GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 02: Brandon Weeden #3 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys throws a pass against the Stanford Cardinal during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 2012 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
With the 51st pick of Pride of Detroit's 2012 NFL mock draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden. N4ry4 is serving as the Eagles' general manager, and his reasoning for the pick is below.
With the 51st pick of the draft, the Eagles select a high-ceiling, high-floor, NFL-ready quarterback by acquiring Brandon Weeden.
First of all, yes, I know he's 28 years old. That's why he's here in the second round and not contending for a top-five overall selection. Second, I know the Eagles already have a starting quarterback in Michael Vick, and when teams have a starting QB, you typically see them look to free agency or the later rounds to fill out their depth chart with a backup quarterback.
However, Michael Vick has missed at least three games every year since getting out of prison, and even before that, he had some injury-marred seasons with the Falcons. Plus, he'll be 32 this season. What happens over the coming years when his legs begin slow down just a little and he's not the dual threat he used to be, or when he goes down for multiple games? Furthermore, his passing performance did drop noticeably from 2010 to 2011.
This is a quarterback's league, and as soon as your quarterback is not a dependable threat, your team isn't going far.
The Eagles are a proud team with a ton of talent. They expect and demand to be competitors in the NFC East every year, and that simply will not happen if they can't depend on the Michael Vick of old for a full season when their backups are some combination of Vince Young, Mike Kafka and Trent Edwards. If they have a talented, NFL-starter-ready quarterback like Brandon Weeden, they have some assurance that their offense won't slow down when Vick goes down, and long term they have a good starter ready to step in immediately and be the guy when the time comes over the next few seasons.
Here's a good read that I would recommend: "NFL GM's and head coaches probably care less about Brandon Weeden's age than the rest of us." The basic point is that the average head coach today has 3.7 years of tenure with his team. The average GM has 5.3 years. In the NFL, you need to win now, or you're out of a job. Yes, age is a consideration, but it's not the most important thing that a guy doesn't have a 10- or 12-year career window, because you probably won't be leading a team that long if you don't win, and winning starts with having a good quarterback.
Brandon Weeden is 28, but he doesn't have the wear and tear of most 28-year-old quarterbacks who have been in the NFL for six years. He should have a productive window of at least six years into the future, maybe more, before he starts to slow down with age, and that's longer than the tenure of most coaches and GMs. He's a guy that can help win now. He can prevent a team from going into a multi-season slump because they lack a high-quality quarterback, something that happens to too many NFL teams that seem to end up with top-10 draft picks year after year (a situation that would be unacceptable to the fan base in Philly).
What Weeden does have is everything you want in a quarterback on the field: good size (6'4", 220+), strong arm, accuracy, leadership, experience in a fast-paced, pass-heavy offense, maturity, poise, pocket awareness, good decision-making and toughness.
After spending their first two picks upgrading their defense with Michael Brockers and Lavonte David, the Eagles spend a second-round pick assuring there won't be any uncertainty on offense surrounding their future at the most important position on the field, and I'd call that good value.
Check out the 2012 Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft tracker for a look at all of the picks.
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