Three Eagles (Draft) Numbers That Matter

Here are three Eagles draft-related numbers that matter:

14 – The number of cornerbacks who are 5-10 or taller and ran under a 4.50 40 at the Combine.

Howie Roseman explained back in January that Chip Kelly has specific measurables for different positions on the roster. Given that this was before free agency and the draft, the Eagles’ GM didn’t want to specify exactly what those were, but by the end of next weekend, we should be able to offer up some logical guesses.

Even though the Eagles added Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher in free agency, they will almost certainly come out of this draft with a cornerback (or two). Williams is 6-1, and Fletcher is 6-0. Williams didn’t run at the Combine, and Fletcher clocked a 4.50.

Of course, their measurables are probably less important, since Williams and Fletcher have NFL tape off which to be evaluated.

But in this year’s class, even if you make the cut-off 6-0 (and under a 4.50), you’re still left with seven corners. In last year’s class, there were only two such players who fit both those requirements.

Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com wrote today that we could see a run on corners at the end of the first round. If the Eagles trade out of the No. 4 spot, they could take a chance on someone like Alabama’s Dee Milliner, Houston’s D.J. Hayden or Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes.

Others who could go in the first, or could fall to the Eagles in the second, include Mississippi State’s Darius Slay, Boise State’s Jamar Taylor and Washington’s Desmond Trufant. In the middle rounds, keep an eye on Georgia’s Sanders Commings.

Remember, this is not just about finding starters for 2013. This is about building for the future. While Williams can be penciled in at one spot, Fletcher has started just eight games the past two seasons. And the Eagles have no depth. Curtis Marsh has shown no evidence that he can be a starter, and Brandon Hughes is primarily a special-teams player.

It all depends on how picks come off the board, but I’d expect the Eagles to have a new starting-caliber corner by the end of the third round.

77 – The number of offensive plays West Virginia ran per game last season, with Geno Smith at quarterback. Kelly’s Oregon squad averaged 81 – not a stark difference.

For much of the offseason, the Eagles talked about how there would be many differences between what Kelly did at Oregon and what he did in the NFL. And that very well could end up being the case, but talking to players at last week’s mini-camp, there are a lot of similarities.

All aspects of the new program are fast – including the tempo on offense. Todd Herremans basically said the offense has no plans of huddling. LeSean McCoy called it a “track meet.” And Michael Vick said the team was practicing a lot of read-option already.

I still don’t think the Eagles are going to take Smith with the No. 4 pick, but my guess is they are intrigued with him because of a couple factors. One is the pace at which he ran his college offense. And the second is where he threw the ball.

Many have pointed out that Smith’s 71.2 completion percentage as a senior is inflated because of the system he played in. And that’s totally fair. Take a look at this graphic – 33.1 percent of Smith’s attempts were thrown behind the line of scrimmage, the highest number of the 43 quarterbacks listed.

But take a look at where Oregon’s Marcus Mariota is on the chart. He completed 68.5 percent of his passes, and 22.9 percent of those were behind the line of scrimmage. Only four quarterbacks (including Smith) had a higher percentage.

The point? Kelly is going to want his quarterback to be capable of making pre-snap reads and getting rid of the ball quickly. So while those throws inflated Smith’s completion percentage, they might have actually made him more appealing in Kelly’s eyes.

91.2 – The percentage of snaps Star Lotulelei played last year, according to Josh Norris of Rotoworld. That’s impressive for a 311-pounder.

Lotulelei’s versatility has to intrigue the Eagles. He can line up anywhere on the defensive line – nose tackle or defensive end in a 3-4, and inside in a 4-3. His sheer power is impressive.

But to me, it comes down to what the Eagles see as his potential as a pass-rusher. If they view him as a disruptive presence in the run game, I’m not sure that’s enough to warrant the No. 4 pick. If they envision him and Fletcher Cox lining up side-by-side on passing downs and giving opposing quarterbacks fits, it’s a different story.

Lotulelei flashed pass-rushing chops at times in the games I watched from last year, and overall he ended up with five sacks. But there’s still a projection involved with that aspect of his game.

There are a couple other issues too. Three teams have taken Lotulelei off their board because of his heart issue, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Roseman said last week that the Eagles had cleared him, but teams are never eager to offer up their detailed medical evaluations.

Lotulelei took a roundabout path to the NFL and will turn 24 in December. That’s certainly not old, but as a point of reference, Sharrif Floyd will only be 21 in May.

My guess is that the Eagles are more likely to end up with someone like Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher or Oregon outside linebacker Dion Jordan if they stay at No. 4. But if they trade down, Lotulelei has to be considered a possibility.

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  • Baloophi

    All of this is excellent, logic. Great post.

    • knighn

      Can’t believe they let you escape from the EMB.

  • Johnny_P

    This is great stuff, keep it coming. My personal Eagles Draft board is as follows: #1 Joeckel #2 Eric Fisher #3 Lane Johnson #4 Star #5 Jordan

    • 3 Finger Lenny

      I already plan on calling out of work friday & can’t wait to get really drunk watching the draft. Fav time of the yr.

      • theycallmerob

        well played, sir

  • Geagle

    I got :
    1)Joekel
    2)Fisher
    3)Floyd
    4)Lane
    5)Dion

  • Zachary Kahn

    1)Fisher
    2) Joeckel
    3) Jordan
    4) Johnson
    5) Star

  • Phils Goodman

    We’re doing this?

    1. Sharrif Floyd
    2. Lane Johnson
    3. Luke Joeckel
    4. Eric Fisher
    5. Barkevious Mingo

    • Tom W

      Not even close. That is obviously what you want, and not what the eagles will actually do.

      • Phils Goodman

        Thanks, officer.

        • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

          Your opinion differs from mine, you are clearly wrong and I am right.

      • Jason N.

        Lol what a hypocrite.

        • Tom W

          How am I a hypocrite? he has mingo in the eagles in the top 5 and doesnt even have Jordan??????? There is no way that is close to the eagles board. Like I said, maybe thats what he likes, but from everything we have learned over the last 4 months … including Mingo over Jordan and excluding Jordan altogether in eagles top 5 actual draft board seems absurd. So again I ask how am I a hypocrite??

          • Jason N.

            That’s not the reason I called you a hypocrite.

            But I’ll let you figure that out for yourself. It seem like everyone else already figured it out.

      • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

        The topic was “personal” Eagles draft board (see Johnny P’s post).

        Anyway, going by our boards, the Eagles would have taken Star Lotulelei or Sharrif Floyd, so great job by us. Lane Johnson was the #2 name on my board, but the way things shook out he would have moved up to #2 on yours as well.

        Mingo went 6 to Jordan’s 3, which is hardly a drastic difference. Fair to say that it comes down to a matter of preference, and I have stated a number of times that Mingo was mine.

  • Tom W

    Nice article … I expect corner as well but only if we get value (trufant or hayden in 2d) (slay in 3d). Most likely Commings or McGee in the 5th rd.

    Eagles’ draft board:

    1) Jordan
    2) Joeckel
    3) Fisher
    4) Star
    5) L. Johnson
    6) Floyd

    We take Jordan or if Jordan is gone we trade down if either the Dolphins, Chargers, Jets, Cards, Lions make us a good deal. If we don’t like the trade down, we take BAT (best available tackle). If we trade down, I think the pick is Star.

    • http://www.facebook.com/todd.orange.1 Todd Orange

      The plan sounds good to me. I’d love to see Jordan, option #2 is trade back if a trade knocks our socks off, otherwise the 3rd option is OT

    • theycallmerob

      I agree with your board, except…I have this nagging feeling Ansah is in there somewhere. Not gonna lie, he has grown on me tremendously as I watch film on him. And Tommy Lawlor had a good write up on him yesterday. Let me just say I wouldn’t be surprised to hear his name called.

      • cliff henny

        read that too, tommy has some great write-ups. chased down that game where he said ansah played 6/7 different positions, was ridiculous. looked like forest whitaker in ‘fast times at ridgemont high’. versatile and huge, 2 out of howie’s 3, if he day 1 starter? and, could drop back and squeeze 3rd with him, that’d be gravy

        • theycallmerob

          The thing is, he’ll be a day 1 starter, but not yet at a defined position. In essence, I see packages created specifically for him. Tommy laid out some good examples; imagine a 2-3-6 dime with Ansah and Cox charging the middle. or a 3-3-5. lord knows we have the LB/edge rusher numbers. Plus, he’d play awesome ST. May even beat out Curry, depending on how fast a learner he is. Ansah definitely needs coaching, but that won’t keep him off the field altogether.

          • cliff henny

            sure, like jordan. with all these sub packages and time on field those get, almost rather have guy that can dominate in those. guy that can only play in base 3-4, 4-3 sounds like kelly has no interest in. curry will see plenty of time, should be plenty of snaps for everyone. only 3 guys i cant get talked into in top 12, mingo, milliner and smith.

  • JofreyRice

    1) Vaccaro
    2) S. Richardson
    3) Star
    4) Mingo
    5) Sharrif

    • Richard Colton

      Bold. I wonder if there’s a way to manouever and package to get Vaccaro and Richardson?

      • JofreyRice

        Wow, that would be really cool. I think the only team in position to do that is Howie’s Jets.

        • theycallmerob

          they may yet fall in love with Ansah or Jordan enough to move for them. Wouldn’t put it past their braintrust.

  • Geagle

    Tell Greg Cossel, if he wants to read my notes, he should atleast credit me for it…Dion = Jason Taylor? really greg? just figuring that out?
    Millner shooting down draft boards? really? who would have ever thunk it? A cornerback with bad ball skills, bad tackling, who has a plate in his tibia, surgery on his labrum, hernia surgery and something else I cant think of, wont be a top 10 pick? Really? Gotta love them experts….3 days before the draft and they finally start getting a clue lol

    • GoBirds1

      Why is it that you are constantly telling the board how smart you are and comparing yourself with the draft and personnel experts? If so, why don’t you have a TV gig with the likes of ESPN, NFL Films or NFL Network, maybe you have a face for radio. You are a front running fraud that falls in love with the hot name of the week, perfect for the talking heads in the sports media. Finally, please explain your man-crush on Manti Teo and why you were pounding the table for the Birds to draft him with the 4th pick pre-bowl games?

      • Jason N.

        Even I thought Teo was amazing before the bowl games and combine.

        But I didn’t want the Eagles to draft him. Linebacker wasn’t a huge need. But that’s just me

      • theycallmerob

        forget those questions. the only one I’d like an answer to is how BGN kept him from their boards (from their write-up on McCoil the other day…I fell out of my chair laughing.

        “Then one of BGN’s all-time beloved posters, the dearly departed GGeagle/John G/other alias, made sure everyone knew McCoil was one of his favorite prospects in the entire draft. So here’s to you, GGeagle/John G/other alias, wherever you are (he’s migrated and has effectively taken over the “Eagles 24/7″ site’s comments section). “

  • eagleking21

    i really want eagles to draft star so i hope he drafts him and in the 2nd round i want eagles to draft ej manuel

  • HawkDat

    Jo is the pick.. Jordan or Johnson…If neither then we will trade out…

  • barry_nic

    Looks like it could be Johnson, We are converting to a 3/4, and Nose Tackle is something we need depth at. I still think we should keep Milliner in our sights, he’s better than he’s getting credit for.

    • barry_nic

      Sorry I forgot to type “but” We are converting to a 3/4.

  • Jason N.

    This is my mock draft. Can you guys take a look at it and tell me what you think.

    Comments and constructive criticism are appreciated.

    1st round: Eric Fisher (OT)
    2nd round: Sylvester Williams or John Hankins (DT/NT)
    3rd round: D.J Swearinger (S)
    4th round: Chase Thomas (OLB)
    5th round: Jordan Poyer (CB) or Leon McFadden (CB) or Williams Gholston (DT)
    6th round: N/A
    7th round: Earl Warford (OG)
    7th round: Marcus Davis (WR)
    7th round: Michael Williams (TE)
    7th round: Dustin Hopkins (K)

    • theycallmerob

      Not bad. Actually going to go look at some of the 7th rounders you named. For comparison/contrast:

      1. D. Jordan
      2. D. Trufant, CB or Slay CB (depending on availability)
      3. B. Jones, C/OG
      4. J. Bostic, ILB (had Chase Thomas as my backup, if Jordan’s gone in rd. 1. In which case, I hope for a tradedown/Star)
      5. J. Kruger, DE or D. Taylor, DE (availability)
      7. R.R. Armstrong, S
      B. Wing, P
      T.J. Barnes, DT
      M. Mauti, OLB

      • Jason N.

        I like yours too. But of course I prefer my mock draft.
        Idk if we need to draft a punter more than a kicker. We did sign that one guy recently.

        But I guess that late in the draft I wouldn’t mind if we did get the bet punter in the draft.

        I guess I did my mock draft in the order of what I think the Eagles most important needs are to least important needs.

        OT, DE/NT, S, CB, OLB, ILB, WR, OG, TE, K.

        • Jason N.

          I prefer Thomas to Bostic because I think OLB is a bigger need than ILB.

          Just because I’m comfortable with Kendrick and Demeco Ryan as our ILB. But we have Connor Barwin and Trent Cole as our OLB. I’m okay with Barwin but I’m a bit concern with Cole considering his age and he never play in that position before.

          So I think Chase Thomas could be our alternative in case Trent Cole doesn’t look good as an OLB.

          We can draft an ILB in the 7th.

          I like Kevin Reddick a lot in the 7th.

          • theycallmerob

            Graham is being groomed for OLB as well.

          • cliff henny

            tommy article today, sounds like curry getting a look out there too. not sure how you can ask a guy to bounce back and forth from 5-tech to pred.

        • theycallmerob

          Haha, I hear you. To be honest, that’s Mock 1A. My 1B version involves a trade-down (if the OT’s or “target” is gone); say we get a 2nd and a future 2nd. They could take (1) Star, your 2nd biggest need. (2) Long, your first biggest need. Then, an extra 2nd to address all that secondary depth. Or one of the many great (IMO) WR’s who are sure to drop, or TE’s. Just sayin’

          • Jason N.

            Yeah WR and TE aren’t a big need so we can find them in the 7th.

            But honestly if we don’t get Fisher or Hankins in the 2nd. Instead got Lotulelei or Kyle Long.

            I wouldn’t be that upset cause that would be my 2nd alternative.

            Heck I rather take that ten drafting Geno Smith in the 1st or EJ Manuel in the 2nd. Or worst yet. Trading our 2nd back up into the end of the 1st to pick up Manuel. I would be so mad if that happen.

            Anything but a QB this year.

          • theycallmerob

            Ah, that’s where we differ….BPA, not need, is my focus. And, in my opinion of course, this draft is incredibly strong up the middle rounds in WR, TE, and secondary. Great value. And I’d argue we could definitely use an upgrade at both positions, but that’s for a separate time.
            But, I do agree 100% regarding the QB’s. No need to reach for a player at a weak position in a “meat and potatoes” draft. We have enough on the roster, one will play and do just dandy. Maybe good or great…but this year, I’ll settle.

          • Jason N.

            Well apparently when Reid was drafting he drafted purely on BPA and it backed fire pretty bad like in 2010 and 2011.

            So I think the Eagles should draft according to both needs and BPA combine.

            I guess you can argue but Joeckel and Fisher and Lotulelei are the best 3 prospect in this draft. In that order in my opinion.

            It get a hit harder to follow that way of drafting in later rounds.

            But for example if Cyprien is still there at #35 overall along with John Hankins. I’ll definitely take Cyprien over Hankins because Cyprien is a better prospect than Hankins. Plus he also fill a big need.

            A bad example would be, if Brad Wing is the best kicker prospect to come out of the NFL draft.

            Most expect projected him to be a late 1st round pick and he drop to us.

            Let just pretend that Brad Wing can kick a 90 yards field goal and will alway score in any environment, snow or rain.

            But are we going to draft Brad Wing over Hankins?

            Probably because he is the BPA at 35th overall. But we need a DT more than a K.

            We probably will trade down for a team that want to draft Brad Wing or just draft Hankins at 35th.

            Cause Kicker isn’t that big of need unlike Safety and DT.

            I hope I explained if clearly enough. This was a lot harder to explain.

            My point is that I think the Eagles should really balance the two. Between BPA and needs.

            Not just draft base on one or the other alone.

          • theycallmerob

            Wow. I just don’t know what to say to that.

          • Jason N.

            I’m sorry..? Do you disagree or agree with me?

            Btw love your Jason Kelce pic

  • LouA

    the Eagles are going on where with MV…why they paid him 3 more years is beyond all understandings…The guy is worthless piece of xxxx.