Sunday, January 31, 2010

Post Senior Bowl Stuff


Are we all agreed that Brandon Graham is the greatest player in the history of college football? He was terrific in the Senior Bowl. He abused multiple blockers and got pressure throughout the game. I know a lot of Eagles fans will be clamoring for Graham to be the pick at #24. We'll see about that.

One concern I have Graham is how well he fits our scheme. One of the things that Jevon Kearse didn't like about our defense is that the DEs were asked to rush upfield under control so that they can play the run. Graham loves to fly off the ball and attack. I need to watch more tape of him to see if he can be effective when playing under control.

One of the keys to good drafting and team building is finding players that fit your system. You need to put players in a position to succeed. Don't ask them to do something they can't. You don't want to pass on special talent if the fit is a little off, but you do need to be careful about trying to squeeze a square peg into a round hole.

If the Eagles feel that Graham is a special player they'll make a strong push to get him. I talk about this each year. The Eagles are player specific, not position specific. My best example was a couple of years ago when we went after LeCharles Bentley. He was the #1 C in free agency. We made a strong push for him, but Cleveland stole him away late in negotiations. How did we respond? Not by going after the #2 or #3 C. Not by drafting a C early. We let Jamaal Jackson keep the job. We wanted Bentley, not just change. When we lost out on Bentley we stuck with our guy. And that turned out to be a great move.

The Eagles scout between 1500-2000 prospects each year. They whittle that list down to 100-150 names. The Eagles find players they believe in and then go get them. Sometimes that means trading up (Shawn Andrews). Sometimes that means trading back (Kevin Kolb). Last year they really wanted Cornelius Ingram. They waited until the 5th round and took him. It drove me nuts to see them pass on a lot of good TEs in that time, but the Eagles coveted Ingram, torn ACL and all. We'll see how that goes.

Thoughts on some possible Eagles targets:

* DE Brandon Graham --- Dominating performance. Looked quick, fast, and tough. Relentless in his pursuit of the QB. Used his hands well. Played with leverage.

* RB LeGarrette Blount --- Ran hard. Looked good in an offense where he was more of a downhill runner. Showed some athletic ability and speed. Andy Reid liked Brandon Jacobs when he was coming out. You wonder if Big Red will see Blount as someone that would be a great complement to Shady in our backfield.

* RB Ben Tate --- My favorite RB for us. Can block, catch, and run. Had a good overall game. I hope the team likes Ben as much as me. Only a 3rd or 4th round target. Not a great player, but a guy who seems like a perfect fit for us.

* RB Lonyae Miller --- I was impressed with his burst. He's around 220 pounds, but showed good speed. One stat about Miller from the game...during the 2008 season he had 3 TD runs of more than 69 yards. That's impressive. Miller would be an interesting mid-round target.

* DE Austen Lane --- I only saw him at RDE. Didn't stand out. Showed some burst. Effort guy. Wasn't overwhelmed by playing against good competition, but didn't play as well as I hoped he would. Has intriguing size at 6'6, 267.

* LB A.J. Edds --- Picked off a pass late in the game. Has good hands. SAM prospect who can cover and play the ball.

* QB Jarrett Brown --- Up and down game. You can see his physical skills. Very talented guy. I can't see a team considering him before the 4th round.

* S Taylor Mays --- Taylor had a very nice INT in the Red Zone that prevented a score. The throw was slow, but Mays still gets credit for making the pick. I've watched some USC tape recently and I'm getting more and more off the Mays bandwagon. There was also a story from the practices that really turned me off. Sideline reporter Lindsey Soto asked Taylor if he was a LB, SS, or FS? He said "I'm not a LB. I am a Safety." Mays then flexed his arms and added "I'm a strong Free Safety." Remember the scene in Airplane! when Ted Striker told the story and the person next to him grabbed a barf bag? That's the way I felt hearing that story. CBs can be cocky, pretty boy types. Safeties need to be assassins.

I'll be posting notes on the game when I've finished re-watching it and studying each player. Long process. Every player on every play is important.


Chris said...

Great write up Tommy. I like Graham's attitude, effort and talent and hope the Eagles like him. If they like someone else better that is OK too.

Interested in hearing your opinion on some of the CBs like Wright and Robinson, LBs like Weatherspoon and Edds and if they would fit the Eagles and maybe another WR like Alexander or Price.

Seems the Eagles have more needs (holes) than they have in recent years.

Out of curiosity, who do you think is getting overrated?

Tommy Lawlor said...

I didn't say much about the DTs or DBs. I need to study the game to accurately talk about them.


I wrote something about Kurt Warner's retirement.

Myron said...

Also, RE: Taylor Mays -- there was a story that he was strutting around on the sidelines lifting his shirt to show off his chiseled abs to other players. If that's true, then, I mean, COME ON. If you want to show off your abs, go to Venice Beach, Taylor. If you want to play football, knock that crap off.

I'll be pissed off if the Eagles spend a first round pick on this flake.

T_S_O_P said...

Tommy, back in '06 (was that Scout Notebook's first?) there was lots of questions about whether we should target Bunkley or N'gata (sp?). The thought then was Bunk was a better fit for our system as he would be the better 1-gap quick penetrating tackle and therefore the better choice for the Eagles. I know nothing of Graham, bit were are entering the 2nd year of McD and maybe systems are for tweaking if they feel the player is secial enough.

Tommy Lawlor said...

@ TSOP...

That's what I was getting at on the original post. If the Eagles think Graham is another Trent Cole then they may go grab him at 24.

I haven't got any good rumors to pass along at this point. We have to guess about what the Eagles want for now.

T_S_O_P said...


A bottle of Pickled Partridge Ale helped me miss my point, where the sentence went? Nobody knows. The point was we got Bunk because of his fit as a 1-gap penetrating DT and then converted the system so that both DTs have 2-gap responsibility. To rip one of your favourite sayings "color me confused". Ish, if I'd of known then, I'd of joined those arguing for the big Samoan.

Cliff said...

Ahhhh, we were so close to drafting N'gata. Like 1 pick away, right? Having watched Bunkley play against my Hokies on a few occassions, I never thought he was that impressive anyway. Of course, I'm glad he's an Eagle.

I wonder if we would've taken him instead of Bunk had Baltimore taken someone else.

Cliff said...

Rather, I wonder if we would've taken N'gata instead of Bunk had Baltimore picked someone else.

Tommy Lawlor said...

We took Bunk when we were a 1-gap team. We changed a bit in 2007, but it wasn't until 2008 that we went full time 2-gap. Patt and Bunk combined for 7 sacks back in 2007. That should give you an idea that things were different.

Bunk is an unusual guy. He's athletic, but is also strong as an ox. He can play in either system. He's got the quickness to get upfield, but is also powerful enough to engage OL and shed blocks.

One of the reasons we may have started playing 2-gap is that Bunk and Patt showed some much promise at controlling the LOS.

T_S_O_P said...

@ Cliff

I think we were a little further than that, Buffalo picked the Safety (crazy) and Cleveland picked Wimberly (sp) a 3 - 4 rush OLB

T_S_O_P said...

@ Tommy

I thought the reason was the LSU DL maestro who retired last year?

Tommy Lawlor said...

Pete Jenkins is the man who got JJ to switch to the 2-gap system. I'm wondering if the play of Bunk and Patt isn't what made Jenkins able to sell his argument.

If Corey Simon and Darwin Walker were our DTs there is virtually no chance that Jenkins could have sold the idea of change. Those weren't the kind of DTs who had any interest in fighting OL and trying to shed blocks. They wanted to attack upfield.

Edward said...

DeSean had a good showing in the probowl, nice to see. He had a fantastic cut block of Woodley on an INT as well. Mini Hines Ward!

Edward said...

DeSean had a good showing in the probowl, nice to see. He had a fantastic cut block of Woodley on an INT as well. Mini Hines Ward!

Edward said...

Didn't really see much of McNabb play. Stats tell he had a shocker! Any thoughts, has a poor pro bowl concinved you its game over? haha

izzylangfan said...


The Eagles went after Bently in a year when it was widely reported as a done deal before free agency opened. Then in 2009 they were interested in Brown only to find that Brown apparantly had worked a deal before the free agency signing period. My point, besides the fact that cheating is rampant, is that makes two times the Eagles targeted a replacement for Jamal Jackson. Now maybe the Eagles like Jackson and it is just that Reid likes to have an elite center. This may be because McNabb is so mobile and can often easily evade the end coming around the corner. Pressure up the middle is more deadly, however. The Eagles want to stop it on offense and need more of it on defense.

Tommy Lawlor said...

The Eagles did not make an offer for Jason Brown. I asked sources about that and was told it didn't happen. Just a rumor.

Cliff said...

Yeah, if the Eagles weren't satisfied with J. Jackson, they wouldn't have given him that big contract after he took over the starting job for good.

Myron said...

That sports talk commentator on WIP is talking about how the Eagles are the "front-runner" to get Julius Peppers this coming year from the Panthers. Ugh. Jevon Kearse 2.0?

Also, Tommy & guys: you can't tell me you weren't shocked by McNabb in the Pro Bowl. Now I realize it's the Pro Bowl and it's mostly irrelevant, but of ALL the quarterbacks playing in the game, he was the least effective. In a game in which practically no press coverage or blitzing is allowed, he throws multiple interceptions (and several that should have been interceptions) and generally misses all of his targets minus one or two by a country mile. Was he TRYING to look bad in this game?

Netherman said...

As much as I loved Graham, I want the Eagles to bring in Kampman and spend our first on the best CB we can get. I also would not be upset if Iupati fell to us and we took him. He did not show well in the game, but he looked fantastic otherwise. Juan does a great job with later draft round picks, but he can make 1st rounders look brilliant. Snag Hughes maybe in the second and we could develop a really solid D line with depth and youth. I don't want to draft a FS high...hopefully we give Macho another year to see what we have there.

Also love your call on Tate...I would much rather see us take him than Blount.

Cliff said...

Julius Peppers now >>> Jevon Kearse then

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

Graham looks great. Taylor Mays scares me.

Tommy- Who are some players to watch in teh TExas vs The Nation game this weekend?