Free Agency -----on 4-3-04
Draft Geeks unite. This Saturday is the big day.
Don't miss this weekend's action. If you enjoy the draft , you know what I mean. The latest rumor has the Eagles trading up to number 16 with SF. The birds will give up their number 1 , plus a later round pick and OG John Welbourne. In return , we move to 16 and take Steven Jackson , the best running back in the draft. It will all depend on how the draft goes on Saturday as to whether or not it happens. If he falls, as most predict , look for the Eagles to pull the trigger on the trade. The move will trump Denver's trade to Cinn at 17 to try the same thing for Jackson.
Steven Jackson will be a stud in the league. Let's just hope it plays out to our favor. I really want him now. Read more about him here.
What will happen on Saturday? The soap opera conclusion ends. Tune in.
New NFL rule change can put a premium on CB speed.
Just a few short weeks ago in late March, the NFL came up with another way to change the rules to make the offense have an easier time. Points, Points , Points. Offense, Offense, Offense. That’s what the league wants.
ESPN reported that at their annual NFL league meeting, the NFL decided to change the rules related to illegal contact. Or at least look at it differently. The new ruling is focused on the contact a CB makes on a receiver. So, under the new interpretation, after five yards, a CB can't grab a jersey, a CB can not disrupt a pass route with a bump of the receiver… well, you get the picture.
No bumping, no grabbing, Oh No. How can the CB’s defense bigger, stronger and taller wide receivers? Speed. That’s how. If a team wants to play aggressive bump and run coverage, they better have fast CB’s to keep up or they are dead. Pinky’s game just improved and the Eagles offense with TO can be awesome.
This new twist makes the draft even more interesting. I definitely think the Eagles select a speedy WR in the first, like Michael Clayton, and a speedy CB in the second. Some of the CB prospects have had their stock rapidly rise. WHY? Speed in the workouts for NFL teams. And the opposite is true. Players with not so impressive workout speeds are falling.
Who is rising and who is falling?
DeAngelo Hall and Dunta Robinson are still the cream of the crop and won’t be there when the Eagles draft. Both Chris Gamble and Will Poole have had poor workout speed (both in the 4.6 range) and failed to impress teams with speed. Both have been projected to be first round picks but may fall. They are still good players. Let’s not forget the name, Mike Manula who had every impressive workout statistic there was to be had and he still never lived up to his first round selection.
On the rise because of their impressive workouts are sleepers like Joey Thomas and Shawntae Spencer. If you look at my mock drafts you will see that neither is there. That’s because they are coming out of nowhere and performing for teams who are looking for speed at corner. Both have had 40 speeds in the 4.4 range. Mel Kiper, draft guru, has the Eagles in love with Spencer and picking them in the second round. I don’t think so.
However you slice it, speedy, tall, physical cornerbacks are always at a premium. Look for the Eagles to fill that need in the second round while there are still quality CB’s. There are a lot of good ones this year. Eagles will certainty pick one up. Last year 9 CB’s were taken in the first two rounds. Look for the same amount or more to go in the first two rounds this year.
Free Agency…Eagles need to be active. They take giant step with Kearse signing. Jules Pilla 3-3-04
With the start of Free Agency, comes an air of excitement and anticipation about who the Eagles might get. Make no mistake about it, the Eagles need to make some critical moves to improve the team to get us to the SuperBowl. The Eagles are reportedly $27.8 million UNDER the cap. That should provide them with enough money to make a couple of key moves.
So who else is out there and who do I think is likely to be pursued by the birds…
The first name off of everyone lips is T. O. Terrell Owens. Can the talk be true that they are actually trying to trade for TO. Well , Andy did have a sit down at the Pro Bowl with him. Will Andy go out of character and go after him. It’s hard to say. My gut says no way. But I really want a top notch receiver on this team. No question that he has some nice numbers but TO has a bad dude image. He went through 2 separate groups of players in SF and they all disliked him. He dropped 15-20 passes last year and you never know who is going to show up for the game. Sometimes his effort is questioned. And the Eagles would have to give him a $10 million signing bonus. No way. I hope there is a way.
Justin McCariens, a restricted free agent, of Tennessee is a better option in terms of player talent. But he’ll cost you. A first round pick. A high price to pay. I don’t think the Eagles go this way either.
Darrell Jackson from Seattle is a player who will fit the bill nicely. Look for the Eagles to go after him if TO falls through and maybe Tai Streets of San Francisco.
More Defensive Linemen ???
If you haven't been keeping track... Feb 25th
Do you remember the whining that went on in the city when he left? The media never stopped. But they were wrong again. Mitch had a poor year with the Giants. Andy knew he was on the downside. Just like Hugh Douglas. Hugh also had a poor year and may even get cut too.
I loved both players and was saddened to see them go but sometimes we need to have faith and trust in our coach. He knows things we don't . And he certainly knows more than the radio talkers
And one more player you might be interested in. Dorsey Levins was also cut by the Giants.........Oh Well.
Eagles are still a solid team despite loss!
There is already talk among the experts who say that the way this team is constructed will never get us a championship. It's time to re-build. Horse hockey. The team certainly has holes that it needs to fill but I'm not ready to give up on them yet and suffer a couple of seasons of 8-8. Are you?
So what should they do and what are their needs?
As it stands right now, the Eagles have eight players who are unrestricted free agents . They also have another three that are restricted free agents.
The four that everybody talks about are CB Bobby Taylor , CB Troy Vincent, strong-side linebacker Carlos Emmons and RB Duce Staley.
The others unrestricted free agents are DT Paul Grasmanis, DE Marco Coleman , DT Jim Flanigan and Guard Bobbie Williams. Grasmanis was a starter until he tore his Achilles tendon in game 2 . Williams played nine games at right guard for injured Jermane Mayberry.
Duce is history and so is Bobby Taylor. They won't be back. We'll miss Duce but I had my fill of Bobby Taylor. He has always been a soft player. It's time to make a change there. Get more physical.
This next comment will be unpopular because I don't think Carlos Emmons was all that good. To hear everyone talk about his loss and how it was horrible for us had me scratching my head. Plus, the fact that he broke a leg makes me think we saw the last of Emmons. The Eagles need to address their entire linebacking core in the off season. Both in the draft and other free agents. Nate Wayne is the only quality LB. Simoneau is quick and had a good middle season but we need more of a prototypical linebacker that can help stop the run. He needs to take some of the blame for the bad run defense on this team. The Eagles should move him to the outside to replace Emmons and get a middle LB.
Marco Coleman was one of those names that everyone thought would help out this team on the defensive line when we had all those injuries. Boy , were we wrong. He was all but invisible on this team. He has said he is going to retire. Too bad he didn't retire one year sooner. We won't miss his 1/2 sack next year.
Flanigan was servicable but won't be back. He'll fall prey to the numbers game. Grasmasis is a good inside DT. A torn achilles tendon is a hard to come back from. If he passes the physicals , he'll be brought back.
Staying with the needs of the defensive line, the Eagles will need to draft another DE or pick up a free agent. Brandon Whiting and ND Kalu just don't cut it. Whiting had just 2 puny sacks all years. His natural position is at DT and moving him to the inside to back up Simon or Walker is just fine. But we need better production from a DE. Same thing with Kalu. He is and was a pass rush specialist. He needs to be in on passing situations, not every down. He had 6 sacks but we need a run stopper that starts. McDougle will start at DE next year but look for the birds to fill the other DE spot.
The defensive line unit will look something like this. DE will be Jerome McDougle, Jamaal Green, ND Kalu and a new DE. I don't think Derek Burgiss will be back after 2 leg injuries. At least , I am not counting on him. At DT will be Corey Simon, who had 8 sacks and who is going to the Pro bowl; Darwin Walker, who had 6 sacks; Hollis Thomas will be back , Brandon Whiting and/or Paul Grasmanis.
I think that Troy Vincent will be back...Part 2 to come- which free agents are out there?
Have some fun and re-live the season by re-reading the week by week Eagle Re-caps. It was a fun year even though we did not go to the Superbowl.
© Copyright 2003. Jules Pilla
Not affiliated with the Philadelphiqa
Eagles or the NFL.