In defense of Jeremy Maclin…and Mel Kiper’s history of draft picks…

Jeremy Maclin has gotten a "bad rap" as a guy who avoids contact after a catch….it's getting out of hand.

I was doing a late-night jam with J. "Woody"  Wood over at OTI when the subject of Maclin came up. We both agreed that Tommy Lawlor is one of our favorite Eagles writers. His latest article is entitled "The Chip Effect". If you haven't checked out his most recent remarks, take a gander:

In the article Lawlor talks about how Chip Kelly may be the one head coach in a perfect position to get maximum effort and also downfield blocking out of our speedy wideouts DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.

To my chagrin, Lawlor actually referred to Maclin with a pedestrian dig as "Self-Tacklin' Jeremy Maclin"…

Maybe this was just an example of Lawlor's wry sense of humor. Maybe he didn't really mean it to be vindictive.

But I was inspired to challenge the myth of Maclin as a guy who tackles himself. It's not a fair assessment.

Maclin played hurt with very sore hips and ribs for most of last season..and then worked his way back from a concussion.. Sometimes it is just a good football play to go down and protect the ball (and your body) when you are already hurt and everyone knows it. Your team keeps possession and you live to run another route.

Sometimes it's a coach's directive to an injured player to go down or slide. It's often a smart part of the game.

I am virtually positive this is the situation Maclin played through since September of 2012. And for those who maintain Maclin is afraid to take a big hit— how do you think he got injured in the first place?

I went back to Maclin's photo library compiled by Bing which shows virtually every catch and run he's ever made in the NFL.  The overwhelming evidence is Maclin, when healthy, initiates contact.

Here are just a few examples of the hundreds of photos you can find in Maclin's resume:

















There are dozens and dozens of more photos showing Maclin taking contact head on…or laying himself out for a big catch and subsequent hit.

This message has been brought to you by the Maclin Integrity Protection Foundation. (Jeremy's check to Eagles Eye cleared this morning…)

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Mel Kiper the ESPN draft guru still has the Eagles picking Geno Smith if they stay at #4 in the 1st Round.

I was inspired by Mel's stubborness and conviction on this selection. I decided to look up his accuracy stats as a 1st Round predictor.





To make a long story short, going back to 2005, Kiper has a 25% accuracy factor in his 1st Round picks.

Considering you generally need a 30% accuracy just to reach the finals of Brizer's annual MACH 10 challenge, which encompasses all 7 rounds of the Draft, Kiper's 25% is not too shabby, since it applies to only one round of the Draft.

Further research revealed a guy named Xander Diaz wrote a column for Bleacher Report way back in 2009 on Kiper's accuracy. Remember, back then, Bleacher Report had a much higher quality content—even our own Leo Pizzini was writing excellent articles for them. Since then, Bleacher Report's quality of writing has become…well, less consistent.

Diaz was a lot harder on Kiper than I…

"A little internet research turns up this gem from; over the course of the last four drafts (2005-2008) our boy Mel has compiled an abysmal record of 32 correct picks out of 127 in the first round or about 25.2 percent correct. He hardly seems like the pillar of accuracy he is touted to be, and, moreover, serves to illustrate the futility of mock drafts."

Proving once again that individual perception is your own reality, since I look at 25.2% as pretty darn good.

Diaz goes on to make his most cogent point— that in the time period he researched, there was no single draft authority that posted anything higher than 27.6 %

Reading deeper into the researcher's beef with Kiper, I discovered his true bias. What Diaz is really P.O.'ed about are the notable Draft Busts of an individual nature on Kiper's stat sheets going way back:

1990— QB Andrew Ware
1995— WR J.J. Stokes
1995— QB John Walsh
1998— QB Ryan Leaf
1999— QB Akili Smith
2005— WR Mike Williams

Diaz is mixing apple and oranges with sour grapes here. Get out the juicer!


Thomas Jackson

About Thomas Jackson

Jax Sports Media has been reporting on NFL teams in the mid-Atlantic region since 2006. Thomas Jackson is its senior writer. Tom started covering the Philadelphia Eagles for the MVN Network in 2007. In 2009 he joined the Bloguin Network. He now also covers the Baltimore Ravens.