Grading the Eagles’ draft before, say, three years, is an act of arrogance. No one knows today whether that smiling kid holding up the #1 jersey and flanked by his parents last weekend will become the next Mike Quick or the next Freddie Mitchell.
But it’s not too early to have impressions. First, I like that Chip Kelly’s top two picks (Nelson Agholor and Eric Rowe) seem like smart, versatile players who can be plugged into multiple roles.
Second, I can’t fathom that another off-season passed without Chip adding an offensive lineman. That’s 20 straight picks, since Lane Johnson. The Eagles have the NFL’s oldest projected starting guard, the second-oldest tackle. They’re down another guard with the release of Todd Herremans.
Twice, Kelly conceded (in the 2nd and 4th rounds), he backed away from plucking a lineman when a run on the position ensued right before the Eagles were up. Rather than pick over the leftovers and irregulars, he shopped elsewhere – mostly the cornerbacks rack.
The bottom line: The Eagles look like they’ll enter 2015 with a brittle QB and a new running back whose success last year was bolstered by one of the league’s elite lines. We are asked to believe that Coach Beautiful Mind’s genius will meld all the new and disparate pieces into an unstoppable offense.
Put me on the record as skeptical.
The man is slumping
Chase Utley is hitting .108/.181/.217. His defense is dreadful. If ever a four-day, clear-your-head benching was in order, this is it. Instead, Ryne Sandberg moved Utley from 3rd to 2nd in the order Sunday.
We all know that Utley’s contract vests for 2016 only if he amasses 500 plate appearances this season. If he were playing well, if would be criminal to Utley to withhold at-bats to negate the contract. But the way he’s performing, it’s criminal to the fans to run him out there every day.
Fight of the Century?
The bloated, self-congratulatory “Fight of the Century” last Saturday night wound up as the snooze-fest that proves boxing is dead – at least as a relevant sport. Yes, I know it earned Floyd Mayweather $100 million, because he gloated over his check on ESPN. But in the end, the fight was just an obscene and cynical marketing bonanza designed to separate $100 from Millennials looking for a late-night party and aging Baby Boomers yearning for what the sport used to be.
In the end, neither got what they spent for.
Rest in Peace Philly Sports Santa
My sympathies to the family of Frank Olivo, who passed away last week. Back in 1968, Olivo – 18 at the time – donned his flea-bitten Santa Claus suit and drove through to snow to Franklin Field to watch the Eagles season-ending loss. By circumstances, he wound up being pelted with snowballs as a skinny fill-in St. Nick.
Olivo forever embraced the moment. He knew the fans were actually aiming their anger at team management. Unfortunately, the rest of the world came to see us as an unruly mob of Visigoths. Almost a half-century later, we’re still on the hook for something our grandfathers did.