Monday, August 28, 2006

Eagles Trade for Donte Stallworth

Philly makes their big move for a receiver. A lot of people are writing the Eagles off in the NFC East because “they don’t have a receiver”. Now Philly has a receiver.

The Eagles ship a 4th rounder ( it actually could turn into a 3rd rounder), and Linebacker Mark Simineou to the New Orleans Saints for Wide out Dante Stallworth.

Stallworth is a real speedster who will be playing in the final year of his contract. ( he has every incentive to perform).I think the eagles got excellent value for their money. They send away a marginal starter/backup linebacker and a 4th rounder for a potential game breaker wide receiver. Not only are they getting good value, but they are also filling a team need.

Last year Brian Westbrook and LJ Smith led the team with 61 receptions. Although it does show that the Eagles can spread the ball around, 1) you want your leading receiver to actually be a receiver, and 2) you want your leading pass catcher to ideally catch more than 61 balls ( or just under 4 catches per game).

Stallworth caught 70 balls last year for just under 1000 yards ( 945) and 7 touchdowns. Stallworth had Aaron Brooks as his quarterback in New Orleans and was actually more productive than former Pro Bowl teammate Joe Horn.

The important thing to remember is that playing receiver in "the league" takes time. Receivers don't just memorize the plays and walk up to the line of scrimmage like zombies and run their route. The NFL is a thinking mans league. In reality, receivers walk up to the line and have multiple "possible" routes to run depending on the coverage they are presented with. Since a pro receiver has to read pro defenses ( which is very difficult), it was almost unheard of for a rookie receiver to make an impact in the league.

That all changed with Randy Moss. A few other guys have had success early in their careers, and now instead of that being exceptional, people EXPECT that.

Nobody had loftier expectations than the young speedster Donte Stallworth. Rumors of Donte running a sub 4.2 40 yard dash in the NFL Combine raised the bar about as high as it could go. If only the NFL were like the popular video games where a receivers worth is based solely on his speed.

Stallworth spent some time in the west coast offense which is the hardest Offense in the game to learn. Instead of being happy that he has been slowly but surely improving, I guess the saints feel that he didn't improve fast enough so they traded him.

The Eagles now have a receiver who has been "trained" for a few years, and is ready to shine. The only potential problem I see is the fact that he has to learn a whole new offense in Philly. I think a VET like Stallworth can adjust quicker than a young rookie. He will have Donovan and an experienced coaching staff help him along which should speed up the process.

I think Philly got an absolute bargain for a 4th round pick and a marginal starting linebacker. They get a potential break out receiver with 1st round talent who has been "trained" for years, and now THEY can reap the rewards for a mere 4th rounder. Instead of signing some hyped up high priced free agent, they bring in 1st round talent for a cheap price tag.

Do they read the book "Moneyball" in Philadelphia?

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