Feeling the Draft
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.