The Benn trade and late round pick philosophy +other thoughts

Aiming to keep it a little shorter today. I’ll start with the Benn trade and then throw some food for thought out there.

Benn Trade (Steal?)

As everyone now knows, the Eagles acquired Arrelious Benn from Tampa Bay over the weekend.  The Eagles, in exchange for Benn, essentially traded down this year from the 6th to 7th round, and also gave up a conditional pick next year (no word on the conditional, but we can probably assume it’ll be no higher than a 5th, and likely lower than that).

Initial thoughts?  The Eagles stole him.  Benn is 6’2″, 220 lbs. and was a 2nd round draft pick in 2010.  Great size, but he never hit his potential and was injured last year, only playing 8 games.  Still just 24 years old.

That sounds pretty good, but don’t get too excited.  He is not being brought in to be an impact receiver.  This is, as I see it, another low-risk-medium reward play for the Eagles, and on targeted solely at improving special teams.

The Eagles were among the worst Special Teams units in the league last year, and as we saw with the field position numbers (Eagles last by a long shot), that had a LARGE effect on both the offense and defense.  Benn showed a lot of promise on STs last year, and I have no doubt that’s where he’ll be asked to make his mark.  He is a good downfield blocker, which Kelly likes, but I believe that’s more of a bonus and isn’t a major factor in why the trade happened.

So why is it a steal?

Let’s bring back our draft chart, this time only looking at the 6th and 7th rounds.  To refresh, the chart was put together using every player drafted from 1999-2011.  Players were classified as “starters” if they either started for 5 years or, if they have not been in the league that long, started for at least half the seasons in which they’ve been in the NFL.

Screen Shot 2013-03-18 at 11.27.09 AM

What do we see?  6th round picks, historically, have NOT offered significantly better odds of finding good players than 7th round picks.  Yes, this late in the draft teams are looking for depth, but they are still trying to select the best players possible at the target position.  The numbers above show that, this late in the draft, it’s a complete crapshoot.

In light of this, the Eagles really don’t lose any value by trading from the 6th to the 7th rounds.  Therefore, the Eagles acquired Benn for just a conditional draft pick.  That’s why it’s a steal.  Benn will likely end up being a non-factor, but he’s certainly better than anyone the Eagles would be able to select with whatever conditional pick they end up losing.

Other thoughts:

- I’m very surprised the Eagles haven’t been strongly linked to Sebastian Vollmer, the free agent OT from the Patriots.  I’m assuming the OT market was held up by Jake Long, who signed last night.  If that’s the case we should see the other OTs start to fall into place.  Vollmer would be the best fit.  If the Eagles do not sign a OT, then obviously the odds of drafting an OT go up.  Note this does not mean abandoning the “best available” strategy that Howie is now swearing by.  The team may have looked at Eric Fisher and decided he’s their guy, so no need to sign anyone.

- At this moment, the Eagles’ clear top option for the draft is to trade down with a team trying for Geno Smith.  I discussed this last week.  However, if a trade can’t be made, I think the pick comes down to Fisher (assuming Joeckel is gone), Milliner, or Lotulelei.

Not seeing anyone slotting Lotulelei to the Eagles in mock drafts, but he makes too much sense to me to overlook.  He’s a force in the run-game, which the Eagles need, and will draw consistent doubles, freeing Cox up to wreak havoc.  Also, Lotulelei as a pivot would immediately make Kendricks and Ryans look better, since they wouldn’t have to shed as many blockers to get to the ball.  For reference, Sharrif Floyd seems much more similar to Cox as opposed to complimentary.

Eric Fisher would make sense for the reasons explained above.

Milliner is intriguing because he plays a premier position, is by far the best prospect available at that position, and is the #1 player according to the PVM system.  Note: with the current scouting ratings, his consensus ranking is #3 overall.  The positional value bumps him to #1.

For my money, a defensive backfield with Milliner and Williams does sound a lot better than one featuring Williams and Fletcher and whatever rookie is added in the draft.  I realize there are other CBs on the roster, but they look like slot guys or backups.

I don’t see Dion Jordan being the guy, unless the Oregon ties come into play.  Seems like he’d be a luxury pick that the Eagles can’t afford.  He doesn’t look like the best player on the board and doesn’t fill a pressing need (arguable), therefore he doesn’t seem worth the #4 pick.

Also remember that LBs carry the worst hit-rate of any position in the 1st round.  For whatever reason, there seems to be a much bigger margin of error in scouting/projecting LBs than in most other positions.  Consequently, Jordan would appear to be a higher risk pick as well.

In any case, we should get a better sense of the draft in the next couple weeks, as each team’s needs come into clearer focus.

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11 thoughts on “The Benn trade and late round pick philosophy +other thoughts

  1. Pingback: More on the Benn Trade | Eagles Blog

  2. First time on your site. Great read. I agree with most of what you said. Think the Benn trade will pay dividends. Improving ST is a must for the Eagles.

    I also agree with your draft strategy. While I like Jordan, I think he presents more of a risk then taking someone like Joeckel, Fisher, Star or Milliner without really offering much more in potential then those guys.

    • Thanks. For the new readers, you haven’t seen the full draft chart, which you’d probably be interested in. Ill revisit it soon, but you can find it in the back-posts under the “draft” category if you want.

      LBs are far more risky than other positions in the 1st round.

      Also, glad you recognize STs. Underrated factor in last season’s debacle. Should be relatively easy to fix though.

  3. I think Fisher makes the most sense because he is most likely BPA (or close to), fills a need and adding him correlatets better with winning then adding a Star or a Millner based on your findings about sacks giving/taken.

    Also Fisher makes the most sense based on the premise that you should make your strengths even better instead of trying to fix your weaknesses (from the same article you had about sacks) and while the offense spurted last season, with a new offensive gifted minded HC it should be by offense we are going to win and what better way to help an offense than adding a quality OT (I know elites QB’s can mask a bad OL, but when you dont got that, you better help him out with a good OL instead)?

    • Some good points, though at this point I don’t agree on Fisher. Based on the PVM system, the BPA would be Milliner then Star (assuming his heart is ok).

      Fisher makes sense because the OL definitely needs some new blood, though its debatable just how urgent that need is.

      To the strengths/weaknesses point, the overall idea is that you want to maximize impact instead of focusing on weaknesses. If you can improve a strength by a greater amount then you can improve a weakness, then go for it instead of forcing yourself to focus only on holes.

      This comes down to just opinion here. If the Eagles believe (and u seem to) that Fisher will be a better player than Star or Milliner, then it makes sense to go with him, even if OL isn’t as big an immediate need.

      I agree that adding a stud OT to the offense is a really exciting idea. Chip Kelly + the weapons we have + a great O-line should be awesome to watch. It all comes down to the player evals though.

      If it were me, I’d be finding out what Vollmer wants and if its reasonable, give it to him. Spend the top pick on Milliner or Star and add a young OL later in the draft. The draft success chart shows you can find contributing OL as late as the 7th round.

      That said, I’m obviously not in charge, and every day that goes by with the Eagles not adding an OL leaves me believing more strongly that the Eagles really like Fisher or some other OT, even at #4.

      On Mon, Mar 18, 2013 at 4:14 PM, Eagles Rewind

      • yea, I would love to add Vollmer in FA and then go with a guy like Armstead later.

  4. Glad you’re seeing Lotulelei as well. Not sure if people aren’t mocking him to us because of his heart issue, but he makes so much sense for the Eagles. Even moreso now that the eagles have signed some temporary starters at nearly every position except DE and OT/OG (and OT is still TBD now that the market is set for em).

    • I’m assuming a lot of it is the heart condition. Some people are moving other DTs ahead of him, that part I really can’t understand. Floyd can’t play NT. I want the flexibility that Star gives you as either a NT or a 5-tech.

      My miracle hope is that the Eagles trade down to 7 or 8 and still get him.

      Obviously if his heart is messed up you don’t draft him.

      On Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 8:27 AM, Eagles Rewind

  5. Also a referral from Iggles’ Blitz, glad to add another blog to my daily procrastination routine. The lack of interest in Vollmer does seem to hint that they’d be interested in an OT, but what happens if Joeckel and Fisher go 1, 2? Do you see Milliner as a special talent, or simply the best CB in the draft? I ask because with the FA additions I could see them taking Floyd, Jordan, or Star (pending health clearance) and using their 2 & 3 on a CB and a FS, not necessarily in that order. Interested if you have any thoughts on the respective panel of players that would bag us, i.e. Jordan/Star plus Trufant/Rhodes in the 2nd and Cyprien/Reid in the 3rd vs. Milliner plus Margus Hunt or Damontre Moore in the 2nd and the same safety in the 3rd?

    • Touched on Milliner a little today. Definitely a possibility for the Eagles. Not a super prospect, but among the best this year. I don’t see Floyd as a fit. Floyd will be either a 3 or a 5, not a NT. Cox is already playing the 3 for us.

      I expect them to add at least one DB (probably more) in the draft. Who/when depends on what they do at #4. If they dont take Milliner, look for a CB/S in round 2. I’d also wager they’d use a late round pick on a DB as well.

      I’ll get into names when we get closer to the draft.

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