Couple of Guys I Like

Posted: January 29th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 24 Comments »

It will take me a while to get through with reviewing the Senior Bowl.  On every snap, there are 22 prospects to watch.  It is the equivalent of trying to pick out the cute chick at the Playboy Mansion.  I do want to talk about a couple of guys that intrigue me.  Not LBs, but DL.

Brian Solomon put up an interesting post the other day about DEs and the size that Washburn likes.  Brian figured out that the average size of a Washburn drafted DE was 6’4, 266.  Good point of reference.  This doesn’t mean that short guys have no chance.  Washburn loved Brandon Graham who was 6’1, 268.  Juqua Parker played for him for a couple of years at 6’2, 250.  If a guy can play, Washburn will take him.  The point is that in general he prefers longer, sleek pass rushers.

Good news.  We’ve got some of those guys in this draft class.  Vinny Curry of Marshall is 6’3, 265.  He looked good when lined up out wide.  Uses his hands well to shed blocks.  Was 7th in the nation with 11 sacks this year.  Had 26.5 in his career.  Down in Mobile they lined him up against OGs a few times and not one G could block him.  Curry was so quick off the ball and used his hands so well that he got by them time after time.  He could play RDE, LDE, or Nickel DT.  Finished his career with 10 FFs.  Love pass rushers that can knock the ball out.  Curry could go in the 2nd or 3rd round.

Cam Johnson from Virginia is a real interesting kid.  Put on the game tape and he will impress you.  I watched him vs Miami and he gave the LT fits in that game.  Really effective with a bull rush.  Can also beat OTs with speed.  He can explode off the ball at times.  So how does a player like that play 42 games and finish with 12.5 sacks?  Turns out that Cam has Sickle Cell Trait.  He would look good for several plays and then wear down.  He was a tough guy and tried to play 50 snaps a game, but his body can’t handle that.  One friend who watched tape on Cam thought he was taking plays off and just going half speed.  Turns out his body can’t handle playing a ton.

The good news in that situation is that he would be a perfect fit for Washburn’s rotation.  Jim wants guys to go all out for 4 plays, then get off the field.  Cam is 6’4, 267.  He’s quick.  Strong.  Tough.  Natural pass rusher.  Agile, athletic.  Sounds like a 1st or 2nd round pick, but that condition of his will play a huge part in his draft value.  Maybe he goes in the 3rd round.  4th?  Some teams may take him off their boards entirely.  There have been instances where football players with Sickle Cell Trait died in practice or games.  I’ve never heard of an NFL prospect with this condition so I have no idea what teams will think.  Obviously NFL teams wanted him at the Senior Bowl.  They are interested in Johnson.  He’d be a perfect fit in Philly.

Another guy I love is DT Derek Wolfe from Cincinnati.  He measured in at 6’5, 286.  Let’s go back in time.  Several years ago a kid who was 6’5, 272 went to the Senior Bowl.  He had 19.5 TFLs that year for a mid-sized school.  Was he a DT or DE?  Some teams loved him, others hated him.  Jim Washburn and the Titans drafted Jason Jones in the 2nd round.  Now we have Wolfe with a similar build.  Derek had 21.5 TFLs this year.  Played both DT and DE at the Senior Bowl.  Very similar guys.

I don’t project Wolfe going in the 2nd round, but then I didn’t think Jones would go that early back then.  I do think Jason is quicker off the ball so that probably helped him go as early as he did.  Wolfe would be ideal for us.  He’s an under tackle (or 3-technique).  We could use a young guy like that to pair with Dixon.  And Washburn loves his DTs to have a big frame.  I think Wolfe is a mid-round guy.  I’ve liked him all year and think he’d be a good mid-round target.  He’s athletic enough to play DE as well as DT.  Good closing speed.  Can rush off the edge or in traffic.  Played the run well yesterday in the Senior Bowl game.

Back to studying the tape.  Gotta figure out these LBs.

24 Comments on “Couple of Guys I Like”

  1. 1 Joe Taylor said at 1:57 PM on January 29th, 2012:

    Do you think Washburn is telling the truth when he said he really liked Graham coming out of the draft? Do you think he was saying that because that’s what people would want to hear from him + he’s not going to talk bad about a player?

    What was your take on Graham when the Eagles took him? Did you consider him the best DE in the draft? What were your thoughts of him prior to the draft? Did you like him, and think he would be a good fit here?

    They took Derrick Morgan that year. Who was a better prospect coming out, him or Graham? Didn’t the Titans pick Morgan when Graham was available?

    Lastly, should we draft a Washburn system end? I was thinking, if we decide to go DE in the first couple of rounds, we should draft a DE he likes but that isn’t specifically drafted for this system. Someone that we think can thrive in the Wide 9, but someone that also would fit in a tradition 4-3 system. For example, Babin is great in W9. Traditional system, not so much. I don’t want to pick someone like Babin that has potential to thrive in the W9 but wouldn’t be nearly as effective in the regular 4-3 defense. My reasoning? Isn’t Washburn on a 2 year contract? Don’t you think after this year, there’s a huge possibility that he could go back to Fisher, in the same fashion as Gregg Williams? I also think next year there’s a huge possibility that we will be looking for a new DC and maybe even HC next year? So wouldn’t it make sense NOT to strictly go for a “Washburn” styled end and get someone who he LIKES, but we don’t draft ONLY because of him?
    For whatever reason, the Wide 9 could be gone after next season and I think it’s important to think about the future when drafting.

    I don’t want to be stuck with a DE that was a Washburn pick that was picked for this system and that most/another DL coach wouldn’t like. Just think about Babin. If Washburn left this offseason, we’d be ******…Babin in my opinon is just a normal DE in the league when put back in.

    Speaking of Jason Jones, what’s your thoughts about him and his future? Do you think TEN will re-sign him? If he doesn’t, I gotta think we will heavily target him.

  2. 2 Joe Taylor said at 2:09 PM on January 29th, 2012:

    (I think/I’m pretty sure) FA MLB’s
    Curtis Lofton
    Stephen Tulloch
    A.J. Hawk?
    Dan Connor from CAR? Filled in for Beason.
    London Fletcher
    David Hawthorne? Not sure, I think he might just be a RFA..
    Barrett Ruud was only on a 1yr deal with TEN
    E.J. Henderson
    Joe Mays? Not sure if he’s UFA or RFA.
    D’qwell Jackson
    Bradie James

    SAM LB’s
    Daryl Smith from JAX
    Manny Lawson

    Once again, not 100% positive.

  3. 3 Joe Taylor said at 2:24 PM on January 29th, 2012:

    FA DE’s & DT

    Kroy Biermann from ATL, might only be RFA.
    Osi Umenyiora???
    Matt Roth from JAX
    Cliff Avril, might only be RFA.
    Andre Carter
    Anthony Hargrove
    Jason Jones
    Dave Ball from TEN
    Israel Idonije from CHI
    Robert Mathis


    Terrance Knighton, RFA
    Sione Pouha from NYJ (3-4 NT, have no idea if he can play 4-3 and is 33)
    Richard Seymour?? (Not 100% sure if is, but they have new GM, could move on from Seymour or Tag him again.)
    Aubrayo Franklin
    Shaun Rogers
    Brodrick Bunkley
    Big Al in TAMPA

  4. 4 Anonymous said at 2:11 PM on January 29th, 2012:

    Washburn is absolutely telling the truth. The whole NFL coveted Graham. There is a revisionist thing going on now because of JPP. The only downside to Graham was short arms. That’s why he fell as far as he did. Make him 6’2 and give him average sized arms and he might go at pick 5.

    Here is my write-up on him:

    Relentless and disruptive defender. Led the nation in TFLs in 2009 with 26. Finished his career with an amazing total of 56. Athletic edge rusher who is more fast than quick. Michigan moved him around to keep teams from gameplanning too much. Graham played both DE spots. Slides inside to DT at times. Fights off cut blocks. Uses his hands well. Beat Bulaga for a sack in the Iowa game. Used good dip move. Beat Bulaga to the inside for another sack. Got the RT off balance, threw him to the ground, and hit the QB. Uses his hands well. Fights to hold the point on run plays. Quick, but not explosive. Mixes in some bull rushes. There were questions about his height. Measured in at 6013. That means he’s almost 6’1 1/2. That’s acceptable for a 4-3 DE. There will be plenty of 3-4 teams who value him as a LB. His size and build will be perfect for some schemes. He can play in space if needed. Made a real impressive play against Terrell Pryor in the OSU game. Pryor was on the run. Graham showed great agility and COD skills to handle the fakes and still make a solid tackle in space. Graham is an athletic defende and a top flight pass rusher. His ability showed up in workouts as well. Ran a 4.71 at the Combine. Had a solid showing at the Combine. Only came up short in the VJ (31.5). Great career production. 29.5 sacks and 8 FFs.

    Had a monster performance at the Senior Bowl, both practices and in the game. Looked like a dominant player.

    1st round prospect. Could go real high if teams are okay with his size and build.

    As for drafting a “Washburn DE”…few guys are just that. Most guys can play in any 4-3 system. The entire NFL will like Vinny Curry. Cam Johnson can play for any team, as long as they rotate.

    Jason Babin is the exception. He can play in a standard 4-3 system, but just won’t be a star. In the Wide-9, he’s a whole other player.

    Jason Jones isn’t likely to stay in TEN. They want bigger DL. Jones played DE this year and wasn’t special. Better at DT. Must play in attacking, 1-gap system. Would be great fit here. Problem is that we’ve got Jenkins in his spot. Could go for Jason as backup, but that would limit the money we could offer him. If there is a soft market, we might be able to pull that off. I’d love to get him.

  5. 5 Anders Jensen said at 3:57 PM on January 29th, 2012:

    You think Jason Jones would come to Philly on a discount because of Washburn? Remember Jason Babin couldnt get that good of a deal even tho he was coming of a 12.5 sack season.

  6. 6 Anonymous said at 4:18 PM on January 29th, 2012:

    Great question. Not sure about the relationship between Jason Jones and Wash. Babin loved him. Felt he owed his career revival to the guy. Jones is younger and might not have the same perspective.

  7. 7 Joe Taylor said at 4:38 PM on January 29th, 2012:

    A 5yr/30 million deal is pretty good considering that year was his only productive year in the league…And he was 30+

  8. 8 Anders Jensen said at 5:09 PM on January 29th, 2012:

    Some people still thought he could get almost 8-10 mill per year

  9. 9 Anonymous said at 2:20 PM on January 29th, 2012:


    Steelers’ safety Ryan Clark has the sickle cell trait — which is why he had to miss the Steelers’ playoff game in Denver.

    Here’s a link to an ABC medical-news story:

    I think another commenter mentioned Clark when you first raised Cam Johnson as a player to keep an eye on.

  10. 10 Anonymous said at 2:29 PM on January 29th, 2012:

    You’re right. Forgot about that.

  11. 11 Mac said at 2:44 PM on January 29th, 2012:

    I didn’t forget… but we play in Denver, what, every once every 8 years?

  12. 12 Joe Taylor said at 4:43 PM on January 29th, 2012:

    Yeah but I think each person is different with it. Tommy said that he is limited to snaps…Ryan Clark is not limited to a certain amount of snaps…

  13. 13 Anonymous said at 11:46 AM on January 30th, 2012:

    DL use more energy per snap (basically weight lifting) so he probably needs time to replenish oxygen levels in his muscles. I’m guessing, but the impact of sickle cell would probably be on oxygen carry capacity of his blood and maybe the transfer rate.

  14. 14 Joe Taylor said at 2:29 PM on January 29th, 2012:

    I don’t know much about Sickle Cell Trait but I think it affects people in different ways. As far as I know, he’s not limited in anyway when it comes to snaps and being on the field.
    Only the altitude and the air/oxygen or whatever triggers his. Not 100% sure whatsoever.

  15. 15 Anonymous said at 2:28 PM on January 29th, 2012:

    If you have a philosophy you like, you stick with it and get coaches to run it. See Baltimore, they cycle through different DCs and remain successfully because they draft to and play the same system, a 3/4-4/3 hybrid. Teams that struggle are constantly changing their philosophy, and reducing the value of their players.

    One thing I really like about what Washburn does is he’s committed to rotating his linemen, he was actually playing the first team 2/3s of the snaps and the 2nd team 1/3. This not only keeps players fresh, but when a starter goes down, you merely up a backup’s snaps (who has had plenty of game experience) and then move a guy off the bench into the backup role – limits disruption.

    I posted before that there are big advantages to taller DL with longer arms if you’re not playing two gap, because they can fight off blocks and knock down passes.

    Coples 6-6 281 (think he’d fit the Eagles at DT, few other teams, might drop, motor?)
    Michael Brockers* LSU 6’5 306
    Fletcher Cox, Miss St, 6’4 295
    Jerel Worthy, Mich St 6’3 310
    Kendell Reyes, Conn 6’4 300 (32 1/2)
    Jared Crick, Neb 6’4 285
    Marcus Forston, Miami 6’3 300
    Jaye Howard, Florida, 6’3 292
    Trevor Guyton, Cal, 6’3 280
    Brett Roy, Nevada, 6’3 280
    Derek Wolfe, Cin, 6’5 286
    Matt Conrath, VA, 6’7 282

    Nick Perry, USC 6’3 250
    Whitney Mercilus, Ill, 6’4 265
    Andre Branch, Clemson, 6’4 260
    Chandler Jones, Syr 6’5 265
    Vinny Curry, Marshall, 6’3 265
    Cam Johnson, VA, 6’4 265
    Jake Bequette, Ark, 6’4 265
    Jacquies Smith, Ark, 6’3 255

    Not saying all these guys are a good fit, but there should be plenty of opportunities to add depth with Washburn “types” in this draft. Especially with extra picks in the 4th round. Some good players are going to fall this year jut because of the depth at DL.

  16. 16 Anonymous said at 3:51 PM on January 29th, 2012:

    Get your fact straight, mister. Jake Bequette is only 264 pounds.

    Yeah, you’re right that there are going to be some guys to choose from. Bequette is a guy that will go in the 3rd or 4th who could be a real good fit here.

    There are 2 DTs I do wonder about. Jerel Worthy is only 6’2, but has the get-off that Washburn loves. Is that a guy Wash likes or not? And what about Dontari Poe? 6’5, 350 and athletic. Is he a guy Wash would love to work with or not?

    And I do have interest in Coples as a DT. Just not sure he’d be willing to play there full time in the NFL.

  17. 17 Anonymous said at 9:38 PM on January 29th, 2012:

    Poe is just more valuable as a 3-4 NT than he could be for the Eagles.
    Reminds me of Ngata, probably will never be great at getting pressure, but will dominate the middle of the line any time he wants to.

    Seems to me that DT is the strength of this draft, and that while some of these guys may go to 3-4 teams as DEs, they will probably go for guys like Poe, Still and Ta’amu. So I could see a couple guys the Eagles like dropping to their 3rd and 4th (TB) picks. If that’s the case, the Eagles will look at DT earlier more as BPA, not as a need.

  18. 18 Anonymous said at 12:38 AM on January 30th, 2012:

    Poe might have more value to 3-4 teams, but that doesn’t mean 4-3 teams won’t be interested. I’m sure Jim Washburn would walk over broken glass and drink non-alcoholic beer to get a chance to coach Haloti Ngata.

  19. 19 Anonymous said at 12:43 AM on January 30th, 2012:

    I can see walking over broken glass, Eagles have a good health plan and he rides a motorcycle, so he’d still get around.

    But non-alcoholic beer, that’s disgusting.

  20. 20 Mac said at 2:44 PM on January 29th, 2012:

    Great great post.

    Thanks for letting us into “your world” tommy. It’s so much fun reading what you think about prospects.

  21. 21 Anonymous said at 9:47 PM on January 29th, 2012:

    Lots of DL talk… do we not want Cullen Jenkins back? He was here on a 1-year deal, right?

  22. 22 Anders Jensen said at 10:13 PM on January 29th, 2012:

    Cullen Jenkins was signed for 5 years, but would not cost anything if cut after this season.

  23. 23 Anonymous said at 12:17 AM on January 30th, 2012:

    Absolutely want Cullen to stick around. Don’t see the team cutting him.

    Only problem up front is age. Could use some youth to mix in. That’s why there’s the DL talk.

  24. 24 Josh Henderson said at 7:57 AM on February 2nd, 2012:

    Hey Tommy,

    I realize this is mostly a thread about DL, but I was wondering what you would think of the Eagles drafting some of the following players/positions, if the round I have them in is realistic, and if you think they could be Eagles targets. Thanks!

    Round 1: OT Riley Reiff (likely need to trade-up), OT Jonathan Martin @15
    Round 2: DE Whitney Mercilus @46,
    LB Ronnell Lewis @ 51 (as a SAM – played there as a Freshman)
    Round 3: LB Nigel Bradham @ 77 (as MIKE)
    Round 4: WR Joe Adams @99, DT Derek Wolfe @114

    I really think Big Red needs some insurance for our tackle situation, and he loves his lineman. Hopefully challenges Herremans for starter at RT, fills in if he’s injured, allows Todd to slide in to guard for injuries there. Great to get a reliable blind side protector for Vick.

    Mercilus, Lewis and Bradham, are violent players and solid tacklers. We very much need our defenders to be “merciless!”If nothing else, they’d add pop to our special teams. Would also be great to add a UFA like David Hawthorne to solidify MLB. Chaney starts at SAM, and Rolle at WILL, until the rookies get their feet wet. Also we always have Casey/Fokou/Clayton for insurance.

    Adams comes in to replace Desean, and gives us a threat at PR. Also wouldn’t mind seing an under the radar signing like Robert Meachem to fill in for Desean. I think he needs to go due to his bad attitude!

    Wolfe is another relentless defender, and hopefully slots in so that we don’t have to retain Trevor Laws. Not sure if he’d play well next to Derek Landri, but I’d imagine he’d fit well with Antonio Dixon.

    In the later rounds, I’d like to see another CB, particularly one that can play the slot to challenge Joselio, just haven’t read up on them yet… any suggestions? I know you like Dwight Bently, would he be a fit in the slot? in the 5th round?

    Beyond that we need a KR and another RB to contribute wouldn’t hurt, plus another project OT for Mudd to work with.