Personnel Men Weigh In On Eagles Draft

NCAA Football: Louisville at South Florida
A pair of NFL talent evaluators weighed in on the Eagles draft selections recently, and I thought their takes were worth passing along.

Paul Domowitch spoke with an NFC personnel man who offered his thoughts on the Eagles’ draft. He didn’t sound totally enamored with the Marcus Smith pick.

“I watched him and couldn’t fall in love with him, especially not in the first round. He’s out of the Trent Cole, Jason Babin mold, which isn’t a bad thing. But he’s a wide rusher. You don’t want him lining up over the tackle and have to have him hold the point [of attack]. You don’t want him doing that.

“The best way to use him is to keep him on the move. Put him over a tight end or move him in a gap. Move him upfield. That’s his game. His game is movement. It’s not power. The Eagles obviously see him as a better fit for their scheme than we did for ours. We just couldn’t figure out a position for him.”

He liked the Jordan Matthews selection, and is very high on Oregon receiver Josh Huff.

“They took him exactly where we had him – in the third round. The kid has outstanding hands. Not good, not excellent. Outstanding. He’s a quick-twitch receiver. He explodes off the line of scrimmage. He’s versatile. He can play inside or outside. You can line him up in the backfield. Oregon did that a lot with him and got him matched up on linebackers. That was, like, forget it.

“You can motion him and throw it to him in the flat. He shows great ability to adjust to off-target throws. He has good body control. He’s effective on bubble screens. He’s a difficult guy to cover because of his suddenness. He’s elusive in space. Has good balance. He can elude tacklers and run by defenders. He can play in the slot or on the outside.”

The entire article is worth a read.

Phil Savage, meanwhile, joined the “Journey to the Draft” podcast on PhiladelphiaEagles.com and brought some good insight. The former Eagles player personnel executive is now the executive director of the Senior Bowl and got up close and personal with a number of the draft picks, including Smith.

“Back in the fall when we were vetting Marcus Smith for the Senior Bowl game, a number of scouts told me they felt like he had a chance to be a first-rounder…and that’s exactly the way it played out,” he said. “I think he’s an ideal fit for Chip Kelly. He’s smart, he’s got excellent intangibles. He’s versatile. He can play on his feet, he can put his hand in the ground and rush off the edge.

“He was just OK [at the Senior Bowl] but I think that was really his first exposure to playing as a 3-4 outside ‘backer. He improved tremendously at the combine and at the individual pro days obviously to the point where the Eagles felt good enough about him to take him at 26. I think he’ll definitely be a good player for Philly. I think he’s a solid choice, one of those under-the-radar first-rounders that may not have gotten much attention nationally but he’ll be a solid player in Philly.”

Savage offered some good color on Matthews. Howie Roseman, when speaking about Matthews’ work ethic over the weekend, mentioned that the Vanderbilt wideout requested tape on the defensive backs that he would be going against at the Senior Bowl. Savage was one who received, and granted, that request.

“That just showed the kind of preparation and the interest that he had in terms of really putting his best foot forward. During the week on Tuesday or Wednesday morning  I get a call from him at 5:55 a.m. and I look over and see my phone, obviously I’m not awake yet, and said, ‘Oh no, My A-plus student is getting ready to bail out on the game.’ That’s what crosses my mind. And he says, ‘Mr. Savage, a group of us are down here trying to watch extra tape, can you get someone down here to let us in? The doors are locked.’ For him to take the initiative to get an extra two hours worth of film in from 6 to 8 really shows what kind of approach he is going to bring to the table.

“I think when the offensive coaches say that we want you to run this route at eleven and three-quarters yards — not that that’s a realistic request — he’s going to be at eleven and three-quarters yards. He’s going to do exactly what he’s told to do.”