|I'm Going To Use This A Lot|
First off, in what is one of those cases of a mark not being able to find a con artist, the Eagles were unable to pay a huge ransom to the Titans for the rights to draft Marcus Mariota. Supposedly, the cost to move up 18 spots in the first would have been three defensive starters (DT Fletcher Cox, LB Mychael Kendricks and CB Brandon Boykin, aka the best player in each unit in 2014, and in the case of the first two players, some of the best young talent in the league at their position), a replacement QB in Sam Bradford (naturally) *and* future picks.
And while I get the idea that Mariota really might be a game-changing QB, putting a guy like that into a situation where he's got to put up 40+ points a game to compete, because the other side of the ball is just decimated... well, not a recipe for success. Especially when you add in the future picks problem, considering that the offensive line is aging and increasingly infirm.
But hey, the Titans said no; praise heaven and move on to making some picks. First rounder Nelson Agholor, a WR from USC, looks to be a Jeremy Maclin clone, and there's nothing wrong with that, other than you wouldn't have had to spend a first round pick there if you had just extended Maclin early in 2014, when it was apparent that he was going to succeed in this system. But hey, spilled milk, right?
Second round was Eric Rowe, a CB with past S work from Utah. Rowe continues the Pac-10 myopic draft strategy, in that his best game was against Agholor. At some point, someone in the press might want to ask Nero Kelly if scouting extends beyond guys he knew back in college, or whether it's OK to draft guys from a better conference than the Pac 10 (there is one, right? Rhymes with SEC?)... but as Rowe seems fine and they were clearly short a starting DB, whatever. B+ draft and move along.
And then the draft takes some whiffs. In the third, they reach for future coach Jordan Hicks, an ILB from Texas with an injury history who didn't project beyond the fourth or fifth for other teams. The astute reader might also wonder why you want to go after an ILB so soon in the draft, when you've got Kiko Alonso, Kendricks and Nero Binkie DeMecco Ryans on the club, and issues elsewhere. But hey, whiffing on a LB seems to be a Kelly tradition, and at least this year it happened in the third round, rather than the first.
Lacking fourth (traded to Detroit for their third next year, so, um, WTF, given that might be a whopping 10 to 15 slot move up after the upcoming Disaster Year) and fifth round picks for various machinations, they then grabbed two CBs (JaCorey Shepherd from Kansas and Randall Evans from Kansas State). Shepherd is neither big nor fast, and Evans is a little better than both on that, but if you're starting to wonder why the club signed two DBs n free agency and then drafted three more, when they already had some guys on the roster (Malcolm Jenkins, Boykin, maybe Earl Wolff, Ed Reynolds, Jaylen Watkins) who presumably might be worth having on an NFL roster. Oh, and by the way, if they aren't, that just means that the team blew multiple draft picks last year.
The final pick, oversized DE Brian Mihalik from Boston College, is already on Eagle Fan's radar as the sleeper of the draft, but I tend to be more skeptical of such wonders when they come at 12 picks before undrafted free agent status. Also, oversized DE prospects rarely work out.
So they got the WR and CB they needed, then took a bunch of DBs to solve last year's sieve issues. Why am I such a whiner? Nero's just drafted the new Legion of Boom, right? Well, no, because it's just more Versatile (i.e., not good enough to star at one position) Guys, to replace last year's Smart Guys (Reynolds, Watkins). And because the Hicks pick is just asinine when you've got an offensive line that's getting older, and that you've systematically undermined with releases and obvious trading block moves (see Mathis, Evan)... and when that line is going to have to protect a statue QB with two ACL injuries in Bradford, and to create holes in a tempo offense for north-south runners, a crippling lack of depth goes right into Criminal Negligence. Something of a theme for Nero's realm.
I guess it could be worse. They could have drafted QB5 or RB4, and neither of the first two picks were embarrassing reaches. They didn't move for some fresh TE, which means Zach Ertz might finally have the chance to have some confidence and a starting role. There's no obvious ST fetish move. By the short bus standard reached by Kelly in the past six months, this is just meh, rather than actively infuriating.
But honestly... having 12 DBs and 9 LBs on a roster, and not taking an OL when you desperately needed one in the fourth? Just more wood to the fire that there is no real plan going on here, and reality isn't going to be pretty. When the second tier OL that got dominated in the first month of 2014 take the field in 2015... they still aren't going to be good enough. And they are going to play a lot more. Cue the fiddle.