Our special guests on the eve of Draftmas are NFL analyst and home-grown talent Mike Mayock...and the scheming prince himself, Machiavelli.
For those last-minute MACH 10 ballots, you're going to need the inspiration and strategy of both our guests.
GK Brizer turned us on to a nice little 2-hour feature on the Eagles draft which Mayok taped for NFLN. It may give some late MACH 10 Challenge entrants a little extra juice. Machiavelli offers some nuggets which are more about the actual gamesmanship involved in beating out your MACH competitors--- many of whom may have basically similar ballots.
Here's Mayock on the Eagles draft with some excerpts courtesy of CSNPhilly.com:
" OK, where's the value at 4 ? And my whole premise is less about having to plug a particular position and more about making sure I get an All-Pro if I'm picking in the top 10."
"Take a quarterback? I don't see that at all. They signed Dennis Dixon. They've now got three quarterbacks, and I think Chip Kelly's going to be pretty smart with how he handles that thing. I think it's too early to be taking a quarterback given the fact that they've got three right now." [EYE note: the Iggles really have 4 QB's on the roster right now, counting G.J. Kinne]
Dee Milliner (CB, Alabama) at 4? "I happen to think No. 4 is a little high for Dee Milliner. I really like him. I think he's a heck of a football player and I think he'd be safe. But I don't think he's that explosive 4.35 kind of 40 [-yard dash] guy. If they took him, I'd be OK with that because he's a solid football player, but I think it's a little high for him."
How about a Safety? "I think the Eagles are going to get a chance to get a safety in the second or third round, and that's important. They need a safety badly. They could also use a corner."
Offensive line? "You've got to decide with your offensive line how comfortable you are with all those guys coming back from injury (Jason Peters, Todd Herremans, Jason Kelce), and I think there are some questions there. So you've got to look at the top offensive lineman in this draft. I don't care if it's outside at tackle or inside like Chance Warmack, you better be looking at those two guys."
Linebacker? "If you're looking at a 3-4 outside linebacker, most people are all over Damontre Moore, either at the 4-3 end or a 3-4 outside linebacker. "I kind of like Dion Jordan, who I think is two years away from being an Aldon Smith-type player. He's only about 240 pounds, but he's 6-foot-7. He's got frightening athletic skills, and he's a year away. He would be a situational pass-rusher year one, and if he puts 20 pounds on I think he's going to be a perennial All-Pro. I really like the kid. But, again, that's a little bit of a risk-reward. You're betting on this kid two years from now."
"That's why I wouldn't want a top-10 pick this year. I think the fifth pick in the draft and the 25th pick in this draft are very similar."
What is a greater need for them given their current personnel: Nose tackle or 3-4 defensive end (five-technique)?
"I have trouble saying that a five-technique should go with the fourth pick in the draft."
"I think the five-techniques, you can probably get them later in the draft. So when you start talking about what kind of nose tackle prospects you're looking for, John Jenkins, the 350-pounder from Georgia, you could get him with the fourth pick in the second round, I believe. That's about where his value is going to come into play. "
"Brandon Williams, I like him a lot. He's got some upside to him. I think Jenkins and Williams make a ton of sense even in the second or third round. "
"If they transition to the 3-4 as they seem to be doing, what don't the Eagles have? What do they need that you would look at first to make that transition? My first question would be: Is Antonio Dixon going to be my guy at nose tackle? If he's healthy and has gas in the tank, I think he could be at nose tackle. So that's my first question. How do I feel about him?"
"And you look at the outside linebacker, and you're looking at guys like [Brandon] Graham, Trent Cole.. Vinny Curry to me would be better in the 4-3. He could probably do it, though, same with Phillip Hunt."
"So I look at those things that you have to make the decision immediately at nose tackle. And how comfortable are you that you could pressure the cornerback with those former defensive ends coming off the edge as rush linebackers? Probably, finally, DeMeco Ryans really didn't like that transition. Is he going to like it any better in Philly?"
"And to be honest with you, they better find a safety at some point, because all the rest of it isn't going to matter if they don't get help from the back end."
Machiavelli then brought up the question of "Trading Down"...
Mayock: ""Yeah, somebody might fall in love with (Philadelphia native) Sharrif Floyd or Jarvis Jones. Somebody might love Damontre Moore. I don't. But a lot of people do. So there could be some people looking for those kind of guys, or the Eagles can sit there and say, hey, we think that Dion Jordan or Damontre Moore or any of these guys can fit what we do. And Sharrif Floyd could play the five-technique. I don't think it takes advantage of what he does best. But he's got explosion and quickness."
"If they played the 3-4 like the Houston [Texans] do, which is different than most 3-4s, Floyd would be a natural guy at number four. I bang the table for him. But it all depends from a scheme perspective how they go about doing it, because you can play it different ways."
Mayock admits he is "fascinated" with the Eagles draft this year, partly because there's so much value to be had in the later picks of the 1st and 2nd rounds.
Machiavelli has a few more cryptic points to make about outwitting your fellow MACH 10 competitiors:
Let the MACH 10 balloting proceed until GK Brizer decrees cut-off time, which I currently assume to be 4:00 P.M. EST on Thursday, April 25th.... I shall make corrections as necessary to that deadline.