Weekend Reading: If Not Sam Bradford, Who?
With the combine just around the bend, here are some elite links to check out this weekend.
The Daily News’ Paul Domowitch asks if the Eagles should hang on to Sam Bradford for 2016. If they don’t, what are their other options?
If they don’t re-sign Bradford, do they take a quarterback in the first round? Will there be a quarterback left worth taking?
Mayock thinks the Eagles should strongly consider taking one of the top four quarterbacks if any fall to them at 13, and then use later picks to address their offensive line needs.
“Depending on what they think of [Carson] Wentz and [Paxton] Lynch and [Connor] Cook, I think they have to be sitting there considering the possibility of taking one of them as their quarterback of the future if any of them fall to them,” [Mike] Mayock said.
“I just don’t know who gets there (to 13) and I don’t know who they’re going to fall in love with, if any of them. I’m just saying, they have to do their homework and that has to be a high priority.”
Over at Philly Voice, Jimmy Kempski puts Sam Bradford’s completion percentage from 2015 (65 percent) into context.
Only 17.3 percent of Bradford’s completions traveled 10 or more yards past the line of scrimmage. That tied him with Eli Manning and Alex Smith (shocker) for the lowest percentage in the NFL. To note, drops do not factor in here, as we are talking about passes that were actually completed.
Can Chip Kelly‘s scheme be a reason for that low percentage? OK, we can call it that. Did the Eagles’ lack of a big play threat at receiver factor in? Sure, certainly they would have completed more passes downfield if DeSean Jackson were still on the team.
However, those questions miss the point. Why there were so few completions down the field is a different conversation. We’re simply noting here that Bradford’s completion percentage was unquestionably helped by the fact that the vast majority of his completions were short throws.
The folks over at Pro Football Focus take a look at who the Birds should re-sign, who they should let walk, and who they should target in free agency.
S Walter Thurmond
The player they should lock up next is Thurmond, who handled the transition from corner to safety well and finished with the 26th-best overall grade at the position. He’ll be 29 when the 2016 season starts, and provides the valuable ability to cover the slot when needed.
The team will also have to consider his injury history, however, after Thurmond played more snaps last season (1,219) than in the previous three years combined—but when healthy, he’s been consistently above average.
MMQB’s Andy Benoit delivers his list of the 10 players he thinks could surprise in free agency, including a safety the Birds could be interested in.
1. George Iloka, S, Bengals (age 25)
Don’t be surprised if Iloka scores one of the 10 biggest contracts in free agency this year. Safeties are increasingly valuable in today’s NFL, and he’s one who can play centerfield or in the box.
He also has experience as a corner from his days at Boise State, though he’d have to be used unexpectedly and sparingly in this capacity. At 6’4”, 225 pounds, and with arms so long he can practically tie his shoes without bending over, Iloka has the innate physical traits to be elite.
Football Outsiders takes a look back at 2015 and its failed completions statistic, where former Eagle Nick Foles ranked dead last in the league, while Sam Bradford ranked 29th.
Maybe you forgot him since he was benched for Case Keenum, but Nick Foles (41.1 percent) now has the highest FC% since 1989. He beat out Anthony Wright, who was at 39.6 percent for the 2005 Ravens. For reference, Keenum was about average at 24.7 percent this season, so this says more about Foles than it does Tavon Austin and the Rams. Foles also ranked 32nd with an FC% of 28.0 percent in 2014.