Draft weekend is over, and the next thing to look forward to will be OTAs, which begin on May 27th. Here are some notes on the Eagles' draft weekend:
Many 'draftniks' will do draft grades for all 32 teams. A common thing you'll read for the Eagles' first round selection of Marcus Smith will be something like, "Marcus Smith was the number (fill in arbitrary number) on my big board. The Eagles reached." ESPN's Mel Kiper, for example, had this to say:
The Eagles did a solid job of adding talent and hitting needs, making up for one questionable decision early with a number of solid ones down the board. Philadelphia moved down and then selected Marcus Smith, the No. 85-ranked player on my board.
'Big board' rankings often don't make sense, especially for defensive front seven players. For example, 3-4 teams are going to value a player like Marcus Smith far more than a team that runs a 4-3. Therefore, ranking a player with no regard to how he'll fit one system over another is very difficult to do.
While the Eagles may have taken Smith slightly earlier than would be ideal, the NFL valued Smith much higher than media folk. For example, the Redskins reportedly would have likely taken him with the 34th overall pick if Smith were still available. Instead, when Smith wasn't available, the Redskins traded out of their pick.
Best move: Trading out of the 34th pick overall and picking up another third-round choice. The Redskins did not have a first-round pick, so being able to pick up another choice among the top three rounds was a strong move. The Redskins might have stayed at 34 had linebacker Marcus Smith still been available. The Redskins saw a couple other players they liked get picked as well, so trading back was a no-brainer. Plus, they liked a handful of pass-rushers, so they knew someone they liked would still be around at 47.
It is noteworthy that two additional teams picking in the first round after the Eagles, the Panthers and Patriots, also worked out Smith prior to the draft.
Marcus Smith was the player the Eagles wanted. If they would have traded back further than 34 (and possibly even earlier than that), they probably would not have gotten their guy.
After the draft ends every year, a free agent period begins, as teams furiously try to sign players who were not drafted. Here are the notable undrafted free agents the Eagles signed:
Trey Burton, ATH, Florida: Very undersized TE, if that's what you would call him. He's probably more like an oversized WR. At Florida, Burton played QB, FB, TE, WR, and special teams. Obviously, he fits the versatility theme.
Carey Spear, K, Vanderbilt: Nickname is "Murderleg." Howie Roseman appeared on WIP's Morning Show with Angelo Cataldi, and spoke about Murderleg. "This is a guy that (special teams coach Dave Fipp) worked out," said Roseman, "and (Fipp) said 'You have to see this guy. He's a little guy and he throws his body around. He's fun.' So we have some competition there and that's what it's all about. Let's get competition at every spot and let the best man win." Here's what Fipp was referring to (h/t Bleeding Green Nation).
Hopefully he can kick.
Henry Josey, RB, Missouri: Oustanding production at Missouri.
Wait... 7 yards per carry throughout his career? How'd he go undrafted?!? He tore his ACL, MCL, and patellar tendon against Texas last season.
David Fluellen, RB, Toledo: Great production at Toledo.
Wade Keliikipi, DT, Oregon: Another Duck!!! That makes 8 on the roster.
In case you want to update your Madden franchise or go out and buy a rookie's jersey, here are the numbers the Eagles' draft picks will be wearing:
• Marcus Smith – 90
• Jordan Matthews – 81
• Josh Huff – 11
• Jaylen Watkins – 37
• Taylor Hart – 97
• Ed Reynolds – 30
• Beau Allen – 94
And here are the numbers for the notable undrafted free agents mentioned above:
• Carey Spear – 1
• Trey Burton – 47
• Henry Josey – 34
• David Fluellen – 41
• Wade Keliikipi – 74
• Marcus Smith wore 91 at Louisville. Assuming Smith would have stayed with 91 in the pros, he had to move to 90 because Fletcher Cox currently wears 91.
• I like 81 for Jordan Matthews. 81 has been around the block a few times and back. I also like 11 for Huff.
• Jaylen Watkins didn't get a "cool number." All the 20's are taken, with the exception of 20 itself, which nobody will be getting. Watkins has to have his eyes on Roc Carmichael's 21.
• Carey Spear has the ultimate kicker number. That has to help his chances of making the team.
• WR Quton Pratt will wear 10. #NextDeSean.
I will be appearing at Philly Phaithful (they sell Philly sports apparel) tonight to BS about the Eagles and their draft haul. They are located in Northern Liberties, 737 N. 4th Street, Philadelphia. Please RSVP here. Even if you're one of the people kind enough to reach out to me via email to inform me that I'm a no-talent hack unworthy of your time, there will be "complimentary beverages."