It's wonderful when someone phrases a question in a way that absolutely captures the reality of the situation.
Helmet tap to Sheil @ Phillymag.com for this article.
Here is the question he poses:
While there’s no downplaying the importance of QB play, at some point, teams have to ask themselves the question: How can we be successful without one of the top-five guys in the league?
In other words, how can we best help the guy that we have? Right now, the Eagles fall into that category. They can go with Foles next year. They can draft a quarterback. Or they can add someone via free agency or trade. But chance are, they are not going to go into 2013 with an elite quarterback.
This is the reality that Lurie and Howie find themselves in. They don't know for certain if they have an elite QB in Foles, or if they can obtain one before next season, but they need to find a way to win regardless. Foles, while flashing both good and bad in his SSS playing time, is still a largely unknown entity. We can hope he develops, but we can't count on it. In the meantime, I completely expect them to keep drafting QBs (or possibly obtaining one via FA or trade, but less likely IMO) until they strike gold, but that is probably a long term strategy and does nothing for 2013. The need to win in 2013 isn't going to vanish.
Or at the very least if they lose, or more likely when they lose and even more likely when they lose a lot next season, they need to do so in a manner that shows this fanbase that the future is bright. We need to have hope for moving forward. If they asked me how they could do that this off-season, I would tell them there are 2 things (outside of developing/obtaining an elite QB) that would give me hope.
Develop a young nasty Defense and solidify the OL.
Here are my thoughts on how they can do that:
TL : DR - Add 1 starter/immediate contributor for each line from this draft. Picking 4th in each round presents opportunity to trade back and get extra picks, which we should do at least once. Sign 1 top end FA, either a S or a S (or go nuts and sign both). Draft BPA throughout, with the edge to D over OL over QB over O Skill player.
- As bad as our secondary is and in urgent need of repair, I think the Post Reid Howie run personnel dept needs to focus on adding at least 1 immediate, impact player to each line in this draft. It doesn't necessarily have to be early in the draft, but they have to come in and contribute. As great as it was watching Fletch, MK and Boykins get burn, watching 2nd round pick Curry, who was selected because the team had him ranked as BPA at that point in the draft even though he was a DE and that was allegedly our deepest position on the team and it was widely considered to be a luxury pick at a time when we needed to add talent across the board, be de-activated every week and rot on the bench sucked ass. /gasping for air ... No more. Draft guys who are going to come in and play immediately, especially on each line.
The reality for our OL is that it is a gigantic question mark made up of a multitude of little individual question marks right now and it would be nice to add a top prospect (Joeckel, Matthews, Fisher, Jones, maybe even Warmack) who can step in and start immediately, play at an acceptable level and lock down one of the OL positions for the next decade.
And while our DL is seemingly in better shape (for now) and while we have some good young players (Fletch, Thornton, Graham, Curry) to build on, the rest of the DL are guys who could get old really quick (T Cole, Patterson, Jenkins) or guys who may not be on the roster next year (DFL, Tapp, Hunt). Adding a guy who can come in and contribute to the rotation would be instant depth and insurance for when one of the about to be old guys actually gets old.
- While some are claiming that we suck at losing and picked a bad year to have a high pick, I disagree. This draft is reportedly deep in all 3 areas that we need to add talent to; OL, DL and DB. Adding picks may help us infuse talent to this roster sooner rather than later. The thing to remember is that we have a high pick in each round, and now that the draft is spread out over 3 days, we have 3 opportunities to trade back at the beginning of each day's opening round after teams have had a chance to regroup overnight and possibly identify a must-have prospect that has fallen in the draft but is at the top of their board. These are opportunities to trade back and collect extra picks. I would try to do this at least once, preferably on Saturday in exchange for 2 2nd rounders this year or a 2nd this year and a #1 in 2014.
- Our secondary needs to add a few pieces, but as far as FA goes, I would go with a quality over quantity approach. Identify the best S available and make him an Eagle and then call it quits with FA. The ideal S for me would be a tough player, sure tackler and heavy hitter who brings a little intimidation and swagger to our secondary and a natural leader who leads by example. If that guy exists and to get him that means over paying, fine, just only do so if you have done your homework and feel 100% about the guy being a great fit in whatever scheme is being run. The fact is that more often than not, you have to pay for talent and I am completely comfortable doing so at S this year after watching the 16 game train wreck that we watched last season. And if by some stroke of luck, if we can add both a FS and a SS, that is cool too.
As far as the draft, I am kind of split on what I would do. If Star or Joeckel is there @ 4, in that order, I would simply keep it simple and take one of them and then wait to see how the rest of the 1st plays out to see if I want to trade back in and grab a top prospect of mine who has somehow unexpectedly fallen to the end of the 1st and is both your BPA by a wide margin and is a guy who could fill a need (like a Matthews-OL or Dion Jordan-SAM). This would add 2 immediate players who could be special to our roster.
However, with DL and OL being deep, this might be the year to skip those top prospects and trade back and try to get as many picks in the 25-75 range as possible and stick to BPA. When it comes to BPA, I would prioritize D over OL over QB over WR/RB/TE. If we went this route, we might be able to add a handful of high quality guys who could at the very worst compete for playing time if not be starters in 2013. If you check out mocks (btw SBNation's mockingthedraft is awesome and I recommend visiting early and often for fantastic draft information), there are some enticing names available throughout the 2nd round and into the 3rd.
So, that would be my plan of attack to try to win and instill hope; Sign a top end S who is a natural leader and who can add grit to our defense, add a starter to each line via the draft, trade back once or twice to add extra picks and keep with the defensive BPA strategy to build your defense.
I'd like to see what some of you think about what this team is going to have to do in 2013 to field a team that can compete and inspire the fanbase for belief in better things yet to come.