Day 3 Thoughts: A Do-Over for the Eagles

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:59 pm by Administrator

day 3 is underway, and in about 20 picks the Eagles will be up to bat for pick 138. deionte thompson and marvell tell are still on the board right now, and i suppose the Eagles could call it a steal if they land either one at safety. it still wouldn’t be adequate compensation for what looks to me like a fairly disappointing draft for the Eagles in 2019.

first, let me try to frame our draft in the most positive manner possible. unlike several other teams in this draft (notably the seahawks and the giants), the Eagles had a plan, and it was a sensible one. like i wrote a couple of weeks ago, the Eagles understood that their main reason for mediocrity in 2018 wasn’t their defense. they lost games and failed to win the division because their offense was often lackluster, lacked dynamism and physicality in the run game, and was inefficient in the passing game. had the Eagles even been an average offense in the first quarter of half the games they lost this past season, they would have cruised to a division championship. addressing the o-line and the running back rotation was a sensible priority for a team that simply needs to diversify the offense for their gifted but still developing quarterback.

moreover, the Eagles addressed in the first round what is clearly one of the team’s top three priorities for the next two seasons—establishing jason peters’ successor on the left side of the o-line. they did this passably well by moving up to get andre dillard, a move i graded a B+ based on his relative ranking and the price we paid to get him.

and lastly, the Eagles are coming away from the first half of this draft with three offensive players who will very likely contribute in their rookie seasons, as they are each more refined than raw, and as they each fit some specific and immediate needs on this offense.

that all sounds great, right? sure it does. if i stopped right there and graded this a solid B, then i think i could close this up and end on a solid note, and i might not appear worse for wear. except that i am pretty disappointed in what we accomplished, because we could have and should have come away with a much better group of guys after day two. i’ll explain.

Pick 22:

my preference would have been a trade-down from 25 once it became clear that we could not land christian wilkins, but when i saw the trade-up to 22 i was excited. why? because montez sweat, an unusually athletic defensive end with dominating potential on the edge, was somehow available at 22 due to bogus medical information about a frequently misdiagnosed cardiomopathy. this was a gift to the Eagles. this was a gift that we could not afford to turn down, given our sudden lack of pass-rushing depth behind brandon graham and derek barnett. but we put the blinders on and zoomed in on left tackle, when we could have and should have come away with a top-5 prospect at a position that is no less critical to the success of this team.

i understand that there is uncertainty about our long-term solution at left tackle in the post-jason peters era. but we have one more year with JP, and more importantly we have an opportunity this year to determine what value we actually have in the ever intriguing jordan mailata. if mailata flames out spectacularly in pre-season action or fails to deliver in relief of JP during the season, then there’s little lost in addressing LT in the 2020 draft, which will likely feature five excellent offensive tackles in the first round, all of whom look to have more potential than jonah williams and our guy andre dillard.

with chris long retiring, josh sweat continually injured, and vinny curry serving as little better than a stop-gap, we have two legitimate defensive ends when our rotational scheme really calls for four. this was the year that we needed to land a strong defensive end, and we actually had the exceedingly rare opportunity to draft a superstar edge defender. this was a miss for us—a genuinely bad miss that will hurt us for years.

Pick 53:

i’ve acknowledged myself that the Eagles would likely take a running back here, and i mocked a running back to us in round two several times. but now that the dust has settled, i’m quite disappointed that in the end this is what we ended up doing. i’m even more disappointed that we did it at the opportunity cost of a safety, a vastly more pressing need for this eagles squad.

like dillard, miles sanders has imperfections that i find gnawing. the ball security issues and his lack of consistent vision veritably define him as a limited running back who will need to make a leap early in his pro career in order to establish himself as even an average starter. i don’t really care how great his highlights look or how much the Eagles scouting staff loved his interviews. a running back’s job is to protect the ball, protect the quarterback, and hit the hole that he’s given as hard as he can. i don’t see miles sanders being special in any of those regards; and because i rarely see running backs who are clearly a cut above the rest in these three aspects of the game, i almost never rate them as worthy of a pick in the top two rounds.

the eagles absolutely fell apart on defense last year in the absence of rodney mcleod, jr., and it was painful watching our defensive backs rotation try to fill gaps through the mid-portion of the season. it is true that they came together in a special way in time for the post-season, but that doesn’t mean that the group we finished the season with is good enough to bank on for the stretch. avonte maddox is not our free or strong safety of the future, and i believe it would do him a disservice to re-cast him as a safety when his clear strength is on the boundary in man coverage. in my mind, leblanc, douglas, and maddox are the only three reliable cornerbacks we’ve got, and everyone else (sidney jones, jalen mills, andrew sendejo, and tre sullivan included) is only insurance beyond our top 5 defensive backs. that means that we urgently need a young talented safety with prototypical size and coverage/tackling skills right now; and that guy would ideally project to be our starter at free safety in just one year.

i know the eagles were interested in chauncey gardner-johnson, but all along i’ve secretly hoped we would land nasir adderley. i don’t know why the Eagles year after year decide to pass on good safeties, particularly local guys. we passed on adrian amos four years ago when he was ripe for the taking in the 4th round, and we passed on nasir this year when he looked to be a perfect fit for us in the mid-2nd round. missing out on adderley, thornhill, or gardner-johnson for a second or third-string running back (depending on where you rank sanders relative to jordan howard, corey clement, and josh adams) is to me a really unfortunate turn of events and a fairly bad mistake for howie roseman.

pick 57:

what we did at picks 22 and 53 made me shake my head, but we did at pick 57 honestly made me angry. if you’re dead-set on moving nelson agholor and you want to replace him with a 6′3″ 220 pound receiver who excels at 50/50 balls, then why not take the guy with 4.3 speed and the potential to be transcendent? why take the other guy with 4.5 speed who’s basically already shown us everything that he can do?

our decision to take jj arcega-whiteside over dk metcalf is confounding, annoying, and enraging all at the same time. it’s a signal to me that we were so narrow in our evaluation process that we couldn’t see the damn forest for the trees. i don’t really care what metcalf’s college production looked like relative to jjaw’s. the fact of the matter is that dk metcalf showed on tape everything that we should be looking for from a big, tall, physical receiver, with none of the red flags that should have removed him from consideration. i know from looking at arcega-whiteside’s evaluations that he’s probably a better receiver in the college game than metcalf is right now. i know for damn sure that in three years, arcega-whiteside isn’t going to be a top-5 receiver in the NFL, while dk just might have deandre hopkins up-side. i mean, what is exactly is a GM supposed to be looking for in the late 2nd round? reliability? i say that once you’re past the top 50 picks, superstar potential is just something you have to gun for without hesitation. there’s no doubt that i would have taken dk metcalf at pick 57 over any other player at any other position, and that’s even in spite of the fact that on paper i would have preferred an interior defensive tackle.

five years ago, i might have conceded that maybe roseman’s team had information on these two guys that i didn’t. now, i just don’t really buy that. i’ve seen roseman whiff on enough guys in the draft to recognize that his front office team’s strength isn’t in college-level player evaluations. granted, he won the off-season and free agency in 2017, and i’ll always respect him for that. but the 2019 draft was a missed opportunity for the philadelphia eagles, and i swear to God if montez sweat and dk metcalf do some damage in this league…

more thoughts on pick 57

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:43 am by Administrator

i’ve now read every scouting report available to the public on jj, and i think i can understand the logic behind the choice. per mike remmers, jj’s ball skills are unparalleled and should translate to the NFL game.

after several hours of pondering this very unexpected pick, i think i can fairly admit to the following conclusions:

1. arcega-whiteside has a distinct and not exceptionally high ceiling as a professional. the comparisons with eric decker and anquan boldin are extraordinarily exaggerated.

2. that being said, he profiles as a possession receiver who might be a reliable tool for a QB like wentz who needs plentiful security blankets in the form of big targets and sharp route runners. the eagles need better efficiency from their offense more than they need big-play potential; jjaw increases wentz’s margin for error.

3. after four years at stanford, jjaw has moved past the steep end of his learning curve and is pretty much ready to go with his skill set right now. he could be a meaningful year one contributor, particularly in the red zone.

4. drafting jjaw makes it all the more obvious now that the eagles want to move nelson agholor immediately. in retrospect, they might have been better off simply cutting agholor and his $9 million cap hit two months ago, because they’re not going to get much (if anything) in the way of draft pick compensation now. agholor is too expensive and of too little value, particularly given the quality of WRs that remain on the draft board going into day 3 (i.e. riley ridley, hakeem butler, and kelvin harmon). the eagles mismanaged agholor’s situation almost as badly as they managed michael bennett’s.

thinking about arcega-whiteside and what the pick reflects about our strategy makes me feel distinctly uneasy, and all in all i still wish the eagles had not made this pick. but i’m a fan, and i want to root for our newest eagle, so i’ll try to believe that drafting arcega-whiteside was a calculated and subtly brilliant move that will surely improve our offense. (suppressing dry heaves)

my best case scenario for day 3 (which i’m going to admit is extremely unlikely): the eagles trade nelson agholor and a 2020 6th round pick in order to get an early 4th round pick tomorrow, which we use to draft chauncey gardner-johnson, the safety that we should have taken at pick 57. then we scoop up renell wren with our last pick of the 4th (a veritable steal) and ben burr-kiven at pick 163 in the 5th.

Arcegatron? What the fuck roseman???

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:46 am by Administrator

I was in such a mindful space… everything was good… and then the eagles had to get creative and draft jj arcega whiteside at pick 57.

What. The. Fuck. What the flying goddamn fuck howard roseman???

Never mind that there were four legitimate free safety prospects on the board for us right there (and by the way we’re going to need a starting free safety in 2020). If you’re going to get us a receiver, then God bless you get us the best receiver you can. Get us a guy with speed who can separate and take the top off the defense—the very thing we looked for but couldn’t get in golden tate, mack hollins, and nelson agholor last year. Get us a legit playmaker. Dont get us a slow big-bodied possession type receiver when we already have zach ertz, dallas goedert, and alshon jeffery to feed!

Hakeem butler, DK metcalf, and parris campbell and their 4.4 wheels were still on the board when we decided to be too cool for school and take a guy that just doesnt add anything to this offense. I don’t mean to knock JJ and his best asset—his “competitive nature”. But goddamit, there were better receivers there if WR is what we had to have at 57 (highly debatable). This is philadelphia’s worst pick since marcus smith and you can mark my fucking words on that.

Pick 57 should have been chauncey gardner-johnson. Mother fucker!


Round 1 Thoughts and Round 2/3 Projections for the Eagles

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:01 pm by Administrator

the Eagles did a nice job of getting their guy last night, jumping the Texans to get the tackle that was surely at the top of Houston’s list. in doing so, they set off a mini-run on offensive tackles that made for some surprise round 1 selections, most notably tytus howard and kaleb mcgary. by getting dillard, the Eagles got an elite pass protector who profiles as a left tackle starter in the NFL, and as such the Eagles addressed the single biggest potential threat to their success in 2019—a gap at left tackle in the event of a Jason peters injury.

I grade the pick a B+ and not an A+ for a few reasons. first, they gave up mid-round picks instead of gaining them, in a draft where the Eagles would ideally have 4 picks in the first 3 rounds. second, as good as Dillard may very well be, I continue to see a lot of value at o-line moving into day 2, with guys like dalton risner, cody ford, and erik mccoy still on the board. meanwhile, Montez sweat—a potentially elite pass rusher—was there for the taking at pick 22, and he was the guy I would have pulled the trigger on after the trade-up without a moment’s hesitation. third, I don’t think dillard addresses our short-term need for an early season starter at right guard, as he’s not a “road grader” by any means and would struggle to fill in for Brandon brooks for any period of time.

overall, last night’s round one wasn’t shocking but it was strange. i’ll leave it to the press to bash dave gettleman and the giants, as I’ve already given my 2+ cents about them over the past year. john Schneider, who was well-positioned to dominate last night, screwed up seattle’s situation, not only passing on Montez sweat but then reaching badly on another defensive end who doesn’t have nearly the same potential. despite the Russell Wilson extension, the seahawks do appear to be in decline.

for round 2, the eagles are certainly poised to get a great safety prospect, as I project only three teams at most to draft a safety ahead of Philadelphia’s pick at #53. with adderley, gardner-johnson, thornhill, Thompson, and rapp still on the board, the eagles will come away with a serviceable option at a critical position of need. it is unclear to me what the Eagles should prioritize with their other 2nd round pick. defensive tackle, running back, linebacker, and wide receiver are all legit needs, with running back probably being the most pressing of these. I believe that either miles sanders or david montgomery will make it to the eagles in the 50s, and a trade-down scenario is simply not an option for the eagles if they want to grab a premium running back.

my prediction is that the eagles will keep both of their 2nd round picks and go with a safety and a running back tonight.



Final Predictions and NFL Mock Draft #11

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:26 am by Administrator

it’s on!

here are my final predictions in advance of tonight’s first round of the NFL draft.

regarding the Eagles, they won’t be able to trade up to grab Christian Wilkins, which means they’ll trade down (out of the 1st round) and pick up a 3rd rounder in the process. as per my last mock, i’d like them to prioritize running back, wide receiver, safety, and interior d-line with their resultant four picks in rounds 2 and 3, saving interior o-line and linebacker for day 3. josh jacobs, deebo samuel, chauncey gardner-johnson, and renell wren would be a dream haul on day 2 of our draft; but i’d be just as happy landing miles sanders, riley ridley, juan thornhill, and gerald willis in an alternative scenario.

kyler murray is going 1st, and josh rosen is going to get traded. dwayne haskins, drew lock, and daniel jones are all going in the top 10 tomorrow. montez sweat will fall to the seahawks at 21 but no farther; and the seahawks will also stop byron murphy’s slide at 29, courtesy of kansas city. this first round will probably be remembered as john schneider’s best.

Mock Draft #11: 1st Round Only

Round One

1. Cardinals: QB Kyler Murray (Rosen to the Patriots for pick 56)
2. 49ers: DE Nick Bosa
3. Jets: OLB Josh Allen
4. Raiders: QB Drew Lock
5. Broncos: QB Dwayne Haskins (picks 10 and 41 to the Bucs)
6. Giants: DE Quinnen Williams
7. Redskins: QB Daniel Jones (picks 15 and 46 to the Jags)
8. Lions: DE Rashan Gary
9. Bills: OT Jawaan Taylor
10. Buccaneers: OT Jonah Williams (from Denver)
11. Bengals: LB Devin White
12. Packers: TE TJ Hockenson
13. Dolphins: DT Ed Oliver
14. Falcons: DT Christian Wilkins
15. Jaguars: WR DK Metcalf (from Washington)
16. Panthers: OG Cody Ford
17. Giants: QB Will Grier
18. Vikings: OT Andre Dillard
19. Titans: DE Brian Burns
20. Steelers: LB Devin Bush
21. Seahawks: DE Montez Sweat
22. Ravens: WR N’Keal Harry
23. Texans: C/G Garrett Bradbury
24. Raiders: DE Clellin Ferrell
25. Bengals: OT Dalton Risner (from Eagles for 42/73)
26. Colts: DT Dexter Lawrence
27. Raiders: CB DeAndre Baker
28. Chargers: DT Jerry Tillery
29. Seahawks: CB Byron Murphy
30. Packers: WR Hakeem Butler
31. Rams: DT Dre’Mont Jones
32. Pats: TE Noah Fant


NFL Mock Draft #10

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:40 pm by Administrator

lots of draft personalities are aligning around the idea that the Eagles will force a trade-up in the 1st round for a defensive tackle, and the mocks that have the Eagles sitting tight at 25 are beginning to veer away from RB josh jacobs to interior linemen like cody ford and chris lindstrom. i’m going to reiterate my opinion that there’s relatively poor value for o-line prospects in the late 1st round—and if the Eagles are looking to bolster their line early on, then a trade-down is the proper scenario. reaching for lindstrom at pick 25 doesn’t look decisively better than scooping up erik mccoy or even tytus howard in the mid-2nd, especially if the eagles grab an early 3rd round pick for their patience. as important as the interior o-line is to the Eagles, we have to remember that these are tough positions to predict, and we have our own jason kelce (former 6th round pick) to remind us that there can be great value to be had in the late rounds when it comes to big guys on the inside.

based on what i’m reading about the falcons and panthers, i’m finding it increasingly unlikely that they’ll trade down in this draft, and in fact the falcons may look to trade up. christian wilkins and ed oliver will both be long gone by the time even the tennessee titans are up to bat at 19, so i have the Eagles restraining themselves and doing the right thing in this mock—trading down and maximizing value. i do think it’s critical for the Eagles to pick up an interior o-lineman in this draft, and i see the Eagles doubling down at the position on day 3, starting with pick 127. this mock only goes through three rounds and four Eagle picks, and i have the team devoting these four picks to high-priority positions at which i expect a considerable drop-off in level of talent after round 3. those positions are interior defensive tackle, safety, wide receiver, and running back. all four are critical to philadelphia’s success in 2019 and beyond.

in this mock, two players will be available at pick 25 that will give the eagles incredible leverage for a trade-down. those are devin bush, the last of the potentially elite linebackers in this class, and clellin ferrell, a B+ defensive end that some GM can convince himself to fall in love with. neither are worth philly’s pick at 25.

i have the Eagles waiting on defensive tackle til the 3rd round, where they take renell wren. the beauty of this defensive line class is that just after the top tier of guys is another group of prospects who have just as much as up-side, albeit not as much production on tape. wren is one of those guys.

Mock Draft #10: 3 Rounds

Round One

1. Cardinals: QB Kyler Murray (Rosen to the Patriots for pick 56)
2. 49ers: DE Nick Bosa
3. Jets: OLB Josh Allen
4. Raiders: QB Drew Lock
5. Broncos: QB Dwayne Haskins (picks 10 and 41 to the Bucs)
6. Giants: DE Quinnen Williams
7. Redskins: QB Daniel Jones (picks 15 and 46 to the Jags)
8. Lions: DE Montez Sweat
9. Bills: OT Jawaan Taylor
10. Buccaneers: OT Jonah Williams (from Denver)
11. Bengals: DT Ed Oliver
12. Packers: TE TJ Hockenson
13. Dolphins: DE Rashan Gary
14. Falcons: DT Christian Wilkins
15. Jaguars: WR DK Metcalf (from Washington)
16. Panthers: OG Cody Ford
17. Giants: QB Will Grier
18. Vikings: OG Garrett Bradbury
19. Titans: DE Brian Burns
20. Steelers: LB Devin White
21. Pats: TE Noah Fant (Seattle gets 32/73 for the trade-down)
22. Ravens: WR N’Keal Harry
23. Texans: OT Andre Dillard
24. Raiders: CB Greedy Williams
25. Bengals: LB Devin Bush (from Eagles for 42/73)
26. Colts: DT Dexter Lawrence
27. Raiders: DE Clellin Ferrell
28. Chargers: DT Jerry Tillery
29. Chiefs: CB DeAndre Baker
30. Packers: WR Hakeem Butler
31. Rams: DT Dre’Mont Jones
32. Seahawks: WR AJ Brown (from Pats)

Round Two

33. Cardinals: WR Marquise Brown
34. Colts: S Nasir Adderley
35. Raiders: OG Chris Lindstrom
36. 49ers: WR Kelvin Harmon
37. Giants: OT Dalton Risner
38. Jaguars: OT Greg Little
39. Buccaneers: LB Mack Wilson
40. Bills: DE Zach Allen
41. Buccaneers: WR Parris Campbell (from Denver)
42. Eagles: RB Joshua Jacobs (from Bengals)
43. Lions: CB Byron Murphy
44. Packers: OT Kaleb McGary
45. Falcons: DT Jeffery Simmons
46. Jaguars: TE Irv Smith, Jr. (from Washington)
47. Panthers: DE Jachai Polite
48. Dolphins: RB Miles Sanders
49. Browns: DE Jaylon Ferguson
50. Vikings: CB Rock Ya-Sin
51. Titans: WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside
52. Steelers: CB Amani Oruwariye
53. Eagles: WR Deebo Samuel
54. Texans: DE Charles Omenihu
55. Texans: C/G Erik McCoy
56. Cardinals: TE Josh Oliver (from Pats)
57. Eagles: S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson
58. Cowboys: DE Oshane Ximines
59. Colts: DT Khalen Saunders
60. Chargers: LB Germaine Pratt
61. Chiefs: DE Joe Jackson
62. Saints: TE Jace Sternberger
63. Chiefs: LB Terrill Hanks
64. Patriots: WR Riley Ridley

Round Three

65. Cardinals: CB Trayvon Mullen
66. Steelers: S Deionte Thompson
67. 49ers: LB Blake Cashman
68. Jets: S Johnathan Abram
69. Jaguars: DE Christian Miller
70. Buccaneers: C Elgton Jenkins
71. Giants: Forfeited
72. Broncos: LB D’Andre Walker
73. Eagles: DT Renell Wren (from Bengals)
74. Seahawks: S Taylor Rapp (from Pats)
75. Bills: CB Jamel Dean
76. Packers: RB David Montgomery
77. Redskins: OT Tytus Howard
78. Panthers: WR Terry McLaurin
79. Dolphins: OT Yodny Cajuste
80. Falcons: RB Damien Harris
81. Browns: DE Chase Winovich
82. Vikings: LB Vosean Joseph
83. Titans: WR Emanuel Hall
84. Steelers: WR Miles Boykin
85. Seahawks: OG Michael Jordan
86. Ravens: RB Justice Hill
87. Texans: S Juan Thornhill
88. Bears: RB Trayveon Williams
89. Lions: RB Mike Weber
90. Colts: DE Justin Hollins
91. Cowboys: CB Justin Layne
92. Chargers: DE Austin Bryant
93. Chiefs: OL Michael Deiter
94. Jets: S Darnell Savage
95. Rams: CB Julian Love
96. Giants: DE LJ Collier
97. Redskins: CB Lonnie Johnson
98. Pats: DE Ben Banogu
99. Jaguars: CB Joejuan Williams
100. Rams: RB Devin Singletary
101. Panthers: WR Andy Isabella
102: Patriots: DT Gerald Willis
103: Ravens: DT Daylon Mack


T minus 12 days to the NFL draft

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:46 am by Administrator

as an Eagles fan and as a draftnik, i’m approaching this year’s NFL draft with two perspectives: what i think the Eagles will do, and what i think the Eagles should do. and all of this is framed by my belief that the Eagles should aim to win it all again in the 2019-2020 season, as they have the talent to do so.

it’s not hard to project that the Eagles will likely land at least a wild card berth in the playoffs, and i’d say that they have at least a 50% chance of unseating the Cowboys as the NFC East champs. it is unlikely though that they’ll take the division if they go 0-2 against the ‘Boys as they did last season. to put it frankly, the Cowboys were the significantly better team throughout 2018, and by this i mean that the Cowboys were better at every phase of the game. they ran a smoother offense; they were decisively better and more consistent on defense; and they were better coached. regarding the latter, the Eagles stalled on offense repeatedly and annoyingly, displaying none of the boldness that powered them to a super bowl the season before, and i have to pin that backslide on mike groh, carson wentz, and doug p and what they were able (or not able) to do without frank reich.

the difference between a super bowl run and an early exit from the playoffs in the upcoming season will not be the quality of the players we draft in two weeks. no, the difference will reside in if and how the coaching staff and carson wentz change their approach to play-calling and execution in 2019. this was a pass-heavy, slow-starting, and frequently ineffectual attack in 2018 that simply has to get sharper and better balanced. drafting a superstar running back is going to be less vital to that object than correcting the mindset on the sideline. that being said, as many significant performance issues as we displayed in 2018—extremely poor play in the secondary for much of the year, inconsistent speed and separation from our receivers, and a drop-off in pass protection from the o-line—the single biggest factor we need to address other than coaching is the run game. duce staley’s committee approach faltered for more than a few reasons including untimely injuries, but the fact is that we need better run-blocking from the o-line and an upgrade in talent in the back field.

this priority is further heightened when one considers that brandon brooks at right guard will miss time (potentially quite a bit of the season) and that the eagles really failed to land above-average talent at running back this off-season. the jordan howard trade was an excellent one for the Eagles; but getting value in a trade doesn’t mean that we solidly addressed our roster weakness. howard is a 50/50 proposition at best. he gets what’s blocked for him, he can catch if needed, and he is undoubtedly excellent in pass pro; but he’s not going to make something out of nothing, and he’s not going to single-handedly reverse our utterly awful yards per carry running attack. if the Eagles want to push for a championship run in 2019, they’ve got to beef up the o-line—and the interior o-line in particular—and upgrade in the running backs room.

does that mean that we simply go guns blazing in this draft and land a guard and a running back with two of our first 3 picks? if value aligned with these needs, then for sure this would be a legitimate plan. the “problem”, if you can call it that, is that this is a historic d-line class that is average or below-average for every other position except possibly tight end. the Eagles have a need for a rotational defensive tackle, but more importantly this could be an important opportunity for the Eagles to capitalize on the talent available and land a generational cornerstone at a spot that is possibly the second most important position on the team. trading up to land a guy like Christian Wilkins isn’t a win-now move, but it’s a strategic move like other first-round trade-ups we’ve previously made that laid the foundation for a super bowl winning roster.

so i’ve convinced myself that in the upcoming draft, the ideal scenario for Eagles management would be to come away with potential starters at running back and o-line while possibly landing a transcendent star on the interior d-line. is this even possible? it is possible—but it will be expensive. specifically, it will require two trade-ups: a trade-up in the 1st round that will cost us one of our 2nd rounders, and a trade-up into the 3rd round that will cost us both a late-rounder and a 2020 mid-round selection. the numbers do work for a trade-up with the Falcons (pick 14) for our picks 25 and 53, if atlanta were willing to do the deal. waiting on the Panthers (16) or Giants (17) are risky propositions for a talent like Wilkins. losing one of our two mid-2nd round picks to get a lynchpin at defensive tackle might not seem like a terrible opportunity cost—until you remember that addressing our critical weakness in the running game will require multiple players, and Wilkins won’t be one of them. assuming we use pick 57 on an o-lineman with inside position versatility (i.e. Erik McCoy as i projected in my last mock) or a safety (the Eagles have been looking hard at a few prospects), we’d be waiting til the end of the 4th round (127) for a difference-maker at running back, and that’s a very tall order. to get into the mid-late 3rd round where good running backs will be available, we’ll have to dip into our 2020 draft picks in order to make a deal. we’ll have compensatory picks in the 3rd and 4th next year to soften the blow; so this may be the right idea.

i’m predicting that Roseman will make both trade-ups and address d-line, safety, and running back in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd rounds, respectively, waiting til day 3 to land a guard like Dru Samia or Hjalte Froholdt. a draft haul of Christian Wilkins, Gardner-Johnson/Juan Thornhill/Darnell Savage, and Darrell Henderson or David Montgomery would be a good one, i’ll admit. but it’s not the way i’d go.

i share the opinion of some GMs that the NFL draft is about 2.5 to 3 rounds of value with an additional 4 rounds of crap-shoots. most cost-effectiveness analyses actually identify the early 2nd round as having maximal value to teams, given contract structures and salary cap rules. the Eagles have a golden opportunity this year to address four positional needs within the top 120 picks of the draft by trading down into the early 2nd, and i think it makes total sense to do so, given the fact that our primary draft needs for 2019 success (interior o-line and running back) can be addressed just as well in the mid-2nd as they might be at pick 25. in other words, the difference between taking chris lindstrom at 25 and taking either erik mccoy, michael jordan, or kaleb mcgary at 53 is certainly not worth losing a shot at someone like oshane ximines or chauncey gardner-johnson in the early 2nd after a trade-down.

in my mind, the clear “win” scenario for the Eagles is a trade-down from 25 into the early 2nd which gives us an opportunity to select an o-lineman, running back, d-lineman, and safety in the first three rounds of the draft. at all four of these positions, there’s a significant drop-off in talent/prospects after the end of the 3rd round, particularly at safety and running back. the run on running backs won’t start til the mid-2nd and should pick up steam through the 3rd; it’s worth saving the RB selection til the 3rd round, where guys like henderson, montgomery, and singletary will be available. that means that we can focus on o-line, d-line, and safety in the 2nd. our o-lineman should be a guy with athleticism and positional flexibility who could be a long-term fit at guard or center; i’ve previously mocked erik mccoy to the eagles at 53 and still feel good about that. with our first pick of the 2nd round (potentially from Denver, who might very well trade up to 25 to grab dalton risner), i like an edge player over an interior tackle like tillery or dre’mont jones, neither of whom projects to be better than a serviceable one-gap player. jachai polite, oshane ximines, or jaylon ferguson could be steals at pick 41. that leaves us with pick 57, where one of gardner-johnson, adderley, abrams, thornhill, or rapp should be available. none of them may be at the level to replace either jenkins or mcleod, but given our imminent need at safety, a gamble in the mid-2nd makes perfect sense.

in sum, my prediction is that roseman will:

1. trade up from 25 into the mid-1st round to get Christian Wilkins, at the cost of pick 53.
2. take a safety at pick 57.
3. trade multiple picks to get into the 3rd round, where he’ll draft a running back.

my preferred scenario:

1. trade down from 25 to the early 2nd (i.e. with Denver, pick 41) to pick up an early 3rd round pick.
2. select the best defensive end available (polite, ximines, or ferguson) with our early 2nd rounder.
3. get an offensive G/C at pick 53 who can man RG in brooks’s absence.
4. take best safety available at pick 57.
5. take a running back with 3rd down potential in the 3rd round.


an algorithm for the draft, GOT, and good books

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:23 pm by Administrator

here’s an algorithm for the eagles draft in two weeks. so simple a caveman could do it!

FIRST PICK (pick 25, a trade-up, or a trade-down):

1. IF Ed Oliver or Christian Wilkins are available at pick 14, THEN offer picks 25/53 to move up and take the player (Oliver over Wilkins).
REPEAT for picks 15 through 18 if unsuccessful in trading up and either Oliver or Wilkins remain available.

2. IF unsuccessful in trading up and Ed Oliver or Christian Wilkins remain available at pick 19, THEN offer a 2020 3rd round pick plus pick 25 to move up and take the player (Oliver over Wilkins).
REPEAT for picks 20 through 22 if unsuccessful in trading up and either Oliver or Wilkins remain available.

3. IF unsuccessful in trading up and Oliver or Wilkins remain available at 23, THEN shit in your pants as you wait out picks 23 and 24. take Oliver or Wilkins if one falls to 25; otherwise GO TO line 4.


4. If a team is willing to trade up to 25 for both a pick between 26 and 45 AND a 2019 3rd round pick, then trade down and select the best o-lineman available: Jonah Williams, Jawaan Taylor, Andre Dillard, Cody Ford, Garrett Bradbury, Chris Lindstrom, Dalton Risner, Kaleb McGary, and Erik McCoy should be considered, in that order.


5. If a pick at 25 is forced, then select the best o-lineman available (as per line 4).

SECOND PICK (pick 53 if unused, 57 otherwise):

6. IF Oliver or Wilkins were taken in the 1st round, THEN select the best o-lineman available if one of the ranked options above (per line 4) is available.
IF none of the ranked o-linemen is available, THEN select the best safety or wide receiver available: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Nasir Adderley, Marquise Brown, Parris Campbell, Hakeem Butler, Johnathan Abram, N’Keal Harry, and Riley Ridley should be considered, in that order.


7. Select the best d-lineman (interior or edge) available: Jerry Tillery, Dexter Lawrence, Jeffery Simmons, Jachai Polite, Oshane Ximines, Jaylon Ferguson, and Khalen Saunders should be considered, in that order.

THIRD PICK (57, if 53 was not traded away)

8. IF both a d-lineman and an o-lineman have already been drafted, then select the best defensive back (safety over cornerback) available: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Nasir Adderley, Johnathan Abram, Deionte Thompson, Taylor Rapp, Rock Ya-Sin, and Amani Oruwariye should be considered, in that order.


9. If a d-lineman has not yet been drafted, select the best d-lineman (inside or edge) available.


10. If an o-lineman has not yet been drafted, select the best o-lineman available (per line 4) and consider Elgton Jenkins, Tytus Howard, and Dru Samia if necessary.

with this approach, the Eagles will exit the first 2 rounds with (at minimum) a defensive lineman and an offensive lineman. in a realistically ideal scenario, we’ll actually trade down (my preference of all scenarios) into the early 2nd round to pick up a 3rd round pick, consequently netting Chris Lindstrom (early 2nd), Khalen Saunders (pick 53), Nasir Adderley (pick 57), and either Riley Ridley, Terry McLaurin, Emanuel Hall, or Miles Boykin in the early 3rd. Lindstrom would give us a short-term starter at RG and a longer-term option at either LG or C, addressing our team’s most immediate need; Saunders would rotate with Malik Jackson and Fletcher Cox on the interior d-line; and Nas Adderley would be our starting free safety in 2020 after McLeod’s probable departure, allowing us to play Avonte Maddox at the corner positions where we need his coverage skill.


now, onto Game of Thrones.

I’ve read some season 8 “spoilers”, none of which seem particularly credible, and none of which i’ll share here. to recap my thoughts about the series thus far, I thought that season 6 was amazing while season 7 was awful. just awful. but I’m not going to work myself into a fit again recounting how much I disliked the plot developments and the contrived love affair between jon snow and daenerys. I’m going to hope that season 8 actually ends the story in a satisfying fashion. there are a few things though that I’ll be looking for, in terms of particulars:

first, daenerys targaryen has to be killed off or disappeared. her character is simply too problematic, with the white privilege, white Westerosi burden, and all the rest of the awkwardly unethical aspects of her identity and position. she isn’t a heroine and doesn’t deserve a heroic end; she’s a poorly conceived character that needs to be ended.

second, jaime lannister has to have his redemption. he’s the strongest and best character at this point in the story, and if he doesn’t emerge as the central hero then I’m just not sure who else could take his place. even GOT needs a hero to emerge; the show won’t have a compelling finish otherwise.

and lastly, the starks and the lannisters have to have their moment. what is GOT after all without some justice for the two houses at the center of the whole feud? considering the likely possibilities (arya killing cersei, jaime and cersei killing each other, all the starks and lannisters dying, or tyrion and sansa reconciling and ruling together), i think I’d prefer a climactic scene in which the surviving starks and lannisters are all in the same room, settling things once and for all. i don’t have a dog in the fight so to speak, but i do think it’s a cop-out if cersei dies or if jon snow emerges a champion. it’s best if no one totally gets his or her way in the end.


lastly, i highly recommend paolo bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl and Jeff Vandermeer’s Borne. wildly good stuff


the giving tree

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:57 pm by Administrator

on the heels of what i contemplated in yesterday’s blog post, i wrote the following reflection, which i shared with our providers at our annual quality awards this morning. i borrowed the title from shel silverstein’s immeasurably sad poem.

The Giving Tree

Others spend their careers
completing projects, logging achievements,
building new skills, and moving on
to the next and more challenging thing.
Up and up and up they go.
They come and go, like birds in the air.

But not us. We are like the trees
that everything living revolves around.
We spend our careers getting deeper and deeper
into the lives of our patients. Our CVs don’t boast
all the things that our patients have achieved.
How could we recount these things?

No, our careers are the lives that we live with the ill
and the ways in which this work changes them
and us. We bear fruit—
in lives saved, in lives changed, in the demonstration
of compassion, in the beauty of service, sacrifice,
and the art of healing.

At first it is all about our patients,
and it is only about our patients. But eventually,
as we root ourselves and grow in our practices,
it is also very much about our peers,
the community of providers with whom we share
this work, this burden, this privilege.

It is about how we,
in the brief and wonderful lives
we have been given,
have this precious opportunity
to bear witness to what we are
when we are at our very best.

And so I salute you,
the providers of this company,
because you deserve to be seen
and understood and loved for the thing that you create
when you put down roots and lift up everything
and everyone around you.


one mistake, brancati, and remembering the O

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:02 pm by Administrator

an old friend from many years ago reached out to me to reconnect, and we talked by phone yesterday. he has undergone a revival of his evangelical Christian faith, and when he heard about the journey I have taken, he expressed grave concern. “what happens if you die and realize that this one small mistake of faith cost you an eternity in heaven?” he asked me. in the context of the path I’ve taken, this question struck me with force, hilarity, and perhaps some despair as well. the answer to his question took some time to form and carried with it little emotion, other than perhaps a tinge of sadness and resignation: if god’s judgment rests upon small mistakes or chance confessions, then what good is that judgment, and how good is the fate that is predicated upon it?

the other night i remembered my time on the O and some of the professors that influenced me profoundly during my early days of training. i ran across a youtube video memorializing fred brancati, whom i recalled to be a wonderful man and a great doctor. it was sad to remember his death, to hear him labor over the words that described his difficult battle with ALS. in his own words, fred described himself as “not religious” but as one who nevertheless believed in the spirit of a human being. he described the purpose of his life in terms that i once used to describe mine—to lessen human suffering. fred, like all who have joined our profession, witnessed so much human suffering, and he dedicated himself to science and to the community of physicians at johns hopkins because the work of mitigating that suffering was deeply personal.

if a man like fred brancati did not make it to heaven because he failed to offer the sinner’s prayer to a jealous god, then i don’t think i want to be in that heaven. it would be an honor even to share the fate of those who refused to believe that a good god could countenance the eternal punishment of human beings already mired in such considerable suffering.

i was reminded by brancati of my own time on the O, which was a personally difficult time for me. i have struggled through these years to understand why my preceptors and colleagues described those years as their best ones. how could they speak with so much affection about a grueling and self-emptying experience like one’s first year on the O? hearing brancati reflect on his life made me realize that what made these people thrive was the opportunity for them to shine. the adversity and challenge of serving others unto self-sacrifice was both the misery and the blessing of the O. it allowed them to be seen and appreciated for who they were at their best. going deep with their patients was difficult and sometimes even futile; but sharing that experience with an elite group of young doctors was nothing less than redeeming, in spite of it all.

all of this reminds me now of the power of community. we live and co-create with others because there is great awareness and pleasure in mutual understanding. and the reason i do not miss the O as others might is because i never experienced that while i was there. i was preoccupied with my pains; i suffered in my own world. i do regret that now. i was the cause of my own suffering. mindful of this, i commit myself to the moment before me, recognizing that i need not ever be the victim of my fate ever again