01.16.21

the real story behind the collapse of the eagles

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:40 pm by Administrator

in the past month, the eagles finished with their worst season record in more than a decade, witnessed the implosion of their once-MVP caliber quarterback, blatantly tanked their seasonal finale on national tv, lost their defensive coordinator to retirement, and fired their super bowl winning head coach amidst awkward and controversial circumstances. jeff lurie, once hailed as one of the best team owners in the NFL, is being widely panned particularly by the philadelphia media for mismanaging the team and irrationally siding with his unpopular general manager howie roseman in a sordid, behind the scenes power struggle with one of the franchise’s most successful head coaches.

the popular narrative is that doug pederson didn’t get a fair shake in his final season with philly and that indeed it is principally howie roseman and carson wentz who are to blame for the precipitous downfall of the once venerated philadelphia franchise.

that’s the popular narrative. but is it even remotely truthful? here’s my take on this most intriguing chapter in eagles’ history. buckle up. it’s full of speculation and psychology, and it’s not the truth most philly fans want to hear.

it starts with a marriage that fell apart because of a trauma they couldn’t work through.

doug pederson and carson wentz are introverts. people think of doug as a congenial, approachable, player-friendly guy, but underneath it all he’s an internal processor that doesn’t like confrontation. same with carson wentz. carson is a guy that withdraws the more pressure he faces. he’s not a diva. he’s not a stuck-up asshole. he’s just a guy that needs to figure it out in his own head before he can work on a solution with others.

carson wentz’s ACL injury is the relational trauma that doug pederson and carson wentz could not talk out, work out, or overcome. 2017 was supposed to be wentz’s breakout moment, but it was derailed by the devastating injury, and it forced wentz to watch a championship from the sidelines. doug pederson believed that what wentz needed from him was space to heal and to find himself again; so when wentz struggled to bounce back in the 2018 season, doug gave carson the freedom to do what felt right to carson. that meant that doug didn’t push carson to execute his game plan. who could blame doug? he had every reason to believe that wentz would eventually find his way back to being the elite qb that nearly won the league mvp award in 2017.

but something changed for wentz after that ACL injury, and he never found his way back. this was a guy that for years relied on his athleticism, strength, and instincts to power his way to big plays. the ACL injury threw him off; it chipped away at the thing that made football effortless for carson. this is not unusual for pro sports players. we saw it with derrick rose, for instance. carson couldn’t trust his body anymore; it didn’t respond the way he was accustomed to responding. and when the body didn’t bounce back, carson didn’t bounce back. what he needed in 2018 was more than space and time to heal. he needed to learn how to play football again with his new body and his evolving mental makeup. but carson’s an introvert to whom all things have always come easily. he didn’t know how to ask for that thing that he needed. and doug never understood what carson really needed. so carson withdrew into himself and tried to figure it out his own way, while doug, locked out of carson’s process, tiptoed around his star player, tried not to get in the way, and became totally ineffective as a coach and a mentor. two introverts faced the trauma of a lifetime, and they couldn’t talk it through, work it out, or overcome it.

roseman tried to save the marriage, but his therapy was misguided.

howie roseman believed as strongly in wentz as doug pederson did. and like doug, howie believed wentz just needed time and space to figure it out. when wentz and the eagles’ offense regressed in 2018, roseman believed that it was the offensive talent around wentz (or the lack thereof) that was holding back the star QB from climbing to new heights. so roseman did what roseman does best: he went all-in and negotiated a deal for the last critical piece necessary to a repeat championship. he traded a 3rd round draft pick to land golden tate, detroit’s star wide receiver. tate proceeded to disappear in the eagles’ offense, descending almost to career lows in receptions, yards per game, and yards per catch. aside from a touchdown catch against the bears in the wild card game, tate was a total wash after the eagles brought him on board. roseman was sharply criticized for the costly move and took all the blame for the trade deadline deal that yielded almost nothing for the team.

the golden tate trade was roseman’s best attempt to salvage carson wentz’s career—and it was the beginning of the end of roseman’s relationship with doug pederson. to put it simply, howie roseman got burned when he tried to counsel doug pederson and carson wentz back to relational health. and he learned the hard way that the problems with the eagles offense went a lot deeper than the quality of talent lining up on that side of the ball. roseman focused all his intention on offense in the 2019 draft—a draft that reeked of desperation—but he never again went out on a limb to do a big deal for a skill player, despite pressure from pederson and from the fan base to do so. he was panned for passing on the opportunity to get deandre hopkins from houston, but roseman wasn’t about to repeat 2018’s golden tate embarrassment.

the popular narrative is that howie roseman is a bad general manager, but that take simply isn’t true. roseman has had better success with roster acquisitions than most GMs, and he has a track record with philadelphia’s draft picks on the o-line (kelce and johnson) and with multiple high-impact free agent signings (brandon brooks, malcolm jenkins, rodney mcleod, nigel bradham, patrick robinson, legarrette blount, and jay ajayi), all of which built a championship roster in 2017. ray didinger recently had the gall to claim without any justification that roseman has had six bad drafts in a row. in fact, roseman’s 2018 draft was one of the best team drafts that year, landing us a future HOFer in dallas goedert (2nd round pick) as well as starters in the late rounds (maddox, sweat, and a 7th round steal in mailata). it’s not roseman’s fault that he drafted or signed legitimate talents that were wasted by futile and haphazard coaching in philadelphia. nelson agholor (nearly 900 yards receiving and 8 TDs this year with Las Vegas), rasul douglas (62 tackles and 9 passes defended in Carolina), lj fort (centerpiece of the ravens’ defense), and golden tate (back to 50 yards a game and double-digit yards per catch) have all done just fine since leaving the eagles.

howie roseman hasn’t been a bad GM, but he made one major mistake: he believed that wentz and pederson could fix their relationship and restore carson to his pre-injury form.

jeff lurie recognized where this was going and was man enough to force the divorce.

roseman tried in vain to save a broken marriage. lurie stepped in to end the relationship and spare the kids any further suffering.

reports suggest that doug pederson sabotaged his own post-season interviews with lurie, and of course that is understandable. part of doug pederson wanted a fresh start with a younger, less complicated, and more attractive quarterback talent because the ongoing futility with carson wentz sapped his love for the game. but he could see that this wasn’t going to happen in philadelphia, and he decided that the best way to fall on his sword was to go down fighting for his close friends and confidantes on the coaching staff. it’s an odd business decision to lose your job over middling coaching talents like press taylor and matt burke, but it was the only recourse for a man who’s been simply burned out by the soul-killing experience of watching carson wentz withdraw, implode, and evolve into the worst possible version of himself as a pro player.

it was an act of compassion when lurie let doug pederson go. lurie could have asked him to work it out; he could have committed to trading wentz; he could have pushed doug pederson to heal himself and give it another shot. but ultimately, he could see that doug pederson’s broken marriage with carson wentz also cost him his love affair with the game of football. lurie could see that he needed to let doug pederson go because doug hasn’t been happy for years—and because doug can’t be an effective coach when he’s this unhappy.

jeff lurie and doug pederson are not bad men who can’t see eye to eye. these are good guys who saw the dead end they had come to. they cut the cord to end the pain.

carson wentz is not the villain of this story; but his time in philadelphia is coming to an end.

carson wentz isn’t going to become an extrovert. he isn’t going to become the transcendent leader that everyone has always wanted him to be. he’s always going to be carson wentz—intense, hard on himself, and hard to coach when he’s struggling inside. it isn’t the super bowl he couldn’t play in that broke him; it’s the ACL and how much it has turned the game of football into labor for him. he’s done everything that he can humanly do to rediscover his 2017 self, and his efforts have been truly admirable. his late season run in the 2019 is a testament to his resilience and commitment, even though he needed the help of inferior competition to fuel that run to a divisional championship. he’s gone as far as he can go on his own.

carson wentz’s career outlook from here on depends on whether he can find a team that can help him complete the healing of his body, mind, and soul, a process that remains incomplete. he needs more than a congenial, approachable, and easygoing head coach. he needs the mentorship of someone who’s gone through this cycle of injuries himself and understands what it takes to relearn the game, one aspect at a time. carson needs a teacher, a confidante, a therapist, and a role model, all in one. theoretically he could find it with the eagles, but i don’t think he will. he is most likely to find it with someone that saw him at his best and truly believes in his ability to be great again. i believe that man is frank reich, a fellow quarterback and christian believer. for carson wentz, a trade to indianapolis is not just the right career move; it is where his redemptive journey must begin.

Xs and Os on the practice field is how the culture grows and the eagles heal.

it’s back to the basics. as distracted as they have been by past success and dysfunctional relationships, the eagles haven’t been focused on structure and discipline for years. they need to get back to that with a coach that loves the details of the scheme and everything that goes into planning for the next game.

i know that the jeff lurie wants innovation, energy, and cutting edge offense. it’s why he liked chip kelly. it’s why he got frustrated with doug pederson and his procession of dubious offensive coordinators. but more important to these eagles than innovation is an attention to detail. the eagles don’t need new gimmicks and explosive plays. they need good practices, tight execution, and accountability around all the little things: blocking, tackling, assignments, and game prep. veteran players have been complaining about the erosion of culture for three straight seasons. a young innovative coach who lacks credibility with the guys isn’t going to change that. this eagles team needs a veteran NFL coach who will command the respect of the players and motivate them to show up on the practice field.

lincoln riley, kellen moore, and joe brady are young guys with bright ideas, and generally speaking i like that. but for our next head coach, i’m looking for something different. this is a team that needs to come together and forge an identity, and for that we need more than a football mind; we need a veteran leader. ironically, that’s exactly what we found five years ago in doug pederson.

the other woman is actually the real deal.

one thing we have lost sight of in the midst of much controversy and disappointment is that the eagles have discovered their quarterback of the future. jalen hurts was spectacular in two games against the saints and cardinals, and while he was human in the final quarter against the cowboys and in one half of play against the washington football team, he showed enough poise, skill, and leadership in his first season to make us believers in this new era of philadelphia football. pick 53 of the 2020 nfl draft remains one of the most controversial draft picks in eagles history, but when the dust settles, roseman will almost certainly have the last laugh, and the eagles will have their franchise quarterback for the next decade.

the future is bright for the eagles, but it remains to be seen if we can rebuild a championship team. one thing is for certain: the road to a super bowl is built one relationship at a time. it didn’t work out between carson wentz and doug pederson; we need to learn our lesson from what happened and make sure jalen hurts finds the coach and mentor that he really needs.

the kids are all right.

philadelphia fans are angry at jeff lurie and howie roseman and carson wentz. they’re ambivalent about the head coach and hero they lost. they’re disgusted at where the team is right now. they want glory again. they’re clamoring like spoiled children, but really they’re up in arms because they’ve been locked out of all the difficult and troubling conversations that happened behind closed doors. they’re afraid of the future. they’re afraid that the best times are behind them. they don’t realize that these things had to come to pass as they did, because sometimes an entire franchise hinges on the health of a single relationship. broken bodies and broken relationships—sometimes that is what football is. it can be the most terrible thing in the world.

regardless, the kids are all right. philadelphia’s fans will emerge from these times understanding that we did the best with what we had. out of this marriage, for the time it lasted, we produced a championship. it was a miracle, really. it was something beautiful and perfect that came out of something human and imperfect. and it is something we will remember, when we think of doug pederson, carson wentz, and all the other great people that gave their best, even when it cost them everything

01.13.21

unity

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:55 pm by Administrator

i’ve had a chance to listen to a few of the GOP representatives today, some of whom support impeachment and others of whom oppose it. several of the Republicans who are opposed to impeachment voiced their view that impeachment proceedings would further divide the country, at a time when unity is most necessary.

does this mean that unity can be effectively defined as the passive acceptance of injustice? is unity best achieved through the silent tolerance of sedition or betrayal? is unity what happens when we decide that it’s too much trouble to hold a powerful man accountable? does unity imply a utilitarian approach to conflict and resolution?

if unity is all of these things, then unity is no moral thing to be desired. perhaps unity is best defined in that case as collective resignation—a mutual commitment to reject our personal values in the interests of avoiding conflict. unity, in these terms, is cowardice.

i had a conversation about unity with my neighbor this past weekend. he’s a foreigner from ireland and asked me if my own recommendations about how the capitol rioters should be handled (i.e. by a military tribunal in guantanamo) might not be in the best interests of unifying the nation. i told him that i’ve seen unity among americans in my lifetime. specifically, americans were unified in their grief and anger after 9/11. that grief and anger was appropriated by the military-industrial complex of the united states to precipitate a war in afghanistan that has lasted for nearly twenty years and has accomplished nothing, though at a great cost of lives. america is dangerous, violent, and cruel when it is united. and america is least harmful to itself and to others when it is divided. i dread the day when america achieves unity again—because our unity is a license to pillage and destroy.

that does not mean we cannot be civil. but the united states has a history and position that are too conflicted and too interwoven with slavery, mass destruction, and global empire to invite any convenient and moral sense of unity. disunity, division of power, and the checks and balances that are exercised on account of these protect the U.S. and the world from the unrestrained and cruel exercise of power by a reckless superpower.

donald trump, a reckless american president, warrants the checks and balances of a legislature that holds him accountable to personal decency and a basic respect for his job. he deserves impeachment because any tacit acceptance of his corruption is a prelude to an american form of unity that promises violence, injustice, and oppression for us all.

i have spent four years suffering on account of donald trump and trying to mitigate that suffering through meditation. fuck meditation. and fuck donald trump. it’s not enough to see him leave office in two weeks. the man deserves retribution and punishment; and i’m counting on a divided nation to bring him to his knees, as only a diverse and civil society can

01.12.21

Next steps for the eagles

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:45 am by Administrator

i read a couple of articles today that were very critical of team owner jeff lurie, including zach rosenblatt’s article in nj.com that accused lurie of “throwing pederson under the bus” for the thrown game against the redskins. all due respect to rosenblatt, who runs a good podcast with mike kaye, but lurie didn’t create this disaster of a season for the eagles. doug pederson and carson wentz did that all by themselves. jeff lurie is fixing that disaster now.

you can’t even blame this ugly season on howie roseman. howie roseman will surely be to blame for our extremely difficult (if not sordid) off-season that is about to happen, but roseman holds little direct responsibility for the nasty, sloppy, and totally ineffective play that transpired on the field this past season. back in the summer, this was a roster that was by many estimates more than talented enough to compete in 2020, and i heard all the philly faithful project a playoff berth for the birds before the start of the season. i was certainly one of the very few that projected a disastrous year for the eagles, but even i hesitated to place the blame for this squarely on roseman. no, i projected that the eagles would decline sharply in the 2020 season and miss playoffs mainly because of bad play from wentz and poor coaching from pederson. if lurie and roseman made a mistake before the 2020 season, it was that they did not recognize early enough that one of these two guys needed to go.

i absolutely agree with lurie’s decision to fire pederson, just as i agreed with the timing of his prior decisions to cut ties with chip kelly and andy reid. there is an absolutely ludicrous narrative circulating among the media that doug pederson is a great coach who progressively lost power and credibility within the organization due to politics and in-fighting. that narrative contends that pederson and the eagles struggled during the 2020 season because pederson was never empowered to make the roster decisions that he needed to make in order to improve the team. it’s a baseless conspiracy theory that has no rooting in reality. i’ll tell you what reality is: doug pederson has struggled for three straight seasons to craft a reasonable offensive game plan, develop his quarterback, execute routine plays on the field, and create a healthy culture in his own locker room. no one else can take the blame for those things.

the fact is that doug pederson had an all-star team and an all-star coaching staff built by jeff lurie and howie roseman that carried him during our magical 2017 season; but when pederson chose to carry the team on his own back—refusing to ask for a legitimate offensive coordinator and insisting instead on taking on play-calling duties by himself—he proved to be utterly incapable of the task. he wasn’t a strong enough personality; he didn’t have a specific enough vision; he wasn’t knowledgeable enough about his opponents; he wasn’t insightful enough when it came to his own quarterback. doug pederson is widely acclaimed for his emotional intelligence with the guys, but he doesn’t take nearly enough criticism for his lack of intelligence about the basics of the game.

i am grateful to doug for the 2017 season and in particular for the way in which he empowered frank reich and john defillippo to lead the team through adversity and to a championship. and i feel sorry for doug that he’s been so thoroughly exposed since he lost his brain trust. but the fact is that he’s not a good coach for the eagles, and he may never be a good head coach again unless he learns to select and lean on assistant coaches who are smarter and better than he is. i’ve said enough about this. it is time for doug pederson to go, and i wish him the best.

jeff lurie needs to hire a head coach who is offensively minded and who has a proven track record of developing young quarterbacks. i don’t think that there’s any doubt about this. we certainly need better coaches for the defense and possibly even a new install for the defensive scheme; but first and foremost we need our head coach to bring some confidence, creativity, and competence to this offense. i’ve written repeatedly that i favor greg roman for the role, and i think there are a few reasons to lean in his direction. firstly, he created that baltimore offense for lamar jackson, and that offense works not because lamar jackson is an elite talent but rather because the scheme makes the best use of the players on that team. roman took his lumps this year for jackson’s regression, but even in a down year roman was able to turn that baltimore team into a historically unprecedented run-game dynamo. greg roman will actually have better talent to work with in philadelphia than he had in baltimore two seasons ago. there’s no reason to doubt that he can’t help wentz and/or hurts become the very best versions of themselves.

i also like the idea of greg roman because he’ll be sure to bring ravens’ coaching personnel with him. that’s a terrific organization with an amazing culture, and any infusion of baltimore culture can only be a good thing for the eagles.

i do not think it is a pressing necessity to trade wentz now that pederson is gone, and like i’ve contended previously, i think that we need to give wentz a chance to show what he can do with a legitimate head coach in the house. one way or the other, we need to trade wentz away eventually, but i’d prefer to trade him after he has rehabilitated his value with a solid season. anyone who’s read my blog over the years understands that i don’t have much faith in wentz’s ability to sustain any kind of success in his career, as he doesn’t have the mental makeup to be a true star. but i absolutely believe in wentz’s ability to give us a turnaround season next year (the proverbial “flash in the pan”), and i want us to give him that chance to make us (and him) look good before we ship him off.

i’ve written at length about my unabashed admiration for jalen hurts. that’s a guy with more leadership and growth potential in his pinky finger than doug pederson and carson wentz have between them combined. i really don’t care how human jalen looked in the 4th quarter against the dallas cowboys. that guy has a future as an NFL starter, either with us or with some other team. i’d prefer that it be with us. i hope that jeff lurie can appreciate that as well.

we need to have an excellent draft in three months. i can only hope that lurie is looking at any and all options to get the right people in the draft room. i know a lot of people who’d love to help, if he can’t find anyone!

go eagles

01.09.21

Eagles-Only Mock #3 Draft, through 3 Rounds

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:21 am by Administrator

in this draft scenario, the eagles have traded carson wentz to indianapolis and zach ertz to the new york jets. for wentz, the eagles received the colts’ 2nd round pick this year (#56) and their 2022 2nd round pick as well. for ertz, the eagles got the jets’ 3rd round pick (#66).

in round one, the eagles trade down from pick 6 with the 49ers (#12) to get the 49ers’ 2nd round pick (#43). i consider this a highly likely scenario, as the niners will be strongly interested in pulling the trigger to get trey lance, their quarterback of the future. that trade will give the eagles a 1st rounder, three 2nd round picks, and two 3rd round picks to work with—the necessary ammunition with which to kick-start the rebuild.

Pick 12: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB. he’s my favorite defensive player in what is otherwise a fairly unremarkable draft class. i’ve already written about his best pro athlete comparison: vasyl lomachenko. with his pass rush, tackling, and plus coverage skills, J-OK will play a key role in the transition of the eagles’ defense in the post-jim schwartz era.

Pick 37: Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR. St. Brown has the traits needed to dominate as an X receiver in the NFL. in the early 2nd round, he’ll be a high value pick, though i expect kardarius toney, tylan wallace, and chris olave will also be available at pick 37 if the “king of all gods” is off the board.

Pick 43: Tyson Campbell, CB. Campbell profiles as an eventual starter at outside corner based on traits alone, though his college production wasn’t shabby. he’s worth a stab in the middle of round 2, especially if wade, kendricks, and samuel are already taken.

Pick 56: Elijah Molden, CB. Molden is a baller, a highly skilled and instinctive player who will be underrated on account of his size. he should be able to play the slot and mix it up with anyone in the NFL.

Pick 66: Amari Rodgers, WR. scouts love amari rodgers and what he accomplished at clemson. his burst, vision, tenacity, hands, and work ethic should definitely translate to the NFL, and he’ll be jalen hurts’ best friend in the short-intermediate passing game.

Pick 70: Andre Cisco, S. cisco doesn’t like to tackle but he’s sure got ball skills and range. he’s an almost ideal fit at free safety for the eagles, and like j-ok (who might end up being our strong safety of the future), cisco will be critical in helping the eagles transition to a more dynamic, turnover-producing defensive approach.

01.06.21

georgia, the vaccine, and of course the eagles

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:17 pm by Administrator

it’s important to recognize that the georgia runoffs represent something entirely different from the other elections that occurred just two months ago. the stakes are different now; and the issues at hand are different now. the runoffs are the most important single piece of data we have on how the nation has reacted to all the events of 2020, and as such they are the litmus test of where we stand now, on the verge of a new era.

warnock’s and ossoff’s victories don’t mean that the country has suddenly realized that trump is a bad guy and that the liberal left aren’t the enemy. what those victories do mean is that georgia voters were able to see through the rhetoric clearly enough to actually vote according to their economic interests. voters across the nation haven’t done that for decades. they’ve been distracted by ideology; they’ve been inundated with identity politics; they’ve been inflamed by demagogues. but over the past several weeks, the real ramifications of the runoff elections for rank and file georgia citizens became crystal clear: a vote for the democrats was a vote for substantial financial relief directed to poor and middle class citizens. georgia’s voters went against their grain, and they voted in their best interests. and in doing so, they forever changed the political landscape of this country.

it is a stern warning to both parties. misinformation, religion, and ideology can only go so far in buttressing a government when its institutions are not truly serving the needs of the people. in the post-trump era, a new pragmatism will emerge. the new regime will have to understand that faith in a party will only go as far as the economic agenda of the administration works for individual voters. donald trump did not get this. let’s hope that biden does. i am fully expecting $2000 stimulus checks, if not a universal basic income. there will be inflation, a dollar crisis, and rising unemployment; but the people have spoken.

i’m getting the covid vaccine today. initially, i put it off not because i was skeptical of the vaccine but because i have been angry at national leaders who have dangled the vaccine as the magic bullet for all of our problems. the covid vaccine will not make 2020’s problems go away. it may not even abort the course of the covid pandemic. the covid vaccine will not fix the social damage or reverse the trauma inflicted not only by the disease itself but also by all the rancor, untruth, and manipulation engendered by political opportunists in this time of tragedy. but the covid vaccine will save lives, and i’m getting it today to protect those i love. donald trump may take credit for this vaccine, but he deserves nothing but censure for the way that he conducted himself over this past year. i am ashamed of how his lack of leadership in this time of crisis translated to so much death and destruction across the nation, and being a leader myself, i cannot acknowledge any excuse he offers for his poor performance and unprofessional behavior. his crude attempts even today to subvert our political process are pitiable and corrupt. i can only hope that in the few years that remain in his life, he will experience a reckoning and find his soul, crushed as it has been by the oppression of his indomitable ego.

the eagles have so many gaps on their roster. i’ve identified seven positions that have to be imminently addressed because of either poor depth or a distinct lack of talent. obviously, a team in this position is well-served by multiplying their draft opportunities as much as possible, as no individual pick can be a sure thing. specifically, i believe that the eagles must address these positions through the draft in the top 3 rounds, which means we’ll undoubtedly need at least two seasons to effect any reasonable rebuild. in rank order of importance, these positions are:

1. Outside cornerback: this is by far the team’s most pressing positional need. given our draft position this year and the talent available in this draft (which is not awe-inspiring at the top of the class but fairly deep through the second tier), i think that outside cornerback has to be a first or second round priority this year.

2. Slot cornerback: this is just as important as our need at outside cornerback, and i am not confident that avonte maddox or crevon leblanc (should we choose to re-sign him) are our long-term solutions at such a critical position. given the composition of this draft class, we have an opportunity to address this position in the top 3 rounds this year.

3. Inside linebacker: we need a linebacker with range, physicality, and plus coverage skills right now, and it’s arguably a bigger need than slot cornerback because of the extremely poor level of talent we have at the position. alex singleton is the only player on our roster that reasonably projects as a linebacker starter next year. i believe that there are four reasonable prospects in this year’s first round: micah parsons, jeremiah owusu-koramoah, nick bolton, and possibly zaven collins. this is a position to address in the top 2 rounds this year.

4. Wide receiver: we need a big-body hands-catching prototypical X receiver with winning speed. ja’marr chase is attractive for this role, and devonta smith is slightly less so, but perhaps there are later picks that could meet our need as well, including terrace marshall and chris olave in the first round and nico collins and tamorrion terry in the mid rounds. if we have a plan to meet our top 3 needs in this year’s draft, i am not averse to going hunting in rounds 2 or 3 for a receiver project in 2021.

5. Free safety: god knows that we have nothing at safety right now. this is only a #5 rated need because of how desperate our roster situation is otherwise. a trade of wentz or ertz for extra picks in the 2nd or 3rd rounds could give us the opportunity we need to find a reasonable free safety prospect in the 3rd or 4th rounds this year.

6. Defensive end: there’s no question in my mind that this is not the right draft class for any team hunting for a starter at defensive end. we need to bump this position to next year’s first round, especially if sweat and barnett do not prove to be a reliable starting combination in 2021.

7. Interior defensive tackle: we do need an imminent replacement for fletcher cox, but we don’t have enough draft capital to go hunting in the high rounds this year. in general, i think that a solid DT is worth a day two pick, and that will be on my mind for the 2022 draft.

01.04.21

Finishing Strong!

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:35 pm by Administrator

doug pederson coached one of his best games of the season last night, ensuring that the eagles did the most important thing that they could do in week 17: lose!

i know that some people frown on tanking, and giants fans have a lot to be upset about today. but the eagles will do what the eagles need to do. we owe nothing to anyone else in the league, and we’re going to do what we need to in order to position ourselves for future success. if there’s a rule against what we did last night, then fine us. otherwise, worry about your own team and why it needed the eagles’ help in the first place.

some quick hits as we bring in the new year:

1. i am fine with keeping howie roseman at least another year. he needs to fix the salary cap crisis that he created. but he should have a minimal role in this draft, which will be the most important draft we have had since 2016.

2. i am disappointed that we are retaining doug pederson, and i hope it will be made clear to him tomorrow morning that he will be expected to work with a bona fide offensive coordinator in the upcoming season. no more advisors; no more “brain trust”; no more doug pederson play-calling.

3. i do not think matt burke should be seriously considered for the defensive coordinator role in philadelphia, and whoever we hire as DC should definitely have a significant role in drafting the defensive personnel that we will take in rounds 1 and 2.

4. as i just implied, defensive personnel at the 2nd and 3rd levels need to be our priorities early in this draft. i believe that the eagles’ front office will be inclined to stay at pick 6 and draft a wide receiver (either chase or smith), but this is not the proper path forward for a team that lacks sufficient talent at multiple key positions (i.e. cornerback, safety, linebacker, defensive end, interior offensive line, wide receiver, and possibly even quarterback). for a team as old, unskilled, and frankly broken as the eagles, the best use of this high pick is to leverage it into multiple high picks, especially if we do not intend to find our QB of the future in this draft class.

5. carson wants to be traded, and we are delighted to oblige. to make it happen, he needs to relinquish some of his guaranteed bonus money, and the trade partner needs to give us a 1st round pick. if either of those don’t happen, then we should be happy to keep carson and make him compete for the starting role (or just sit him behind jalen hurts). if we’re going to pay him one way or the other, then we might as well prevent him from helping anyone else. he might be sour grapes if he’s forced to stay. tough luck? if he really wants out, he can prove it by giving up his bonus, which no one believes that he deserves anyways.

6. in my opinion, jalen hurts has proven that he can be a very good starting QB in the NFL. he has also proven unsurprisingly that he can struggle in the passing game if the team lacks an offensive game plan and any semblance of a credible offensive line. his spotty play in the 4th quarter against the cowboys and in one half of play against the WFT should not be a discredit to him. the guy can play, and i don’t think we should be looking to draft a QB in the first round this year.

the path forward is not an easy one, and we will not make playoffs in 2021. but this was foreseeable and necessary. until we really strike gold with a franchise QB (and such few teams actually do), our formula for success will have to be QBs on rookie contracts, premiere talent in the trenches, and great draft picks at skill positions and in the secondary.

Go Eagles

12.31.20

final thoughts of the year on the eagles’ 2021 draft

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:38 pm by Administrator

here are my latest thoughts about the 2021 draft, and then i will likely take a break from thinking about the draft until march.

nothing i’ve seen has dissuaded me from my ardent belief that this is overall not a very good draft class. for a team that needs to rebuild through the draft (i.e. the eagles), this is a draft to trade out of as much as possible. it’s not just that the talent level after the first 5 picks is uninspiring; it’s also that there’s a much higher level of uncertainty affecting the player evaluation process, given the impacts that covid has had on opt-outs and the college football schedule.

in a sense, it’s unfortunate that the eagles have such a high pick in such a poor draft; but the eagles can leverage the situation to their benefit by trading down. i’ve basically pounded the table for a trade down in the 1st round this year, but i really can’t see howie roseman doing it. for years, he’s fallen in love with specific players (usually on the offensive side) and has proven more than capable of abandoning all discipline in his quest for those guys. as a result, we’ve made relatively few picks in the last few drafts while trading up for dubious players that have failed to make a difference.

in my opinion, roseman should sit out this draft entirely. we need a fresh pair of eyes on draft night this year, and his approach can only weigh us down in our quest for a turnaround. i like roseman, but he needs to get benched in april.

whether the eagles stick with wentz or hurts (or both), i know that their priority in round one will be to support their quarterback by getting a premiere receiver. i’ve already implied my feelings about this, but i’ll state it clearly now: it would absolutely be a mistake for the eagles to draft a wide receiver in the first round this year. adding another deep threat to this roster will not help either wentz or hurts with the timing and trust issues that have prevented them from being accurate in the passing game. if the eagles absolutely cannot be dissuaded from investing in a skill player in round one, then the logical choice in the top 10 picks is kyle pitts, the 6′6″ tight end/receiver hybrid who is probably the second best receiver in this class and the kind of safety blanket that wentz or hurts could throw to 10-15 times a game. pitts is not a twitchy guy that you’re going to rely on to make double moves for deep post receptions; the eagles’ offensive system can’t really utilize that sort of guy anyways. pitts is however notorious for grabbing anything in his vicinity and dominating his defender with superior straight-line speed, physicality, and an extraordinary wingspan. an eagles offense featuring pitts and goedert could be highly efficient and deadly, particularly with reagor occupying the deep safety and miles sanders doubling as a threat in the short-intermediate passing game. it’s a different kind of offensive scheme, but it’s the kind of scheme that we have to create for an o-line and qb rotation that simply aren’t equipped to throw deep with any consistent success.

picking kyle pitts at pick 6 or 7 is possibly our third best scenario at best, but it’s vastly preferable to taking devonta smith—which i’m convinced the eagles are going to do, to their severe detriment. it’s not that i dislike devonta smith. it’s that i know devonta smith will be completely wasted in this offense, much like nelson agholor, golden tate, jalen reagor, jj arcega-whiteside, mack hollins, and shelton gibson. philadelphia is where deep-threat wide receivers go to die. smith, like justin jefferson, will achieve his extraordinary potential with some other team. i would never wish a slow career death in philadelphia on any young man with as much talent and character as devonta smith.

the second best thing we can do with pick 6 or 7 this year is to trade down into the mid-1st (i.e. with san francisco or new england), pick up a 1st rounder next year, and draft jeremiah owusu-koramoah for jim schwartz’s defensive unit. the best thing we can do with our pick is to trade down into the mid-1st, pick up a 1st rounder next year, draft j-ok, and fire jim schwartz (in no particular order). here’s the problem with inserting owusu-koramoah into jim schwartz’s defense: jim schwartz would stall j-ok’s career, much like the way our offense consumes and spits out wide receiver talent. schwartz’s vanilla defense which generally utilizes inside linebackers as one-gap run defenders reflects his fundamental laziness about game-planning and also implies that he will plug and play a guy like j-ok without any heed for this guy’s considerable potential as a game-breaking defensive talent.

jeremiah owusu-koramoah’s best pro athlete comparable is vasyl lomachenko (”the matrix”), possibly the best pound for pound boxer in the world. the comparison is subtle but emphasizes the unique quality that j-ok brings to the game. like lomachenko, j-ok is extremely quick and efficient in his approach to the opponent; game tape shows no wasted movements at all. and like lomachenko’s approach to striking, j-ok knows what position and angle to take to make the highest impact play on the ball. as compact as his frame is, j-ok is a lightning striker, using flawless technique to deal impossibly hard hits on much bigger guys. it’s the same quality that makes him such an effective pass rusher; he hits holes in pass coverage better than a running back on the other side of the ball, closing distance with decisiveness and fluidity. and it’s the very same quality that makes him deadly in pass coverage as well. he knows exactly when to extend to disrupt the pass, and when he tackles he punches with power and precision to rip out the ball. it’s a thing of beauty.

isaiah simmons is making defensive coordinators worried about the tweener defender, but being a rover isn’t at all a discredit to j-ok. to understand this man’s impact on a pro defense, you have to stop thinking about where exactly he fits in a defensive scheme and start thinking about the kinds of plays j-ok will make if you get him close to the ball. the fact is that j-ok has the speed and vision to be a very good free safety in the NFL, but it would be a waste of his gift for smelling the play and disrupting in the box. if he has a DC who understands where to put him and when, j-ok is a guy who can get you 100 tackles with 3-4 sacks and 3-4 interceptions as well, all the while intimidating receivers and ball carriers and forcing all kinds of unpleasant adjustments on an offense. he may not look big and strong for a linebacker, but then again vasyl lomachenko doesn’t look big and strong for an elite pro boxer. both of these guys will run circles around you, and when you least expect it, they will fucking hit you in the face.

the eagles seem to enjoy ignoring the defense. they take great pride in running a vanilla 4-3 defense that routinely gives up big plays. every year the draft comes around, and they decide that they are too damn cool to draft a playmaker at the second level. it’s the definition of insanity; it’s flat-out stupid; and it’s galling. this year, the eagles will refuse to trade down, and they’ll draft devonta smith, holding to the utterly ridiculous belief that they are just one offensive weapon away from dominating the NFC East again. once again, the j-ok (sic) will be on them.

LOSE THE DAMN GAME THIS WEEKEND

12.30.20

more draft thoughts on the eagles

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:26 pm by Administrator

amidst many unpleasant things going on in my life, the eagles’ disastrous season has one major silver lining: we get to dream about the future. thinking about our draft is a daily exercise for me, for better or worse.

below, i provide my third 1st round mock draft and a summary of the best talent left over after the first 32 picks. it’s very clear that the best players available in the early 2nd round will be disproportionately at defensive back and offensive line positions. we should expect that all of the 1st and 2nd tier talent at wide receiver, defensive line, and linebacker will be long gone by the time we get to the eagles’ 2nd round pick, which is hopefully pick #38.

if the eagles cannot swing a trade of either hurts or wentz for an extra 1st round pick this year, then we are in a situation (in my opinion) in which we must exit the first two rounds of the draft with a linebacker and a cornerback. by my own value analysis, i’ve already determined that pick 6 doesn’t give the eagles optimal value at either position, even in the improbable event that micah parsons is available. like i’ve stated consistently in prior entries, the eagles have every reason to trade down in the 1st round for extra draft capital (and ideally an extra 1st round pick in 2022). my recommendation is no different if the eagles do pick up an extra 1st round pick this year on account of a quarterback trade.

in this mock, the eagles trade down from pick 6 to the Colts, who pass on a Wentz trade but determine that they absolutely cannot pass on a top-tier QB in the 2021 draft. it’s a reasonable scenario, given that they are unlikely to perform well in the upcoming playoffs with a rapidly fading philip rivers.

Mock Draft #3

1. Jacksonville: trevor lawrence (duh)
2. NY Jets: penei sewell
3. Miami: micah parsons
4. Atlanta: zach wilson
5. Carolina (trades up with Cincinnati): justin fields
6. Indy (trade up with Philly for two 1st rounders and a 2021 3rd): trey lance
7. Detroit: ja’marr chase
8. NY Giants: kwity paye
9. Cincinnati: kyle pitts
10. Denver: greg rousseau
11. Dallas: patrick surtain
12. LA Chargers: caleb farley
13. Minnesota: rashawn slater
14. San Francisco: jaylen waddle
15. New England: devonta smith
16. Las Vegas: boogie basham
17. Arizona: tyson campbell
18. Philadelphia: jeremiah owusu-koramoah
19. Washington: christian darrisaw
20. Chicago: samuel cosmi
21. Jacksonville: rashod bateman
22. Cleveland: zaven collins
23. Miami: azeez ojulari
24. Baltimore: rondale moore
25. Tennessee: jaycee horn
26. Tampa Bay: patrick jones
27. NY Jets: jevon holland
28. Buffalo: nick bolton
29. New Orleans: dylan moses
30. Pittsburgh: mac jones
31. Green Bay: chris olave
32. Kansas City: joseph ossai

after the first round, there will be at least six high-level offensive line talents, in jalen mayfield, liam eichenberg, wyatt davis, chris humphrey, alijah vera-tucker, and alex leatherwood. the eagles should at least consider the possibility of taking a guard at pick 38; but as we’ve already established, cornerback is the much higher priority in the first 2 rounds and is an absolutely necessity at pick 38 if we go with the linebacker/safety hybrid in j-ok in the first round.

the cornerback prospects that will likely fall into round 2 are fairly impressive, given the depth of this class. based on this mock, we’re likely to see derion kendrick, shaun wade, eric stokes, paulson adebo, and asante samuel jr. fall into the 2nd round. i like kendrick or stokes; they’re much different players, but either would be superior on the boundary to every DB we have on our roster with the exception of slay.

if we can swing a wentz or hurts deal to get an extra pick in round 1 (and i simply cannot see how we wouldn’t be able to get this done one way or the other), then the priority has to be cornerback. if we can get that pick somewhere between 15 (new england) and 20 (chicago), then the choice there has to be cornerback jaycee horn.

we can save safety and wide receiver for round 3.

GO EAGLES

12.29.20

looking ahead: the eagles have to be strategic

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:25 pm by Administrator

let’s start with the plan for sunday and then move to the off-season.

1. lose on sunday

i don’t care how they do it. the eagles need to make sure that they lose on sunday.

the most straightforward way to do this is to fire doug pederson this week (i’ll talk about that more in a moment), install an interim HC who understands our team’s priorities this sunday, play hurts for a half at most, and make sure that we get an extended look at our backups and rookies for at least two quarters. there’s no way any of our starting d-linemen (i.e. hargraves, cox, graham, sweat, and barnett) should see the field at all.

losing this weekend will guarantee the eagles the 6th pick in the 2021 draft, if not better.

2. fire doug pederson

wentz has been more of the problem than pederson throughout this season, but pederson has more than proven over the past three seasons that without reich and defillippo he’s always just one mental lapse away from completely throwing a game. the countless incorrect play-calling decisions combined with all the emerging concerns about the discipline and culture of the team truly do indict doug pederson as a leader of this franchise. all in all, he’s not the worst head coach out there, but neither is he the answer to the turnaround that this team so desperately needs. the same has to be said about jim schwartz, but it’s a foregone conclusion anyways that schwartz will be gone after pederson is removed.

jeffrey lurie only has one legitimate path forward, if he cares about winning. he has to fire doug pederson. it’s not an easy decision, but it’s the right one.

3. trade either wentz or hurts

now here’s a bold one and perhaps not one that roseman is likely considering. the fact is that we would ideally move one quarterback or the other in February. i’d prefer that we trade wentz, as i’ve maintained for more than a year and a half. but if we get strong offers for hurts, then i think we should be open to trading him for at least two 1st round picks.

if we move wentz, then we have in hurts a versatile and cheap quarterback that we can build around for years. but if we move hurts, then we can potentially revive wentz’s career with a new head coach, a brand-new offensive system, and multiple high draft picks that can elevate the team overall.

4. trade down from pick 6 to get a 2022 1st round pick

here’s where i make my draft analysis as succinctly as possible.

based on talent and comparables, there are only five players that are worthy of the eagles’ attention at pick 6. they are trevor lawrence (who will not be available), penei sewell (who will most likely not be available), kyle pitts, micah parsons, and ja’marr chase. in my opinion, if either trevor lawrence or penei sewell are somehow available at pick 6, it’s a no-brainer to take the guy. but if pitts, parsons, or chase are available at pick 6, i would still recommend a trade down in order to pick up a future 1st rounder. that is primarily because the 1st round difference-maker that the eagles most need this year is a cornerback.

it wouldn’t be easy to pass on pitts, parsons, or chase. but as good as pitts and chase are, the eagles need to revamp the defense right now, and there’s no question that the eagles cannot afford to pass up on 1st round opportunities this year to address the second and third levels of the defense. regardless of what the eagles choose to do with ertz, i still look at tight end as a relative position of strength; and while the eagles are not loaded with premiere WR talent, they’ve invested a lot in the position over the past two years and cannot afford to waste a top-10 pick on a skill position other than quarterback.

micah parsons is the real question, if he’s there for the taking at pick 6. i believe that parsons would radically change our defense; but at the same time i am not sure that his college highlight reel will translate to NFL game tape. this is an amazing athlete who rapidly diagnosed plays and ravaged backfields as an unblocked defender. how will he function going against pro offensive lines? how will he handle zone coverage responsibilities against NFL receivers? parsons can probably excel in a lot of defensive schemes, but i have to imagine he’s best as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme that deploys him extensively as a pass rusher on the line of scrimmage. even if jim schwartz is no longer the man in philadelphia, i can’t imagine that the fit for parsons is automatic. perhaps i’m overthinking this, but i actually think that a later pick like nick bolton or jeremiah owusu-koramoah might be as impactful for the eagles.

cornerback and linebacker are the two most critical needs for the eagles this off-season, and i believe that the former is more important to address early in the draft. in my opinion, neither caleb farley nor patrick surtain are elite enough to be considered at pick 6 this year, and i wouldn’t be surprised if one or both players fell past pick 15. it is very possible that jaycee horn, tyson campbell, or derion kendrick may be just as good if not better at the pro level, and these three guys almost certainly will not break the top 16 picks of the 2021 draft. for this reason, i think there’s plenty of value to be had in trading down from pick 6 to the late teens or early 20s in order to grab a 1st rounder in 2022 (a superior draft class overall). QB hungry teams like the 49ers, Pats, Bears, and Colts have to be considered legitimate trade partners for pick 6 and would likely throw in a 2nd or 3rd this year on top of two 1st round picks in order to get their man.

like i’ve maintained previously, i think that the eagles must double-dip at cornerback in the 1st and 2nd rounds, and a trade of either wentz or hurts should give us at least three picks in the top 60 in order to make that happen. a haul of jaycee horn, nick bolton, and eric stokes in the first two rounds would make me a very happy man.

5. hire greg roman

i know he’s taking a lot of flak for the baltimore offense this year, but frankly what he’s done with lamar jackson has been incredible. if hurts is the guy we choose to stick with, let’s get him a head coach who has a track record with dual threat quarterbacks.

GO EAGLES

12.25.20

2021 mock draft #2: eagles only

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:55 pm by Administrator

back in april, i predicted that we’d trade wentz after the 2020 season to the colts for three 1st rounders. there’s no way that’s happening now, thanks to carson’s stinker of a season. i still think that he’s going to the colts but for a cheaper price: a 2021 1st round pick and a 2022 3rd rounder.

this is not a no-brainer for reich and ballard, but it’s a strong deal. here’s my most objective assessment of what i believe wentz should represent to the colts: he’s a big-play quarterback who’s had one utterly excellent season that accurately demonstrated his potential and one disastrous season that was the result of bad coaching, offensive line injuries, and covid-related chaos. yes, his mechanics are an issue, and he’s not a very disciplined player in the pocket. these technical and mental issues have not prevented carson from being an above-average NFL quarterback for three of the past four seasons. with decent offensive weapons, offensive line continuity, and a system built around his strengths as a downfield passer, carson wentz’s floor is matt stafford—a guy who’s on pace for a 63% completion percentage with 28 TDs and 11 interceptions. carson’s upside is his own spectacular pro bowl season in 2017. for $25 million a year (after the eagles take care of his bonus dollars), carson wentz is worth the risk to a team that is one dynamic offensive player away from a super bowl run.

whichever team (jets or jags) that doesn’t get the #1 pick will be in the moderate bidding war for carson’s services, and that should be good enough to elevate the price from a 2nd rounder (starting ante) to a mid 1st round pick plus a future mid-round pick. for the colts, that is more than a good price. this year, to get a quarterback like zach wilson, the colts would likely have to give up not only this year’s 1st round pick but also a 2nd or 3rd this year plus next year’s 1st round pick. they can get carson wentz without having to give up next year’s 1st round pick. if they can get a potential pro bowl caliber quarterback who’s ready to win right now for a price cheaper than what they’d have to pay for an untested college prospect with lesser arm talent, then why in the world would they not do that deal?

at worst, giving up a 2021 1st round pick in the 20s plus a 3rd rounder in 2022 for carson wentz will saddle the colts for the next 2 seasons with an average quarterback who fails to be a difference maker for a team that continues to be outclassed by the chiefs, titans, and bills in the AFC. but odds are that carson proves to be much better than the 2020 version of himself, and when the playoffs roll around in 2022 and 2023, his big-play ability keeps defenses honest and allows the colts to get over the top for a championship run.

in my 2nd mock, an eagles-only mock, i project what roseman will do after a carson wentz deal with the colts that nets us a 2021 1st round pick (pick 23) and a zach ertz deal with the jets that nets us pick 66 early in the 3rd round.

    Roseman’s 2021 draft:

Pick 7: kwity paye. i’m convinced that at pick 7, the eagles will not only miss out on ja’marr chase but will also be convinced that defensive end is where they need to focus their attention with their first of two 1st round picks. roseman and dorsey will fall in love with the uber athletic kwity paye, whom they believe will maintain eagle dominance in the trenches after graham moves on in 2022.

Pick 23 (from Indy): rashod bateman. big, tall, and gushing with ball skills, rashod bateman will continue to summon comparisons to michael thomas after a solid combine, and roseman will be comfortable drafting his X receiver right here, especially after comparing bateman to reagor and agholor, lower upside receivers who were also drafted in the early 20s.

Pick 39: hamsah nasirildeen. a bit of an enigma, nasirildeen will still attract howie’s attention with his size/speed combination. with mcleod likely to miss some of the 2021 season, and with major question marks surrounding k’von wallace, jalen mills, and marcus epps after a year of mediocre play, safety will likely be howie’s 3rd priority, and he’ll also get a cheap veteran on the market to shore up this area of major weakness.

Pick 66 (from Jets for Ertz): tj carter. the eagles get lucky and find a potential starting outside corner in the early 3rd round. carter projects well with size, speed, and strong man coverage skills. he may not be on the eagles’ radar from the outset, but 3rd round is where they will hunt for a corner to start opposite of slay.

Pick 71: random linebacker. the eagles will take yet another combine sensation here that was on no one else’s list, once the top linebackers are off the board. it’s another shot in the dark at a position that they traditionally do not value. schwartz and roseman will somehow convince themselves that tj edwards and davion taylor offer enough promise that they can avoid investing draft capital at the 2nd level of the defense.

    my preferred draft approach:

Pick 7: trade down with steelers for pick 25, 89, and next year’s 1st round pick. like i’ve insisted previously, the 2021 draft is not a good class, and the top 10 picks in particular do not feature the talent that the eagles need. having an extra 1st round pick in 2022 should give us a chance to get one or even two excellent pass rushers high in the draft next year. the steelers will seize this opportunity to move up and grab zach wilson, as it is evident that they need their QB of the future right now. there’s almost no way that howie roseman will trade down or into a future draft for a variety of reasons that pain me to no end, but i won’t dwell on that right now.

Pick 23: jeremiah owusu-koromoah. we desperately need a legitimate playmaker at linebacker, and j-ok will solve our recurring and embarrassing issues with coverage of tight ends and running backs. he’s a decisive and instinctive defender similar in some ways to patrick queen, whom we should have drafted in the 1st round last year.

Pick 25 (from the steelers): jaycee horn. the idea of drafting a cornerback in the 1st round positively scares the eagles’ front office, but it is our second most pressing need after ILB in this draft and we must take a potential starter if we can find one in the first round. horn blew up in 2020. there is risk here, but late in the 1st round there is also plenty of value to be reaped as well.

Pick 39: eric stokes. if he’s still on the board, we have to take stokes here. yes, it means doubling down on cornerback, but it is such an important position and there is so much drop-off in talent after the early 2nd round that we have to take a potential DB starter here if we can.

Pick 66: richard lecounte. nothing wrong with waiting til the 3rd round to get a safety who probably would have gone in the 2nd round last year.

Pick 71: nico collins. the anti-roseman receiver, collins does not have elite speed or agility but features all the qualities i love in a receiver: physical, tough, and good with his hands. he profiles like michael pittman, whom i rated higher than aiyuk, reagor, and jefferson last year. this is the kind of guy that jalen hurts needs in philadelphia, a guy who will go up and get it on every play.

Pick 89 (from the Steelers): offensive guard. i don’t have a scouting report on the interior o-line in this draft, but with this extra pick late in the 3rd round i believe that we have to get o-line depth on the inside, especially after seeing how poorly nate herbig and matt pryor played this year. jordan mailata has to be considered our future at left tackle, and i would rate jack driscoll as a better player than andre dillard and thus worthy of being our primary backup for both tackle positions, which means that we have an uninspiring rotation of dillard, herbig, and opeta on the inside. none of them can be considered dependable starters in the event of injury to seumalo or brooks, which means we must go hunting on day two for depth on the interior line.

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