I was watching tape on some Florida State defenders the other day. I chose the national title game vs Auburn. If you watch that game, you can’t help but enjoy Auburn RB Tre Mason. He’s my favorite runner in the draft because he’s so aggressive, tough and strong.
Then it occurred to me. The Eagles sent Duce Staley to his Pro Day to work him out.
Mason seems like a lock to be a 2nd or 3rd round pick. Is there any way the Eagles would take a RB that high? I think I’ve shot down this idea to this point in the pre-draft process, but that might need re-examination. After all, you don’t put Duce Staley on an airplane and send him to Alabama for the hell of it. The Eagles are a well-to-do organization, but nobody is going to just waste money like that. The Eagles were more than just curious.
I love Mason. What if Chip Kelly does as well? Would he spend an early pick on a RB? That would bug the heck out of me (even on Mason), but the Eagles could do something like that. Here’s why.
After the 2012 season, Seattle’s defense was 4th in yards allowed and #1 in scoring defense. The offense was 17th and 9th in yards and scoring. Logic would have dictated to spend their resources on fixing the offense, especially the OL and passing game. The Seahawks went into free agency and signed DE Michael Bennett, DE Cliff Avril, DT Tony McDaniel and DE O’Brien Schofield. They did deal for WR Percy Harvin to help the passing game. Then they spent their first draft pick (2nd Rd’er) on…a RB. Then they spent 3 of the next 4 picks on defensive players.
The defense was already great, but still got most of the resources. That paid off as Seattle finished 1st in yards and points. The offense was basically the same as 2012, finishing 8th and 17th.
Was this by design or just the way things happened?
You and I want the Eagles to focus on defense in next week’s draft. We’re desperate for a pass rusher, playmaking Safety, ILB that can run and cover and a CB who can develop for the future. There is depth needed on the DL. The defense needs help.
But think about this draft class. The best position is WR. Next is OL. There aren’t any great RBs, but the group is deep with talented players. There might not be any slam-dunk Top 5 QBs, but the class has some really interesting players. TE is the only position where there isn’t a whole lot there.
There are good defensive prospects, but not quite in the same way as on the offensive side of the ball. If the Eagles do go Best Player Available, that may push them to offense in several rounds. And that could be something they want to do.
As much as I want defensive players, even I have to admit that the defense isn’t going to be a juggernaut unit even with a bunch of picks. This defense is a long term project. The offense was very good last year, but could be even better. That side of the ball could be special if the Eagles add the right players.
We know the Eagles are wanting a WR, possibly as early as the 1st round. They’ve been spending a lot of time looking at OG prospects. They’ve checked out TEs, especially late round guys. The Eagles have even been looking at RBs.
I’m not arguing for them to go with offensive players. I’m not telling you to like it if they do go offensive. I’m simply trying to make the point that this draft might have more offensive players than you want. Be prepared for that possibility.
You have to build your draft plans according to the available players. This year the best talent is on offense.
And Kelly is an offensive coach. He won’t ignore the defense, but Kelly may feel that it is better to build a special offense than to try and balance things out between offense and defense. Balance sounds great, but there is a definite argument to be made for trying to build one side of the ball to be special. That’s what got Seattle a Super Bowl title and helped get the Broncos to the game.
In just a week we’ll find out what the Eagles actual draft strategy is. I prefer defense, but I’m now bracing myself for the fact that just might not happen. There are only 2 specific things that will really upset me. I’ll be ticked off if they pass on Anthony Barr, should he slip to 22. I’ll be ticked off if they spend pick 22 on WR Kelvin Benjamin. Beyond those 2 things, I’m pretty flexible. Obviously this is a generalized comment. There will be a ton of very specific scenarios that could drive me nuts because you never know how things will play out and what choices the team will have during the draft.
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For your viewing pleasure, here is Tre Mason vs FSU. Such a tough runner…