Draft Grades – 2012

Draft Grades: Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles had relatively few holes to fill, so this draft class was about adding depth and finding some prospects to groom for future roles.

I like the trade up for Fletcher Cox. The hype surrounding his stock got a little out of control in the weeks leading up to the draft, but he does have the potential to be an impact interior lineman. He’s a prototypical penetrating three-technique tackle and has the potential to be a poor man’s Ndamakong Suh. He’s inconsistent against the run, but Philly has the depth  to use him as part of a rotation.

I like the selection Mychal Kendricks in the 2nd round, but I do wonder where he fits in. He’s best suited to play insider or weak-side linebacker, but the Eagles most glaring hole is on the strong-side. Kendricks can probably make that transition, but it’s not a perfect fit.

Vinny Curry will be steal in the late 2nd round. He’s a relentless pass rusher who could push for playing time immediately, even on crowded defensive line in Philly.

I’m baffled by the selection of Nick Foles. For starters, the Eagles could  have landed an impact player in the late 3rd round, there was no reason to settle for a purely developmental prospect. But to make matters worse, Foles is not worthy of a 3rd-round pick. He’s terribly inconsistent and didn’t show any real potential until the second half of his senior year. There’s a huge bust factor with this pick.

Brandon Boykin is a steal in the 4th round and I’m shocked he fell that far. He’s undersized and may be limited to playing the nickel corner role, but he definitely has the skills to make an impact. He’ll compete with Curtis Marsh for playing time, but should eventually earn a larger role down the road.

Marvin McNutt has limited upside, but he ‘s fairly polished and will have a chance to compete for the fourth receiver role. On a different team I’d like his chances, but the Eagles receiving corps is crowded. He may end up on the practice squad.

Brandon Washington played left tackle at Miami but will need to shift inside to guard in the pros. I’m somewhat surprised by this selection because the Eagles have been targeting smaller, more athletic interior lineman in recent years, and Washington definitely does not fit that mold.

Bryce Brown was a serious gamble, even in the 7th round. He was highly recruited out of high school and ended up at Tennessee, but eventually transferred to Kansas State. However, he’s consistently found himself in trouble and needs to get his life in order before he can be relied upon. He’s made a number of questionable decision throughout his career, including unexpectedly leaving the Kansas State program last September. Even in the 7th round, he probably wasn’t worth the headache that he’ll bring.

The Eagles put together a solid class and added some impressive depth to their front seven. The only pick that really raised any concerns was Foles, which felt like a reach. But they still added at least three players who project as future starters (Cox, Kendricks and Curry) and another (Boykin) who should at least add contribute as a nickel corner.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2012, Eagles Comments Off

Philadelphia Eagles select Mychal Kendricks, Grade A

The Philadelphia Eagles got one of the best players on the board and filled an immediate need with this selection. I’m not sure if Mychal Kendricks will play weak-side or strong-side linebacker, but he could be an upgrade at either position. Considering Brian Rolle’s breakout year in 2011, the strong-side may be the best place for him.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Eagles Comments Off

Philadelphia Eagles select Fletcher Cox, Grade A-

The Philadelphia Eagles have been in love with Fletcher Cox for awhile, and I’m actually a little surprised they waited this long before trading up.

I’m not as high on Cox as some, but I really like how he fits in Philly. He need to work on his performance against the run, but he’ll be used in a rotation early in his career with the Eagles, which will allow them to put him in situations that play to his strengths. He is going to make a significant impact as a rookie, even if he’s only plays roughly 2/3s of their defensive snaps.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Eagles Comments Off

Draft Needs: Philadelphia Eagles

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Philadelphia Eagles [full archive here].

Season Recap: The “Winners of the 2011 offseason” were labeled as the “Dream Team” by Vince Young, a member of the team at the time. What Philly may have failed to recognize is the NFL isn’t like Madden; signing the top free agents does not win you football games. The Eagles were never able to recover from a 1-4 start, and finished the season at 8-8. This upcoming season very may well be the last shot for Andy Reid at making a run for the title.

Team Needs:
1. Outside Linebacker: Philadelphia had two holes at linebacker before the recent trade for DeMeco Ryans. Now, Andy Reid needs to find an upgrade over Jamar Chaney, who in reality should be a backup. The Eagles may be wise trading up in the first round to select Luke Kuechly, who may not last until 15.

2. Strong Safety: 2011 second round pick, Jacquian Jarrett seemed lost in his rookie year. One of the main problems with the Eagles defense was inconsistent safety play, meaning that problem has to be addressed. There is a possibility Jarrett improves in the upcoming season, but Reid can’t afford to make assumptions. Mark Barron is an option in the first round. Harrison Smith, from Notre Dame, is the next best safety and could be available at pick #46.

3. Defensive Tackle: Mike Patterson suffered a seizure in training camp, but miraculously wound up starting 15 games. The Eagles could use a big body up front. Michael Brockers, Jerel Worthy, Devon Still, and Brandon Thompson are all reasonable options.

Posted on by Matt Peterson in Draft Needs - 2012, Eagles 1 Comment

Eagles reportedly interested in trading up to No. 4

Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that the Philadelphia Eagles and St. Louis Rams are interested in trading up for the 4th pick in the draft.

Ryan Tannehill #17 - 255

Could the Eagles target Tannehill?

It’s fairly safe to assume that the Rams would be targeting Justin Blackmon, but the Eagles interest is not as clear.

Blackmon would certainly add another dimension to their offense, and Morris Claiborne would shore up a shaky secondary.

But the biggest name on the board would be Ryan Tannehill, who the Eagles have met with this offseason and reportedly are very high on. It would be tough to justify spending a high pick on a quarterback so soon after locking up Michael Vick, but Eagles are one franchise definitely not concerned with conforming to what the general public believes is right.

Regardless of who the target may be, it’s difficult to see how any player on the board at No. 4 would be worth what it would cost for the Eagles to move up from No. 15.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Eagles Comments Off

2011 Draft Grades: Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t have many holes to fill, but they added a few instant impact players while getting quality value with most of their picks. It wasn’t an exciting draft, but they should come away with a few starters.

It’s impossible not to like Danny Watkins, but the 23rd pick may have been a bit early for a 26-year-old interior lineman, especially considering the fact that he may not be a significant upgrade over Max Jean-Gilles. He’ll start from day one, but he doesn’t have the same elite upside that usually allows for an interior lineman to climb into the 1st round.

I was surprised by the selection of Jaiquawn Jarrett in the 2nd round. It was only a slight reach, but I thought Kurt Coleman did a nice job at strong safety as a rookie last year. Apparently the selection of Jarrett means they’re giving up on Coleman after just one year.

Curtis Marsh was a great 3rd round pick. He may not have the instant-impact that they needed, but he has the potential to develop into a starter down the road.

I love the selection of Clay Matthews. He may not be an every-down player, but should be an effective situational pass rusher at strong-side linebacker.

Alex Henery was a reach and there’s just no way to defend this pick. For starters, he wasn’t the best kicker in the draft. And the Eagles situation at kicker was not desperate enough to warrant a 4th round pick even if he was.

Dion Lewis was a reach in the 5th round. He’s undersized and will be a mediocre backup at best. If Jerome Harrison is re-signed, Lewis may struggle to see the field as a rookie.

Julian Vandevelde will provide quality depth at guard. His upside may be limited, but he should have a long career as a backup.

The selection of Jason Kelce, their third interior lineman of the draft, is confusing. He’s going to have to fight for a roster spot.

Brian Rolle could be a steal in the 6th round. He’s perfect for their defensive scheme – slightly undersized and athletic – and should compete for playing time at weak-side linebacker.

Greg Lloyd will likely compete for the backup inside linebacker job, but could also provide depth on the strong and weak sides.

Stanley Havili was my top-rated fullback, but he’s going to have a very difficult time stealing playing time from Leonard Weaver and Owen Schmitt. He definitely had value in the 7th round, but he just doesn’t appear to fit into Philly’s plans.

As a whole, this was a solid draft for the Eagles. However, they failed to add any true impact players. Based purely on depth they’ll likely find two or three long-term starters from the mix, but this is a fairly ordinary class with limited upside.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2011, Eagles 1 Comment

Draft Needs: Philadelphia Eagles

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Philadelphia Eagles [full archive here].

Season Recap – 2010 was supposed to be the year of Kevin Kolb. Long time Eagle Donovan McNabb was traded to the divisional-rival Washington Redskins and the stage was set for Kolb. Most people expected a rebuilding year due to the overall inexperience of the team, but when Kolb went down with a concussion in week 1, Comeback Player of the Year Michael Vick took the starting job and never looked back. Vick led the Eagles to a 10-6 record, but a loss to the Packers in the Wild Card round ended any Super Bowl hopes.

Needs:

1. Right Tackle – Winston Justice is coming off a somewhat serious knee injury and will have to rehab hard this offseason in order to return for 2011. Now that Mike Vick is the starting QB the Eagles are going to want to look for a better blind-side protector. Justice is average at best and would be better served as a backup. Defenses began to send a lot of pressure against Vick late in the season and the Eagles need to do all they can to protect their franchise player. Gabe Carimi would upgrade the RT position tremendously. Read more

Posted on by Matt Peterson in Draft Needs - 2011, Eagles Comments Off

Cardinals trading 1st-round pick for Kolb?

On Tuesday morning on Mike and Mike, ESPN football analyst John Clayton suggested that the Eagles would expect at least a 1st-round pick in exchange for Kevin Kolb. He then went on to name the Cardinals as a team potentially willing to part with their 1st-round selection, the 5th overall pick in this year’s draft.

My initial reaction is to laugh this off, but there are only a handful of people out there that know as much about the NFL – specifically NFL transactions – as John Clayton, so I’ll at least entertain the possibility.

With Kolb, the Cardinals immediately become playoff contenders

The Kolb-Cardinals rumor is certainly nothing new. Ken Whisenhunt openly lobbied for a veteran quarterback last offseason (he was reportedly interested in Marc Bulger) and this offseason will be no different after the failed Derek Anderson experiment.

The rumors grew when Larry Fitzgerald endorsed him as a potential candidate to come to Arizona, and Kolb later said he would welcome a trade to the Cardinals.

But the 5th pick for an unproven quarterback who will turn 27 in August? It seems a little too steep.

That said, the Cardinals just might consider it. In the wide-open NFC West Kolb would make the Cardinals instant playoff contenders and help them re-sign Fitzgerald who is set to become a free agent following the 2011 season.

So while I wouldn’t normally endorse a trade such as this, I think this one is worth considering. If they enter 2011 without a viable long-term option at quarterback they stumble through another losing season and likely lose Fitzgerald to free agency. That series of events could send the Cardinals into a tailspin back into irrelevancy.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft, Cardinals, Eagles 1 Comment

How Kevin Kolb could impact the draft

Every year the NFL draft projections change as free agents sign and players get traded, but nothing changes the landscape of the draft – and the league, for that matter – more than a starting quarterback finding a new home.

This year the man on the move is Kevin Kolb.

Everyone expects the Eagles to either re-sign or franchise Michael Vick, and when that happens Kevin Kolb is likely to demand a trade. Where he winds up could have a ripple effect on the draft.

Here’s a look at a few possibilities:

The Bills own the 3rd pick, but it is entirely possible that they would prefer to avoid taking a quarterback. There are a number of 1st-round options, but no one jumps out as an obvious franchise quarterback. They may be content to trade for Kolb and use that pick on A.J. Green – a move which may actually have a more immediate impact on their rebuilding process. If that happened, it would mean the first quarterback wouldn’t come off the board until the 5th pick at the earliest.

The Cardinals, who own the 5th pick, are another option. I believe Ken Whisenhunt would prefer to fix their quarterback situation with a veteran, rather than with a draft pick. He knows he’s on a short leash, and drafting a quarterback would lead to a full rebuilding process which he likely wouldn’t survive. Adding Kolb would immediately put them back in the playoff picture in the NFC West.

The 49ers are in a good position to land a quarterback in the draft, but there’s no guarantee – especially if they have their heart set on someone in particular. In order to avoid the drama, they may prefer to trade for Kolb. That could cause for someone to fall to the Titans and/or Redskins.

The Titans are in a similar position to the Cardinals. They need a new quarterback, but their coach may not be around to see him develop. As a result, Jeff Fisher may push for the franchise to trade for Kolb or someone else who can help them win immediately. That could allow for someone to fall to the Redskins.

The Redskins don’t seem interested in extending the Donovan McNabb era, but they also aren’t in a position to feel comfortable about landing a quarterback in the draft. Trading for Kolb may be a smart move (if the Eagles could justify another trade within the division). If they trade for Kolb, it would increase the chances that a top quarterback falls out of the top 10, which the Vikings and Dolphins would be absolutely thrilled about.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft, 49ers, Bills, Cardinals, Eagles, Redskins, Titans 6 Comments

32 reasons why no one in the NFL should want Moss

Cardinals – Need a lot more than one aging receiver to fix their quarterback situation.

Falcons – Why mess up a good thing between Matt Ryan and Roddy White?

Ravens – No room with Boldin, Mason and Housh. Moss would pout, ruin chemistry.

Bills – Ryan Fitzpatrick has been pleasantly surprising. Don’t mess with a good thing.

Panthers – Think Moss will be a good soldier on a team competing for the No. 1 pick?

Bears – Lovie and Martz have their hands full already with Jay Cutler in the locker room.

Bengals – T.O.  and Moss in the same locker room? No thanks.

Browns – If Mangini can’t get along with Braylon Edwards, how would Moss fit in?

Cowboys – The last thing they need is another distraction.

Broncos – Do you really think McDaniels will get along with Moss better than Marshall?

Lions – Can you picture Moss accepting role as a No. 2 receiver on a 2-5 team?

Packers – Chemistry on offense seems to be great. Don’t mess it up.

Texans – See above.

Colts – Manning prefers his no-name receivers. And it works just fine for him.

Jaguars – Last place Jags aren’t going anywhere. Don’t waste the money.

Chiefs – Already hold a big lead in a weak division. Why mess with what’s working?

Dolphins – Marshall and Moss is too much ego for any coaching staff to handle.

Vikings – Been there. Done that.

Patriots – Been there. Done that.

Saints – Brees seems to be doing o.k. for himself without an elite receiver.

Giants – Can you picture Moss backing up Nicks and Smith?

Jets – I think they’ve learned their lesson with Braylon Edwards.

Raiders – Been there. Done that.

Eagles – Been there. Done that.

Steelers – After trading Holmes, adding Moss would be a step backwards.

Chargers – Vincent Jackson is back.

49ers – Can you picture Moss being happy in last place in the worst division?

Seahawks – The last thing Mike Williams needs right now is a bad influence.

Rams – Last thing this young, overachieving team needs is a bad influence like Moss.

Bucs – See above.

Titans – Kenny Britt has enough issues to overcome without Moss influencing him.

Redskins – McNabb and T.O. didn’t work. Why would it work with Moss?

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 49ers, Bears, Bengals, Bills, Broncos, Browns, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Chargers, Chiefs, Colts, Cowboys, Dolphins, Eagles, Falcons, Giants, Jaguars, Jets, Lions, Packers, Panthers, Patriots, Raiders, Rams, Ravens, Redskins, Saints, Seahawks, Steelers, Texans, Titans, Vikings 1 Comment