Thursday, January 28, 2010

Draft Stuff

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Let's talk about some players and how they fit the Eagles.

TAYLOR MAYS - S - 6'3, 231

Taylor is the ultimate tease. He has LB size and CB speed. He's a good kid who played at a major football school for 4 years. This guy should be a combination of Achilles, Audie Murphy, and the Hulk. He isn't.

Taylor has great size/speed numbers, but he doesn't have great instincts. He reacts to what he sees, but special Safeties anticipate plays. They see things before they happen. Taylor has never shown this. My biggest frustration with Mays is the fact a guy with his ability isn't more of a playmaker. He had 5 INTs in 4 years as a starter. He has 2 TFLs and 1 FF. Yikes. Let's try to put those numbers in perspective. Troy Polamalu also starred at Safety at USC. He was a 3-year starter and totaled 29 TFLs, 6 INTs, 4 blocked punts, and multiple FFs. He once had 12 solo tackles in a bowl game.

Now...understand what USC did with him. Mays was generally put 10-15 yards deep and told to keep things in front of him. Mays did a very good job of this. USC has been really tough to score against in his tenure. In 2008 they only gave up 10 or more points 5 of 13 games. This year they struggled, but that's because so many young guys were on the field.

At his best Mays can control the deep middle. Put on the tape of the Cal game from 2008. I'm sure all of you have the tape laying around. Mays broke up 4 passes and laid some punishing hits on guys. Cal only scored 3 points and no one was too keen about catching balls over the middle. Unfortunately Mays didn't have enough games like that.

The Eagles could use a guy with Taylor's size, speed, and range. He could become an important player in our scheme. Taylor would sit back and tackle guys that got by Asante or Sheldon. He would clean up misses by the LBs. Don't think Taylor is coming here to be Ed Reed. He just doesn't have those instincts or skills.

There is also a very real possibility that he could turn out to be a pedestrian player. He's got something like 50 college starts and we're still counting his great games on one hand. That's not a good sign. I'm not a huge fan of great athletes as Safeties. Dawk, Ed Reed, Polamalu...these guys weren't as gifted as Michael Huff. He was much faster. That speed doesn't show up on game tape. The other guys play fast. That's why they're stars.

I'm not against taking Mays at 24. He does have tremendous potential. I'll never argue against the Eagles taking a flier on someone with special skills if he has no odd character issues. I think Taylor might be a great player in a Cover 2 system. Think of him as a John Lynch type who could fly down into the box in run support, but still has enough speed to cover a deep zone on pass plays.

Taylor is not a LB. He is a Safety. LBs need to be rugged guys who can handle contact. I knew Thomas Davis would be a good LB. He was a 215-lb DB at Georgia, but Thomas was one of the meanest, most aggressive college players I've ever seen. And that is a great compliment from me. He wasn't scared of anyone. Give him a choice of hitting Larry Allen or Todd Pinkston and he's heading for Larry with no doubts. Taylor can be a big hitter, but he's nothing like Davis when it comes to being a nasty, physical guy.


QBs

There is no ideal QB for the Eagles to pick up this year. This is a motley looking bunch. I do like Jarrett Brown. There are times when he reminds me of Donovan. Brown has a similar build and strong arm. He can run. He's tough. High character guy. The only problem is that he's only got one year as the starter. He makes some bonehead mistakes every now and then. He does things that make you want to send him to Siberia for a month. "Come back to America when you learn not to lob screen passes into heavy traffic!!!" I'd be fine with Jarrett, but only in the late 4th or later. He does have the potential to become a starter.

Dan LeFevour will be gone in the 2nd or early 3rd. I doubt we touch him.

Zac Robinson could be of interest if he slides to the 4th or later. He's had a real strong week, but had a down Senior year. Zac can run and throw. He's experienced. Interesting potential.

I think we'll need to add a young guy at some point in the draft. Let's hope the Eagles feel good about one of these guys.


BRANDON GRAHAM - DE - 6'1, 263

Very good player. Led the NCAA with 26 TFLs. Can play LDE or RDE. Fast, quick, strong, and has a great motor. This is a guy that I'd love to have. Mostly.

The downside is that he's only 6'1. He has short arms. That can be important in the NFL. A blocker can extend his arms into the defender and keep control of him. Elvis Dumervil may only be 5'11, but he's got the arms of a guy 6'5. That helped him beat Jason Peters for a sack this year.

Graham would make some sense for us as a LDE. I know some fans want a huge guy, but finding a big LDE who can get after the QB is hard. There aren't many guys like that in the NFL. We might sacrifice some size with Brandon, but we'd gain pass rush ability. I can certainly live with that.

I'm still not convinced we'll wait for the draft to solve LDE. I see that as more of a Pro Personnel move.


For daily Senior Bowl stuff go to the front page at ScoutsNotebook.

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19 comments:

frankfurtler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

Great reviews of Mays and Graham. Pretty much agree with everything you say. Haven't seen any of the QBs other than Tebow before.

I do think Graham will pan out as he has been playing well against some top tackles and has played well despite his height and arm length disadvantage. The second reason is Graham plays like a real wolverine (the animal). I've never seen that guy give up on a play. I do think he would be a great fit across from Cole.

I've heard a lot that this is the deepest draft in many years. Do you subscribe to that or is that just hype? If it is, it is even more justification to move 2 of our QBs and get some extra picks.

Chris said...

Incidentally, what do you think of DeSean approaching the Eagles for a new contract? You knew it was coming with him hiring Rosenhaus but not sure how much he'll be looking for.

rick said...

I wonder if moving McNabb comes down to what the market is for him. If there were a 1st round pick in the top half of the round, it would be a no-brainer. If there was a 1st rd'er in the bottom of the round and maybe a 3rd rd'er, again I'd think we'd pull the trigger. Same if we had a high 2nd rd'er and maybe a 2nd rd'er the following year. What if the best offer was just a 2nd rounder? I don't think we'd do it. With Vick, they might just take the best deal available whatever it is because he's due his bonus in March, well before the draft when a lot of trades happen. I have trouble seeing the Eagles let him go for a 5th rd'er or less though given their investment in him. He knows their system now and there are things he does better than McNabb, such as rollouts and fakes. The key is whether they are willing to pay him $5M to be Kolb's back-up and whether he would accept not being a starter for 1 more year. If we deal McNabb, I want Vick to stay as Kolb's insurance policy. The most conservative thing to do (and we ARE talking about Andy Reid here) is to trade Vick, give McNabb his final contract year with a healthy OL (Please God) and his full array of young weapons. Also, keep in mind that Andy is fiercely loyal to his players almost to the detriment of the team but I really admire that quality in him nonetheless. It would be really hard for him to trade his 1st draft pick and the guy whose success is so tied up with his own. Plus, Reid has a long history of letting his veterans walk after completing their contracts - Dawk, Tre and Runyon being only 3 recent examples. This has always been extremely frustrating to me - why not cash in their remaining value for draft picks instead of letting them walk away? But this is just how Reid does it. My guess: Vick goes, McNabb for his final hurrah, Kolb extended, and a project QB picked in draft.

Jason said...

Over the past couple seasons, we have made it a point to pick up playmakers in the secondary. We all know about Asante and his INTs. We drafted Demps who was a playmaker in college. Macho showed some playmaking abilities as well. We also signed Sean Jones who had 14 INTs in 3 years before coming here. On top of that, Sheldon has become more of a gambling type CB based on this past season. My question is, at some point do you worry about not having a more physical presence in the secondary? One thing we all watched this season was missed tackles, especially by Asante. I'm curious if it would be beneficial to have a physical player at safety who can make up for some of those gambles by our CBs. That way, if someone gambles, we have a safety over top who can make the tackle and potentially a big hit. I'm not necessarily referring to Mays as a target, but rather to the type of players we may want to target (obviously, some mixture of both is the ideal).

Edward said...

What round would you expect Jason Worilds to go Tommy? If he fell to the bottom of the third or maybe even the 4th i think he could be worth a shot as someone to develop behind Trent Cole. Seems to play with a pretty good motor, got a great first step and looks like he has room to bulk up a bit. Seems a bit like Trent the second, though i never saw Cole in college.

izzylangfan said...

@ Rick

At first blush it would have to matter what they got for McNabb. If the Eagles got what they think he is worth or better than he can be traded with adequate compensation in return. On the other hand, if the Eagles independently think that Kolb can lead them where they want to go and McNabb can't than the decision needs to be made regardless unless you think backup QB McNabb at $12 million is a good idea. So it really depends on how the Eagles brass evaluates their relative value and how they structure the decision tree. Ask Andy in his next press conference?

@Jason

Watching Asante I wonder just what the Eagles were and are thinking. They supposedly had him as one of their blue chip players which means go and get him at any price. But watching him play he gets those interceptions but doesn't cover or tackle well. I doubt this is lost on Sheldon Brown who wants to get paid more and surprisingly had more interceptions this year than ever before. And while Brown had always been a great tackler and an excelent cover guy this year he had too many lapses in coverage. Now, I know his injuries may have effected his coverage but I have learned to be suspicious of those kind of coincidences.

If it was up to me I would get the first blue chip CB who can cover, pay Sheldon and cut Asante.

rick said...

@Izzy

"On the other hand, if the Eagles independently think that Kolb can lead them where they want to go and McNabb can't than the decision needs to be made regardless..."

Good point. If the Eagles think they are at an even playing level right now, then I think they would go with Kolb, with the assumption that he would only get better with experience. I'm sure they are weighing his inexperience and his interception rate, especially if they think they can win it all next year.

Jason said...

@izzylangfan

It seems Asante annoyed a lot of Eagles fans this year, but honestly, I am a bit surprised about that. When he was brought in here, the point was to increase the number of turnovers. The year before, we were near the bottom of the league (if not THE bottom) in takeaways. On top of that, we did not have a single return (Punt, Kickoff, INT, or Fumble) for a TD. Asante was brought here for that very reason on the defensive side of the ball and he has done exactly that. Anyone who watches our defense can see how Asante has improved our takeaways and has made some big plays for us.

That being said, no, he is not a lockdown cover corner or a great tackler. It was a weakness a lot of people were aware of before we signed him. Honestly though, considering how important takeaways can be, I am fine with the weaknesses he has as long as he continues to make plays (which he did this year).

The thing I don't understand is all the love for Sheldon over Asante. Sheldon has just as many gambling mistakes as Asante this year and has not been a consistent INT guy. Sheldon is not better than Asante, and even though the Pro Bowl is largely a popularity thing, Asante was certainly more deserving of the spot, especially considering his role on the team.

IMO, both are quality CBs that have their strengths and weaknesses. I would prefer for Sheldon to stick to his less gambling style of play and leave that to Asante because I think that strikes a a good balance for both corners, but cutting one is way to much of an extreme.

rick said...

@Jason

"My question is, at some point do you worry about not having a more physical presence in the secondary?"

Agreed, and I made this same point after we exited the playoffs. I'd be willing to trade Asante for a shot at Eric Berry.....don't know if anyone would be foolish enough to agree to that though...

Chris said...

@Jason,

We need a fundamental CB who can press and tackle. At the end of the year offenses figured Asante out. He won't do as well going forward as everyone will keep throwing WR screens to his side until he proves he can or will stop it. Either that or he presses when McDermott tells him to (for a change) and starts tackling.

Myron said...

I think Mays has "bust" written all over him in stark red ink.

I think there's a chance the Eagles take Mike Iutapi in the first round. For some reason, I don't think I'll be all that disappointed. If they grab this guy, they could be set at right tackle/right guard for a decade. Value pick.

The more you analyze this year's draft, the more you see that there are quite a few tantalizing prospects that could fit what the Eagles do, but many of them are gambles.

I could make a case for any of these guys, and conversely make a case against them: Carlos Dunlap, Jason Pierre-Paul, Taylor Mays, Jerry Hughes, Brandon Graham, Sean Weatherspoon, Earl Thomas.

So many choices to make. I hope the Eagles make the right ones this year.

Myron said...

Oh yeah, and:

I personally think the smart thing to do would be to grab one of these DE guys (Hughes, Graham, Griffen, Dunlap, Pierre-Paul) when they slip into the second round, because every year, a decent DE/DT is bound to slip into the second round. So here is where a nice set of picks for one of our quarterbacks could come in real handy.

And then they'd probably end up spending their first round pick on a safety or a cornerback (Earl Thomas / Kyle Wilson), or even a guard / tackle like Iutapi if Andy deems it necessary.

Cliff said...

RE: Jason Worlids

As someone who's watched him his whole career at VT, I would draft him sooner than the 5th.

He needed to stay in college 1 more year to show he can be dominant. Too many times this season I felt like he wasn't showing up. He was bothered by injuries all season (in 2008 as well). I think that adds durability concerns, too.

Edward said...

I'm pretty excited about this draft. We have drafted pretty darn well since Howie Roseman got involved with the drafts and last years draft was with him running the show apparently. He interviewed great on PE.com and seems like he's gonna inject some energy into this FO.

Time will tell!

Cheers for the info on Worilds Cliff. 4th or 5th round is probably the best spot to draft a RDE anyway as trent is set there for a good while.

Cliff said...

I'm probably just spiteful toward Worlids for not returning to VT when the D is going to see a lot of turnover. In other words, I've got some underlying bias.

I guess Howie Roseman was "officialy" named the GM. Other candidates were, in fact, interviewed which probably explains the time lag between when we thought he was promotoed to now.

Reading the article on PE.com, Reid had great things to say about Assitant Director of Pro Personnel Louis Riddick. I know little about him, should he be a candidate to fill Roseman's old job?

Edward said...

Igglesblog has a lot to say about Riddick.

Seems he's potentially a very valuable member of our FO.

http://www.igglesblog.com/iggles_blog/2010/01/eagles-front-office-now-accepting-resumes.html

Cliff said...

I should submit my resume. I am the successful architect of a repeat fantasy football championship team that has finished at least in the top 3 for the last 4 years.

Of course, last year I got the 1st overall pick and we only had 8 teams in our league, but nevertheless...

THanks for the link about Riddick, too.

Cliff said...

http://www.igglesblog.com/iggles_blog/2010/01/eagles-front-office-now-accepting-resumes.html

That really is a great link, for those who haven't seen it at Igglesblog.

Riddick is a logical, if not "natural," choice to take Roseman's old job. The article also adds that Ryan Grigson (another interviewee for GM) has now been twice passed over for a promotion, so if one is offered by Heckert, he's likely to move.