The following is a guest post by @sunset_shazz.
Earlier today, DN columnist David Murphy published a contrarian piece purporting to show that the Eagles have neglected the offensive side of the ball in the draft under Chip Kelly. His lazy “analysis” consisted of counting up Eagles draft picks for the offensive and defensive units over the past 3 years. Even the dullest of readers can see the problem: this method equates the pick of Lane Johnson with that of Jordan Poyer. Or Zach Ertz and David King.
When pressed upon this obvious flaw by friend of the blog Noah Becker, Murphy accused his interlocutor of poor reading comprehension:
Well, Mr. Murphy, we at McNabb or Kolb are both literate and numerate. One can easily assign values to the Eagles draft picks to determine the actual allocation of draft resources to each unit. The canonical draft value chart was developed by Jimmy Johnson in the early 1990s. For many years, this provided a sufficient first order approximation of relevant draft value. However, in 2012, the excellent Chase Stuart conducted an exhaustive analysis which used the approximate value provided by a player in his first five years with a team to construct a draft value curve; like all good scientists, he published his results.
Using these values, we can compute the approximate draft value allocated to each unit by the Eagles in the Chip Kelly era:
As is shown above, over the past 3 years, the Eagles picked 6 players on offense, at an average draft position of 48th overall. Although they picked 15 players on defense, these averaged at a draft position of 152nd overall. Using Chase Stuart’s draft value weights, the Eagles allocated 58% of their draft value to the offense and 42% to the defense; a balanced allocation, reflecting the front office’s desire to build a balanced team. Murphy’s claim that the offense was neglected in the draft is simply untrue (unless you believe a 1st round pick is equal to a 7th rounder).
Moreover, during our research we also discovered the earth-shattering news that the NFL has a salary cap. In 2015, the Eagles allocated $69.4 million to the offense, the highest(!) number in the league. To argue that the Eagles have neglected the offense in their allocation of resources is either lazy or disingenuous. Or both.
The Eagles’ woes are more prosaic: rather than being inattentive to the offense, the front office suffered from poor execution. Allowing the offensive line to age while failing to build adequate depth, using three high picks on one position in two years, guaranteeing money to the insipid Riley Cooper, over-allocating salary to an aging running back who has carried more than 400 times the previous season, cutting their best receiver for #footballreasons without recompense, trading a draft pick for a speculative upgrade at QB – these are all legitimate criticisms of the front office strategy. But accusing Chip Kelly of neglecting to spend resources on the offense… the evidence doesn’t support that extraordinary claim.
It’s one thing to mail in a column. It’s quite another to insult your readers’ intelligence when your obvious shortcomings are pointed out. Eagles fans and Daily News readers aren’t as dumb as some writers make us out to be.