Philadelphia Eagles 2015 Mistakes To Avoid – Part II

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Apr 25, 2013; New York, NY, USA;

Lane Johnson

(Oklahoma) is introduced as the number four overall pick to the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

VIII. Expecting Too Much From NFL Draft

There is a frenzy in the NFL that begins from the moment the Super Bowl ends.   That frenzy is the NFL draft – with its build up for 32 NFL teams that flips the fortunes of the regular season so well that the worst become the best, and the best become the worst.  Suddenly teams that struggled to win a game in the NFL are projected to finish in the playoffs because they signed the right names out of the NFL draft.

Well, the bust/boom rate from the draft is about 50% – which is about where the Philadelphia Eagles have run in recent years.   There is an occasional good year.  However, it only takes one horrific draft to place a well managed organization on the death spiral.  Sometimes, the panic runs so deeply that players are sent packing before they have sufficient time to mature.   Think of players who never panned out for the Eagles, but when signed to another team became surprise starters who had career seasons.   It has happened all too often.

So if the NFL is a restaurant – and the roster is the pantry – then free agency is the trip to the store, while the draft is the garden.   The teams with the most success have a fine eye of signing players who are not expected to make an immediate roster impact.  No, those teams draft for the future.  And the draft does not end at round seven.   They continue to search tirelessly for undrafted players, or football skills in the Canadian Football League, or even from the previous years free agents who were not signed.

There are no guarantees from the draft.  If you think that the New York Giants got a steal in drafting LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr, would you be surprised in the least to know that he was the third wide receiver selected in 2014, behind Clemson Sammy Watkins and Texas Mike Evans?    Do you prefer the Eagles wide receiver standout Jordan Matthews from Vanderbilt?   He was the sixth wide receiver selected.    Even to that point, the true measure of the success of any draft is years after the fact.

There’s the rub.  If your team is struggling, you likely have to look back three or four years in the NFL draft to find where that difficulty sprang from.   If you want to place that to the test, dial back to the 2012 NFL draft for the New England Patriots.  You will find defensive end Chandler Jones paired up with inside linebacker Dont’a Hightower, the team’s draft was rated a B.  On the Seattle Seahawks side?  You find quarterback Russell Wilson,  defensive end Bruce Irvin, inside linebacker Bobby Wagner, running back Robert Turbin, but the team’s draft was rated a C.

But this is three years later.   From that same New England draft, there were seven players selected, and the Seattle Seahawks selected ten players.    It’s a crap shoot, a numbers game, even when you are a team that plays for the Super Bowl.   Oh, by the way, from that 2012 draft, the Philadelphia Eagles found: defensive end Fletcher Cox, inside linebacker Mychal Kendricks, defensive end Vinny Curry, quarterback Nick Foles, cornerback Brandon Boykin, offensive tackle Dennis Kelly, and now traded running back Bryce Brown.