Friday, April 30, 2010

Mini-Camp Stuff

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We found out quite a few interesting things after the first practice session of the 2010 season.  One thing has to be stressed.  Just because guys lined up somewhere today does not mean that is where they will play.  The coaches are in a tough bind.  They want to experiment with certain guys.  They also need guys to fill some spots where we are unsure of the depth chart.  For instance, LB Keenan Clayton was told last weekend that he would play the WLB position.  This week he's actually at SAM.  At 6'1, 225 I doubt he has a long future at SAM.  Sure, we could bulk him up, but I think this is just a matter of helping practice to run smoothly.  We've got a bunch of WLBs.  Clayton played SAM in college so he can line up there and be functional.

Macho Harris was the starting FS.  We've heard Big Red talk about the fact he'll play Cb.  I'm guessing that the coaches wanted someone who knew where to be and could help the other guys to line up correctly.  Using Macho at FS for the weekend makes some sense.

Joselio Hanson was the starting RCB.  I said earlier today that he had zero chance of actually getting that job.  I still think that is true.  He just was the right fit for the weekend's practice.

We'll see guys shifted around this weekend.  The coaches are experimenting and will keep an open mind about how best to use the versatile players we've amassed for the 2010 season.  Some notes of interest:

* OC --- Mike McGlynn and Nick Cole split time at Center.  No word on Mischa Barton.  I'm happy that Mike is being given a chance.  I loved him at Pitt.  I have faith in Nick, but it would not shock me to see McGlynn win the job.

* DL --- First unit:  Cole, Bunk, Patt, Juqua.   Second unit:  RE Tapp, Laws, Dixon, LE Graham.  Teo was the LDE on the #3 group.

* Max Jean-Gilles is missing camp because he had Gastro-Bypass surgery.  He had a band put in (or on?).  Good for Max.  I'm not his biggest fan, but it isn't personal.  I've heard he's a pretty good guy.  My beef is that he was too big and not mean enough.  Guys with his natural size should be bullies.  I hope Max comes out of this a lean, mean, blocking machine.  From now on he is Dewey Oxberger.

* Early reports from the Eagles beat writers made it sound as if Kevin Kolb looked pretty good, but that Mike Vick was struggling.  No surprise there.  Vick has never been a gifted practice QB.  I remember watching him in Training Camp in ATL when he would struggle at times in the 7-on-7 drills.  QBs should shine when they don't face a pass rush.

* Stewart Bradley is back.   He is on the field and moving around pretty well from what I gather.  That is great news.  Boy did we miss Disco Stew in '09. 

* No word yet on whether Trevard Lindley looks like a combination of Asomugha, Revis, and Troy Vincent.

* The Eagles added a couple of newbies.  Rookie FA DT Darryl Jackson is here.   Greg Isdaner returned to the team.  Failed physicals opened holes for them.  OG Shawn Murphy and rookie Charles Alexander both failed.  That sounds so harsh. 


The guys are running around in shorts and shirts so you expect everyone to look pretty good.  What you're hoping to see is if someone stands out.  I watched a couple of practice clips and Jason Peters looked terrific in the footwork drills.  He's so much more fluid and agile than the rest of the OL that it isn't funny.  That is just God-given ability.

I am curious to see how the OC battle plays out.  I'm happy that it is an open competition.  I'm sure McGlynn has been dying to get on the field.  He was a 4-year starter at Pitt.  Watching games has to drive him nuts.  At the same time, Cole has been a starter for the last year and a half.  You can bet he doesn't want to sit.

I'm not sure what to make of Juqua Parker being the starter at LDE.  Tapp said he was told by Reid that he was coming here to start.  Could be Juqua is there just to help keep the practice sessions smooth.  I fully expect Tapp or Graham to win that job.  The x-factor here is if the team is trying to deal Juqua and wants to promote the notion that he's a projected starter.  I doubt that's the case, but the Eagles are a crafty bunch when they want to be.

The battle at RCB may not happen for a while.  Hanson started because Macho is still at FS and Ellis Hobbs isn't ready to go.  We need those guys competing to really know what's going on.

I am curious about FS.  I'm hoping Nate Allen gets that job soon.  He has to earn it.  Nothing is given to a rookie.  I think Nate is ready to handle the job and the more reps he has, the better.  Him taking that spot would free up Macho to go to the slot or RCB. 

I know I said I'd talk about McDermott today.  I'm going to push that off til tomorrow.  I don't have time to focus on writing out my thoughts and adding the proper research today. 
___

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Couple of Things

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I did a post-draft podcast with the guys from EaglesFanCast.  It went over an hour so Chuck split the show into a couple of segments.  The first one is posted.

-Link-


HIGHLIGHT VIDEOS

One of the cool things about the internet is the ability to see highlights of draft prospects.  A few years back a guy named Toby and I would scour the web in search of videos.  They were hard to find.  Now you just go to YouTube.  Agents, schools, and fans put out some really cool vids. 

Derek at IgglesBlog found a real fun video of OT Jeraill McCuller.  Check it out and it will get you excited.

-Link-

The one thing you have to remember with most videos is that they are highlights.  The point is to show you the player at his best.  That video doesn't show McCuller in pass pro against top competition very much.  Ultimately, that is what will decide whether he makes it in the NFL or not.  Watching McCuller mash on undersized LBs is great fun, but doesn't really help you judge him as a prospect. 

I do think Jeraill has a shot to make the team, but it will be tough because he doesn't have good feet.  Pass blocking is real tough for him.  We'll see how he takes to pro coaching.  He played in a pro style system at NC State and got good coaching.  What we see may be as good as he's gonna get.  You just never know how a guy will handle the NFL.  I remember watching Todd Herremans back in 2005 in the Cactus Bowl (D2 all star game).  He struggled with edge rushers in that game and I gave up on him as an OT.  We drafted him and Juan coached him up.  I got to Training Camp and Todd was the #1 LT because Tra was having back issues.  Pro coaching made a huge difference with Todd.  He was nowhere near his ceiling when we got him.  McCuller might be. 


KOLB EXTENDED

Kevin Kolb signed a 1-year extension that keeps him here for 2010 and 2011.  He wasn't due to make much money in '09 and the Eagles wanted to pay him like a starting QB.  He's now making more than Mike Vick so that will eliminate some potentially annoying questions from the SalPals of the world.  Kevin made a comment about "being able to put this behind us".  Mike Florio of PFT instantly assumed that meant the contract had been an issue.  Is everything a friggin' conspiracy?  Do we really have to read into every comment, looking for the most negative possibility?  Maybe Kevin hates the business side of football and is happy that he doesn't have to worry about any contract issues for 12-18 months.  It doesn't necessarily mean that he was upset with the Eagles or that he was overly-focused on his deal.  I love Florio and PFT, but the desire to find some hidden meaning in every set of comments does drive me a bit crazy. 


McDERMOTT, SCHEME

I'll write out some thoughts on this subject on Friday. 


MACHO MAN

Macho Harris will play CB this year.  Is he fast enough for the outside?  Maybe.  Macho ran 4.68 at the Combine.  That isn't fast enough for CB.  However, if you remember last year all of the DBs at the Combine ran slow.  It seemed like something was wrong with the timing system.  At his Pro Day Macho ran better.  Here's the info from Gil Brandt:

Virginia Tech CB Victor ‘Macho’ Harris (5-foot-11 1/8, 197 pounds) does not have the fastest straight-line speed of those in this year’s defensive back class, but he relies on his quickness. He posted a senstational 4.0-second short shuttle at the Hokies’ pro day on Thursday. This ran a 3.98-second short shuttle at the combine last month that placed him second among all participants.  Harris’ other numbers were also solid. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 and 4.50 seconds, had a 34-inch vertical, a 10-foot, 1-inch broad jump and did 13 bench-press reps.

I honestly don't know what I think of Macho as a CB.  I loved him at Va Tech, but he was very similar to Asante in terms of gambling.  Can we afford 2 CBs that play like that?  Heck, maybe that's what they want.  I'm as confused as everyone when it comes to RCB and what will happen. 
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Draft Review is Finally Done

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Sorry for the long delay.  I wanted to write out something after taking an extra look at a couple of players.  I also wanted to include the UDFAs.  The Eagles kept signing guys and that delayed things.  Anyway...here goes:

2010 Draft Review 

It is kinda long (about 14 Word pages) so I didn't bother posting it here.  Let me know if any of the links don't work.  Let me know if I made any major mistakes.  I've read the thing several times and if I haven't caught the error yet, I never will. 


NEW KID

The Eagles claimed OG Shawn Murphy off waivers the other day.  Good.  He was one of my favorite O-linemen a few drafts ago.  He's likely just a camp body at this point, but we'll see.  I haven't watched him in the NFL.  He has good size at 6'4, 315.  Played LT and G in college. 


ANSWERS

RE:  Tapp vs Graham

Huge difference.  Graham was dominant in college.  Tapp was an effort guy.  Darryl is an effort guy in the NFL.  Brandon is special because he combines speed/quickness, skill, and effort.  You never know what happens when guys get to the league.  Brandon could turn out to be a bust.  He also has the potential to become a star pass rusher.  Tapp could be a real solid player for us, but isn't likely to ever be a difference maker. 

I'll write more about Graham in the next couple of weeks.  I'll re-watch several games and we'll try to get detailed as to what he does and what he can do in the NFL.  


RE:  Earl Thomas vs Nate Allen

I'll be interested to see if Earl starts right away for Seattle.  We needed someone ready to challenge for the FS job from day one.  I think Nate has a great chance to start for us.  Earl might be more of a project.  He only started for 2 years and spent most of his time playing against spread teams.  It will be fun to see if Nate can outdo Earl or if in fact Earl does become a special NFL player. 
___

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Column is Up

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I'm still working on the long Draft Review.  For now you'll have to settle for my newest PE.com piece of work. 

-Link-


Man on the Corner

The Eagles added another UDFA, Arizona CB Devin Ross.  I thought he looked good when I watched tape of him over the summer.  I wasn't as impressed during the '09 season.  He was incredibly productive.  25 pass break-ups over the last 2 years.  61 solo tackles in '09.  That's a crazy amount. 


LT ?

Someone asked about my comment that I wanted a player to compete with King Dunlap for the backup LT spot.  I haven't heard any inside scoops on King.  I only know what Andy says or Dave writes.  And King is rarely a subject that gets brought up.  I don't know that the Eagles had any OTs specially targeted in the draft.  We know they spent time with Jared Veldheer.  He doesn't have long arms, which is usually a key thing that Reid and Castillo prefer.  There were a lot of comments about the quality of the OT class this year.  It was a good group, but was real top heavy.  Once you got past Saffold and Veldheer things started to get mediocre.  It sure didn't seem like the Eagles found anyone that really interested them. 

I'll be writing notes on Austin Howard in a day or two.  He is likely here as the #3 LT.  I want to watch more tape to offer the best opinion possible. 
___

Monday, April 26, 2010

UDFAs

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The Eagles finally let PE.com post the list

I won't go into detail now, but will mention a thing or two about some guys:

OT Austin Howard - good I-AA LT.
OT Jeraill McCuller - run blocking RT.
OG Zipp Duncan - played LG and LT.
QB Joey Elliott - showed talent, but was inconsistent.
FB Chris Zardas
WR Pat Simonds - big guy who dominated at his level.
WR Kevin Jurovich - polished receiver with great hands.
WR Blue Cooper

DT Charles Alexander
CB David Pender - up and down player with very good potential. 
CB Josh Morris


Howard is the most interesting player.  Here is his Pro Day info from Gil Brandt:

Offensive lineman Austin Howard (6-7 3/8, 333) ran 5.42 and 5.40 in the 40, had a 30.5-inch vertical leap, 9-1 broad jump, 4.62 short shuttle, 8.10 three-cone drill and had 19 bench press reps. His arms measured in at 34 inches.

He shows up on game tape as well.  Howard has legit NFL ability.  He has to learn to bend his knees and sink his butt.  He bends at the waist and reaches for defenders.  That will get you killed in the NFL.  You must bend at the knee. 

I think the best player is CB David Pender.  I had him rated as worthy of at least a 6th round pick.  He has good size and runs well.  He was impressive at the Combine. 
___

I am Still Alive

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Sunday was quiet for me.  I watched several football tapes to check out our new Eagles, but did very little writing.  I was in post-draft coma.  I caught up on some TV (Treme is a good new show) and sorta vegged a little, but now it is back to the grindstone. 

I am in the process of writing a lengthy Eagles Draft Review.  I'm on page 387 right now and I haven't even covered a single pick yet.  I really like to set the scene.  Joking, of course.  I'll hopefully have the review posted on Tuesday morning. 

I do like Trevard Lindley more now than I did on Saturday.  I still have some questions, but he does have good feet, hands, and instincts.  That is something that a quality coach like Dick Jauron can work with.  

Rather than trying to write out a specific post I'm going to answer some questions.


RE:  Any interest in John Henderson

He probably expects to be a starter.  I'll pass.  If he was open to being a role player I'd absolutely be interested.  I have wanted to see a monstrous guy in the middle (not bulky, but actually tall).  I'd love to see him and Dan Klecko play DT together.  They could design a stunt where Klecko ran through Henderson's legs and confused all the blockers. 


RE:  Brandon Graham

I think very highly of him.  I had a talk with my buddy Ryan right after the Senior Bowl.  I told him that the question NFL teams had to answer was whether this guy is Dwight Freeney or LaMarr Woodley.  Obviously the Eagles thought he was a lot closer to Freeney. 

I love Brandon because he combines skill, athleticism, and effort.  Guys like that are not easy to find.  Some guys are athletes.  Some guys are grinders.  Some guys are polished players.  Very few players have all 3 traits. 

Any notion that he was going to last anywhere near pick 24 is out the window.  I did some checking over the weekend and there were multiple teams interested.  Peter King also reported that he knew a few teams who were upset when Graham was picked by us at 13. 

How does Graham compare to Trent Cole?  Graham is almost 30 pounds heavier than Trent was at this time back in 2005.  Graham  posted near identical numbers in the 40, 3-cone, and short shuttle.  That should tell you that he's a pretty darn good athlete.  He doesn't have the lower body strength that Trent did.  Graham dominated the Senior Bowl.  Trent was "okay".  Graham dominated at Michigan.  Cole was productive at Cincinnati.  Brandon has the higher ceiling.  He could be a special pass rusher.  Trent has obviously established himself as a very good NFL player while Brandon is still just a prospect. 


RE:  Why so many UDFA WRs?

We do this every year.  Just as other readers commented, it is done to keep all the receivers fresh in the passing drills.  Most of the guys are just bodies.  Kevin Jurovich is a player that some scouts really like.  He runs good routes, knows how to get open, and has very good hands.  Pat Simonds has great size, but was very up and down at the Shrine Game. 



RE:  Tony Washington

Good player and prospect.  His character issue is so bizarre that I don't know if you can bring him onto an NFL team.  Would the media handle that well?  Fans?  I was told he was a good kid at Abilene-Christian, but some incidents stay with you for life. 
___

Saturday, April 24, 2010

7th Round - DT, S Added

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The Eagles had a pair of Comp picks at the end of the 7th round and took two players that I'm shocked were still on the board.

DT Jeff Owens
S  Kurt Coleman

Jeff is 6'1, 304.  He did 44 reps at the Combine and is a really powerful guy.  At the Senior Bowl he was one of the best DTs at shedding blocks.  Here are notes on him:

Stout, strong DT had a solid comeback in 2009 after tearing his ACL in '08. Shorter build makes him tough to block. Owens has a big upper body and plays with a lot of power. Able to stack and shed. Uses his hands well. Effective against double teams. Knows how to hold his ground. Not much of a playmaker. Only had 13 TFLs in his career. Showed some athletic ability early in his career. Ran a sub-5.00 40 at his Pro Day. That's good speed for a DT. Did 44 reps at the Combine. Barrel chest and short arms helped.

Played in the Senior Bowl.

Mid to late round prospect. Could be a real good backup. Showed starting potential prior to ACL injury.


Kurt is one of my favorite players in the whole draft.  Every time I watched Ohio State to try and study someone I would see Coleman making play after play.  He lacks ideal size at 5'10, 192.  He isn't a great athlete.  This kid is just a tremendous football player.  The Eagles should be ecstatic to have him.  I think Coleman will be a starting Safety in the NFL in due time.  I project him to Mikell's backup for now.  Notes:

3-year starter who I like more and more as I watch him. Not a great athlete. Not a physical specimen. Just a good solid Safety who got better each season and developed into a real good player. Football player, not an athlete. And I mean that as a great compliment. Finished his career with 9 INTs, 10.5 TFLs, 5 FFs, 13 PDs, and a pair of blocked kicks. Equally good against run or pass. Smart player. Knowledge, instincts allow him to jump routes. Covers the slot receiver in some sets. Not a natural centerfielder, but he can cover some ground. Made a great play in the early 4th Qtr against Michigan when he got over to the sideline and picked off a pass. Went up high for the ball and made an impressive grab. Held on as he fell to the ground. Hits with power. Solid tackler. Takes good angles in pursuit. Coleman got suspended by the Big 10 (+1) for a questionable hit on Illinois QB Eddie McGee. Didn't look like a dirty play to me.

Kurt didn't have a great postseason. He was up and down at the Senior Bowl. That game shows which players have the most pure talent and athletic ability. That's not Kurt. He did okay at the Combine. That's not his forte either. You need to see him playing for his team in a real game to appreciate what a good player he is.

I think he'll go in the 4th or 5th round.

One thing that I really love this year is that we drafted veteran Safeties.  We didn't go for athletes or projects.  We added guys that know how to play the position.  They just have to learn our scheme. 
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Another LB in the Fold

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The Eagles traded a 2011 6th round pick to get a pick in the 7th round.  They took ILB Jamar Chaney from Mississippi State.  Real interesting player.  Lots of ability. Could be a MLB or WLB for us.  Isn't ideal at shedding blocks, but has the potential to be good at that.  Just needs to do it on a consistent basis. 

Notes:

3-year starter. Missed almost the entire 2008 season due to a broken leg in the season opener. Played WLB in 2006 before moving to the middle. Had a strong Senior season. Led the Bulldogs in tackles. Added 2 INTs, 2 FFs, and 4.5 TFLs. Moves well laterally. Flows to the ball. Fills well. Does a good job of scraping to the ball. Can shed blocks, but it isn't his strength. Prefers to slip blocks if he can. There are some plays when he'll throw his hands into an OL, shed the block, and get the ball. Looks like a terrific prospect on those plays. Other times you see him dipping and dodging. That's okay for the SEC, but can be deadly in the NFL. Gets through trash well. Good range. Wrap-up tackler. Takes good angles to the ball. Has some athletic ability. Agile. Gets very good depth on his pass drops.

Mid-round target.

Great value pick.  That seems to be the theme for today.
_

Great Scott, Eagles Add RB in 6th Round

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Sorry for the cheesy headline.  You have to be a little creative at this point in the draft.  The Eagles picked LSU runner Charles Scott.  I love this pick.  He comes here to be our #3 RB.  Short yardage situations will have a whole new look with Leonard Weaver as the lead blocker for the 5'11, 235 Scott.  Notes:

Big power runner had a great year in 2008, 217-1174-18. Injuries and other issues slowed him down as a Senior and limited him to only 542 yards and 4 TDs. Played some FB as a Senior. Proved to be an effective lead blocker. Downhill runner. Has good straight-line speed. Runs with authority. . Arm tackles won't get him down. Runs over defenders when he's able to build up a head of steam. Good burst. Has okay feet. Able to make cuts on the move. Scott has good vision and is also nimble for a big guy. Those skills allow him to break off some longer runs than the normal power runner. You might want to think of him as similar to Jamal Lewis when he was at Tenneessee, although I don't think Scott has as much speed as Lewis did. Can be a workhorse runner. Okay receiver on short stuff. Missed 4 games and the Senior Bowl due to a shoulder injury late in the '09 season.

Mid-round pick could turn out to be a steal. Lots of potential.

We still have a pair of picks at the end of the 7th round.  OL?  CB? 
___

5th Round Roundup

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The Eagles added a pair of players in the 5th round.

DE/LB Ricky Sapp
WR Riley Cooper

Sapp is a real interesting pick.  He played DE at Clemson.  I projected him as a 3-4 OLB.  Sapp is 6'4, 252.  That's okay size for a DE, but he always looked like more of an athlete than a physical guy.  I wonder if we're bringing him in here to fill the Chris Clemons role.  He would be a DE/LB/athlete and play a lot of roles.  We could try him at SAM, but I think Sapp is best served as a pass rusher.  Notes:

Played DE for the Tigers. Ricky is 6'4, 250. He hurt his knee at the end of the 2008 season, but played every game this year. He had 14 TFLs and a couple of FFs. He's quick off the ball. He's athletic. Gets washed out on run plays by TE. Ricky is thin and isn't a very rugged run defender. Good pass rusher. Quick. Good shoulder dip. Agile, athletic. Likes to get down in a track stance. Good COD. I have concerns about whether he could play DE in the NFL. I think he's best suited for OLB in the 3-4. That would let him attack off the edge without having to take on OTs on every single run play. Had 17.5 sacks in his career. Also had 4 FFs.

I think 3-4 OLB is where he'll end up. Probably a 2nd round pick. Could slide into the 3rd round.

Cooper gives us a big WR, something I wanted.  He is 6'3, 222.  Cooper can beat press coverage and catch the ball with a defender all over him. Could be a good Red Zone threat.  Good STs player.  NotesL:

Developed over time into a good prospect. He can beat press coverage because of his size and strength. Tough, physical WR. He knows how to get open. Occasionally will push off, but is subtle about it. Runs pretty good routes. He lacks ideal speed and quickness, but makes up for that because of his size and hands. He can pluck the ball. While he lacks ideal speed, Riley runs well enough to play in the NFL. He will drop passes on occasion and that is one of the things that will hurt his value a bit. That is a mental / concentration problem and not a physical issue. Caught a skinny post vs SoCar and took it all the way for a 68-yard TD. Has good RAC ability. Caught 30 passes in 3 years. Then caught 51 as a Senior. Averaged more than 18 yards per catch and added 9 TDs.  Ran 4.56 in the 40. 

Solid showing at the Senior Bowl. Good athlete. Has put aside a baseball career for now to focus on the NFL.

Should go in the 3rd or 4th round. 

Both players were great value picks.  They slid because of concerns, but each guy has the potential to be a good role player or possibly starter in the NFL. 
_

4th Round Picks - Role Player Roundup

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The Eagles added 3 players in the late 4th round. 

LB Keenan Clayton
QB Mike Kafka
TE Clay Harbor

I like these picks. 

Clayton comes here to be our Nickel LB and a STer.  He is 6'1, 229.  He excelled in coverage for the Sooners.  Think of him as an Ike Reese type, but with much better athletic ability.  Here is a limited write-up I did on him:

Undersized LB, but talented and productive.  2-year starter.  Good tackler. Good blitzer.  Had 6 sacks in his career.  Excellent athlete with good coverage skills.  Picked off 3 passes in his career.  Broke up 15.  Had a very impressive 8 FFs.  Showed really good athletic ability at his Pro Day:  4.57, 10-7 BJ, 6.85 3-cone. 

Projects to Nickel LB in the NFL. 


Kafka is a good QB prospect.  He is the kind of player the Eagles like, from a size and skill set perspective.  He lacks ideal experience, but had a real good postseason and did himself a lot of good.  We need a backup to develop behind Kolb.  Kafka is 6'3, 225, good size for a QB.

Real interesting prospect.  Only a full time starter as a Senior.  Had a few starts due to injuries prior to that, but was hardly the most experienced guy in the world.  Mike had a good Senior year and showed a lot of promise.  Too bad he is out of eligibility.  I'm not sure he's ready for the NFL, but Mike does have potential. He had Northwestern up on Penn State when he got hurt and had to leave the game. Kafka is a leader and tough guy. He has some athletic ability. He's accurate, but I do have concerns about the fact he comes from the spread offense. Can he make pro throws?  Most of his passes went to receivers that were wide open by the design of the play. That's great in college, but in the NFL a passer must be able to make a good throw to a tightly covered receiver. Had a crazy bowl game against Auburn.  Kafka was 47-78-532. He threw 4 TDs and 5 INTs.

I was impressed with his Pro Day throwing.  His motion looked tighter and more efficient.  His passes were accurate and had good velocity.  Decision-making is still a mystery because of the spread offense. 

Kafka played in the Shrine Game and helped himself. He led the game-winning drive. He made some pro throws. His passes lack the kind of velocity you ideally want, but he was accurate. He did throw at least one downfield ball. You could also see his athletic ability on the play that set up the TD. Kafka responded well to the pressure of the final drive. He didn't panic at all and did a good job of running the offense.

Mid-round target.  Lacks ideal experience and comes from a spread offense.  I do like his potential.  Might go in the 3rd, but I think of him as a 4th rounder. 


Harbor, 6'3, 252,  is a guy that I've followed all year.  This isn't some guy who just had a good Pro Day and got scouts attention.  Really good player.  Here is my report on him:

Athletic small school player.  Good receiver.  Caught 40 or more passes each of the last 3 years.  Finished with excellent numbers, 150-1906-10.  Has pretty good hands.  Good RAC ability.  Went to the Shrine Game.  Had a good catch & run on a bootleg play.  Showed his agility and athleticism.  The step up in competition didn't seem to bother him.  Had a terrific workout at the Combine.  Ran in the 4.6 range, did 30 reps, and had a VJ of 40 inches. 

Late round target.  Could be an H-back for some teams.  I think he's best at TE.  Could also get looks at FB, but that would seem to be a waste of his athletic ability. 

Harbor played in the Shrine Game and showed that he can play with guys from big schools.  His athleticism translates to the field.  He could be a terrific STs player for us.   Think of him as an insurance policy for Cornelius Ingram. 
_

Early 4th - CB Trevard Lindley

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The Eagles just added a CB.  They took Trevard Lindley from Kentucky.  I'm not thrilled with this pick.  Lindley is a little stiff in the hips.  He has good feet.  He has very good ball skills.  Lindley had a real good Junior season and thought about coming out, but decided to stay in school.  Wasn't as good in 2009.

Here are my notes:

Veteran SEC corner had a down season in 2009.  Probably should have come out after his Junior year.  Missed some action this season and didn't look as good.  Solid cover guy.  Lindley has good feet, but is a little stiff in the hips.  He has great ball skills.  Picked off 10 career passes and broke up 43.  Had a ton of solo tackles in his first 2 seasons (92).  Ran 4.50 at his Pro Day.

Went to the Senior Bowl.  Looked okay.  Played the same as he did during the year...up and down.

Probably a late round pick. 

Odd pick in my mind.  I'll watch a couple of his game tapes and see if there is something I'm missing.
__

Day 3

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Rounds 4-7 are coming up shortly.  The Eagles have gotten some key players down in this part of the draft.  There are good players still on the board.  You can look through the rankings at ScoutsNotebook to see the overall lists.

Player Rankings

Here is a list of players that I like for the Eagles.  It is based on character, talent, skill set, and value. 

Players I want

QB Mike Kafka
QB Zac Robinson
QB Levi Brown

RB Charles Scott
RB James Starks

WR Carlton Mitchell
WR Riley Cooper
WR Jacoby Ford
WR Marcus Easley
WR Jeremy Williams
WR Blair White
WR Donald Jones
WR Danario Alexander

OL Selvish Capers
OL Chris Scott
OL Marshall Newhouse
OL J'Marcus Webb
OL Ramone Harewood
OL Chris Degeare
OL Reggie Stephens


DT Al Woods
DT Arthur Jones
DT Geno Atkins
DT Jeff Owens
DT Jay Ross
DT Kade Weston
DT Nate Collins

LB AJ Edds
LB Perry Riley
LB Keaston Kristick
LB Jason Beauchamp
LB Kavell Conner
LB Travis Goethel
LB Arthur Moats
LB Nathan Tripplett
LB Albert McLellan

ILB Jamar Chaney
ILB Darryl Sharpton
ILB Lee Campbell
ILB Jacob Cutrera

S Kurt Coleman
S Reshad Jones
S Matt O'Hanlon
S Quentin Scott

CB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah
CB Perrish Cox
CB Walter McFadden
CB David Pender
CB Josh Moore
CB Nolan Carroll
CB A.J. Jefferson

I'm sure Howie and Andy will make a pick or two that has me scratching my head, but they've done well so far. 

If we keep all 4 of our 4th round picks here are the guys I'd prefer:

4th -WR Carlton Mitchell
4th - DT Al Woods
4th - CB Walt McFadden
4th - OL Marshall Newhouse

In the 5th give me RB Charles Scott or James Starks and then AJ Edds.  We'll see who's left. 
_

Friday, April 23, 2010

Another DE in the Mix

13 comments
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The Eagles decided to add another DE at #86 and took Washington Huskie star Daniel Te'o Nesheim.  Interesting pick.  Let's start by talking about the player.  Teo (for short) is a relentless pass rusher.  He set the PAC-10 record for sacks.  He was a very good college player. 

Teo never looked like a top athlete on tape.  He was more of an effort guy.  He plays strong and physical.  He played on both sides and sometimes slid into DT.  Very fun kid to watch.  Never took a down off and played like his life depended on it.  The ultimate compliment I can give to a defensive prospect is that he's a Ravens kind of player.  And Teo is a Ravens kind of player. 

What does this mean for the Eagles?  Maybe Juqua Parker becomes trade bait.  I could see some 3-4 teams looking at him.  Maybe Victor Abiamiri is in for a change.  We could permanently make him a DT.  We could trade or cut him.  Hard to say not knowing his health status. 

We now have 4 DEs that are in their prime or younger:

Trent Cole
Darryl Tapp
Brandon Graham
Daniel Te'o Nesheim

Add in VA and Juqua and that is a lot of depth.  I like it.  You want young legs on the D-line if possible. 

Here is my scouting report on Teo:

Excellent effort guy.  Has pretty good size and is a physical player.  Good motor. Won't stay blocked. Good shoulder dip. Used a very good swim move to get sack, FF vs UCLA.  Plays both sides. Lacks explosive burst. More of an effort guy.  Realizes he isn't a speed demon and plays accordingly.  He stays low, which makes him tough to block.  He uses his arms well to keep blockers off his body.  Daniel is a strong, physical player.  He means business when it comes to making contact.  He will catch some blockers off guard with a power move and get them on their heels.  Able to overpower some big OL.  Sometimes will slide in to DT.  Good production, but sacks tended to come in bunches.  12 of his 29 career sacks came in 5 games.  Did have 46 TFLs and 8 FFs. 

Had a good showing at the Shrine Game.  Had a terrific workout at the Combine.  Tested better than I would have expected. 

I wish that athletic ability showed up more often on game tape.  I'm not sure if he is good enough to start in the NFL.  I do think he could be a valuable role player and STer.  He'll probably go in the 4th or 5th round. 


For those who haven't read it, here is a real interesting article on pass rushers in the 2010 draft.

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/nfl-draft/2010/introducing-sackseer

I know we still need a CB.  So do Howie and Andy.  I have to believe they have a plan in place.  I'll do some snooping and see what I can find out.  I'm at a loss just like you.  I like the players we took and I like the picks we have for tomorrow.  I just want us to add a CB so that I can feel better about that spot.  Ellis Hobbs isn't my idea of a good starter. 
__

Howie the Trader

18 comments
Remember Michael Silver's article (i.e. hatchet job) about Howie Roseman?  No one will want to trade with him because he's arrogant and hard to deal with.  I guess it is a good thing no one will trade with us. 

Howie has been wheeling and dealing.  And wisely. 

We passed on pick 55.  That got us a 4th.  We then moved back to 71.  That got us a pair of 5th round picks.  Look what we've now got to work with:

3rd
4th
4th
4th
5th
5th
6th
7th
7th


That, my friends, is beautiful.  Well done Mr. Roseman.  Go get me Brandon Ghee or Jerome Murphy and I'm a real happy man.
__

#37 - Nate Allen is an Eagle

19 comments
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The Eagles just picked South Florida FS Nate Allen.  Or is that USF FS Nate Allen? 

Good pick. 

Nate is what we needed.  He isn't an athlete or a project or a small school guy.  He is a high quality player with experience, size, skills, and production from a BCS school.  He is a safe pick, in a sense. 

Here are my notes on him:

Veteran FS started 39 games for the Bulls. Complete player. Good run defender. Diagnoses plays well. Can cover man or zone. Covers the slot receiver at times. Has the footwork and agility to be effective in that role. Can also be a centerfielder. Gets a good break on the ball. Good nose for the ball. Knows how to slip blocks without getting out of position. Takes good angles. Has some pop when he hits. Knocked a RB's helmet off vs Rutgers with a hit. Wrap-up tackler. Finished 2nd on the team in tackles in 2009. Solid athlete and playmaker. Broke up play-action pass in end zone in the win over FSU. Bit for 1/2 second, then turned and got into position. Got his hand up and swatted the ball down. Broke up 12 passes in his career. Picked off 9. Had 142 solo stops and 5 TFLs. Plays on STs.

Had a good showing at the Senior Bowl. Looked especially good at man coverage in the practice sessions.

Should go in the 2nd round.

We still have pick 55 in this round.  We'll see about CB down there.  Or elsewhere.  Howie and Reid have a plan.  We just have to be patient and let them execute it.  Good start. 
__

2nd Round Thoughts

5 comments
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We have pick 37 and 55.  For now.  I have to believe that the Eagles are looking to pull off a trade.  I'm sure Howie and Andy want to jump back and add a 3rd rounder.

If we do stay at 37 there will be some interesting players on the board.  There will potentially be a lot of talent on offense:

QB Jimmy Clausen
QB Colt McCoy
RB Dexter McCluster
WR Golden Tate
WR Arrelious Benn
WR Damian Williams 
TE Rob Gronkowski
OT Charles Brown
OT Rodger Saffold
OT Bruce Campbell
OT Vlad Ducasse
OL John Jerry 

There will be some good defenders.


DE Sergio Kindle
DE Everson Griffen
DT Brian Price
DT Lamarr Houston
NT Terrence Cody
LB Sean Lee
LB Daryl Washington
FS Nate Allen
FS Morgan Burnett
FS Taylor Mays (if he's on our board)
CB Brandon Ghee
CB Chris Cook
CB Jerome Murphy

That is a list of 25 guys who have a chance to go in the 2nd round.  Not all of these players will be on the Eagles draft board.  We do stick to value, but need is part of that.  You can bet we'll look CB, FS, OL, DT, and possibly RB.

The good news is that we can move down and still have good players to choose from.  There is enough offensive firepower to drive down some defensive prospects.  I think trading down is the smart play unless the team is enamored with someone on the board at #37.  That could be an O-lineman.  We'll find out just how much the Eagles believe in Stacy Andrews.  If they really trust him and value him this year then going OL at 37 is strictly a luxury.  If there are doubts about Stacy then going for a blocker would make total sense.

SalPal and Adam Caplan are reporting that McCluster is an Eagles target.  That's a little too convenient, don't ya think?  The secretive Eagles let a rumor get out to a pair of big time reporters?  The Eagles are likely trying to create a trade market for pick 37.  If one or two of the QBs is on the board you know teams will be interested.  Talking up McCluster could be a way to get the Pats to move up for him. Dexter seems like the kind of player that Andy Reid would covet so the rumors have viability.  This isn't some idiotic scenario being thrown out.  McCluster to the Eagles is a good rumor.  That could entice Belichick or some other coach/GM to move up and secure Dexter.  Why him?  McCluster is the poor man's CJ Spiller (runner/receiver/returner).  Teams that love role players or need big plays should be interested in Dexter.  He could be like a Darren Sproles type for someone.  Think about how many teams struggle to move the ball or score points.  One big play in a game from Dexter could be the difference in winning and losing.

My ideal scenario would be to move back and add a 3rd round pick.  We'd then do this:

2nd - FS Nate Allen
2nd - CB Jerome Murphy
3rd - OT Jared Veldheer

Allen would give us the proven, veteran FS we'd love to have.  He has size, skills, and athletic ability.  Plus he started 39 games for USF.  Murphy is a gifted cover guy who can press and be physical.  He can play the run.  He was good the last 3 years, staring for 2 of them.  He played some in the slot and has KOR experience.  Veldheer is our Jason Peters insurance policy.

We'll find out soon enough.  
___

More on Graham

44 comments
***

I'll cover Friday and possible targets in a mid-afternoon post.  No reason to do a ton of writing only to have us make a trade.  For now let's take a look back at DE Brandon Graham and talk about that move. 

Was he worth pick 13?

I wrote something in the draft preview that listed Graham as a possible "special player".  I made note that the only key question was about his size.  If a team could be comfortable with a guy that is 6013, 268 then that team might see Brandon as a special prospect.  If he was 6'3, 275 Graham would have been taken 5th, 6th, or 7th overall.  He's a tad short and that pushed him down to the 'teens. 

Andy Reid pointed out in his press conference that there was a run on DEs just after Graham was taken.  The Eagles coveted Brandon and didn't want to risk losing him.  If you feel strongly about a prospect then you are wise to go get him.  Fans may not like the pick or the player, but the logic behind the move is sound.  The Eagles didn't overpay.  They didn't panic.  They found a trading partner that would let us keep both of our 2nd round picks. 

Why DE?  Didn't we get Tapp for this? 

In my mock draft for PE.com I had us taking Jerry Hughes at #24.  People killed me for that pick.  You have to understand our roster and the draft class.  This is a deep, talented group of prospects.  However, there are not a lot of great pass rushers available.  The 2 guys I genuinely believed in were Graham and Hughes.  Kindle had production and character questions.  JPP had character issues.  I'm shocked the Giants took him. 

What about Derrick Morgan?  There must have been some questions with him that the public didn't know about.  Derrick slid 5-10 picks beyond where he was expected to go.  For a guy with solid production and ideal size that is pretty strange.  I don't want to speculate, but it seems like something was up. 

I think Hughes and Graham were the best pure pass rushers.  To go land one of those guys is a good thing.  Pass rushers are gold in the NFL.  Right Jim Johnson?  Right Buddy Ryan?  Right Bud Carson? 

Darryl Tapp was brought here to help us at DE.  He was penciled in at the LDE spot.  Graham now joins the mix.  Brandon played both sides in college so he can backup Tapp and Cole.  Graham also saw time at DT in the Nickel/Dime units.  He can help fill the void left by the release of Darren Howard. 

We now have 3 starting caliber DEs, plus Juqua Parker and Victor Abiamiri.  Parker is older and never has been a stud pass rusher.  He's more of an effort guy.  Abiamiri is coming off surgery and should be ready by this summer.  Still, he's had trouble staying healthy.  You can't count on him.  His best production has come from DT anyway. 

We can now rotate starting DEs in Cole/Tapp with backups in Parker/Graham.  That's a good thing.  We also have some insurance in case anything happens to one of the starters.  Good depth at DE is critical.  The Colts got to the Super Bowl, but Freeney's gimpy ankle killed Indy's pass rush.  Brees shredded the defense. 

I know people are upset that we passed on DBs.  This draft has a lot of good CBs and Safeties.  There were only a couple of pass rushers to choose from.  You had to aggressively go after the pass rushers.  There wasn't much in the way of a good backup plan at DE.  There are still plenty of options at DB. 

Some people have compared Graham to former Wolverine LaMarr Woodley.  They are similar.  Graham is a more natural athlete.  He is faster, quicker, and stronger.  He was also more productive.  In their final 2 seaons:

Graham ---- 71 solo tackles, 46.0 TFLs, 20.5 sacks, 4 FFs
Woodley --- 57 solo tackles, 30.5 TFLs, 18 sacks, 7 FFs


One final thing to consider is this.  Think about the best defensive players that we've drafted in the Reid era (Cole, Bunk, Patt, Stew, Sheldon, Derrick Burgess, Mike Lewis).  Those guys were productive Senior players that all went to the Senior Bowl and performed well.  We've gone after talented underclassmen with real erratic results (Corey, Lito, Matt McCoy, CJ Gaddis, Matt Ware).  We have had some Senior Bowl guys that didn't pan out, but injuries are usually involved (McDougle, Abiamiri). 

Graham isn't a project.  He comes to Philly having played at a big school in a football conference.  He played mainly LDE, what he would play for us.  There are no crazy switches or transitions for him to make.  Graham is a gifted athlete, but is also a smart, highly productive pass rusher.  He dominated as a Senior, leading the nation in TFLs.  He then went to the Senior Bowl and dominated.  He had good workouts.  Graham has passed every test with flying colors.  Great job. 

Now comes the hard part.  He gets to chase Donovan McNabb and Tony Romo around.  He can either make plays or get booed relentlessly.  I'm sure Graham wouldn't have it any other way. 
___

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Eagles Move Up - DE Brandon Graham

24 comments
***

The Eagles gave up 24, 70, and 87 to move up to pick 12 and take Michigan DE Brandon Graham. 

This is a good move.  We needed to boost the pass rush.  Graham was one of the best rushers in the draft class.  We were able to move up and get him without having to sacrifice our 2nd round picks.  That gives us a chance to be active on Friday.  We don't have a 3rd rounder now, but could easily move down and pick one up.  We can play the board. 

Tapp is our LDE.  Cole is the man on the right side.  Graham becomes a key backup.  He also can move inside to DT in some passing situations. 

Here is the report I wrote up for ScoutsNotebook:

Relentless and disruptive defender.  Led the nation in TFLs in 2009 with 26.  Finished his career with an amazing total of 56.  Athletic edge rusher who is more fast than quick.  Michigan moved him around to keep teams from gameplanning too much.  Graham played both DE spots.  Slides inside to DT at times. Fights off cut blocks. Uses his hands well. Beat Bulaga for a sack in the Iowa game. Used good dip move. Beat Bulaga to the inside for another sack. Got the RT off balance, threw him to the ground, and hit the QB. Uses his hands well. Fights to hold the point on run plays. Quick, but not explosive. Mixes in some bull rushes.  There were questions about his height.  Measured in at 6013.  That means he's almost 6'1 1/2.  That's acceptable for a 4-3 DE.  There will be plenty of 3-4 teams who value him as a LB.  His size and build will be perfect for some schemes.  He can play in space if needed.  Made a real impressive play against Terrell Pryor in the OSU game.  Pryor was on the run.  Graham showed great agility and COD skills to handle the fakes and still make a solid tackle in space.  Graham is an athletic defende and a top flight pass rusher.  His ability showed up in workouts as well.  Ran a 4.71 at the Combine.  Had a solid showing at the Combine.  Only came up short in the VJ (31.5).  Great career production.  29.5 sacks and 8 FFs. 

Had a monster performance at the Senior Bowl, both practices and in the game.  Looked like a dominant player.

1st round prospect.  Could go real high if teams are okay with his size and build. 

Good start to the 2010 draft. 
___

2010 Eagles Draft Preview

21 comments
***

by Tommy Lawlor

PICKS

1st Round - 24

2nd Round - 37
2nd Round - 55

3rd Round - 70
3rd Round - 87

4th Round - 105
4th Round - 121

6th Round - 200

7th Round - 243
7th Round - 244

Total of 10 picks. 

The key is the number of picks in the first 5 rounds.  Those picks you expect to make the team or seriously challenge for a roster spot.  You want 6th and 7th rounders to challenge as well, but don't have the same expectations.

Let's talk about trading up.  Why do it?  The Eagles believe in acquiring top flight players when possible.  The thing to do is identify special players and target them.  Here are the guys that I think are special:

FS Eric Berry
FS Earl Thomas
DT Ndamukong Suh
OG Mike Iupati
RB CJ Spiller

There are some fringe guys.  Rolando McClain might be special to 3-4 teams.  Brandon Graham could be special to teams who are okay with his size.   These won't be the top ten picks necessarily because the need for LTs and QBs can throw things off.  These players all did special things during the year in terms of production and have the traits that project well to the NFL.  They do have issues.  Iupati isn't a gifted pass blocker.  Spiller isn't a great inside runner.  McClain has average speed.  Graham is a bit shorter than you'd ideally like.  Etc.  Derrick Morgan has the measurables, but not the production to fit this category. His numbers were good, but not great.  I'm not sure how that will affect his value.  Is he still the #1 DE or does that lower him just a tad? 

You can bet the Eagles will work the phones and try to land a pick to take one of these players.  The question is how steep a price we're willing to pay.  If you want to eat steak you don't expect hamburger prices.  The Eagles will give value to get value, but they won't pull a Ditka and overpay. 


PROBABLE DEPTH CHART

WR  DeSean Jackson....Jason Avant
WR - Jeremy Maclin .... Hank Baskett ...... Chad Hall
TE - Brent Celek ......... Cornelius Ingram .. Martin Rucker
FB - Leonard Weaver
RB - LeSean McCoy .... Mike Bell ............ Eldra Buckley
QB - Kevin Kolb .......... Mike Vick
LT - Jason Peters .......... King Dunlap
LG - Todd Herremans ... Mike McGlynn
OC - Nick Cole ............ Jamaal Jackson .... Dallas Reynolds
RG - Stacy Andrews .... Max Jean-Gilles
RT - Winston Justice .... Fenuki Tupou

DE - Trent Cole ........... Juqua Parker
DT - Brod Bunkley ....... Trevor Laws
DT - Mike Patterson .... Antonio Dixon
DE - Darryl Tapp ......... Victor Abiamiri
WB - Ernie Sims ........... Akeem Jordan
MB - Stewart Bradley ... Joe Mays
SB - Moise Fokou ........ Alex Hall
SS - Quintin Mikell
FS - Quintin Demps ...... Marlin Jackson
CB - Ellis Hobbs ........... Geoffrey Pope
CB - Asante Samuel ..... Dimitri Patterson
NB - Joselio Hanson ..... Macho Harris

P - Sav Rocca
K - David Akers
LS - Jon Dorenbos


NEEDS

QB - There is a spot for a developmental prospect.  Kolb is the starter now, but the Eagles would be wise to bring in someone to groom as a backup.  They did that with AJ Feeley back in 2001 and it worked very well. 

RB - Shady McCoy is the primary back.  Mike Bell is his backup now, but is only hear on a 1-year deal.  The Eagles need to find a young RB to add to the mix.  Brian Westbrook was an incredibly complete player that you didn't want to take off the field.  He ruined the RB-by-committee approach of the past.  I'm guessing the Eagles would like to get back to that.  You could see them draft a RB and sign one as a UDFA.  The depth at FB is fine. 

TE - I don't think the team needs to add anyone, but the class is so deep that good players may be available late.  It would be great to see the Eagles add someone with a bit of size and/or blocking ability.  Alex Smith did a good job in 2009. 

WR - Depth.  The team is set with the top four guys.  There is a need for someone to become the primary backup on the outside for the next few years.  Hank Baskett is in place now, but is not a long term answer. Jason Avant needs to stay in the slot.  Should be a Day 3 target. 

OT - King Dunlap has yet to show he can be trusted at LT.  There is a need for someone to come in and challenge him.  If you remember last year, any time Jason Peters got hurt it caused several players to move and the overall line struggled.  Getting a reliable backup at LT would change all that. 


OG/C - Jamaal is coming off an ACL tear and won't be ready until late summer at the earliest.  We do seem to like Nick Cole.  We have plenty of interior bodies right now.  I think we'll look to add someone if a talented guy is on the board, but this class of interior linemen is weak.  Adding bodies for the sake of making a move would be dumb.  You can always go the UDFA route.  We'd all love an upgrade if the right player is available. 

DE - I've projected us going after pass rushers in a couple of mock drafts.  People questioned my thinking.  I know we have Trent Cole and that we added Darryl Tapp.  We're still one injury away from Juqua Parker going back to a starting role.  Eric DeCosta of the Ravens will tell you to always get the pass rusher when you can.  Ernie Accorsi will tell you to get the pass rusher.  I know we have other needs, but good depth at DE can be crucial.  We're okay, but could be better. 

DT - The mystery position.  We like our starters, but won't rule out adding a talented player.  This is a deep group of DTs and there are players of every size, shape, and skill set you want.  It will be interesting to see what we do here.  We could add a starting caliber player, a backup, or a role player (Nickel DT). 

LB - The additions of Ernie Sims and Max Hall may have taken us out of drafting a LB in the first 4 rounds.  We have 6 bodies that the coaches seem to like.  Omar Gaither is coming off a foot injury.  I'm not sure what his timetable is.  He could be 7.  We could take someone late.  I think this will be a prime UDFA spot. 

S - We need a talented FS.  If we miss out on someone early on then we may shift our focus to SS and find a young guy to backup up Quintin Mikell.  There are a handful of good FS targets, but there are quite a few SS prospects we could like. 

CB - We need at least one CB.  We must go get a CB early.  Ellis Hobbs is penciled in at the RCB spot, but he must be challenged by a quality rookie.  I think we need to either draft another CB or go after a top level UDFA. 

STs - I think we're fine at P and K.  Jon Dorenbos has become a good LS.  We have a great PR.  KOR is somewhat of a mystery.  Hobbs and Demps are very good, but might be starting for us on defense.  I'd like to add another KOR to the mix.  We can then let the best man get the job. 


PLAYERS WHO COULD GET DEALT

OG Max Jean-Gilles
DT Trevor Laws
QB Mike Vick


PROSPECTS --- VISITS / SPECIAL INTEREST

* Guys who came to Philly

QB Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State

RB Toby Gerhart, Stanford
RB Jonathan Dwyer, Ga Tech
RB James Starks, Buffalo
RB Deji Karim, Southern Illinois
RB Charles Scott, LSU

WR Danario Alexander, Missouri

TE Tony Moeaki, Iowa

OG John Jerry, Ole Miss
OT Bryan Bulaga, Iowa
OT Jared Veldheer, Hillsdale

DE Jerry Hughes, TCU
DE Chris McCoy, MTSU
DE/LB Dexter Davis, Arizona State
DE Jeff Fitzgerald, Kansas State
DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Washington
DE Jamie Kirlew, Indiana
DE Eric Moncur, Miami

DT Brian Price, UCLA

LB Arthur Moats, James Madison
LB Jamar Chaney, Mississippi State
LB AJ Edds, Iowa

S Eric Berry, Tennessee

CB Kyle Wilson, Boise State
CB Joshua Moore, Kansas State
CB Walter Thurmond, Oregon
CB David Pender, Purdue
CB Javier Arenas, Alabama


PLAYERS WHO GOT VISITS FROM COACHES

QB John Skelton, Fordham
QB Armanti Edwards, Appalachian State
RB Charles Scott, LSU
RB Shawnbrey McNeal, SMU
OC Ted Larsen, N.C. State
OG Mike Iupati, Idaho
OT Jared Veldheer, Hillsdale
OT Selvish Capers, West Virginia

DE/OLB Jason Worilds, Virginia Tech
DT Linval Joseph, East Carolina
DT Jay Ross, East Carolina
CB Devin McCourty, Rutgers
RS Robert McClain, Connecticut


PLAYERS WHO WE SHOWED SPECIAL INTEREST IN


QB Tim Hiller, Western Michigan
WR Marcus Easley, Connecticut
OC Joe Hawley, UNLV
OT Rodger Saffold, Indiana
OT Ed Wang, Virginia Tech
OT Chris Campbell, Eastern Illinois
OT Anthony Davis, Rutgers
OT Jeraill McCuller, N.C. State

DE Ricky Sapp, Clemson (said we're showing the most interest of any team)
DE Sergio Kindle, Texas
DT Sean Lissemore, William & Mary
DT Earl Mitchell, Arizona

S Mike Newton, Buffalo
S Anthony Levine, Tennessee State


EAGLES VALUE BOARD

Because the Eagles are so specific I'm trying to list players that I think have a likelihood to be on the Eagles draft list.  I will be omitting good players. 

1st Round

RB: CJ Spiller, Ryan Mathews

TE: Jermaine Gresham

WR: Demaryius Thomas

OT: Bryan Bulaga, Russell Okung, Trent Williams, Anthony Davis


DE:  Derrick Morgan, Brandon Graham, Jerry Hughes

DT:  Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy, Dan Williams, Jared Odrick

LB:   Daryl Washington, Sean Weatherspoon

ILB:   Rolando McClain

S:  Eric Berry, Earl Thomas

CB:  Joe Haden, Kyle Wilson, Kareem Jackson


2nd Round


RB:  Jahvid Best, Toby Gerhart, Montario Hardesty, Dexter McCluster

TE:  Rob Gronkowski

WR:  Arrelious Benn, Golden Tate

OT:  Rodger Saffold, Charles Brown, Vlad Ducasse, Bruce Campbell, Jared Veldheer

OG:  John Jerry, Jon Asamoah


DE:  Everson Griffen, Corey Wootton, Ricky Sapp

DT:  Brian Price, Lamarr Houston

LB:  Sean Lee, Koa Misi

S:  Nate Allen, Morgan Burnett

CB:  Devin McCourty, Brandon Ghee


3rd Round

RB:  Ben Tate, Jonathan Dwyer

TE:  Jimmy Graham, Tony Moeaki

WR:  Carlton Mitchell, Taylor Price, Riley Cooper, Jacoby Ford

OT:  Zane Beadles, Selvish Capers, Marshall Newhouse


DE:  Jason Worilds, Jermaine Cunningham

DT:  Al Woods, Torrell Troup, Linval Joseph

LB:  Navorro Bowman

ILB:  Donald Butler

S:  Chad Jones, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, Major Wright, Reshad Jones

CB:  Amari Spievey, Chris Cook


4th Round

RB:  Charles Scott, James Starks, Deji Karim

WR:  Emmanuel Sanders, Andre Roberts

OT:  Chris Scott, Ramon Harewood

OC:  Matt Tennant, Reggie Stephens


DE:  Daniel Te'o Nesheim, Jammie Kirlew

DT:  Arthur Jones, Jeff Owens, Earl Mitchell

LB:  AJ Edds, Perry Riley, Travis Goethel, Jason Beauchamp

ILB:   Jamar Chaney, Lee Campbell

CB:  Myron Lewis, Javier Arenas, Walter McFadden

___________________

All-Tommy Team (my favorite non-1st rounders)

WR Andre Roberts - The Citadel
WR Taylor Price - Ohio
TE Dennis Pitta - BYU
FB Matt Clapp - Oklahoma
RB Ben Tate - Auburn
QB Armanti Edwards - Appalachian State
LT Chris Scott - Tennessee
LG Shelley Smith - Colorado State
OC Matt Tennant - Boston College
RG Jon Asamoah - Illinois
RT Kyle Calloway - Iowa

DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim - Washington
DT Lamarr Houston - Texas
DT Al Woods - LSU
DE Jammie Kirlew - Indiana
WB Sean Lee - Penn State
MB Lee Campbell - Minnesota
SB AJ Edds - Iowa
SS TJ Ward - Oregon
FS Kurt Coleman - Ohio State
CB Amari Spievey - Iowa
CB Walt McFadden - Auburn


Out of this list I want the Eagles to get 4 players...guys I covet (more or less)

RB Ben Tate
RB Charles Scott
WR Andre Roberts
TE Tony Moeaki
OT Jared Veldheer
OL Chris Scott


DE Jerry Hughes
DE Brandon Graham
DE Daniel Te'o Nesheim
DT Torrell Troup
DT Al Woods
LB Sean Lee
ILB Lee Campbell
FS Eric Berry
FS Earl Thomas
SS Kurt Coleman
CB Kyle Wilson
CB Kareem Jackson
CB Devin McCourty
_______________________________

I'm sure I've left something off so ask away.  Long day and my head is really spinning.  And we haven't even really started.
_

Draft Day is Upon Us

19 comments
***

Finally.  I've waited a long time for these 3 days. 

I'm in the process of finalizing a post on the Eagles and the draft.  It will be done shortly.  There are a ton of rumors floating in the media.  Behind the scenes is basically the same talk.  Teams are on lockdown.  All the rumors floating around are basically speculation or generalized reports. 

I don't have any inside info at this time.  We're hearing the Eagles could deal up to pick

#5 KC

#7 CLE

#9 BUF

#10 JAX

#11 DEN

#12 MIA

The Chiefs make the most sense.  They have a lot of holes still to fill and there isn't great value at the #5 spot.  They do have extra picks already, but the more the merrier. 

Buffalo could also use an extra pick or two.  They are rebuilding.

The Jags don't have a 2nd rounder and would love to acquire one. 

Miami traded their own 2nd round pick to Denver in the Brandon Marshall deal. 

I think we'll move up if the price is right.  The question is whether Eric Berry is available and just how much teams are looking for in the deal.  We'll pay a good price, but won't sell our souls. 

Stay tuned. 
___

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Eagles Draft Thoughts - Positions

22 comments
***

Someone recently asked what the Eagles look for in draft prospects at each position.  Let's take a look.


QB --- The Eagles seem to prefer guys that are about 6'3, have a solid arm, some mobility, and a good track record.  Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb were both 4-year starters.  Andy Hall had experience at Ga Tech and Delaware.  He led the Blue Hens to a national title.  A.J. Feeley was primarily a backup, but fit our likes in the other areas.  We don't draft based on great size or a huge arm. 


FB --- Let's keep this simple.  We look for players who can block and catch.  Any running ability is a bonus.  This is a low priority position for us in the draft.  We're more of a UDFA / develop guys team when it comes to FB. 


RB ---We like versatile, productive RBs.  Shady and Westy were above average receivers.  Buck was primarily a backup at Nebraska, but finished as one of the leading rushers in Nebraska history.  Ryan Moats was incredibly productive in the 2004 season.  Tony Hunt was very productive at PSU.  Hunt and Buck were easily the biggest of the group.  We seem to prefer smaller guys that are slashers rather than downhill power runners.  Once we have a player set we will look into a complementary back.  With McCoy in place as the starter I think we'd prefer a bigger back.  Look for someone who is a downhill runner.  We need a N-S guy with McCoy already set as the starter.  McCoy is the one who can dance and be elusive.  If a player with terrific athletic ability, receiving skills, and return ability is available, we might not pass on him.  That could be too much for AR to pass on.  We have taken a couple of RB/FB tweeners in Tony Hunt and Thomas Tapeh.  Both players played both spots for us.


WR --- This is somewhat of a mystery.  We've taken a variety of guys.  Try to find a common thread between Todd Pinkston, Freddie Mitchell, Gari Scott, Reggie Brown, Jason Avant, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Brandon Gibson.  In recent years we've gone for guys with good hands.  I don't know if that's by design or just what happened.  DJax and Mac each had RS ability.  Gibson and Avant were slower, but a bit bigger and more physical.  I really focus on trying to find guys that are natural receivers early and polished receivers late.  David Culley needs someone who is very gifted to work with or he needs someone who knows what they are doing and has less of a learning curve. 


TE --- We like pass catchers. Reid has looked closely at some big TEs, but has yet to pull the trigger on actually taking one.  LJ Smith and Cornelius Ingram were athletic pass catchers.  Brent Celek was just a good receiver.  Tony Stewart was more blocker than receiver, but didn't really stand out in any way. 


OL --- We like OTs, especially LTs.  Most of the offensive linemen we've drafted or signed as priority UDFAs played LT in college.  John Welbourn, Todd Herremans, Trey Darilek, Artis Hicks, Jeremy Bridges, Jamaal Jackson, Fenuki Tupou, King Dunlap, and Calvin Armstrong all were on the left side. Shawn Andrews, Bobbie Williams, Mike McGlynn, and Winston Justice all played RT.  We don't spend too much time on pure OCs and OGs.  We like guys with a big, thick build.  Arm length is important to Juan Castillo and Big Red.  They'll take a 6'4 guy with 34 inch arms. 


DE --- We like pass rushers.  I generally think of Derrick Burgess as our ideal guy.  He was 6'2, 260 coming out of college.  He was tough and physical although not a huge guy.  He was quick, but not explosive.  He knew how to get to the QB, play the run, and be disruptive.  We've obviously experimented with bigger guys.  Victor Abiamiri is 6'3 1/2 and around 280.  We had Brandon Whiting play LDE at 6'4, 285.  We've also gone small with Bryan Smith at 6'3, 230.  I don't know if tall guys are off the list or just hard to find.  We talk about speed rushers and fastballs, but really like guys that are more quick than fast.  We don't just let our DEs fly off the ball and play 100mph.  Jevon Kearse remarked about how the scheme here caught him off guard at first.  The Titans let him focus on getting the QB.  Here, he was taught to play the run first and then get the QB. 


DT --- Mystery time.  We gone from smaller, quicker guys to power players.  Now the question is whether we're looking to change back.  I still don't have a clue. 


SAM --- Another spot where we've been all over the place.  The rule of thumb used to be that we liked former DEs to come in and play SAM.  Carlos Emmons was a DE in college.  Jason Short was a DE in college.  The immortal Greg Richmond was a DE in college.  No word yet on what position he'll be listed at in Canton.  Then Jim Johnson threw us us a Dwight Gooden Lord Charles style curveball and went with Dhani Jones.  That experiment was slightly less than awesome so we went with Chris Gocong.  Now he's been replaced by the smaller Moise Fokou.  I don't think we drafted Moise to play SAM.  I think they liked what they saw in practice and just decided to try putting him there to see what he'd do.  Now we have Alex Hall as the backup, a guy who did play DE in college. 


MLB --- Odd mix.  Trot was here already so it is hard to say how he's impacted things.  Tyreo Harrison was 6'2, 235.  Omar was 6'1, 235.  Both were late round guys.  Joe Mays was short, but had a thick build.  Barry Gardner was 6'1, 245.  Our best MLBs have been guys that played with good leverage and had lots of power, lower body strength.  Think less of speed and more of power. 


WLB --- We've taken all kinds of players, but there is a good link at this spot.  Our best WLBs played MLB in college.  Mike Caldwell, Shawn Barber, Nate Wayne, Takeo Spikes, and Akeem Jordan all played ILB in school.  Omar Gaither had some experience inside.  Matt McCoy spent a lot of time between the tackles.  I don't remember with Quinton Caver.  Look for players that are 6'1 or 6'2 and 240 or so.  We like physical tacklers with some athletic ability.  We'll see if Ernie Sims changes any of this. 


S --- We like future All-Pro players from Clemson.  Having Dawk really spoiled us.  It allowed Reid to sit back and take Safeties in the mid rounds with hopes of developing someone.  JR Reed showed a ton of promise, but one darn fence ruined everything.  Sean Considine was a good college player, but just couldn't put it all together in the NFL.  Both guys were productive players with some size and some athleticism.  Quintin Demps was very productive and ran a blazing time at the Combine.  He and Reed were both good KORs.  We reportedly were on the phone with Brandon Meriweather when the Pats took him.  That is the earliest I know of us showing interest in a Safety.  Mike Lewis was a 1st round talent that slid due to a heart condition.  He was a value pick as much as anything.  There is no exact trend, but look for productive Seniors, possibly with RS ability.  Thomas and Berry are anomalies.  Owusu-Ansah could definitely be a target of ours at FS. 


CB --- We've gone with a lot of veteran players at this spot.  The draft picks went for Sheldon and Lito.  Ikegwuounu was a value pick because of the ACL.  Last year we had a pair of press corners targeted.  Both got snatched before our picks in rounds 3 and 4.  I'm guessing we look for a CB that can press, has a medium build, and solid ball skills.  That is flexible depending on who's available.  We aren't afraid to take underclassmen at this spot. 


MISC NOTES

* The Eagles are very specific drafters.  They find players they like and go get them.  If they don't like the choices they will move back or trade for future picks.   We don't take the best FS available just because we need a FS.  We only take players we like.  You can argue whether this is a questionable philosophy (being too choosy), but that is the way we do things. 

* We have no problem with taking I-AA players.  The rule of thumb is that lower level guys must have been dominant at their level. 
___

Old Draft Stuff

13 comments
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Just a quick morning post for now.  Someone asked if I had any type of review on past drafts and what I said about players.  I found something I wrote up a few years back that covers 1998-2005.  I'm writing out something on the Eagles and the 2010 draft for this afternoon, but wanted to share this stuff for those who were curious.  Mistakes are included.  This isn't just a greatest hits compilation. 

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY

(narrowly defeated The Bold and The Beautiful for the title)

1998

* I loved Purdue WR Brian Alford.  I just knew he was going to surprise everyone with how good he'd be.  I had him ranked 12th among WRs.  The Giants agreed with me and took him in the 3rd.  Complete bust.  #38 in my rankings was Alvis Whitted, #41 Brian Finneran, and #50 Corey Bradford.

* Randy Moss was my #1 WR.  However, I thought he'd slide due to his character issues.  I had him pegged to SEA with pick 15.  Instead, he went to MIN at 21.  

* I had Matt Hasselbeck listed as a UDFA...and after Dave Loya of Duquesne.  Who the hell is that? 

* The Class of '98 may be the best collection of Centers to come out of one Draft. 

1 Bob Hallen
2 Olin Kreutz
3 Jeremy Newberry
4 Todd Washington
7 Trey Teague
8 Kendyl Jacox
9 John Wade
11 Jeff Saturday
27 Cory Withrow

At least 3 of those guys have started a Pro Bowl.  Kreutz and Saturday started this year's SB. 

* I had Steve Foley as a 2nd Rd DE.  He went to CIN as a 3rd Rd LB. 

* What an awful group of DTs:

1 Vonnie Holliday
2 Jason Peter
3 Jeremy Staat
4 Leon Bender
5 Chuck Wiley
6 Mitch Marrow
7 Michael Myers
8 Julian Pittman

I'd love to tell you I missed on some guys, but the class just stunk.  Aside from Holliday, there was Joe Salave'a, Brandon Whiting, and Lional Dalton. 

* I had Shawn Barber rated as a 2nd Rd LB.  I had Ike Reese as late 4th/early 5th. 

* My #1 ILB was Takeo Spikes..."the next Ray Lewis".  #5 was Jeremiah Trotter, who ran a 4.6 and did 30 reps at 6'1, 260. 


1999

* The DE class featured two LB/DE tweeners...Montae Reagor at 6'2, 264 and Rod Coleman 6'3, 255.  Both bulked up and became DTs. 

* My #3 ILB was Barry Gardner.  #4 was some guy named Al Wilson.  Oops.

* I was very high on Clemson LB Rahim Abdullah.  He was 6'5, 230.  Could rush the passer, play the run, and showed some cover ability.  Just to spite me, he forgot all that when he got to the NFL. 

* The QBs:

1 Tim Couch
2 Donovan McNabb
3 Akili Smith
4 Daunte Culpepper
5 Cade McNown
- I had Peter Maas as a Day 1 pick.  He was the backup at Oregon who had started in '97. 
- I had Aaron Brooks rated as a late rounder. 


2000

* I had Adalius Thomas ranked as the #6 DE and a Day 1 player.  He fell late to the 6th Rd. 

* Darwin Walker was my #5 DT.  At the time, he was 6'3, 281. 

* Check out these LBs:

1 LaVar Arrington
2 Brian Urlacher
3 Julian Peterson
4 John Abraham
5 Keith Bulluck
6 Na'il Diggs
7 Raynoch Thompson
8 Marcus Washington
11 Ian Gold
12 Barrett Green
13 Mark Simoneau
14 Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila
15 Dhani Jones

Very impressive group.  Not all are stars, but that is a lot of talent.  Quite a few NFL starts in that group.  Barrett Green was a player I really enjoyed watching at WV. 


* I had Tom Brady as my #3 QB...after Chad Pennington and Chris Redman.  Marc Bulger was 9th. 

* Ron Dayne was my #4 RB, after Thomas Jones, Shaun Alexander, and Jamal Lewis. 

* I had Ron Dugans, Dez White, and Danny Farmer graded ahead of Todd Pinkston.  When the Eagles spot came up, I was screaming for us to take Jerry Porter. 

* WR Plaxico Burress had a huge day vs Michigan.  He caught 10 passes for 255 yds in the Spartans 34-31 win over the Wolverines.  Just as impressive was his blocking.  He physically overwhelmed Michigan's DBs.  All I could think as I watched the game was..."I want that".  Between the Fall and the Spring I changed my mind and decided Corey Simon was the best player for the Eagles.  Had he not been available, Burress is absolutely the guy I wanted. 


2001

* Derrick Burgess was my favorite player in the whole Draft.  I was ecstatic when the Eagles took him with the 1st pick of the 3rd Rd. 

* I have a sheet of paper listed Interesting Players.  Only 4 guys were listed.  2 of them were Correll Buckhalter and Will Peterson (now William James).  Weird.  I had Peterson rated as a late 2nd.  He fell a bit due to character questions. 

* I had LaDainian Tomlinson as the #1 RB. Pretty bold, huh?  I had Mike Vick as the #1 QB.  And check out this bit of special insight..."he's at his best on the run". 

* I have DT Kris Jenkins listed as one of my favorite players.  I have notes on him.  Yet, I cannot remember a thing about him at Maryland.  Most players I can picture in college and remember something. 


2002

* Colorado RB cortlen Johnson is a player I really liked.  Very good on screen passes.  Went undrafted. 

* Tennessee had a pair of great DTs.  The public consensus seemed to be that Junior Albert Haynesworth was better than Senior John Henderson.  I had John rated higher.  He went 9th to JAX and Albert went 15 to TEN. 

* I found some Wonderlic scores:

Mike Lewis - 18
Ed Reed - 14
Lito Sheppard - 20
Dwight Freeney - 35
Jeremy Shockey - 16
Donte Stallworth - 23
Javon Walker - 9

* A very early mock draft of mine had the Eagles taking C/G Andre Gurode, LB Andra Davis, and SS Jermaine Phillips.  Gurode went early 2nd to DAL.  The other guys went in the 5th.  Ouch.  At least I nailed the drafting of a SS. 

* Ga Tech DB Chris Young was a player I loved.  He had experience at CB and S.  He was a 4.6 guy who should have never played CB.  Good tackler, big hitter.  I thought for sure he was a Day 1 guy.  He went in the 7th and never amounted to much.  Fun kid to watch. 


2003

* I had Anquan Boldin rated as a 1st Rd player despite his awful 40 time at the Combine.  His performance in the Sugar Bowl really blew me away.  QB Chris Rix was suspended for the game and the starting QB was ineffective.  Boldin moved from WR to QB and kept FSU in the game as long as he could.  Georgia won, but Boldin really blew me away with his toughness and competitive spirit.  He was my favorite offensive player that year. 

* I had Greg Lewis projected as the #1 UDFA WR. 

* S Troy Polamalu was my favorite defensive player in the Draft. 

* I have some good notes on Robert Mathis, but have his measurments at 6'0, 228.  He turned out to be 6'2, 235.  Based on the numbers I had, he was UDFA.  I noted that he was quick, athletic, and had excellent COD skills and was a disruptive defender.  I left out the part about him being a starting DE on a SB winner. 

* I was a big fan of ILB Gerald Hayes.  He's become a solid pro for the Cardinals.  I had Tully Banta-Cain as a 2nd Rd player.  He slid just a tad...to the 7th. 

* I had some scrub named Osi Umenyiora as a 4th Rder and another scrub named Lance Briggs as a 5th rder. 

* Jason Witten was clearly the #1 TE to me.  I was shocked to see Dallas Clark, Bennie Joppru, and LJ Smith go ahead of him.  To this day, I don't get that. 



2004

* RB Mewelde Moore of Tulane was one of my favorite players in the Draft.  I loved his versatility and toughness. 

* Some other non-stars I loved were DE Shaun Phillips, CB Nathan Vasher, and WR DJ Hackett. 


2005

* Cincinnati LB Jamar Enzor was my favorite player in the Draft.  He was a longshot type and went unpicked.  He's now in NFL Europa trying to save his career.  I also liked his teammate, DE Trent Cole, quite a lot. 

* UVA RB Alvin Pearman was one of my favorite guys.  Absolutely loved him. 
___

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Evaluating Ernie

29 comments
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Ernie Sims
6'0, 230
born 12/23/84

Career Stats
56 starts
2.5 sacks
5 PDs
1 INT
4 FFs
17 TFLs

Best season was 2007:  97 solo tackles, 1 sack, 7 TFLs, 3 FFs, 2 PDs, 1 INT

General --- Muscular legs.  Big butt.  Ripped arms.  Extremely athletic.  Very good COD.  Fast, quick, and agile.  Closes to the ball really well.  Light on his feet, which is good and bad.  Helps him to change direction instantly and cover lots of ground, but also means a lineman can send him flying with a good block. Willing to attack lead blockers.   Loves to fly upfield and attack.  Shows promise as a blitzer. Has a good burst.  Has outstanding cover skills.  His backpedal looks better than some DBs.  Has excellent speed and range.  His speed also causes some problems.  Overruns plays sometimes.  Tackling is sloppy at times because he is out of control and will miss runners. 

VS DALLAS 2007 ---  Pursued well and tackled RB from behind.  Got off block of Witten and slowed down Barber on run to his side.  Covered Witten on a short crossing route and forced him out of bounds after a gain of 6 yards.  Covered TO in the flat and forced Romo to throw elsewhere.  Got in on a tackle of Witten by throwing himself on top of a small cluster of players and pulling him down.  Tackled Witten after a catch over the middle late in the half.  Hustled over in pursuit to force TO out of bounds.  Overran Witten in space and missed the tackle.  Tackled Witten after short catch over the middle.  Hit a pulling linemen and helped to throw off a run play to his side.  Came up on a short pass to get in on a tackle of Barber and keep him out of the endzone.  Tackled RB after short catch over the middle.  Got to the ball in a hurry and limited the gain. 

VS GB 2007 --- Moved to his right quickly to get in on tackle of RB.  Engaged an OL on an inside run, but couldn't get off the block and the RB went right by him.  Ryan Grant caught a short pass over the middle and half a second after the ball arrived so did Sims.  Floored the RB.  Had tight coverage of Grant in the flat and forced the QB to look elsewhere. Made a good tackle of Grant after catch over the middle.  Read a middle screen early and played it well.  Didn't make the tackle, but impacted the play by staying in the middle and fighting a blocker, which didn't give the RB a clear lane.  Got a quick hit on a WR on a catch over the middle.  Tackled WR after short catch over the middle.  Made a sloppy tackle attempt on a WR over the middle and gave up an extra yard on the play.  Jumped a WR on a crossing route and forced Favre to go elsewhere.  Took on the block of a TE and forced a run play back to the inside.  Did his job, but never shed the block.  Good tackle of Grant after RB screen.  Got to the ball quickly.  Took a good pursuit angle and helped get Grant down on a run to the outside.  Was off balance when a throw to WR on crossing route came near him and couldn't make the play. 

VS TEN 2008 --- Missed a tackle on WR reverse early in the game.  Flew out wide to get in on a tackle on WR screen.  Helped limit the play to just 5 yards.  Attacked a pulling OL and clogged up a running play.  Someone else made the tackle, but Sims blew up the play.  Had Chris Johnson 1-on-1 on a short route.  Stayed close to him and then tackled Chris when the ball did come to him.  Limited the play to 5 yards and forced a punt.  Took away an outside running lane for Johnson and forced him back to the middle, and other LBs.  Flowed to the ball on a run to the right side and got in on a tackle of Johnson.  Had tight coverage of Johnson on a pass play and forced Collins to throw the ball elsewhere. 


SUMMARY --- The Eagles got a really interesting player.  Ernie is probably the most athletic LB we've ever had.  I don't really have good comparisons for him.  We've had undersized LBs over the years (Darrin Smith, Keith Adams, Mark Simoneau, Matt McCoy), but none of them was quite like Ernie.  I'm really curious to see how he plays in our system.  He was a run and hit guy in Detroit.  We use our guys to attack more.  He instantly is one of our Nickel LBs.  He could be a terrific STer.  I'm not sure they'll use him there or not.  Ernie plays with reckless abandon.  You may want to protect him from himself by keeping him off kick coverage units.  As a run defender Ernie will have to adjust to our style of play and our opponents.  I'm not sure how he'll do when Madison Hedgecock is the lead blocker on an iso run to that side.

I think the Eagles made a smart gamble by going after Sims.  If they can get him to improve on shedding blocks he could be a terrific WLB.  Sims has the speed and range to make plays all over the field.  He has the burst to be a good blitzer.  He is a physical hitter and tackler.  He is naturally tough and aggressive.

This move can't be fully evaluated until we see what Sims does in our system.  We also need to see if he can stay healthy.  He battled injuries the last 2 seasons and that affected his play.   I don't think you can discount the impact that playing in a winning environment will have. 

During Sims career:

record at Detroit 12- 52

defense in Pts / Yds

2006  30 / 28
2007  32 / 32
2008  32 / 32
2009  32 / 32

We had a disappointing season.  We won 11 games, but failed to take the division title or win in the postseason.  Our defense really struggled.  We were 19th in Pts and 12 in Yds allowed.  Think about that in comparison to Ernie's NFL experience.   He's never played with the talent that we have (Asante Samuel, Trent Cole, Bunk & Patt, Stewart Bradley).  Detroit was also dysfunctional and lacked the stability that we have.  Ernie couldn't have stepped into a better situation.  Let's hope it brings out the best in him.  He'll also be in a contract year and that never hurts.  We'll talk extension with him after we see what kind of a fit he is. 


MOCK TIME

I put together an mock draft for the Eagles.  It is my newest column over at PE.com.

--Link--

The comments are pretty awesome. Eagles fans don't hold back if they don't like what you have to say. 


ANSWERS

RE:  LB group

I'll write something on the LBs after the draft.  I do now like the group we have.  I doubt we'll add one unless it is late in the draft.  Here's a quick depth chart:

SAM ---- Fokou .... Hall
MIKE --- Bradley ... Mays
WLB ---- Sims ....... Jordan

We also have Omar Gaither in the mix, although he's coming off injury.  We do need a couple of guys to add to the group.  There are some late rounders and UDFA types that I like in this class. 

___

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ernie in the House

25 comments
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The Eagles were part of a 3-way trade that brought WLB Ernie Sims to us.  I'd heard that the Eagles were talking to some teams about linebackers, but never got any specifics.  We all tended to focus on Derrick Johnson and more recently Rocky McIntosh.  Sims was overlooked because of the fact he plays for a minor league team, the Detroit Lions.  I kid, of course.  The Lions have been awful for a while, but I do think they are starting to get things right.  Sims was not an ideal fit in Jim Schwartz's defense and that made him expendable (right Rambo?).  The Lions got TE Tony Scheffler and a 7th from the Broncos.  We sent our 5th round pick to Denver.  Good deal for us and Detroit.  I'm not so sure about the Broncos. 

Here is the PE.com article

Here is his Lions bio.  

Sims is 6'0, 230.  He's only 25 years old, but has been in the league for 4 years.  He has over 50 career starts.  He has played WLB for them and will do the same for us.  Ernie was a Captain in 2007 and '08.  He hasn't made a ton of plays.  He has 1 career INT and 4 FFs.  He does have 2.5 sacks.  Ernie has yet to play on a good defense.  That will change when he gets here.  I know our D was off last year, but still finished 12th in yards allowed.  To Ernie that will be like playing on the '85 Bears.  The Lions best finish in his career was 28th in yards allowed back in 2006.  They've been dead last in points and yards the last 3 years. 

I'll watch tape of Ernie and write up a scouting report.  I know he runs really well.  Ernie is a good tackler and big hitter.  Physical player.  My question is how he deals with NFL blockers (FBs, TEs, and OL).  I'll let you know what I see.  For now we'll have to stick with basic facts and info. 

I do like the deal.  I wasn't enamored with the LB class in the draft.  There were a couple of targets I liked, but not many.  Having Ernie in place allows us to concentrate on CB, FS, DE, DT, etc.  This gives us some freedom.  We can trade up and losing the picks won't kill us.  We can sit tight and add a lot of good players.  I really like our options. 

Ernie will compete with Akeem Jordan for the WLB job.  Good.  We need competition there.  Sims has excellent potential.  Jordan has started for us and played well at times.  We got a good player at a very good price.  He's still young and could be a long term solution if things work well. 


ANSWERS

RE:  Reshad Jones

I just happened to see his COD drill info this weekend myself.  Those are bad times.  That will hurt him and it may limit him to SS. 


RE:  QB targets

We brought Zac Robinson to Philly for a visit.  That shows serious interest.  I'd like him on the team.  I think a handful of guys will be drafted earlier than they should (Kafka for instance).  I don't love any of the QB prospects.  Take one late and see what you can do.  Armanti Edwards remains a guy that fascinates the heck out of me. 
___

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Draft Talk

14 comments
***

I'm busy writing and updating Player Profiles over at ScoutsNotebook.  Decided to take a quick break and share a couple of things. 

People have asked about DE Jason Pierre-Paul.  I doubt he'll be an Eagles target.  I confirmed from someone that multiple teams have red flags on him due to behavior.  He won't be on all 32 draft boards.  I don't know what the Eagles actually think, but we tend to be pretty conservative when it comes to character so I'm guessing he'll go elsewhere.  I'm now interested to see how far he falls. 

One thing to remember about all the trade-up talk is that we're not the only team that could be looking to do that.  The Pats have several 2nd round picks and could also be looking to draft early.  I don't know if we'd have the same targets.  They could be after an OLB, ILB, or RB.  With Patrick Chung and Brandon Meriweather already in place I'm not sure they'd go for Berry or Thomas.  It is possible they like Earl as a CB.  I've mentioned that he reminds me of Asante Samuel.  Well, who drafted Sammie?  The Pats. 

Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout had a report about us moving up for Rolando McClain.  Rob is generally a smart guy, but I don't know who he's listening to or what he's thinking.  I'd be shocked for the Eagles to deal up for McClain.  Just doesn't make sense.  Never say never, but....there is absolutely no way this is true.  I'm 81 percent sure of that. 

Let's talk about Derrick Morgan.  He is 6'3, 266.  That is probably our ideal size in a DE.  He's big enough to play the run, but is small enough to still be a top pass rusher.  Derrick is a good athlete.  He has a great motor.  He is pretty strong.  Derrick is versatile.  He played both sides and saw some snaps at DT.  We love guys that can move around.  Morgan is productive.  He had 12.5 sacks and 2 FFs in 2009.  Someone compared him to Jerome McDougle.  Not exactly.  Jerome was smaller at 6'1 1/2.  He had 12 sacks in 2 years at Miami.  Morgan had 19.5 over the last couple of years.  He's a better finisher than McDougle.  Morgan is more athletic.  He is more relentless as a rusher.  The question with Derrick is how high he goes.  With McDougle we moved up to get him because we were desperate at DE.  We had ND Kalu on one side and Derrick Burgess coming off an injury on the other.  We reached and it blew up in our face, but it was still the right move based on circumstance. 


ANSWERS

RE:  Morgan Burnett vs other Safeties

Morgan is an excellent ballhawk.  He has good size and athletic ability.  I don't like his tackling and run defense.  Morgan wouldn't be my ideal S, but the Eagles could love him.  Aside from the Big 2, I'd prefer Nate Allen and Reshad Jones for sure.  Taylor Mays, Chad Jones, and Burnett are similar in grade in my mind.  Each guy has good and bad qualities. 


RE:  Sam Bradford - spread QB

Sam does catch some flak for being a spread guy.  That's one reason teams were hesitant about loving him.  OU does run a slightly different spread.  They mix in more intermediate routes than say Missouri, Texas Tech, or Florida.  Sam has the size, ability, and skill set to make you feel he could thrive in any system (except the Wishbone). 


RE:  rookies on the right side of the defense

Interesting catch.  I hadn't thought of that.  Of course, there is no guarantee the rookies will win those jobs.  We could have Trent, Akeem, Ellis, and whoever at FS.  Good point to consider, though.  Smart observation.


RE:  Value Board

It should be good for rounds 1-3.  Check it out.  I've also got some notes up on guys the Eagles might be interested in. 

http://www.scoutsnotebook.com


RE:  Bunk on the field as a pass rusher?

In the middle of 2007 we started playing almost exclusively DEs on the inside in Nickel and Dime situations.  Bunk hadn't established anything, good or bad, at that point.  I really think getting him off the field is more about wanting DEs than anything Bunk has or hasn't done. 

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