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Grading the Eagles’ 2010 Draft

April 25, 2010

There’s a common theory mentioned about the evaluation of NFL teams’ Draft doings, that it takes at least three years to accurately grade how well an organization made out by adding players fresh out of college via the selection event. However, it’s always interesting to take an immediate look at how teams fared, especially a club like the Eagles, as they wound up with a league-high 13 players in the 2010 Draft, which concluded on Saturday. The team managed to grab an astounding 10 prospects in the final four rounds alone, and totaled nine selections that are expected to improve the defensive side of the ball. And, of course, we are no where near being three years away from the Draft; that doesn’t make it any less intriguing to ponder how the Eagles did in picking future stars over the past few days.

A variety of respected sports analysts have already created their own grades of the Eagles’ 2010 Draft. For my grading of the team’s performance in the three-day procedure, letter grades have been used–similar to the way ESPN‘s Mel Kiper, Jr. and the FOX Sports network evaluated NFL teams’ drafting. It’s as straight forward as can be…just like school grading systems, the highest possible earning is an A+ and the lowest is an F. Read more…

Eagles’ Free Agent Player Tracker: Westbrook Visiting Rams

April 25, 2010

While most of the free agent coverage that has surrounded the Eagles has regarded potential signings and actual additions they’ve made, it’s also important to take a look at what is going on with players the team has chosen not to re-sign or ones that have been released. Why, you ask? Well, because sometimes organizations consider bringing back players that they’ve ridden of for financial or roster reasons. And in other cases, it’s simply interesting to know where former members of the team are headed, instead of back to their original squad. In this article, the status of one of the unrestricted free agents from the Eagles is updated, and a helpful player tracker chart is available.

Each time news surfaces regarding a player the team has cut or chosen not to re-sign early in the free agency period, the tracker chart will be released accordingly. For this fourth tracker-included article, some more news about RB Brian Westbrook (pictured) is available:

  • Earlier in the month, the longtime Philly runner Westbrook was drawing interest from the Packers, but clearly discussions with Green Bay did not go as far as expected, seeing that he remains unemployed. However, it appears another team has stepped up to the plate and expressed a desire to add him. Westbrook is now visiting with the Rams, who–despite already having a star runner in Steven Jackson–are in search of a veteran backup. At 30 years old and coming off a season of multiple injuries, Westbrook is not expected to make large contributions, but is certainly getting some consideration from the St. Louis organization, who first invited him into their complex on Saturday. One notable connection that can be made between Westbrook and the Rams is the fact that the RB worked with former Eagle staff members Steve Spagnuolo and Pat Shurmur, both of whom currently work for St. Louis. Though a contract is likely to be finalized within the next few days, according to several sports networks, Westbrook must first pass a physical exam–something that many believe he will be unable to do with all of the recent injuries he’s sustained.
Eagles’ Unrestricted Free Agent Player Tracker
Player Position 2010 Team News
Jason Babin DE Titans Signed with Titans on March 19th
Sean Jones FS/SS Buccaneers Signed with Buccaneers on March 16th
Jeremiah Trotter MLB Not re-signed at start of FA
Brian Westbrook (released) RB Invited to meet with St. Louis Rams
Tracy White OLB Not re-signed at start of FA
Will Witherspoon (released) OLB/MLB Titans Signed with Titans on March 9th
Shawn Andrews (released) OG/OT

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Source: Eagles Sign WR Pat Simonds

April 24, 2010

The 2010 NFL Draft has concluded, but that certainly doesn’t mean the Eagles are finished adding players. I have learned from an extremely reliable source that Philadelphia has contacted undrafted rookie free agent WR Pat Simonds and informed him that he will be signed. Though the team undoubtedly had enough receivers, with 5th-round pick Riley Cooper joining today, as well as Hank Baskett and Chad Hall being signed as free agents earlier in the offseason, Simonds was among a group of talented pass catchers that failed to get drafted by a team over the past few days.

At 6-foot-6 and around 225 pounds, Simonds (pictured) is surely someone the Eagles could count on as a receiving target towards the endzone. He lacks explosiveness or a second gear of speed, so to speak, but has proven to be a concentrated player in terms of finding the ball in the air and coming down with the pass. A physical runner after the catch who is hard to bring down, he set various records while performing in college for the Raiders of Colgate University. The primary reasons listed as to why Simonds was not picked in the Draft include the simple fact that the NCAA school he attended was a member of a less-heralded division of football, and that he doesn’t possess the agility to play as a consistent target for an NFL quarterback. Nonetheless, Simonds has a lot of potential and certainly has the physical build, skill set, and general state of mind to perform at a high level for many years as a professional.

A native of Sydney, New York, he established an impressive career in college as a wide receiver. Known for making game-changing touchdowns within opposing teams’ 20-yard lines and towards the end of matchups (in the “clutch”, some would say), Simonds recorded over 1,000 yards in each of his final two seasons. His total of scores only got better as his experience greatened, with the most notable jump coming this past year, in which he notched 14 scores, five more than his mark from the 2008 campaign. Some argue that his absence from football during his freshman season of ’06 hurt his stock, but that’s hardly an impacting piece of evidence, seeing that he immediately contributed in his first year on the field, catching 40 passes for 649 yards and five touchdowns.

Once the signing of Simonds (likely to a short-term, one-year contract) is officially announced, the receiver figures to compete for a reserve role behind DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Jason Avant. Besides the battle he is expected to be in with the other acquisitions mentioned (i.e. Cooper, Baskett, Hall), second-year players Jordan Norwood and Dobson Collins are also projected to be in the hunt for a backup WR job, and will therefore be fighting with Simonds as well.

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Eagles Add 10 Players in Final Rounds of 2010 Draft; Recap of Entire Event

April 24, 2010

After three days and numerous hours of decision making, the 2010 NFL Draft–running under an expanded time format for the first time in it’s 75-year history–has come to an end, and the Eagles, though regarded as making some odd and unexpected moves, made out fairly well. While you should already know what the team did in the early rounds of the annual selection event, this article contains a recap of the entire event and what Philadelphia did. Perhaps the most interesting fact that goes with the Eagles’ drafting is that the club managed to add an astounding ten players in the final four rounds; below is a complete list of the Birds’ Draft transactions (moves have been mentioned in chronological order):

  • 24th overall selection in the 1st-round, as well as both the team’s 3rd-round picks, traded to the Broncos in exchange for Denver’s 1st-round slot, 13th overall. DE Brandon Graham selected with the acquired pick.
  • FS Nate Allen selected with the team’s 2nd-round pick (37th overall).
  • The team’s second 2nd-round pick (55th overall) dealt to Dallas for the Cowboys’ 59th overall selection and a 4th-round pick (125th overall).
  • The team’s acquired 59th overall pick traded to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a 3rd-round pick (71st overall), as well as two 5th-round picks (134, 146)
  • The team’s acquired 3rd-round pick (71) shipped to the Packers for Green Bay’s own 3rd-round pick (86) and a 4th-round selection (122).
  • DE Daniel Te’o-Nesheim selected with the team’s acquired 3rd-round pick (86).
  • CB Trevard Lindley picked with the team’s 4th-round selection (105).
  • LB Keenan Clayton selected with one of the team’s 4th-round picks (121).
  • QB Mike Kafka taken with one of the team’s 4th-round picks (122).
  • TE Clay Harbor selected with the team’s final 4th-round pick (125).
  • DE Ricky Sapp picked with the team’s 5th-round selection (134).
  • The team’s 5th-round pick (146) traded to Chargers in exchange for San Diego’s own 5th-rounder (159), as well as a 5th-round pick for next year’s Draft.
  • WR Riley Cooper picked with the team’s final 5th-round selection (159).
  • RB Charles Scott grabbed with the team’s 6th-round pick (200).
  • The team’s 2011 6th-round pick traded to the Detroit Lions for a 7th-round pick (220).
  • LB Jamar Chaney selected with the team’s acquired 7th-round pick (220).
  • DT Jeff Owens picked with the team’s compensatory 7th-round selection (243).
  • SS Kurt Coleman taken with the team’s final 7th-round pick (244).

Read more…

Madden ’11 Ratings for Eagles’ Draft Picks

April 24, 2010

One of my traditions after the NFL Draft ends is to check out the newest Philadelphia Eagles’ overall ratings on the widely-popular Madden video game.  This year, it will be fun to play the as the Eagles on the defensive side of the ball, with nine of the 13 draft selections being on defense.

The full Draft ratings have not been announced yet, but the first three rounds are up.

Check out the new Eagles:

  1. Brandon Graham, DE – 78 Overall rating
    (91 Power Moves, 88 Hit Power, 77 Block Shedding)
    Note: DE’s Derrick Morgan and Jason Pierre-Paul both 79 Overall
  2. Nate Allen, S – 75 Overall
    (88 Jump, 87 Speed, 84 Zone Coverage)
  3. Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, DE – 54 Overall
    (80 Power, everything else is embarrassing)

For more player ratings visit this useful web site.
Madden ’11, the latest installment of the game, is scheduled to hit stores on August 10th, 2010.

Graham, Allen Receive Jersey Numbers

April 23, 2010

Two of the Eagles’ three Draft picks from this weekend–both of whom play on the defensive side of the ball and are expected to make immediate contributions to the team–were given their jersey numbers this evening. Highly touted defensive end Brandon Graham, selected with the 13th overall pick in the 2010 event, and solid South Florida safety Nate Allen, snatched in the beginning of the 2nd-round, were the two that got their numbers. The organization’s only other player selected–DE Daniel Te’o-Nesheim–has yet to be given his uniform digits for the nearing season.

Graham (pictured), who is expected to battle for a starting job along the defensive line and become the long-term option as a reliable pass rusher opposite Trent Cole, has been given the number 94, which was most recently worn by Jason Babin, also a defensive end, but who was let into the free agent market without a new contract earlier in the offseason. Graham donned the number 55 while in college and playing for the Michigan Wolverines, but that number is already owner by the team’s middle linebacker Stewart Bradley.

As for Allen, the free safety is scheduled to wear the number 29 as an Eagle. Young running back LeSean McCoy played with those digits in his 2009 rookie campaign, but reverted to his college number, 25, following the end of the year. Allen was known for his jersey number of 5 in the NCAA, but for a number of reasons he was obviously not going to be allowed to wear that in Philadelphia: first of all, single-digit numbers are prohibited on defensive players; also, even if it was allowed, there is a very small chance the Eagles would be willing to let him wear the number 5 after respected quarterback Donovan McNabb owned it for over a decade and just departed this past Easter via a trade.

In addition to acknowledging their new jerseys and numbers, Graham and Allen spoke to the media regarding the wonderful opportunity they’ve been given to play in the NFL by the Eagles. “I know it’s just an honor to even be considered–even being in the NFL Draft is an honor to me,” Allen remarked. “I’m just ready to get up and ready to start working hard and I’m so excited. I’m at a loss of words, I’m so excited.” His fellow prospect that joined the Eagles in the Draft also commented, saying “I’m just excited…I know when we go out there on the field you have to be relentless because you’re working for a cause and you’re trying to win a championship. You have a lot of goals and you’re trying to accomplish something. That’s why I go out there.”

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Eagles Grab Nate Allen in 2nd-Round, Add Bunch of Picks via Trades

April 23, 2010

When the Eagles moved up in the opening round of the Draft to select defensive end Brandon Graham with the 13th overall pick, a good deal of fans feared that the team gave up too much to add the player (the Birds dealt their original 1st-round pick, as well as both of their 3rd-rounders to Denver). However, it has been made very clear that Philadelphia had thought about the situation before, and indeed had plans to regain picks. In fact, they wound up receiving a whole lot more selections via several trades in the 2nd- and 3rd-rounds this evening than they would have had, even disregarding the move up for Graham.

Besides their string of trades (which–despite the benefits from them–actually seemed to irritate some fans who simply wanted to see the Eagles pick a player), the team added a quality safety in Nate Allen (pictured) early in the 2nd-round pick with the 37th overall selection. A top-ranked defensive back who earned All-Big-East honors this past season with South Florida and a reliable coverage man, Allen was scouted in our Future 40 Draft series earlier in the month, and we stated how he has a large amount of potential to be a starting free safety for many years in the NFL. Though he doesn’t have an excellent jump on passed balls, the four-year collegiate defender is a reliable tackler who is also faster than most people expect, especially considering he is a physically built player at 6-foot-1 and 207 pounds. While free agent acquisition Marlin Jackson and second-year cornerback convert Macho Harris are likely to compete for a starting role in the remainder of the offseason, it’s widely expected that Allen will (at least by the end of the 2010 campaign) be in the starting lineup as the Eagles’ free safety.

As for the trades the team completed throughout the 2nd- and 3rd-rounds of the Draft, the first was executed with (believe it or not) the rival Cowboys. Philadelphia sent their 55th overall pick to Dallas in exchange for the 59th slot, as well as a 4th-round pick (no. 125 overall). The Eagles then chose not to use the 2nd-round pick acquired in the deal with the ‘Boys, and rather shipped it to the Browns for Cleveland’s 3rd-round pick (number 71 overall), and a pair of 5th-round picks (134, 146). And as bizarre as it seems, the Eagles once again decided not to use the soonest acquired pick, and traded down, dealing the 71st pick to the Packers for Green Bay’s 3rd-round selection (86th overall) and the 122nd overall pick, in the 4th-round. Essentially, the entire trading situation the Eagles worked allowed them to receive an additional five picks for only their 55th overall selection. It has also set them up to pick a player three times in a span of five spots during the 4th-round, which will begin on Sunday.

The other player the Birds selected besides Graham (in the 1st) and Allen was Washington product and high-potential defensive lineman Daniel Te’o-Nesheim. A three-time recipient of All-Pac-10 honors while in college, the 6-foot-3, 263-pounder is expected to be used by Philadelphia at various positions. His natural spot is DE, but there has been speculation that he has the ability to play as an outside linebacker, as well as a situational defensive tackle. His constant on-field efforts and relentless aggression while pass rushing make him a rookie to keep an eye on, but definitely lacks some speed and size to play as an every-down player at the professional level.

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