Eagles Draft: Sorting Through The Intel

Much has been written about the Eagles and their plans for the draft, which all of a sudden is right on our doorstep. We have heard hundreds of opinions. But at the end of the day, it is the opinions of the key decision-makers inside the NovaCare walls that matter.

Howie Roseman, Chip Kelly and Jeffrey Lurie are in no hurry to divulge their plans, of course. It does them no good. Misdirection gets them farther than truth-telling this time of year. But if we sift through what has been said over the weeks leading up to the draft, maybe we can see the overall picture a little more clearly.

Let’s look at a few key quotes from the powers-that-be and try to find a kernel or two:

Howie Roseman on the strength of the draft: 

“You talk about the offensive line, obviously. There are some really talented offensive linemen in this draft, defensive linemen. This is a really meat and potatoes draft, certainly early in the first couple of rounds with lineman, which is exciting. It may not be the flashiest thing, but it’s exciting. It’s hard to find big guys who can move, play with power, and there are a lot of guys in this draft.”

Quick thought: “Big guys who can move” early in this draft include Eric Fisher, Lane Johnson, Sharrif Floyd, Sheldon Richardson and Star Lotulelei. I don’t believe Roseman is trying to throw us off the scent here. The early portion of this draft is largely about the big men, most agree. It also needs to be noted that he thinks there are quality linemen throughout the draft as well.

Chip Kelly on the 2013 class:

“I think the draft has depth.  I don’t think ‑‑ there is not an Andrew Luck or RG3 or someone that you say that guy’s going to be a ten‑year all pro, one of the best.  I had the opportunity fortunately or unfortunately to coach against Andrew Luck in our league.  So he was as close as there was to a can’t miss guy.  I don’t see that type of guy in this draft at any position, to be honest with you.”

Quick thought: What pops into my mind is: If there is no “cant miss” quarterback in the head coach’s opinion, how could you possibly gamble on one with the fourth pick? You can’t.

Jeffrey Lurie, on the decision to attend Geno Smith’s private workout [the first such trip since he looked at Donovan McNabb back in 1999]:

“It’s a common thing when it’s an important decision. We haven’t had a high draft pick for 14 years, and I think it’s true with anybody that we’re going to look at that you want to have all the information you can. It’s a very important decision for us if we stay at No. 4 there.”

Quick thought: The visit tells me that they were entertaining the idea of drafting Smith. I don’t think ultimately they will. But if you were sold on the quarterbacks on your roster, would you be exploring the possibility to the degree they have? Likely not.

Interesting to me that Lurie threw in “if we stay at No. 4 there.” Maybe it’s nothing. Maybe it’s a tiny peek behind the curtain.

Howie Roseman on defensive players in the draft:

“The safeties in the draft is an encouraging group. You compare it to the last couple of years, and there might be more guys who go in the first three or four rounds this year than have gone in the last couple of years combined. So to find those guys that we’ve talked about in these settings, about how hard it is to find safeties, so obviously that’s an encouraging sign as we go through this draft process. The corners as well. It may not be a group where you see 4 or 5 drafted in the first round, but there will be a run on corners at some point in this draft. It’s a talented group. The same thing at the LB spot. Pass rushers are going to go quick like they always do. There may not be much of a run in the second or third round as you’d normally see with pass rushers. But I think there are high quality ones at the top and they’ll go quick.”

Quick thought: Some good information in here that perhaps gives us a better understanding of the Eagles’ board. One message is: if you want a pass rusher, you better get one early. Keep in mind that the Eagles intend to stay disciplined and will not reach for a certain position just because of scarcity. But maybe it’s a tie-breaker if two players with similar grades are sitting there at 4. The obvious name is Dion Jordan. If he is not the pick, then it’s possible the Eagles go into the 2013 campaign with largely the same pass-rushing group that is already in place.

Roseman seems to like the safety and cornerback class. Assuming everything falls right, I would expect the Eagles to target the secondary a healthy amount.

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