February 20, 2013

GET IN LINE MAN!

PROVIDED the Eagles don’t draft a NT (ostensibly Star Lotulelei) to help them transition to a 3-4, talk around the Yard seems centered on OT Luke Joeckel as the non-DT way to go.

A moment if I could.

When I read scouting reports the FIRST place I look is Weakness. If you look at Strengths first, it’s too easy to fall in love with terms like “dominated”, “mauler”, “to the echo of the whistle”, or “locks out and seals”. In fact, if you combine all 4 of these terms into one player, you get a wet dream. And there’s the problem. You follow that up with Weaknesses, often you start glazing over bad stuff because you want to keep all that good stuff.

If you start at Weakness, you get an honest picture of whether or not the guy will or won’t fit you system. If he has bad habits you coach away, or if there is an underlying fundamental tendency to take shortcuts and get by on athleticism. Get a hard worker who fits what you do, and everything else you can teach. That said…

 

Joeckel as the 4th overall is fine if he’s starting at RT (Vick is left -handed) this year, but I just don’t see this pick as the Eagles currently have 7.5 OT’s on the roster and only 3.5 OG’s only 1 of which has been any good these last 2 years. Besides, it seems half the mocks have Joeckle going 1st. If he’s still there at 4 (and they start him) I won’t moan about the pick:

http://www.nfl.com/combine/profiles/luke-joeckel?id=2540139

and

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1737240/luke-joeckel

 

If they don’t get Joeckel they can still find value in Kyle Long late in the 2nd or early in the 3rd. While QB Dixon and Chip Kelly may have to find that old groove again, Long was starting for Kelly just a few weeks ago in a bowl game, so they should still be able to communicate on a similar wavelength. Long could be both depth and a mentor during system installation:

http://www.nfl.com/combine/profiles/luke-joeckel?id=2540139

and

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1996164/kyle-long

 

As for drafting an O-lineman early, I see them going a long way to upgrading the QB’s ability to stand in the pocket. Especially with the Pistol being shallower than the Shotgun. If we pick a Guard he’ll start this year. Guard is not the Eagles strong suit and they’re thin there with little quality likely to hit the open market. Goodbye Watkins, hello Chance Warmack:

http://www.nfl.com/combine/profiles/chance-warmack?id=2539194

and

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1664459/chance-warmack

 

Hey, just for a giggle, have a look at Watkins NFL.com Combine profile:

http://www.nfl.com/player/dannywatkins/2495360/combine

and Draft analysis

http://www.nfl.com/player/dannywatkins/2495360/draft

 

So to recap: I like Warmack over Joeckel, but if we get Joeckel, I’m not crying about it. We can still get Chip Kelly a security blanket on his bench in the form of Kyle Long. Long won’t have to learn the system (besides some adaptations) and may in fact be able to mentor it. Hard to beat a two-fer. 

 

16 Comments:
  • I would kind of cringe on a guard because I feel tackle would fix two holes by giving the Eagles the ability to move Herremans back to his stronger position but Latin wasn't the first person I saw calling Warmack the best player in the draft...it would be hard to get upset with that. I think Long would be an interesting pick. I have seen real nice things written about him (with some injury concerns) but overall it seems like with a little fine tuning he could be a very good player. Probably a good value pick from his college coach if he is on the board later in the draft.
  • I'd be very happy with OG Chance Womack if he's as good as a once in a generation G (a la Larry Allen). Emmit Smith broke all the rushing records and the majority was behind a line that featured the road grading blocking of Allen. People tend to think that Chip Kelly's offense is based on the spread/read option (which is mostly accurate) but the truth is, the offense is based on the run. Luckily we have two outstanding RB's in McCoy and Brown. Now if we can get a guy who can consistently blow people up at the point of attack for big gains on the ground, imagine how more proficient we will be passing the ball when teams stack the line. That to me is beyond exciting to think about. Assuming of course our entire OL can come back healthy and the LT/RT can return to form.
  • The problem with moving Herremans is that he's had problems with his feet and ankles in the last couple years, so his ability to dig in and move guys for the run game WILL be spottier than you remember. Also he was a LG.

    Until Vick became the starter, (where Jason Peters essentially became the RT and Herremans was moved to Vick's blindside as essentially a LT) the Eagles ran heavily to the right. This allowed Herremans (a former LT) to flourish by showing off his great pass blocking skills while not exposing him as a merely decent run blocker.

    We need to bite the bullet and go get great prospects to build into great players. Warmack is drawing comparisons to a HOFer. Is it hype? Sure. But when was the last time THIS team got a bluechip Offensive Lineman? (The answer is Tra Thomas 11th overall.)

    No more 3-4 year projects. No more Dunlaps or Nick Coles. No more guys who played 4 of the 5 positions in college. (Guys who really shine hold down one position for years.) We need guys who can start if need be. That's where Long comes in. Physically he's ready, systemically he's experienced with concepts if not verbiage. Kelly won't find a more plug and play lineman for his purposes.
  • Seems like Warmack and/or Long would be great picks and would go far in keeping this line young but I wouldn't go Warmack in round 1 AND Long in round 2 and even 3 would be a stretch for me unless they address defense in free agency. This team has way too many holes to fill on the defensive side to go heavy along the offensive line early in the draft. I'd probably go safety in free agency and try to fix at least one of the holes at corner in the draft in round two since safeties are usually cheaper but since safety seems deep in the draft they could flip that route and hopefully hit on both.
  • I'm all for any player that can upgrade either our OL or DL. Fortunately we are high enough to have a lot of options moving forward. If Luke or Star is there at #4 I take either (with more emphasis on the OL due to the uncertainty of Peters future etc). Either way, we will get a young/explosive player who should shine for years to come.
  • I like Ricky Wagner out of Wisconsin. Big old farm boy. I'm fine with joeckel staying at RT for his career. Peters at left for now n find someone else when the time comes. If we go Oline or anywhere other than NT round 1 I will keep an eye on Jesse Williams n late round tj barnes out of GT 6-7 378
  • I think it was Zukny that said the Eagles aren't doing a 3-4. Latin said it may actually be a 4-3 Under scheme. In any case if either holds true, we don't need a NT.

    But you know, there's no reason why Star Lotulelei HAS to be a NT. Team him with Cox maybe and let Graham and Curry do what they do.

    Think of that line. Now realize that we're only ONE player away from having it.

    Much as I like the idea of Chance Warmack, that D-line would be hard to pass up.
  • It was Latin I tried to ask him where he heard it woke up the next day n I'm 20dawk no more. All I've heard is we r switching to a 3-4. Star can play NT DT 3-4end 4-3end dudes a beast if he's there warmack n joeckel it would be hard to pass on him my guess is the raiders don't so small chance we get him
  • Ah the Raiders. I'm hearing that they may be looking at Geno Smith there. I have no idea why with Terrelle Pryor behind Carson Palmer. QB is hardly a problem on that roster.

    What they could use is a veteran possession receiver to go with and mentor Rod Streater and Denarius Moore. Then we could FINALLY let DHB go. I have my fingers crossed for Greg Jennings.
  • He's rumored to the phins since midway through the season. I think raiders could use some qb help Pryor hasn't done anything n Palmer is just another overrated USC qb. As an outsider lookin in it's hard to tell what's going to happen with them since al davis died.
  • Even when he was alive, as much as I loved him, I knew (and said) that we wouldn't get right again until after he was gone.

    Reggie McKenzie has the Raiders going in the right direction now. Their building from the braintrust out, which is solid. Smart thinking leads to smart choices, smart choices leads to smart culture. Smart culture leads to winning.

    Even if Reggie never brings us a Lombardi, if we get back to winning consistently, he will have removed the stigma of mediocrity and irrelevance that's been attached to the Raiders, for the last decade or so. That's would be success right there.
  • The Eagles currently don't have the player personnel to move to a true 3-4 defense. They do have athletic/smaller 4-3 DE's who can play the 4-3 Under (basic 3-4 alignment with less ability in space/coverage). I don't have any issues with Graham playing OLB, but with Cole's age and Vinny Curry's lack of athleticism in general, we will have to look at another OLB for the future.

    I don't think Star Lotulelei is a "true" NT for a 3-4. He does eat up space at 320lbs but he's not the prototypical 350 plus pound behemoth who can swallow up two offensive lineman. Star fits the mold of Haloti Ngata where he would bookend the 5 technique (3-4 DE in this case) and create a ton of havoc paired with Fletcher Cox. We could still snag a "space eater" in the 2nd or 3rd round, and Antonio Dixon could still be useful as a stop gap NT. He didn't fit the "wide 9" scheme but he might work as a decent NT given the chance.
  • I'd still like to see Dixon get a shot at A-gap space eater. He had a stretch a couple years back, where he played REALLY well filling in for Patterson but then the staff changed and no one knew if he'd have a role, the we got the WIDE 9 and there wasn't a role for him.

    As a guy who could "crash the Center" with repeated simple bullrushes, that Center would NEED help from a Guard. That means Dixon (or whomever) could trigger a double-team and give EVERY OTHER DEFENSIVE LINEMAN A ONE-ON-ONE match-up.

    Think of that. ONE interior double-team means THREE one-on-one match-ups with a 4-3 D-line.
  • Star can n will most likely play NT. Same as ngata did at the start of his career. I think everyone agrees he would be a beast at end but if the eagles switch to a 3-4 n we select him he most likely will be our NT. A 4-3 under would be a much better fit. I don't want a 3-4 but that's most likely what's going to happen. A line of cox Dixon star would be really good with Graham/Cole Gerald hodges(Penn state) ryans n kendricks (as opposite the Graham/Cole combo) the front 7 I think has alot of options to be successful our need is safety both of them.
  • I wouldn't mind seeing Dee Milliner as the pick. He is certainly a need, most scouts say he's ready to start right now, and can anyone argue against picking up an elite talent for a secondary that was torched last season? I mean Luke is a need, but the Eagles do have a lot of lineman coming back. With DRC and Nnamdi both likely gone Milliner could step in and be a shutdown corner for years to come.
  • I just saw that Milliner will have surgery days after the combine to fix a torn labrum. It stated he should be ready for the start of camp but this has to be a concern for a team drafting in the top 10. One of the reasons I heard that he is a debatable top pick is that he doesn't have the elite speed like most top corners. If he runs a sub 4.5 forty it should boost his ranking but anything less could hurt him. There only seems to be a couple solid first round corners in this year's draft though so some team will probably take him top 10 or so.
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