Saturday, April 17, 2010

DT Mystery

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The Eagles have a pair of good DTs in Brodrick Bunkley and Mike Patterson.  Those guys do their job - they clog the middle and make it tough to run.  Bunk and Patt come off the field in passing situations.  They aren't asked to rush the passer a whole lot.  Their numbers reflect that.  Neither guy gets many sacks, hurries, or QB hits.

This has led to a lot of discussion this offseason about just how good Bunk and Patt are.  I can't stress enough that they do what is asked.  We want them to stuff the run first and foremost.  Getting pressure on the QB is job #2.

Adam Caplan started a confusing situation recently with comments about whether we run a 1-gap or 2-gap system in our base defense.  All I can tell you is that I don't see our DTs firing off the ball and trying to penetrate with any regularity.  We did that in the past.  Corey Simon and Darwin Walker were 1-gap players that flew off the ball.  We asked them to be disruptive.  I don't see Patt and Bunk doing anything like that.  And it isn't for lack of ability.  Bunk and Patt were extremely disruptive players in college.  I think they'd welcome the chance to attack more often.

Patt has been the starting LDT for 5 years.  Bunk has been the RDT for 3 years.  Patt is what he is.  Not much changes when you've started for 5 years.  Bunk still has room to grow, believe it or not.  I don't mean that he'll get bigger, but that he can still get better.

Antonio Dixon impressed as a rookie in 2009.  He looks like a real good backup.  Trevor Laws has not impressed so far.  He shows flashes, but seems lost with the way we use our DTs.  He might get on the field more this year with the release of Darren Howard.  He was our Nickel DT and that job could go to Laws.  Or Trevor could get traded.

The DT class is deep and talented.  I think the Eagles could look to add someone.  The question is what kind of a player they want.  The Eagles brought Brian Price (6'1, 303) to Philly for a visit.  The Eagles checked out Earl Mitchell (6'2, 295) closely.  They sent the D-line coach to ECU to look at Linval Joseph (6'4, 328).  The Eagles met with Dan Williams (6'2, 327) at the Senior Bowl.  These players range from 1st round talent to late round guys.  They range in size and style.  We still don't know exactly what the Eagles are looking for in a DT.  You think finding out who killed JFK was hard?  Child's play compared to figuring out what we'll do at DT.

Dan Williams is the most interesting guy to me.  He played both nose tackle and the 3-technique at Tennessee.  That means he can eat up blocks as well as get penetration and blow up plays.  Dan really stood out at the Senior Bowl.  He got tremendous push on pass plays.  Blockers had a hard time containing him without help.  The biggest area of need for us is someone who can push the pocket.  You need a guy with bulk, strength, and power to do this.  Dan gets a check mark in every category.  The problem with Dan is that he could go as early as pick 9 to the Bills.  He won't last much past pick 15.  If the Eagles are really interested, he would have to be a trade-up target.

Again, I'm not sure that the Eagles do like him enough to go after him that aggressively.  We can find a good DT in the 2nd, 3rd, and even 4th rounds.  Heck, someone could slide to the 5th or 6th round.  I hope we don't spend pick 24 on Brian Price.  I don't think he's ideal value there.  I'd rather go in a different direction.  If the Eagles got him at 37 I'd be okay with that.  I'm still uncertain if we truly like Price or if he's just a smokescreen.  He's not that much different from Patt when he got here.  He's also similar to Trevor Laws.  Brian is better, but not substantially.  If we do take Brian I hope we mix in more 1-gap and let him attack.  He is pretty darn good when flying up the field.

One lesser name to remember...Torrell Troup.  He went to UCF.  Troup is about 315 pounds.  He is athletic and big.  He can eat up blocks or get by them.  He could be real good value in the mid-rounds. 


TRADE TALK

There is none, involving players.  Behind-the-scenes chatter is quiet right now.  I think the Eagles are open to dealing for a LB because the draft class isn't great, but I am not hearing any good rumors.  The Skins might be dealing WLB Rocky McIntosh, but I'm not sure if we're interested.  The fact he wasn't part of the McNabb deal really surprised me.

The Eagles are talking to the other 31 teams about the draft and trade scenarios.  I'd love to hear one of the calls.  You know these things have to be sorta weird with each guy wanting to get info without giving too much away. 


DRAFT TALK

My latest HuffingtonPost draft article is up.  This is just some generic stuff.  I try to write for the average sports fan when I do those pieces.  Here's the link for anyone interested.

NFL Draft Notes

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25 comments:

Matt said...

Am I crazy in thinking Antonio Dixon has a chance to be a real nice player? He was playing an important role in the short yardage package down the stretch, and made some eye-popping plays down there last year. He was singlehandedly keeping a 2nd round pick on the inactive list. Dixon has the strength and size to overpower people in the trenches. And he was only a rookie. I really think Dixon could start pushing Bunk/Patterson if he takes a step forward in year two.

As for Laws, I still hold out a smidgen of hope, but he looks like he just kind of sucks. Loved the pick at the time, too.

Cliff said...

I like Linval Joseph. ECU has had a stout DL the last few seasons and I have to think Joseph played a large role in that.

Tommy Lawlor said...

Dixon could be a real good player. Conditioning was a concern coming out of college and in his preseason time with the Skins.

Antonio has to prove that he could handle substantial reps and still play at a high level. I don't want to count on him until I see what he does this season.

Netherman said...

What are the odds the Eagles draft two CB's before a FS? I cannot help but wonder what the coaches think of the trio of Harris, Demps, and Jackson. I know they keep saying they think Hobbs can be the starter but I sure don't, and one injury makes us super thin. Do you really think any of those three could be effective in nickel (especially if they are bulking up at all)? I am really nervous about our secondary and wouldn't even be bummed if they took Wilson and a McCourty/Jackson.

Myron said...

Tommy, I was listening to John Clayton's draft show on the radio today and they were talking about how the Eagles would be a prime candidate to move up into the 10-15 range and pick Derrick Morgan from GATech.

I think he has the potential to be a solid starting 4-3 LDE, but I really don't see anything "special" about him. Why would the Eagles target him over one of the other pass rushers like Jerry Hughes or Brandon Graham, who both have the potential to be far more explosive players than Morgan?

I mean, Morgan could definitely be a solid 3-down run-stopping LDE BUT I feel that if you are willing to move up in the first round you need to target serious IMPACT players. I just don't see "impact" in Morgan.

Also, remember how the Eagles got burnt badly the last time they moved into the 10-19 range for a DE (McDougle). Morgan bears a striking similarity to McDougle coming out of college, too.

Cliff said...

@ Netherman

I think that's why Earl Thomas has go be a real "move-up target" if he escapes the top 10. He can be a S or CB, so that would give us so much versatility in case of injury.

Another thing to consider is that we usually have good luck with undrafted rookies at the CB position. We don't neccessarily have to draft 2 corners early if we think quality players will be available when the dust settles. And it sounds like there will be at that position.

Chris said...

I don't want another McDougle that's for sure but I haven't seen Morgan so not sure how comparable he is. I'm a big fan of Brandon Graham and think he'd look good across from Cole.

Two questions Tommy.

1. What do you think of Morgan Burnett compared to the other top safeties?

2. How come you hear a lot about spread quarterbacks not being ready for the pros (whether it be Tebow, Smith, Kobb, Pike, Klingler, whoever, etc.) and Oklahoma runs the spread and you don't hear that criticism of Bradford. I have seen some of Oklahoma's games. They'd leave Bradford in the game in big blowouts (20 pt. + wins) and still throwing downfield. Just curious as it seems he gets a pass on this and it isn't like he has an incredibly strong arm, great mobility or lightning release.

Eddie said...

I have just noticed that if we Draft our needs which are FS, RCB, WLB; then we will have our entire right side playing as rookies, except trent cole. the only way i would be conformable would be if we trade up to get Earl Thomas, use the redskin Pick on Devin McCourtney, and our 3rd round pick on Sean Lee. other wise i could potentially see other teams targeting that side of the defense.

Clawed said...

I'm a big Dan Williams fan and if that's the guy we're trading up for, I'll be happy about it, but there are going to be a lot of pissed TATErs out there.

chris said...

Tommy, I have been waiting for you to update your Value Board, What happened? I really enjoy looking at those diamonds in the rough you list there. The Eagles seem to like the Value Board too; they always seem to draft one or two players from the VB.

Myron said...

Ok, now this is bizarre:

http://rob-rang.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/13682485/21027140

"It has been reported (originally by Sports Illustrated's Peter King) that the Eagles were aggressively looking to move up. I have been able to confirm this, but counter to King's story, which has Philadelphia looking to move up for either Eric Berry or Earl Thomas at safety, I'm told a different player is the Eagles' real target. Middle linebacker Rolando McClain, given the team's need for a thumper inside and the significant drop-off at the position after McClain, would seem a likely candidate."

Rob Rang thinks that the Eagles will be trying to move up -- but for Bama MLB Rolando McClain.

What?! I can see moving up for a DE like Derrick Morgan, but moving up for a MLB? And a big, slow MLB better suited to be an ILB on a 3-4? And the fact that LB is not an important position in the Eagles defense? And the fact that they already have Stewart Bradley at this position? This is a really weird rumor.

Tommy, this has got to be smoke, right?

Baloophi said...

@Myron

There's always a lot of misinformation this time of year for two reasons:

1) Teams encourage misinformation
2) Reporters are dumb

This feels like number 2 to me, in every way...

I don't know who Rob Rang is but he's confirming another reporter's story... that's not actual investigation. Also, the original story is conjecture on the part of Peter King who - in talking to other GMs - THINKS that the Eagles want to move up. Maybe it's a scoop he picked up at one of his daughter's field hockey games. Anyway, Rob Rang's "story" is simply building off someone else's story... it's like saying The Drudge Report broke a story or that Fox is actually news.

More to the point, you have to be careful about who you consider an "expert." I've read a lot of "experts" who think we need a middle linebacker because we started 4 different people at the spot last year (or whatever it was... 5?). Obviously, if they had any familiarity with the team they would know Bradley was injured for the year so we don't have a "need for a thumper inside"... but that would require research. Also, importantly, anybody who knows the team would know we have an aversion to drafting linebackers high... even when we actually need them.

So, no - I don't think this is smoke as much as it lazy "reporting."

Cliff said...

Agree with Baloophi. I can see how this could be deliberate misinformation being leaked by the Eagles, but it really just seems like lazy "reporting."

But hey, whatever can best fog up the Eagles' true intentions is good as far as I'm concerned. Now, I wish a story about Eric Berry or Earl Thomas doing coke off a baby's ass would get leaked.

Cliff said...

Speaking of "leaks," I just saw (finally) the movie In the Loop today... FUNNY!... if you like political satire.

Myron said...

I certainly hope you guys are right.

If we trade up for Rolando freaking McClain, or hell, even get the faintest whiff of him in the first round, I will be tearing my hair out.

No linebackers before the 3rd round, please.

bonez said...

@Eddie

The great thing about all of the positions that you just listed is that they do not always line up on the same side of the field. The Eagles move their CBs around quite often, the WLB plays the non-tight end side (not only the right side), and depending upon the level of talent at FS, the position should be having a presence all over the field. I agree that having so many rookies on the field in general is risky, but I'm sure the Eagles will scheme to give them as much help as they need.

Baloophi said...

RE: Rookies...

It's also unlikely that three rookies will suddenly start for our team.

Yes, Maclin and Macho (my favorite 70's detective show, by the way) saw the field as rookies but I suspect we'd still work guys in slowly... particularly at CB and LB. Any draftee would have to earn their spot - and that includes Eric Berry and Earl Thomas.

pricebe said...

Berry or thomas could probably win the FS job after training camp if Macho can...

bp said...

@Cliff

'In the Loop' is one of the funniest films I've seen in a long time. The subtle timing/delivery of some of the lines is near perfect. And it has Anna Chlumski (of 'My Girl' fame), who's both brilliant and beautiful. What's not to like.

As far as the Eagles go, has anyone else heard the rumor that we'll be trading up from 24 to 23.5 to draft Peter King's pet Rotweiller Michael Vicious Kolb, a middle libebacker from Chechnya, who recently bench pressed Broderick Bunkley 27 times? I heard this from an expert.

T_S_O_P said...

Is it true to say that if Bunk's overall level of play warranted him being on the field more, he would be on the field more? To me it is a little disappointing that he is a 2 down player. Maybe we ask him to stop the run because he is as one dimensional as Darwin? What would happen if Seagrest said "hey Bunk, forget gap control, give me your best Corey Simon impression and get after that QB"? I'm sure it happens in practise to some extent and they know that the answer is... get him outta here on passing downs.

Steven said...

Maybe they should let Dixon play 1st and 2nd down and let Bunkley do his damage on 3rd down. Similar to what they did with Albert Haynesworth in Tenessee.

Stephen said...

I'm curious why we swapped to 2 gap anyhow, it really hurts our pass rush and forces us to blitz a lot more than we did.

Cliff said...

@ Stephen

We probably started playing 2-gap a lot more because we couldn't stop the run if our lives depended on it... literally... our PLAYOFF LIVES would be on the line and RB after RB gouged us.

Man, I do NOT miss the days of Corey Simon and Darwin Walker. If you played fantasy football back then, the safe bet was to always just start whatever RB was playing against the Eagles. That assured you of at least 140 yards rushing. Walker was a great guy off-the-field though. He had his head screwed on right.

Cliff said...

@ bp

I too loved Anna Chlumsky in the movie. She really embodied a lot of what I go through as I am involved in the public sector in a similar role - you just want focus on policy, but your bosses have top operate in a political environment and it's FRUSTRATING. Anyway...

I'm glad you mentioned "My Girl," I could not for the life of me figure out where I remembered her from.

michaelriccardi62 said...

What are you going to get in a trade for Laws? A bag of footballs? More likely he gets cut this summer. What a waste of a second round pick. Note: when the first line in a college senior's bio is that he was a great high school wrestler, that's not a good sign.