Notes around the NFC East: Eagles RBs, ranking the top 25 under 25, Orakpo’s health, a wrap up on Damontre Moore, and Dez a top 5 WR?

Eagles

Mile marker 23 and 24

• Tommy and I recorded a show last night. We reviewed our expectations for the Eagles’ defense this season. At one point during the show, Tommy likened DRC and Nnamdi Asomugha to mile markers, because opposing offenses drove right by them. Fantastic. That’s my artistic interpretation of “Mile Marker 23″ and “Mile Marker 24″ to the right.

• I wrote a post on the Eagles’ running backs yesterday, and reaction was all over the map. Some people think Bryce Brown is garbage. Some people think he’s extremely talented. Some people said “Hell no” to trading LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown for Adrian Peterson. Some said “Hell yes.” There were wildly varying opinions on the topic. I took an ”Eagles trade scenario that would never happen” Twitter poll in which I asked, “Would you trade LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown for Adrian Peterson?” 63.6% said no, which seems like a crazy high number. The sample size wasn’t all that big, seeing as people were… you know… enjoying time with their families and friends on Memorial Day. So let’s ask it again:

Cowboys

• Calvin Watkins of ESPN thinks that Dez Bryant is emerging as the best WR in his draft class. It’s close. Demaryius Thomas is also really freaking good. I’ve seen it mentioned that Dez is a “Top 5 WR” in the NFL. Let’s look at that.

Here are the players that I would confidently put above Dez at this point (in no particular order):

  1. Calvin Johnson
  2. Larry Fitzgerald
  3. A.J. Green
  4. Brandon Marshall
  5. Andre Johnson

Here are the players I would also put above Dez at this point, acknowledging that there’s at least a strong argument for Dez:

  1. Vincent Jackson
  2. Julio Jones
  3. Roddy White

I’d then have Dez and Demaryius Thomas in that next tier. So I’d have him 9th or 10th. Dez Bryant had a huge season last year and mammoth 2nd half. That was his breakout. Step 2 is now consistency.

• As long as we’re ranking players, my buddy Lars at Blogging the Boys put up a “Best players under 25″ in the NFC East post (with the cutoff being how old they are on September 5th). He listed his Top 10 for each team. Worth checking out. In the comment section there I offered my own Top 25 under 25 list in the NFC East. I didn’t spend a ton of time on this, so I’m not exactly married to it, but here’s what I came up with. I ranked these players in terms of who I would want on my team going forward (meaning that upside is factored in):

  1. RG3
  2. JPP
  3. Dez Bryant
  4. Fletcher Cox
  5. Tyron Smith
  6. Morris Claiborne
  7. Lane Johnson
  8. Prince Amukamara
  9. David Wilson
  10. Alfred Morris
  11. Bryce Brown
  12. Linval Joseph
  13. Nick Foles
  14. Brandon Boykin
  15. Reuben Randle
  16. Matt Barkley
  17. Justin Pugh
  18. Mychal Kendricks
  19. Zach Ertz
  20. Damontre Moore
  21. Travis Frederick
  22. Aldrick Robinson
  23. Tyrone Crawford
  24. Jordan Reed
  25. Dennis Kelly

Redskins

• According to Rich Tandler of Real Redskins, Brian Orakpo is back to 100%. If Rak can be what he was his first two years in the league, that would obviously be a huge boost to the Skins’ D.

Giants

• The Giants are thinking of moving Terrell Thomas to safety. I think that’s his only chance of sticking in the league, frankly.

• I’ll weigh in quickly on the Flacco-Eli debate, started by Chris Canty, who said Flacco is better. If we take age out of the equation, give me Eli all day.

• If you haven’t seen my full wrap-up on Damontre Moore and have a lot of time to kill, it’s roughly 2500 words with video links to specific, hand-picked plays that show his strengths and weaknesses.

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39 Comments

  1. Matt says:

    Stevie Brown has got to be mentioned in the 25 year old list as well.
    I understand Bryce Brown’s potential but until i see him play well in a meaningful game without fumbling i’d hold back my excitement. Linval is going to suprise with all the extra depth on the D-Line.
    Also the gap between Nassib and Barkely isn’t nearly that big. Barkely over Pugh and Nassib off the list? C’mon

  2. Scott says:

    So about trades ….what about Trent Cole for Demarcus Ware? They both seem to be switching positions.

  3. SteveH says:

    Dez has all the physical tools to be better than D. Thomas, but he has some drawbacks as well (most notably his off the field issues and his ability to run the wrong route and bait his QB into throwing ints…) if he can truly keep the drama to a minimum (don’t hit your mom folks!) and get more polished and consistent as a route runner he might just end up right on the tail of the Fitzgeralds and CJ’s of the world.

  4. Jimmy, you do realize Ryan Kerrigan is 24 going on 25, right?

    1. Perry Riley – 25
      EJ Biggers – 25
      Leonard Hankerson – 24
      Kirk Cousins – 24

    2. Last point…you leave off Probowl OLBs on opposing teams who are under 25 yet you list your rookie offensive tackle? You are better than that, Jimmy.

      1. Okay, sorry Jimmy. I assume you are not counting any 25 years olds on the list. Also, Kerrigan turns 25 in August so he wouldnt make your cutoff date is you are excluding all 25 year olds. My bad.

        1. I still hate your list though, just to be clear ;) …….if your 5th round rookie OT is on this list over Kirk Cousins I just have to laugh

          1. SteveH says:

            This is an impressive conversation you just had with yourself, but keep in mind Jimmy also said he didn’t spend a lot of time on the list and that he wasn’t married to it, so….. its probable that Cousins just slipped through the cracks. I would personally put Cousins right around where Foles is, as QBs who show promise have great value.

          2. NYG_Slater says:

            or maybe cousins turns 25 in august.

  5. Brett says:

    Jimmy, you left out your news about your owner and an addition to the front staff.

    http://articles.philly.com/2013-05-07/sports/39067320_1_jeffrey-lurie-tina-lai-vietnam-restaurant

  6. TylerD says:

    I love me some David Wilson but how do you put him ahead of Alfred Morris who had a 1600 yard season.

    1. ^ Definitely a head scratcher…..also, you list Foles and Barkley on the list but you leave Kirk Cousins off? I’d take Kirk over either of those two QBs and I am pretty sure a vast majority of people around the league would agree.

      1. NYG_Slater says:

        I think the main idea is who’d you want moving forward in a vacuum (regardless of team/ outside factors). Alfred was no doubt a beast and produced more than David Wilson last year. I just wonder if David wilson played for the redskins last year, in that offense, with a dual threat QB, and a steady dose of zone reads etc… If DW couldn’t of had similar numbers.

        1. mjoedgaard says:

          He did say upside was a factor and I agree the upside of Wilson is very high

      2. theycallmerob says:

        Cousins turns 25 in August

  7. NYG_Slater says:

    Hah reading your discussions on bloggingtheboys…..pure gold.

  8. Ryan says:

    Jimmy, maybe a All-Division under 25 team?

  9. [...] Mr Bama put up a good post this morning, covering a variety of topics. [...]

  10. DerfDiggy says:

    Julio Jones is more consistent than Dez? AJ as well?

    Wat?

    I understand we all have opinions, but if the basis for your opinion(i’m assuming it’s consistency and/or stats, but neither are directly stated)….don’t prove your opinion correct…then…

    Wat?

    Now if you just “feel” that Julio/AJ/(or even Roddy) are better…based on other factors(like off the field issues or whatever)…then I understand.

    But yea…there’s no statistical measure, or “consistent” measure to say either one of those two are better than Dez.

    1. Jimmy Kempski says:

      Nowhere does it say every WR on that list is more consistent.

      1. DerfDiggy says:

        Surely does not…hence my stating I was “assuming”…Mainly based on this statement…

        “That was his breakout. Step 2 is now consistency.”

        As opposed to two players that have neither the stats nor “consistency”, of Dez. Again, if you just “feel” they’re better…understood, but there’s nothing behind that sans “gut feeling”
        (I have qualms with Roddy being on that list as well, but that’s my own personal take)

        1. horatius says:

          Put him in the HoF already.

          1. DerfDiggy says:

            ……Or at least before AJ & Julio.

        2. Regarding stats, look at both of their first two years compared to Dez.

          1. Tim says:

            Andre Johnson has never had double-digit TDs in 10 professional seasons. I understand he’s an impressive athletic specimen, and that he does important things for the Texans even when he doesn’t have the ball, but if we’re rating on production, Dez has eclipsed Johnson’s average season in just his 3rd year.

            When you combine Dez’s early career production at a very young age, his explosiveness (that someone like Marshall lacks), and his demonstrated ability to play through injury so far, I’m taking him above Marshall, Andre Johnson, and all three of VJax, Julio, and Roddy.

            I understand that saying Dez is a top 10 receiver in the league is not denigrating him much, but I’d have him a bit higher.

            1. dannymac056 says:

              I get the production argument, but Dez is not comparable to Andre Johnson. He’s way more than an impressive athletic specimen- he’s one of the best route-runners around, he’s a great blocking WR, and he’s a student of the game.

              Watch him and Dez run the same routes, and no matter what you do for a living you can tell- Andre is the guy you put on teach-tape for your young WRs, and Dez is a solid runner with good burst but no special knowledge of how to get open vs certain coverages.

              Dez is very good, and sure you can make a solid argument for top 10. But Andre is ridiculous, and probably deserves the #2 spot after CJ. I’m not even a fan of the Texans, but you gotta give respect where it’s due. If you have both on the board, you take Andre. Obviously youth is on Dez’s side, and he’ll have an opportunity to improve all the areas he’s lacking. But right now, not close.

              1. Tim says:

                Hmm. Not sure I buy that as a reason that Andre is clearly head-and-shoulders above Dez. First, the production DOES mean something. And Dez has surpassed Johnson’s average season in just his 3rd year as a pro. And the ability to play through injury means something as well, which AJ has struggled with.

                To your points, though: I do not watch enough Texans’ games to be able to argue Johnson’s route-running prowess one way or another. So my argument here will become a little abstract. However, superior route-running does not inherently make you a better WR. I would argue that Calvin Johnson is not close to the route-runner that Marvin Harrison was. But at this point, I’d say Calvin is a superior WR than 2004 Marvin, just due to natural ability. So it’s theoretically possible for Dez to be a superior WR to Andre Johnson even if he is not a better route-runner.

                Further on the route topic– in his third year in the league, Dez made significant strides in mastering the route tree. See here:
                http://www.cowboysnation.com/2013/01/even-it-up-dez-bryant-masters-route.html
                Not saying this makes him an equivalent route-runner to Andre, but he doesn’t need to be equivalent in route-running to be an equal or superior wideout.

          2. DerfDiggy says:

            Dez missed games due to injury his first year, and didn’t even start due to the Roy Williams Experiment gone wrong, along with a broken Clavicle to Romo…I mean, sure we shine a spotlight on year one because it brings his average down quite a bit….but…

            But let’s compare the last 2 years…

            First…a “top 5″ wr…AJ Green.
            Green:
            2011:65 Catches,1057 Yards, 16.3 AVG, 7 TD’s
            2012:97 Catches,1350 Yards, 13.9 AVG, 11 TD’s

            Dez:
            2011: 63 Catches, 928 Yards, 14.7 AVG, 9 TD’s
            2012: 92 Catches, 1382 Yards, 15 AVG, 12 TD’s

            Julio:
            2011: 54 Catches, 959 Yards, 17.8 AVG, 8 TD’s
            2012: 79 Catches, 1198 Yards, 15.2 AVG, 10 TD’s

            Taking a look at the last 2 years, 2011 sees Green as slightly better than Dez in Yards/Avg, with less TD’s. 2012 looks like we Dez see Yards/Avg flipped with Green’s, while still scoring more TD’s.

            Explain to me how if these two WR’s are pretty much the same statistically wise…you can deduce that one is a top 5 WR(in no particular order), and the other is somewhere way down that list…Besides “gut feel”….which again, is fine, that’s your opinion.

            As far as Julio, a big reason for his success is he’s opposite Roddy(a WR you’d put above Dez) and Gonzo, IMO. and his #’s are still pretty much consistent with Dez’s.

            Regardless…stats wise these 3 WR’s all are pretty much comparable…so I don’t see how you can put any one of those 3 in the top 5, without the other two.

            All 3 are pretty much the exact same as far as “consistency” is concerned…If you don’t want to knock off the Andre Johnsons, Larry Fitzgeralds, CJ’s of the world, that’s completely understandable…They’ve been doing it a lot longer.

            1. David_Does_Dallas says:

              You are conveniently leaving off Dez’s rookie year and comparing him to two players that have been in the league 1 year less. Both Julio and Green have played at a high level every year they have been in the league whereas Bryant has only played at a high level in 2/3 years . . I.E. he is less consistent.

              1. DerfDiggy says:

                I didn’t conveniently leave off anything. I addressed Dez’s rookie year….first paragraph.

                Dez has been just as consistent as the two players mentioned over the span of the same years. It’s remarkable how close these 3 are…and it’s just my belief that neither of the 3 separate themselves from another that vastly..Not enough to say “One is a top 5, while the other isn’t”.

            2. NYG_Slater says:

              My 2 cents

              Dez is 2 for 3.

              AJ/Julio are 2 for 2

              Plus if i take AJ or Julio, I don’t have to deal with all of Dez’s baggage.

              1. DerfDiggy says:

                And that’s completely relevant to your argument…and I’m not knocking Jimmy or anyone else for choosing AJ/Julio.

                I just don’t see anything drastically separating these 3…not yet at least. All 3 of them can be argued into the top 5…and the stats show it, the only knock against them vs. the Andre’s, Calvin’s, Fitz, etc …is youth, imo.

              2. “the only knock against them vs. the Andre’s, Calvin’s, Fitz, etc …is youth, imo.”

                well thaT AND the faCT THOSE guys always see a double team… No Witten’s and White’s to help out some dont even have the run games of a Houston or Dallas.

              3. NYG_Slater says:

                There isnt anything drastic between the receivers you’ve mentioned. Atleast not on the field. I wouldn’t be all that surprised if in 2 years Dez was the most dominant receiver in the NFL. I also wouldn’t be surprised if shortly after that, he was arrested for something and had to spend a year in jail.

                I’m probably being unfair, obviously i don’t know dez, or his situation. But based off the narrative the media has given us, I’d just rather take AJ or Julio, for now.

    2. Mick says:

      RE: Production – Andre Johnson is the inly receiver in NFL history to post consecutive 1500 yard seasons. Your “not as productive” argument is invalid.

      1. Tim says:

        Argh. Doesn’t that seem a bit like narrowly cherry-picking a single stat to support your argument? Fine, I’ll go through this anyway.

        Andre Johnson has been in the league for 10 years. This is a pretty good sample size to take an “average” season from and get an idea of a player. If we do that, we see that Andre’s average season is 1125.4 yards and 5.6 touchdowns.

        Dez Bryant, in just his third year in the league, blew away Johnson’s average season. That is my production argument. It’s very simple.

        As a side note, Johnson didn’t have his back-to-back 1500 yard seasons until his 6th and 7th years in the league, well ahead of where Dez is right now in his career.

        1. plumpbuck says:

          The you-are-cherry-picking defense ought to come from someone who himself isn’t cherry-picking. Johnson’s average season against Bryant’s best season is just as arbitrary a distinction.

          You might just as easily point out that Johnson, in his first full season with a quarterback who wasn’t David Carr, blew away Bryant’s best season.

          You need to remember that, too, when you’re calculating Johnson’s averages. Roughly 40 percent of his passes came from David Carr.

  11. ct17 says:

    I’d bet last year at this time the discussion was “Do Eagles have best CB group in NFL?”

    If Jones had value, he would not be a third RB. Projecting Brown now is like projecting Tim Smith following the Super Bowl. Brown had two very good games. Let’s let him play a full competitive season first.

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