By Scott Crabtree (@TheScootCrab)
I was listening to 97.5 The Fanatic on Friday morning, and there was, as I’ve previously stated, more yelling than well-reasoned arguments. Was Marcus Smith drafted too high? Maybe. Immediately before the draft, two of the CBS Sports writers mocked Smith to go at picks 17 and 23. Clearly he wasn’t a third round pick to everyone. Additionally there was talk that Smith wouldn’t have gotten past the Seahawks at pick 32. My take is that he was probably taken 10-15 picks too early, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that in picking Smith, the Eagles became a better team. Was there an opportunity cost associated with taking a player a few spots too high? In hindsight, probably not. I’m sure the Eagles tried to trade down a second time from 26, and didn’t have any takers. Therefore, if there are no other options, there is no lost opportunity cost.
You could then argue that the Eagles shouldn’t have allowed themselves to be put in that position in the first place, but sometimes the draft doesn’t shake out perfectly and there is a ton of guesswork and hoping that has to be done in the war room. All serious takes on the pick aside, it prompted Chip to say, “long levers are strong levers,” about Marcus Smith’s long arms, which makes me think that the list of measurables that he gave to Howie and the scouts was full of fun sayings like that. For instance: “A receiver that is tall is a receiver that can ball,” or “If he can’t jump, don’t draft that chump”.
Aside from Marcus Smith, the Eagles absolutely continued to build the strength of their offense. I especially liked the Josh Huff pick in the third round. Huff should be able to step in immediately and be an effective slot receiver. Instead of catching balls and immediately falling down, a move I refer to as, “Avant-ing,” he is going to be a great run after the catch player. In addition to Huff, I like the move to sign UDFA TE Blake Annen. Blake Annen is essentially the Darius Heyward-Bey of TE’s. He had very limited production as a football player, only 147 receiving yards his senior year, but ran a 4.41 forty and measured at 6’4” and 247 lbs. at his workout. I should probably also mention that Jordan Matthews is going to mostly play out of the slot, which means that the corner backs that will be covering him will be giving up quite a bit of size.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Birds drafted Jaylen Watkins in the third round, and he is a guy who has experience playing safety and cornerback. This basically means that the Eagles have two chances to get a contributor out of him, which increases his value in my mind. To start off, you play him at corner, and if that doesn’t work out, you try him at safety. The other notable defensive player is DE Taylor Hart, who was one of the only two-gap DEs in this draft, so at the very least he fits the system.
Finally, if you haven’t already done so, and I cannot recommend this highly enough, Google “Murderleg.” I found out about Murderleg on the morning of May 12th. Where were you when you found out?