Post-Draft Thoughts

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 21 Comments »

I can give you one UDFA scoop.  The Eagles have talked to Kentucky WR Chris Matthews.  He’s got multiple offers and is figuring out what he wants to do.  Teams can’t sign undrafted players right now, but that will change eventually.  Matthews is a big, athletic WR.  He didn’t post huge numbers at UK, but didn’t have great QB play.  He was a bit inconsistent in his play and I think that is what kept him from being drafted.  He absolutely has NFL talent.  Let’s hope he decides to come to Philly.

* * * * *

The 2011 draft wasn’t loaded with great talent.  The Eagles targeted key players early on and then seemed to load up on LBs and OL.  Those are positions that needed depth.  Also, there are coaching changes that affected the kind of players we wanted.

Casey Matthews is basically guaranteed a job by virtue of being a 4th round pick.  He can play any LB spot.  Brian Rolle and Greg Lloyd have to earn roster spots.  Rolle projects to WLB.  He would offer the most impact on STs.  Lloyd is a MLB.  He might be able to play SAM as well.

I know some fans wanted impact LBs, but there just weren’t good options in this draft.  The Eagles did the wise thing by adding 3 guys.  That helps your chances of having at least one guy pan out.  There is a lot of uncertainty at LB.  Is Stewart Bradley a RFA or UFA?  Will he re-sign?  Are we gonna see old Stew or the same guy from last year?  How does Jamar Chaney handle his move to WLB?

I know this sounds crazy, but LB could end up being a strength.  If Stew can bounce back, Jamar takes to WLB, and Moise Fokou just continues to improve, that is a good set of LBs.  Not great, but good.  Lots of ifs, I know.  The point is that none of those ifs is unreasonable.  Should any of the players struggle, we have Matthews, Rashad Jeanty, and Keenan Clayton to push them.

After seeing how the players perform in 2011, the Eagles can assess what needs to be done.  Maybe we’re okay.  Maybe it will be painfully obvious that someone must be replaced.  I think the players fit the new defense pretty well, but we won’t know for sure until we see the guys in action.

We also needed bodies on the O-line.  Danny Watkins is here to be the starting RG.  He won’t be given the job, but you can bet that Andy Reid and Howard Mudd expect him to win it.  The Watkins pick has grown on me the more I think about it.  We must protect Vick.  He can solidify the right side of the line, a huge weakness in 2010.

Julian Vandervelde and Jason Kelce are late round picks here to compete for roles.  They are Howard Mudd players.   Nick Cole is done as an Eagle.  Max Jean-Gilles will be in camp, but isn’t guaranteed a spot.  He has to show that he can play in Mudd’s system.  He doesn’t fit well in theory, but might be able to be a competent backup.

The guys most affected by the late picks are AQ Shipley and Dallas Reynolds.  I’m sure they were hoping to get a shot to play in Mudd’s system and show what they can do.  Now they have to feel threatened by the presence of Vandervelde and Kelce, who were in part taken because Mudd wanted them.  Competition is a good thing.  Let’s hope it brings out the best in a couple of guys.

* * * * *

I’ve gotten some questions about moving Todd Herremans to RT.  Apparently Andy Reid made mention that Watkins could play LG.  This spurred some to think Todd might shift to RT.  I don’t think this is going to happen.  The left side of the line was stable last year, even outstanding at times.  Why mess with that?  The fewer changes made, the better.

I’m guessing Andy made his comment just so people could know that Watkins can play both sides.  I don’t think there was any hidden message.

The Eagles did add high character guys once again.  The team is willing to take chances on players, but doesn’t want to bring in character risks without there being a good reason.  Jimmy Smith was tempting because he was so good and we really needed a CB.  The fact we passed on him tells you that the team has targeted a veteran CB.  Let the guessing games begin.

You always prefer good guys to question marks.  It is hard enough to develop young players simply on the field.  When you have to work on what kind of person he is, that makes things significantly tougher.

21 Comments on “Post-Draft Thoughts”

  1. 1 Thunderlips said at 2:59 PM on May 3rd, 2011:

    Any UDFA targets? I know you were rooting for a DT (Ogbu and Thornton went un-drafted right?). Any chance one of them signs with us given our plethora of solid/semi-solid DT’s?

  2. 2 West said at 3:03 PM on May 3rd, 2011:

    Does Akeem Jordan still make the team? I think there is going to be a battle between Brian Rolle and Akeem Jordan for the final LB spot. Also what do you think about the possibility of the Eagles signing either Manny Lawson or D’Qwell Jackson for the WILL position this year?

  3. 3 Daniel said at 3:17 PM on May 3rd, 2011:

    Nmandi Asomugha and Jonathon Joseph are sexy candidates for the RCB spot, especially considering the fact that the Eagles are a big market team. But I don’t think the Eagles will sign either one of them this year. They’re either going to sell us on Trevard Lindley or sign a lesser known FA like Richard Marshall or Josh Wilson.

    Quintin Mikell has to be back next year, right? We can’t just have a 2nd year player coming off a knee injury, a 2nd year 7th rounder who started 2 games, and a rookie as our only safties on this team, right?

  4. 4 4Who said at 3:50 PM on May 3rd, 2011:


    I enjoy the site and thank you for keeping it updated. Question about linebackers: do you feel that Cheney is not a fit for MLB? He seemed to play well there at times last year. If Stew Bradley comes back, he has to have somewhat of an injury risk, wouldnt it be prudent to have him play SAM, almost in the Carlos Emmonds role of big LB who jams the line and pushes the play inside? Therefore if he goes down, the single caller is still Cheney. I almost see a LB corp of SAM Bradley, MLB Cheney, WLB Fokou with, similar to a few years ago when they rotated in a whole other d-line, a second group of SAM Matthews, MLB Rolle, and WLB Clayton. Depending on the team, they are essentially rolling out a second group with 2 big safetys playing LB and Matthews covering the TE. Just interested in your thoughts. You seemed set that Bradley would be MLB, and Cheney WLB. Thanks again.

  5. 5 Noah said at 4:19 PM on May 3rd, 2011:

    Whew, Matthews is a peculiar kid at 6’5 with a ton of jumping ability, but is thin as a stick at 218 and runs an only average 4.57. I suppose it is understandable that he wasn’t statistically overwhelming in the Kentucky offense, considering it had 3 legit NFL talents in himself, WR/RB Randall Cobb (Packers’ 2nd round pick), and speedster RB Derrek Locke (curiously undrafted) – all in the face of atrocious QB play. Whats the word on his route running? I know he has big ole’ hands, but heard he has a bit of the dropsies.

    The LB situation will be really interesting and will give us an idea of what direction the defense is headed. We now have a whole cast of undersized speedsters or coverage aces (not necessarily one in the same, see: Cheney, Jamar or his opposite Matthews, Casey.) If we move Stew, I think it will be the ultimate sign of defeat in the old system, and I am hoping that it doesn’t happen. ’08 Stew was an animal. Everything you want in the Eagles’ MLB: size, power, a brain. Man, to see him wasted on the Strong Side doing mop-up duty would just be a shame. I think 4Who is on to something with the idea of “shifts” of LBs, if you will. A power set of run down guys: WILL Cheney, MIKE Stew, SAM Fokou and the coverage demons in WILL Clayton, MIKE Matthews, SAM Rolle. -Note, Matthews was usually a Weakside ILB in the nickle sets for Oregon, whereas Rolle would usually be a strong side ILB with Homan taking the Weak side in the Ohio State nickle package-

    But, the Giants and Cowboys would sure like to catch those guys with a draw play…especially if Tapp and Laws are at DT and our DEs are split so wide that they are actually out of the periphery of the QB.

  6. 6 Morton said at 5:45 PM on May 3rd, 2011:

    Mistakes the Eagles made in this draft, according to me:

    1. Picking Casey Matthews over the better MLB prospect on the board at the time in Greg Jones of Mich. St. – Matthews is an overrated prospect due to his last name, and he looks, in my opinion, like nothing more than a special-teamer in the NFL. Greg Jones was a two-time All-American MLB for Michigan State who slid to the 6th round because he had a poor year last year, but he’s probably the most instinctive MLB in the draft. Of course, the Giants stole him in the 6th round. The Eagles would have been much better served going after Greg Jones instead of the Matthews kid. Jones will be a Pro Bowl MLB for the Giants in a few years, imho. Even Quan Sturdivant would have been a better choice than Matthews, or a trade-up in the 4th round for Colin McCarthy.

    2. Picking Jaiquan Jarrett far too early – This kid was rated as a 4th or 5th rounder, at highest, by most draft analysts, and I sincerely doubt that the Eagles would have had problems picking him up if they had waited until the 3rd or 4th round, at least. Why burn a 2nd round pick on this kid who wasn’t even considered one of the top safeties in the draft, if better players were available? I would much rather have spend the 2nd rounder on a pass rusher such as Justin Houston, or Dontay Moch, both of whom went in the upper 3rd round. Or they could have spent the pick on Martez Wilson, a MLB from Illinois, who projects as the athletic, speedy MLB the Eagles need for their system. Why reach for some small-school safety? I doubt Jarrett even has the physical tools to compete for a starting job. Houston, Moch, or Wilson would all be competing for starting jobs. I know what the argument is – “if the kid can play, who cares where you picked him”. Well, as Mel Kiper was saying, *when* you pick them is just as important as *who* you pick. Even if this kid inexplicably becomes a Pro Bowl safety, the fact remains that you could easily have had him in the 3rd round or later, PLUS you could have picked a guy like Houston or Moch, and you could have had both players. A reach is a reach, no matter how good of a player that reach turns out to be.

    3. Picking the Kicker in the 4th round – I know David Akers isn’t coming back, and I know that Henery was the best kicker in college football last year, but are you telling me you couldn’t have drafted him in the 6th or 7th rounder, or at least, the 5th round? Did he really need to be picked in the 4th round? That pick could have been spent on any one of the following promising CB prospects: Buster Skrine, Rashad Carmichael, Cortez Allen, all of whom are talented prospects who would have been great for competition in training camp and later on down the road as developmental prospects. But instead, the Eagles reach for a kicker.

    4. All of these concerns, and I haven’t even touched on the issues I have with drafting a non-premium position (OG) in the first round when talented defensive prospects such as Cameron Jordan, Muhammed Wilkerson, and Ras-I Dowling were on the board, and even better OT prospects such as Gabe Carimi and Derek Sherrod were also on the board.

    I hate to say it, but between the reaches in the later rounds, and the picking of a non-premium interior OL position in the first round, this draft was just terrible for the Eagles across the board.

  7. 7 Kammich said at 5:55 PM on May 3rd, 2011:

    Personally, I’m thanking my lucky stars that we DIDN’T draft Greg Jones. He’s too slow and weak at the point of attack to be an MLB in the NFL. I think the Giants will have him projected on the outside and I don’t anticipate him making much of an impact there, either. Jones is a high character kid, productive, smart… but he doesn’t have the skillset to be a top-tier NFL linebacker.

  8. 8 bp said at 7:13 PM on May 3rd, 2011:


    While I do understand your concerns RE: maximizing value, it seems like pretty much all of the issues you raise are relative to the so-called experts’ pre-draft boards. What you fail to take into account is that every team makes up their own boards based on the input of their own scouts and coaches, and that individual teams’ boards are largely structured around the particular nuances and demands of the systems they employ.

    While it does seem like the Roseman-era Birds might be a little less cognizant as to (or concerned with) the relative draft values of certain players across the league, all it takes is for one other team to have a similarly aggressive evaluation on a player, and you risk losing him. Strategically, Roseman seems to identify players we like and goes after them. With the way the rookie class shook out last year, I’m personally willing to give this front office the strategic benefit of the doubt.


    I’m missing the usual post-draft UDFA rush. Any word, as you get it, on possible targets is more than appreciated.

    Also: I read something about how, since the lockout was briefly off during the first round, most first rounders were allowed access to the coaching staffs and given playbooks. As most of these top guys presumably already have agents and are (hopefully) soon to be in possession of some significant bonus money, would it be feasible for them to put the (financial) onus on their agents to get those playbooks copied and distributed to their rookie teammates?

  9. 9 ATG said at 8:00 PM on May 3rd, 2011:

    I honestly don’t watch enough college football to claim any expertise on which 3rd day pick was available and would fit our system better, but…

    RE: reaches

    I’m inclined to give the FO the benefit of the doubt, particularly this year. Many teams were forced to address need instead of BPA, and so there were some unexpected picks.

    Henery, for example, seemed early in the 4th, but it seems universally accepted he was the best prospect. Another kicker was picked before the Eagles were back on the clock. If they had waited until their pick in the 5th, they would presumably missed out on him. Could they have dropped back 10 spots and added a late 7th? Maybe, but if they felt the differential between Henry and the next guy outweighed the risk and a late pick, I am not going to complain that they didn’t try to get cute.

  10. 10 theguyotc said at 9:35 PM on May 3rd, 2011:

    I for one am shocked, shocked Morton thinks the Eagles did a poor job in the draft. Who could have guessed?

    1, 2 and 4 are about evaluating talent, and I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt to those who do it for a living.

    3 has many flaws. They had no idea when he would have been picked, so the Eagles locked down a player they clearly liked. As ATG said, it’s entirely possible another team would have taken him. You have to weigh missing out on the guy you want against missing out on a player who will probably only wind up being a camp body.

    The more I hear about him, the more I get why the Eagles went for him relatively early. He sounds like a special player. Clutch, big leg, accurate. We’ve been spoiled as fans having Akers all these years. Using a 4th round pick on a guy who is going to be battling Michael Vick for the “points scored” title doesn’t seem crazy to me. You only have to look around the NFC East to see how valuable a reliable kicker can be.

  11. 11 Stephen said at 9:50 PM on May 3rd, 2011:

    This draft definitely had a unique feel to it. I’m not sure anyone predicted some of the moves we made.

    So the final tally in the Mcnabb trade I guess we could say is Mcnabb for Nate Allen and Casey Mathews?

  12. 12 Dr. Ogrodnick said at 10:12 PM on May 3rd, 2011:

    Didn’t they trade back the Washington 4th and pick up a 4th next year? I think they still have a 4th rounder next year to add to the Mcnabb tally.

  13. 13 T_S_O_P said at 1:55 AM on May 4th, 2011:

    I find it interesting that every linebacker picked has bloodlines to the NFL.

    Tommy, in an interview with Spuds, Howie stated that they met with everyone of their draft picks at one time in some capacity. Is that a first?

  14. 14 Stephen said at 3:02 AM on May 4th, 2011:

    Did we? I didn’t follow the draft as closely this year as I would have liked. So we got Nate Allen, Casey Mathews, and a 4th next year? Might be some time before we know the final tally from that trade ;).

  15. 15 Tracer Bullet said at 3:24 AM on May 4th, 2011:

    Has Bradley really done enough to warrant walking back into a starting job? Chaney played well last year, while Bradley was mediocre and can’t stay healthy. And how many middle linebackers does one team need?

  16. 16 Anders said at 4:50 AM on May 4th, 2011:


    Bradley played at a near pro bowl level before his ACL and remember Bradley can also play SAM and Chaney can play WILL.

  17. 17 ATG said at 8:08 AM on May 4th, 2011:

    I think Bradley at least deserves the inside track. History has shown that players return to the field 1 year after an ACL tear, but don’t recover until the second year, so I think it is fair to expect him to be closer to the 2008 version this year.

    Besides that, Cheney had a couple of solid games measured against low expectations. Bradley also had a couple of solid games, playing a lot closer to what we expect before the elbow injury.

    I think there is certainly room for competition, but if the season started without any training camp or practices (and I wish that were more absurd of an idea), I would want to see Bradley at MLB.

  18. 18 Matt said at 9:16 AM on May 4th, 2011:

    Hey Tommy, was wondering if you had any insight as to why DeAndre McDaniel wasn’t drafted, I remember reading he has character issues and I know his 40 time wasn’t as fast as teams probably hoped but UDFA? Any idea if the Eagles plan to look as him as a UDFA target?

    As far as people saying we over drafted players, it was rumored the Bears were going to take Watkins at 29. I think Watkins is going to be solid player, probably a good leader and the Eagles dont have to worry about off the field issues with him. As far as Jarrett goes he was high on a couple teams radars from what I have read, mainly Jets and Cowboys. Also the more I read and watch this kid play I think he is going to work out well in Eagle Green. Watch his youtube video kid can tackle and hit hard.

  19. 19 WOF said at 1:14 PM on May 4th, 2011:

    I would not be shocked to see LBs look like this:

    Sam – Bradley
    Mike – Chaney
    Will – Matthews

    My hesitation on this is that both Bradley and Matthews would be playing a relatively new position

    I worry Matthews is too small to play Mike or Sam. Maybe he puts 20 lbs on in the coming years but I hate 230 lb MLBs

    I’m also thining Rogers-Cromartie and a 2012 pick for Kolb might be the move….. Love Asomugha but he is 30 and they’ll let the Cowboys or Redskins throw too much money there. Pick up Rogers-Cromarty and a pick and sign a stud DE or DT…

  20. 20 eg89 said at 1:36 PM on May 4th, 2011:

    Hey Tommy, another great post. I was wondering what your thoughts are on adding a guy like Stephen Tulloch in free agency…

    I know, I know the CBA free agency taboo…but still, I remember you saying (at some point) that you would be most interested in adding a veteran Mike. Tulloch is young and I think relatively under the radar as far as production goes. Plus he played in Washburn’s system last year, so we know he can thrive with the difficult block shedding that seems to be required.

    Maybe this is something you’re saving to address in a post for the lockout dog days of summer, but can I get a hint?

  21. 21 mwood said at 2:11 PM on May 6th, 2011:

    Since you mentioned a veteran CB…There was a report on stating that the Cardinals have asked the Broncos about Orton – however he is viewed as a Plan B to their Plan A in Kevin Kolb. What if we trade Kevin Kolb for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a draft pick. Patrick Peterson will fill that vacant hole and we get a cheaper 4th year player instead of a 30+ in Nnamdi.