Thoughts and analysis on the Philadelphia Eagles

With the NFL Draft less than a month away and considering that I plan on giving news and insights on it in the next few weeks… I thought we’d take a moment to look back at a few past drafts and illustrate just how important/bad they were for this team.

It’s pretty much standard knowledge that in the NFL good teams build through the draft. The draft is where you replenish talent that’s gotten older or left for free agency, and your depth. A few bad drafts can/will destroy a team, whereas a few good ones build a winner. With the exception of a handful of free agents(Runyan, TO, Kearse) this team's trip to the superbowl was made on the backs of it's draft picks. However, the Eagles were bit bad by the injury bug last year and their lack of depth and other holes were exposed... and their lack of consistency in the draft failed to fill those holes, not their lack of free agents.

We’ll start with the 2001 draft, which is maybe the worst draft this franchise has had under Reid. Not one player from this draft is even on the team still.
1 Freddie Mitchell WR - Do I even need to remind you what we had to do at the WR position to make up for this bust?
2 Quinton Caver LB - To this day we don’t have a decent OLB
3 Derrick Burgess DE - Had 8 sacks in 3 years and rarely was healthy enough to get on the field. Then he goes to Oakland and leads the NFL in sacks… who knew? We sunk about $30 million in Jevon Kearse to make up for this mistake
4 Correll Buckhalter RB - Technically he is on the team for now… He’s missed 2 full seasons to injury and has not once played a full year. You can’t predict injury, but that doesn’t change the fact that this was a bust.
5 Tony Stewart TE - Who?
6 A.J. Feeley QB - on the bright side, he did fetch us the 2nd round pick that turned out to be Reggie Brown…

After the 2001 debacle came 2002, which is considered one of the best drafts in Eagles history with a total 5 starting players(1 on another team now), 3 of which are pro bowlers. Lito Shepperd, Michael Lewis, Sheldon Brown, Brian Westbrook. The first 4 picks all starters to this day, 3 of which made the pro bowl. That’s as good as any team can hope for. They also picked up Raheem Brock in the 7th round, but cut him. He had 6.5 sacks last year and is a solid player for the Colts… This draft with the corners allowed us to replace the two aging free agent CBs, Vincent & Taylor. Taylor left, got a big deal and was a bust. Vincent, a favorite of Eagles fans, went to the Bills and while clearly having lost a step became decent safety. Duce Staley left a year or so later and hasn’t been able to stay healthy for a year in Pittsburgh. Perfect draft to fill needs. Very good players to step right to the holes made when we lost 2 CBs and RB.

Unfortunately things go downhill from there. 2003 was mostly a disaster. Only one player from the class of 03 starts for this team and has made any contribution at all.
1 Jerome McDougle DE - McDougle’s lack of ability to get on the field was in many ways the downfall of the defense last year. The Eagles relied on their #1 pick to fix the past rush since 03. The complete lack of a pass rush last year caused the defense to have to blitz too often, exposing them to the run and the deep ball. It also forced the Eagles to sink $30 million dollars into Darren Howard to solidify the DE spot.
2 L.J. Smith TE - Good pick, quietly his stats made him a top 10 TE last year.
3 Billy McMullen WR - no contribution, and we all know our problems at WR…
4 Jamaal Green DE - no contribution
6 Jeremy Bridges G - Has anyone even heard of this guy?
7 Norman Lejeune DB - again, who?

2004 is a bit interesting, but it doesn’t look great… but there are some bright spots and the jury is still out on others.
1 Shawn Andrews T - Played G this year after missing his rookie year. Was a pro bowl alternate… actually pretty good, we needed help on the interior of the line he provided it.
3 Matt Ware DB - Showed promise in his rookie, didn’t look great last year.
4 J.R. Reed DB - Looked like a very promising return man, but his career may very well be over due to injury
4 Trey Darilek G - very little contribution
5 Thomas Tapeh RB - Looked promising, was injured all of 05
6 Andy Hall QB - cut this year. We’ve signed 2 backup QBs in the meantime.
6 Dexter Wynn DB - See Matt Ware
7 Adrien Clarke G - Actually showed some things at LG last year. Jury is out
7 Bruce Perry RB - Showed some spark at the end of last year. Jury is out, but for a 7th rounder he looks like a nice pick
7 Dominic Furio C - who?

Last year actually seems like a strong draft. This is probably mostly due to the fact that so many of these guys got significant playing time last year. I’ll only post the relevant players here because it’s hard to call anyone a bust as a rookie…

1 Mike Patterson DT - Solid pick. Starter all year.
2 Reggie Brown WR - Great pick IMO. 2nd round pick that out performed all 5 WRs (including Matt Jones) taken in front of him.
Ryan Moats, Todd Herremans,& Trent Cole all made solid contributions last year. A lot is going to be expected of Matt McCoy who was a 2nd pick. He’s supposed to be the pick that helps solidify our LB core.

That really makes 2 solid drafts in the past 5 years. That poor drafting is what left with this team with the lack of depth that we were all treated to last year. You could never afford to sign enough free agents to fill all of those holes. That’s why the draft is so important. So while Eagles fans have been riled up for the past month at what they perceive is a lack of action and cheapness on the part of the front office, and while they’ve been predicting doom & gloom… just remember, the real barometer of this off season happens April 29.

Just how good is Reggie Brown?


As you may have heard... we lost a certain WR a few weeks ago. This event has only served to escalate possibly the biggest obsession Eagles fans suffer from, the Wide Receiver obsession! Yes, we've had one or two good ones in our time. Harold Carmichael, Mike Quick, ummm... Well maybe not. So when TO came here, he answered the prayers Eagles fans have had for years. A #1 WR!

Now he's gone.

But alas! Through the ashes Reggie Brown comes into the picture last year. He may be the first Andy Reid WR draft pick to actually look like he could be something. He may be the first Eagles WR draft pick in 20+ years to look like he could be something...

So, how good is Reggie Brown?

In the opinion of many NFL experts, Reggie Brown had a very good rookie year. 43 Receptions and 4tds. He led rookie WRs in most every category. Now, 43 catches is very nice for a rookie... but that isn't going to replace TO. That isn't going to stike fear in the heart of opponents and draw double coverages. Or is it? Exactly what did his rookie year tell us about what kind of WR he can become?

He had a rookie year on par with alot of guys who are considered top WRs right now. Reggie had 43 rec and 4TDs. Chad Johnson(who he has drawn comparisons to) had 28 catches and 1 TD in his rookie year. TO had 35 rec & 4Tds. Larry Fitzgerald had 58 catches. Steve Smith caught 10 balls. Santana Moss caught 30 balls in his first full year. Holt got 52. Burress caught 22. Hines Ward caught 15 balls. Reggie Wayne got 27. Chris Chambers got 48. Rod Smith caught 6, Jimmy Smith caught 22. These are the most of the top WRs in football right now and Reggie's rookie year was on par or better than nearly all of them. What's even more impressive is that he did in 9 NFL starts, most of which Mike McMahon was at QB.

I've heard Eagles fans out in full force yelling about the aquisitions the Redskins have made at WR and how all those guys are better than Reggie Brown. People seem to swear these moves will win Washington the Super Bowl and leave the Eagles 0-16. Settle down.

Reggie had a better year than Randle El last year(35 rec, 1 TD) and was only a few catches behind David Givens another FA, who he had more TDs than. The other WR the skins got, Lloyd as the 49ers #1 option had almost identical stats(48 rec, 5 TDs) to Reggie who wasn't even starting all year.

Our rookie WR who didn't even start half the year was better than most of the veteran FA's out there and is on pace in his career with most of the best in the business. I honestly think we are seeing the start of something here with Reggie. With McNabb back healthy this year, I personally can't wait to see what this kid does. Get your #86 jersey now, and strap in.

I'm an Eagles fan. Now, that usually means I predict that the Eagles will lose every season, everything they do is wrong, I can't understand why the Raiders wouldn't trade us Randy Moss for Hollis Thomas, I can't pronounce the easiest of sports names, and I think being a Cowboy fan is just a notch above being in Al-Qaeda.

None of those things are true. Growing up the Delaware valley and being around Eagles fans my whole life has taught me that they can be... slightly unreasonable. They are the greatest fans in all of sports, but they are also the most bipolar. On one side there's the group that Gary Cobb so brilliantly named "Negadelphia". Clearly the largest segment of fans, the Negadelphians have been formed by years and years of let downs and losses. I can't say I blame these people for the way they are... after all how many Norman Bramans & NFC Champ game vs Tampas can one take before they get cynical. However, these people all often cross the line from skpetical to just plain ridiculous. Our players all suck and every one elses' are great. The Eagles will lose every game. Fire this guy, sign that guy! Blah Blah Blah...

Then there's the normal diluted fan that every team has that worships everything they do. They see their teams' garbage and think everyone wants it.

The Truth lies somewhere between these people.

My quest with this blog is to go out and collect the stories, the stats, and the perspectives on the Eagles and their players so they don't have to. I want to find the truth in the moves the Eagles make. The fact is that not every player on our team sucks or was snubbed for the pro bowl. Not every move the team makes is cheap and not every draft pick will be a future hall of famer. There are truths in football and my job is to bring them to you.

Feel free to call me an idiot.

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