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Where’s The Talent
Did you ever think the Eagles would miss Tom Modrak so much?
There are many reasons why the Birds are 5-6, having lost four of their last five games and are 11-16 over the past two seasons, a ship struggling to stay afloat in rocky waters.
Bad plays. Lack of effort. stupid sorrows silly plans. injuries. Bad execution.
And while all of those are viable and obvious reasons for the Eagles’ fall from the NFL’s elite, they are merely symptoms of a much larger problem plaguing this organization.
Horrendous drafts that have left them extremely short of quality talent in the NFL.
And all of that falls on one man’s feet… the Big Enchilada… the Mormon Rebounding Mound… the Alpha Dog of the Nova Care Complex…
…Head Coach and President of Player Personnel Andy Reid.
While Tom Heckert officially holds the title of General Manager, everyone knows that he doesn’t have the final say on player personnel moves made by the Birds. Every player on this list has been brought to the Eagles’ nest at the behest of one man… Big Red.
And because Reid typically avoids free agency when it comes to bringing in star-quality players (Terrell Owens, Jevon Kearse and Darren Howard notwithstanding), the draft becomes a much more vital function to this team’s success.
Don’t get me wrong, building through the draft is the prudent way to build a successful NFL franchise. We’ve all seen how unsuccessful the Redskins’ way of building a team is. Building a team from scratch, through the draft, is the best way to ensure continuity and chemistry for years to come.
When it’s done right. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they haven’t been doing it right for quite some time.
Offensively, the big man has done well. His brightest pick obviously was taking McNabb in 1999, followed by RB Brian Westbrook’s third-round steal in 2002. Most recently, TE LJ Smith (2003, Rd. 2) OL Shawn Andrews (2004, Rd. 1) and WR Reggie Brown (2005, Rd. 2) appear to be good picks.
Less successful have been Reid’s picks on defense. While he did pick some standout defensive players in the 2002 Draft, selecting CBs Lito Sheppard (first round) and Sheldon Brown (second round) and former Pro-Bowl safety Michael Lewis (second round), the rest of his defensive picks have been abysmal. .
No one said that predicting a college player’s ability to become a quality player in the NFL was easy to do. It is a monumentally difficult challenge. However, for a guy who believes you build a winner through the draft, it’s easy enough to see why the Eagles have struggled so much in the last 15 months.
Below are the results of Reid’s drafts with my rating for each selection in parentheses…starting in 2003…
Rd1. DE Jerome McDougle: Hands down the biggest bust of the Andy Reid era. The Eagles moved up 15 spots to get it with the 15th pick with next to nothing to show for it. (F)
Rd2. TE LJ Smith – A Pro-Bowl caliber tight end who catches passes. He can’t block to save his life, but he can catch the rock and seems to recover. (B)
Rd3. WR Billy McMullen: A third-round pick of a guy who was never more than a #4 receiver with the Eagles. (F)
Rd4. DE Jamaal Green: McDougle’s teammate on the Hurricanes, never contributed to the Birds. (F)
Rd6 and 7. OL Jeremy Bridges and S Norman Lejeune – Nobody. (F)
Just one decent player in the entire draft.
Rd1. OL Shawn Andrews – He moved up 12 spots to catch him, a questionable draft pick at the time, but he appears to be a brilliant pick for Reid. The kid will be a force on the offensive line for years to come. (A)
Rd3. CB Matt Ware – Never more than the Birds’ fourth-best cornerback, now hard at work with the Arizona Cardinals. (D)
Rd4. S JR Reed-he Would have been a great pick if he hadn’t ruined his career with a leg injury jumping a chain link fence. He had a long career as a kick returner ahead of him. I can’t blame Reid for this. (C)
Rd4. OL Tony Darilek – If you’ve ever heard of this guy before, you’re a more informed man than I am. (F)
Rd5. RB Thomas Tapeh – In a way, this guy is our starting fullback. He can’t run the ball, has no speed and is a mediocre run blocker. But he’s not a terrible value for a fifth round. (C)
Rd6. QB Andy Hall – A project from the start. Project… aborted. (D)
Rd6. CB Dexter Wynn: The Birds’ number four cornerback, recently demoted from his kick return duties. Decent cover guy, not bad value in round six either. (C)
Rd7. OG Adrien Clarke, RB Bruce Perry, C Dominic Furio (D-)
Once again, only one truly productive NFL player in this draft.
Rd1. DT Mike Patterson – Recently signed a ridiculous seven-year contract extension that makes him an Eagle through 2016, the second-year starter has just 1 1/2 sacks for the Birds in 2006 and just 25 tackles in 11 games. It’s not too much to ask for a bit of impact from last year’s first-round pick. (C-)
Rd2. WR Reggie Brown: He’s been a pretty decent wide receiver for the Eagles in his second year and should only get better. He has struggled to hold on to the ball and isn’t much of a playmaker, but he has proven to be a decent second-round pick. (B)
Rd2. LB Matt McCoy: Perhaps the best example of why the Eagles are losing. Was this a second round pick? Watching him get ripped off by Dallas Clark on Sunday night made me want to cut him off right then and there. He stinks. (D)
Rd3. RB Ryan Moats: A lost draft pick. Why go with a smallish broker when you already had Wesbrook? Wouldn’t it have been a smarter move to recruit a bigger back to complement B-West? Moats hasn’t seen the field in 2006 and it doesn’t seem likely that he will see it anytime soon. (D+)
Rd4. S Sean Considine – Here’s another guy who’s been thrown around the field like a ragdoll lately, though that’s mostly because linebackers have been so brutal. He looks like he could develop into a decent midfielder over time. It’s not a bad choice and the jury is still out on it. (C+)
Rd4. OL Todd Herremans – A starting offensive lineman on one of the strongest offensive lines in football. A solid selection. (B+)
Rd5. DE Trent Cole-While he started out fast, he has slowed down considerably since he was named the starter. I’m still not sure if he will become a defensive end, but he has shown enough promise to make you optimistic. Definitely good value here in round five. (C+)
Rd5. OL Scott Young – I’ve never heard of him. (Incomplete)
Rd6. OL Calvin Armstrong – Why another offensive lineman here? (Incomplete)
Rd7. DT Keyonta Marshall and LB David Bergeron – Practice squad players. (Incomplete)
Six current starters are from this draft. The problem… only one (Herremans) looks like a future Pro-Bowler, and only two others (Brown & Cole) look like long-term solutions to their positions.
Rd1. DT Broderick Bunkley – It’s a sin that the 14th pick in the draft is so invisible. I know it’s his rookie season, but I think we deserve to expect more from a first-round pick, especially at a defensive tackle position. A massive underperformer so far, but still too early to call it a bust. But he’s on the right track. (C)
Rd2. OL Winston Justice – Once again, the offensive line is packed and, for now, it’s right where it should be. As backup. (Incomplete)
Rd3. LB Chris Gocong-In a position of great weakness, Gocong would have had a chance to showcase his talents, but a neck injury prematurely ended his 2006 season. (Incomplete)
Rd4. OL Max Jean-Gilles: As Justice, waiting his turn to fill in for an injured offensive lineman. (Incomplete)
Rd4. WR Jason Avant: While he’s gotten a bit of playing time this year, Andy Reid’s offensive scheme is too complicated for a rookie wide receiver to understand. (Incomplete)
Rd5. WR/KR Jeremy Bloom – You never like to hear about a speedster with hamstring issues. in GO. (Incomplete)
Rd5. LB Omar Gaither – Perhaps best known as the 12th man on the field in New Orleans’ closing minutes of the game, a penalty that cost the Birds one last chance to beat the Saints. Paying your dues on special teams now. (Incomplete)
Rd6. DT Lajuan Ramsey (Incomplete)
Not a single lone player making an impact in 2006. Simply unforgivable.
And let’s not forget two major defensive draft flops Reid participated in prior to 2003… LB Barry Gardner (’99, Rd.2), LB Quinton Caver (’01, Rd.2), and the only solid pick, 2005 sacks leader DE Derrick Burgess (’01, Rd.3) who the Eagles let go the instant he became healthy and dominant. Don’t you think he would be a great help to the Birds’ D-Line now?
Building a team through the draft is the smart way to go. But Reid’s refusal to acquire free agents in key positions of need, primarily defensive tackle and outside linebacker, and his reliance on unproven first- and second-year players is a big gamble that hasn’t paid off over the past year and a half. .
And why has Reid built an offensive and defensive system that’s so complicated to understand that it’s virtually impossible for a current year’s draft pick to be productive? What kind of sense does that make?
The Eagles’ depth is atrocious. The Birds’ backups, mostly Reid’s previous draft picks, haven’t gotten the job done. And high-round draft picks that are getting significant playing time have underperformed.
The Eagles need someone who is an expert evaluator of college talent. Someone with a history of compiling excellent drafts. Someone who doesn’t have to worry about running a team at the same time.
It’s time for Andy Reid to hand over the reins of GM to someone who, frankly, is better at it.
Does anyone know Modrak’s mobile number?
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