Luke At SAM?

Posted: March 5th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 68 Comments »

One question more than a few people have asked me is if Luke Kuechly could possibly play OLB, specifically SAM. Initially I wasn’t so sure. His Combine workout opened a lot of eyes so I went back to the tape to see if my take on this had changed.

I popped in the BC/Miami game.  Here are some notes I took:

Kuechly — Read end around to Miller and got him for loss. Took a good angle on the play. When Miller tried to put on a move, Luke was able to react and still make the stop. Smart, patient player. Moves well laterally. Attacks upfield when he sees the ball and can get to it. Sometimes was lined up toward the outside. Will fight to shed blocks. Tackled RB after short catch over the middle. Great vision. Plays under control so that when he finds the football he can go get it. Flew out to the flat and slammed the FB down hard after a short catch. Almost picked off pass to Streeter on a deep seam route. PBU. Slammed down TE after short catch over the middle. Showed good closing speed when flying over to slam down a RB after short catch. Deflected a pass over the middle by skying for the ball. Deflected pass over the middle going to Streeter. Tommy was able to catch the deflection and got 8 yds on the play.

The Streeter PBU was really impressive.  Kuechly ran downfield 30 or so yards with the WR and was in perfect position.  The ball was underthrown and he made a good stab at picking it off, but just couldn’t hold on.  Streeter ran well at the Combine so this isn’t a case of Luke staying with a lumbering player.  He had to go all out to be in the right position on that play.

I do think Kuechly could play SAM in our system.  The key to that is alignment.  The Wide 9 has the DEs out wide and the OLBs off the ball and more to the middle of the field.  The SAM is in the RG/RT area, but a couple of yards back.  In the old system, the SAM would be up on the LOS and over the TE.  He would be more of an edge player.

The x-factor here is what Juan Castillo wants to do with SAM.  Last year he hoped Jamar Chaney would be a really coverage coverage LB who could handle RBs and TEs out in space.  When Chaney moved to the middle, Juan switched up what he wanted out of Moise Fokou and Akeem Jordan.  They were more focused on run defense.

If Juan wants to go back to a coverage guy, Kuechly would not fit as well.  He’s good in zone and when sitting back and reading plays in front of him.  Kuechly isn’t nearly as effective at running with a RB or TE out in the flat and reacting to the moves put on by the player.

I would certainly prefer Luke to stay at MLB, but it is interesting to at least consider the option of playing him at SAM.  There is no prospect in this draft or in FA that is a perfect SAM target for us.

The most intriguing scenario is for the Eagles to sign David Hawthorne and then draft Luke Kuechly and put one at MLB and the other at SAM.  You could figure out which combination worked best and then go with that.

Hawthorne played WLB in Seattle in the 2010 season.  He’s got starting experience at OLB.  Kuechly has the better SAM frame at 6’3, 242.  He was mostly a MLB in college, but did play WLB for part of his Freshman season.  Kuechly played Safety back in HS.

I truly doubt the Eagles go this way at LB.  Adding a key FA LB and then using a Top 15 pick on a LB would be a huge change for them.  Expect one or the other.  If they did want to be aggressive, the team could add both guys and I think they could make it work.

* * * * *

Today the Eagles added LB Monte Simmons, a Practice Squad player from SF.  This isn’t a move to get excited about, but Simmons is an interesting guy.

At Kent State he racked up 21.5 sacks and 6 FFs.  He is only 6’1, 234 so that sure doesn’t sound like DE size, even in the Wide 9.  Most likely he’s here to compete at SAM.  Simmons had a strong showing at his Pro Day last spring and has the athleticism to play in the NFL.  I’ll have to go back and find some Kent State tape to watch and get a feel for his game.

Not a big deal, but with our LB situation, all competition is welcome.

* * * * *

NFL Gimpy has up his new MAQB column.  The Saints could be in for a big tumble.  They have several key FAs who could leave and will likely lose at least one draft pick this year.  They don’t have the cap space to just sign replacements.  And losing Sean Payton for a month or two (or more?) could really hurt them.  Ouch.

For those interested in hearing Adam Caplan’s show from Saturday, WCHE has a podcast up.  Adam moves at a quick pace and covers a lot of NFL ground.

* * * * *

Tags and new deals flying around the NFL today.  I’ll take all of this in and then address it after coming up with a genius conclusion.

68 Comments on “Luke At SAM?”

  1. 1 Eric Weaver said at 4:26 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    From the games I saw, I thought his abilities to recognize and cover RBs on wheel routes and screens was amazing. Now that could have been the lesser talent he may have been playing against too.

  2. 2 Ben Hert said at 4:38 PM on March 5th, 2012:


    I might have missed it in the flurry of LB posts that have been the past month or two, but what is your absolute preferred option in terms of how the Eagles handle the entire linebacker situation? I know you love LK, but if you could have it anyway, realistically, what is your preferred course of action for WLB/MLB/SLB?

  3. 3 TommyLawlor said at 4:45 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    I’m going to post that in a day or two.

    #1 preference was a time machine set to 1992, but I’m having a hard time finding one on ebay.

  4. 4 T_S_O_P said at 5:45 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    Let me know when you find one, it was the best year of my life despite the disappointment of Alien 3.

  5. 5 mcud said at 6:26 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    It wasn’t Fincher’s fault!

    The bones are there for a fantastic Alien pic. Just didn’t come together. Like our Birds the past few years.

  6. 6 nopain23 said at 4:53 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    No franchise tags for Tulloch or Lofton..which means that the Eagles are about to OVER pay…what most consider above average MLBs and pass on LK40..who could be special….3 down guy..with excellent instincts and great leadership abilities….

  7. 7 Mac said at 11:02 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    Can we add Hawthorn and Fletcher to the list as well?

    Suddenly there seem to be a glut of FA LBers with potential. I am starting to wonder if Joe “nickles” Banner doesn’t get one of the 4 on the cheap, and we still grab LK40… the acquisition of the FA LB acting as the smokescreen.

    But… it is the Eagles and it is a first round draft pick, so I may also default to that argument.

  8. 8 iskar36 said at 5:03 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    Geoff Mosher just posted an article saying that Dan Connor is a guy the Eagles have interest in at MLB. Any thoughts on him?

  9. 9 TommyLawlor said at 5:14 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    Not an ideal fit. Looks better in downhill system. Looked pretty good on tape in 2011, but he would be a 2nd tier choice. And the article indicated that.

  10. 10 brza said at 3:41 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    Wouldn’t Connor be a guy that they go after now in FA as sort of a backup plan in case they can’t draft Kuechly?

  11. 11 izzylangfan said at 5:21 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    I agree with you that the Eagles are not likely to go for a top tier free agent linebacker and then go for Kuechly on their first pick. But the Eagles are not likely to go for a top tier free agent linebacker in any case. Reid likes to pick up his free agent linebackers on the cheap and he has done that frequently in the past. The question is how much has last year changed Reid. But if he does the same thing he has done in the past and signs a free agent linebacker or two on the cheap – might he be changed enough to then take Kuechly at 15 if he is really the best available? Or will the change come in free agency first when he might not sign a top tier guy but at least a second tier guy that could buy himself solidify the linebacker corps.

    I guess Reid and a lot of coaches devalue the safety and linebacker positions. But the best Eagles defenses under Reid occurred when he had Brian Dawkins and Jerome Trotter respectively at those not so key positions

    Now that the Eagles have tagged DeSean everybody seems to be wondering if the Eagles will sign him long term or trade him. If those scenarios come to pass – fine. But what I’m wondering is what if the tag is the gig. Does DeSean come to the OTA’s? Does he come to training camp? When if ever is he going to sign? I think we can get along without him. Overall I’d rather have him, but if we have him we need him to be a good citizen. That us what I worry about because we do not need another wasted season like last year or 2005.

  12. 12 D3Keith said at 7:38 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    Jerome Trotter?

    You might have to turn in your Eagles Fan Card for a week for that one.

  13. 13 izzylangfan said at 12:27 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    Here it is. I deserve at least two weeks for that one.

  14. 14 D3Keith said at 7:41 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    Re: DeSean, he said he was going to sign it ASAP, in theory to guarantee himself the $9.4 million, but along with that comes a responsbility to be at all team functions.

    IMO, they will hash out the deal with him sometime after free agency … perhaps after the draft … when they have a clearer picture of what other needs they have and what money they have to spend long-term.

    Or maybe just the day after they deal Asante, who doesn’t need to be replaced and curiously makes enough this coming season to pay DeSean on the tag. So if Asante goes, the first $10 mil guaranteed of DeSean’s LT deal is more or less freed up. (I know there’s dead money to account for, but never let the details get in the way of a good post)

  15. 15 izzylangfan said at 7:59 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    Can you tell me where you saw that? I’ve seen a couple of reporters say he will sign but reporters make up stuff. Is there an actual DeSean quote?

  16. 16 TommyLawlor said at 10:06 PM on March 5th, 2012:


    Couple of things. Trot was a 3rd Rd pick who developed into a top player. Dawk was the last pick of the 2nd Rd. He developed into a star player. The Eagles tried to develop replacements for them over the years. JR Reed showed promise, but then got hurt. Quintin Demps flashed as a rookie, then didn’t handle success well. Stew Bradley looked like a star but got hurt.

    Reid would love to have a star LB and S. He’s not a believer in addressing those positions with high picks (although we were set to draft Brandon Meriweather) or pricey free agents. Reid prefers to use mid-round picks and to develop players.

    We have the potential for Safety to sort itself out this year.

    LB needs help. Reid knows this and will address it, aggressively. I can’t promise he’ll go get the #1 target, but he will go get a good starting LB.

  17. 17 TommyLawlor said at 5:59 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    Interesting note from Monte Simmons Pro Day:

    KENT: Former Browns defensive back Raymond Jackson thought he’d found a clone of old teammate Courtney Brown on Wednesday at Kent State University’s pro day.

    KSU defensive end Monte’ Simmons intrigued Jackson, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ director of player development.

    Simmons said his wingspan measured 831/2 inches, just shy of seven feet. Standing 6-foot-1 and 234 pounds, the muscular Simmons looks like all arms and legs when he runs, which he said has prompted such nicknames as ”Orangutan” and ”Inspector Gadget.”

    ”He looks the part; he’s a specimen,” Jackson said of Simmons after the workout. ”He reminds me so much of Courtney Brown. Size-wise, he’s a rare specimen. If you go off of looks, he’s a day-one guy.

    ”The film doesn’t lie. If he can play he’s going to be on somebody’s roster.”

    Simmons, who had 21.5 sacks and 38.5 tackles for losses in his career at KSU, said his best compliment came after the bench press, when he lifted 225 pounds 22 times.

    ”The Ravens scout said I was probably the only one who did it right, locked it fully out,” Simmons said. ”With my arms I can’t really cheat because they’re going to be able to tell. I don’t want to cheat myself, either.”

    Simmons also ran the 40 in an official 4.6 seconds and hit 10-2 in the broad jump and 32 inches in the vertical jump.

    ”I still feel like I had more in me to show,” said Simmons, of Swissvale, Pa. ”I have another pro day on March 15, just to get myself seen more.”

  18. 18 Anders Jensen said at 7:24 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    Do you know how is coverage skills are? With those physical attributes he sound like SAM prospect, if he can just cover TEs

  19. 19 GeorgeFleep said at 8:28 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    probably a situational guy, a specialist. I can see him making him the roster over Akeem or Fokou. Mosty because i dont like them. We all understand hat Simmons is fast but can he be a shark and tackle.

  20. 20 TommyLawlor said at 10:08 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    Simmons was a DE in college. He was on the PSquad last year. I’m sure his coverage skills are mediocre at best.

    He’s more than just a camp body, but not much more. LB body, DE skill set. Interesting guy, but a major longshot. Maybe he could spend 2012 on our PSquad so he can learn 4-3 LB.

  21. 21 Anders Jensen said at 11:44 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    Thank you. He sound more like a 3-4 pass rushing OLB then a 4-3 OLB.

  22. 22 austinfan said at 10:07 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    NFL Draft Scout:

    6-1 234 [4.70 1.66 22 4.45 6.89 32 10’2]

    Not real impressed, average speed, bad 10 yard split, real bad SS, good cone, average jumps for a guy his size (good for a 265 lb DE).

    I don’t see a guy with LB athleticism, if he had coverage experience and great instincts he might compensate, but SS is a key test of your ability to react and explode to the ball.

    Camp body. Too small for DE, not a LB athlete.

  23. 23 GeorgeFleep said at 10:38 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    i read on comment here ( that his ankle was messed up for combine or something. any details?

  24. 24 austinfan said at 10:52 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    Injury happened on September 3, 2010, so it shouldn’t have had much impact on his pro day in spring 2011.

    The Golden Flashes’ pass-rush specialist had successful surgery on Friday to repair a fractured left fibula suffered in Thursday night’s season-opening win over Murray State.

    “The good news is the doctors said it is a non-weight-bearing bone, and there was no other damage,” said KSU head coach Doug Martin. “They think Monte will be back at full speed and ready to play against Akron.”

  25. 25 D3Keith said at 10:10 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    Honestly he sounds like the kind of guy worth taking a closer look at. The Eagles have had success with off-the-street defensive players in the past, though mostly cornerbacks and D-ends.

    This guy could be useful … or he could be Alex Hall.

    Can’t hurt to kick the tires.

  26. 26 D3FB said at 2:12 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    I still remember watching Joique Bell’s highlight film when we signed him and going… HOLY $@!*… and then he proceeded to get cut like a month later. I refuse to acknowledge the presences of players who are fighting to be MR 53 until they do something.

  27. 27 Michael Adam Bennett said at 6:13 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    I think the best option here is to just add talent to a pretty depleted LB corps… Sign a guy like a Hawethorne or Jarret Johnson or Dan Connor and drafting LK. I like Luke… alot. We have the ability as it stands to match up with RB’s and TE’s on 3rd down with guys like Matthews and Clayton if LK can’t get the job done… but we need somebody that we can count on to bring down a runner pretty much every time. The Marshawn Lynch run still haunts my every nightmare. We just need more talent. We can worry about who plays where when the time comes. There is a reason there are 53 men on the roster… one person can’t be expected to do everything…

  28. 28 TommyLawlor said at 10:10 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    You can’t “just add talent”. There must be a specific plan in place.

    Jarrett Johnson is 30 and a big LB. He won’t be a target.

  29. 29 mhrinda said at 11:40 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    The LB on the Eagles roster are not and might never be good players. You cant just waste another 16 game season based on “your best laid plans and expectations”. Talent needs to be added to the LB core period.
    Its not like we have Carlos Emmons playing one spot and then we have 2 other spots that are unclear. ALL 3 LB positions are under average and need immediate upgrade. If they Eagles dont address the LB core with more than 1 LB, they clearly do not know how to evaluate a football team and need to be replaced.

    What are you worried about salary ? money? draft value? Come on! Stop.
    GET ADEQUATE PLAYERS FOR THE LB CORE.. not projects not hopefuls from the season before: EAGLES GET IT DONE.

    And add a FA safety that is a higher level than Page (meaning not a warm body to add depth).. You cant go into the season with injury question Allen (can he hold up and play at a high level and is he actually any good?) Coleman (maybe shouldnt be a starter) and Jarrett (no way you can count on this guy to do anything)

    I appreciate your optimism Tommy but I dont need you to overthink what they need to do: they dug a hole for themselves in the LB Core for failing to address it in the past (with sound above average options) now they have to use EXTRA resources to make it better. If that means FA signing(s) and high round LB pick
    than so be it. They dug the hole now they got to fix it — not business as usual.

  30. 30 TommyLawlor said at 12:55 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    Reading is fundamental.

    Never said we were okay at LB. You read the site on a regular basis. I’ve said for months that LB is the priority position to fix. It still is.

    Point is not to just go add a bunch of LBs and hope it works out because we’ve suddenly got talent.

    We need to target specific players for specific reasons. Jarrett Johnson is a very good SAM LB for the Ravens. He would not fit what we do. We don’t play LBs up on the line. We have them back off. Jarrett isn’t as good in space as he is up on the line.

    Shady McCoy is the perfect RB for our offensive system. Jerome Bettis would not fit in nearly as well. Good player, but made for a different system.

    We need the right LBs…not just talent.

    Stop with the rants about LB. We all want better LB play. Eagles will address it.

  31. 31 mhrinda said at 1:21 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    I am reading what you are trying to say. One of the points often is the idea that the Eagles cant overvalue the LB core by using FA and the draft to make the LB core better. That if they sign a FA for top dollar than in turn they shouldnt use their high draft pick(s) on the LB core which I disagree.

    I get the feeling for what Im reading in your articles and responses is that we dont really need 3 LBs and we dont really need a good safety in the mix with our guys. That we should just “hope” that our guys do the job and not try to “actively” address the failures and suspects on this team.

    And just because the Eagles used a #2 on Nate Allen he deserves to be able to play next season even if in the process if he fails he will hurt the overall team.

    I also get the feeling you are Pro-Eagles management. Meaning that you back their thinking and their moves even when it might be stupid.

    I see 3 big holes (LB) in the wide 9 system THE EAGLES HAVE CHOSEN TO USE and I am asking that they address all 3 positions directly from the outside. As well as the obvious need at safety — 1 guy gets hurt and its a big hole not even talking about if these guys can play 16 games and playoffs at a stable to high level.

  32. 32 Mac said at 11:28 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    “Reading is fundamental”

    Tommy, with all due respect. This is the Interwebz… plz use more pictures.

    Thank u.

  33. 33 D3Keith said at 6:46 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    It’s so disappointing that there’s all this available linebacking talent in free agency and the draft, and then we can all identify it to the degree we have our preferred combos, such as Tommy’s Hawthorne/Kuechly/Rolle.

    And then you add the caveat that the Eagles will never do this. :sad face:

    Well, here’s hoping the guy we take at 15 instead is a beast in the 2016 season!

  34. 34 TommyLawlor said at 10:14 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    If the Eagles just add one high quality LB and one guy with good potential, that could be all we need. The cupboard isn’t completely bare. I think having one good LB on the field will make the other starters that much better.

  35. 35 mhrinda said at 11:53 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    If I am an opposing teams OC Im going to scheme plays TOWARD and IN THE AREA of the LB that I think stinks and cant make the play. One player in the LB core is not going to cover the whole field.

    We need to minimize areas where the others team’s offense can exploit BY PLAN before the season and then in adjustment during the season.

    Adding just 1 LB isnt going to solve the overall problem.
    And having faith in mediocre players is a waste of another 16 game season.

  36. 36 D3FB said at 2:21 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    You are aware of the concept of finite resources in the NFL? That not all 11 guys on the field for your team at a given time are going to all be Pro Bowl or average/ above average? Every team has to have JAGs who start.

    Your right that opposing OC’s will scheme to attack the weaker players on the defense. However Juan and Todd Bowles are also collecting paychecks. Chase Blackburn is a JAG. Kiwanuka is a JAG in pass coverage. The Patriots had Brandon Spikes who has the coverage skills of Ernie Sims. They also had Julian Edelman and several players they got off of practice squads at various points in the year starting. Yet things seemed to work out okay for both those teams.

  37. 37 mhrinda said at 2:35 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    Compentant at least average players would be nice that actually can tackle. Watching RBs run for 10+ yards running through our LBs is not sound football.

    And I am not going to use the excuse of resources as the reason I cant field the best team possible for my fans. I would want to build a team that is fun to watch not a team that gives me ulcers and headaches.

  38. 38 Anders Jensen said at 9:07 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    How many great RB teams have won the SB the last decade? The 2005 Steelers.
    All we need is a LB there can tackle the RB, but more important cover TEs and RBs.

  39. 39 austinfan said at 10:17 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    He’s not worth replying to, broken records just repeat and repeat and repeat.

    Every study has shown running the ball and run defense have minimal impacts on winning and losing in today’s NFL.

    Yet despite that, once the DTs improved and Page was benched, the Eagles gave up 4.0 ypc the last 11 games, despite starting Jordan – Chaney – Rolle. Pass defense by the LBs is actually a bigger issue than run defense.

    But Mhrinda will go on ad nausem about how important getting three pro bowl caliber LBs are to the success of this defense.

    Yes, we need better LBs, but it’s not the area which will determine the success of the team in 2012, any sort of upgrade will help, but stabilizing the secondary will help more.

    And I can’t imagine that there could be any improvement from a group of LBs that included 3 rookies, 2 second year players and a 3rd year player. Nor can we expect any improvement at safety from a rookie and two 2nd year players (one coming off a knee injury).

    Of course, adding Bowles as the secondary coach will have zero impact, a second year working with the wide 9 won’t help them get on the same page.

    No, obviously the defense that finished around 10th in the league despite a slow start is doomed if they don’t land two highly touted expensive LBs in free agency.

  40. 40 mhrinda said at 11:12 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    Yes we won so many Super Bowls and are a franchise of excellence. Until the Eagles reach that level, I dont share your optimism that the Eagles will “get it right” with their team building philosophies.

    Now if we were the Steelers or Giants or a team like that maybe I could cut the team some slack cause when it comes right down to it they win championships. But the Eagles no.

    I really hope you all prove me wrong and the Eagles carry out an offseason plan that makes me look like an idiot and they win it all. I would gladly be wrong for the franchise to win.

  41. 41 Mac said at 11:31 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    What if, hypothetically speaking, they land to good LBers in FA just because they can get them at bargain basement prices…

    Longshot? Yes, I certainly wouldn’t count on it… but you never know with the Eagles F.O. they like shopping at Al’s corner store of used but still usable goods.

  42. 42 Anders Jensen said at 11:48 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    Agree, give me a LB there can cover RBs and TEs with some tackle skills and a new slot CB and this defense has potential for top 5.

  43. 43 jayanglada said at 7:18 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    Tommy —
    Recognizing that we shouldn’t expend first round draft capital on LB talent, especially if we sign an MLB through FA, can Mychal Kendricks give us quality Kuechly-like potential to be used in the same position-interchangeable scenario with Hawthorne?
    Would that combo be preferable to Bobby Wagner and Hawthorne? Both Kendricks and Wagner have significant experience in the middle and at OLB.

    A related question: What about Lavonte David’s ability to stand up vs. OL now that he’s added almost ten pounds since the end of the season (pushing 235)? How well would he pair with Hawthorne considering L. David’s strong pass coverage skills? I understand that you wouldn’t have the same potential position interchangeability that you might get with Kendricks or Wagner.
    I’m assuming that all three of these LB’s would be available in the mid-second. Interestingly, although all three are in the shorter 5’11” 6’1″ range, Hawthorne, Tulloch, Fletcher, and Lofton are all six feet or under.

  44. 44 SebastianAubrey said at 7:46 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    The Eagles’ cap room is going to shrink over the next couple season considerably. If we sign Djax long term???, when we sign Shady to a long term deal and all of 2011 FA acquisitions will really beat down extra cap room. If they bring in Lofton, Hawthorne or Tulloch they will probably cost the Birds 5-8 mill a year. Luke would cost us around 2-3 mill a year. Yes I know Luke isn’t a sure thing but only Tulloch is a proven commodity in the wide-9. So because the Eagles FO is always keeping one eye on the future I could see them maybe even moving back a couple pick to take Luke…fingers crossed!

  45. 45 D3Keith said at 10:09 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    That’s what happens when the people you draft turn into stars. I’d much rather have McCoy, Maclin, Jackson plus Vick and Aso et. al. than lots of cap space.

  46. 46 D3FB said at 2:22 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    BUT BUT BUT… how will we be able to franchise tag our kickers if we don’t draft like shit?

  47. 47 Mac said at 11:33 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    Word… just talk to a Bills fan.

  48. 48 E21 said at 8:44 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    What about Dan Connor? A couple of years ago Philly went crazy when the eagles passed on him and now he’s available and no one mention his name. He can be had cheap-compared to others-Luke could play MLB or SLB and still be long term answer at MLB.

  49. 49 TommyLawlor said at 10:18 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    Connor will be a 2nd tier target. If we miss on guys A or B, go for him. I think he’s best suited for a downhill system. Could play for us, just not an ideal fit.

  50. 50 rdw56 said at 9:11 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    Kuechly was designed to play MLB. He won’t be playing SAM or WIL. If they intend to draft him they won’t sign Tulloch, Lofton or Hawthorn and they won’t necessarily draft another LB either. Chaney wasn’t moved back to MLB because he sucked at SAM. He has all of the skills for SAM. A tad short but a terrific leaper with plus speed and athleticism. He did have 3 picks. Clayton played well at the end as did Matthews. There are other LBs I think would be value after taking Luke in each of the rounds but it’s just as possible they sign someone who won’t be expensive like Connor and use the draft for BPA. There are a number of top DL talents who might slide to 46 or 51 as well as tall WRs and serious depth at CB, FS/SS, RB, OL, etc.

  51. 51 TommyLawlor said at 10:20 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    Chaney didn’t suck at SAM, but he also failed to star. He was in the wrong gap and missing tackles no matter where we played him.

    Also, his neck issue makes him a player that we should not count on. Hope he pans out, but can’t figure him in as a starter.

  52. 52 rdw56 said at 11:29 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    I agree. The only guy I am comfortable with is Rolle. And even that is a probationary thing expecting he takes it another step with a full off-season and what s/b a normal progression. I think Kuechly is Lee which is to say a major upgrade at MLB and the best Eagle MLB potentially in 20 years. I actually prefer to take a Lavonte David type at 51 however if a Sanu or DL stud is there I can see BPA outweighting need. This is especially true if my medical team tells me the neck is a no or low risk issue. I see Chaney as Trot. A gifted athlete, major motor, but not a natural football player. A guy who in the right scheme where he’s not asked to do too much can do very well. Standing next to Luke is a nice start. A full off-season aware he’s SAM and SAM only w/b nice. Related note: I am still baffled that virtually every 2010 draft pick got off to a rotten start. I get the lack of an offseason impacted everyone the same and many 2nd guys did well but not on this team. For me there’s something too it. I’m not giving them a full pass but I’m not looking at 2011 too hard either. My priorities are MLB, SLB and Red Zone WR (tall). They need Luke. I have him as a must. I suspect at 46 and 51 there will be some DL talent they have as can’t miss and I am OK with going there. But going into training camp we must have a serious upgrade in place at MLB and someone else at SAM and WIL such that Chaney and Rolle can’t assume anything. Such that most will predict Chaney is #4.

  53. 53 ian_no_2 said at 10:12 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    Bobby Wagner from Utah State seems like someone who can step right in and play SAM next year, and I think he’d be a good first second round pick. He runs 4.6-4.7 and supposedly covered well in the Senior Bowl workouts. They need someone who can step in and get the job done and he’s someone who can help out for a while since they don’t have many high round LBs.

    Another possible SAM is Audie Cole in the 3rd or 4th, but it’s unclear whether he could cut it at the next level.

    I generally think they need to add a lot of talent at LB. I was into Chaney too going into last season, Fokou was good in 2010, but rather than counting lucky stars on Clayton, Jordan etc they ought to make them fight for roster spots. If someone they get fits in best at WILL than bench Rolle, but I agree Rolle can improve and is the least of their problems.

    If they can’t get a top FA MIKE, what about mixing and matching with a Jovan Belcher or Jameel McClain on run downs and Casey Matthews on pass downs, then seeing what you can draft? I’m certainly not saying this is ideal.

    I think if Kuechly falls to 15, you take him rather than Cox, though perhaps not over DeCastro if you have a MIKE in place. He is by most accounts a better value than Cox and I can’t imagine the Eagles not having a spot for him late in the season. What I objected to before (along with others) is putting all their eggs in the Luke basket and having to overpay in a draft trade for that one rookie they’re dependent on. As for whether Andy’d actually draft Kuechly over Cox, we’ll have to see it to believe it.

  54. 54 nopain23 said at 10:34 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    I think if you believe LK40 is the answer at MLB then you pretty won’t much would not mind swapping first rounders and giving up a 3rd to move up to get him.I’m glad Dallas tagged spencer cause JJ has been singing the praises of san fran’s LBs so i’m sure he had his eyes on looks like Arizona may be interested as well as KC.lets be honest. other than Cole who does iggles nation really have on the defense that get’s us excited.the prospect of getting a pro bowl tackling machine is worth at least a first and a third i think.since Bdawk left it’s pretty much been about the offense.We NEED that difference maker on defense again..A guy we can point to and say that’s OUR guy..OUR leader on defense.cox is a great is luke..But who do you see as been a leader…no question about it….Luke is the only player in this draft that you can say has the potential to be a leader on SUNDAYS…..what is that worth?… All the doubters said he’s too little..not fast nor athletic…hmm..pretty much SHUT them up at the combine….now we hear can”t trust a rookie to start at MLB…..yeah..those are the same idiots who said Cam Newton couldn’t start as a rookie….SMH….Luke is a better option that lofton or tulloch period…those guys a nothing special..he is…..

  55. 55 GeorgeFleep said at 10:28 PM on March 5th, 2012:

    is Jamar Chaney and Keenan Clayton enough competition at SAM? and you would think Catillo would go back to the way the position was in the start of the season with coverage LB who could handle RBs and TEs out in space. Obviously wont work with a rookie that didnt have time to prepare for MLB

  56. 56 JRO91 said at 7:59 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    I think the Eagles will kick the tires on Lofton, but his asking price will be too high, The Bucs and their endless cap space may take him. Howie will watch the market for Tulluch and if he can get him at the Eagles price, his knowledge of the wide-9 would make him the top canidate even if he had a down year last year. He is still leaps and bounds better than any MLB we have on the roster. Ultimately I think the Eagles will sign Hawthorn, based on his price and ability to play all three LB’s positions if needed. Eagles will sign a mid round MLB (Wagner or Kendricks) and a mid round SAM (Robinson/Cole) If Cox is there at 15, can’t pass on him. We have all seen what a great DL can do for your SB chances. Use our 2nds on Tommy’s suggestion Boykin (Slot and Return Game) and hopefully a Sanu type WR, to compete for the #3 WR spot. Jackson, Machlin, Sanu, Avant, Cooper and LR Pick would be a great WR corp. Please no more CHAD HALL!!

  57. 57 ian_no_2 said at 12:16 PM on March 6th, 2012:

    I like Sanu and Boykin, especially Sanu. Boykin doesn’t return punts but they need a KOR even with the new rules, and he’s another possible CB.. This draft has a top 6 and then a lot of good late first, realy second round guys. If someone offered a lot for the Eagles to trade down.. but in general, they have a lot of midrounders that play like midrounders, late round LBs that play like late round LBs, so staying at 15 and hoping for elite talent makes sense even if Cox is more of a mid-to-late round value. The Eagles are absolutely overloaded with midrounders who take roster spots away from good journeymen and overachieving UDFAs and then do nothing. Riley Cooper doesn’t play the ball enough to be a red zone and ball control threat, and they cut three good receivers (Moss, Harper, G. Smith) to keep him on the roster. I like Sanu a lot better but you can’t have everyone. Trading down to high second and then up to high second would make sense. Bobby Wagner won’t be on the board in the 3rd, maybe not with the Kolb 2nd.

  58. 58 Eric Weaver said at 9:08 AM on March 6th, 2012:


    Any thoughts on this?

    Have you watched tape on him?

  59. 59 bridgecoach said at 9:14 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    Why would any team with Luke Kuechly on it want someone else to call the plays and formations on the field? Smallville’s abilities to diagnose the opposition’s personnel on the field and communicate it to his LBs is one of the biggest reasons to draft him. Exactly the skill set that will help the rest of the corps play to their potential.

  60. 60 Anders Jensen said at 11:50 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    The SAM could be that player. Juan’s original thought was that the SAM was the most important LB and was somebody there could tackle and cover TEs, basicly be a 3 down LB.

  61. 61 Dewey said at 11:11 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    Tommy, what are your thoughts on this blurb taken from Pete Prisco’s latest. Especially the final sentence. Maybe LK just isn’t worth a top pick because of the position he plays?

    Falcons middle linebacker Curtis Lofton — He is a good run player, but he has struggled at times against the pass. This is a passing league. So a team might be spending big for a two-down linebacker. The middle-linebacker value isn’t what it once used to be.

  62. 62 Anders Jensen said at 11:52 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    I dont buy that LK40 is not a 3 down LB. He is not the best LB in coverage, but he is not liability.

  63. 63 Dewey said at 4:19 PM on March 6th, 2012:

    That’s not the point. It’s not about LK40 (WTF kind of acronym is that, and did you just coin it?) but if a MLB is of such descending value that it’s not worth investing a high 1st in.

  64. 64 ian_no_2 said at 3:14 PM on March 6th, 2012:

    The Eagles have Matthews for 3rd down, the question is how does the run down specialist MIKE cover on play action plays or 1st, 2nd down passes.

    Prisco told the world about FA Derek Landri. Philly should have inked him while he was a secret.

  65. 65 ian_no_2 said at 3:25 PM on March 6th, 2012:

    Prisco’s DTs and Ss look interesting too. I think the Eagles should add a good safety and that 3 NFC East teams are hoping they don’t.

  66. 66 NoDecaf said at 11:16 AM on March 6th, 2012:

    It’s 11:15 am. Do you know where Tommy’s next article is at? :p

  67. 67 Kirk Belmont said at 12:40 PM on March 6th, 2012:

    What do you think of the Eagles targeting Tommy Streeter in the draft?
    Big fast guy who could be a red zone threat. He needs work but he could eventually develop into that big bodied starter we have always longed for?

  68. 68 ian_no_2 said at 3:10 PM on March 6th, 2012:

    I wouldn’t take him with the 2nd or AZ 2nd. If he falls to the third, maybe. A lot of size-speed guys do nothing and get overhyped. I like T.Y. Hilton better in the 3rd, short guy who plays well in games and returns punts. I’m into The Short Discount this year: Hilton, Wagner, maybe Russell Wilson.