Friday, February 5, 2010

Mock & Kolb Talk


I posted a mock draft on ScoutsNotebook and had the Eagles take DE Jerry Hughes from TCU.  I've gotten a few questions about him.  Hughes is reportedly 6'2, 257.  Some people have a concern about taking a player that size to play LDE.  I'm looking at him first and foremost as a pass rusher.  There are big guys we could get to play LDE that go 270 and 280, but I don't think those guys will get after the QB as much as we need them to.  My goal is to give Trent Cole help in the form of a consistent rusher on the other side. 

Hughes might be the best fit of any pass rusher in the entire draft.  He's an odd player to watch.  Jerry doesn't get down in a track stance and just explode off the ball.  He lines up in a conservative stance and then comes off the ball under control.  Remember what Jevon Kearse said about our defense?  He didn't like having to rush under control.  Jim Johnson wanted his DEs to play the run on the way to the QB. 

Hughes is "springy".  He can come off the ball under control and then take off when he sees the QB dropping back for sure.  Hughes is disciplined.  He isn't going to get burned by sucker plays.  There were several plays in the Senior Bowl when guys bit on inside fakes and left the outside open on bootlegs and misdirection runs. 

When Hughes sees 3rd and long he will get down in a track stance and fly off the ball.  He has the speed and quickness to beat OTs and get to the QB.  He totaled 26.5 sacks over the last 2 years. He has good agility, but also will mix in some bull rushes. 

As for size/strength...Hughes isn't huge.  Juqua Parker only lists at 6'2, 250.  Derrick Burgess was 6'2 and about 260 for us.  Hughes played LDE for TCU.  He has muscular arms.  His legs have some thickness.  He's got a powerful core.  Jerry isn't just some sleek pass rusher like Chris Clemons.  I think he can be a complete DE.  He will need to get stronger in the NFL.  He will need technique help.  I'm sure Hughes will have some struggles in run defense initially, but I think he can be a serviceable run defender in time. 

I know there is a lot of interest in Brandon Graham.  I had the Patriots take him prior to our pick.  I like Graham a lot, but I do have concerns about him fitting in our system.  He is a guy that likes to explode off the edge.  He's a speed guy.  Can he play under control?  I'm still studying tape to look a that stuff. 

Think about our scheme and the guys who've been succesful.  Hugh Douglas wasn't a great athlete.  Nor Trent Cole.  Nor Burgess.  These guys had a thick build even though they all played in the 260-270 range.  They played bigger than their size.  They were quick.  They had great motors.  None of them focused on speed.  Graham has the right kind of body, but I wonder if his style of play is exactly what we're looking for.  You never want to pass on talent, but you do need to make sure the guy can thrive in your system.  I could be wrong on Graham.  I'll be checking with my sources to see if the Eagles are interested.  No juicy rumors to report at this point. 


The Eagles recently worked out CFL star Ricky Foley.  He played for BC last year and had 12 sacks.  Foley lists at 6'3, 250.  No word on if the Eagles were looking at him as a SAM or DE.  Foley played his college ball up in Canada so I'm flying blind on this one.  I don't have any input beyond the numbers. 


Readers had some follow-up questions and comments to yesterday's post.  Prem still thinks that taking Kolb in the draft was a bad idea.  I couldn't disagree more.  If you find a QB you believe in you go get him.  Reid did just that by taking Kevin in 2007.  Why take him and then have the guy sit for 3 years?  Isn't that a mis-use of resources.  Not at all.  Most of the QBs taken in the 2nd round in recent years have failed.  Why?  These guys didn't go in the 1st round because they had some issue or limitation that pushed them down.  Kolb played in a spread offense.  He played at a mid-major school.  He also had an average arm.  This is a guy who needed some developing.  He needed time to adjust to playing in a pro style offense.  He needed to adjust to the speed of the game.  He also needed to "master" things so that he could overcome any physical limitations.  Coaches have a saying..."it is better to play a guy a week too late rather than a week too soon."  Make sure the young players truly are ready, especially at QB. 

Also, the NFL is a QB league.  Buffalo had a HOF player in Jim Kelly.  Since he left that team has struggled to find a starter and/or be competitive.  I don't think they've won 4 playoffs games since they lost that 4th Super Bowl.  Never hesitate to keep good QBs around if you can get away with it. 

A couple of people brought up the issue about Kolb throwing over the middle a lot and whether that would lead to big hits and possible injuries to our receivers.  This isn't a huge concern for me.  If Kolb turns out to be as accurate as I think it means the receivers will be able to catch the ball on the move without having to slow down for it or reach behind for it.  That's when you worry about a WR.  He's exposed and in a bad position.  We'll re-visit this issue next year if Kolb is the guy.  Maybe I'm wrong.  I watch a lot of football and there are plenty of small and medium size guys who make a living over the middle. 

Finally, a couple of people wondered about the "infatuation with Kolb".  I think that is based on the way Donovan played to finish the season.  He led us to 2 TDs in the final 10 quarters of the year.  That isn't bad.  It is dreadfully awful.  Having 8 of those quarters come against Dallas only magnified the problem.  When people see a performance like that they want change.  We'll see what happens and whether it was the right thing to do/not do. 


Cliff said...

I feel bad for teams in need of a QB. Bradford and Clausen aren't my ideal picks. Maybe that works in our advantage if we decide to trade McNabb/Vick.

Cliff said...

Your point about Hughes being a very controlled rusher (and how that fits our D) is great. That's something I would never notice unless I really watched, but I'm definitely going to use that to sound a lot smarter next time I'm talking about the Draft.

Prem Prakash said...

It's always a challenge for the student to challenge the teacher, but here I go. Tommy, for all the reasons you stated about his college career, there should be reasonable doubt that Kolb is an NFL franchise qb. I am not saying he isn't, but he has to prove himself. Until he does, I still say the Eagles had more pressing needs in 2007 than taking a qb that was going to need this level of development. If Reid is convinced that Kolb is the guy, then trade Donovan and get Kevin on the field. It's not a matter of weeks anymore. If and when Kolb takes the reigns, I will be very happy to be wrong on this. I just want some proof that the kid is an upgrade over McNabb.

Before this season began, I was thinking the Eagles had a banquet of riches at qb. Not anymore. One of the first rules in poker is that a good hand is only good if you win the pot. Playing good hands that are second best costs guys a lot of money over the course of a night. Donovan is good, but maybe not good enough. Kolb may be good, we don't know. Vick is probably good, but he might be the only one that thinks he's a top 10 qb.

Thanks for hearing me out.

Dominic said...

Tommy, do you think Kolb's status has anything to do with what we think of the qb prospects in this draft? I think a plausible plan of action is extend McNabb for 3 years, trade Kolb and draft a guy they really like but needs some time to patch up the holes in his game. I think that we could a pretty decent draft pick for Kolb (perhaps from the Browns, if Heckert is as high on him as most people say). That way we lock in the potential to be good with McNabb and give him a chance with the weapons he never had aside from one season '04 and maintain the upside of a good young QB. I think it is only fair, especially for a quarterback that has performed pretty well. 16-5 between Baltimore and Dallas with 34 tds and 10 ints. Not too shabby.

Like Prem, I think it is wrong to assume that Kolb will be come a good player just because. Franchise QBs don't grow on trees and the coaching staff knows that so it will be sure that Kolb is ready (like Rodgers was) before trading McNabb away.

Anyways, good stuff about Jerry Hughes. Your opinion is much better than the highlight / lowlight videos on youtube that make a player look like Bruce Smith on one play and Jerome McDougle on the next. What are your thoughts on safety prospects in the draft? I know you have addressed Taylor Mays and that Eric Berry is out of our reach, but what about guys like Earl Thomas or Nate Allen? What do you think of Myron Rolle (he seems to have top-shelf talent but its unclear if he has the desire to play the game).

Cliff said...

I think there's absolutely no chance we trade Kolb. It's far more likely that we keep both QB's for another season.

The absolute worst thing that could happen is McNabb leaves via free agency and we get no compensation (other than a comp pick in the draft). That's far from terrible.

T_S_O_P said...

"I'm flying blind on this one. I don't have any input beyond the numbers."

Welcome to my world ;}

T_S_O_P said...

"He led us to 2 TDs in the final 10 quarters of the year. That isn't bad. It is dreadfully awful."

2nd Half DEN Pass plays called 23 to 10 runs (30%), and before the last drive when we received the ball with 1:41 remaining and where running was th only option, those numbers were 22 pass plays called to 6 rushes (21%).

Against Dallas 1 36 passes called to 8 rushes (18%). Against Dallas 2 39 passes called, to 10 (20%).

What makes me think that during the win streak, despite not rushing the ball as much as some would wish, it was far better than the 80/20 ratio of the last 10 quarters of the Eagles season. A stat that is FAR FAR worse than dreadully awful! Help me understand how any QB change helps?

Edward said...

@ Cliff

You can really see it in Hughes if you watch his tape. He's sits on the line of scrimmage in a LB stance waiting for the run to develop and then fights his way over and often makes the play. He shows by far the best football instincts of all the DE's i've seen any footage of. I sort of noticed it when i first saw him play but i rewatched after Tommy's comments and its a great bit of insight. Once again nail on the head Tommy!

James said...

You are kind of contradicting yourself. Trade Kolb and draft another young QB to develop. You say that no one knows who will be a franchise QB and that they dont grow on trees, so who's to say the one we draft will be a franchise type QB.

I say give Kolb his chances then if it doesn't work out, then find a replacement.

Either way or if any of our QBs are gone, we will need to find a quality backup. Who would you all like to see as this person?

Tommy Lawlor said...

Quick answer TSOP...

With Jamaal out the blocking wasn't good and that showed in our running game.

When you can't run the ball you lean on your passing game. We needed McNabb to come up big. He didn't.

Would Kolb have posted huge numbers and saved the day? Maybe. Maybe not. I do think he would have been more efficient at running the offense, realizing the critical importance of getting 1st downs.

There were players open in each game. Donovan either failed to see them or failed to get them the ball.

Clearly you and I both know that running the ball more is something that should be done, but probably won't happen. I'm going to write something up on the running game, but I've been busy re-watching the Senior Bowl and haven't had time to put something together.

The Colts are in the big game with the #32 running game in the league. How? When they ask the QB to carry the team he's able to do it. Maybe Andy should just trade for Peyton.

T_S_O_P said...

The Colts are most definately the exception. They beat the Dophins holding the ball for how long and scoring how many points? I can't name a single QB other than the one they have who could have the success they do.

I pointed out earlier in post, how the Saints have returned to winning way with a return to balance, even if that means Brees didn't throw for over 5000 yards.

I'm not excusing McNabb but the system IS floored, despite the records.

Ironically, it is my belief that if #36 does not return, it may bring more balance as MM has always been comfortable when he doesn't split the carries between his HBs.

Cliff said...

Speaking of our wonderful running game... any news on the Leonard Weaver front?

Re-signing The Bishop is my priority numero uno this off-season. If the CBA doesn't get resolved (if?), he's really the only player we need to be concerned with re-signing because Avant and Gocong will be RFA's. Those deals will be much easier.

This CBA stuff is turning in to a real mess, but I can't see a "lockout" as many in the media like to float nowadays (to sell papers, boost ratings of their publications). Even Supreme Leader Jerry can't afford to pay for his stadium if games aren't being played. Comments by Goodell make me think he understands that, too.

Myron said...

I've made peace with the QB situation in Philly. I will be fully on board with whatever Andy decides is best for the team. If there's anything Andy knows, it's quarterbacks. I'm fully confident that he'll make the right decision. If he believes that sticking with McNabb for at least another year gives us the best chance to win in the future, so be it. If he believes that it is finally time to move on and start Kolb, so be it also.

I was in love with Jerry Hughes before the Senior Bowl as my premier pass rusher in the draft, but that show put on by Brandon Graham made me salivate over him as a prospect. However, I still like Jerry Hughes too, and it's too bad he didn't make it to the Senior Bowl, because if he had, he would have helped us decide who the better prospect was. Either way, I'll be ecstatic if the Eagles end up with one of the two. I just hope that BOTH of these guys don't pass the Eagles by in the draft. That will suck. If we're stuck with the tag team rotation of Jacqua Parker, Jason Babin, and Victor Abiamiri again for another year, I'll be a sad panda. I'll also be sad if we wait until the 4th or 5th round to pick up another DE "project" who nets 5 sacks over the course of the next 3 years.

Cliff said...

Myron brings up Babin... what's his future with the Eagles? Did we only sign him to a 1-year deal?

It seems to me that he and Clemons fit the same role on D? Can they both make the roster next season if we draft a DE?

Trent Cole
Darren Howard
Juqua Parker
Victor Abiamiri
Chris Clemons
* Draft Pick

Somebody doesn't fit.

frankfurtler said...

Thanks for your insight as always!Just for fun, I appreciate that you have the Cowboys taking the bait on Taylor Mays.

Mr_Boomy said...

Any chance we go get a veteran RB this offseason?

- Chester Taylor, played in similar offense
- Willie Parker, if he can block
- LT, nothing much I just like the guy :P

Cliff said...

I assume you mean if Westbrook retires, do we get a veteran RB this off-season?

I think it depends on what happens with Weaver. If we re-sign him, we don't really need to draft a RB to develop in to a 1-2 combo roll with Shady. If we don't re-sign him, a veteran RB would really be helpful.

I'd love Chester Taylor, but do the Vilkings really let him go? He comes up so big in the receiving game.