Wake-Up Call: Philly Wants In On Draft

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The NFL is flirting with the idea of having other cities besides New York  host the draft, and Philadelphia wants in.

“We have let them know of our interest, which is a continued interest,” said Larry Needle, executive director of the Philadelphia Sports Congress. “I think we would certainly be remiss if we weren’t at least taking  a close look at it. It’s obviously a huge event with phenomenal media coverage and I’d expect would bring a good number of people into the city.”


Just how big is it getting? According to the league offices, the draft drew a record 45.7 million television viewers this year. First-round coverage on ESPN and NFL Network drew a combined total viewership of 32 million -- up 28 percent from the year prior. The average viewership in Round 1 was higher than the most recent MLB and NBA All-Star Games. 

The draft has been held in New York since 1965 but commissioner Roger Goodell recently suggested that they could be taking the show on the road. New Orleans, Boston,  Orlando, Los Angeles, Chicago, Canton and Green Bay are said to be among the 12 or so interested cities along with Philly.

Back in 2005, the league was talking with reps from Philadelphia-area venues as it transitioned the draft out of the Theater at Madison Square Garden. The Convention Center, Kimmel Center and Susquehanna Bank Center (then known as the Tweeter Center) were all discussed. Those would all be potential options again this time around assuming the NFL's needs for the event are somewhat similar, Needle says. The Wells Fargo Center is also a possibility, though there could be some logistical issues because of the Sixers and Flyers. The city would work with the NFL to identify the best fit.

"Certainly we would be very interested in learning more about it," said Needle. "If there is an RFP -- a Request for Proposal -- and a formal process, we certainly would be very interested in seeing it and learning more about what they are looking for from a city."

NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said via email, though, that "there is not a formal application or a formal process," adding, "We anticipate making decisions on when and where the Draft will be held and also its format later this summer/early fall."

(Regarding the "format" part of that statement: the league is considering extending the draft from three to four days.)

Some have theorized that the NFL fully plans on keeping the draft at Radio City Music Hall, and is opening  it up to other cities in the name of leverage. Philly is hoping Goodell and company plan on spreading the wealth, but they haven't received any assurances.

"We don't want to get ahead of ourselves and spin any wheels," said Needle.

WHAT YOU MISSED

The latest Twitter Mailbag on Trent Cole, Jeremy Maclin and "Murderleg."

Sheil offers some thoughts on the Howie Roseman/Chip Kelly dynamic.

 "[I]t looks like we have the old Earl because he's flying around right now." Kelly on Earl Wolff. 

The Eagles came to terms with seventh-round selection Beau Allen Thursday.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Jimmy Kempski on the decision not to move up for Brandin Cooks or Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

[T]he Eagles were probably better off not trading up. In order to beat the Saints' offer, the Eagles probably would have had to have given up their 3rd round pick to move up from 22 to 20, which would have been awful value. It would have also meant no Josh Huff in the 3rd round.

Here is what the Eagles would have gotten if they had traded up vs. what they ended up with by staying put and trading out.

Which side would you rather have?

The Eagles have been busy trying to bolster their special teams units, writes Reuben Frank. 

They didn’t land any big names during free agency -- Malcolm Jenkins was the biggest -- but the Eagles did add safety Chris Maragos, linebacker Bryan Braman and nickel corner Nolan Carroll, who are all being counted on to be special teams stalwarts. They added Darren Sproles to punch up the offense, but he also has a strong track record in the return game. They added some fast, physical players in the draft who should be contributors right away on special teams -- Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, Jaylen Watkins and Ed Reynolds and probably even Marcus Smith. They even brought in an undrafted free-agent placekicker to challenge one-time fourth-round pick Alex Henery.

And the Eagles hope it all adds up to a much improved special teams group.

COMING UP

Rookie camp begins today. We'll speak with the Eagles' draft picks this afternoon.

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  • NickS1

    Not following Kemspki with Huff. He was selected “With the 86th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft,” which was Philadelphia’s original selection. Is there something I’m missing?

    • B-West

      That’s the pick that would have been used to move up. In this alternate universe they never traded down, thus they never got the extra 3rd. Instead, they went up the board using their original 3rd. So, you go from two picks in the 3rd to none.

      • aub32

        True, but if we picked up Cooks, would we have traded up to get Matthews? Therefore, we could have selected someone else in the late 2nd, keeping our 4th, or traded back to the 3rd while picking up a 5th. Then we could still get Huff in the 3rd, Watkins in the 4th and Hart in the 5th.

        • NickS1

          Certainly a possibility. Definitely isn’t as simple as Kemspki notes.

        • Anebriated

          Would leave us in a very similar position minus an OLB where we needed a young body.

    • cliff henny

      Eagles would have used 86 to jump 3 spots, though that seems extremely expensive. then have to wonder if eagles would have packaged 4th, since now down to 5 picks total to get to 42. so who was there at 54 as OLB? Atta-guy already gone? Cooks is good, but is he that much better for Eagles since we’re already debating over/under for Matthews at 600 yards.

      • NickS1

        Putting Matthews around 750, personally. But I get it, now. Thanks. Wasn’t factoring in the 3rd as an opportunity cost (gain) in the scenario. And I agree, definitely steep for 3 picks. Way happier with this draft than one with Cooks/HaHa due to the perceived quality of the guys we got as fits for our system.

        • Anebriated

          It’s not easy for a fan to sit back and take the organizations word on something like this but I think it’s the right call. The draft isn’t always about finding the best players, it’s about finding the right players.

  • cliff henny

    believe Howie max’d out value of picks about as well as anyone could ask. like where guys were picked also. took OLB early, top talent in this position goes quickly, it’s overpaid for, always is always will be. early middle picks got top end weapons for Kelly. hopefully with Kelly making guys better and system, 2nd /3rd rounds weapons is equal to 1st round weapons for other teams (mean, Cooper was 800/8, could have won first born from me on that). then take late middle on defense. since Eagles are looking for different types of players, they’ll value guys in 4th, 5th on back as 3rd rd talent. again, we can argue about type of defense they play (am partial to JJ style, RIP), but hybrid versatile is here to stay, and i’m not going anywhere. then load up in late on some more weapons for Chippah. pretty well set on offense, not nearly as worried over O-line as others, hopefully a backup RB pops out of the pack, and the good thing is they do every year.

    • borntosuffer

      Just to nitpick ;-) – If it’s always overpaid, then, by definition, isn’t it really not overpaid? Maybe OLB is like real estate in the most desirable areas – always expensive but over time proven to be a investment. We can hope, Other than that, I agree on all points.

  • evanphilly

    If Philly hosts the draft, I’m setting the over/under on “McNabb got booed by the Eagles fans” references at 24 and a half. And that is just on the first day.

    • cliff henny

      over.
      .
      over/under on Rocky references by Berman alone, will be conservative and set it at 500.

      • JAMIN67

        Yeah, don’t forget the cheese steaks. Cause that’s all we eat around here.

        • cliff henny

          maybe someone got to draft picks, cause not one has tweeted ‘where’s best cheesesteak in philly’ yet. every free agent did though. swing a freaking cat, all good but pats and geno’s basically.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Actually it was tweeted by Beau Allen (Juggernaut) I believe.

          • JAMIN67

            Ahh c’mon Cliff…Pat’s isn’t bad. I’m diggin’ Jim’s on South Street these days though.

          • cliff henny

            been out of philly for 10-12 yrs now. i’d eat a pat’s or geno’s after you dropped it in the gutter. 3 things, steak cheese bread, how f’n hard is it, but no one can make it outside 50 miles radius of 215.

          • JAMIN67

            I agree. I’ve only found a few places outside of PA that billed themselves as “authentic Philly cheesestakes” that were even remotely close. Sadly, I just had 3 stents put in over the last few months…so my cheesesteak consumption, along with all fried foods, has tailed off a lot. I still sneak one every month or so.

          • Warhound

            I’ve heard it suggested that it’s the rolls – their flavor is affected by the local water. Anyway, I’ve heard of a place in Atl. and a couple in Fl. that truck in Amoroso rolls overnight and are supposed to be pretty good.

          • Maggie

            Try http://www.atasteofphiladelphia.com. I did a few years ago. they shipped overnight, in dry ice, arrived fresh and TastyKakes! On the west coast! Still have box they shipped in.

      • B-West

        The fork in Berman’s back is one of those over-sized 3 footers that you can hang on the wall for decoration at this point. I loved the guy 10-12 years ago, but I can barely stand him now. ESPN’s draft coverage was substantially better once Wingo took over.

      • TheCatalyst

        I’d take the over on McNabb AND the over on Berman/Rocky.

  • EagleDuck
    • oreofestar

      I think the kid has too much talent to not give a chance, you are investing pretty much nothing into him

      • EagleDuck

        As an UDFA I completely agree. There’s no draft position at risk anymore, I’m shocked no ones invited him to camp.

        • EagleDuck

          I didn’t intend to say that I’m and undrafted freeagent… My sentence was poorly worded there!

        • PaoliBulldog

          Packers did.

          • EagleDuck

            Yeah good timing eh! Hope he sticks and gets his mind right.

          • PaoliBulldog

            Heck no. I want him to fail. He’s a Packer.

      • bdawkbdawk

        I’m sure Chip was pissed about the missed classes and substance abuse. But I’ve got to believe that with his deep and committed respect for the armed forces, Chip was even more fed up with Lyerla’s false flag comments.

    • travis papa

      Sadly because that article if it’s the same one I read I dont believe we give him a shot. Under Kelly he was already missing classes and practice. Kelly seems to be of the fool me once type people. Sucks because I’d love to give him a shot. SD or NO seems to make a lot of sense plus the obligatory oak connection since he’s a bad ass.

  • Formidable

    As much as it would be great to have the draft in Philly, the media would use each and every heckled fan situation as a required storyline for why Philly is the least accommodating sports city in America.

    • Anebriated

      I would agree with you here. It worries me about what would happen if it did come to town. As it is the national media loves to put any and all Philly related fan incidents on the front page despite burying things like fans being stabbed in other cities. You know something would happen and they’ll turn it into the next snowballs at santa incident.

  • EaglefaninAZ

    Every time I read “fourth round pick Alex Henery”, I throw up in my mouth a little.

    • JAMIN67

      Murderleg.

      • Jerry Pomroy

        Murderleg

        • Anebriated

          Murderleg

          • Chippah

            *Murder Leg appears behind you in the mirror*

          • stamtown

            well played

          • Mr. Wu

            Kickaliscious…….yeah I said it!

  • Jerry Pomroy

    I would think that the leagues best interests are to expand it’s brand & with the draft becoming as big as it has, it allows more cities to connect more closely with that. Constantly holding the draft lays favorite to the NYG & NYJ fan base. It does make it within driving distance to a number of east coast cities. However, Philly is more central to more major metros as it brings Baltimore & DC closer, while only distancing itself an hour and a half further from Boston/NYC.

  • Maggie

    Philly hosted the Republican convention a few years ago. The city can handle a few football players! ;~D. And critics.