Since it’s Friday, I’ll use today’s post as a kind of clearinghouse for thoughts on several areas. FYI, I probably won’t have time to post on Monday, so I apologize in advance for not providing the requisite time-kill.
Free Agent Tackles
– I would be very surprised if the Eagles aren’t interested in both Winston and Clabo. I don’t think the team is completely enamored by either, but given the current OL, it’d be foolish not to consider bringing either of those guys in at the right price. I think Winston is holding out for a deal the Eagles are unlikely to provide. Clabo is more interesting. Given his age, I doubt he’ll find any long-term offers. At a reasonable price for 1-2 years, he’d address a need for the Eagles.
Again though, if the Eagles are sold on Fisher in the draft, there’s no way they sign a starting RT.
Everyone is trying to game out what Chip Kelly is thinking. I think everyone is forgetting about Howie a bit too easily.
We already know Howie has the final say on draft matters. Obviously Kelly has a huge amount of input, but Howie very recently experienced what happens when a GM bows too easily to a coach’s wishes (Jarrett definitely, maybe Watkins as well). I doubt he’ll let that happen again so soon, especially with a coach who’s never done this before.
Therefore, “what is Howie thinking?” should be a question more people are asking.
If I had to guess, may answer would be “please god let me trade down”. I know that it’s popular to say how little interest there is in trading up in this draft, but I find that to be a bit overblown. There are a number of prospects that I can easily see individual teams falling in love with (Eric Fisher, Sharrif Floyd, Dion Jordan, Ziggy Ansah, Star Lotulelei, Geno Smith). Additionally, there is such uncertainty that no team has a good handle on when any of those guys will be available.
In that scenario, all it takes is one team with an itchy trigger finger. It’s very conceivable that the Eagles could choose any of the prospects I mentioned above. That should be enough to scare a team into action if they really like one of those guys.
That may just be wishful thinking, but I think it’s a scenario that is being dismissed too hastily.
I’m starting to get a feeling that perhaps we’re all overlooking the obvious.
– Our defense needs a lot of improvement (far more than the offense).
– The DL has a particularly glaring hole in it.
– Chip has repeatedly professed a love for big, freakishly athletic players.
and yet…I have yet to see Ziggy Ansah mocked to the Eagles.
Ansah is 6’5″, 270 lbs with long arms and big hands. Explosive athleticism and great quickness. He’s “old” at 24 yrs, and first played football in 2010 if I’m reading correctly. So here we have a top DL prospect with freakish athleticism who sounds like he could step into the 5-tech spot, a position of great need for the Eagles.
I don’t think it’s likely, but it makes too much sense to me to not consider it a real possibilty.
Sharrif Floyd –
This is almost the opposite of Ansah. I’m seeing Floyd mocked to the Eagles and I still don’t understand it. He looks to be a 3-tech guy; we already have Cox, end of story. He might be able to play 5-tech, but certainly doesn’t look to be a NT, severely limiting his value for the Eagles.
Star Lotulelei –
I’m just going to keep on repeating this (I’ve been saying it for a LONG time), Lotulelei is an EXCELLENT fit for the Eagles. Now that his heart issue is resolved, there are no more red flags. He can play 5-tech, he can play NT. His first-step quickness makes him a nightmare for centers when he’s lined up at 0. Yes, please.
Eric Fisher –
Fisher, obviously, is a likely possibility for the Eagles. Top OT (after Joeckel) and the Eagles need one. However, keep in mind that OTs are also among the easiest to find later in the draft. Especially if Kelly is OK with Herremans at OT this year, waiting until the 2nd or 3rd round to take one makes a lot of sense.
Dion Jordan –
Popular pick due to his size/athleticism and the Oregon ties. This may be a tricky one for the Eagles though. Kelly might know him TOO well. I imagine a coach like Kelly will inevitably think VERY highly of players who played a large role in his earlier success.
However, Kelly is a very smart guy, so hopefully he knows that his opinion is inherently biased, potentially to a large degree. This is where Howie really needs to step up. If he doesn’t think Jordan is the best guy on the board, the Eagles can’t take him, regardless of what Chip thinks. This goes back to the point I made above: This is Howie’s draft, not Chip’s.
That’s all for today. Enjoy your weekend. I’m making some heavy revisions/updates to the PVM system and hope to have it available some time next week (that way we have time to pull it apart for a little while before the draft).