By GORDON GLANTZ
GORDONVILLE — I know it’s hard to believe, given that I’m the handsome-but-aging devil I am today, that there was once a time when I was the the ugly kid at the Junior High — or Bar/Bat Mitzvah or overnight camp — dance (record hops, as they were called).
There was no moment more sad than hearing Donna Summer’s “Last Dance,” signaling the end of the night, and me and the other dorks still standing by the punch bowl.
After scoring big in fifth grade with the ladies, the steady decline began in sixth and only got worse from there with buck and crooked death and Brillo pad hair. By the end of high school, I suppose I was sneaky cute and it was fifth grade all over again by college (girls not being into messed-up older guys helped).
What does this memory of my Disco Duck years have to do with my latest NFL Mock Draft? Everything, actually.
My latest public Eagles-only 7-round mock, unlike others, included trades. The computer offered me some, and I offered it some.
And, like those dances of yore, I met with a lot of rejections in my offers.
Example: In the first round, I offered the Houston Texans — not exactly beauty queens themselves — the 18th overall pick and a third for the 13th overall pick (Cincinnati corner Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner was still on the board) and a sixth. The answer? A flat no.
And so it went.
Here it goes the Mock Draft, with trades, hot off the presses:
Pick 15: George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue (6-4, 270)
Notes: A lot was made of Michigan’s David Ojabo not having a ton of football experience and his ultimate upside, even before his injury. Karlaftis was born in Greece and grew up playing water polo before moving to he US and taking up football in high school. Translation: He is already good, and is still going to get better. I really didn’t like him at first, but he has grown on me.
Then came a trade offer from the Detroit Lions, who were asking for the 18th and 101st picks in exchange for No. 32 and 34. I accepted.
Pick 32: Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M (6-4, 325)
Notes: Brandon Brooks is gone, and I’m just not sold on Isaac Seumalo right now being the guy, especially at his salary. Green, at worst, could either start by next season or could be ready by midseason if and when Seumalo gets hurt again.
Pick 34: Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State 6-4, 210)
Notes: Passed on the chance to get some wideouts in the first round, instead settling on more sexy picks, and Watson may end up being the best receiver in the draft when it is all said and done. He began the draft process as a Day 3 dark horse and has raised his own stock at every turn. He checks all the boxes for the Birds, in terms of size and his ability to also double as a return man.
Pick 51: Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State (6-4, 240)
Notes: If you like Leighton Vander Esch, despite the uniform he wears, you will love this Swiss Army Knife. Andersen may just be limited to special teams early on while being phased into the defense, but it will be worth the wait. And don’t be shocked, in the interim, if he gets in some snaps on offense on gadget plays.
Pick 83: Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State (6-3, 250)
Notes: I have a long list of Day 3 tight ends that I was going to refer to when the time was right, but I was pleasantly surprised to still see my No. 1 tight end still on the board. With all due disrespect to J.J. Arecega-Whiteside, who allegedly converting from receiver to tight end, it was a no-brainer.
Pick 134: J.T. Woods, S, Baylor (6-2, 190)
Notes: Like the McBride selection, the value here was too good to pass up, even with some corners on the board. I’m just not sold on the current safeties as anything more than flotation devices. He has improved his stock slightly — from, say, the latter part of Day 3 — by allaying some fears about man coverage in postseason poking and prodding. He is one of the faster safeties in the draft.
Pick 154: Dameon Pierce, RB, Florida (5-9, 215)
Notes: I’m still not sure why Jordan Howard was so quickly jettisoned, and I mourn his loss from the roster. Pierce, though, brings some of the same qualities with his compact frame. I’m reminded of the “Weeble Wobble But They Don’t Fall Down” toys of the 1970s.
Pick 166: Tyquan Thornton, WR, Baylor (6-2, 180)
Notes: The kid is 6-2 with 33-inch arms and runs a 4.2 40. He is only 180 pounds and is raw and doesn’t always catch the ball, or double catches it, meaning we could be looking at another John Hightower. Or not. Worth the pick here.
Pick 173: Aqeel Glass, QB, Alabama A&M (6-4, 235)
Notes: Nowhere near ready to play meaningful regular season snaps for a year or two, but the raw tools make him an upgrade at the No. 3 spot on the depth chart.
The Eagles currently don’t have a 6th having the swap of picks with the Saints, but I was able to fix that by actually asking a girl to dance and getting a “yes.”
The Patriots accepted a fifth next year for a sixth this year. Seems a steep price, but this draft is deep and the Eagles are awash in picks next year.
Pick 200: Dawson Deaton, C, Texas Tech (6-5, 305)
Notes: He is a former defensive lineman and will bring an attack mentality to Jeff Stoutland’s classroom.
UPDATE: Nate Herbig just resigned with the Eagles, so Deaton is not needed.
NEW PICK 200: Tayland Humphrey, DT, Louisiana (6-5, 350)
Notes: “Big Saucy” will need some refinement, but you can’t teach size, and he has it.
Pick 237: Velus Jones, WR, Tennessee (5-11, 200)
Notes: A third receiver seems a bit much, but we just need to trust the board here and go value. Jones lacks some size/speed stuff but plays the right way, grading out as an excellent blocker, and brings needed return skills (as a Plan B for Watson).
Summary: I left the dance with only admiring San Diego State punter Matt Araiza from afar. This means either an undrafted punter (Penn State’s Jordan Stout), or a veteran journeymen fringe guy, to battle it out with incumbent Arryn Siposs,who tailed off horribly last year. I took no corners in a year loaded with them, meaning either a return of someone Steve Nelson (now with Texans) or the younger guys – Zech McPherson, Tay Gowan, Kary Vincent, etc. — battling it out. But fear not, this is not the last dance. I shall return,