Wake-Up Call: Why the Eagles Passed On Byrd

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills

Jeffrey Lurie made it clear that if Chip Kelly wanted him to write a large check to land Jairus Byrd, he would have obliged.

The head coach, though, said his sights were set elsewhere.




"We looked at everybody," said Kelly. "We did an extensive study, our coaches and personnel department on everybody that's available. We all felt when it came down to it that Malcolm [Jenkins] was the best fit for what we do defensively and we were excited to get him. He was the number one guy that we went after and we got the number one guy we wanted."

That's a head-scratcher, at least on the surface. Byrd is largely considered the better football player. He's been the superior playmaker [Jenkins has six interceptions in five NFL seasons; Byrd has 22 over that same time]. So what went into their thinking?

The money factor can't be ignored. Byrd's deal has $26.3 million in guaranteed cash. Jenkins' has $8.5 million. But it wasn't money alone that influenced the decision.

"If you're going to pay a guy that sort of money, what is he going to do in your scheme?" said Howie Roseman. "And then how do you project them going forward, because you can't pay a player in free agency for what they've done, you have to pay them for what they're going to do. And then how are you going to use them? And are you going to change what you do for this particular player, and does that make sense?"

The argument can certainly be made that Byrd's skill set can benefit just about any defensive scheme, and that if you need to make tweaks to accommodate such a player, you do it. But the Eagles seemed to have some questions about it.

Roseman also brought up measurables when talking in broader terms about free agents.

"Do they fit? Do they have the characteristics we're looking for to build our team?" said Roseman. "In general, if you go out and sign a big money free agent and when you look at your draft board those are the guys maybe from a size, speed, length perspective at any position that you're trying to stay away from. So now you're kind of devoting all these resources when you're trying to build your team a different way."

This quote stood out to me. Byrd (5-10, 203) ran a 40-time of 4.68 coming out. It's safe to say that the Eagles, when establishing guidelines for draft prospects at the safety position, are looking for players that are more fleet-of-foot. Jenkins (6-0, 204) was clocked at 4.53.

Part of it was money. Part of it was questions about scheme fit. Part of it could be that he wasn't a measurables match.

And part of it was a genuine fondness for what Jenkins brings to the table.

"I think his ability to be a free safety and a strong safety. His ability to cover. His football IQ," said Kelly. "Those are all factors that kind of led him to be our number one guy that we were going after."

We'll find out soon enough if the Eagles were sound in judgment.

WHAT YOU MISSED

The Eagles and Mark Sanchez agree to terms.

Sheil with some takeaways from Orlando.

Kelly was on hand to check out Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans at their Pro Day.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

In his draft diary for the Oregonian, Ducks defensive lineman Taylor Hart reveals that he's coming to Philly for a visit.

 "[I]n April teams can fly you out for a visit and see you. So, I'll be flying out to Philadelphia here on April 2. They're the only one so far that has contacted me.

"It was obviously cool to see (Philadelphia coaches Chip Kelly and Jerry Azzinaro) again at the combine, it had been a while but it will be nice to go out and see them again. It's nice to always know the head coach and the defensive line coach pretty well, so I don't know if it makes it easier but it's nice to see them again. It's meeting a lot of other coaches, too, so it's just nice to have them be the first one.

Doug Farrar of SI.com gives the Eagles an 'A' for their work in free agency.

The Eagles scored big, and they started by re-signing their own key players in left tackle Jason Peters, center Jason Kelce, and receivers Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper. The ongoing soap opera with receiver DeSean Jackson hasn’t come to a head yet, so we’ll leave this grade where it is for now. Getting cornerback Nolan Carroll from Miami was a big deal, because Philly’s secondary was a flat-out mess last season. The Eagles also overhauled their safety rotation with Malcolm Jenkins, and getting Darren Sproles in a trade with the Saints should add some interesting firepower to Chip Kelly’s offense.

COMING UP

Eagles players react to the DeSean Jackson trade talk.

 

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • cliff henny

    Am I having deja vu? wasn’t topic/article written about a week ago? one thing to rehash, re-rehash x’s 100 Jax, least he’s on the team.

    • GEAGLE

      I had to refresh my browser because I also thought this was last weeks article..

      • cliff henny

        you see Seth Joyner tweeted me yesterday? sucked I was about 100% opposite his position. anyone else probably would have argued little harder.
        ,
        what site do you use to watch college players, draftbreakdown or something like that? Paul Richardson has me intrigued

        • GEAGLE

          Yeah I saw…told you Twitter can be valuable, I was against it too for a long time..

          You can just get everything you need from YouTube.
          look at the player you want to know abouts schedule, then pick the games where he was matched up against high quality NFL prospects…for example, if you want to watch Brandin Cooks, you go and watch Oregon St vs. Oregon so you can see him matched up against a quality man cover NFL prospect like OLOMU…
          ..
          You don’t want the highlights..you want to YouTube the game tape focused on that prospects..Like for Cooks..you would YouTube Brandin Cooks vs. Oregon, and you should be able to find game cut ups where they only show all his snaps, and they usually have the player highlighted at the beginning of each play so it’s easy to know where to look…

          And if I can’t find the film I want, I just use Utorrent and Piratebay to download any game in it’s entirety that I want..as long as your computer has decent spyware, Downloading Torrents is awesome

          • GEAGLE

            But this time of year, you should be able to find the game cut ups on YouTube for the majority of the well known draft prospect..

          • cliff henny

            thnx.

          • GEAGLE

            I need to watch Paul as well in the near future, so let me know if you are having trouble finding what you need and I’ll hunt it down and tweet you the links…but you shouldn’t have much problem finding game tapes featuring him.
            ..
            If we are going to lose Desean, we should probably be familiar with the prospects that can bring some of what Desean did for us..and Riddick raves about his deep ball route tree, comparing him to Desean so he is probably someone we should familiarize ourselves with…Tough to pay attention to him during the season, when the thought of losing Desean would have been crazy talk

          • cliff henny

            cant do hrs of tape like I picture you doing. he’s definitely a guy that’s most comfortable out wide using speed to stretch D. QB stinks, guess that’s to be expected at Colorado. not going to wow anyone with RAC thru traffc, but give him a seam, the man isn’t getting caught. see why he’s in that 10-12 range, end of 3rd. 1st impression, doubt he’s an eagle, he’s not working middle of field, strong with ball, RAC, not with Landry or Huff sitting there.

    • Philly0312

      I refreshed my browser thinking I was seeing last weeks article. Glad it wasn’t just me.

    • G_WallyHunter

      This is more focussed on Byrd and jenkins, see what u mean though seemed like last week’s lol

  • borntosuffer

    I hope Taylor has a “nice” visit.

  • IrishEagle25

    Completly unrealistic trade back with Houston for a second round pick aside, got this draft on first-pick.com, think id be pretty happy with it.

    Round 2 pick 4(OAK): Odell Beckham Wr LSU (A-)
    Round 2 pick 22: Timmy Jernigan DT Florida State (A)
    Round 3 pick 1(HOU): Chris Borland ILB Wisconsin (A-)
    Round 3 pick 3(OAK): Bashaud Breeland CB Clemson (A-)
    Round 3 pick 22: Anthony Johnson DT LSU (B)
    Round 4 pick 1(HOU): Marcus Smith DE Louiville (A-)
    Round 4 pick 22: Adrian Hubbard OLB Alabama (B+)
    Round 5 pick 1(HOU): Charles Sims RB West Virginia (A)
    Round 5 pick 22: Nat Berhe SS San Diego State (A-)
    Round 6 pick 1(HOU): Brandon Coleman WR Rutgers (A-)
    Round 22 pick 4: Avery Williamson ILB Kentucky (B+)

    Took Beckham thinking Djax was gone but would love him either way, explosive, great hands catcher even over the shoulder, good on kickoffs with sproles handling punts. Some guys fell to the pick like Jernigan and Smith, and as for Sims, He was just the highest rated player on the board.

    • Richard Colton

      I don’t know that it’s a lock that ODB lasts to #22, seeing a lot of mock love to him at #18 to the Jets. 2nd round is nonsensical. 90% that he’s the third WR off the board now.

      • IrishEagle25

        I was surprised he fell here but the jets took cooks at 18 im pretty sure in this one. Weird things can happen but all in all i agree he doesnt make it past around late teens early twenties

        • Richard Colton

          true. you play that game enough times you’ll get Kalil Mack at #22. It will make you feel dirty but you’ll take him anyway.

          • LookinAtMyGucci

            Like an 18yr old?

          • Richard Colton

            you been talking to Sanchez?

          • LookinAtMyGucci

            Haha, nah, in my annual trip to the mall the weekend before Xmas, I found myself feeling incredibly dirty when shopping for the gf. Kors, for instance, was employing all high school girls, and there were more employees than customers. I was sober and did not feel comfortable in the situation lol

      • oreofestar

        I think he could last Benjamin is being mocked at 15 a lot so who knows but if ODB gets picked that just pushes someone else down

        • Richard Colton

          Kelvin? Wow. I haven’t seen that. I’d be willing to bet he goes mid 2nd round.

          • GEAGLE

            Yeah that be my guess…around #25 would be the highest I expect…but #40-#50 seems more realistic to me…don’t get why anyone would take him as the 15th pick

      • anon

        Jets are taking a defensive player at #18, for the same reason we’re taking an offensive player at #22.

    • GEAGLE

      Doubt we could get any of those players where you got them…

      • IrishEagle25

        Oh i know, and the trade backs i would doubt as well. would have liked to get an OL or 2 in there they just didnt fall right for where i was picking

        • GEAGLE

          Love Boreland, but I doubt we will like him for our scheme..

          • IrishEagle25

            I havnt watched him much but Mayock raves about him and i would generally trust his opinion.

          • GEAGLE

            I would trust Mayock also! but just because he generally likes a player it doesn’t mean that player is the right fit for every scheme. Boreland is physical, intense and Ferocious, love his game…but He is short, so I doubt we would want to pair him with Kendricks who also lacks height…I also think Meco has ATleast two more years on our team, so the LB we add, will most likely be very strong in coverage, so we can have a coverage alternative for Meco in certain subpackages. If a kid is strong in coverage,like a KVN, Telvin smith, Christian Kirksey, he will have a role on this team in subpackages, and then eventually take over for Meco full time down the road…

            But hey. If I’m wrong and our coaches covet Boreland I would be pretty damn Hype..dude is a warrior

          • IrishEagle25

            Yeah i get you on the coverage/ sub package point. Has Kendricks a better chance of being out there this year with barwin leaving meco on the line do you think? I know he lacks height but has the speed to shaddow TE/RB and we used him to spy pryor against OAK last year so the coaches must have confidence in that speed since pryor was only a week of his 93 yard TD run

  • oreofestar

    OK so it isn’t just me this is bascially last week’s article

    • RIP illa

      Blame it on the intern.

      • LookinAtMyGucci

        Or the rain. Maybe the stars, that shine at nighttime?

        • RIP illa

          Nope, the intern!!! Lol, blame it on the rain. Haven’t heard or thought I that in years.

          • Uncle Wonder

            No way…blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol

          • LookinAtMyGucci

            Neither have I. And I wish I didn’t.

  • GEAGLE

    Started to download all of this past years saints game…with all the negative eagles news floating around! figured I’d do something productive like watch all of Jenkins snaps (I watched 4 games back when I was trying to figure our which safety we would sign)..but now that we also have Sproles, it makes sense to go back and watch all the saints games and try and see how much Sproles has left in the tank..

    I wanted Jarius for over two years but when I went back and watched what we do and what we ask of our safeties, it was pretty clear that we don’t need an expensive centerfielder…that’s just not how we use our safeties..both Jenkins and Ward were better fits for what we do….then when Jenkins talked about how agressive we were going after him the moment we were allowed to reach out to free agents! it became pretty clear that in the eyes of our coaches Jenkins wasn’t a consolation prize, he was exactly who we wanted, not someone we settled on because of a lower price tag..This kid is going to improve our secondary for sure.. The only negative for me, is we should have added him and Ward and just be done with safety problems! but I think it’s pretty clear that we have high expectations for Wolff…Wolff/Jenkins pairing can be a quality interchangeable safety tandem if Wolff take a big step forward in year two…both plays don’t mind getting physical and sticking their nose in the box, but both can be above average in man coverage at the safety position..we get nice athleticism out of the two…and adding Jenkins, and we really have some nice size and length in our secondary with Cary, Malcolm, and Brad

    Curious if people finally realize that we actually like our CBs, and they aren’t just stop gaps? Cary will redo his deal after this season

    people are silly if they still question Billy Davis, who I know isn’t a head coach. But I doubt there were many better coaching jobs then what Billy did last year.. I think it’s very exciting to get the safety our coaches really wanted…and it’s really understated how bad we need a QB of our secondary..just thinking of Nate! Coleman, and Chung making the checks is a scary thought…we now have two really smart, hard working QBs of our defense with Meco taking care of the front 7 and Malcolm making the proper calls in the secondary..

    People bashed the Barwin signing! then they went on to eat crow. By the end of this season it will be apparent that Jenkins was a quality addition for us..

    • Dan

      Just pay for NFL rewind to save the headache if you don’t mind throwing out a few bucks

    • Token

      Thanks for the input Mr Spadaro.

      • Neanderthal

        Geagle = Baseball George of football

    • LookinAtMyGucci

      Most players don’t mind sticking their nose in some box. Oh, wait, different box. I’m with you now.

  • DoctorRick

    What do we do about Henery?

    • JosephR2225

      Ever see the end of Old Yeller?

  • Jim Blizzard

    While I am sure there were some scheme and measurables issues I think it is clear the problem is next years salary cap. We are already over committed for next year with lots of players to sign. Having another 10m dollar salary on the books was just going to compound the problem.

    • GEAGLE

      So why didn’t we keep Desean for this year and get rid of him after the season?

      • Jim Blizzard

        Was Desean traded?

    • anon

      Isn’t someone getting paid to manage that cap? Why give deals that you can’t actually live with.

      Makes me wonder if this team is going to look drastically different in 2015 – the real rebuild.

      • LookinAtMyGucci

        We will see a good bit of roster churn and/or restructuring going on next year.

  • Token

    This article could have been way shorter. Just say, They were scared to death.

    • LookinAtMyGucci

      Come on, Token, this defense doesn’t need any All-Pros that can do virtually everything a S needs to at a high level, most importantly, be a ball-hawking centerfielder.

      • Token

        O no way. Im mean hell, they held a bunch of teams to under 24 points without their best players! Sky is the limit for this bunch!

        • LookinAtMyGucci

          I don’t discount that as much as you do. But I get your point.

        • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

          By the looks of it, 21 is their goal. Chip probably figures if he can’t score more than 3 TDs in 4qtrs, they won’t win. Odds are they get at least an average of 11 wins a season on offense, from scheme and talent alone, for maybe 3 or 4 years.

          I understand this working in year 2. The draft will tell us more about the defense. I fully expect them now to go defense heavy; part of the Chip quotes coming out about Djax this week involved the ability to plug-n-play, so to speak, guys into his scheme. So he can grab his WR 3,4,5 types all day in later rounds.
          I sure hope they blow the high picks on athletic specimens at D. Hitting on 1 or 2 playmakers in front 7 instantly makes this a top 10 defense in a year, if they go that route. That may be Chip’s recipe for that side of the ball.
          If they go offense early and often, it will be the nail in the coffin. Chip will be looking to win a shootout all the time.

          • Token

            All I want is a 10-15 D. But this group has a way to go to get there. Nothing thats been done so far improves the D. Id be surprised if its a D heavy draft. Just doesnt seem like thats how they will operate. Draft is for offense. Batting average FA are for defense. Just trying to fill out a D with mid or lower teir FAs.

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            they were top 20 by the end of last year. They got better at CB and S.
            you underestimate the fact that they learned an entirely new technique and scheme on the fly. You fail to incorporate the aspect of good coaching in your point. That many young kids with starts under their belt?
            At end of year (including disastrous 1st qtr stats), they were 22nd in Yds/play, 26th in 3rd down conv. %, 15th in rush defense ypg, 10th in rush defense ypa, 5th in TO, 2nd in toxic differential, and 3rd in Yds/play differentail (off:def)

            and that is if nothing changes, including gains from current players and drafted players.

  • guest

    to those complaining about this article being a repeat…come on. they’re TOTALLY different..

    3/25/14 – “Eagles Wake-Up Call: Why Roseman Passed on Byrd” by Sheil Kapadia
    3/28/14 – “Wake-Up Call: Why the Eagles Passed on Byrd” by Tim MacManus

    See? They’re COMPLETELY different.

    I believe this makes Sheil Freddie Mercury and Tim Vanilla Ice.

  • JettMartinez

    Hopefully Jenkins will be this year’s Conner Barwin. Most didn’t know him or were down on the signing initially, but he was a fan favorite by year’s end.

  • southy

    Old news or not, this is just a confirmation of something we discussed before, i.e. there is a fundamental difference of opinion between some of the posters on here and Billy/Chip in terms of D. One poster specifically comes to mind, who wanted us to build the second coming of the Seahawks.

    They want to run a 2 gap 3-4. They want safeties who are interchangeable – either one can come down into the box or play center field or man-up on the TE on a given play. It all points to being able to confuse the offense, even if it means the guys on the field aren’t premiere guys at doing one thing. Sounds like the hallmark of a bend-don’t-break, turnover/big play D.

    Byrd is a center-field, ball skills guy. He didn’t fit the scheme, and he was going to cost a lot of money. Criticize the scheme if you want, but don’t be surprised that our FO is going along with the plan.

  • Eagledelphia

    Desean has been released

  • hillbillybirdsfan

    I think they were more worried about the agony of da’ feet.