Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Column is Up

***

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. 
___

45 comments:

N / said...

Tommy, I'm a U of Arizona fan and watching Ross the past 2 years I thought he'd be a better fit for a cover 2 team. What are your thoughts of him in our scheme?

Thanks again for all of your contributions! Can't wait for the long draft review.

-americanfoot

izzylangfan said...

I had believed going into the draft that it was going to be difficult for the Eagles to satisfy all of their needs since they had so many. After the draft I think that they satisfied most of their needs with the exception of cornerback. Yes, Trevard Lindley may turn out to be a good starter on one side, but perhaps not this year. I thought the Eagles needed two cornerbacks: one to replace Sheldon Brown this year, and another to eventually (Next year would be good but certainly the year after.) replace Asante Samuel. I saw at least one slip screen too many last year and who ever heard of a corner that doesn’t want to play press coverage. Good tackling ability would also be a plus. I like the pick of Nate Allen at safety but if he isn’t able to start right away the weaknesses and uncertainty in the secondary could be increased. So how much are the Eagles going to be able to blitz in 2010 and put those corners on those islands and count on the safeties not to miss tackles after those short and intermediate passes? I think they will still blitz, after all this is the Eagles we are talking about. But, in my view, the play of the secondary will be the key to the season.

That said, the Eagles off-season and draft addressed a lot of the concerns that I have had about the Eagles for at least a couple of seasons.

1. The switch to Kevin Kolb suggests that the Eagles are going to use the short pass more and finally run more of a true West Coast Offense. In the past I have believed that over emphasis on the long pass has distorted the play calling balance to the Eagles detriment. Although the greater emphasis on the long pass probably reflected that fact that short pass accuracy and touch were some of McNabb's weaknesses. Further the shift towards the bigger running backs is interesting because it suggest that the Eagles will be able to better handle short yardage (there was noticeable improvement last year with McCoy and Weaver although there were still red zone issues) and the big back approach will be a nice change of pace from our quick and dangerous wide receivers and also encourage play calling balance. If we can more reliably get 3 to 5 yards on first down, then running on first down is unlikely to put us in a big hole to start the series. If you can break off a big run, fine. But running shouldn’t be as much of a boom or bust call as it has in the past.

2. The concentration on the defensive end position and the trade up to secure an special player in Brandon Graham recognizes that as long as we have Patterson and Bunkley taking care of two gaps each playing run first we are unlikely to get much pass pressure from them. So to get more pressure we need a pass rushing defensive end to compliment Cole. We have long been looking for that three down defensive end on the left side. The addition of Te’O-Nesheim also adds potential strength to the line. And I particularly like the addition of DT Jeff Owens in the seventh round. While no seventh rounder should be thought of a sure thing this is a player with uncommon upper body strength and a history of getting pushback on his opposing linemen. If he is able to help collapse the pocket on passing downs thus preventing the QB from stepping up our DE’s will be getting many more sacks. Some thinking in the right direction here.

3. For years opposing offensive coordinators and good quarterbacks have been too easily able to scheme against the Eagles because they knew we had to blitz to get pressure. I think with this draft and the addition of Tapp the Eagles can potentially end the must blitz era. Then we can truly mix up the defensive signal calling and make the opposition wonder about more that just where the blitz will be coming from. The addition of Tapp also means we do not have to hurry Graham into starting. Now we can see quarterbacks mauled even when we don’t blitz and a lot more interceptions as QB’s release those dying quails and sick ducks in total desperation.

Edward said...

King Dunlap is now 325lbs! Be interesting to see him this preseason.

Edward said...

Watching tape of and considering his measurables and production i can't for the life of me understand why Te'o Nesheim was graded as a 6th-7th rounder. Watching his tape he looks fantastic. I'm no talent evaluator so i'm probably missing something but from what i've seen he does not look like a reach in the third.

T_S_O_P said...

Edward, which site grading him 6th -7th by way of interest?

Edward said...

Just what i had stuck in my head, may be a little low judging by what i just googled. Definitely heard fifth.

Whatever his grade, stoked we got him!

T_S_O_P said...

Some sites update their rankings, others don't. Maybe more do than did. NFLDraftCountdown never seemed to update theirs a few years back regardless of senior bowl, combine and pro-days.

What I'm getting at is that Te'o stock rose, maybe that is where the low ranking came from in your memory.

Edward said...

Either that or my memory is already gone aged 21. Fingers crossed for the changed grades.

Cliff said...

It's easy to think Te'o must have been a low-ranked player because just about every post-draft "analysis" considered him a "reach" with the caveat that he was a "a good player."

I like the pick. I think most fans do too, but their problem seems to be with drafting Te'o over a CB.

Myron said...

Tommy, do you think that 2 years from now we'll look back on this draft and say "We should have picked Earl Thomas in the first round instead." I think Brandon will be a solid player in the NFL, but he's not an elite athlete that is capable of dominating a game on the NFL level. He's a great college player who will be only a solid NFL player, and should be adequate as a run-stuffing LDE, but we already have that player in Tapp. I don't see much of a functional difference between the two players.

Earl Thomas, on the other hand, has potential to be an elite player at his position, with his 4.3 speed and amazing ball skills.

Again, I love Graham as a college player, but I realize he's not "special" like Dwight Freeney coming out of Syracuse, or Lamarr Woodley coming out of Michigan. Those two guys were explosive athletes in addition to being hard-working hustle guys. Freeney ran a 4.4 40 at 260lbs. Both of those guys had great 37"+ vertical jumps. Graham isn't that kind of athlete.

With all of this attention to positional value (i.e. DE over S in the top 15), I worry that the Eagles might have outsmarted themselves by reaching for a DE instead of taking the potentially elite safety.

Baloophi said...

If anyone feels the need to get pumped up for our third string QB, Kafka looked real good running the two minute drill at the East West Shrine game:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_byjZwpFh0


That is all. Return to your regularly-scheduled procrastination.

izzylangfan said...

@Myron

Not to argue that the Eagles erred in picking a DE over a S at #13, but this selection was driven by AR. We know what his preferences are and after the first day he reiterated in saying that a good defensive line makes the linebackers and the secondary better. So maybe Earl Thomas will prove to be the better option, but we have been going with the Andy Reid method and it should be no surprise that we opted first to shore up the D-Line because with Andy that is the way we are always going.

Kevin said...

Given that Earl Thomas can't tackle, I'd rather have Brandon Graham. Seriously, how the heck is Thomas going to survive playing S at that weight? His body is already maxed out? He needs to play corner so he can tackle less.

Ben said...

"Those two guys were explosive athletes in addition to being hard-working hustle guys. Freeney ran a 4.4 40 at 260lbs. Both of those guys had great 37"+ vertical jumps. Graham isn't that kind of athlete."

That's what worries me - not the size, but the vertical jump. That tells me how explosive he is. That helps with the bull rush. He seems pretty developed in terms of not having much room to grow, so that's what worries me with Graham. I think he'll be solid or better, and I think he's relatively "safe" in that sense, but considering we traded up and gave up two thirds, I want him to have more elite potential. We'll see what happens I guess. Hopefully he just lights it up in TC!

Baloophi said...

@ Myron

RE: Graham paranoia

I think you're putting way too much stock in combine numbers. The next time Freeney and Graham have a 40 yard footrace to sack a quarterback in a game situation I'll concede that the 2002 version of Freeney will arrive .2 seconds faster. And the next time an overtime decision comes down to who can jump up and hit more pegs on the vertical jump tree while wearing shorts - again, 2002 Dwight Freeney has us beat. But to say that Graham's "not capable of dominating the game on an NFL level" based on combine metrics is hasty... how hasty? James Hasty.

Graham had 4.5 fewer sacks than Freeney against greater competition in college (the Big East and the Big Ten are barely the same game) and didn't even get to play inside on artificial turf for half his games. After the Senior Bowl Graham looked pretty darn special in that he was unblockable in practice and in the game.

As far as Earl Thomas goes, well, he had far less experience than Graham and while he might play the ball well (against teams that have to chuck it down the field when they're down by 30 points in the first half) he got run over a lot trying to tackle - and that ain't gonna fly in the NFL.

Also, and most importantly, the front office decided to go with a defensive end and not a safety, so they went up and took what they (and several other teams) considered the top end in this year's draft.

Lastly, here are some comments from this forum about Brandon Graham from someone named Myron after the Senior Bowl:

"Everybody is saying that there is no way he plays 4-3 DE in the NFL, and his only shot is @ 3-4 OLB.

But Dwight Freeney/Robert Mathis are pretty short too, right?"

and

"The more I hear about this guy from scout analysts, the more I'm thinking that the Eagles MUST get Brandon Graham."

and (my favorite):

"Oh man! BRANDON GRAHAM CRACKERS BABY!

Eagles need to get this guy!!"


I'm not trying to be an ass, but it seems like you're putting way too much stock in a couple of numbers from the combine. Graham will be very good. In fact... he might even be special. Crackers special.

Eddie said...

Earl Thomas was a smokescreen and a horrible fit in Phily, imagine, portis, Barber, Jacobs coming through the hole, there is no chance earl makes that tackle unless portis trips on his shoe lace. Sure he could help us in the Passing Game but so could Nate allen. i would prefer a safety that can tackle with such hard runners in the division.

Jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason said...

@Myron

A couple of things. First off, the question of "should we have picked Earl Thomas in the first round instead?" will also be heavily impacted by Nate Allen as well. He may not end up being as good as Earl Thomas, but if he does become a solid starter who we can be reliable, missing on Earl Thomas (assuming he becomes the player people predict he will become) will be much less of an issue. Most of us will only care about it if safety ends up being a hole on our defense in the future. Second, I think by trading up from 24 to 13 and picking up Graham, the Eagles are saying that they DO believe Graham is more than just a solid NFL player. I don't think you trade up that far if you don't believe Graham can be an elite player. Obviously, the coaches and the FO do their research on these players so all we can do is wait and see how they develop.

Cliff said...

Isn't the real debate going to be Earl Thomas vs. Nate Allen?

Matt said...

RE: Teo
Todd McShay said during the draft (and afterwards) that he had Teo as a 6th round pick. I think that's where most of the "overdrafted" feelings come from.

RE: Graham vs. Earl
I'd add the risk/reward piece into the equation. At #13 you are committing to millions of $'s in guaranteed money. Graham's upside may be a starting LDE with Pro Bowl potential. His downside is probably an effective situational pass rusher. Its hard to imagine Graham out of the league in 3 years. Earl Thomas may have All Pro potential, but the bust potential is there too (same as JPP).

I think you get the high upside guys later in the draft where you don't have as much invested.

Chris said...

Hey Tommy - What do you think about NC State RT Jerrail McCuller (signed as a UDFA by the Eagles)? Derek from Iggles Blog put a video of him on his page and while he looks awkward it seems that he pancakes 3/4 of the guys he gets a hand on. He looks like he would be better than King Dunlap, he is almost the same size (about 2 inches shorter and 10 lbs. heavier) and he only gave up a few sacks in about 350 snaps.

Myron said...

Chris Steuber of scout.com was on Daily News Live today and he compared the decision to take Graham over Thomas after trading up into the top 15 to the situation in 2003 when we traded up to #15 to select Jerome McDougle and then Troy Polamalu was drafted right after him at #16.

I can't say this doesn't make me feel very good about this draft. The comparison is eerily similar: reach for a DE when a potential elite safety is on the board?

The problem with selecting DE over S is that the bust rate for DEs in the NFl is tremendously high. Ray Didinger on TV said that the rate for DEs is something like 50%, whereas the bust rate for CBs and Ss is closer to 20%. So when you select DE in the first round, you actually risk MORE than when you pick safety.

Myron said...

Baloophi: I was very high on Graham, just like everyone else, after the Senior Bowl, but:

a.) They traded for Tapp, who I feel will be a solid enough LDE that we really didn't need to pick a DE in the first round.

b.) They released Sheldon Brown, which made the hole in teh secondary even more glaring.

c.) I did some more thinking about the situation and realized that taking DE in the first round is just such a hit or miss prospect (50% bust rate) and more so than CB/S (20% or so bust rate) that picking Earl Thomas or Kyle Wilson with the first round pick would probably be the safer proposition.

d.) I gave some more thought to Graham as a prospect and realized that he may be one of these guys that looks really great in college but fails to be an impact player on the next level. The NFL is littered with these DEs that look like studs in college and then when they go up against NFL tackles their lack of athleticism is magnified and exposed. The SackSEER article at footballoutsiders further worried me because it pointed out that DEs with Graham's athletic limitations often end up struggling in the NFL. Graham has a weak vertical (31") which is a red flag for DEs in the NFL. Very few elite DEs have antyhing less than a 36" vertical.

Combine all of these factors and my opinion on Graham changed alot since the Senior Bowl.

Obvoiusly, I would love to see him succeed and prove me wrong, but the more research and thinking I did, the more I think that taking Thomas or Wilson would be far superior in the first round. I've thought this for weeks now.

bp said...

I think there are a few key differences between the McDougle and Graham selections.

Polamalu -- as the far and away best safety in the draft -- didn't have near the number of questions about physicality or run defense that Thomas does. Yet with Dawkins at the height of his prowess, we didn't have a very pressing need for a safety going into the draft (even though we did ultimately pickup Mikell as a UDFA).

While we traded up to select both DEs (immediately before a safety), McDougle was something of a desperation pick. We were really needy at the position and two DEs had just gone off of the board (4 in total, if you count Kevin Williams). Whereas Graham -- as the first DE off the board -- was undoubtedly the guy we had our eye on, one could legitimately make a claim that we moved up for the position maybe a bit moreso than the actual player in McDougle's case.

As far as the DE/S comparison goes, statistical probabilities of specific positions busting are all well and good (I think it's a little disingenuous to lump safeties and corners together, however) but its nothing more than one more informational tool. You ultimately have to trust your scouting department, and by all intentions Howie (and presumably others) were absolutely in love with Graham.

Baloophi said...

@ Myron

Buddy... come on. Jerome McDougle didn't work out. True. He also got shot if you'll recall. He was also drafted by a different team of personnel. You're trying to compare one enormously specific instance to another... that's crazy town.

Why don't you ask Chris Stueber to look up how many times teams traded up to take someone and the player actually worked out better than a player taken after him? Or how about the Panthers foolishly taking Julius Peppers when Safety Roy Williams was on the board? Hmm...

I'm really struggling to understand your mania over Brandon Graham. As I mentioned in my last post, you were ALL-CAPS and exclamation points over Brandon Graham after the senior bowl yet now you're convinced that he's a bust because one time we traded up to take a defensive end and he busted. You obviously watched the Senior Bowl so I'm curious why you suddenly think he's going to bust? An article by Steuber and an article by Ray Didinger? In 1999 Didinger would've taken Cade McNown over McNabb because he thought he was the best quarterback in the draft. So when he talks about "bust rate" remember who is talking.

And let's talk about "bust rate." Just because it's higher for a DE doesn't mean you don't draft one early in the draft. Why? Because it's the third most important position in football behind QB and LT... and LT is only important because you have to stop DEs.

And when did you become so DE-averse? You said you'd be a sad panda if we didn't take a top end DE...

"I was in love with Jerry Hughes before the Senior Bowl as my premier pass rusher in the draft, but that show put on by Brandon Graham made me salivate over him as a prospect. However, I still like Jerry Hughes too, and it's too bad he didn't make it to the Senior Bowl, because if he had, he would have helped us decide who the better prospect was. Either way, I'll be ecstatic if the Eagles end up with one of the two. I just hope that BOTH of these guys don't pass the Eagles by in the draft. That will suck. If we're stuck with the tag team rotation of Jacqua Parker, Jason Babin, and Victor Abiamiri again for another year, I'll be a sad panda. I'll also be sad if we wait until the 4th or 5th round to pick up another DE "project" who nets 5 sacks over the course of the next 3 years."


AND you didn't seem so sure that safety was in fact a "safe" pick two weeks ago...


"If you burn multiple picks to trade up for Berry, you are basically putting pressure on him to be a Pro Bowl safety without fail. If he develops into merely a solid starter, the move will be considered a failure.

If you instead, say, invest a 2nd round pick in a safety like Nate Allen or Morgan Burnett, and he becomes a Pro Bowl player, great - you hit the jackpot. But if that safety merely becomes a solid starter, it will not be considered a failure because it was only a single 2nd round pick.

So basically speaking, unless we have a crystal ball that will tell us definitvely that one Eric Berry will become the best free safety to ever play the game, going all-in (both with draft picks and financially) for him would probably end up being a mistake."

bp said...

Tommy, with the massive infusion of youth, I'm eagerly anticipating your take on how the cuts will ultimately break down. I've got the current roster count at 85, so there's surely not going to be any shortage of competition. How safe are guys like Joe Mays or Jon Dorenbos, whose spots on the roster have been more or less limited to single-functionality?

Cliff said...

You can't use hindsight to evaluate a draft. Go back and look at the 2003 Draft, the 1st 2 rounds are riddled with players who I've never even heard of. Sure, we could've drafted an elite S or CB, but we also could have drafted a dozen order busts not named McDougle like a lot of other teams did.

McDougle and Graham are apples and oranges anyway, just like Polamalu and Earl Thomas.

Cliff said...

Baloophi touched on something I've been wondering about ever since the draft. There was a lot of hoopla surrounding Graham on this blog and EMB leading up to the draft, but now that we've actually drafted him, there seems to be a lot of backlash. What the hell happened? The guy hasn't even played yet!

Matt said...

The SackSEER article was interesting (and the reason I liked the Teo pick) but it has some major limitations. As a tool for predicting future busts, it was very convincing. If have a bad SackSEER score, you're likely to have a lousy NFL career (Hello, Jason Pierre-Paul...) But it's a lot less convincing when predicting future studs (about half of the top 12 SackSEER scores of the last ten years still flopped.) And there was little to nothing said about the large number of players whose SackSEER scores fall somewhere in the middle. (A list that includes Graham and just about every other DE in this year's draft.) I'm a long way from buying SackSEER as a viable predictor of performance, except in the case of major busts.

Baloophi said...

@ bp

Debate over cuts will be as spirited as the actual competition I would imagine.

How do you (and others) see things shaping up at DB, for example?

Here's what we've currently got to work with:

CB

Hanson
Hobbs
Lindley
Morris
Patterson
Pender
Pope
Ross
Samuel


S

Allen
Jackson
Coleman
Harris
Demps
Mikell


Last year we started with 5 CBs and 4 Safeties with Macho being called a safety (the early rumble out of Novacare is that he is now a CB). I think we'll keep the same number of DBs with an eye toward guys who can play both positions for maximum versatility...

CB (5)
Samuel
Hobbs
Jackson
Harris
Hanson or Patterson/Rookie

S (4)
Mikell
Allen
Demps
Coleman


At safety I think Demps' return ability and upside give him another year to prove himself and I think Coleman surprises on special teams.

At cornerback I think the real competition will be for that last CB spot. I think they'll want to keep Jackson around because of the versatility/experience and unless Hobbs can't play anymore because of the neck he'll be around (Roseman even threw out the old "we've got the starting CBs from a 16-0 team" rhetoric again). Macho gets a pass as riser switching positions and that leaves Hanson and Patterson to battle the rookies (Lindley, Morris, Pender, Ross).

I think the team would prefer to keep at least one of those rookies around on either the practice squad or roster so Hanson and Patterson will have to work extra hard in camp to earn it.

Baloophi said...

@ Matt

+1 on the SackSEER skepticism.

Useful tool (so far) for weeding out the busts but not so helpful in "seeing" the studs. That hasn't yet been cracked algorithmically and perhaps the only thing that keeps us humons from falling prey to the machines.

Myron said...

The striking thing about the SackSEER article is that it brings to light the fact that there are literally NO elite pass rushers in the NFL right now with a vertical jump of less than 34", and most have registered a vertical jump of 36" or higher: DeMarcus Ware, Trent Cole, Dwight Freeney, Julius Peppers, LaMarr Woodley, Justin Tuck, Shawne Merriman, Terrell Suggs, and on and on, all in the 37"-40" range for their vertical jump.

Is it possible for a DE with a poor vertical jump to become a good pass rusher in the NFL? Maybe, but the historical trends are greatly, greatly not in their favor. That's just one of the things that made me less excited about Graham as a prospect: his 31" vertical leap.

It may sound silly to distill a prospect down to a single stat like vertical jump, but the fact remains that very few pass rushers with mediocre vertical leaps ever do well in the NFL. You can't ignore it.

Myron said...

Re: Cliff and Baloophi:

Graham is no doubt a solid DE prospect, and he probably will at least be somewhat productive in the NFL, but again, the major things that have changed since the Senior Bowl:

1.) Graham did poorly on his Pro Day with regards to his vertical leap, a mediocre 31". This stat really can't be ignored, as I mentioned in the post above this one.

2.) We traded for Daryl Tapp and released Sheldon Brown. Suddenly our need for an every-down LDE is not that great as Tapp is a perfectly decent run-stuffing LDE who is a solid, but not spectacular pass rusher. Our need for a CB or a S suddenly becomes alot more pronounced.

3.) Mike Mayock, Mel Kiper, and Ray Didinger all began talking about Earl Thomas as the next Ed Reed type of prospect, and have said, on the record, that the Eagles would be foolish to pass him up if given the chance to draft him. Many of them, Didinger especially, also said that Graham is strictly a 3-4 OLB and would be a poor fit in a 4-3. These guys are pretty sharp and have been studying college players for longer than any of us have, and if all of them are saying the same thing, I kind of have to think hard about agreeing with what they're saying.

4.) The assumption was that if we stay put at #24, picking Graham if he dropped to that spot, and assuming that both Derrick Morgan and Earl Thomas were off the board at the point, would be a solid value. Trading up to the #13 spot, however, and giving up as much as we did, would be a bit high for Graham and we would be better served spending the pick on Thomas or Morgan, who were both higher on Kiper's Big Board, and many other draft boards, than Graham.

Netherman said...

@Cliff: "Baloophi touched on something I've been wondering about ever since the draft. There was a lot of hoopla surrounding Graham on this blog and EMB leading up to the draft, but now that we've actually drafted him, there seems to be a lot of backlash. What the hell happened? The guy hasn't even played yet!"

I call this the reverse Tapp effect. When we first signed him, there was a lot of backlash and then without a single snap of the football, he is suddenly thought of as the starting caliber complement to Cole.

I loved the Graham pick, but seeing how all 7 rounds unfolded, I wish we had snagged Wilson at 24. Teo and Sapp would still provide some competition to Sapp and we would have had two more 3rd rounders. The CB well dried up awfully quick. However, I also remember a draft not too long ago where I was literally yelling at the TV to draft Chris Houston. Another year, I was screaming at the TV to get Sweed instead of DJack. Bottom line - it's a good thing I am not in charge or we would scraping the bottom of the NFC East.

Count me in on the Sackseer skepticism. Stats from the underwear olympics are overrated...just ask Jerry Rice. There is thing you can do about lower body explosion...it is called strength training.

Netherman said...

It is interesting that Mikell criticized the character of players on the team and then you keep hearing guys like Roseman and Reid harp on the fact that they are really focusing on guys who love the game. How many times in the last few years have we reached a critical junction in a game or a season only to see the team fold like a cheap lawnchair. My one criticism of Reid is that he was almost too "even-keeled" over the years and so you needed players like Dawk to rally the team. I am totally pumped this year...more so than I can ever remember before.

Cliff said...

@ Myron

Mayock, Kiper, and Didimger are wrong just as much - if not more often - as they are right. That's just the nature of trying to predict what 22 year olds will do with the rest of their lives.

I agree that Earl Thomas would've been a great pick, but so is Graham. Remember: BPA, not need. Now, if we hadn't drafted Allen in the 2nd, I'd be pissed. Haha.

Baloophi said...

@ Myron

Okay. I understand you changed your mind from "WE MUST GET GRAHAM!" to "we should have gotten Earl Thomas instead." I'm just sad you so easily did so, and over some pretty silly factors:

1) Graham's Pro Day vertical.

You're gonna toss out years of impressive tape against top competition over how high he jumped after straining his hamstring at the Combine?

2) Tapp in + Sheldon out = safety > end

Tapp is not the "answer" long time at DE. We need a new Trent Cole. If Tapp were that, he wouldn't have been traded. Also, you felt that after releasing Sheldon Brown the number one priority was the secondary. All I can say is that the Eagles' brain trust strongly disagrees with you. As they said many times, getting pressure is more important than secondary issues (hence "secondary"). Also, they took Nate Allen 24 picks later, so they did address it. We got the next highest ranked safety after Thomas on many boards, and it's possible he was ranked higher than Thomas given Earl's inability to tackle and lack of experience.

3) Didinger et. al. and SackSEER combined forces to convince you that Graham will not be an elite player.

This is the one that bugs me the most, and why I'm spending way too much time worrying about your paranoia, Myron. Kiper is an idiot, and Mayock got caught up trying to prove his contrarian stance that Earl Thomas > Eric Berry so of course he's going to say he's the next Ed Reed. Didinger is so great at talent evaluation that he writes columns for CSN Philly and makes projections like "Cade McNown is by far the best quarterback in this draft class" and SackSEER is so on-point that their website is sponsored by Woolite and what looks to be a soccer betting website. Here's the bio on the mind behind SackSEER:

"Nate Forster is an attorney in Boston whose hobbies include drinking Slurpees, wearing hooded sweatshirts, and delivering bone-crushing hits on opposing quarterbacks. Although never invited to the NFL Combine, he did hold a personal pro day where he amazed all in attendance by reading a transcript of a Todd McShay-Mel Kiper debate in the voices of Shaggy and Scooby Doo."

As far the "science" goes at no point does he provide the level of correlation between his 4 metrics and sacks. For instance, the number of hours I sleep in a day correlates to how much precipitation there is, but it's not very strong or scientifically relevant. More to the point, by the Slurpee drinker's own admission, "SackSEER is more accurate at identifying busts than it is at singling out potential stars."

Essentially, they've concluded Graham isn't a bust, but you've taken that to mean he won't be elite - which is not a logical conclusion given the parameters. To that point, notice that they ignore anyone who falls in the middle of the pack for their projections. Why? Probably because they're all over the place, meaning their SackSEER rating doesn't really "see" anything.

4) Graham wasn't good value at 13.

Your "assumption" (we all know what that means... actually, in this case it makes an ass out of you and "mption"... nevermind) is that Graham was good value at 24 but not for the price of moving up to 13 because of where Mel Kiper's big board had him at. Well - as stated above - Kiper is an idiot. If he wasn't, he'd be running a team with his muppet face and giant hair. Also, I'm sure you've read where many teams were upset that we took Graham... that means he was high on other boards, ergo we couldn't have sat at 24 and gotten him. His value is where he was picked. Market forces, etc.


I hate that this bothers me so much, Myron, but to see you go from the loudest Graham supporter to fretting that we've pooped the bed by not trading up for Earl Thomas for such petty reasons irritates my logic chords.

Dan said...

Myron was going to rip the 1st round pick regardless of what it was. He would have been saying "you shouldn't jump up that high to pick a safety when Brandon Graham, an elite pass rusher, was still available," had they gotten Thomas.

Some people just love to take the negative view, regardless of what it is, and defend that view to the death.

T_S_O_P said...

Myron, Jared Allen is not an elite athlete and his VJ was not 35" or above. He has been very successful at getting after the QB throughout his NFL career. (He must be top 5 over the last 5 years)

I have let my NFLDraftScout membership lapse, but going on memory Omar Gaither's combine VJ was at least 4" less than that of his pro-day (37.5"). He isn't alone. What I'm saying is that ONE VJ result is not the final determination of an athlete.
Why are you OK with Tapp, his VJ was 33"?

Finally, what did Maylock et al think Eric Berry was going to be if Thomas was the next Ed Reed? I'd understand the angst if we had passed on Berry over Graham.

Ben said...

off topic-

espn's 30 for 30 on Rick Williams is a great piece. Very engaging and interesting. Everyone should check it out.

Baloophi said...

@ Ben

Thanks for the heads up on the Ricky show... I've got it cued up on the DVR...

Stephen said...

There are some things that SACKseer simply can't measure, some things that you can't put into stats at all. How do you put determination and hustle into a stat? How do you put technique and motor into a stat? You can't, which is why statistically trying to determine a players future is a flawed process. You definitely can get a feel for what kind of athletic features can help with success or failure using SACKseer, but you definitely can't predict with any certainty.

Mike said...

@Myron

I have only read the first 20 comments here, but one thing really stuck out at me.

"Freeney ran a 4.4 40 at 260lbs. Both of those guys had great 37"+ vertical jumps. Graham isn't that kind of athlete."

Those are not stats that matter for the Defensive line. Andy Reid already addressed this, he commented on Grahams big behind and thighs (no homo). Graham is so special because he plays with leverage and uses that big ass to push the offensive lineman aside.

No two players play the same, and Graham is not Freeney. I do not think that means his ceiling is "a solid NFL starter". In fact, I would say that I would rather have someone with Graham's body style then someone you are describing who can run a 4.4 forty and get to the QB by being faster around the end.

Brian said...

Myron: "the fact remains that very few pass rushers with mediocre vertical leaps ever do well in the NFL."

Patently false. TSOP, that was a good one in Jared Allen, even though his body type isn't the same as Graham's. A better example would be the only guy who had more sacks last year than Allen: Elvis Dumervil.

Pro Day Numbers:
4.68 - 40 time
29 - Bench press
32" - Arm length
9 1/8" - Hands
5'11" - Height
250 lbs - Weight

and... 27.5 in vertical leap.

Brandon Graham is the same or better in all physical areas to the guy with the most sacks in the league last year.

Also, one last stat: 42 in — Chris Gocong's vertical.

Myron said...

Brian: Elvis Dumervil and Jared Allen may be the few exceptions to the rule, and even Jared Allen notched a 34.5" vert.

The fact remains though that:

Demarcus Ware: 38.5"
Trent Cole: 38"
Dwight Freeney: 37.5"
Julius Peppers: 38"
Lamarr Woodley: 38.5"
Justin Tuck: 37.5"
Mario Williams: 40.5"
Andre Carter: 38.5"
Clay Matthews: 35.5"
Kyle Vanden Bosch: 36.5"
Aaron Schobel: 38"

I couldn't find numbers for guys like John Abraham or Terrell Suggs on nfldraftscout.com, but I'd be shocked if either of these guys had anything less than a 35" vertical.

Is this not a striking trend or what?