• May 27, 2022

The Jordan Hicks Pick Still Doesn’t Make Sense

JordanHicksOTA1 (1)About a month ago, to the surprise of many, the Eagles selected inside linebacker Jordan Hicks in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft instead of addressing their needs on the offensive line.  With Pro Bowl guard Evan Mathis refusing to report to OTA’s and seeking a trade, it’s even more ridiculous that the Birds used that valuable third round pick to draft Hicks, an inside linebacker, who was expected to go in the fourth round.

The youngster looks like a good young, smart inside linebacker, but I started looking closely at the outside linebacker situation and came to the conclusion that I would have understood them using the pick on an outside linebacker more than an inside linebacker.  Right now they do not have a reliable backup at the all important outside linebacker position. In truth, the impact linebackers in a 3/4 defense are the outside backers.  I think the entire coaching staff would admit that Marcus Smith isn’t a legitimate backup, right now.  You can’t even rely on him to be ready to go through an OTA workout.

This defense is in trouble if for some reason Connor Barwin or Brandon Graham goes down.  We don’t even know if Graham can do the job as a first string outside linebacker.  He’s most definitely a liability in pass coverage, but you’re willing to put up with that as long as he gives you the pass rush.  They have no depth at outside linebacker and to me, it’s really more important in the 3/4 scheme to have pass rushers at the outside linebacker position, than to have good players at the inside linebacker spot.

I know they will wind up moving one or two of their inside linebackers outside, but it’s best when you have players focusing on one position, not two.

I think offenses are going to try to force Barwin into pass coverage more and make Graham be the rushing outside linebacker.  They can do that with formations, by lining up the tight end to Barwin’s side and lining up backs out in the slot on his side.  They can make a habit of leaving Graham to the open side.  Offensive coordinators are going to pay attention to Barwin more because he led the NFC in quarterback sacks.

We will find out if Graham can get to the passer consistently throughout an entire season, and avoid injuries.  What if the answers to those questions about Graham are negative?  That will really put the Birds in a dilemma.  Of course we always have Marcus Smith to turn to.

Rushing the passer is the most valuable thing a player in the defensive front seven can do.  That’s why Barwin was voted to the Pro Bowl.  Defensive players are drafted in the first round for being able to get to the quarterback.  The NFL is a passing league and getting to the quarterback is the key to defense.  A pass rush can make a mediocre secondary look good.

This young fella Hicks isn’t going to be impacting anything.  He’s a good coverage inside linebacker and the Eagles made that such a high priority despite all the other immediate needs. Stopping the run or being able to cover backs out of the backfield isn’t nearly as important.  Hicks was drafted for future needs when the Eagles have serious needs right now on their offensive line and at the outside linebacker position.

Nobody wants to see backups guards like Matt Tobin or Andrew Gardner get beat on a pass rush and get Sam Bradford hurt, again.  We also don’t want to see them let the running backs, DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews get pounded because they’re being over matched and dominated in the running game.

GCOBB

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23 Comments

  • Once the Eagles Signed Brad Jones and Traded for Kiko Alonso, I took the Position of ILB off the needs list and off the Draft Board….
    How Chip Kelly failed to address the OL Position this Off-Season & Draft is beyond me and will come back to haunt him more than any Decision and will really be noticeable come 2016/2017 when Peters & Mathis are done playing

    • Do you really think that this will ‘haunt chip Kelly more than any decision….?” Really? have you been paying attention?

      • I don’t see it haunting him, but the mathis situation was front and center pre draft, so there was already some thought that tobin and barbre could both start leaving very little remaining on depth chart. I personally felt that ol in Rd 3 had enough to be a starter this season, where hicks is a special teams contributor.

        • Jeff I don’t think any of the other teams agreed with you as there were no guards taken in the third after the eagles. If they took a 4th round guard then the article would have been “eagles reached to fill a need’–
          don’t get me wrong I am worried about line depth like everyone…. I just remember full well the last time they reached on an OG!!!!!!

          • Who cares what the Other 31 Teams are Drafting and where they are Selecting. Remember that the Draft becomes a “Selection of Runs” where Certain Positions get lumped in together and you can see a run on OL, or CB, or WR or RB, etc,etc
            That’s why you typically will see a 1/2 to a Full Round Differential of where Players are projected to go and where they actually go..
            Eagles need to do their homework better and have plans B,C,D & E when their first choice is off the Board for most of the time, that’s what happens when 31 other Teams with needs are involved…
            I group about 4-5 Players in Each Round to Target based on their Upside and Needs of the Team… If Player 1 and 2 are already gone, then I look at Player 3 and go from there .. If all 5 Players are gone, then I think about Trading out .. If All 5 Players are on the Board that I like, then I may even Trade back a few Spots to ensure I get one of them plus another Asset/Pick from another Team
            This was Draft 1 for Kelly/Marynowitz and they did ok, but they need to improve on learning the nuances of how the Draft is falling, other Teams Tendancies, “Draft Runs” and ultimately, the Talent that’s out there to add to your Roster for overall improvement and competition

            • because if they draft someone in 3rd and he is projected in 4th fools like you would say REACH! —
              they reached for need etc…

              • When we were all projecting what round we felt prospects would be selected, many of us had that round 3/4 title to guys that we felt would beed to be taken by the Eagles because they wouldn’t be left on the board in round 4 when we made our next selection.

                Without drafting an OL in 2014, releasing Todd, the drama with Mathis and the injuries sustained by the OL last year and how it really hurt the offense, all of that was enough to “ensure” you had one of the last offensive lineman tthat we saw go off the board quickly in the early part of round 4, instead of trying to project if they were still going to be on the board or not.

                With the emphasis on pounding the football with Murray/Matthews, one would think that having depth at the OL position would be a bigger priority in the “present” rather then adding depth at the ILB position.

              • Jeff you had Clemmings going in round 1… so there is that!

              • They already did that with the Hicks Selection as most had him as a 4th due to his Injuries and a lot of missed games at the College Level…
                Then Traded their 4th Rd Away (#113) for a Future 3rd Rd with Lions when there were Players on the Board who could have helped them..

                Players like
                Guard – Jamil Douglas who went #114 to the Dolphins
                Guard – Jon Felciano who went #128 to the Raiders
                Tackle – Terry Poole who went #130 to Seattle (Eagles worked him out too)
                Center – Shaquille Mason who went #131 to Patriots
                Center – Max Garcia who went #133 to the Broncos
                Guard – Mark Glowinski who went #134 to the Seahawks(Eagles worked him out too)
                Guard – Jarvis Harrison who went #152 to the Jets early in the 5th Round

                And these are just OL that were on the Board in the 2nd half of the 4th Round that the Eagles could have Selected instead of trading Pick to Lions

                There were other Players I liked as well still on the Board at #113

                TE Blake Bell of Oklahoma who went #117 to the 49ers
                DE/OLB Za’Daruis Smith who went #122 to the Ravens
                Safety Adrian Amos of Penn State who went #142 to the Bears
                (Who the Eagles Worked out and were high on)

              • Paul they clearly didn’t evaluate those players as you did…I mean as other people did then you read their names on some blog

              • TJ Clemmings Dropped from a late 1st Rounder to the 4th Round due to an Injury in his Foot which some believe will require Surgery and a strong possibility that he misses the 2015 Season.. With that said, he’s 21 Years Old, and has only played 2 College Seasons as a OT being converted from a DL so he is raw, but a lot of upside Potential for Future Years once Healthy…
                Vikings got a very good Player with an eye to the Future who may not held them in 2015, but probably will be a fixture on their OL for Years to come

  • If you are a team without all of the roster holes the Eagles had going into the 2015 draft, taking a guy for the “future” is understood, but I was not pleased with the selection of Hicks.

    I’m not throwing Hicks under the bus, he could end up as the starting ILB in 2017 and for years to come, but there were too many holes that needed to be patched. that taking an ILB should not have been the move.

    Offensive line is a position group that I’m worried about. The Eagles elected to wait until round 4, then watched the remining top prospects go to the teams ahead of them, and then ended up trading the pick for a 3rd rder next year.

    It sounded as if the Bengals were planning on taking Hicks in round 3, but I’m sure Eagle fans would have graded the draft much higher and felt a lot better if the Eagles went OL in round 3 and took an ILB in round 4.

    I see former Packer Jones as the OLB depth behind Graham/Barwin. Curry will continue to be used as a passing specialist, but ultimately not get the number of snaps he should be getting with his obvious talent.

    To try and project what Marcus Smith will bring is a mystery, and Travis Long has been unable to stay healthy, but hopefully this is the year for him. Braman has the ‘sacrifice the body” mentality that you wish Marcus Smith had, but Braman isn’t a good football player from a read and react position, he reacts by trying to destroy the man with the football which is perfect for special teams.

  • Assuming Mathis leaves (perhaps a big assumption, perhaps not)

    Then the issue is what happens if there is one injury on the Oline? Just one.

    With pedestrian Barbre and unknown Tobin manning the guard spots week 1….what happens when any one of the 5 goes down and there has to be a shuffle?

    David Molk again?

    Perhaps Barbre and Tobin can come in and play week 1…its a big “if”, but possible….but after that? The cupboard is bare. One high ankle sprain, one knee tweak, one torn bicep or calf strain………

    • Vinnie that is true…someone will have to step up– whether that is the phantom guy everyone wanted in round 3, a cast off from another team, a guy that was on the practice squad last year… maybe mathis is back and its all hand wringing for nothing.
      eagles will address the line in draft and FA next year hopefully–

    • Mathis really does not have a lot of leverage here, and frankly is over valuing himself. Chris Chester was just released from Washington and signed within a day by the Falcons…he is a year younger than Mathis and he signed a 1-year deal for $2.8 million. Mathis is a year older (and yes, a better player) and is signed for $5.5 million and wants a raise. He has not been able to find a team for over a year that is willing to make a trade and give him more money. He can sit out…and get a year older….and the Eagles still own his rights and have him under contract.

      Even though it is not a situation that I would want to see continue, Mathis can only hope that he is viewed as a disruption and not “buying-in” and we all know that Kelly has been know to cut (see some receiver…what was his name…Jackson I think) a talented player without getting any compensation if he does not buy-in to all that the coach is building. Unfortunately, with Rosenhaus as his agent, and his general snarky twitter attitude, I would not put it past Mathis to play this card and get himself tossed off of the team. I hope that I am wrong and that he will play or a trade can be worked out, but until training camp starts we will not fully know how it will play out.

  • Like everyone else I was surprised when Chip passed on an Olineman and took Hicks. Having said that, I can see the reasoning. Ryans is on his last legs and Kendricks is on his way out of town (either this summer via trade or in free agency next winter). Chip is looking at Hicks and Alonso as his ILBs in the next year or two. I can easily see Chip drafting Chip addressing The oline next off season like he did corner back and ILB this year. QB remains the real question.
    (Even if Bradford stays healthy, do you pay an injury prone QB $100million ?)

  • fyi pre draft I was begging for an OL in round 1… but they didn’t so move on and hope the people making big bucks to make these decisions have a plan.
    when herremans was released he said chip values two positions OL and QB so hopefully he knows something about the guys on the roster.

    • Then why did Chip Kelly admit in his Post-Draft Press Conference that he’s concerned about the lack of Depth and Age of the Eagles OL..
      It was as if he admitted an error, an oversight that they would not be able to go much longer without addressing the OL Position ?
      This came right from Chip Kelly’s mouth the Day after Draft Weekend
      Was he and Marynowtiz so concerned about getting a early pick (2nd or 3rd Round Pick for 2016 Draft to make up for Bradford Trade) that they took their eye off the 2015 Draft as it was unfolding.. I will write a new Book titled “The Fog of the Draft” and use this lost opportunity of 2015 of once again of upgrading the Roster..
      Eagles Originally went in with 6 Selections of the Top 125 Players and only came out with 3 Players (Agholor and 2 Players in Eric Rowe & Jordan Hicks who won’t even really contribute until the 2016 Season)
      This is not good enough or enough young Talented Players to bring in when rebuilding a Roster which Kelly has decided to do, Rebuilding thru Free-Agency is a loser way to go as most Football Fans would agree..
      It’s thru the Draft that you build a quality,consistent and deep Football Teams.. Check the Seahawks,Patriots, Ravens, Steelers,49ers ..

      • Why? Because he IS concerned…but that doesn’t mean you reach for a need,..t

      • Paul chip Kelly isn’t on a blog all day..he is building a team. I’m sure he has concerns about every player group…it goes with the territory.

        • Chip Kelly & Eagles should Hire me to assist with their Draft Strategy/War Room Process and help Scouts.. I could work from January until Draft Time
          and then return to Boone.. I am going to write him and Owner Lurie a Letter

          • Paul then you actually have to watch film….and be accountable for the nonsense you spew

  • Cigar drinks the kool-aid with every post lmao

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