Eagles Scouts Update & A New Project

Posted: June 25th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 48 Comments »

The Eagles added a couple of pieces to the scouting department recently.  Greg Gabriel, formerly the Director of College Scouting for the Bears, was hired as a Senior Scout.  He will concentrate on the Midwest.  That’s smart.  I’m sure his time in Chicago meant a lot of trips in that region.  Guys with a job like that tend to stay close to home on their trips rather than flying all over.  They have to spend time at the team’s facility as well as on the road.  Gabriel probably has a ton of connections at schools in the Midwest.

This hire is also good because it once again shows how comfortable Howie Roseman is.  Howie could load up on young guys desperate for work.  He could have a group of sycophants that would sing his praises.  Instead he is hiring veteran guys like Tom Donahoe, Rick Mueller, and Gabriel.  They each have a quality background.  None of them has any special connections to Howie.

You might argue that these guys needed jobs anyway and will kiss his butt despite being veterans.  The NFL is a tight knit community.  NFL people talk.  They gossip like you wouldn’t believe.  If Howie didn’t know what he was doing or wasn’t running a tight ship, veterans guys like this would be on the phone in a couple of weeks to tell their league buddies about what was going on.  Howie knows this.  And he’s still comfortable with bringing them in.  That tells me that he feels good about himself and the way the Eagles Personnel Dept. is working these days.

Back to Gabriel for a second.  He did some very good things in his time in Chicago, 2001-2010.  It is hard to say exactly which picks he made, but the team added a lot of talent in the draft during his tenure.  The 1st round wasn’t always great, but that’s normally more of a pick chosen by the GM and head coach.

The Bears were good in rounds 2-4.  They had a poor rate in the very bottom rounds.  Some good picks from his tenure in the middle rounds:

2001 – 2nd Rd RB Anthony Thomas, 3rd Rd OL Mike Gandy
2002 – 3rd Rd OG Terrence Metcalf, 4th Rd DE Alex Brown
2003 – 2nd Rd CB Charles Tillman, 3rd Rd LB Alex Briggs, 4th Rd S Todd Johnson & DT Ian Wade
2004 – 2nd Rd DT Tank Johnson, 3rd Rd WR Bernard Berrian, 4th Rd CB Nathan Vasher
2005 – 4th Rd QB Kyle Orton
2006 – 2nd Rd DB Danieal Manning & WR/RS Devin Hester
2007 – none
2008 – 2nd Rd RB Matt Forte, 3rd Rd WR Earl Bennett & DT Marcus Harrison, 4th Rd S Craig Steltz
2009 – 4th Rd DL Henry Melton & DB D.J. Moore
2010 – 3rd Rd S Major Wright

You can see some serious impact players in there (Briggs, Forte, Hester).  The Bears had some late round success, but it was disappointing.  I’d have to study the picks to see if there was a trend (reaching for athletes or small school guys or taking injury risks).  Nothing stood out on casual glance.  Gabriel isn’t some guru who will have a huge impact, but he’s a good hire.

Besides Gabriel, the Eagles hired a scout named Roger Pollard.  I don’t know anything about him, beyond what I read in his bio.  I like the fact he’s got a background in coaching.  His background actually reminded me of Steve Spagnuolo’s.  There is time as a small school coach.  There is scouting.  There is some NFL Europe.  Pollard worked for the Dolphins from 2003-08 and covered the Northeast.

Here’s the PE.com report on both guys.

* * * * *

Geoff Mosher wrote a good article on scout Brett Veach.  I’ve talked about Brett a few times.  He is one of the guys who will rise to power in the coming years.  Good scout.  He’s also tight with Andy.

I think Veach will be a GM one day, as someone predicts in the article as well.  We’re talking years down the road.  He’s got a lot to learn between now and then.  He does know how to identify talent.  He spends a lot of time with the coaches, which means they trust him.  There is sometimes a disconnect between scouts and coaches.  Scouts get mad when coaches don’t develop their guys correctly or play them enough.  Coaches think scouts should do a better job of finding them talent.  Less filling.  Tastes great.  Chicken or the egg?

Anthony Patch is the College Scouting Director and a key person for us.  After that, Veach might be next in line of importance.

The Eagles hired some good people over the years and have a good group in place.  Right now there is a nice mixture of veterans and young guys.  I remember talking to some folks at the Senior Bowl about how old the Giants scouts were and how young ours were.  Scouting is a young man’s business (because of the grind), but I’m glad we added a few veteran guys to the mix.  They have wisdom that can only come through making mistakes over the years and learning the hard way.  Always good to have guys like that around.

* * * * *

I’m excited to tell you about a new project that I am/was part of…the 2012 Eagles Almanac.

This is a preview of the upcoming Eagles season.  Brian Solomon of McNabbOrKolb is the editor and one of the writers.  The others involved were:

Mike Tanier: The New York Times, Football Outsiders, The Philly Fan’s Code
Sheil Kapadia: Moving the Chains – Philly.com
Jason Brewer: Bleeding Green Nation, SB Nation Philly
Jimmy Kempski: Blogging the bEast, Bleeding Green Nation, Washington Post
Tom McAllisterBury Me in My Jersey
Derek Sarley: Iggles Blog
Sam Lynch: Iggles Blitz, Iggles Blog
Gabe Bevilacqua: Iggles Blog, Bounty Bowl

You may have heard of one or two of these hacks.  It is pretty much a wretched hive of scum and villainy.  Who the heck else would you want writing about our beloved Eagles?

The Eagles Almanac is available for download for $4.99.  It is 80 pages.  No ads.  There are lots of stats and stuff from the old Iggles Blog days.  There are good articles as well.

I wrote a draft review.  I mixed it up so that it’s not the same old stuff you’ve read here.  I also wrote a piece on the 20th anniversary of the 1992 team, our first year without Jerome Brown.  That turned out to be Reggie’s final season as an Eagle and it was an amazing time, both good and bad.

We kept the price down so that it would be a no-brainer buy.  $4.99 won’t even get you a Donovan McNabb Vikings jersey.

Let me know what you think.  That goes for those that buy and read it and those who aren’t interested.  We need to know if projects like this are of true interest heading into the future.  The goal is to give you as much quality content as possible, but we need to find out what you guys like and don’t like.


48 Comments on “Eagles Scouts Update & A New Project”

  1. 1 Jonzee72 said at 10:09 AM on June 25th, 2012:

    Okay, I’ll bite. Hopefully first purchase in the UK…

  2. 2 TommyLawlor said at 11:19 AM on June 25th, 2012:

    I think you’ll enjoy it. Sure hope so.

  3. 3 Ollivier Boguais said at 5:00 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    First purchase in France I guess 🙂

  4. 4 TommyLawlor said at 5:49 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    Anyone but you or Nathalie would have surprised me.

  5. 5 Ollivier Boguais said at 6:21 AM on June 26th, 2012:

    It could have been Gregory, a friend of mine. I’m almost sure that he will buy it also 🙂

  6. 6 pkeagle said at 6:24 PM on June 27th, 2012:

    I’m in France too and I’ll be getting it.
    Did you go to the Casque de Diamant last weekend?

  7. 7 austinfan said at 10:26 AM on June 25th, 2012:

    How big is the scouting department now?
    I know they started expanding it when Licht came on board, but it seems off hand that they’ve been hiring two guys for everyone they’ve lost. They must have one of the biggest groups in the NFL.

    Which makes a lot of sense, what’s a scout cost with overhead? $200K a year?
    What’s the value of finding one extra gem a year?
    Given the cost of a NFL starter, far more than the cost of an extra scout or two.
    It’s the one area that a team flush with cash can build a real competitive advantage without being constrained by the salary cap.

  8. 8 TommyLawlor said at 11:20 AM on June 25th, 2012:

    I might compare the Eagles scouts to other teams. We’ll see.

    Agree that there is no reason to go cheap on scouts. They aren’t that expensive. Can make a big difference. Don’t know why teams hesitate to spend this money.

  9. 9 iskar36 said at 11:49 AM on June 25th, 2012:

    I’m curious if any of it has to do with a comfort level in terms of number of voices/opinions in a room for the GM to handle. At some point, I can imagine that it gets overwhelming and possibly an overload of information, especially when you have multiple veteran guys who have a good history of scouting players. When two of those guys are really pushing a particular player, it is already a challenge to pick the right one between them, but when several scouts are pushing for multiple guys, you could imagine the GM has the feeling he needs to go and scout all those guys himself all over again, sort of defeating the purpose of having the scouts in the first place.

  10. 10 M0rton said at 11:09 AM on June 25th, 2012:

    I wish Howie had brought these guys in prior to the crucial 2011 draft. Maybe then he could have avoided making the mistake of drafting Danny Watkins over Jimmy Smith / Muhammed Wilkerson.

    Smith and Wilkerson will both be stars in the NFL beginning in 2012, while Watkins will never be more than merely an adequate RG.

    I’d rather take a good/great CB or DT over even a Hall of Fame OG, and Watkins will never even sniff the Hall of Fame.

    And of course, the less said about the Jauquian Jarret reach the better. I don’t care if the Eagles were convinced that some other team was going to take him in the 3rd round … he was a 4th round talent at best. You simply don’t take slow and small DBs anywhere in the first three rounds, regardless of how tough or smart they are. There is an athletic prerequisite in the NFL that no amount of “leadership” or “toughness” or anything else vaguely defined can overcome.

  11. 11 TommyLawlor said at 11:22 AM on June 25th, 2012:

    Watkins was a need pick. In a normal year, Eagles don’t go for him. Last year, with so many weird things going on, they felt adding a starting OG early in the draft was crucial. Mudd liked him a lot so they grabbed him. Time will tell if it was the right move or not.

  12. 12 M0rton said at 2:01 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    And that’s exactly the problem.

    When a team begins making “need” picks in the first round, regardless of how “talented” they were in the previous year, or how great their record was (see also: 2010 Falcons and 2011 Falcons draft; 2011 49ers and 2012 49ers draft), it will always come back to haunt them. Drafting for need is the greatest enemy of team-building.

    It was a bad pick the second it was made, and everyone smart enough to realize it basically said that.

    It will look even worse this year when Watkins is barely holding down the fort at RG, or simply doing an “adequate” job, and Jimmy Smith and/or Muhammed Wilkerson are making impact plays for their respective teams.

  13. 13 Kyle said at 1:11 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    I’m glad you feel the need to write the same post 30 times

  14. 14 laeagle said at 9:36 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    Your assessment of Asomugha is WILDLY inaccurate. He wasn’t the complete shutdown corner he had been in Oakland, but he was quite good, and any deficiencies he had appear to be far more the result of a scheme change than anything to do with age. Most quality corners tend to age well, in fact, so I’d be very surprised to see age play a factor in his performance for at least another two years. Sorry, but the burden of proof as to age impacting his performance is on you, not on us; it’s far more likely it WON’T than it WILL.

    Also, how about an elite young ascending player in DRC? I don’t see why you write him off so quickly, as opposed to Jimmy Smith. Evidently, ascending young players in your view only get the benefit of the doubt in “time will tell” if Andy and Howie didn’t pick them.

  15. 15 Aaron Yang said at 11:11 AM on June 25th, 2012:

    what you said about how comfortable it seems howie is also makes me comfortable. and i remember reading somewhere (good chance from here) that there were actually teams trying to steal roseman away last year or something like that. really makes you feel that we have the right man for the job. and as for the almanac…i just purchased mine and im pretty eager to start reading. i read just about every blog daily. and i posted this on bleedinggreennation too but you guys assembled some serious talent for this almanac like the eagles did for the season. must be a make or break season for you guys too hahaha. and jason took the role of VY and claimed you guys the “dream team”…

  16. 16 iskar36 said at 12:02 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    I’ll be honest, the whole comfort thing with Howie based on who he hires seems a bit of a non-story/over-analysis to me. I certainly appreciate Tommy’s view on this, but to me, regardless of his comfort level, the best way to loose his job would be to hire guys who do not have talent as scouts to be the teams scouts. Even more so, the best way to be viewed as a top GM is to have quality people around you to help make the right decisions. If Howie is a smart person, regardless of how comfortable or not he is in his position, he hires the best scouting talent he can find. If he is afraid to bring in guys smarter or better at talent evaluation than he is, he shouldn’t be the GM in the first place. I’m not saying he actually is uncomfortable in his position right now, I actually think Tommy is right that he is comfortable, but I just don’t know that you can base that on any of the recent hires. Based on Tommy”s description on most of the guys they have brought in, it sounds like Howie is making good decisions, but I think reading beyond that is a lot of guess-work.

  17. 17 TommyLawlor said at 12:11 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    Tom Heckert didn’t hire veterans when he came in here. He filled the department with young guys. Some were good, some not. That could be part of the reason we had such issues in the 2003, 2004 drafts. Injuries also significantly hurt those draft classes.

    Heckert hired Jascon Licht eventually and he had a huge impact.

    I don’t think Howie would have made these hires in his first or second year on the job. It would have been too awkward. Now that he has his feet under him, he’s comfortable with having guys like that around him. Egos do exist in front offices. And they play a role in guys being hired/fired all the time.

  18. 18 iskar36 said at 12:34 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    I recognize egos exist, but I think that’s where being a good manager comes into play. You certainly need to have the experience and knowledge to get to the GM position, but once you are there, you need to push aside egos, or at the very least, recognize that you got hired for the position because the team trusts your abilities to manage more than they trust someone else. More often than not, the best run companies/groups/teams/etc. have their smartest and most talented people below the manger of the group. The manager’s job is not to BE the best, but instead it is to MANAGE the best.

    In terms of the Heckert story, I would view it from the other way around. The problematic ego would not be Heckert’s or Roseman’s but instead it would be the scout’s. As a scout, I would much rather work with a GM I trusted and felt would make the right decisions which could better help further my career than go with a GM that I didn’t trust that could potentially hurt my resume. So in that sense, I agree with your original comment that Roseman is getting more respect from people around the league. It’s the part about him being more comfortable with his own job security leading to specific hires that I don’t really buy.

  19. 19 Aaron Yang said at 12:53 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    yeah i can see what your saying iskar..the man is simply doing his job and trying to pick good scouts. and you do make a valid point. but so does tommy. these are pretty well established guys with good reputations. you would have to be pretty comfortable with your position to hire guys with that sort of pedigree because he is so young when it comes to that part of the game. most of these guys have been in the game for a pretty long time. i’ve been promoted to manager a couple years ago over some guys that have been doing what i was doing for a lot longer…it was hard to manage those guys cause they thought they didnt have to take me seriously cause i was so much younger. age can be a huge factor when it comes to managing…the new young guys never gets the respect in the beginning. and to tell you the truth…i am pretty impressed that he would go out and hire people with those backgrounds and still have control of everything. and if he wasnt really comfortable with his position then i dont see him going out and hiring those guys. i could understand if it was some other GM or a guy thats been doing it for awhile but for a guy like howie and how he came about to become the GM and how young he still is compared to the rest of the league…i give him props for hiring guys that might undermine him or look down on his credentials to be who he is. its a tough position to be in when your the young guy trying to manage a whole bunch of older guys that have been doing the things you came to manage and for almost longer than you have been living.

  20. 20 iskar36 said at 3:12 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    But I think what you’re saying is a bit different from Tommy’s comment. Sure, a young guy has to earn respect, but that doesn’t mean he needs to shy away from quality people. In fact, I can’t speak on your behalf, but I imagine if you can get passed the guys who feel they got overlooked for the management job, those guys with a ton of experience probably are a major asset to any manager. Also, as I mentioned above, the issue is not necessarily being willing to hire those types of people. It is whether those types of people are willing to work for you. That’s why I say I don’t know that we can jump to the conclusion that Howie all of a sudden is comfortable enough to hire more experienced, quality name scouts compared to the past. It could just as easily, and possibly even more likely, be the case that he is now finding more experienced scouts willing to work for him.

    Again, I’m not trying to argue that Howie hasn’t gotten more comfortable as GM. I think that part is very likely true. But I read Tommy’s comment as “Roseman is hiring better/ more experienced scouts because he is comfortable as GM” when I think it is sort of the opposite way around. Better/more experienced scouts are comfortable working with Roseman because they believe he is a good GM. Obviously, that conclusion is pure guess work, but I am personally a lot more comfortable with the idea that our GM doesn’t let selfish reasons (letting his ego/confidence in himself to keep his job with talented people around him) get in the way of making sound football decisions (hiring the best talent that is available).

  21. 21 Eric Weaver said at 11:41 AM on June 25th, 2012:

    ” He spends a lot of time with the coaches, which means they trust him. There is sometimes a disconnect between scouts and coaches. Scouts get mad when coaches don’t develop their guys correctly or play them enough. Coaches think scouts should do a better job of finding them talent. Less filling. Tastes great. Chicken or the egg?”

    Didn’t he just start out as Andy’s assistant? Or at least an intern from Delaware prior to being a scout. I’m sure that’s helped his relationship with Andy considering he has that more personal background first.

  22. 22 TommyLawlor said at 12:04 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    He was an intern and then Andy’s assistant. That’s covered in Mosher’s article. Veach then showed some scouting acumen so they moved him to that dept. Wise choice.

  23. 23 Anders Jensen said at 12:03 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    Tommy, I just finished reading the whole thing, loved every line and it me really miss Derek, Gabe and the whole igglesblog gang, that was a great but short time.
    My favorite part was yours about the 92 team. I really love reading about the old Eagles teams before my fandom was broken in 1999. I also remember your article about the 91 team in last years Eagles edítion of maple stree press.

  24. 24 TommyLawlor said at 12:06 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    Glad you liked the 1992 story. I had a lot of fun writing it. I can remember so much about those games. Some seasons stick with you more than others. ’92 will always be with me.

  25. 25 Anders Jensen said at 1:23 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    One day, I think you should think about writing a book about the Eagles from your point of view.

  26. 26 aerochrome2 said at 12:11 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    Very interested, but waiting on E-Book version. Priced about right, btw.

  27. 27 TommyLawlor said at 5:48 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    They are working on the E-book version.

  28. 28 goeagles55 said at 7:56 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    You should sell an ebook version directly on your website too (in addition to amazon, itunes, or wherever) so you guys get 100% of the money. I think Amazon takes 30% plus a per MB download fee.

  29. 29 TommyLawlor said at 9:20 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    I’ll pass that along.

  30. 30 Alex Karklins said at 7:02 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    FYI: It’s a PDF, which can be loaded onto Kindles, Nooks, or tablets, so there’s no real need to wait.

  31. 31 goeagles55 said at 7:52 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    On a regular Kindle(not Fire or touch), kindle files or .mobi are much more readable.

  32. 32 Eric Weaver said at 12:31 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    Haha. I didn’t know Gabe’s last name was Bevilacqua. Wasn’t that the last name of Jerry and George’s one gym teacher? “Yes, Mr. Bevilacqua!”

  33. 33 Yuri said at 2:38 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    Didn’t know either. Drink the water, is what the name means in Italian.

  34. 34 Cliff said at 10:41 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    Yeah, that was it. LOL.

    From “the Race.” LOL

  35. 35 aub32 said at 4:41 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    Just purchased the almanac. Hopefully it’ll make downtime at the office fly by. I’m sure I’ll enjoy reading it much more than the BR articles which are rarely insightful, often inaccurate, and too often repeated.

  36. 36 A_T_G said at 5:55 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    I like the idea of adding Gabriel. Hopefully he will help improve our success rate is the middle rounds. It doesn’t look like any of his picks were major wrongs, and at least one was a major right.

  37. 37 TommyLawlor said at 9:20 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    I bet you are in love with yourself for that one. Can’t decide if that is brilliant or awful. Definitely creative.

  38. 38 A_T_G said at 9:28 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    Excellent. Blurring the line between awful and brilliant is usually my goal.

  39. 39 TommyLawlor said at 11:11 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    I like to weave a tapestry that covers both of them myself.

  40. 40 Cliff said at 10:33 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    Just bought it. Hopefully this doesn’t suck. 😉

  41. 41 P_P_K said at 10:40 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    This may be a dumb question, but how important are pro scouts nowadays? With college players, coaches and teams sharing tape all over the place, don’t most NFL teams end up seeing the same things? Is it still necessary to have your own guy at a game when you can watch and evaluate tape later? Has YouTube, and such, replaced the need for an eyewitness?

  42. 42 TommyLawlor said at 11:08 PM on June 25th, 2012:

    Scouts are still critical. This isn’t just about identifying talent. Scouts need to judge character, both on and off the field. They talk to people at the school as well as people around the football team. Talent is part, but coachability, work ethic, character, brains, etc. are all part of the make-up of a good pro player. Can’t see all that by watching tape.

  43. 43 P_P_K said at 9:21 AM on June 26th, 2012:

    Makes sense. Thanks.

  44. 44 JJ_Cake said at 12:03 AM on June 26th, 2012:

    Hi Tommy, I’m not interested in an almanac. I’m sat

  45. 45 JJ_Cake said at 12:13 AM on June 26th, 2012:

    Tommy, I am not interested in a preview of the 2012 season because I will wait to read about what’s going on during training camp. I have no interest in buying paper things that will clutter up my home, unless it’s the Eagles cheerleader calendar.

    I also stay away from most pay sites like espn and the nytimes (after I go thru the 20 free views each month). The only thing that will make me pony up is if I think I’ll be getting the proverbial up to the minute scoop on what’s going on, the gossip and drama ( for lack of a better way to put it), the injuries, and the thing that keeps me coming back to your site is that I respect and trust your analysis.

    If you need to make igglesblitz a pay site, I think you’d loose some readers, but I’d pony up… With the caviat that you put up some hot pics of your girl Megan Fox in an eagle bikini 🙂

  46. 46 TommyLawlor said at 1:31 AM on June 26th, 2012:

    Thanks for the honesty. That’s the kind of feedback that is helpful.

    While the Almanac is a preview, it isn’t in the traditional sense. This is 80 pages about the Eagles. That’s not all “here’s how 2012 will play out” stuff. There is a lot of statistical research. I know that isn’t for everyone, but many Iggles Blog fans loved that stuff. There is humor and good general columns.

  47. 47 Anders Jensen said at 3:31 AM on June 26th, 2012:

    I have to say, old fans of the Igglesblog should buy this in an instant. All round great paper and Im sad it was only 80 pages 🙂

  48. 48 P_P_K said at 9:28 AM on June 26th, 2012:

    I agree that Tommy might lose some guys if a fee was instituted, but those of us who appreciate the value would keep this an amazing site.

    Also, did you know that after running out on free views on a web site, you can usually replicate the option by switching to a new web browser or deleting the cookie?