Before news of the tragic death of Garrett Reid broke on Sunday, there was a rather intriguing story (yes, these do actually come out of camp from time to time) offered by new Eagles beat writer Zach Berman of the Inquirer about the now longest tenured Eagles (all comrades of the 2005 draft): Mike Patterson (1st round-31st overall), Todd Herremans (4th round-126 overall), and Trent Cole (5th round-146th overall!!!):
An actual, real life, interesting camp related article?
What (other than making me feel insanely old that these are now the longest tenured Eagles) strikes you about this article? Well, that Herremans and Cole were mined from the 4th round and 5th rounds respectively, and clearly better players overall than the 1st round pick Patterson. Obviously, the Eagles have been known over the years for mining guys late in the draft, or perhaps holding on to late round guys inexplicably like grim death, eg. Moise Fokou. But, I guess this depends on how you look at it. Anyway, I decided to take a look at the drafts following 2005 (up to 2009) to see what remains. For 2010-11, I based it on what could be deemed a “Thumbs up” pick so far, taking into account the value of the pick. Hint: there is a reoccurring pattern, otherwise this would be a huge waste of time.
The lost: B. Bunkley* (1st round), W. Justice* (2nd), C. Gocong* (3rd), M. Jean-Gilles (4th), J. Bloom (Ugh…5th), O. Gaither (5th), L. Ramsey (6th). (Side note- Bunkley (DEN), Justice (IND), and Gocong (CLE) are all still in the league with other teams, so some credit goes to the Eagles. Well, not really. Anyway, we will denote these guys from now on with an asterisk for reference.)
The survivor: Jason Avant (4th round)
The lost: K. Kolb* (2nd round), V. Abiamiri (2nd), S. Bradley* (3rd), T. Hunt (3rd- WE ARE PENN STATE pick), CJ Gaddis (4th), R. Barksdale (6th), N. Ilaoa (who cares)
Survivor: B. Celek (5th round)
The lost: T. Laws* (2nd round), B. Smith (3rd round – arguably one of the worst picks of the Andy Reid era, sorry couldn’t help myself), M. McGlynn* (4th), Q. Demps (4th), J. Ikegwuonu (4th), J. Mays* (6th round), A. Studebaker* (6th)
The survivors: D. Jax (2nd round), M. Gibson (6th- albeit via Seattle after being cut a couple of years ago), K. Dunlap (7th)
2009 (Let’s call this “The Outlier”)
The lost: C. Ingram (5th round), V. Harris (5th), F. Tupou (5th), B. Gibson* (6th), P. Fanaika (7th), and my personal fav M. Fokou* (7th)
Survivors: J. Maclin (1st round) and L. McCoy (2nd).
(Let’s shift gears and delineate between those who could be termed as either “Thumbs up” or “Thumbs down (or simply gone)” picks so far, based on the value of the pick. Gone or still here is not relevant so soon in the past, as guys are obviously much more likely to still be around. Let’s call this the 2 second smell test. So, thumbs up or thumbs down so far?)
Thumbs down/gone: B. Graham (1st round), N. Allen (2nd), D. Te’o Nesheim (3rd), T. Lindley (4th), R. Sapp (5th), C. Scott (6th), J. Owens (7th)
Thumbs up: K. Clayton (4th round), M. Kafka (4th), C. Harbor (4th), R. Cooper (5th). J. Chaney (7th). K. Coleman (7th)
2011 (Very soon, but I’m going on some gut here):
Thumbs down: D. Watkins (1st round), J. Jarrett (2st round), C. Matthews (4th), J. Vandervelde (5th), G. Lloyd (7th), S. Havili (7th)
Thumbs up: C. Marsh (3rd round), A. Henery (4th), D. Lewis (5th round), J. Kelce (6th), B. Rolle (6th)
Anyway, you may be asking, what the hell is the point already? The point is clearly that the Eagles have had a great deal more success later in the draft (4th round on), than in the upper rounds. 2009 is a definite outlier year where two hugely impactful high round picks are left in Maclin and McCoy with no late rounders. But, in each other year the “late round gems” largely predominate or they are contributing with other teams, such as the cases of Joe Mays and Andy Studebaker from 2008. Some obvious late round gem examples are: Avant (4th round), Cole (5th), Herremans (4th), Celek (5th), Dunlap (7th), Chaney (7th), D. Lewis (5th), Kelce (6th), and Rolle (6th). This group clearly outnumbers the top round guys remaining or considered “Thumbs up” picks. Rather conveniently, this appears to be consistent with Roseman’s strategy. For instance Roseman stated in Berman’s article:
“Are we going to find them or is someone else going to find them?” and later he stated “The more chances you have, the more lottery tickets you have. That’s our philosophy, as well.”
The jury is still very well out on whether this is a viable philosophy that can win you a Super Bowl. Frankly, it seems a little like convenient flipping of the script by Roseman to give the organization more credit for the late round finds and to minimize the actual and apparent high round misses. That said, this is still a very impressive late round track record for the Birds, and suggests we should be keeping a very close eye on some of these late rounders from 2012, who are well covered in the Training Camp Darling post. Chances are, quite a few of them will be around much longer than many of the high round guys. So, when Trent Edwards is playing QB in the 4th quarter on Thursday night, resist the urge to gauge out your eyeballs. Sit back, have another beer, and think that it is very likely you are watching some big Eagle contributors of the future. The early favorites? Brandon Boykin, Marvin McNutt and Bryce Brown.