Will the Eagles Draft a QB?

Posted: March 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Tags: , | 7 Comments »

Andy Reid loves QBs.  He’s an offensive guy, having played and coached on that side of the ball basically his whole life.  He went to BYU, a QB factory back in his era.  He coached under Mike Holmgren, a QB guru.  He learned personnel matters from Ron Wolf, who believed that teams should take a QB every year.  Wolf generally meant using a late round pick to see if you could uncover a guy who would blossom in the NFL.  So, when we talk about Andy and QBs, we have to keep all of this in mind.

Andy loves Mike Vick.  He and the staff are high on Mike Kafka.  They love Kolb, but he’s a goner once the CBA situation is resolved.  That means we’ll have 2 QBs and an opening.  Because Vick has some durability issues it is likely the team will add a veteran to play behind him.  They need a player who can start a game or two and be functional.

Let’s talk about Kafka for a second.  I had a couple of people curious about him and his level of play.  You have to understand who Mike is and where he’s coming from.  Mike was a 4th round pick from Northwestern.  He started at NW in 2006 and 2009.  In between, he was mostly a backup.  This isn’t a guy who has 35 starts under his belt.  He didn’t go to a school that is well known for putting out NFL passers.  Kafka is raw.  The Eagles knew that when they picked him.  They loved his ability, athleticism, and intangibles, but knew he would take time to develop.

Kafka looked good at times in the summer of 2010.  There were other times when he looked completely lost.  That’s the life of a young QB adjusting to the pro game.  Kafka had to learn a new offensive scheme and also had to adjust to playing in a pro style offense instead of the spread.  That’s a lot for a young guy to take in.  Also, he couldn’t have been getting any extra attention from the staff since they were focused on getting Kolb ready to be the starter and trying to get Vick back up to speed.  Project Kafka was low on the “To Do” list.

The coaches were happy with the progress that Kafka showed.  They saw what they expected: a talented, but flawed young player with a lot to learn.  He seems coachable, which can make a world of difference.  Wanting to be coached and working hard to learn and improve is a huge part of developing as a QB.  Kafka is on the right track, but I think he needs at least one more year before he can be a viable backup for a playoff team.

If you assume that we have Vick, a veteran, and Kafka, that means all 3 QB spots are full.  That makes taking a QB tough to do.  Yet, we hear the Eagles are taking a look at Colin Kaepernick.  They took a look at Tyrod Taylor.  What’s the deal?

Go back to Andy’s background.  He puts premium value on QBs.  Reid and the Eagles won’t go into the draft hoping to land a QB, but they also don’t want to pass up a player who might fall to them.  Back in the 2006 draft the Eagles loved Matt Leinart.  They figured he’d go high, possibly #3 to the Titans.  The Eagles had the 14th pick.  Leinart slid down the board and the Eagles were prepared to take him if he fell to 14.  The Cards (luckily) took him 10th.  Donovan was still playing at a very high level back then.  He hadn’t yet torn his ACL.  Andy had no interest in replacing Donnie, but he sure wasn’t going to let a franchise QB go right by him in the draft.

As we head into this draft you have to know the Eagles have a similar mindset.  Reid has no intention of moving up for a QB.  He’s not going to spend pick 23 on Jake Locker or Kaepernick.  But…what happens if Locker or Kaepernick is on the board when the Eagles 2nd round pick rolls around.  If Andy likes the guy, he easily could roll the dice and take the player.

You have to keep in mind that I said “if Andy likes the guy”.  Just because a QB is highly regarded by Mike Mayock or ESPN or whoever doesn’t mean that the Eagles are interested.  QB is the position where teams/coaches are the pickiest.  You are looking for your guy.  If you don’t get the #3 OT prospect you move on to #4.  QB isn’t like that.  Personality and fit are huge factors.

We don’t know which QBs, if any,  Reid likes from the current group.  This is a very poor QB class, from the top on down.  I do think Reid is fascinated by athletic guys like Locker and Kaepernick.  Should either of them fall to our 2nd round pick Reid would be very tempted.  He and Howie Roseman would be having an interesting discussion.  I don’t think those guys will fall that far so this is probably a moot point.

The middle round targets aren’t compelling at all.  Pat Devlin is interesting, but he’s not as good a prospect as Kafka was last year.  Same for Ricky Stanzi.  And Greg McElroy.  There is something to like about these guys, but there are plenty of flaws.  Andy Dalton gets a ton of credit for being a leader and a winner.  He is both of those things and a player that is easy to like.  His intangibles are off the charts.  My problem is that he’s not a consistently good intermediate/downfield passer.  That brings up a point a few people touched on.  Can you coach guys to be more accurate or more consistent?

Yes and no.  You have to look at the background of the players.  Jake Locker played in a pro style offense for 2 years under a QB guru and showed little improvement.  That really bothers me.  Cam Newton played for 3 schools in 3 years.  He was in 3 different offenses with different coaches.  I expect him to be raw.  I hold Jake to a higher standard because of where he came from.

I love Locker’s potential, but his lack of substantial improvement scares the heck out of me.  He didn’t complete a pass in the bowl game until the 3rd Qtr this year?  That’s disturbing.  He still led UW to a win in the game, but I’m looking for a QB.  Guts and toughness isn’t enough in the NFL.  I need passing ability.  The Eagles coaches could work with Locker on technique and try to really hone his mechanics, but after 2 years with Steve Sarkisian he still looks very raw.  That’s a red flag to me.  Locker may suffer from the same problems Donovan McNabb had.  Guys with tremendous talent can do things there own way and get good results in high school and even college.  That catches up to you against top competition and certainly in the NFL.  McNabb had 5 years of good coaching and stability at Syracuse that gave him a better foundation.  Reid and the coaches were able to get him to work on things and show improvement.  His old bad habits never went completely away (just ask the worms at The Linc).  Can Locker even get to that point or is he destined to be Kyle Boller, pt. 2?

Dalton played in a run heavy spread offense.  He started for 4 years and had good skill players and stability.  I hold him to a somewhat higher set of expectations.  Pro coaching could help him, but I still don’t get the talk about him being a 2nd round pick.  I just don’t see it.  Mayock thinks he’s similar to Kolb.  I think Dalton is more athletic, but not as good of a passer.  Dalton is similar to Kafka in terms of size, skills, and potential so I don’t see the value in adding him.

There are some late round guys the Eagles could like.  They would take these guys and try to put them on the Practice Squad.  Jerrod Johnson had a nightmare Senior season.  In the past I thought he could be a somewhat early pick, but he was awful in 2010.  Johnson is huge and talented.  I’d be willing to use a 7th rounder on him.  A couple of people have asked about Tyrod Taylor.  I don’t like him as a QB.  Taylor is a very good athlete.  He can improvise.  He can throw downfield effectively.  The problem is that he can’t consistently move the chains with his passing.  Against Duke and Wake Forest he’s a good QB, but I don’t see him as an NFL passer.  Taylor made an amazing play in the Orange Bowl that showed how dynamic he can be.  I kept waiting to see more of that, but never did.  Good college QB, but limited pro prospect.  People will try to compare him to Vick, but that’s a major reach.  I watched Vick put Va Tech on his back and lead them to the National Title game vs FSU.  In that game, Vick was the best player on the field.  Taylor wasn’t the best player in his own backfield this year.  Heck, maybe not 2nd best.

The Eagles could spend a late round pick on Taylor to see if they could develop him.  He would be a major project.  It is also possible the Eagles could be looking at him as a WR/RS type.  Taylor is quick, fast, and elusive.  He ran for 2,196 yards and 23 TDs in college.  Taylor isn’t without some potential, QB or otherwise.

7 Comments on “Will the Eagles Draft a QB?”

  1. 1 Sam said at 3:44 PM on March 25th, 2011:

    I have two thoughts on the QB situation assuming Kolb is traded. First, I think Andy Reid knows a good QB when he sees one. And if he sees one, he should take him, no matter what or who else he has on the roster. If that means trading Kafka to the Bengals or the Panthers or the Browns or some team with an ex-Eagles coach around who can verify that he is a good as the Eagles staff seems to think, then so be it.

    Second, I would not be surprised to see Matt Hasselbeck wind up as the backup QB. He was a big AR fan and vice versa, I can’t imagine there will be a team willing to go with him as a first string this year, but I’d guess he probably still has gas in the tank for a handful of games during a season in a system he knows well.

  2. 2 Tommy Lawlor said at 5:22 PM on March 25th, 2011:

    “…Andy Reid knows a good QB when he sees one. And if he sees one, he should take him, no matter what or who else he has on the roster. ”

    Really well stated. If Andy believes in a guy strongly, I’m willing to live with his decision. The NFL is a QB league. You have one or you don’t. Even if you have one, you’re one play away from that guy going down. QB is one spot where I have no problem erring on the side of caution.

  3. 3 eagles nut said at 6:40 PM on March 25th, 2011:

    I see Hasselbeck as being able to get a job where he’d at least compete for the #1 spot. I’d think a guy like Kerry Collins would be more likely as the vet backup.

  4. 4 bsencore said at 1:00 AM on March 26th, 2011:

    Don’t screw with my head, guys. I’m sitting here thinking about the fallout if the Eagles traded Kolb away for a first round pick and then used it on another QB. Really hope they wait at least a year on that. Gotta get some talent in other areas right now.

  5. 5 Snoopy said at 8:16 AM on March 26th, 2011:

    Personally, I really wouldn’t care if Reid took a QB in the first or second round for the next few years to ensure that a franchise QB was always on the roster ready to step up and play. We can speculate all we want about Vick, but nobody can predict the health and long-term outlook on his career.

    It’s amazing to think how one player at one position can grossly impact a team and the entire NFL landscape. When Payton and Tom Brady are done, do you really think the Patriots and Colts will be the same caliber teams with guys like Kafka at the helm. Successful mid- to late-round QBs are the exception, not the rule. Both Locker and Kaepernick may be guys who would thrive after sitting on the bench to 2 or 3 years (a la Aaron Rodgers).

    I’ll admit, I’m greedy, I want to win now and keep winning in the future. Ask any Cowboys, 49ers, or Bills fan what’s it’s like to find a franchise QB after they spent a decade with one. Sheesh, ask any Cowboys fan if they feel Romo is a franchise QB.

  6. 6 ATG said at 9:15 PM on March 26th, 2011:

    First of all, Woo-hoo! I was starting to wonder if you were locking us out until we knew for sure when football would be played again. It has been too long since IgglesBlog decertified.

    Second, I am glad to see you brought Sam with you. I will look forward to the day when the post appears with a photo of the two of you in cheap suits and black sunglasses entitled “We’re getting the band back together.”

    I found this today and read through all of the posts. Great stuff.

    I would love to hear either of your thoughts on the proposed/enacted rule changes. I thought the kickoff one had potential until they took out the touchbacks at the 25. I thought that moving the kicker and defenders up while increasing the “penalty” for putting it in the endzone might tempt teams to try to kick it higher and try to pin the teams back. I believe the average return came to about the 27 in the past, which would have put a touchback about equal. Instead, it seems like they just relegated returns to times of desperation. The automatic scoring challenges seems like the right thing to do, but I fear what it will do to the flow of the game. Both, however, should have us smiling. We haven’t had much of a kick off return game for a while, and challenging decisions aren’t exactly Andy’s forte.

  7. 7 Mahoney said at 3:45 PM on March 29th, 2011:

    First of all, it’s great to have this new website. That was a dark day back in January when we lost our igglesblog community just a few days after the season-ending interception.

    Second………..wait, what???? I never knew that Andy liked Matt Leinart that much, that’s a little depressing to hear, even our QB guru/genius can make mistakes. I guess it really is a crapshoot.