Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Evaluating Ernie


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

Career Stats
56 starts
2.5 sacks
5 PDs
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. 


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


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


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. 



Stephen said...

Damn tommy, you're getting ripped up in the comments section :). You'd think everyone who reads your column is an experienced NFL talent evaluator with stacks of gametapes on all the top prospects.

ZackISM said...


You don't think that group you have starting is a little light int he pants for the systems we've played in the past?

Do you think McDermot/Juron are changing to more of a Tampa/Cover-2? In which undersized LB's with speed are pretty common?

I know you said you're happy, but seems like a group full of if's.

Anonymous said...

Re: Your mock draft.

I don't think it's a particularly bad draft at all. Your pick of Ghee at 37; I'm assuming you're thinking Kareem Jackson will be gone by then, or do you actually prefer Ghee? Additionally, thoughts on Akwasi Owusu-Ansah? I know he will be gone by 121 where you took McFadden, but I like him alot around 87. I realize he didn't face elite talent, but I see potential, and additionally a guy who can be a PR so we don't get our future multi-million dollar WR killed.

No Zoltan?!

Finally, I'm quite amused at the growing proportion of the fanbase that is smitten with Taylor Mays. I don't see how he can be anything but an in the box guy at the NFL level. If you put him at FS, you better be ready to hear the word "toast" quite often.

Steven said...

"Muscular legs. Big butt. Ripped arms."

I think you watched the tapes too closely. :)

Steven said...

Mock drafts are impossible to predict but fun to make. I don't think the Eagles will keep all 7 picks in the first 4 rounds.

After pick 87 I didnt know much about the players you selected. I don't have a problem with 1st 3 rounds except for Brandon Ghee. I just think he's a bit of a reach at #37.

Is this draft based on what you think the Eagles will do or what you think they should do?

mcud77 said...

Already my 2nd favorite Ernie, after "McCracken". I'm stoked about the possibilities here.

Tommy Lawlor said...

RE: criticism

I learned a long time ago not to take it personally. Eagles fans love to rip everyone. I do love the hyperbole of the comments. "Worst mock ever". Hardly. I could come up with much worse scenarios.

RE: LBs too light?

Not really. MLB is 255 or so. We've had quite a few WLBs that were only about 230. We do lose size at SAM. That could be a concern. The overall group isn't substantially smaller than usual. Gaither played WLB at 230-235. Jordan is in the 235-240 range. Sims goes 230 or so. At SAM we drop from 255-260 down to about 240. That's a noticeable drop.

RE: CBs in the mock

I probably should have written that Ghee was taken because Kareem Jackson and Devin McCourty were off the board. I don't think they'll last to 37. It certainly is possible, but odds are slightly against it.

The mock was a combination of what I would do and what the team will likely do. I am a firm believer in loading up on pass rushers.

Adam S. said...

I think it's more entertaining to read the comments section on your articles over PE.com than the actual article. That is not a slight against the articles themselves, I always enjoy them, but more to the fact of how much these kids on there think they know.

The Old Buffoon said...


I feel like I learned a lot from reading your mock. But I have questions:

Your mock does not seem to me to be very committed to a BPA approach. Is that fair? With Hughes, I can see it maybe being a BPA pick - DE's are nice, but I know you don't think DE is our #1 need. But after that, the picks seem clearly associated with need. Also, how focused are you on other teams' needs vs BPA in determining who's on/off the board. (obviously, I'm coming to appreciate the complexity of the mock exercise)

But seriously, are you calling BS on Rosen's BPA rhetoric? Does BPA only apply to pick #24, becoming less and less the rule in the later rounds?


Myron said...

Tommy, did you read that article on footballoutsiders about projecting pass-rushers in the NFL?

It's very interesting and I think a valid way to look at prospects. Short shuttle and broad jump are startingly correlative with future performance if you look back on past prospects.


Based on this, I want no part of a DE in this year's draft, and would rather go S/CB in the first two rounds, but if we must go DE, I hope it's Jerry Hughes or Derrick Morgan, or Daniel Te'o-Neshiem, Eric Norwood, or Jason Worilds in later rounds.

And Jason Pierre-Paul and Carlos Dunlap will be epic busts in the NFL.

Homer said...

Am curious how Mike Mamula would have rated on sackseer.

T_S_O_P said...

I like McFadden, I had him in exactly the same place in my unpublished mock. We have a history of picking up CBs from Auburn.

Over in the Blog (v3) I'm on record as stating that Lamaar Houston will be the Eagles first DL we pick with Washington's second rounder @ 37

Håkan said...

Hope this guy pans out. Have you written anything at length about the differences between JJ's Eagles Defense and McDermott's version?

If so, where?.
If not, please do. ;)


Eric said...

Tommy, someone made a great point about Sims somewhere else. The amount of defensive snaps he took over his 4 years has been monumental. He'll never be on the field as much here as in Detroit.

That should help with a lot of these nagging injuries and allow him to lay down more big hits with rests in between and overall.

Alexander said...

It sounds like, from anything I've read from you and other sources, Sims will mostly likely be a liability against the run if teams like Dallas and Giants can pull their OL around and open holes

I am just hoping he can be a difference maker as a cover guy. It certainly seems like he has all the physical ability in the world to do that. He had better athletic testing numbers by a good amount than any of the 4-3 OLB guys in this draft

Also I liked your mock a lot. Love Hughes, Burnett and Roberts especially

Tommy Lawlor said...


Good article. Go get Hughes.

RE: need vs BPA

Interesting question. I thought Hughes was BPA when I had him go at 24.

Ghee is likely to be among the BPA at 37. Teams stack their boards based on need so he easily could be at the head of the player stack for 37.

Burnett is a player that NFL scouts like a lot. I'm lukewarm on him. He would be good value at 55. The question may be whether he lasts that long.

Veldheer is a BPA type pick. Again, he may not be on the board at 70. We might need some luck for him to last down there.

Woods would be good value at 87.

Roberts is absolutely a BPA type pick. The draft will be thick with WRs who have 3rd/4th round grades. We scoop up a good one because he's there.

McFadden falls into the same category. There will still be plenty of good CBs on the board. He's value.

Scott in the 6th is a combination of fit and value. I think he's worth a late 4th or 5th. There could be other players available with higher grades. Hard to say who.

Picking guys in the 7th is always a mystery.

RE: Sims and PT

I hadn't really thought about that. The Lions did play a ton of snaps. Sims probably has the legs of a Korean War veteran. Of course, that's still better than Trot's legs.

Ernie has to feel like he died and went to heaven. He gets to play on grass on a good D on a winning team. Wow. It's Old Milwaukee time.

Brian said...

Thanks for the insights into the way Sims plays, Tommy.

But what happened last year? Was it the scheme? Injuries?

Why do you think Pro Football Focus ranks him dead last for two straight years among 4-3 outside linebackers?

Baloophi said...

RE: Ernie

I think he's a great acquisition for the price. If he doesn't pan out, it's only a 5th, yet you've got significantly more tape on him than you do any draftee, so in a way it feels "safer." Can he learn to shed? Let's bring a few Golden Retrievers into camp and get on it.

RE: Tommy's mock

I like the McFadden pick a lot in this iteration but I LOVE all the uneducated observations and belly-aching in the comments.


While it's an interesting read I have my doubts about using algorithms to speak in absolute terms like so-and-so will be an "epic bust" or so-and-so is a "can't miss" sack machine. They're using data that doesn't - in my opinion - account for things like character or intelligence or heart. Also, sacks can be a fickle stat in the NFL - look at Darren Howard two years ago, or Osi vs. Justice (6 in a game), or Favre taking a knee for Strahan, etc., so the numbers they're using for backwards projection are flawed.

I'm almost reminded of "Moneyball." After reading that book I assumed Oakland would have won at least 6 World Series by now using Sabermetrics... oops.

Again, an interesting read, but given that they had to explain away about 5 outliers in the last two seasons makes me go hmmm...

Anyone get the feeling that the New York Jets are the new Redskins as far as free agency flocking? Look for both a decline in Sanchez this year as well as chemistry problems.

Baloophi said...

CARRIKER to Redskins for swap of 5th round picks

Does this trade come as the result of Washington talking to St. Louis about the #1 pick? Sometimes I wonder whether these trades are some sort of mutant offspring of an aborted "bigger" trade... like, is Tapp the result of a failed McNabb to Seattle deal...

Myron said...

I think the value of the SackSEER system is to predict when a supposedly "elite" prospect will simply fail to make an impact in the NFL due to physical limitations.

For example, the article states that NEVER has a DE become elite in this league in the past 10 years if he registered a short shuttle run of longer than 4.42 seconds. It simply hasn't happened. And the vast majority of the elite pass rushers in this league (Freeney, Ware, Cole, Peppers, etc) have also notched vertical jumps of greater than 36". So if a prospect comes in with a 30" vertical, or a 4.7 sec short shuttle, these should be red flags that expose critical physical limitations that may prevent that player from ever being effective in the NFL.

That having been said, I have a feeling that one prospect stands out among the rest of them right now based on these numbers:

Daniel T'eo-Nesheim. 38" vertical, 4.18 short shuttle. This could be the sleeper of the draft and the next big thing at DE.

I think the team that can pick this guy up in the later rounds will be very lucky. I hope the Eagles can take a chance on him in the 3rd or 4th round.

Edward said...

Looks like the Eagles will be @Detroit Week 2. Nice to have what should be an easy game early.

Myron said...

Edward: Don't write the Lions off just yet. Suh is probably going to give our O-Line fits, and Stafford will probably be a lot better next year than he was this past year.

I'm more pumped about the Redskins game at the Linc, which is happening on Oct. 3. The Redskins come to the Linc before the Eagles go to Fed Ex, so the important McNabb game is first and foremost, unlike the Favre games last year where he returned to Green Bay late in the season.

Nathan said...

@ Baloophi

I don't know if the deal necessarily is a spawn of a bigger trade concerning the #1, but the Redskins setting themselves up to trade Albert Haynesworth. He doesn't really want to be there and I'm guessing Mike Shanahan isn't thrilled with his contract. Now the question is whether they can get some value out of him or if they are just going to dump him for cheap.

Nathan said...

I forgot that the Redskins are switching to a 3-4 so Carriker will more than likely play one of the end positions, thus trading for him should have no bearing on what they decide to do with Albert Haynesworth.

Steven said...

I don't get the trade, shouldn't STL's picks be higher than Washington's?

Ezra said...


Rams traded the EAGLES' fifth, which they acquired with Brandon Gibson.

izzylangfan said...

I'm really excited to see what the Eagles get in the draft. But I can't take any more guessing, figuring, mocking and Berrying. Your columns and the comments on your blog have been great but I can no longer speculate and theorize what the Eagles might do. I just look forward to Thursday then Friday and Saturday.

So changing the subject. What strategy do you think the Eagles will adopt for the uncapped year. So far they have traded and cut a number of players. But even though there is some cap hit it seems to me that the salary savings is greater than the cap hit so the Eagles would still be in a more or less normal position even if it were not an uncapped year. So they have yet to tip their hand as to whether they will underspend and try to make a bundle in the uncapped year or perhaps they will sign a bunch of players like Bunkley, DeSean and others with bonuses that would hit big in 2010 leaving lots of cap space to sign some big time free agents in 2011. I guess there is some rule that prevents teams from giving big raises in the uncapped year. Tommy, What do you think the Eagles are up to and what are the major constraints that the league has placed on teams in this regard?

T_S_O_P said...

There are some late rounders and UDFA types that I like in this class.

A day before Thursday and I am sure you are so so busy, but how does Sam Scott as a UDFA type grab you.

Cliff said...

Wow. We have a tough schedule.