A few people hit me up on Twitter during the draft with the complaint that I wasn’t being critical enough of the Eagles. They saw the picks as being reaches or outright bad picks and therefore I should be more critical.
I liked each player the Eagles took, with the exception of Ed Reynolds. I was ambivalent about him. While I didn’t “like” that pick, that doesn’t mean it was bad. There were other Safeties that I preferred, but Reynolds was very good value at that point. Still, I wanted a more compelling player.
One of the reasons the Eagles took Reynolds is his brain. They were very impressed with his football IQ when they brought him to Philly for a visit. As an outsider, I could only go off tape. Reynolds is solid on tape, but not compelling.
The other players were all guys that I really enjoyed watching and studying. Marcus Smith went early for some, but on April 17th I had written a piece saying that he could be a target if the Eagles moved back in the 1st round. That means that 3 weeks prior to the pick, I thought it was a possibility. Would it then make sense for me to rip the team for doing what I had said was possible?
Josh Huff went earlier than expected. I was a big fan of Huff’s and listed him as a player I wanted the Eagles to take before the draft began. The fact the Eagles took him in the 3rd round didn’t bother me at all because I thought so highly of him. Frankly, he’s a guy I had a hard time valuing. He had a terrific season (18.2 yards per catch and 12 TDs). He was good at the Senior Bowl. He worked out well.
Huff’s size/speed ratio is odd. He’s 5-11, 206. You don’t find many WRs that are under 6-0 and more than 200 pounds. Mix in the fact that Huff ran 4.51 at the Combine and you’ve got a player that is hard to figure. He’s not big, but he’s not small. He’s not slow, but he’s not fast. I liked the tape, but didn’t want to rate him too highly.
The Eagles felt differently because he was such a great fit. They want guys that can play inside and outside. They want guys that can and will block. The Eagles love guys with good RAC skills. Check, check and check. Huff had the right personality and skill set. Some team running a different offense wouldn’t have had the same value. I can understand that difference.
And I don’t think taking Huff in the 3rd round was unreasonably early. If the Eagles took him in the 1st or 2nd, we’d have a different discussion.
I think one of the other factors here is the fact I don’t look at the draft through my own eyes.
I’m a 4-3 guy. Always have been, always will be. Beyond that, I don’t like 2-gap players. I prefer my DL to attack. The Eagles running the 2-gap 3-4 is as far from what I want as it could possibly get.
But what I want doesn’t mean squat. I study draft prospects from the perspective of what the Eagles want. They want 2-gap guys up front and press corners on the back end. They want interchangeable Safeties. When the Eagles draft those guys, I think they are smart picks. Those players may not be my ideal choices, but they fit what the Eagles do.
I’ve been angry with Eagles picks over the years. I hated the Jon Harris pick in 1997. I didn’t like the Ike Reese pick in 1998. I hated the Todd Pinkston pick in 2000. I hated the Freddie Mitchell pick in 2001. I hated the LJ Smith pick in 2003. In 2006 I had Winston Justice and Max Jean-Gilles as 2 players I wanted the Eagles to avoid.
The last Eagles pick that really bugged me? Nick Foles in 2012. I wanted Kirk Cousins. Oops.
I’ve been wrong over the years with plenty of picks. I thought Chris Gocong was a great pick and that he would become a terrific pro. The first time I ever appeared on Eagles Live, Dave Spadaro asked me to talk about a player outside the 1st round that could be a name to remember. I talked about Gocong and a month later the Eagles took him. I was on Cloud 9. Unfortunately, Gocong didn’t pan out as I hoped. He was solid, but not the guy I anticipated.
I loved the Matt McCoy pick. Loved it. He was one of my favorite players in the 2005 draft. I was ecstatic when the Eagles took him. Needless to say, that didn’t work out so well.
I wrote about prospects from January til mid-May. I didn’t want Daniel McCullers or Johnny Manziel or Trent Murphy or Logan Thomas or Justin Gilbert or Kelvin Benjamin or Kony Ealy and so on. Some guys I didn’t like as players (McCullers) while others I didn’t think fit the scheme (Murphy). Had the Eagles taken a player like this that I had written about not being a target or making sense as a pick, I’d have been critical of them.
Whether you like the Eagles picks or not, there is logic to them. That’s the key for me, whether talking about the Eagles or any other team. Is there logical thinking behind the pick? I can live with a pick that isn’t what I prefer if it does make sense in some way, shape or form.
I’m not going to rip the Eagles for the sake of it. That’s just not my style. I’m an optimist by nature. I know that goes against being an Eagles fan, but that’s part of what makes me such a complex and fascinating person (did your BS meter just go off?). Actually, the big difference for me is that I’m not from Philly. That gives me a different outlook on things and my writing reflects that.
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Jimmy and I weren’t able to record a new H2H show on Sunday or Monday night. We’ll do one some time in the next few days.
I’ll be posting some more in-depth scouting reports on players. During the draft I don’t have a ton of time to write since I’m busy commenting here and on Twitter. Now that we know the players, we can study the heck out of them and really get to know them inside-out.