Joe Walker is nothing special here.
By passing over the consensus national defensive player of the year, Tyler Matakevich, twice in the seventh round, Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has made Pennsylvania a battleground state for right or wrong.
Or, more precisely, an eye test. By, oh, the 14th game of this season, we will probably find out that Roseman needs to be fitted for a new pair of glasses. From Roseman’s subjective view, Walker was the better player.
Forget the fact that a whole bunch of other eyes saw enough of Matakevich to make him both the Chuck Bednarik and Bronco Nagurski Awards as national defensive player of the year, here are the stone hard cold numbers:
If that was a blind Player A and Player B comparison, most people would pick the guy with 138 tackles and 15.5 tackles for losses over the guy with 87 tackles and five for losses.
Not Roseman, though.
The explanation offered by Roseman for not picking Matakevich was tepid at best:
“He’s a good football player,” Roseman said of Matakevich. “Obviously we had a chance to watch him locally live. Coach [Matt] Rhule is a big booster of his. We know him well. We spoke to him a couple of times today. Happy for him that he got an opportunity in Pittsburgh. A good football player. He was in consideration for us when we were looking at linebackers here.”
Big deal because “in consideration for us” and picking Walker let the entire Philadelphia area know that the Eagles felt that Walker was the better player. The stone cold hard numbers suggest otherwise, as do a whole lot of good football people on both the Nagurski and Bednarik committees.
On the other hand, Roseman is a nerd who never played football. Matakevich will be walking the sidelines in the Steel City long after Walker is back home in Oregon. That’s not a prediction, it’s a promise.
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