If, Then

Posted: April 13th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 22 Comments »

Back in the early 1980s I got a Commodore Vic-20 computer for Christmas.  That is one of my all time favorite Christmas gifts.  It is brutally primitive by today’s standards (a whopping 5K of memory), but it was cool back then.  I loved learning how to use the computer and writing some basic programs.  One of the things I learned was something called an “if, then statement”.

I created some little trivia quiz program using this.  If the answer given by the user was A, then the computer did B.  If the answer given by the user was other than A, the computer did something else.  If, then.

I bring this simple example up because it really does pertain to the NFL draft.  The Eagles will go into the draft with certain goals.  The problem is that they have little to no control of the overall situation.  A good many fans want CB Jimmy Smith in the 1st.  I believe the team wants Jimmy Smith.  If he gets picked before 23, then the Eagles need a backup plan.  They have to go for another player, possibly another position.  That could affect future rounds.  The Eagles might have hoped to go CB, OL with the first two picks.  If they go DT in the 1st, then they have to decide between CB and OL in the 2nd.  If, then.

A lot of people get fired up when they read a mock draft.  The response is usually “great” or “terrible”.  A good mock draft should really be looked at as an exercise in what might happen.  They’d be better titled as “Draft Scenarios” than mock drafts.  Really, you want to see what will happen when you have things fall a certain way.

What happens if the Eagles are on the clock at 23 and Da’Quan Bowers is on the board?  Do you roll the dice on a guy who was talked about as #1 overall for a while?

What happens if Prince Amukamara slides down to the pick 15 or 16 range?  Do the Eagles move up after him?

What happens if Cam Newton has some incredible free fall and he’s on the board at 23 or anywhere close?

There are a lot of good DL in this draft.  Someone is going to slide.  It might be Bowers.  It is possible that Ryan Kerrigan, JJ Watt, or Robert Quinn could fall farther than expected.  At what point do the Eagles move up for those guys?  Are the Eagles even interested in them to the point they would move up?

There are interesting questions beyond the 1st round.  In my last mock draft I only had the team go for one O-lineman.  The problem is that the C class is poor beyond a couple of early guys.  The G class thins out quickly.  We have 8 OL in place now (Peters, Todd, JamJax, McGlynn, Justice, Dunlap, Howard, Max).  We need one player.  We could use more, but you don’t just take OL to take them.  The point is to find better guys.  Howard Mudd may like some late round guys more than I do.  He might have his eye on 3 or 4 interior guys in the late rounds.  If so, then drafting a couple more guys makes sense.

I think there are a good number of talented, intriguing CBs.  That is one reason that I had the Eagles go with 2.  You take advantage of the available talent.  I like the CB class so I’m leaning heavy on that group.

I went heavy with LB because we have so much uncertainty there.  We need a couple of viable players, assuming Jordan is gone.  This isn’t a great group of LBs up top, but there are some interesting late round prospects worth taking a chance on.

The Eagles will have specific plans and goals as they head into the draft, but all it takes is one team doing something wild and the ensuing ripple effect can change what a team does.  If the Skins go for a QB at pick 10, that could lead to a run on QBs.  Maybe someone offers us a great package for pick 23.  Maybe we get shocked and some other QB goes ahead of us, pushing back a good player we hadn’t expected to be on the board.

The Eagles must come away from this draft with a starting caliber CB and OG, but aside from that there is great flexibility based on what happens.  Too often we get caught up in perceived team needs and the numbers game.  The Eagles focus is on talent.  Go get us good players, not just bodies.  Think back to OL for a second.  We take someone early.  Then people want us to take another guy.  That’s fine, but lets make sure he’s better than AQ Shipley, Dallas Reynolds, and Fenuki Tupou.  We’ve got bodies.  We need talent.

There is nothing wrong with having certain expectations of the Eagles as they head into the draft, but be careful about marrying yourself to specific scenarios with a strong level of certainty.  There is a reason the Eagles are looking at RBs and Safeties with a varying degree of value.  They might be willing to spend an early pick on the right guy at these spots, but also are prepared to go for late rounders.  You have to go into a draft willing to be flexible and play the board as it breaks.

The Eagles have their priorities set, but beyond that it will be read and react, just like Juan’s defense.

22 Comments on “If, Then”

  1. 1 Thunderlips said at 12:49 PM on April 13th, 2011:

    It will be so exciting in 2043 when all teams submit their Draft Program to the NFL and the draft unfolds automatically in seconds.

  2. 2 Ricky Voyle said at 12:54 PM on April 13th, 2011:

    Great work keep it up. I like Bradley alot in the middle and Sims must go bye bye. What’s your take?

  3. 3 Texasbart said at 1:05 PM on April 13th, 2011:

    Why no love for Aaron Williams from UT? He has great size, is aggressive, and made some huge plays in big games – including 5 blocked punts to go along with 4 ints and 6 FF in his career.

  4. 4 Tommy Lawlor said at 1:09 PM on April 13th, 2011:

    @ Thunderlips…

    Brilliant idea. I fully approve, if somehow a Vic-20 is involved.

  5. 5 Tommy Lawlor said at 1:10 PM on April 13th, 2011:

    RE: LBs

    Bradley had a down year in 2010, but the guy from 2008 was really impressive. If he can bounce back to that form, Stew will be a huge help to the defense.

    Sims is as good as gone. He showed some promise early in the year, but was a mess by the end.

  6. 6 Tommy Lawlor said at 1:11 PM on April 13th, 2011:

    RE: Aaron Williams

    He is one of my favorite DBs in the draft. I don’t think the Eagles will target him with pick 23, but if we move back he certainly could be of interest. I’d love to add him as a Safety. Good player.

  7. 7 Jeppe said at 1:47 PM on April 13th, 2011:

    Hi Tommy

    I wrote yesterday about Sherman as a 1st round target by us.. Do you see that as a viable option? Or how about Dowling?
    Is Harris a nickel only? I really hope we come away with either Smith, Dowling or Sherman!!!

  8. 8 T_S_O_P said at 2:41 PM on April 13th, 2011:

    10 Print “Dallas Sucks”
    20 Goto 10


    (UK101 and Commodore Pet veteran)

  9. 9 NCIggles said at 2:46 PM on April 13th, 2011:

    GE –

    Regarding Sims, what is your take on what happened to him? Maybe this could be it’s own column but it wouldn’t Castillo want an opportunity to coach Sims up given his athletic ability?

  10. 10 Thunderlips said at 2:57 PM on April 13th, 2011:

    TSOP, good thinking. Maybe we can automate all fan reactions….

    if (Eagles-14) >= (Opponent) then
    “This team is dominant, we have to be Super Bowl Favorites”

    elseif (Eagles) > (Opponent) then
    “Good win, but we need to work on the Run-Pass ratio”

    elseif (Eagles) = (Oponent) then
    “McNabb didn’t know there was overtime????”

    “Season over, no way we make the playoffs. Why can’t we ever stop the run? Reid needs to go.”

    end if;

  11. 11 Tommy Lawlor said at 3:00 PM on April 13th, 2011:

    Glad to see TSOP knows exactly what I’m talking about. Those were the days.

    Thunderlips is throwing on some complex stuff. I didn’t get that far on the Vic-20. I was pretty good at Scott Adams adventure games, if any of you guys remember them.

  12. 12 Tommy Lawlor said at 3:06 PM on April 13th, 2011:

    @ Jeppe…

    I meant to answer your question yesterday.

    Russ Lande is a different guy. I’ve spoken to him on the phone and he was friendly and helpful. He obviously knows football. You don’t work in scouting without knowing your stuff.

    However, when it comes to evaluating players, I wonder if he doesn’t try to be different. I don’t know his rankings well, but I see comments from him here and there and he goes very much against the grain. I like reading what guys like him have to say, but there is always that part of me who wonders if he’s not going out of his way to be an original thinker. If true, that lessens his value. If not true, he’s just an interesting guy who sees players in a different light.

    Bill Polian and the Colts see players differently than the rest of the league. I used to laugh at some of what they did, but over time I came to admire the fact that Polian doesn’t care about the 31 other teams. He identifies who he likes and goes after them. Few teams have such a singular vision when it comes to the draft.

    As for Richard Sherman…I don’t see him as worth a 1st round pick. Good player, but not that good.

    Dowling? I’ll be writing about him this week.

  13. 13 mcud said at 3:12 PM on April 13th, 2011:

    It will be interesting to see how this offseason plays out with Free Agency occuring after the draft instead of before, as it has a huge impact on how you draft.

    For example, I’m completely convinced that if the Chicago doesn’t steal Julius Peppers out from under us, that we trade up for Eric Berry. Losing out on Peppers made a trade up for Brandon Graham with less outgoing draft pick compensation > a trade up for Berry with more outgoing draft pick compensation.

    Think about it. Peppers and Berry vs. Graham and Allen. I realize these things don’t exist in a vacuum, and we’d have lost out on other members of the draft class as well, but think about how that one move changed our entire season and future…how different would things be right now if the former had occured? Would we have a ring right now?

  14. 14 T_S_O_P said at 3:16 PM on April 13th, 2011:

    DuJuan Harris Troy
    Small fast athletic and strong.
    As a late round running back, does he make any sense?
    Height: 5071
    Weight: 197
    40 Yrd Dash: 4.44
    20 Yrd Dash: 2.58
    10 Yrd Dash: 1.44
    225 Lb. Bench Reps: 27
    Vertical Jump: 38 1/2
    Broad Jump: 10’00”
    20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.35
    3-Cone Drill: 7.15

  15. 15 mcud said at 3:59 PM on April 13th, 2011:

    “The Eagles must come away from this draft with a starting caliber CB and OG…”

    CB, yes. OG, I don’t agree.

    My reasons:

    – Generally, 8 Eagles OL are active on gameday. We have 8. Adding another player (which is not a bad idea, don’t get me wrong) pushes the new addition to an inactive spot on gameday, OR said player is active, and it pushes Austin Howard to the bench for another year.

    – Last year, with both Jamaal and Max hurt for most of the year, we needed a RG. This year, if Jamaal resumes his center duties, we’re adding Mike McGlynn to the guard mix, and I’m fine with that.

    – McGlynn in his 4th year should be better than all but one or two draftees in their 1st year, right? So that pushes said draft pick to the bench for the forseeable future (barring injury), and unlike a 3rd CB or situational DE or LB, a backup OL is not going to get meaningful snaps during the season.

    – Don’t we want to see McGlynn playing? As the backup Center, he is going to be active every week anyway. If demoted, how does he take it? He’s our youngest guy on the OL with any starting experience, and we’ve invested a lot of time into him. He’s performed fairly well thus far in limited time, and it would seem he has the right mindset and body type to excel with our new OL coach.

    – Wildcard is that there are also potential free agents that we might pursue on the OL. Signing one after drafing one pushes out two guys, probably Max and Austin Howard.

    Bottom line, I feel like CB is the Jupiter of our offseason priorities, with OLB, S, and DE. I’m not sure that I even put OG before DT or RB. Heck, if we trade Kevin Kolb, then I’d probably rank QB before RG as well.

    If there is a plug-and-play RG in the draft that the Eagles love, and is measurably better than Mike McGlynn, I’m all for it. I just don’t see that guy in this draft. No Iupatis this year IMO. Especially not when we’re almost certainly going to use our 1st rounder to select, or trade up for, a CB.

  16. 16 americanfoot said at 4:48 PM on April 13th, 2011:

    Do While Cowboys = Suck
    Print “E – A – G – L – E – S EAGLES!”

    There’s an infinite loop for ya!
    On the off chance Bowers is available at 23, what are your feelings on taking him or passing?

  17. 17 Eric said at 5:59 PM on April 13th, 2011:

    “We have 8 OL in place now (Peters, Todd, JamJax, McGlynn, Justice, Dunlap, Howard, Max). We need one player. We could use more, but you don’t just take OL to take them. ”

    Yeah, I had a big problem with 2 to 4 years ago when they just took Fanaika, Tupou, Gibson, etc. hoping they’d maybe hit on a diamond in the rough, but at the same time they really didn’t have the roster spot for these guys. So, they end up releasing them. I just hated that. They were already in pretty good shape with the line and they kept drafting guys that had no shot.

    The sad thing is I really liked Gibson and was sad to see him go.

  18. 18 bsencore said at 7:34 PM on April 13th, 2011:

    You can’t think of the drafts as adding a ninth guy to the eight offensive linemen the team already has. What you have to consider is that other than Peters and Herremans, no one else is a guaranteed solid starter next year. Jackson’s coming off a lost year, Justice had surgery and a poor season. McGlynn and Jean-Gilles both have starting experience, but certainly haven’t wowed us. And Dunlap and Howard still are unproven.

    Sure, best case scenario you have 8 lineman you trust, but worst case you could easily have only 2. Ideally, the Eagles would add at least 2 quality linemen this offseason to compete.

  19. 19 Chris said at 7:41 PM on April 13th, 2011:

    @ americanfoot

    Tommy’s mock on Scoutsnotebook has Bowers dropping to the Saints at 24 and the Eagles taking Jimmy Smith at 23. You can take that for what it’s worth…

  20. 20 piercit said at 8:39 PM on April 13th, 2011:

    I love the new blog Mr. Lawlor!

    I cannot seem to load the scouts notebook site. I get the following error report when navigating to it.

    Concurrent Connection Limit Exceeded
    The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the number of concurrent connections from your IP address exceeding the limit. Please try again soon.

    lol, I only have one IP, any ideas?


  21. 21 mcud said at 11:39 PM on April 13th, 2011:


    Half empty or half full, I think we can agree the glass is not overflowing at this point. And I agree that the only “sure things” on the OL are Peters and Herremans.

    What we’re left with are six question marks on the roster, in one form or another, with three positions (C, RG, and RT) in question. My contention is unless you use your 1st rounder on a guy like Pouncey to play RG, you are basically replacing one question mark for another. And to my untrained eye, Mike Pouncey is not Shawn Andrews. He’s not Mike Iupati. He’s not the player his brother is.

    Jamaal Jackson is a pretty fine center when healthy. Now, he hasn’t been the most durable fellow in the world, but I don’t get the feeling he’s snake-bitten or anything. I’m confident he can come back and play at a high level. That would move McGlynn to RG, and while he wasn’t a Pro Bowl guy at C, he was adequate, plus he gained invaluable experience. As for Justice, he had a disappointing season, but that was with a revolving door to his left, a bad knee, and an untimely injury. In the event that he craps the bed, we’ve got not one, but two pretty nice developmental candidates already on the roster.

    That leaves MJG, and I’m fine with the thought of him being pushed off the roster, but it needs to be by one of two kinds of player: (a) a sure thing RG that also pushes McGlynn to the bench, or (b) a purely developmental OG prospect that you groom to take over in a year or two.

    In other words, I don’t see a OG prospect in this draft that will likely beat out Mike McGlynn AND be available for selection in round 2 and beyond. If said 2nd or 3rd round pick doesn’t beat out McGlynn, then he’ll ride the bench, and likely not even be active on gameday. On the other hand, a draft pick at safety, DL, or LB will surely contribute more to our gameday roster EVEN IF they don’t beat out an incumbent for a job, because of situation rotation and special teams. And whatever contributions we get are important for 2011, as we are a team with Super Bowl aspirations.

    Bottom line, if you think you can draft a starter in rounds 1, 2, or 3 at C, RG, or RT, then do it. I just don’t think the upside is worth the gamble if you aren’t sure. Cohesion is so important on the OL. QB and OL are the two types of draft pick where if they don’t win a starting job, they’re basically red-shirting. Any other position has strong potential for playing time, and therefore contributes, regardless of winning a starting job or not.

    I don’t know if I’m right, but that’s my argument.

  22. 22 Sam said at 9:44 AM on April 14th, 2011:

    Take flotsam.

    Take jetsam.