a player like Jeremiah Attuotcho. I really like him as a prospect but I don’t think he’s a top 30 player. However, I do think he’s a top 40 player. I’m not going to reach for him at #22, but in theory he won’t be there when we pick again in round 2. I guess this is where “sticking to your board” gets tricky and gut feelings come into play. How much of a reach is taking a 2a player with a 1c pick? I suppose if all of the players with a first round grade are gone, it’s not a reach.

    In case anyone is wondering, I don’t plan on getting any “real” work done today.

  • austinfan

    The most likely player to start as a rookie would be an OG, beating out Herremans. Say if Martin was available.

    Nix is a slug compared to Logan, and would struggle to beat him out.
    I doubt any OLB available at #22 will beat out Cole, same with a CB.
    If Pryor fell to #22 he’d have a shot at safety.
    No WR is going to play ahead of Maclin and Cooper.
    I don’t see a DE good enough to play ahead of Thornton in the base defense.
    Forget QB, TE, OT, ILB.

    • eagleyankfan

      No WR would start ahead of those two — but what about 3 wr sets and/or WR screens? Could they draft a wr and he develops into that role?

      • austinfan

        Well, that’s the point, most of the players they draft will be role players and depth in 2014, someone like Nix would have his body reworked, lose some weight, improve his stamina, and be part of a DL rotation in 2014 before pushing to start in 2015.

        If they draft a WR high, he’d have to be able to play all three spots, and would be used as a reserve at those spots, since Eagles will probably play a lot of 2 TE sets, the 3rd WR might only get 40% of snaps.

    • Arby1

      It certainly looks like we’ll draft a guard in the 1st 4 rounds. I’m assuming we’ll take one to groom for a year but not a 1st rounder.

  • Tumtum

    Great post Tommy. Really addressed what we were kicking around (or observing being kicked around in my case) in the last post. That has to be one of my fav things in reading you.

    I am all in on the quality over quantity approach. Last year quantity was executed to perfection. Now build it up with some players capable of becoming very very good. Even if that means taking a bit more of a risk. For instance Benny Logan was a safe pick last year. I don’t think anyone has ideas of him becoming elite, but I think he proved that he is going to be a solid pro.

    As side note; did anyone read the SI FA grades. Yeah yeah SI seems to know less and less about what is going on every year, but their opinion is still interesting to dissect. It was written before DJ was booted. They gave the Eagles an A, citing what a good job it was to resign their own players. The BIG surprise was that they pointed to Nolan Carroll as the biggest off season addition. Keep in mind this was after Sproles. They made a small mention of Malcom, but seemed high on Carroll.

    Is SI seeing something we don’t with Carroll? I get the general vibe that we here think of him as possibly challenging for a spot, but most likely being a key reserve. I have admitted to not knowing a ton about Carroll and have not done any research.

  • barneygoogle

    I think this team has a LOT of holes on defense. Need d-line depth, pass rush linebacker, and another safety. They have a lot of “okay” defensive players but no game-changers, and many of them could be replaced with the right upgrade.

    • Sean Stott

      D-line depth? Not really. Maybe another nose guard. Pass rush linebacker? Nice to have, but they already have T.Cole and BG. You’re not going to get a better pash rusher than either of those guys in the first round unless you’re picking top 5.

      • barneygoogle

        Trent Cole and DeMeco Ryans have a lot of mileage–could be on the downside soon. Lot of good players wind up in rounds two and three. I hope we can find a pass rusher who may be a sleeper.

    • Tumtum

      Think that is sort of the point of adding quality over quantity. To upgrade from just average players at certain positions.

      I think the D line depth is fairly solid. An upgrade to either Logan or Square would be great. Someone unseating Cox or Ced is unlikely but someone better than Geathers was would be big. That could be someone here, or a new player though TBH.

      To add to your needs though I hardly think they are set at CB. The rest I agree with.

    • austinfan

      They don’t have holes, they have players who could be upgraded if the right player came along, but at #22, you rarely draft players good enough to beat out solid veterans as rookies. Someone like Barr would play behind Cole for a year while he learned better pass rushing techniques, how to play the run, and had his body reworked. Same at almost every position except RG, where someone like Martin might be able to step in as a rookie.

  • dislikedisqus

    Glad you mentioned Nix. He is my sleeper pick at 22.