Drafting and QBs

Posted: April 16th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 150 Comments »

This is a weak class of QBs. Even the top duo aren’t in the Andrew Luck class. No one feels like a “we absolutely must have that guy” kind of QB.

One thing we have to understand is that not every pick has to be likely to be a 10-year starter. The Eagles have a starter in Sam Bradford. They have a backup in Mark Sanchez. There is room for a number three QB. Matt Barkley has the job now, but I’ll be surprised if he’s here much past the draft. It just hasn’t worked out. GJ Kinne is a fan favorite, but he’s never shown the passing ability needed to be an NFL QB.

You would ideally love the #3 QB to be someone to develop into a future starter, but that doesn’t have to be the case. The Eagles simply need to find a player they like and think could be effective when called upon. If the guy has a ceiling that keeps him #3, that’s okay.

Ron Wolf, probably the best GM of the past 30 years, believed in drafting a QB every year. You never knew when you would strike gold. He traded for Brett Favre in the 1992 offseason. Then he started drafting QBs.

1992 – Ty Detmer – 9th round
1993 – Mark Brunell – 5th round
1995 – Jay Barker – 5th round
1996 – Kyle Wacholtz – 7th round
1997 – Ronnie McAda – 7th round
1998 – Matt Hasselbeck – 6th round
1999 – Aaron Brooks – 4th round

Hits and misses.

Wolf traded Brunell, Hasselbeck and Brooks away for good compensation. He lost Detmer as a free agent. Wolf didn’t have to use early picks on QBs since he had a great, durable player in Favre. But he still saw value in taking a QB every year. If you hit on one of those guys, it either gives you depth at the most important position or it gives you great trade material.

If the Eagles miss on Mariota in the 1st and then don’t go for Petty or Hundley in the 2nd…there is still something to be said for spending a mid-round or late pick on a QB. The key is for the coaches to have someone they like. If they don’t like any of the prospects, then pass.

Understand that just because you and I don’t like a QB, that doesn’t mean the coaches feel the same way. They go meet these kids and QB is a position where brains and personality really mean something. There might be a player who looks talented, but flawed on tape. If the coaches like his mental make-up, they may feel he is a player that can be developed.

There is nothing wrong with spending a late pick on a QB to try and develop.

I think you’ve got a problem when you spend an early pick on a QB who needs a lot of work. Things do get tricky as we discuss this. Cam Newton went #1 overall, but needed some work. I thought that was a great pick and a no-brainer. He was a special talent, having carried his team to the national title. You have to understand that Newton only played at Auburn for one year and they used a very odd, creative offense. He hadn’t struggled or failed as a drop-back passer. We just hadn’t seen him do much of it. That is very different from a player like Brett Hundley who started at UCLA for 3 years and had some of the same issues late in his career that he did early on.

It will be interesting to see what Chip Kelly does in this draft. Does he go back on his word and make an all-out play for Mariota? Does he draft a mid-round QB? Late rounder? If so, what kind of guy does he go for? Matt Barkley was a polished QB prospect with an average arm and no athleticism. Will Kelly go for an athletic QB? Would he take someone from a small school? Lots of questions to be answered.

There aren’t any late round QBs that I’m infatuated with. I would love to get Petty in the 3rd round, but doubt he lasts that long. The Eagles had dinner with him prior to his Pro Day so they have shown some interest. I wrote the other day about them possibly liking Garret Grayson, a mid-round target. The Eagles have shown interest in Cody Fajardo, who would be a late rounder. Kelly recruited and coached Bryan Bennett for a couple of years at Oregon. He’s another late rounder. Shane Carden doesn’t have a good arm, but he’s grown on me the more I’ve watched of him. He would be a 7th rounder or UDFA. If the Eagles pass on drafting a QB, I do hope they make it a priority position with UDFAs. I think they need a rookie with some talent to add to the mix.

I’m not naive about this. If the Eagles draft a QB late or sign one as a UDFA, the chances are that the player will fail. The numbers tell you that. The point is that QB is such a critical position that it is worth the risk to at least try. Tom Brady was a 6th rounder. Matt Cassel was a 7th rounder. Tony Romo was a UDFA. Matt Flynn was a 7th rounder. Tyrod Taylor, who will compete with Cassel for the starting job in Buffalo, was a 6th rounder. You can find players late. It isn’t common to find them and it can take time to develop them. But the payoff can be worth it if you do get the right guy.

Only a couple of more weeks until we can quit guessing and we finally get some answers.

* * * * *

As we talk about player evaluation, remember that we all see different things. I watch Brett Hundley and see a player with immense talent. But I also see a player with some bad habits and some issues. The first 90 seconds of this video just concern me too much for me to be completely comfortable with Hundley.

Brett Hundley vs Utah (2014) by db_adrian

I have doubts on whether he will pan out in the NFL, but would only be bothered if the Eagles took him 20th overall. That’s just too early for me. While I don’t love Hundley, I could live with him in the 2nd round. Once again, I’d be placing a lot of trust with Kelly. If this is the guy Kelly wants…let’s see what he can do. Hundley does have NFL talent and he seems to be a high character guy. If you’re taking a risk, you could do worse.

Some people hate Petty. Really hate him. I see a guy who I think would fit the Eagles well and has some talent. He makes some mistakes and lacks a great arm, but I loved the way he ran Baylor’s up-tempo attack so well the last couple of years.

QB evaluation is extremely difficult. There is no formula for success. You need to see tangible talent and physical characteristics, but this is the position where intangibles matter more than any other. You and I can only guess at that stuff from afar. Scouts and coaches have a much better feel in this area, but even they are still doing some guessing.


Another QB to Consider

Posted: April 14th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 385 Comments »

The Eagles would love to get Marcus Mariota, but know that’s far from a sure thing so they are checking out a lot of different QB prospects. Here is a rumor someone shared in the comments section the other day.


Grayson played at Colorado State and had an outstanding Senior season. He went to the Senior Bowl and was the best QB down there, although he wasn’t facing murderer’s row.

Grayson has NFL talent, but I’ve gone back and forth on whether I like him or not. I watch one game and don’t like him. Then I watch another and I feel differently.

He throws a good deep ball. He makes some good throws over the middle in traffic. He shows good accuracy and seems to be a smart decision-maker. He’s not reckless, but will take some chances. Grayson had a good workout at his Pro Day, but I didn’t see that athleticism on the field with any consistency.

34-inch VJ
6.97 3-cone

Watch this segment with Jon Gruden and Grayson comes across like a bright QB.

Watch his showing in the bowl game and you see a bit of everything. Utah’s defense played well that day so definitely factor that into the equation.

When first watching Grayson, I certainly didn’t think of him as a Chip Kelly QB. Then again, I didn’t think Chip would draft Matt Barkley or trade for Sam Bradford.

I think Grayson is probably a 3rd round prospect.

My Top 5 QBs

1 – Marcus Mariota
2 – Jameis Winston
3 – Bryce Petty
4 – Garrett Grayson
5 – Brett Hundley

I think there is a big drop from the top pair to Petty and then another big drop from him to the final pair. I know many of you like Hundley, but the fact he took so many sacks at UCLA concerns me. They’re not all his fault, but they can cause him to develop habits that will never go away.

The Eagles spent a lot of time with both Petty and Hundley. Kelly would love to find a young QB to develop. We don’t know for a fact who they like and how much they like ‘em, but the rumors are keeping us entertained and doing a lot of guessing.


Too Legit

Posted: April 13th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 247 Comments »

I saw this today on Twitter and loved it.

Interesting. Made me think of this.

Chip Kelly does love QBs who move to other spots. Lane Johnson was a junior college QB. James Casey played some QB. Brad Smith was a star QB in college. The thought of moving Bennett to a new position makes some sense.

But not all that much sense.

Bennett has DB size at 6-2, 211, but he ran 4.81 at the Combine. The Eagles like Safeties that have good man cover skills. Do I want a converted QB that runs 4.8 covering a WR? Heck no.

It is possible the Eagles see him as a UDFA and do want to try him at DB. Timed speed isn’t the same thing as game speed. But why would Eagles scouts be sharing that info? This totally feels the scouts are spreading mis-information.

Now comes the tricky part.

Are the scouts doing this because the Eagles like Bennett as a QB and they are trying to make people think Chip Kelly has no interest in his former pupil? I mean, if Kelly doesn’t think Bennett is a good QB, why should any other team have interest?

The other possibility is that the scouts were told to do this to make people think the Eagles do have interest in Bennett. By spreading the story, the scouts are bringing attention to Bennett. You might do that if there was another late round QB you had your eyes on and didn’t want teams to notice that player.

Jimmy Bama and I discussed Bennett recently. He wasn’t sure Kelly liked Bennett. This was a hunch of his based on some things that were said and the way they were said. I didn’t draw the same conclusion, but certainly could see Jimmy being right. Bennett never started for Kelly and ended up transferring away. Their relationship might have been more rocky than we would guess. Might, being the key word.

I think Bennett would be a good late round target for the Eagles. Matt Barkley seems to have a short future here in Philly. The team will need to add a young QB to the mix. Bennett is a solid athlete with a good arm. He also knows Kelly’s offense. He’s the kind of player you could develop over time. He might never become starter material, but might be a good backup.

time will tell if the Eagles are genuinely interested in him as a QB or DB, or if this is just a way to throw people off some other target.

* * * * *

DE Ced Thornton signed his RFA tender.

That’s good news, but now the team has to work with him on a long term deal. Thornton is a good player and should come at a reasonable price.

* * * * *

The Eagles have checked out quite a few TEs. Most of them are bigger guys that have the potential to be very good blockers. This makes sense with Brent Celek’s age. Zach Ertz is a terrific pass catcher, but his blocking needs a lot of work. It seems like the Eagles would love to find a guy that is about about 6-4 or 6-5 and goes 260 pounds.

James has a lot of potential and would be an interesting player to add. He’s a big guy that can catch and block. So often these days TEs seem to be smaller, athletic guys…essentially bulked up WRs. James is a legit TE.


A Scary Thought

Posted: April 12th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 363 Comments »

Rumors, rumors, rumors. This is the time of year for them.

Sheil Kapadia wrote a piece on some info Ron Jaworski passed along on Friday. Here’s some of what Jaws had to say.

On Friday, Ron Jaworski was a guest on CSN’s Philly Sports Talk and said he is picking up buzz that Marcus Mariota is going to be Tampa’s selection.

“The latest I’m hearing now from my sources around the league, who are pretty wired in, is that he’s going to go number one now to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,” said Jaworski.

“Mariota’s stock, remember it was quiet for a while? And there’s a reason for that. There’s a lull every year until about 30 days before the draft. Now the coaches get involved. Prior to that, it’s the scouts, it’s the roadies that are filling out the paper work. Now the coaches get involved. Now team owners get involved. Now general managers get involved. So you’re starting to see, in my opinion, Winston’s stock starting to slide a little bit and Mariota’s stock starting to go up a little bit.”

First, we have no idea if any of this is true. I don’t doubt Jaws is hearing things, but this is the time of year when teams love to spread mis-information to try and keep everyone confused as to what they are really thinking and what is going to happen.

If this is true, the thought of Mariota going 1st overall is interesting, mainly because it would involve Winston sliding. And where would he go?

The same teams in the Top 10 (or so) that like Mariota could have interest in Winston, but not necessarily. Winston has serious baggage. The Browns have been reported as a team that likes Mariota. After dealing with Johnny Manziel’s immaturity this year, I don’t know that they would want anything to do with Winston.

My personal nightmare is Winston coming to the Eagles. I think there is very little chance of that happening because I think someone will take him prior to 20 and I question whether Chip would want him. But if things went wrong and the Eagles did take Winston…I’d be very uncomfortable.

I can’t stand him.

The rape allegation bothers me tremendously. If you somehow move beyond that, his pattern of small, stupid incidents goes beyond what his coach Jimbo Fisher tried to paint as typical college kid behavior. Winston knew the spotlight was on him and he didn’t care. He did dumb thing after dumb thing, all with a big smile on his face.

Ugh. I want no part of that guy.

There is no question that he’s got the talent to be a star QB, but his lack of maturity should be a gigantic red flag for all 32 teams.

If the Eagles drafted Winston…I’m just not sure how I’d handle that. I just can’t see any scenario where I’m cheering for him on the field. Let’s hope he goes 1, 2, 5, 6, 10 or anywhere before 20 so I don’t have to face that dilemma.

Not all of you will agree with my feelings on Winston. Let me know what you think about him.

* * * * *

More from Jaws on the QB situation.

“I’ll give you a little bit of information on how much Chip Kelly loves Marcus Mariota,” said Jaworski. “This is the time of year when everyone talks, and I talk to general managers, I’ve talked to player personnel directors, and I’ve heard it from a couple or three people that have had conversations with Chip Kelly, and Chip Kelly said, ‘Marcus Mariota will win multiple Super Bowls in the National Football League.’

“Now, he didn’t say it was going to be in Philadelphia (laughs), but that’s how much he loves this guy, and a lot of people feel the same way, that Marcus Mariota is that good that you can win multiple Super Bowls with him as your quarterback.”

That’s high praise from Chip. He’s doing the right thing by supporting his former player, but he’s not helping the chances of Mariota becoming an Eagle.

* * * * *

Here’s a bit of good news. The Eagles are talking to DE Cedric Thornton about a long term deal. BGN has the details here.

Thornton is a good LDE. He is an outstanding run defender. He still needs work on his pass rushing skills. It would be great if the Eagles could lock up him, Fletcher Cox and Bennie Logan long term. That is a good D-line and they work well together.


A Convert?

Posted: April 10th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 371 Comments »

Quinten Rollins was one of the most interesting players at the Senior Bowl. He had played college basketball for Miami of Ohio for 4 years before deciding to try his hand at college football. And boy did that prove to be a wise decision. He picked off 7 passes and played his way onto the NFL’s radar. Rollins was up and down in Mobile, but you could see his talent. He is a legit NFL prospect.

Jimmy Bama and I got to speak with him one night. Rollins was bright, funny and fun to talk to. He started off with the usual answers, but we got him to let his guard down and be honest with us. I came away very impressed.

I’ve watched tape of lots of DBs since then and went back to do more tape study on Rollins recently. He is one of my favorite prospects in this class and a player I’d love the Eagles to target aggressively. Here’s the interesting part. I’d like them to try him at Safety first.

Some NFL teams, including the Eagles, have been trying some Safety drills with him during workouts. And Mike Mayock liksted him at Safety on his latest rankings.

Rollins has great ball skills. He picked off 7 passes in 2014. Some of them were really impressive. You want a S to have good hands so he can take advantage of any balls that come his way.

Rollins has great instincts. He took up football in his 5th year of college and looked completely natural most of the time. He showed an understanding of routes and plays. He has excellent field awareness. Some players only see what is right in front of them. Rollins saw the whole field.

One of the things that really impressed me is that Rollins is a physical player. He will hit and tackle. He will fight through blocks. Watch what he does to the RT at the 4:25 mark of this video.

That guy was a basketball player? Wow.

Rollins would be perfect for the Eagles scheme. He could play deep, in the box, Cover 2 or slide down and play the slot. He has the size, skill set, athleticism and toughness to handle those roles.

If he doesn’t pan out at S, you can always put him back at CB. I think he could be a good starting corner in the NFL. I just think Safeties are harder to find. And Rollins combination of ball skills and instincts makes me think he could thrive at that position.

If Rollins is on the board in the 2nd round, I hope the Eagles take him.

For now, enjoy his highlights package.

* * * * *

The preseason schedule was announced yesterday.

3 of the 4 teams are in the AFC.

3 of the 4 teams are very good.

We’ll get to see some ex-Eagles in a couple of the games.

How is that for some in-depth reporting on the preseason schedule?

Oh yeah…and the Eagles will have vanilla gameplans.

* * * * *

Jimmy Bama breaks down the odds on who the Eagles 1st round pick will be.

Oh, and we did record a new podcast in case you missed it.