Monday, March 1, 2010

Eagles / Combine Talk - Offense

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Let's talk about some prospects at the Combine who might fit the Eagles.  We'll only cover offense for now.

RB

I've talked all year about a guy from Auburn named Ben Tate.  He had a terrific Senior year.  He looked good at the Senior Bowl.  He followed that up with a strong workout.  He's 5'11, 220.  He did well in all the athletic tests.  The thing I love about Tate is that he's a complete back.  He stood out in the blocking drills in Mobile.  He's also a good runner and solid receiver.

A couple of RBs reminded me of Buck.  One is Montario Hardesty of Tennessee.  He had a breakout year and blew me away.  He goes about 225.  Montario posted great numbers in the athletic tests and may have really opened some eyes.  I now wonder if he'll even make it to the 3rd round.  The other guy is James Starks of Buffalo.  He missed the year with a shoulder injury, but goes about 6'1, 218.  He is a N-S runner with some wiggle.  Deceptively strong.  Starks will be a late round pick, but has the potential to be a good NFL player.

Toby Gerhart had a real strong weekend.  He measured in at 6'0, 231.  That makes him a big RB and not just a sledgehammer with feet.  Gerhart posted some real good numbers.  He also passed the eyeball test.  He looked smooth in the running drills.  Most important, he caught the ball in the pass catching drills.  He showed soft hands and looked natural as a receiver.  You wonder if Reid watching Weaver play this year may have opened his eyes a bit.  Could Toby be of interest?  Big Red actually had interest in Brandon Jacobs back when he was in the draft.  Gerhart isn't a huge freak like that, but he's still not your average RB.  Toby is 231 pounds in great shape.  He may play normally closer to 240.  What makes him special is that he has very good feet.  He's nimble.  Most big guys don't have that ability.  Toby can dodge defenders, make tough moves, and get around trash when he's running in traffic.  Most guys turn into Earl Campbell and just lower the shoulder.  I do wonder if the Eagles will have interest or not.

LeGarrette Blount didn't stand out to me.  He also measured in at 6'0, 241.  He's like the less talented version of Gerhart, but with some extra baggage.  I'm now starting to think he won't be a target at all.

I go back and forth with Dexter McCluster.  I'm sure Reid loves his potential, but is he worth a 2nd round pick to a team like ours that already has weapons in DJax, Mac, and Shady?  McCluster weighed in at 172 pounds, a good sign for him.  He didn't stand out at the Combine.  Whats unusual about him is that he's still more of a football player than athlete, despite being tiny.


WR

I"m going to skip guys likely to go in the Top 75.  We're already 3-deep at the top.  Spending an early pick would just be a waste for us.  Donald Jones of Youngstown State caught my eye.  He had a solid day.  Good combination of size, speed, strength, and production.  I need to watch tape on him.

Jacoby Ford is someone I've wondered about if he slides to the late 3rd or 4th.  He has blazing speed.  He has RS ability.  He was productive at Clemson.  I'm just not sure that he's a natural pass catcher.  Both Maclin and Jackson looked very natural in the last couple of Combines and that showed up in their play.  Ford may not be our cup of tea.

I may have undervalued WR Blair White of Michigan State.  He had a terrific season for the Spartans.  I loved his hands, quickness, and route running, but had questions about his speed and potential outside of the slot.  White had a real good showing in Indy.  I also didn't realize Blair was 6'2, 209.  That's good size.  He could be of interest as a late round guy to bring in as a backup.

UConn's Marcus Easley reminds me a bit of Miles Austin.  No, that doesn't mean he just beat Sheldon Brown and Sean Jones for a long touchdown.  I'm referring to the fact that he's big, athletic, and full of potential.  He's also raw.  If we knew that we'd stay healthy at WR I'd love to add Easley.  I'm just not sure he could contribute much in 2010.  If we keep Reggie around then Easley could be a late target.  Marcus has the potential to develop into a good starter.

Stephen Williams from Toledo may be fool's gold.  He's big and has some speed.  He caught the ball really well.  His game tape didn't impress me at all.


OL

The more I watch G Mike Iupati the more I think Reid will covet him.  Does he have a chance to slide down to 24 or would we have to go after him?  I'm not sure that he has much of a chance to make it to us.

T Jared Veldheer has short arms, something the Eagles don't like in their O-linemen.  That is a big point of emphasis for them, actually.  Veldheer had a solid Combine and could be a 3rd round target.  He could play either OT spot in the future.

Chris Scott of Tennessee played LT in college, but he's meant to play G in the NFL.  He is a big guy and fits the Eagles requirements in a blocker.

Shelley Smith and Chris Degeare are G prospects that could be of interest.

Maurkice Pouncey is the only Center prospect to really get excited about.  I still don't have a good feel for whether the Eagles will be interested in him.  He didn't measure in at 6'5, 320 like we hoped.  He magically shrunk down to 6'4, 304.  That is still good size for a C.  It just doesn't make him special.  I've always been of the belief that we'd pass on taking a C early in the draft.  The Eagles seem to prefer taking a guy in the mid to late rounds to develop.  We've never had an incumbent injured, though.  Jamaal Jackson's agent said that he's doing okay in rehab, but won't be on the field til mid-August.  That would give him 3 or so weeks to get ready for the season.  Or we could put him on the PUP list and make do with Cole/McGlynn/? for the first 6 weeks.  Color me confused, highly confused.  I've been asking around to see if anyone has thoughts on Mike McGlynn or AQ Shipley, but all I'm getting  is crickets chirping.  Doesn't everybody obsess on the backup Centers?  What is wrong with these people?


ANSWERS

RE:  Brandon Graham

He is a very exciting prospect, but be careful.  Those 31 reps he did don't mean a whole lot.  Brandon has short arms and a big chest.  The bar didn't have far to go.  The fact that he's 6'1 and has short arms isn't something to sneeze at.  Graham is not a lock to go in the 1st round, let alone the Top 20.


RE:  Hank Fraley

He was a backup to rookie Alex Mack in 2009.  I'm not sure how good Hank is anymore.  The last time I know he played well was 2007.  He could be of interest, but I just haven't watched enough of him recently to have an informed opinion.


RE:  Gerald McCoy

Remember, this is an odd time of the year.  The Eagles could have interviewed him for a number of reasons.  First, maybe they love his potential and are considering a huge deal to try and get up that high.  Not likely, but you never know.  The Eagles could have some other Top 10 target they like.  The meeting with McCoy is a smoke screen to throw off the other 31 teams.  If they hear about an Eagles trade they'll focus on McCoy and not some other player.  The other thing to remember is that these players will all be free agents some day.  The Eagles may just be doing due diligence in that regard.


RE:  Koa Misi

He played DE at Utah.  He was 6'3, 244 at the Senior Bowl and spent most of his time at LB.  I thought Misi showed good LB potential.  He didn't look lost at all, even in coverage.  Tough, physical player with a good motor.  Could be a legit SAM candidate in the 3rd or 4th round.

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28 comments:

dirty said...

Miles Austin, not Austin Miles although everything is usually backwards in Dallas.

Tommy Lawlor said...

Fixed.

I knew typing while doing squat thrusts was a bad idea, but I'm working hard for my Pro Day.

dirty said...

Good Deal. Just wanted you to know I think you are the most insightful writer on Eagles football, and the nuances of football in general.

I've seen every Eagles game since 1989 and you've taught me so much. Commentators and other writers don't seem to know the nuances of the game like you do. Maybe the others just aren't students of the game like you.

Keep up the awe-inspiring work!(preferably while not doing squat thrusts)

Myron said...

Tommy, were you as impressed by Sean Weatherspoon as I was?

I wouldn't mind getting him @ #24 at all. Again, probably the only linebacker I'd be comfortable with the Eagles getting in the first round.

Cliff said...

Do you think the Eagles will try to pursue Thomas Jones? There are so many places Jones could go and be the feature back (or close to it) that I doubt he'd want to sign with Philly anyway.

Tommy Lawlor said...

Thomas Jones wants to be a "running" back. Why would he come to the Eagles?

Seriously, I do think TJ wants to go somewhere that he'll be fed the ball a lot. He'd be an interesting player for the Chargers. I also think he'd be good for a young team like the Lions, but Thomas might want no part of a rebuilding project like that.

Cliff said...

My thinking was he'd want to go to a contender if he feels like he's on the down slope of his career. But that begs the same question: why would he come to the Eagles then?

shlynch said...

I'm with you on your OL thoughts. In fact, if I had to wager right now, I would guess that Iupati would be at the top of the "possibly on the board when we pick" list. He just seems like the type of player we'd like, and he'd solve a real hole on the team. He'd probably even make Cole and Justice better players, in some ways, if he plays as well as projected.

Obviously, there are other positions where they could go, but he may be the rookie that is most likely to have the greatest 2010 impact for the team.

izzylangfan said...

I agree that something has to be done about the offensive line. However, if we are going to draft a first round OL then we need to sign at least one probably two big time free agents because we have too many other needs -- safety, defensive end, corner back and to a lesser extent linebacker and back up running back. I don't think that drafting Lupati solves the problem at center. Thus, I think the only way we draft Lupati is if the Eagles believe he is clearly the best available because I don't think he really fits the strongest need.

Jake said...

Hey Tommy, I don't know why seemingly nobody has addressed it yet, but woulden't Antrel Rolle solve a whole lot of the Eagle's problems? I agree with you in that we should not worry about Peppers, but I think going hard after Rolle is of the most importance in free agency. Kampman would be a nice addition too, but I still think we should look to the draft for DE. Thoughts?

Brian said...

Hey Tommy, great stuff as always.

Derek at Igglesblog and I going back and forth a little bit on why McNabb's play has declined/flatlined in the last three years. (Evidence here- http://mcnabborkolb.tumblr.com/post/420029056/how-good-is-donovan-mcnabb-really-part-2)

Is it the lack of running game? The lack of McNabb running? What happened?

Edward said...

Maaaaaan Kyle Wilson isn't working out at the Combine.

Edward said...

Holy crap Taylor Mays just ran an unofficial 4.24!

Stephen said...

Eric Berry had a 43 inch verticle.

Thats what I call explosion.

We need to draft that man.

T_S_O_P said...

A couple remind you of Buck... Who reminds you of DUUUUUUUUUUUCE? Tate?

Myron said...

Toby Gerhart = white Duce Staley.

Cliff said...

I'd be happy with either Tate or Toby. I'm even more excited about this draft now because all the talking heads were on the radio today saying this is the deepest draft ever. (But don't they say that every year?)

I saw this nugget posted to my hometown paper's web site this afternoon: http://blogs.charlotte.com/panthers/2010/03/vick-expresses-interest-in-panthers.html

Vick says he'd love to play for Carolina, but his reasoning is... he likes the uniforms.

Adam S. said...

Watch the DB's today waiting for Kyle Wilson, I kept thinking I was missing him each time. Then it dawned on me that he wasn't doing the drills, bummer! I was hoping to see what he looked like. Mayock seems very high on the guy, he also is in love with Earl Thomas.

Obviously it was too good to be true about Mays running a 4.24! that just wouldn't be right.

Myron said...

There is some controversy regarding the "official" Taylor Mays time. According to a simulcast done by NFLN, it shows Mays only a step behind Jacoby Ford (who ran a 4.28) and a step *ahead* of Trindon Holliday (who ran a 4.37 or something in the high 4.3s).

Alot of the draft guys who were there also timed him in the low 4.3s on their stopwatches.

I have him at 4.35, personally. There is absolutely no way he ran over 4.4. So even if he is in the high 4.3s, like 4.38 or 4.39, that's still utterly amazing for a 6'3" 230lb guy.

He's a physical freak of nature. Whether he can be an effective safety or linebacker, however, depends on how malleable he is by a good coach.

Cliff said...

I don't understand why it's so difficult to record these times. Don't they have sensors set up?

It also seems ridiculous that scouts are taking their own times from the stands, as the distance and angle from the track can effect the recorded time significantly.

These times can mean millions of dollars for players and teams. Just seems silly.

edinburgheagle said...

I've been trying to find out how the combine times are recorded - as there is no obvious light-gate at the start line - but can't find an official explanation. Wikipedia seems to suggest the time is hand started and finished by the light gate on the end-line. This seems ridiculous to me as it substitutes the athletes reaction time for that of the timer, and the variance in that could easily account for a tenth or two. If the time is recorded another way, please put me right.

Edward said...

Yeah you'd think they could set up a timing system using the video footage or some sort of camera system. The speed gate things seem far too variable. I thought the 40 yard times were off last year, even more so actually. That was mentally attributed in part to the brand new turf though.

arby said...

One thing about Pouncey is that he's played both Center AND Right Guard. That's 2 positions of need and the Eagles love versatility in a player but I don't think you draft him to play guard - we need a center. If you just want a guard, you go get Iupati. In a way, I'd love to do that and cut St Andrews but I think the Eagles want to leave all their Andrews options open for the moment. All that said, I'd really be surprised if we didn't go defense in the 1st round.

edinburgheagle said...

The light gates themselves are incredibly precise. It's just how is appropriate to use them is the question. I suppose they're not used on the start line as it would need to be adjusted to sit just in front of each competitor, and then wiggling your head could set it off early. The other options would be a pressure sensor under the hand/one of the feet, or a starter gun - though you would still need a pressure sensor to rule out false starts.g

edinburgheagle said...

Though I should add that you're right Edward, counting the frames on the tv recording would be more precise than any measurement that involves hand timing in any capacity. It would be more time consuming and less precise than a fully electronic system though.

Netherman said...

NFL.com has a report that representatives for Peppers met with Bears folks.
(http://blogs.nfl.com/2010/03/02/report-peppers-representatives-meet-with-bears/).

'Splain to me how this is not tampering? Set aside whether we should/should not grab him...if we are allowed to talk to people now, why aren't we doing that too?

Netherman said...

One more question...does Haden's 40 time drop him enough to where us jumping to get him in the 1st could be a realistic option?

Tommy Lawlor said...

Guys,

I haven't disappeared. I'm in the process of writing something and will be posting it shortly.

Combine stuff + doing FA previews for PE.com is very time consuming.