He can’t draft Wide Receivers, Offensive Linemen, Defensive Ends, Linebackers or Defensive Backs
Even before the
awesome infuriatingly-intriguing bizarre rumor of Jon Gruden replacing Andy Reid as Head Coach – with Reid possibly staying on in a Front Office role – it was evident that Andy Reid has little-to-no clue about how to evaluate certain talent in the rookie pool. I’ll never understand the Eagles fans who claim that The Walrus’ track record in the draft is stout and his resume makes him worthy of his (on-again-off-again) General Manager title. It doesn’t. And the only thing stout about Andy Reid is the beer he drinks… no I’m kidding, it’s his build. He’s fat.
Sure, Reid has an eye for talent at the Quarterback position, and he’s had decent luck with Running Backs and Tight Ends… But it ends there. Let’s take a deep, comprehensive look at Andy Reid’s career drafting record from 1999 to 2009(*).
(*)Please note a few things: 1) We will disregard the various GM’s that helped Reid overlook the drafts throughout his tenure (Modrak, Heckert, Howie). For our intents and purposes, Reid had final say over every pick, regardless of what may or may not have happened behind closed war room doors with real personnel men and scouts. 2) We will disregard the 2010 draft because it’s simply too early to call. 3) The draft is a crapshoot, particularly after Round 3, so earlier picks are weighted with more significance. In the same regard, we will not even think about going into who the Eagles passed over (as hindsight is 20/20).
Over Reid’s eleven drafts from ’99 to ’09, the Eagles selected 92 players. Of those 92, there are 30 players you would consider to be good to great players. Without looking at any other team’s drafting accuracy, I’d say that hitting on one-out-of-every-three players in the draft is pretty good. And again, I’m not saying that Andy Reid doesn’t know how to draft… I’m saying he only knows how to draft certain positions.
The deceiving thing about those 30 good-to-great players is the severe lack of true superstar players. Donovon McNabb, Brian Westbrook, DeSean Jackson and Trent Cole are the only players drafted by Andy Reid to be national stars; players whose jerseys you can find in any sporting goods store across the country, or whose name casual fans associate with the franchise (and Cole might be a stretch outside of Philly). LeSean McCoy could (and should) be the fifth. And McNabb is the only first-rounder to be a real stand out star.
Reid’s hit on seven of eleven first round picks – McNabb, Corey Simon, Lito Sheppard, Shawn Andrews, Mike Patterson, Broderick Bunkley and Jeremy Maclin – a pretty good percentage, except only three of those players are currently on the team (and Patterson’s on the low side of “good”).
Positions Reid Can Draft:
- Quarterbacks – McNabb (Round 1), Kevin Kolb (2)(**) and A.J. Feeley (5)(**); Missed on Andy Hall (6) (**)In the sense that Reid can develop QB talent and leverage it for high draft pick trade bait.
- Running Backs/Fullbacks – McCoy (2), Westbrook (3), Correll Buckhalter (4), Cecil Martin (6); Missed on Ryan Moats (3), Tony Hunt (3), Thomas Tapeh (5) and three late round picks.
- Tight Ends – L.J. Smith (2)(***), Brent Celek (5), Jed Weaver (6)(***); Missed on Tony Stewart (5) and Cornelius Ingram (5) (***)As far as good Tight Ends go, Smith actually ranks up there in Eagles all-timers…. but, full disclosure: I hate him. Weaver bounced around the league, playing sparingly. Remember though, before the last few years, good Tight Ends were few and far between.
- Defensive Tackles – Simon (1), Patterson (1), Bunkley (1); Trevor Laws (2) is still up in the air, but definitely not worthy of the team’s first pick in the draft; Missed on a few late rounders
Positions Reid Can’t Draft:
- Wide Receivers – Maclin (Round 1), DeSean Jackson (2) and Jason Avant (4); Missed on Freddie Mitchell (1), Todd Pinkston (2)(****), Reggie Brown (2)(****), Billy McMullen (3), Na Brown (4), Gari Scott (4), Freddie Milons (5) and a few other late round scrubs. Brandon Gibson could have been counted in the good pile, but he couldn’t crack the active roster and was traded to St. Louis (with a 5th Round pick) for Linebacker Wil Weatherspoon. (****)I’ll argue with anyone that wants to on either Pinkston or Brown. I don’t care how much production they had here, they were both second round busts and, coincidentally, never caught on anywhere else.
- Offensive Linemen – Andrews (1), Winston Justice (2), Doug Brzezinski (3), John Welbourn (4), Todd Herremans (4), Max Jean-Gilles (4); Missed on Bobbie Williams (2), Scott Peters (4), Trey Darilek (4) and eleven more. Mike McGlynn (4) is leaning towards the latter group, though maybe Howard Mudd, and a move back to Guard (his natural position) could spark his career. Seriously though, look at that list. Andy Reid – a guy that’s considered to be a really good judge of Offensive Line talent (not to mention the fact that he’s publicly claimed Offensive Line is the most important position in football) – has only drafted six good linemen… Six good lineman out of 20 selections in eleven years! Two of which, Brzezinski and Welbourne, came in his first draft (and haven’t been on the team since 2003) and one, Andrews, who flamed out with mental issues. And are Justice and Jean-Gilles even that good? Reid’s two best lineman (Jon Runyan and Tra Thomas) came from Free Agency and Ray Rhodes, and all of his other linemen were undrafted and “coached up” by his new Defensive Coordinator.
- Defensive Ends – Derrick Burrgess (3), Cole (5) and Raheem Brock (7); Missed on Jerome McDougle (1), Victor Abiramiri (2), Bryan Smith (3) and Jamaal Green (4). Even though Reid “hit” on three ends, Trent Cole is the only one that counts. Burgess had one good year here and then was offered a contract (though to be fair, Oakland greatly overpaid him), and Brock was dropped because the team had no room for him, a seventh-round pick. Cross your fingers on Brandon Graham.
- Linebackers – Stewart Bradley (5) and Moise Fokou (7); Missed on Barry Gardner (2), Quinton Caver (2), Matt McCoy (2), Chris Gocong (3), Omar Gaither (5) and on and on (nine in all). Awful. But we all knew this already. And yes, I’m putting Fokou in the good column, he’s one of the only Linebackers on the team that can actually hit the crap out of someone.
- Defensive Backs – Sheppard (1), Michael Lewis (2) and Sheldon Brown (2); Missed on Matt Ware (3), J.R. Reed (4), Sean Considine (4), Quintin Demps (4), Jack Ikegwuonu (4), C.J. Gaddis (5); Macho Harris (5) and so on (eleven total). Besides Offensive Linemen, Defensive Backs are the biggest misconception of Andy Reid’s drafting abilities. He inherited Brian Dawkins, Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent. He bought Asante Samuel and Quintin Mikell was undrafted. The triumvirate of Sheppard, Brown and Lewis didn’t last long and certainly didn’t live up to its expectations or predecessor. Besides those three, Reid hasn’t drafted one successful Cornerback or Safety. Again, cross your fingers for Nate Allen.
Pressuring the Quarterback. Disrupting the rhythm. Covering down field. Stopping the run. Covering tight ends. Locking down receivers. Those are the components of a good Defense. You need blue chip players at Defensive End and Linebacker and Cornerback and Safety. The Eagles, under Andy Reid’s regime, have not been capable of drafting players of that ilk at those key positions. In fact, Andy Reid flat out chose to ignore the importance of Linebackers, and still does. Sure, you could blame Jim Johnson and his scheme, but that was his achilles heel and Reid, as Head Coach, should have overruled him.
The 2010 Eagles had glaring issues at each of those four positions (whether due to injury or not) and Defensive Tackle and, particularly, on Offensive Line. How does Andy plan on fixing them? Even if he buys a stud like Asomugha, he’ll still have to settle for a second-tier Free Agent Lineman or Linebacker, and then roll the dice in the draft with another Lineman, Linebacker and/or Defensive Back.
Wide Receiver was the team’s missing piece forever. It took him eight drafts to finally find a decent wideout (Avant) and ten to find a stud (Jackson). How long are we going to give him until he finally hits on a Defensive End or Cornerback? What about a real Linebacker, which has basically become the Walrus’ white whale? I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t trust Andy Reid to draft any of the positions of need. And the Eagles need a lot.
I guess it’s a good thing that Howie’s been quickly taking control of things behind the scenes… Yikes, did I just say that.
Fire The Walrus… We’ll gladly take Gruden!