Disclaimer: The point of this post is by no means to discredit what the Philadelphia Eagles did on draft weekend. They clearly made some nice moves. The motivation is to shine the light on Peter King for being something of a hypocrite for his gushing praise at the Eagles for doing the very same thing that he mocked the Patriots for doing just the week before.
If you hadn’t heard, Peter King recently moved to Boston. If you read King at all, I’m not sure how you could’ve missed this point, as he’s told us several times, and has already told Boston Magazine all about the great coffee and food he is getting here in the city.
Since he lives in Boston, I guess he’s now on my beat.
In his column following the draft, King wasn’t impressed with all the moving around that the Patriots did. I’ve put in bold the statements that stuck out to me:
• New England. I was told last night the Patriots loved Eric Wood, the Louisville center who projected to center or guard in the NFL, but if that’s the case, they could have had him at 26 instead of trading out of the round for yet more picks. So I remain mystified about the continued trading rather than picking… Brandon Tate’s a poor man’s Percy Harvin, with the same off-field question marks, picked almost exactly two rounds later than Harvin … I go into the Patriots in more depth later, but I thought it was a strange draft, almost drunk with the power of moving back. The one reason you can never kill this team about drafting is it’s taken a lot of no-name guys high over the years and many have become cornerstones.
“Drunk with the power of moving back.” What does that even mean? Then, in yesterday’s column, King lauds the Eagles for putting on a “draft clinic.” It’s way too long to quote in its entirety here, but I’ll offer a few snippets:
What would you think if I told you the Philadelphia Eagles got third-, fifth-, sixth- and seventh-round draft choices, plus half a starting cornerback for nothing in this year’s draft?
That’s right. For free. There is no smoke, mirrors or cheating involved. Only thought and effort.
For moving down six spots in the third round — eventually taking a player they were considering for that 85th pick anyway — the Eagles got filthy rich. I am shocked more teams don’t run their draft the way the Eagles do. It’s almost irresponsible that teams don’t do it the Philadelphia way.
The Patriots do, (some feel they originated the concept) but they’re “drunk with the power of moving back,” and cause King to be “mystified” with all their trades for additional picks.
Then the Eagles GM is quoted, which might give you a clue as to why their moves are being so strongly praised:
“Actually, I’m happy more teams don’t,” said Tom Heckert, the Eagles general manager. “If more teams did, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.”
This may come out the wrong way, so bear with me. But if I were a football fan looking for a team to root for, I’d pick the Eagles, and what they did on draft weekend is a big reason. The Eagles think. They don’t do things the way they’ve always been done because that’s the way they’ve always been done.
In contrast, in last weeks column, King later called the Patriots draft was “uninspired” and “odd” and “greeted with shoulder shrugs around the league.”
King then goes into details about all the moves that the Eagles made. In the end, the Eagles netted “third-, fifth-, sixth- and seventh-round draft choices, plus half a starting cornerback.”
King will tell us that the Eagles netting Peters, Maclin, McCoy plus the six-pick trade-down is what makes Philly’s draft preeminent. That’s not the point. We’re strictly focusing on the practice of trading up and down and turning picks into multiple picks. As I said at the start of this post, I’m not discrediting the Eagles. The point is that the Eagles and Patriots did the same type of thing, and the unfriendly Patriots get hammered while the Eagles and their quotable GM get praised. King doesn’t get it.
But, let’s look at the trades that the Patriots made during draft weekend:
- Started with the 23rd pick, traded it to Baltimore for #26 and a fifth round pick #162
- Traded the #26 pick and the #162 pick to Green Bay for a second round pick (#41 Darius Butler) and two third round picks (#73 & #83 Brandon Tate)
- Traded a second round pick (#47), a fourth round pick (#124) and a sixth round pick (#199) to Oakland to move up in the second round to #40 (Ron Brace)
- Traded a third round pick (#73) to Jacksonville for a 2010 2nd round pick and a 2009 seventh round pick (#232 Julian Edelman)
- Traded a third round pick (#89) to Tennessee for a 2010 second round pick.
- Traded Ellis Hobbs to the Eagles for two fifth round picks (#137 and # 141)
- Traded those two fifth round picks for a fourth round pick (#123 Rich Ohrnberger) and a sixth round pick (#198 Jake Ingram)
If you follow that list, and track that first pick that the Patriots started out with at #23, you’ll find that they ultimately turned that one pick into the following, without trading a single other asset that they started the day with already in hand:
- Pick #41 Darius Butler (who King’s colleague Don Banks had the Patriots taking at #23)
- Pick #83 Brandon Tate (King himself praised his skills)
- 2010 Second Round Pick (From Jacksonville)
- Pick #232 Julian Edelman (who Mike Reiss seems high on)
That’s not really “uninspired” to me. They took a late first round pick, and turned it into two seconds, a third and a seventh. Not a bad haul. In his own mock draft prior to the draft, King said of the #23 pick “One smart guy swears they’re taking UConn CB Darius Butler.” Well, they did, but they got an extra second, third and seventh round pick to do it. For free!
Coming into the draft, the Patriots had two second round picks. They ended up with four in this draft, plus an extra two next year. They got those two next year for a pair of third round selections this year. They clearly moved around with a purpose, they weren’t just “drunk with the power of moving back.”
Back to the whole point of the post. Why did King dismiss the Patriots moves while praising the Eagles? I tried to clarify with him, and we’ve been having the following Twitter exchange:
@SI_PeterKing – Why are you praising the Eagles for doing the same thing you knocked the “drunk with power” Patriots for doing last week?
SI_PeterKing Hi Bruce: Hope you don’t mind, but I am going to answer your question in my Tuesday column. Thanks for writing in.
@SI_PeterKing : I look forward to it, because 4 draft choices between the 3rd & 7th rounds = wow!, Two second round picks = mystifying?
SI_PeterKing: Hi bruce. Peter here. Peters, Maclin, McCoy PLUS the six-pick trade-down makes Philly’s draft preeminent.
@SI_PeterKing Thanks for the reply. My point isn’t really who did better, its that you knocked the Patriots for doing what the Eagles did.
I give the guy credit for responding and I do think King is one of the good guys in the media. Too often though, he allows himself to be used as a mouthpiece by his subjects. In this case, I think he’s just missing the point. It’s not that the Eagles did better or the Patriots did better, it’s that they did the same things, and the Patriots get hammered or mockingly dismissed, while the Eagles “put on a draft clinic” and are innovative and thinking outside the box, and not doing things the way they’ve always been done. He just doesn’t get it.
Why the contrast? Is it really simply because the Philly GM explained what they were doing, whereas the Patriots just went out and did it?
Here’s King’s answer in his column today.
• TWITTER QUESTION OF THE WEEK: From Bruce Allen of Boston Sports Media Watch: “Why are you praising the Eagles for doing the same thing you knocked the ‘drunk with power’ Patriots for doing last week?”Though in principle you might be right, Bruce, it wasn’t the same thing. The Patriots didn’t have the same result in trading down as the Eagles did, though they did acquire two second-round picks in 2010 in their wheeling-and-dealing. Philadelphia traded down six spots late in the third round and got one of the top guys they would have taken at 85 (Cornelius Ingram), half the value of a starting corner (Ellis Hobbs), a seventh-round pick this year and third-, fifth- and sixth-round picks next year … and still exited the draft with three potential impact players in 2009 — Jason Peters, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy.
It remains to be seen if the Patriots got the same sort of impact out of their 2009 draft and beyond, but it didn’t look like it to me. It surprised me they twice traded down out of the first round for three additional picks instead of taking a tackle of the future like Michael Oher or some higher-rated player at 23 or 26. It could be that Darius Butler, for instance, could have had a mid-first-round grade and by getting him in the low 40s it constituted great value on their board.
As I wrote last week about New England, “The one reason you can never kill this team about drafting is the Patriots have taken a lot of no-name guys high over the years and many have become cornerstones.” So let’s see how it plays out.
I guess that’s all we can do right now.