Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

A three-way trade? Wow. In this monster of a deal (for the NFL):

- The Broncos get a fifth-round pick from the Eagles
- The Eagles get LB Ernie Sims from the Lions
- The Lions get TE Tony Scheffler and a seventh-round pick from the Broncos

I don't really understand this trade from the Lions perspective, unless it means that Brandon Pettigrew is recovering slowly from his torn ACL.

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53 comments, Last at 21 Apr 2010, 4:27pm

1 The Lions Perspective

I wouldn't spend much time trying to grok it.

"When you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you."

2 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

The Lions now have a pretty significant hole at LB, no? And have supplemented an area that was not a major need (TE)?

Despite their rep for drafting well and building that way, the Eagles have been one of the most active teams in the league via trade and free agency the last few years. Same with the Patriots. And I'd say both teams have struggled drafting in recent years, and have established a scattershot record via veteran acquisitions (Eagles: Asante Samuel in the good camp, Darren Howard, Chris Clemons, Jevon Kearse, etc. in the bad camp; Pats: Moss and Welker in the great camp, Adalius Thomas, Donte Stallworth, Shawn Springs, etc. in the bad)

27 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

Meh - I think you're making it too B&W as far as the Eagles free agents. Sure Kearse and Howard weren't dominant, but they were definitely useful. Kearse alone swung several games almost single-handedly and that alone makes him worth it. Simoneau and Dhani Jones were valuable contributors on good defenses - only Samuel has been a huge hit, but they've brought in very few out-and-out disasters. TO is probably the closest to a disaster and it would be crazy to argue he didn't contribute for at least one year...

Also, if the Eagle "struggled" in the draft in 2007 - 2009, most teams would love to struggle: Stewart Bradley, Brent Celek, DeSean Jackson & Jeremy Maclin are borderline (or actual) Pro Bowlers; while Macho Harris, Moise Fokou and Kevin Kolb are currently tabbed to be starters. Lesean McCoy has also been marked to replace Westbrook and, while I don't like him, many folks completely disagree with me. The Eagles also have a number of players that the verdict is still somewhat out on: Victor Abiamiri has shown flashes of talent, Cornelius Ingram got injured before his rookie season last year but was supposedly going to challenge Celek for the starting spot, Trevor Laws and Quintin Demps have gotten good playing time, so they haven't been total busts (and Reid keep talking like Demps might start over Harris, so who knows...)

28 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

You're making an optimistic argument. Take a look at the actual draft results:

Three total Pro Bowl appearances (2 by Trent Cole, 1 by DeSean Jackson) from the last 5 drafts. That's 45 draft picks, with 3 total Pro Bowl APPEARANCES (not Pro Bowl players). That doesn't put them in very bottom of the league, but it also doesn't put them in the top 25%, which is where people seem to anecdotally rank them when talking about the Eagles' draft prowess.

(I realize Pro Bowl bids is a flawed way to look at draft success- that's why I suggest looking at the actual draft results via the above link. Lotta subpar players on that list, and I'm not talking about just the late round guys.)

32 Math?

How many Pro Bowlers in all from the last five years were drafted in the last five years? Given the vets-heavy focus of Pro Bowl selection, that may not be a bad number.

36 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

I guess all I can say to that is "yeah, but compared to what?" I can't even get a sense now of what you mean by "the least few years." 2007-2009 is clearly a success for the Eagles and I'm not sure how you could argue otherwise. I mean, what are we comparing them to? We've just been over (in another thread) how literally there's only two players (McNabb or Cooley) from the Redskins that you could argue could start on the Eagles on offense over any of their current roster and, presumably, some of those Redskins were drafted - that seems like a ridiculously decisive victory.

As for the Pro Bowl, find a halfway useful way of comparing players or we can't even talk. It's not just that the Pro Bowl is flawed - it's frequently ridiculous (more importantly for this argument) favors long-established veterans (i.e. folks not drafted in "the last few years.") Show me a team that has had better drafting in 2007-2009, I'm really curious if there's anything to what you're saying because I've been thrilled with the Eagles draft production (and finding undrafted players) in the past few years...

Look at the Saints and Colts (just to pick inarguably good teams) from 2007-2009. The Saints - talk about dross. The best players are Robert Meachem (no DeSean JAckson, or even Jeremy Maclin), Tracy Porter (so-so), Sedrick Ellis (hardly setting the world on fire) and Jermon Bushrod. A Whopping zero Pro Bowl appearances - to keep your standard. And this is team that has struggled and even failed to make the playoffs recently, so there's not exactly a wall of entrenched, flawless starters that the rookies can't break past. The Colts have three notable WR's(might have something to do with their QB) and a whopping zero Pro Bowlers. Notables are Donald Brown, Tony Ugoh... and Clint Sessions? That's also a team noted for building their talent internally and not bringing in free agents. Again, I don't think it is possible to argue the Eagles haven't had better drafts in 2007-2009 than either of these teams.

43 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

I hear you on the impossibility of a discussion without some valid metric for comparison, and yes, I'd agree that Pro Bowls isn't it. My initial statements were made in an anecdotal way, because it seemed to me that the Eagles and Patriots are often cited as top-notch organizations that draft extremely well, and I don't know that that is true anymore. My top-of-mind perspective was that the Eagles have been riding on the 2002 draft for some time now (and the 2006 draft, which was hailed at the time as brilliant but now doesn't look nearly as strong), and the Pats have been riding that Moss/Welker offseason.

Since you've put some thought into it, though, I'll attempt to do the same (and I'll leave the Patriots for another time, since I think they've really struggled and it's not fair to lump the Eagles into the same category).

First, to define the time period we're addressing, I'm really looking at the past decade-- i.e. the stretch of drafts that should make up the bulk of the current roster. So 2007-2009 is not a particularly useful stretch for me, and yes, you are absolutely right that it would be rare for players from those drafts to already be accumulating Pro Bowl nods. I do think it's a bit of a problem that

In the last decade, the Eagles have put together via the draft the majority of their 2010 starting offense. DeSean Jackson is the only true "difference maker" that I'd call out in that group-- a guy who I'd put in the top 8-10 players at his position in the league, and who other teams have to game plan around; Celek is probably very close to that level as well. I understand that that is a rigorous standard to apply. Be that as it may, it's pretty good to have 6+ guys you drafted in the last decade starting for you on offense, so I think offensively, you could say the Eagles have done a decent job finding reliable NFL starters.

It's on defense where I think the bad drafting has occurred, and has caused significant holes which required free agency and trade maneuvers, where the team's record has been spotty.

Take a look at the list for the past decade:

Bunkley and Patterson are reliable starters, and Cole is a top notch player. Other than that, you have a lot of guys who are no longer with the team or who are middling players. The signings of Clemons, Kearse, Howard, Samuel, Witherspoon, Trotter (repeatedly), Marlin Jackson, Daryl Tapp, etc. have been necessary because of a failure to draft strong defensive starters.

I realize that doesn't compare the Eagles' prowess to other teams, so it doesn't accomplish our comparative goal, but I think the need to go back to the free agency well so often on defense, as well as the lack of strong defensive starters going into 2010, indicates limitations in the ability to draft defense.

47 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

Eh. Not really. 2002 was SO good that it lifts the whole sample, including that 1998-2004 span. The Eagles have only had 4 drafts in the 10 year span which count as positive value in the chart (that is, getting value better than what the average expected picks at those slots would have gotten): 2005, 2006, 2002, and 1999. So their quality drafts are really not weighted towards the earlier years, unless you count 2002 disproportionately because of its very high quality level.

48 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

Shit, I just wrote a lengthy response and then my browser crashed. Long story short: I can't even figure out what you are arguing at this point. The evidence in that artilce you linked to seems to go against what you are trying to say in the comments. And that "approximate value" they lifted from PFR is completely pointless.

Coles, Bunkley and Patterson are the strength of the Eagles d-line and homegrown; while Howard and Parker were useful contributors, but free agents - is that a data point in favor of what you are trying to say or not? But you also labelled Howard a bust so I'm not even sure you have any idea how to quantify any of this. Does the fact that neither Bunkley nor Patterson have ever been to the Pro Bowl mean they are a data point against the Eagles ability to draft - despite the fact that I wouldn't trade theam for any tandem in the league (save the Williams wall.) And does being a useful contributor but not a starter on an above average defense (like Omar Gaither) count as good drafting or not? How are we counting undrafted free agents? They're homegrown, but they are indeed technically free agents. I just don't even know what you are trying to say. The Eagles are consistently above average because they have depth most years and most of that depth comes from drafting well. The o-line is a prime exampl of that: Max-Gilles, Herremans, Nick Cole and Winston Justice aren't anybody's idea of superstars, but they are who kept the team afloat despite a rash of injuries last year. I honestly don't even know what you are trying to say. The artibrary values of that chart certainly doesn't even address what people are talking about when they say the Eagles have draft success...

50 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

The Eagles have only had 4 drafts in the 10 year span which count as positive value in the chart

The problem with using that chart is that using AV to evaluate young players is crazy. AV is imprecise even when evaluating players after their careers are over, but it's almost completely useless for evaluating players in their first few years. For instance, Jamarcus Russell has 8 Career AV, while Kevin Kolb has only 2. Which one would you rather have on your team? Actually look at the Eagles' 2007 draft, and please, explain to me how that draft is below average. Because they got an excellent LB, an elite TE, and their QB of the future. And they didn't even have a first round pick.

52 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

So from the 7 draft period from 1998-2004, you've got 2 above-average drafts, and from the 4 draft period from 2005-2008 you've also got 2 - nearly twice as many, by year. Why do you think the 'average' grade isn't being weighted down (not up) by the early years?

And that's even pretending you can measure 2007 and 2008 at this point. Which I don't agree with, so that makes the difference even more striking, because it's hard to argue that 2007 and 2008 aren't likely to result in above-average drafts.

37 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

Not to mention that the Eagles' draft position was 31, 14, 26, 19, 19 in those five years. (And they twice traded out of the first round, once for a developmental QB.)

Quick exercise--
Fewer PB appearances from recent draftees than Eagles (16) -- Falcons, Bills, Colts, Panthers, Bears, Cardinals, Bengals, Rams, Lions, Jaguars, Chiefs, Giants, Raiders, Steelers, Buccaneers, Redskins.
Only more b/c of players Eagles couldn't take (7) -- Browns (Thomas, Edwards), Broncos (Clady, Cutler), Dolphins (Long, Brown), Vikings (AP), Saints (Brown), Chargers (Merriman), Niners (Willis, Davis).

38 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

If you're sticking to 2007-2009, the Chargers are dire. Poking around in that PFR engine and look who the Chargers have taken. And that's a team with a much more lauded GM than the Eagles. Also, goes without saying, zero Pro Bowlers...

Want a run of bad drafts? Look at a team like the Seahawks and you'll see bad drafting. Aaron Curry and Owen Schmitt are the highlights. The highlights. Or the Chiefs, who have a ton of picks. If Dwayne Bowe didn't exist (no Pro Bowls, incidentally), that group would be such an unbelievable debacle. As it stands, it's only an embarrassment (and peppered with high, under-performing picks)...

49 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

There's not much point looking at 2007-2009, much less sticking to it. We still don't know how good a great many players from those drafts are. Is Kolb a Hall of Famer? A guy who will never have any business starting in the league? Somewhere in between? Because if he's really elite then those were great years for Eagles drafting even if every other player they picked sucked (which does not appear to be the case). This effect is most pronounced on good teams, because it's harder for young players to get in the lineup, and they have lower picks to work with anyway, but it still holds further down the scale. Is Amobi Okoye a bust? Probably, but I don't know for sure, and neither do you: the dude's still only 22. Come back in 2013 if you want something resembling perspective on those drafts.

33 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

Kearse looked fine for his first two years with the Eagles - not great, certainly a bit overpaid, but not really 'bust' worthy. His third year started off with an absolute bang, but then fell apart due to injury. His fourth year he had clearly declined from the previous (including losing quite a bit of weight), and the Eagles had a better, cheaper option anyway with Cole. Howard's contract was quite a bit less than Kearse's - and while it took the Eagles two years to figure out how to use him, in the end, when he's averaging 8 sacks/year, yeah, I'll take that 'bust' any day of the week.

Clemons was a clear disappointment, but, of course, he was also the lowest-paid one of the three, so it's clear the Eagles didn't have that high expectations for him. Just not quite the same as Howard/Kearse in my mind. You'd want to lump guys like Lorenzo Booker and Will James in with him. But again, those guys are really just throwaways. None of them cost the Eagles anything significant.

And I'd say both teams have struggled drafting in recent years,

The Eagles have been drafting about 3 starting level players each year for the past 4-5 years or so. That's not struggling, and it's a key reason for why they're such a young team. It's actually failures from 2004 and earlier that are being compensated for by free agency now - Asante Samuel was due to Sheppard, Kearse and Howard were due to McDougle being a bust and Burgess being injury-prone, Peters was due to neither Andrews nor Justice being viable LTs (although given that Justice is a starting RT and Andrews is unemployed, I'm labelling that as a 2004 failure), Owens was due to Mitchell/McMullen, etc.

If you really want to understand the Eagles drafting problems, it's simple: The number of Eagles first round picks from 1999-2004 that are currently employed in the league (not even a starter - just signed to a team!): one. And the team just traded him to the Redskins.

17 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

No. He's a 4-3 WILL.

Great speed. Questionable size. Great motor, but occasionally fills the wrong gap. Can pursue sideline to sideline, but can be easily blocked if you run right at him. Looks like a safety with a larger set of shoulder pads. Didn't miss a start his first 3 years, but battled injuries in '09 and fell out of favor. Arguably the best and/or only good player on Detroit's D, depending on what you think of Peterson at this stage in his career.

He should be an improvement on Gaither/Jordan, and could pair well with Bradley, but it's not as if they're getting a guy who's punching a ticket to Hawaii every year.

For a 5th round pick? I'd say that's a fair risk.

12 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

I don't really remember him making all that many plays but as an undersized guy he probably needed a better defensive line in front of him than he got in Detroit. What would concern me is that if he were any good in Schwartz's scheme he would still be there and I am not sure how Philly's scheme is that different. When he was drafted he was supposed to be the prototypical Will in a Tampa2 scheme which isn't all that close to how the Eagles play defense.

I know he had had a lot of concussions in college but I have no idea if he kept getting them in the NFL (but it would seem likely).

6 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

Pettigrew is also more of a traditional in-line tight end, while Scheffler is someone you can split out wide. Presumably the Lions are going to need to use a lot of two tight end sets if they are set on bypassing Okung and they still want Matthew Stafford to stay in one piece.

That's about the best I can come up with.

14 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

It makes me think of the Colts offense when Manning was young. Two TEs as a base package and use a lot of play action to try to open up space down the field for Megatron to try to make things easier for a young QB.

I think this makes the most sense for the Lions. What would you rather have; Scheffler, Sims or a fifth round pick. Scheffler is the best option.

21 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

I think Scott Linehan likes using two tight ends and the Lions don't have a ton of depth at TE with Casey Fitzsimmons retiring. I wouldn't say it was a need position, but I think Linehan pushed for it. I recall a lot of Jermaine Wiggins and Jim Kleinsasser when he was in Minnesota so he might have wanted to be able to run more sets like that. As mentioned Scheffler gives them more options with the position as well.

Scraping up another 7th round pick, while low value, does allow them to bring in yet more youth that might pan out. I think they have four 7th round picks now. It's not a great spot, but on a team where street free agents have a chance to play they might get something.

As has been mentioned the Lions were down on Sims too and it's one of those addition by subtraction type deals.

But I think this decisions was made independently of Pettigrew's status. I think they want the 2 TE sets, though it does give insurance if his return from injury is slow.

11 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

As a Lions fan with some insight I understand why Ernie Sims might be traded...

- He's an undersized LB ideal as a WLB in a zone scheme, but his size is an issue in the scheme Jim Schwartz and Gunther Cunningham are running.

- Long term his size is also an injury concern as he's had reported shoulder, knee, hamstring, and back issues. And this will only get worse as he gets older.

- He free-lances too much, which was a problem for the players around him; Larry Foote didn't fit in well because he freelanced too much - but part of the reason he had to was because Sims was also free lancing.

And don't forget that the Lions are trying to build with young players - and building their talent base. This gives them another quality young player and draft pick, for another young player of value that was unlikely to be in the Lions long-term plans

13 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

I'm sorry, but Sims is awful. Yes, he's fast. But he could be blocked by my little sister. I wouldn't recommend close analysis of the 2008 Lions D, because it could well make your eyes bleed, but he was one of their worst offenders. Didn't seem much better last year either. The Iggles haven't given up much here, but they're not getting a quality starter in return either. I guess he has the potential to be a handy special teamer.

15 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

I have charted a lot of plays in the past where the Lions LBs didn't seem to know whom to cover underneath ... Sims never really looked comfortable in the defenses they've used. Maybe some of that came from the lack of talent around him (as with Leigh Bodden's transformation to awful CB in Detroit and back to good CB once he left). I guess we might find out now.

Also, with the retirement of Casey Fitzsimmons, the Lions have exactly one healthy TE: Will Heller. Even if Pettigrew is recovering as expected, Detroit still needs depth at that position, and if Schwartz isn't sold on Sims, this is a good way to get it.

The seventh-round pick is interesting ...

18 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

Sims MIGHT fit into the new Eagles defensive scheme, under new defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. Unlike his predecessor Jim Johnson, McDermott loves coverage schemes and eschews zone-blitzes. Being undersized and fast might be a benefit when dropping into zones. Not sure how Sims might take to complicated zone-coverage schemes, especially since the rest of the Eagles' defense didn't take to it last year...

But a 7th round pick for Scheffler? I heard he didn't get along with the current coaching staff (and players), but was a decent pass catching TE. That's a figurative slap-in-face from the coaching staff.

20 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

Respect to the Detroit coaches refining the components to make the defensive scheme work. How about swapping round 1 and 2 spots with Washington for Haynesworth in a reunion with Schwartz? In round 1, Detroit could go LT in spot 4, and Washington could pick up a new stud DT at spot 2 in Suh that could be molded to a 3-4 NT. Swap of places in round 2 would help balance the trade. Detroit gets the proven elite DT that Schwartz developed, rather than risking it all on a rookie.

22 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

Not for loins. Nothin to get excited abiut if brincos fan. Okay deal.for.eagles. probaly loins win trade. Get food pass catcher TE to pair with B. Pettigrew(good.up and cominger)

24 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

Not sure what to make of this - Sims Advanced FO stats are remarkably similar to Akeem Jordan's, the player he would most likely be replacing. Those stats rank them more or less in the 90's vs. both pass and run. If there's 3 or 4 linebackers per team in the league, those #'s at least mean they both are slightly below average level starters.

Of course, since the Eagles have a well above-average defense and the Lions have had truly terrible D, it should be reasonable to assume that Jordan is under-performning (in regards to the defense on the whole) and Sims was over-performing?

That would.. make this... good for the Eagles, right? Aw, who am I kidding, this seems like a wash - at least they have some depth, though, now...

23 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

Sims is a pretty one-dimensional speed guy who is able to make plays but also able to have plays made -on- him. He's like a Colts linebacker - fast but undersized and can't tackle or get off of blocks. Think Clint Sessions, although Sims is more talented than Sessions.

I think he should fit in better in Philadelphia than in Detroit last year, but I think this is an awful deal for the Lions anyway. They are spending a lot of effort (probably a top 2 pick, plus FA's) on bulking up their defensive line - which would make a player like Sims look a lot better next year - and probably replacing Sims with a player who won't benefit as much.

In return, they get a replacement level pass catching TE and a seventh round pick. The Eagles come out ahead here.

25 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

Yeah, looking at it purely from a "who got the best of the trade" perspective, it seems like the Eagles got something they really needed (a LB, even if only for depth and veteran experience) and gave up something they didn't need (one of their many late round picks.)

Denver seems to have lost an average player (or worse) and gotten slightly below average value for him (or just about what he is worth - depending on Schefftler's actual value.)

Detroit... looks like they traded one of their better players (on a team where "better" doesn't have a lot of meaning), an average TE (one of the few position where they have a promising young player) and a really low-level draft pick. It doesn't make too much sense, unless they just don't like Sims for their system, period.

29 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

Scheffler always looked like a useful pass catcher when he was on the field for the Broncos. He was quite quick and ran good routes, splitting out wide with some regularity. Sadly it seems his inability to block meant he was a situational player at best in Mcdaniels offense. As he only had multiple catches 6 times last season, I don't think his departure will be too much of a blow. However at this rate I'm beginning to think that if I hit the gym and start spreading malicious rumours about Jay Cutler, I might just make the Broncos squad as a 4th choice receiver come August.

30 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

Sims wasn't probably even the 4th best LBer on the Lions last season. I wouldn't say he was the most "talented" guy on the defense. Perhaps highest drafted, but that is it. He was outplayed by DeAndre Levy and Dizon looked better out there then Sims as well.

and again, all Ernie has done has made tackles on a bad defense. No big plays-he was never the Derrick Brooks "clone" the Lions obviously where trying to get. I guess I was never a fan of his in the first place, trading him is no problem and I think he is easily replacable.

51 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

Another perspective on the Lions side of this trade. They just drafted a QB #1 overall, and they aren't likely to make the playoffs next year. So their primary concern is developing Stafford.

So even if they make a trade that makes them slightly worse overall, if it helps Stafford, it should be seen as a good move. They aren't building a team for next year they are building one for 2-3 years down the road.

53 Re: Three-Way Trade Between Broncos, Eagles, Lions

Most of the comments from people who actually watch the Lions week in and week out are spot on re: Sims. The guy is great at making tackles 10 yards downfield. Why ten yards downfield? Because Ernie was busy running himself out of position or getting easily blocked.

Dizon could do the job Sims did, which is not saying anything really positive about Dizon.

They needed a TE and they got one for a player who was immensely overrated based solely on his 40 time and his draft position. Seeing as he went for a TE and a song, it's apparent the rest of the League realized this as well.