Personnel Mistakes Philadelphia Eagles Did NOT Make In 2014

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May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Khalil Mack (Buffalo) holds up a jersey after being selected as the number five overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft to the Oakland Raiders at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Drafting A Headliner

In today’s NFL Draft, teams who perform poorly are rewarded in the subsequent NFL draft.   It’s  intentions are simple – keep the NFL competitive by ensuring poorly performing teams have access to the highest quality talent coming to the NFL from college.   By the time the Superbowl winning Seattle Seahawks select, 31 other NFL teams have already helped themselves to hopeful prospects.   And so, a very successful Philadelphia Eagles team selected 22 out of 32 teams.   At that position, 21 other teams have already made their choice.

But what about trading up?   Well, motivation certainly plays a part, but the reality is that the Philadelphia Eagles would have needed to trade virtually its entire 2014 draft to trade up to the top ten, and likely would have needed to trade 2015’s first round to get within the top 5.

That’s seven prospects, each of whom have strong chances of making the roster.   Can a single player be that valuable?  In a word, yes – IF HE DELIVERS.  But much like signing a free agent star, the blue collar team is about production, not about potential.   The same likelihood of stardom can be reversed, and a stellar prospect finds transitioning to the NFL difficult and never realizes his potential.   While lesser heralded players contribute on special teams and learn the NFL over time, earning their playing time as the prove worthy of it, the headliner who doesn’t pan out finds their playing time going the opposite direction.  Once the starter and never asked to play special teams, the begin platooning, then find their time limited to special teams and finally they are no longer part of the team.   With seven prospects, one or two misses does not cripple the team.  But if the team puts their entire draft into one player (ala the Ricky Williams draft by the New Orleans Saints), they have no chance if that player delivers anything short of NFL stardom immediately.   If the prospect fails, the team is set back years.  Once more, in the second year of the Philadelphia Eagles under head coach Chip Kelly, that’s a risk the organization can simply NOT make right now.