Saturday, April 28, 2012

Feeling the Draft

[Posted By Jake]

An annual rite of spring, like Bob frolicking through the woods in celebration of Gaia the Earth Mother, is Steve and I reviewing the Eagles' draft. Basically, I'm a skeptic when it comes to Andy Reid's choices, but I'm happy to start off by saying, so far, this draft is not as bad as last year. Faint praise, I know, but even that was hard to spit out.

Fletcher Cox was the consensus best defensive lineman and the Eagles went up and got him. That's a good first round. I'm perfectly willing to overlook the fact that the last consensus d-lineman they went up and got was Broderick Bunkley. It can't happen twice...it can't happen twice...

At least we didn't have the geek squad of Joe Banner and Howie Roseman pulling their usual nonsense. No selections have been made so far that stroke their outsized egos, trying to prove how much smarter they are than everybody else. All the picks in the first, second and third rounds are players selected where their worth was generally indicated.

In the second round, linebacker Mychal Kendricks from California is a gamer. PAC-12 defensive player of the year, his 4.47 40 is the fastest time by a linebacker since 2007. Where this choice goes bad is when the Eagles try and tell us that this 5'11" defender is going to solve their problems covering other team's tight ends, who normally go 6'4" or better. That's just crazy. What the real story is that Kendricks is an insurance policy in case DeMeco Ryans doesn't fully return to form from his torn achilles injury, common to 70% of the cases.

The next second round pick is where the Eagles screwed the pooch. Their biggest problem is left tackle after Jason Peters' torn achilles injury (remember that 70% figure). They signed a free agent and re-signed a backup, but youth and talent to develop are needed at tackle. Sitting there was Mike Adams, a 6'7" 323 lb stud from Ohio State. He had fallen into the second round because he tested positive for marijuana at school and the combine. Perfect...his screw-up matched the Eagles' needs. Instead the Eagles traded back and the Steelers, a team who drafts pretty well, snatched him up. Now rather than keeping Michael Vick upright, Adams will keep Ben Roethlisberger from getting dirty, at least on the field. Nothing can keep Big Ben from getting dirty off the field.

The Eagles waited and said that their choice, Vincent Curry, a defensive end from Marshall, was the best athlete available. He's a good player who grew up as an Eagles fan, but they have two Pro Bowlers and a first round pick on the roster at defensive end. Curry is a luxury pick, and a team that missed the playoffs has to get impact players in the early rounds. The only way this pick makes sense is if the Eagles believe that Graham, their injured and unproven first round pick from two years ago, is a bust.

The quarterback in the third round is interesting. Good size and good arm, but not particularly mobile. They say he's a prototypical West Coast system qb, but generally those guys have good feet and move pretty well. A quarterback pick after the first round is always a longshot, so you still have to wonder why they didn't get offensive tackle help, the big red zone receiver they needed, a safety who hits, a kick returner, or a goal line running back? These are all things they need more than an extra defensive end and clipboard jockey.

So now we sit back today and listen how the Eagle geniuses struck gold in the sixth round. I'm hoping for the best, but history says the draft will not get this team to the Super Bowl.


Update: Nice fourth round pick in kick returner Brandon Boykin from Georgia. Also like their sixth round pick Brandon Washington, a guard from Miami. Seventh rounder is Bryce Brown, a running back who's been out of the game, with good size and speed. It's worth a flier this late in the draft to try to steal a talented, but troubled skill player. There's other checkered pasts in the Eagles' free agent signings, too.


5 Comments:

Blogger steve mcdonald said...

Jake,
I thought the Eagles had a very solid draft overall, very little complaints from my end.

Fletcher Cox was a great surprise, and I liked how they didn't give up a lot to leapfrog the Rams and pick him up. I was expecting him to be gone by Carolina, but was delighted to see the PAnthers take Kuchley and the Chiefs reach for Dontari Poe. Our Linebackers need a good presence in the middle to help them do their job - I see Cox as that guy, and in a rotation with Cullen Jenkins, Mike Patterson, Antonio Dixon and Derek Landri, I like what they have to offer.

I equally like the Mychal Kendricks pick - he's a speedster who brings intensity to the field, I could see a guy like this evolving into a leader.

RE: Michael Adams - I'll say this: Howard Mudd likely forgot more about the offensive line that we'll ever know. He has a mold he aims for that seems to be more mobile, athletic linemen, as they apparently complement his system. Remember last year with some 6th Rounder by the name of Jason Kelce replacing Jamal Jackson and a 27 year old rookie in Danny Watkins being drafted in the 1st round to play RG? That group played better than any OL in Reid's era (in my estimation), they protected the QB until he scrambled, and they contributed in a big way towards this new thing called a running game that us fans so rarely see. ProFootballFocus seemed to agree, ranking the Birds' OL second best in the NFL behind New Orleans last year. Reid has stated since day one that the trenches will always be their priority. My guess is that if they liked Adams, they would have gone for him, but he must not fit Mudd's system.

However, I like this Vinny Curry, seems to have a high motor and could become a great NFL pass rusher. I think its also beneficial to pick him up because I think he's going to challenge guys liek Brandon Grahan (bust label?) and Darryl Tapp.

RE: Nick Foles - who knows the long term plans? Maybe he gets groomed to be Vick's successor. Maybe he gets groomed and traded for a high pick, we've seen it before. We can question whether this year or next would have been the ideal year to get a QB, but I'm not hurt by it.

From what I'm reading, brandon Boykin may be one of the steal of the draft. A second round projection, we get him in the fourth. I'd rather develop talent within in lieu of free agency, so I'm looking forward to seeing him develop under new Secondary Coach Todd Bowles.

Dennis Kelly and Brandon Washington are once again Mudd guys. I won't knock either as I know little, however, Howard Mudd has taught me to believe in him (See Kelce, Jason).

The selection of McNutt seems good in terms of Red zone production, but I'll wait and see what he does in preseason and games. At the very least, he could push Riley Cooper to play!

RB Bryce Bowen, why not take a chance with a 7th round pick? Hopefully he or the RB from Washignton pan out as McCoy could use a decent backup.

April 30, 2012 at 8:23 AM 
Blogger jake said...

Steve,
We mostly agree.
On Adams, I think Mudd would take the third best OT over Kelly, the 29th best OT, who wasn't even invited to the Combine.
The best coach I knew always said, "it ain't the X's and the O's, it's the Jimmy's and the Joe's."

April 30, 2012 at 3:51 PM 
Blogger steve mcdonald said...

The problem here is that I don't believe the Eagles rated Adams that high otherwise they would have grabbed him. The last time I remember them making a similar 'steal' was when they drafted Winston Justice in the second round of 2006. These teams don't have the same draft boards as Kiper and these magazines. Remember the photo of the Cowboys war room in 2010 where we could see Brandon Graham listed as a fourth rounder?

May 1, 2012 at 7:57 AM 
Blogger jake said...

Right now the Cowboys are looking right on Graham.
I hope two years from now we're not envying the Steelers and their Pro Bowl tackle Adams.

I basically like this draft. The Eagles addressed their weaknesses with solid players. I just think Adams was there for the taking, and could have made this draft really special.

May 1, 2012 at 12:09 PM 
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March 29, 2013 at 6:50 PM 

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