“Have To Marry Personnel With Scheme”
ITBTV: Former Vikings GM Rick Spielman Talks Birds-Vikings Crossover Storylines
On the latest Inside The Birds TV, former Vikings and Dolphins general manager Rick Spielman joined Geoff Mosher and Adam Caplan to discuss a number of different topics and several Eagles-Vikings crossover storylines.
Spielman gave an inside perspective on moves impacting each team, starting with Minnesota’s valuation of linebacker for former coach Mike Zimmer’s scheme compared to the Eagles’ tendency to devalue the position in the first round of the NFL Draft.
“When we drafted Anthony Barr in the first round [in 204], Coach Zimmer, we all sat in there, including our scouts and we were going through our draft process,” Spielman recalled. “He said, ‘This is how I’m going to use Anthony Barr and this is why he’s going to fit this scheme.’ So as a personnel department, you can line up the board, you can put the players where you think their value is on the board. But you have to have the coaches involved, because you have to marry up the personnel with the scheme.”
Spielman also discussed Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, who coached under Zimmer in Minnesota before moving onto the Colts for three seasons as defensive backs coach.
“I remember how much he learned from Coach Zimmer, because I think Coach Zimmer is a brilliant defensive mind,” Spielman said. “I always felt that as a young coach in how hard he worked. I’d be leaving at 8 or 9 at night, and he’d still be in there drawing [play] cards, and you could tell how much passion he had to be a coach.”
Another big topic of discussion centered on wide receivers, and the decision by the Eagles to select Jalen Reagor at 21st overall in 2020, ahead of star wideout Justin Jefferson, who fell to Minnesota at 22nd.
Spielman said he Reagor and Jefferson were both ranked high on his draft board and that Reagor can still develop into a solid player.
“We spent a lot of time on that receiver position and I got to see Reagor play live at a TCU game that I had attended,” Spielman said of the former Texas Christian University star. “There was no question about his skill-set, his physical traits, his speed. The one thing that was really intriguing is that he added value as a kickoff and punt returner as well.”
“I wouldn’t say that that kid’s a bust. I think there’s still a lot of room to grow with him. Some guys, you have to remember, hit it earlier than other guys. Some guys take two or three years to hit.”
Reagor’s trajectory is unclear, but Jefferson has lit up the NFL, with a league-record 2,758 receiving yards in his first two seasons.
“When you looked at Justin Jefferson, he had just played in the slot his senior year, you had to go back to his junior year to see if he could line up outside,” Spielman said, “and he was overshadowed by another pretty good receiver who is playing in Cincinnati right now – I think his name is Ja’Marr Chase.
“So how does that all translate? You can do as much research as you can, the analytics, all the background, all the sources that you talk to it.
“It’s a little bit of luck involved too because you can predict what may happen, but until they get up there and actually do it and you see them flourish … that’s when you can say, ‘Yeah, we made a pretty good pick.”’
– Justin Morganstein (@jmotweets_) is a staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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