Thursday, April 11, 2013

Eagles Make Another Trade

In an off-season not short on excitement, the Eagles have made another roster move, trading RB Dion Lewis to the Cleveland Browns for ILB Emmanuel Acho. 22 year-old Acho was a 6th round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2012 and spent the entire season on IR with a knee injury.

Let's start with Lewis. He's been a solid backup since being drafted by Philadelphia, actually productive in his time on the field. However, there really wasn't a roster spot for Lewis under new head coach Chip Kelly. LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown are locks to make the roster, and second year back Chris Polk adds special teams value, which Lewis doesn't. He was the odd man out.

Now let's take a look at Acho. He has decent size (6'1" 240 lbs) and according to Adam
Caplan of The Sideline View, the knee injury he suffered last season is not said to be serious. Many times teams will stash under-developed draft picks on IR with minor injuries to make sure they don't get away; cough, New England, cough.

UPDATE: Sources finally confirmed that knee injury was a meniscus tear and he's 100% fully recovered.

Acho pressuring RGIII in college.
Since there's no NFL stats of Acho's to look at, I went back to some of his scouting reports coming out of Texas.

Here are his combine statistics:

40-yard dash - 4.68 seconds
Bench Press - 24 reps
Broad Jump - 118 inches
Vertical Jump - 35.5 inches

What to make of it? Well, Acho has decent speed for an inside backer and he has good arm length. While he's not an explosive athlete, he displayed reasonable athleticism.

Scouting Report:

Strengths: He has great instincts unlike, say, Ernie Sims, but that's another post for another day. He's comfortable in the traffic that clogs the middle of the field. His tackling is reliable, wrapping up ball-carriers. Has some legitimate pass-rushing ability, showing versatility and allowing the coordinator to dial up effective blitzes to attack the middle He also shows pretty good short-area quickness.

Weaknesses: Acho can struggle against big offensive linemen at times, struggling to shed blocks. His coverage skills are a bit inconsistent and he lacks top-end speed to run deeper routes against quicker tight ends and running backs. He's not quite a project, but he's far from polished.

My view, which I imagine isn't vital to your opinion, is that it's another solid move for Chip Kelly. If I used one word to describe this off-season, it would be value. Dion Lewis wasn't going to make the team, so instead of releasing him, they got a little value. Acho adds depth in the middle and has good potential as a special-teams standout.

Hail Mary:

- My 2013 CB Rankings have been updated. A key name has been left off, Houston CB DJ Hayden. He's a talented kid, but his injury concerns hurt his value in my book.

Star Lotulelei is a problem in the
middle and could land in Philadelphia.
- According to Pro Football Focus, new NT Isaac Sopoaga had one of the worst seasons of any defensive lineman last season. Are the numbers deceiving or will the Eagles add a big piece in the middle?

- Most draft scouts have narrowed the potential Eagles selection at number four to T Eric Fisher and OLB Dion Jordan. Are Eagles fans in store for a surprise on April 25th? Check out some pass-rushing options on day one.

- Among the signings this off-season, not one included an starting caliber player at DE opposite of Fletcher Cox. Here's why I think Star Lotulelei will get some serious thought at number 4.
Follow me on Twitter @Matt_Chastain25 and @OfficialEagles_, I'll get ya back!

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