Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Eagles Draft Thoughts - Positions


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. 


* 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. 


T_S_O_P said...

I think we break the mould in some areas at QB as I see Skelton as a firm target over the next 4 days. He has good size and a big arm, however he is/was a 4 year starter.

On SAM, we have only ever drafted 2 (Fokou apart, who as you point out wasn't necessarily darfted as a SAM), and both of those were 6'3"(ish) and around or over 250lbs. A.J.Edds I think is very likely to be a target of the Eagles.

AD said...

I am thinking we move up with Jacksonville. I am almost sure of it. Who we target is a guess. I'm thinking Derrick Morgan. However, being here in FL, I know that Jacksonville has to come out of this draft with Tebow. Knowing that, I am sure there are a lot of teams looking at that # 10 pick.

What I don't want to see is us moving that # 37 pick until after the first round. I think that pick could be gold if McCoy and or Tebow is there going into the second round.

This is going to be a great and exciting draft. I am high on quite a few of the possible UDFA's that should be available as well.

We only have 80 roster spots going into camp. I hope we have done our homework, and can bring in a couple of the sleeper UDFA's.

I would like to see AJ Edds come to our camp as well. Will he last until the third round? I think NO is going to step up and grab him at the end of the second. If not I wouldn't wait until the late third round, lots of moves going to be made all through out this draft, I love the new set-up with the three day draft...GO EAGLES!!

dirty said...

Great Analysis!

Myron said...

There are rumors out there that the Eagles are moving up for Jason Pierre-Paul.

I sincerely hope that isn't true. I have a strong feeling that Pierre-Paul will be an epic bust in the NFL.

If they must take a DE, take Derrick Morgan or Jerry Hughes. Please stay away from Pierre-Paul!

Myron said...

Better yet, take the best DB available at your spot if you trade up. For example, if the Eagles trade up to Jacksonville's spot, any one of: Joe Haden, Kyle Wilson, or Earl Thomas should be available. Take one of those, please.

Alexander said...

Thanks for the breakdown Tommy

I think another thing that recently they've looked at with FS prospects is experience playing CB in college

Gaddis, Demps, Macho. Marlin Jackson in Pro Personnel

Bradley and Ryan Fowler (RFA) were other bigger guys in the middle, I wonder if they'll look at guys like Spikes or Micah Johnson late

Tommy Lawlor said...

JPP will NOT be an Eagle. No chance.

Pitmanite said...

for those who don't have espn insider, here is mel kiper's full mock draft for the eagles. i want to be clear that i'm not offering any opinion on these picks, i'm just passing it along. i always take all mock drafts w/ a grain of salt, and after seeing the beating tommy took from the TATERS for making fictional picks, i'm scared to be associated w/ any mock drafts.

1st (#24) - Earl Thomas (said this might occur much higher)
2nd - Chris Cook - CB, Virginia
2nd - John Jerry - G, Ole Miss
3rd - Gene Akins - DT, Georgia
3rd - Jared Veldheer - OT, Hillsdale
4th - Dorin Dickerson - TE, Pittsburgh
4th - Mike Williams - WR, Syracuse
5th - Trade Down
6th - Trade Down
6th - Kion Wilson - ILB, South Florida
7th - Brent Bowden - P, VA Tech (there you go Cliff!!!)
7th - Trevard Lindley - CB, Kentucky

Pitmanite said...

Sorry, it was McShay's mock and not Mel Kiper.

bthackra said...

After watching Gruden's Camp with Earl Thomas, a couple of questions:

- Why is Gruden pounding the 'work hard, hit the weight room, get off the couch' mantra with him?
- Earl's not taking any notes. All the other prospects in Gruden's Camp series diligently take notes about what Gruden says.

Gruden's Camp series are great because he does not hold back. Of all the things to talk about with Earl, they talk about work ethic, and he doesn't show it during the meeting. Red flag? Obviously he is super athletic, but does he WANT to be great? Is he worth trading up for?

On another note, Moving the Sticks tweeted that the Eagles were looking to move up to get Spiller. Lot of fluff rumors going on 24 hours before the draft, but I thought that was interesting given Tommy's comments before about a potential surprise pick being Spiller if he slipped. P.S. Spiller took notes in Gruden's Camp.

Chris said...

There are so many rumors it is if hard to tell what is real and what is not. Spiller would be a real interesting pick. I think he'd be a good fit for the team but think we have other, more pressing, needs.

I personally like Best more than Spiller and before his injury problem cropped up I thought he was definitely better than Spiller (just compare their stats). I'm wondering has his stock gone down that much with his concussion and that hit he took in the Maryland game (where he got hit so hard he retched on the field)?

I'm hoping for one really good CB, a really good safety, a SAM (Edds?) and a C.

I can't wait for the draft. It is almost here...

Dan said...

Tonight can't get here soon enough. Last night I had a nightmare that we drafted Tim Tebow in the
first round. It was seriously traumatic.

bthackra said...

The draft really starts with pick #4 tonight. What if Shanahan surprises everyone? Okung or Williams seem to be consensus. They want to trade back, meaning they are probably targeting someone not named Okung or Williams. Shanahan loves being smarter than everyone else (willing to go against consensus), loves making a splash, and loves QBs. Could he possibly go with Clausen at #4? I mean, no, right? Imagine McNabb's reaction....

Steven said...

Do you know what would be funny? Watching the draft for 3 hours and seeing the Eagles trade down into the 2nd round.

Ben said...

why is no one considering that the skins could take berry?

i know that's a nightmare, but he'll be the BPA right there. it seems obvious that yes, they NEED an OT bad, but it's eric berry.

Kevin said...

If the Skins take Berry, yes they'll have awesome safeties...but they will have no depth on the 0-line and still not used any picks to switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4.

I like Eric so I don't want to root for him there, but it's a stupid way to build a team. DO IT BRUCE!

Chris said...

Supposedly the Cowboys are looking to move up in the draft (to #12) to take Earl Thomas. Not sure I like that scenario.

Tommy, with all the rumored movement it seems Joe Haden might drop to the teens. Do you think he could be a valid move up target? Would he be as good as getting Berry or Thomas?

Cliff said...

Brent Bowden can really boom them.

Adam S. said...

Steven, I think everyone has considered that as a possibility. Let's just not mention or think about anymore. Sitting here at work is killing me!

I agree with AD that the #37 pick could end up being extremely valuable come Friday morning. If we are to move up in the 1st I would hope it is package with our late 2nd pick.

I'm kind of suprised that St. Louis hasn't already inked a deal with Bradford. It seems the last couple years the 1st pick was already locked in before it even started.

I will be satisfied going to sleep tonight if we have one of the following players: (if we move up) E.Berry, J.Haden, K.Wilson, E.Thomas.(if we stay put) M.Pouncey, J.Hughes, D. Morgan(I'd be fine with moving up to say #20 for Morgan but not into the high teens)

Stephen said...

Wow the draft has completely snuck up on me. I forgot it even started tonight. Any word yet whether or not Tommy has completed his abduction of Eric Berry?

shlynch said...

I'd also put Bradley into your SAM analysis. He was no Greg Richmond, though.

Kevin said...

Hahaha Greg Richmond.
Since that day I've stopped believing any and all Spadaro hype