Better on the Back End

Posted: April 3rd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 101 Comments »

Pass defense has been an issue in recent years. Howie Roseman, Doug Pederson and Jim Schwartz have all talked about how there is a need for improvement in that area. That’s part of why they gave an extension to Malcolm Jenkins, signed Leodis McKelvin and then gave a big contract to Rodney McLeod.

The Eagles have made other moves in recent years, but they tended to be more about adding talent rather than fit. I think the front office is doing a much better job of making smart acquisitions. McKelvin played for Schwartz in Buffalo in 2014. McLeod played in a similar scheme for the Rams and will be asked to do many of the same things.

Jenkins will be new to Schwartz and his scheme, but Jenkins has played in a variety of schemes and is a versatile enough player that he can succeed in all of them. He is also a savvy veteran that picks up on new schemes quickly and can be a coach on the field.

There are reasons to be optimistic about the secondary, but there still is one big issue. I wrote about that for

Look at the CBs.

Leodis McKelvin
Eric Rowe
Nolan Carroll
JaCorey Shepherd
Ron Brooks
Jaylen Watkins
Aaron Grymes
Denzel Rice

That’s a solid overall group, with a nice mixture of experience and youth. The big problem is that the group lacks a top talent.

The Eagles could change that if they added Jalen Ramsey, but there only chance to get him would involve trading up to the very top of the draft and I don’t think that will happen. Vernon Hargreaves is a very good prospect, but I’m not sure if he’s worth pick 8.

As much as I would love the Eagles to add a top talent at corner, you don’t want to talk yourself into a move. You better 100 percent believe the player is that good. If not, you’re better off adding someone who is that good at another position. The Eagles have bodies. They need an upper tier talent. There are some mysteries on the roster, but none of them feels likely to emerge as something special.

Shepherd could challenge for a starting role or the nickel spot. He tore up his knee last spring so the first order of  business is getting healthy.

Watkins showed some promise as a CB last year. His tackling is still a major issue.

Grymes came over from the CFL. I know he will hit and tackle. I’m not sure how good his cover skills are. He picked off 8 passes in 3 years for the Edmonton Eskimos.

Rice showed enough that the Eagles kept him on the roster, but he played sparingly so he remains a mystery. Having a guy on the roster may not sound like a big deal, but keep in mind that Rice wasn’t a 3rd round pick they kept because they didn’t want to give up on him. This is a player they legitimately liked and wanted to keep. That doesn’t mean he’ll pan out, but it offers a bit of encouragement.

I think the secondary is headed in the right direction. The Eagles made smart player moves. I think keeping Cory Undlin as the position coach was the way to go. He obviously did good things with some young players last year. Build on that rather than bringing in someone new.

It would still help if the Eagles could add a top flight corner. We’ll see if that is Vernon Hargreaves at pick 8 or if the team has to wait another year to find that player.

There is always the possibility that Eric Rowe exceeds our expectations and becomes a really good CB. I wouldn’t count on that happening, but I am curious to see what kind of a player he becomes. I liked Rowe quite a bit as a CB prospect last spring.


There is one other order of business for the front office. They need to add another Safety to the mix.

Malcolm Jenkins
Rodney McLeod
Jerome Couplin
Chris Maragos
Ed Reynolds

I think Couplin could turn out to be a good player in this scheme, but he is completely unproven. The Eagles need depth here. They can’t count on another year where everyone stays healthy.

They are looking at some mid-round prospects. One guy I find interesting is Kevin Byard from MTSU.

The thing I like is that he can stay back and then come up quickly in run support. He doesn’t just attack at the snap. Byard actually diagnoses the play and then makes his move. That’s critical when playing in the Wide-9.

The one thing that is an absolute must…the player must be a good tackler.


101 Comments on “Better on the Back End”

  1. 1 Aaron said at 4:31 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    typ doosh

  2. 2 Media Mike said at 7:01 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    owns you

  3. 3 laeagle said at 9:49 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    you need to give it up or go away

  4. 4 Better on the Back End - said at 4:31 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    […] Tommy Lawlor Pass defense has been an issue in recent years. Howie Roseman, Doug Pederson and Jim Schwartz have […]

  5. 5 Dave said at 4:57 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    “There is always the possibility that Eric Rowe exceeds our expectations and becomes a really good CB. I wouldn’t count on that happening, but I am curious to see what kind of a player he becomes. I liked Rowe quite a bit as a CB prospect last spring.”

    Yes, you definitely liked him last spring. Here is what you wrote about him last spring.

    “I couldn’t be happier with the move the Eagles made at CB. Rowe is a player I liked quite a bit due to his combination of size, skills, athleticism and instincts. Rowe can be a very tough press corner, but he’s also got the ability to play off and be effective. Some big CBs develop bad habits in college and are used to making contact with WRs all over the field. There is no illegal contact penalty in college.

    Rowe is one of the few guys that looks comfortable jamming his guy, running with his guy or even backing off and reading the play. He seems natural in zone coverage. Rowe started at Safety for 3 years and is used to being away from receivers and reading plays. He has excellent awareness and is involved in a play if the ball is anywhere near him.

    I like his physicality. Rowe will hit and tackle. He will fight to get off blocks so he can get to the runner or receiver. He is an active, aggressive defender.

    Rowe should challenge for a starting spot right away. He is still learning how to play CB, but was a 4-year starter in college. He learns quickly and has the physical traits you want in a starting corner. He seems to have a real competitive streak. Also, he’s an ideal fit for the Eagles scheme.

    Great pick.”

    I don’t understand. He was a 2nd round pick with good athletic ability and upside. He played limited snaps until thrust into the starting job when Nolan went down with an injury. Most would agree he played well, but you’re saying you wouldn’t count on him becoming a really good corner? Does that mean last spring you didn’t think he could become a really good corner or did his play this year sour your opinion? Or are you just differentiating the difference between him becoming a good starting corner and not a Patrick Pederson-type elite corner?

  6. 6 Jernst said at 8:12 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    Yea, I’m confused as well. I thought Rowe was clearly our best CB last year after Nolan went down and I thought he played really well. Even the two TDs he gave up to Megatron, I thought he played those passes literally as well as you could possibly play them, but the throws were perfect and Megatron is just an absurd human. Wasn’t like Rowe looked lost or like he didn’t belong on those plays. I doubt Darrell Revis would have been able to do much better if he was in there on those throws. Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to the other guys. Plus that was his first action coming in off the bench for an injured starter as a rookie going up against a potential HOF wide receiver one on one with no help.

    I actually loved the way he bounced right back and played well down the stretch. He played a fantastic game against NE and really stood out on the all-22 coaches film. I have high hopes for Rowe. However, I still think he looks more like a natural safety than a CB. But, I think he still has the chance to be the best all around CB this team has had since Sheldon Brown.

  7. 7 Gian GEAGLE said at 8:46 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    Yeah very promising to see how he perservered thru his early season struggles and played some solid ball the second half of the season, hoping to see some big growth next season

  8. 8 Media Mike said at 5:27 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    Byard gets kind of a mixed review here.

  9. 9 meteorologist said at 6:18 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    4.62 40

  10. 10 Media Mike said at 6:51 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    I can work with that at safety, but there isn’t a ton of margin for error.

  11. 11 ChoTime said at 6:30 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    Damn, Shannon, don’t hold back:

    “I know what Sam Bradford is. I’ve seen the movie, I’ve read the book… pressure, he fold like lawn chair in the face of pressure. He’s a guy that’s gonna win you about six to seven games. And that’s what he was in Philly. A seven win quarterback.”


  12. 12 Bert's Bells said at 6:55 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    Does anyone really believe that Shannon Sharpe has read a book?

  13. 13 Media Mike said at 6:57 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    I like Sharpe…….especially because he OWNED Pittsburgh as both a member of the Broncos and Ravens.

  14. 14 ChoTime said at 7:51 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    I… uh, no, but so what?

  15. 15 Media Mike said at 7:00 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    The worse link in that article is the Elliot Harrison top 10 defenders of all time. Having Reggie White 2nd to LT is those example of people brainlessly repeating the same incorrect “fact” over and over and over.

    Also, F for using a picture of Reggie as a Packer. Whoever makes an active decision to do that (unless it is for an article explicitly about the Packers ONLY) should enjoy the pleasure of dying from the most painful form of death possible. Showing Reggie as anything other than an Eagle is an apostasy.

  16. 16 The original AG said at 7:03 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    As much as I would like to agree, he did choose to retire as a Packer where he won a Superbowl (and not jettisoned by a crappy owner).

    I will never forgive Braman for the early 90s. We should have had a Superbowl with that defense, and instead of replacing Buddy with someone competent – we got Rich Kotite. And it was all downhill from there.

  17. 17 Media Mike said at 7:19 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    His last game action was as a Panther. He always had great things to say about everything here but Braman. He’s an Eagle.

  18. 18 The original AG said at 7:29 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    Braman was a disaster. We figured it out when Reggie left, but man if we had gotten rid of him earlier.

  19. 19 Media Mike said at 7:36 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    Keith Jackson was actually the first Braman salary cheapness casualty. Then Reggie. Then we lost Clyde Simmons, Seth Joyner, Eric Allen, Keith Byars, and Williams Thomas.

    Good grief.

  20. 20 The original AG said at 7:43 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    Ughhh. Pro Bowler, HOF, Pro Bowler, Pro Bowler, Pro Bowler, solid player, Pro Bowler. No wonder we sucked when Lurie got here.

  21. 21 bsuperfi said at 9:13 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    What, no love for Antone Davis?

  22. 22 daveH said at 10:56 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    the eagles low balled keith Jackson sofa king badly it hurt. he was out best tight end ever

  23. 23 Bert's Bells said at 7:45 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    You can also thank The Guy in France for Marco effin’ Rubio.

  24. 24 Media Mike said at 7:55 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    That worked out well. Shame it was our money that went to the cause.

  25. 25 laeagle said at 9:48 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    Showing him as a Packer is how he chose to be shown, so no use lamenting that.

    But I agree on the ranking. LT was one of the best football players of all time. Reggie WAS the best football player of all time. He was a force of nature. LT was better than everyone else on the field. Reggie was a grown ass man playing with children on the field. Absolutely unstoppable.

  26. 26 Media Mike said at 4:56 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    When / where did Reggie “choose” to be shown as a Packer? He chose to sign there, but NFL players don’t go into the HOF with any team regalia. All HOF busts are void of any team specific markings. chose to use a stock picture of White from the Packers rather than the Eagles. White didn’t choose that.

  27. 27 laeagle said at 10:46 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    He chose to retire as a Packer. End of story.

  28. 28 Media Mike said at 4:08 PM on April 4th, 2016:

    Your story is incomplete. He played a year for the Panthers after he played for Green Bay. And combined total is still less than the number of years spent as an Eagle.

  29. 29 laeagle said at 4:46 PM on April 4th, 2016:

    He chose to retire as a Packer. There is nothing I’m missing or incomplete on. That is irrefutable.

    If Reggie had wanted to retire as an Eagle, that’s what the NFL would show in his Hall of Fame photos.

    You and Reggie aren’t on the same page, so I suggest you take it up with him.

  30. 30 Media Mike said at 8:41 PM on April 4th, 2016:

    A player goes into the HOF as a bust. There is no team regalia.

    Here is the key language.

    “Obviously, teams take great pride in the accomplishments of individuals who have been a part of their organization. Often individual teams and even the Hall of Fame will list enshrinees according to the team or teams on which they spent a significant period of time. An enshrinee, however, is not asked to “declare,” nor does the Hall of Fame “choose” a team under which a new member is enshrined. When elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, an individual is recognized for his accomplishments as a player, coach, or contributor.”

    And here is his HOF page. The main picture shows him as an Eagle.

    So I’m not quite sure where you’re getting your nonsense that he should be primarily counted as a Packer based on his retirement. And considering he played for Carolina AFTER Green Bay; that “retirement” is null and void.

    So your entire premise is refuted. It is incomplete. It is incorrect.

  31. 31 laeagle said at 8:46 PM on April 4th, 2016:

    You REALLY need to back off and let it go. Seriously. Your bulldog act is fun sometimes, but take it down a notch.

    The man retired as a Packer. Not as an Eagle. He wanted to be remembered as a Packer. Not an Eagle. So while there is no official way of determining what picture he should use, there is absolutely ZERO problem with the NFL showing a picture of him in Packers regalia. Showing him in the uniform of the team he CHOSE to retire as, and with whom he won a Super Bowl.

    Yes, the best years of his career were here, and he meant a lot to us. But you have no argument other than “I DON’T LIKE THIS THING THAT HAPPENED!!! WAAAAAH!!!” Any attempt to justify that emotional reaction using logic and reason is useless. Your emotion has nothing to do with empirical morality or reality or reason. It’s fine you feel the way you do, but no one is under any moral responsibility to give you what you want just because you want it, and no crime was committed in showing a picture of a man in the uniform he chose to retire in.

    LET. IT. GO.

  32. 32 Media Mike said at 8:53 PM on April 4th, 2016:

    I’ll choose to let go whatever I feel like skippy. If you’d like to keep arguing, go for it. But you don’t exist as some type of cosmic presence to tell others what the F to argue or not. I’m not letting anything go on this. It was an insult for that NFL article to use him as anything other than an Eagle. If you don’t care to see it that way, that’s your call.

    How do you have any idea what he choose to be remembered as? Did he renounce his years here in any way, shape or form? He choice to retire while a member of the Packers doesn’t take a magic eraser to the totality of his career. He chose to stop playing at the end of that year. And then that “retirement” was important that he played another season after it. There exists not one credible link that he chose to see himself as a Packer and not an Eagle.

  33. 33 laeagle said at 8:57 PM on April 4th, 2016:

    Dear gods, you’re like a broken record playing nails on a chalkboard.

    You can choose not to let it go but you look like a fucking moron.

    He CHOSE TO RETIRE A PACKER. Evidently that was more important to him than retiring as an Eagle. That doesn’t discount any of his time here.

    There is no way that the NFL article showing him in the uniform of the team he chose to retire with is an insult. It is perfectly reasonable. It is only an insult to oversensitive loudmouths who feel like their every whim needs indulging. You sound like the Princess and the Pea.

  34. 34 Media Mike said at 9:26 PM on April 4th, 2016:

    Again, you can take any relativistic position you wish. I’m not taking this as anything other than yet another slight against Philadelphia. The majority of White’s NFL career was played as an Eagle. The constant denigration of our city’s teams at the hands of the national media is enraging. That goes from everything from the collective amnesia about Wilt Chamberlain’s status as the greatest athlete of all time, Stanley Cups being stolen due to missed off sides calls, the USOC c-blocking Philadelphia’s Olympic bid, and the co-opting of the legacy of players like White by places where they didn’t play the majority (or plurality) of their careers.

    You can continue to call me any names you wish; the level of disrespectful bullshit Philadelphia has to endure at all turns is significantly larger and more perpetual than a comment thread spat.

  35. 35 laeagle said at 10:09 PM on April 4th, 2016:

    If you genuinely think that they depicted Reggie in a Packers jersey as an intentional slight towards Philadelphia sports and fans, then you’ve got a lot of work to do getting back in touch with reality.

    The only thing greater than the level of disrespectful bullshit directed at Philadelphia by the national sports media is the exaggeration of that disrespect by Philly fans desperate to find something to get angry about.

  36. 36 Media Mike said at 5:22 AM on April 5th, 2016:

    One doesn’t need to be desperate to find things done in a disrespectful manner towards Philadelphia; they exist on a daily basis. They range from as simple as the hackneyed lack of context with the “they threw snowballs at Santa” story from the theft of the nation’s capital from the city at the end of the 18th century.

  37. 37 bsuperfi said at 9:11 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    This season really do or die for Bradford. He’s at a real crossroads. I’m still not sure whether he can be the “answer.” I’m doubtful, but I think there’s a real possibility. I think all his excuses are totally valid, and I was really encouraged by his play at the end of the year–I get that his stats weren’t mind blowing, but he passed the eye test. But like Shannon said, Sam has been this guy for a while.

    If Sam doesn’t take over this year and we don’t draft a QB early, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Daniels starting next year (or even at some point this year).

  38. 38 Mitchell said at 7:03 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    You seem kinda luke warm on Rowe. I thought he looked good as a rookie last year.

  39. 39 Media Mike said at 7:17 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    Welcome to Death Rowe

  40. 40 A_T_G said at 7:19 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    Is it fair to hope Rowe grows into a Sheldon Brown mold?

  41. 41 Media Mike said at 7:19 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    Different type of dude. Rowe is 4 or 5 inches taller than Brown was.

  42. 42 Mitchell said at 7:21 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    They are both physical though, no? Regardless of size, styles can be similar.

  43. 43 Media Mike said at 7:23 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    But I can do a lot more, in theory, with Rowe as a 6-2 guy.

  44. 44 Mitchell said at 7:24 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    I bet you could Mike, I bet you could 😉

  45. 45 Media Mike said at 7:27 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    That’s certainly one way to look at it.

  46. 46 Jernst said at 8:02 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    So Sheldon Brown without the infuriating inability to knock down jump balls to tall WRs?

    I loved Brown. He was one of my favorite Eagles of that era, even in spite of his inability to win jump balls against Plexico Burress when Eli would close his eyes and just throw a rainbow into no mans land.

    But, I like the comparison. If Rowe turns into a Sheldon Brown-esque player who is able to compete better with taller WRs due to his size, he’ll be a borderline pro-bowl talent for us for the next 5-6 years.

  47. 47 wee2424 said at 9:09 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    Actually besides height I think Rowes playing style is vety similiar.

  48. 48 wee2424 said at 9:10 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    Very fair. He might not be as hard as a hitter, but trades that with better ability to make a play on the ball.

  49. 49 laeagle said at 9:46 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    I’d say he’s Bobby Taylor as a floor.

  50. 50 wee2424 said at 9:12 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    Said the same exact thing in a comment above. Was a little suprised of how Tommy seemed to speak of him.

  51. 51 SteveH said at 10:21 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    Rowe looked like crap through much of the early part of the year but picked it up as he went along.

  52. 52 Mitchell said at 7:04 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    I have two words for the safety position: Darian Thompson.

  53. 53 Media Mike said at 7:17 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    Can we get him in the 3rd? I’ve not often seen him left on the board by our 3rd round pick.

  54. 54 Mitchell said at 7:20 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    If hes there with the 14th in the 3rd, you run, run to the podium like a fat girl to a prom date.

  55. 55 Media Mike said at 7:24 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    I agree, but I don’t think he’s there. Safety play in the NFL sucks right now.

  56. 56 Mitchell said at 7:30 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    Probably go early second, maybe even late first. He looks really good

  57. 57 D3FB said at 8:05 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    Love him, but he’s almost certainly going in the dead area for us. I can’t see us trading up for him either as he’ll be a backup for most of his rookie deal.

    I don’t think we’ll take a S before day 3. I really like Justin Simmons. If we take 2 OL before pick 100 I would be cool with him at that spot. If not maybe you try to move back up, because I don’t think he gets to us in the 5th.

  58. 58 Mitchell said at 8:43 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    Good point. We have our starting safeties in place and it would be hard to move one of those guys out. Simmons would be my realistic pick as well. Have you watch the OLB/SS out of Akron? I think his last name is Brown?

  59. 59 D3FB said at 1:43 PM on April 4th, 2016:

    Jatavis Brown is an undersized WILL to me. I see a poor mans Kevin Piere Louis.

  60. 60 The original AG said at 7:31 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    It is possible to hate a team as much or more than the Cowboys, and they play hockey in Pittsburgh.

  61. 61 Media Mike said at 7:35 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    Too true. They can’t win squat without the Crosby protection racket from the NHL refs 24/7.

  62. 62 laeagle said at 12:11 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    Pittsburgh is like that square of paper towel you rip off of the lone sheet of Bounty that you can somehow pull from the top of the sink, when caught on the throne with no toilet paper. I guess it works, but no one’s happy about anything associated with it.

  63. 63 Media Mike said at 7:34 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    Didn’t get a chance to take a DB early in this one. But figure you can train Brown up to be your 3rd safety soon and Seymour has a good chance to get into the CB rotation. Goff was a no-brainier at 8. Westerman seems to fit. I traded down with Jacksonville in round 3, but still got Haeg (who hasn’t been there at 4-2). Williams ably fills a big void at RB. Brown was my reward for trading down. Ngakoue gives us another quality pass rushing prospect (he dominated Conklin, Decker, and Sherff in Big “10” play). Maddy could help in the DT group now that we’re back to playing the correct type of front. McEvoy is a shot at adding a big WR.

    Round 1 Pick 8: Jared Goff, QB, California (A+)
    Round 3 Pick 14: Christian Westerman, OG, Arizona State (A)
    Round 3 Pick 22 (HOU): Joe Haeg, OT, North Dakota State (C+)
    Round 4 Pick 2: Jonathan Williams, RB, Arkansas (A)
    Round 4 Pick 5 (JAX): Nick Vigil, ILB, Utah State (B)
    Round 5 Pick 14: Jatavis Brown, OLB/SS, Akron (B+)
    Round 5 Pick 25: Kevon Seymour, CB, Southern California (A+)
    Round 6 Pick 13: Yannick Ngakoue, OLB, Maryland (B-)
    Round 7 Pick 12: Luther Maddy, DT, Virginia Tech (C+)
    Round 7 Pick 30: Tanner McEvoy, TE/WR, Wisconsin (A)

  64. 64 Media Mike said at 7:55 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    Were the Flyers under the impression that losing twice to Pittsburgh in the last few games was a good way to get into the playoffs? Especially losing to the most hated team in the league? F that. GUTLESS

  65. 65 The original AG said at 8:04 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    Comedy of errors today. They came out flat against a hot team, refs weren’t good, and then they added to being flat by playing lethargic the whole game. For some reason the pendulum has swung back in their favor.

  66. 66 Jernst said at 7:59 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    In regards to Howie Roseman and his perceived ability as a personnel executive and ability to evaluate talent:

    Here’s what we know for sure: 2012 was the one year that Lurie said Roseman was in complete control, and then 2013 being Chips first year and most of the draft prep would clearly have been done already by the time he was hired was most likely the other draft that had mostly Howies fingerprints on it. Those two drafts, the ones Howie had the most say, are arguably the two best drafts of the last decade plus for the Eagles. We ended up with Cox, Kendricks, Curry, Foles, Boykin, traded a 4th for DeMeco Ryans, and picked up Dennis Kelly and Bryce Brown (who we took in the 7th round then Howie magically traded him in 2014 for a 4th rounder in 2015, which he then traded again to Detroit for their 2016 3rd rounder (77th overall) giving us two 3rd rounders this year…he also traded a 5th rounder in 2014 to get us Darren Sproles) in the late rounds then followed that up with Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, and Bennie Logan with the top three picks the following year.

    So, given what we know for sure…that Lurie has told us that Howie had the best player evaluations in the building at that time and that he was fully in charge only in 2012, and that Howie most likely had very significant say in Chip’s first year in 2013, I’d say Howie has a pretty decent track record. Before 2012, Banner was still heading up the personnel department and Andy Reid’s influence on the draft was undeniable. After 2013, it’s clear that Chip began to take much more control of the draft and finally took it over completely in 2015.So we really only have 2011 in which he was working under Banner and Reid, 2012 where he had full control, 2013 where he had almost full control and then 2014 where Chip had substantial influence.

    The unmitigated disaster of 2011 (while Banner was still in charge of the personnel department), with Watkins, Jarrett, Curtis Marsh, Casey Matthews and Alex Henry has been laid squarely at the feet of Andy Reid. Andy has taken full responsibility for each and every one of those first five picks. He reportedly overstepped the advice of his scouting department and pushed for Watkins and Jarrett. Marsh has the undeniable stench of a wasted Andy Reid third rounder on an athletic project, which was a yearly occurrence you could set your watch to under Reid. Matthews was reportedly the apple of Juan Castillo’s eye. Henery was reportedly pushed for by Reid who had just cut Akers. And, I’ve read that Howie was then given control from the 5th round on by Banner, to cut his teeth a bit, where he took Dion Lewis, Julian Vandervelde, Jason Kelce and Brian Rolle.

    After 2013, it’s clear that Kelly either had quiet a bit more say or took over completely. So, we only have 2012 and 2013 to go on as drafts where Howie had the majority say in who we picked and those two drafts were exceptional.

    I’m not sure why Howie gets such a bad rap, or at best Luke warm reception in regards to his personnel abilities.

    I understand that the Dream Team offseason turned out to be a disaster, but when you really look at it the moves weren’t horrible.

    Howie went out and signed a consensus top 2 CB in the league who everyone coveted and who no one saw an imminent decline coming. No one could have foreseen that he’d suddenly lose interest in playing football the moment he met Defensive Coordinator, Juan Castillo. The contract was also easy to get out of in just two years with minimal cap damage. He signed Jason Babin who despite his obvious warts went on to lead the league in sacks with 18 that year. Again the contract was cap friendly with cap hits of $5.3M and $5.2M in the first two years and left us with only $600k in dead money when we cut him the following year. He traded Kevin Kolb, who was worthless, for DRC who is a starting quality CB and a second round pick, which after trading down just a few spots we turned into Vinny Curry and Brandon Boykin. That’s a phenomenal trade, Dream Team be damned! He signed Cullen Jenkins who gave us 5 sacks a year for two years as a DT with cap hits of $4M and $5.8M and zero dead money when cut after 2012. And, he signed Vince Young and Ronnie Brown as depth players who simply didn’t pan out.

    The Dream Team sucked for sure. No questions about that. And, the decision to add so many free agents and expecting them to all come together as a team was a tough lesson to learn, but I don’t think the team sucked because Howie didn’t evaluate properly. He was given a huge amount of money in a year prior to the uncapped year and told to overall a roster with tons of holes in it. He signed two starting quality CBs that just decided to quit on their team. He turned a worthless walking concussion of a QB into DRC, Vinny Curry and Brandon Boykin, he signed a damn good pass rushing DT, he signed the leagues sack leading DE, and struck out with giving a former #1 overall pick a chance as the back up QB and a former 1st rounder a chance at back up running back. Overall team results and disappointment aside, they really weren’t the atrocious moves they were made out to be. And, most importantly, they were all contracts that we were able to easily get out of with minimal cap ramifications the moment we realized these players weren’t long term solutions. As soon as those players stopped producing those mistakes were noticed and rectified immediately as they were sent their walking papers.

    Other notable FA signings under his watch, Evan Mathis, Leonard Weaver, Connor Barwin, Donnie Jones, Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Malcolm Jenkins, Nolan Carroll, Patrick Chung. 4 pro bowl level talents, a stud punter, a decent CB, 2 shitty CBs and a safety that excels for NE but couldn’t play worth a damn for Billy Davis. Overall not terrible in a 3 year span. Especially when you add in his trades for DeMeco Ryans and Darren Sproles.

  67. 67 laeagle said at 9:45 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    I don’t disagree with you on any one point, but I think it’s best to be careful when saying one draft was _all_ Howie versus another one.

    Some random notes to a very thorough post:

    * I wholeheartedly agree about the Dream Team. The common narrative is how we supposedly ruined our team with free agency, but that’s not the truth at all. We brought in a lot of quality players, coveted players, along with some busts. Two keys: first, contracts were not crippling, as you say (imagine if it were Washington; they’d still have dead money from that year). Second, the failure was on the team and coaching. I’m sorry, you could have brought Denver’s players from last year in, but you stick Juan Castillo at the helm, and then throw a poisonous Washburn into the mix, you’re going to fail. End of story. Imagine if those players had been given to JJ? Whole different outcome.

    * I think there’s something about the atrocious draft of 2011 that everyone forgets when talking about it. Because of the lockout, it’s the only draft in recent history that happened before free agency. Hence the reaches for positions of need with Watkins and Jarrett. We weren’t alone, either; once you get past JJ Watt at #11, it’s a minefield of crushed dreams in that draft in the first round.

    * Also interesting about the lockout was the recent report by Banner that we had a deal in place for the #5 pick, but the lockout screwed that up. So we get DRC and a 2nd rounder instead of #5 (patrick peterson). That’s an interesting alternate timeline to consider. I don’t think it changes much back then because of all of the dysfunction, but it certainly makes our talent pool look more interesting now, if it had happened. If we had Peterson, Tommy would have never written this article, and this comment would have never been spawned. It’s like the Terminator, but with Disqus.

    I think this draft will present a real referendum on Howie. So far, I think he’s got FA figured out like a boss, and a real understanding of draft and trade value. If he manages another strong or even decent draft this year, I think we can safely say he’s at least a competent GM and stop with all the bullshit and the “football guy” childishness. Unless you’re ESPN or Florio, in which case you’ll be clinging to whatever tired, incorrect narrative suits your need to shit out a crap story or headline.

  68. 68 daveH said at 10:40 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    mike drop.
    that’s a fantastic comprehensive debate about ThisIsHowieDoIT.
    I am fine with him – he IS an Eagle – so I am fine to live and die by him .. I hate the confusion that has surrounded him.
    this debate you 2 put up is incredible.
    ..and its in the comments section WOW!
    Heckuva job JERNST!
    Heckuva job laeagle.
    hell of a read.

  69. 69 Jernst said at 12:20 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    Thanks for the awesome reply! Definetly agree with pretty much everything you wrote. And, you are right it’s a kind of ambiguous nebulous thing when you attribute certain things to Howie and other’s you don’t when we don’t really know what happened behind closed doors. You don’t want to have a massive selection bias where you give him credit for all the good moves and ignore all the bad ones just to confirm your theory that he’s underrated. That’s why I tried to start with the things that we do “know” or at least have every reason to believe are true. Lurie has come out and said that the 2012 draft was done with Howie in full an complete control and that all the drafts prior to that were not as they were still essentially controlled by Reid and Banner. So I think it’s safe to give credit to Howie for being the full GM in control of the 2012 draft. Anything after that involves some guess work. I’m assuming that since Chip didn’t even get here and unpack his office until the end of January/beginning of February 2013 that the majority of the evaluation leg work was done with Howie as THE GUY in charge, and then certainly Chip exerted his influence on it, so it’s not as pure as the 2012 draft. After that it’s anyone’s guess what went on in that dysfunctional front office in 2014 and 2015, hence why I ignored them and tried to stay with the things we can comfortably feel like we know. Two problems with that being that the sample size (despite the drafts being very good) is exceptionally small and we are excusing him of the poorer draft in 2014 when he was still technically the GM. So I guess it’s best to take it with a grain of salt.

    *Well said about the Dream Team. That was a team, scheme, coaching failure that was dysfunctional from Reid and Castillo all the way down to the position coaches and the massive influx of free agent mercenaries. Combined with Vicks regression, the offensive lines injuries, Castillo’s atrocious frankenstein defense of discordant cobbled together and disjointed schemes, Reids refusal to give the ball to Shady, DeSean deciding to take the year off because he was upset with his contract. The whole thing was a mess from day one and a shaky foundation crumbled under enormous expectations.

    *People do forget how crappy the 2011 draft was. The top half of the first round was incredible, but after that there was a massive drop off. Still there were plenty of good players to be had at our picks that we simply didn’t draft.

    – Cameron Jordan taken the pick after Watkins

    – Jimmy Smith 4 picks after Watkins

    – Mohammed Wilkerson 6 picks after Watkins

    – Cameron Heyward 7 picks after Watkins

    – Andy Dalton 11 picks after Watkins

    – Bruce Carter 16 picks later

    – Jabaal Sheard 17 picks later

    – Orlando Franklin 20 picks later

    – Randall Cobb, Shane Vereen, Justin Houston, Marcus Gilbert, Stephen Ridley, Rahim Moore, Jurrel Casey and DeMarco Murray taken after Jarrett but before our third round pick

    – KJ Wright, DeNorris Searcy, Clint Boling, Roy Helu, Bilal Powell, Jordan Cameron and Chris Conte taken after Curtis Marsh but before our 4th round pick

    – Devin House, Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell, Chris Harris Jr, Julius Thomas, Akeem Dent and Dan Kilgore taken mostly shortly after Casey Matthews and Alex Henery.

    Even when you look at the reaches we made, we picked the worst possible option available of players taken around similar picks at the same positions. We drafted 2 guards, a CB, a S, 3 LBs, a kicker, center and RB.
    We passed on Boling, Kilgore, Franklin and Gilbert to draft Watkins. We passed on Smith, House, Gilchrist, Sherman, Maxwell, Harris Jr to draft Marsh. And, we passed on Bruce Carter, Justin Houston and KJ Wright to take Casey Matthews.
    If you look at our selections and pick some of the other guys that were taken right after our picks at the same positions we were reaching for you can come up with an insanely better draft (obviously this is all hindsight…just a fun exercise in depression on missed opportunities)
    23: Jimmy Smith (27), Rahim Moore (45), Orlando Franklin (46)
    54: Justin Houston (70)
    90: Chris Conte (93), KJ Wright (99), DeNorris Searcy (100)
    101: Clint Boling (104)
    120: Bilal Powell (126)
    149: Dion Lewis (149), Niles Paul (155), Jeremy Kerley (155)
    153: Richard Sherman(154)
    161: Dan Kilgore (163)
    191: Jason Kelce (191)
    193: Chris Harris Jr (Undrafted)
    And that’s just if you stick to drafting guards, CBs, S, LBs and RBs (although Paul and Kerley are reaches as a RB)

  70. 70 Gian GEAGLE said at 8:39 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    Unless you have a maniac who pisses all over the draft board, it’s Probably not accurate to call any draft a Roseman draft. If they are just chosing the player at the top of their Board whenever it’s time to make our pick, then the GMs role on draft night ISNT as important. When a front office works together the right way, multiple scouts, coaches, front office personal collaborate together to form their draft board…. For it to really be a “Howie Draft”, he would have to disregard their big board like chip Kely.
    Every functioning front office “collaborates”… Roseman probably doesn’t deserve full praise for the great 2012 draft, and he probably doesn’t deserve the full blame for his bad drafts…. A lot of hard work from a lot of different people goes into making our draft board
    Im certainly excited to see what Roseman can do in this draft. Hopefully he learned from past mistakes and uses them to grow into a better GM, or whatever bullshit title he holds
    We as fans, and our GM have to trust all the hard work that went into setting the draft board.,. The hard work needs to be done before the draft, the draft should be the easy part…. Which is why It’s so disrespectful and Ridiculuosly dysfunctional for Chip to start rearranging their entire draft board, basically spitting on all the hard work everyone did

  71. 71 wee2424 said at 9:06 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    Tommy, I find how you speak about Rowe very interesting. Maybe im just reading to much into it, but it sounds like ypu arent that high on Rowe. That maybe you beleive he will turn into just a solid #2 CB. Again maybe im just reading into your wording to much.

    Rookie CBs almost always have some serious struggles, as he did. With that said I think he showed immense progession as the year went on, and also showed alot of promise. I dont think he will become an All-Pro, but i do think he has the ability to be more then just a solid #2 CB.

  72. 72 Stephen E. said at 11:28 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    I am greatly encouraged by the fact that he didn’t hide under his bed and cry after being incinerated by Megatron like that. He came back and played better than any of the other CBs on the team.

  73. 73 wee2424 said at 9:20 PM on April 4th, 2016:

    Agree. I think that is a mentality a young CB needs to show to be effective in this league.

  74. 74 FungusAmungus said at 9:30 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    Walt Thurmond III: obviously it’s a big question mark because it’s a personal decision of his to retire or not, but I wonder if we’ve offered him a shot at CB. I hope so

  75. 75 Gian GEAGLE said at 8:07 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    Pretty sure he is done playing football and is ready to transition to his film making career

  76. 76 Joe Minx said at 9:58 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    WTF is going on in these things?

    An NFL team asked LSU CB Jalen Mills whether he would use a gun or a knife to dispatch another human.

    Seriously. An NFL team asked this, presumably while episodes of The People vs O.J. Simpson looped on a television in the background. Mills indicated that the team graded him on which weapon he chose in the hypothetical, explaining their “logic” when he said, “If you choose the knife, you know, now you’re killing for fun…because you have to continuously stab somebody with it.” Yeah, we feel uncomfortable about the question, too. Thanks, NFL. Unfortunate questions are nothing new in the interview process. During the Combine, the Falcons found themselves in hot water after a coach asked Ohio StateCB Eli Apple about his sexual orientation.

  77. 77 Insomniac said at 10:14 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    I still think the Dez Bryant and Miami one will still be the most outrageous.

  78. 78 A_T_G said at 10:52 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    What makes it more amazing is that there is absolutely no chance these are off the cuff questions from a scout with a momentary lapse of judgement. These are planned, scripted, vetted questions.

  79. 79 laeagle said at 12:08 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    Yep. The degree of institutional stupidity out in the world is staggering at times. Anyone who has ever worked for a company, of any shape or size, can attest to the levels of brain deadness people can achieve when working together.

  80. 80 Media Mike said at 5:10 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    Groupthink at its worst.

  81. 81 A_T_G said at 6:18 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    I think we can all agree with that.

    Wait…or can we…

  82. 82 D3FB said at 7:54 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    Ehhhhhh. I don’t mind it terribly because it was Mills. He has a DV charge. I don’t think they terribly gave a shit which way he answered they likely were looking to see if he immediately answered or was put off at the thought of violence.

  83. 83 meteorologist said at 12:21 PM on April 4th, 2016:

    You broke the groupthink chain! Congrats

  84. 84 A_T_G said at 11:14 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    We all made it to the part of the highlights where he was ejected for hitting the QB in the head, right? Eli, Tony, and the other guy are in trouble.

  85. 85 Mitchell said at 11:59 PM on April 3rd, 2016:

    I’m glad you shared this video. I just wonder how he would do matched up 1v1 against WR’s or if that’s something Schwartz would even ask him to do. He looks more like a zone player to me who does a good job of watching and diagnosis what is in front of him like the play at 4:31 and again at 2:32 where he read the slant and went and got the guy. I think that play also illustrates his lack of explosion/hitting power. I think his knack for ints would be a plus and you wonder how it would translate to the NFL. One other thing that scares the hell out of me is that when taking on a lead blocker, he really is out of the play before it starts 3:17. Overall a solid safety who is likely better at a zone rather than man scheme. It seems he has the smarts to diagnose plays but doesn’t have as much physical capabilities as one would like. I think with his physical limitations a late 4th early 5th would be an appropriate spot.

  86. 86 Fufina said at 7:21 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    I am struggling with all the Zeke talk recently it is getting to the point where it almost seems a ‘fait accompli’ at this point in the media that we will draft him at no.8. And i just do not see it… at all.

    Firstly i will point out i really love Zeke the college RB, he is a great college runner, plays tough, blocks fantastically and was a vital part of a great college team. But for the Eagles at 8? For me it just makes no sense.

    RB is the hardest non QB position to draft. It busts more in pretty much every round than any other position, Starters seem to come from a range of rounds although elite production tends to come principally from the top 3 rounds. There is almost no consistent link to elite RB play to play off performance, and many teams have proven that you can platoon RB’s with different skill sets to make up for individual weaknesses. Add in injury issues and shortness of careers, all these factors combine into RB not being a premium draft position these days.

    Moving on to the Eagles – is RB really that big a need? We have a pair of aging RB’s who have proven they can be playmakers last year and through out their careers. We need to add depth and youth to develop long term but do we need someone to be a bell cow in 2016? No. And Doug/Andy proved last year that you can replace elite RB production with role players in their system in 2015 after Charles went down in 2015, when/if Mathews gets injured.

    Finally moving back to Zeke. He is coming from a spread option offense playing behind an elite line and good (great in 2014) position players to spread the field. The transition to the NFL is a big challenge – and a significant risk that he can not do so effectively. And even if he transitions well to the NFL i am not sure he is going to be an elite runner. good/great maybe… but AP? i just do not see it. Personally i would project him to be a 4.5 y/c guy, who is a quality pass blocker and who may develop into being a decent screen weapon (Ohio really did not throw to him much which is a concern), who depending on health gets 1000-1200 yards a year.

    Is that worth the no.8 pick considering the high risk at the position? I do not think so. I think there are guys who you can get later who can do each aspect as well or better as Zeke with mitigated risk and much cheaper value.

    Eagles have time to try and develop a RB behind some quality starters and what is shaping up to be a great 2017 draft to try again if we miss on a late rounder. I do not want Zeke at 8 regardless of how much i love him as a college player.

  87. 87 eagleyankfan said at 7:40 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    I struggle with the thought that Zeke has a legitimate chance to be there at 13. If that’s to be true, HR didn’t move up to get someone he could have had. As much of an ‘offensive weapon’ minded fan, I don’t think Zeke is the pick either. I think I’ve settled on OL(boring but necessary to me) or QB as their pick.

  88. 88 Fufina said at 7:59 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    For me the pick is either a QB or a defensive play maker. great defenses have 2-3 guys who can take advantage of 1v1 match ups, either by getting sacks as a DL or able to consistently cover 1v1 on the back end to take away a player. If you have 2-3 of those guys on your defense you then can make things very difficult with a numbers advantage else where. We have 1 player like that at the moment in Cox, who forces a team to give some extra support to whoever is trying to block him freeing up other players. But we need another 1-2 guys like that.

    Jack can do that as a LB, Ramsey/Hargreaves may be able to do that as CB’s, same with Bosa/Buckner on the DL.

    Offensively I do not want a OT at 8 unless it is Tunsil who would be BPA (and is not happening), and none of the WR’s for me are worth top 15 picks in my opinion.

  89. 89 eagleyankfan said at 8:07 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    OL – at 8, would not be a great pic because we have 2 starters. Someone at 8, I expect to start right away and not sit for a year(or more) and wait for Peters to be moved or retired. My dream pick would be Miles Jack.
    IF Pederson is following AR though, OT might be in play.
    Would HR draft a Duck? 🙂

  90. 90 Gian GEAGLE said at 8:22 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    We need to stop viewing draft picks in terms of whether or not he will start as a rookie, that should be completely insignificant to who we select

  91. 91 eagleyankfan said at 9:01 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    I believe that to be true with every position, except two spots. WR and OT — when drafted high. If your drafting either one high, it’s because of a huge need or they are extremely talented. Either way – early WR or OT will be your starter if you draft them early. If Tunsil is not starting next year – something is wrong…

  92. 92 Gian GEAGLE said at 8:05 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    Id love to get an OL, CB or DL at #8, unfortunateky im not sure there will be one good enough to take at #8… I just want the Eagles to select the player with the highest grade on their board, keep it simple

  93. 93 eagleyankfan said at 8:10 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    And that certainly can be their strategy. HR said he wanted top 10 in the draft. Maybe he doesn’t really care who is there as long as he’s getting top 10 talent.

  94. 94 Gian GEAGLE said at 8:20 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    I think he has set us up pretty well because of free agency so he can afford to not care which position we take,,.Roseman made sure we have a credible starter for next year at just about every position, the Next step is building depth which we can use at any posituon with the exception of TE.
    One draft won’t be enough to build depth at every position, so he might as well just take the best Talent at whatever This draft class provides.
    We need to add special top tier talent. if we try to factor position into the equation, we increase our odds of busting…
    We have so many back up spots that need to be filled, that it really doesnt matter much which positions we adress first, alot of work to be done to get This roster to elite level. It will take at least 2 quality drafts
    1) #3 QB
    2) RB who can eventually become our feature back
    3) #6 WR
    4) rookie OT
    5) Rookie Guard.
    6) our Backup DTS can Not be Raciti, Beau and Hart. Gotta add DT talent
    7) outside CB
    8) backüp Safety
    9) Backüp Middle LB
    10) Strongside middle LB
    Too much work to do in one draft, might as well take the best talent, and once we take care of half that list, we can start allowing position needs to be added to our draft decisions

  95. 95 eagleyankfan said at 7:46 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    What a pleasant read on a Monday.
    I still shutter, from bad memories, when I see wide-9. Can’t help it. I know this defense is different – but it still gives me bad chills.
    Where’s the love for Rowe? I happen to agree with some comments below. I thought he played better as the year went on. I’m OK with Bradford because we get to see him in a different offense. Not sure what scars of the Chip era he’ll carry with him(if any). If I’m ok with him, I’m OK with Rowe in a new defensive scheme. Rome wasn’t built in a day – there are players from the past few years that need to be evaluated by the new judges. Rowe and MS fit into that mold….

  96. 96 Gian GEAGLE said at 8:27 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    Very excited about ROWE…. Even when Calvin Johnson was abusing him, ROWE was playing some solid defense, but was being out jumped by a superstar hall of fame WR.
    Brady tried to pick on ROWE, but the rookie shut that down . can’t wait to see how much better he will be in yeàr 2

  97. 97 Dave said at 8:02 AM on April 4th, 2016:

  98. 98 Gian GEAGLE said at 8:03 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    YES!!!!! Great Signing!!
    Now if they can add a Backüp MIKE or SAM LB, this free agent period will have been a Homerun by Roseman

  99. 99 Dave said at 8:26 AM on April 4th, 2016:

    The local beats cover the Eagles 24/7 for their paycheck. At a minimum, they deserve the respect to be referred by name when one of their articles is cited nationally.

    While reading Peter King’s MMQB this morning, I’m a little taken back that he cannot give Lombardo some credit for his article last week on Chip and his relationship with the scouting department when he was hired. Instead, this is what he wrote…”The other day, NJ Advance Media reported that Eagles scouts had it up to here with Chip Kelly, beginning with his first draft in Philadelphia in 2013.”

    I’m not a huge fan of the Philly media, but I’ll take them any day of the week over the national media.

  100. 100 Media Mike said at 9:29 PM on April 4th, 2016:

    I read that, but didn’t think of it that way. Thank you for pointing that out.

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