Kolb-Watch, Day 1,475: Yours for the Bargain Price of Two Seconds?

Kolb-Watch, Day 1,475: Yours for the Bargain Price of Two Seconds?

One Cardinals beat writer thinks so. Kent Somers with the Arizona Republic blogged about Kevin Kolb's value yesterday, and he concluded a package of picks headlined by a first may be too rich for the Eagles quarterback.

Somers compared Kolb's situation to that of Matt Schaub, which is funny because he too was blocked by Mike Vick at one point in his career. Schaub, a third rounder out of Virginia, showcased the tools to be an NFL quarterback in several relief appearances, and the Texans made him their franchise quarterback in 2007. The price: Houston and Atlanta swapped first round picks (numbers 8 and 10), and the Falcons threw in a pair of second rounders.

What Somers is getting at is that trade could provide a template for any possible Kolb-to-the-Cards deal, and the similarities are certainly there. Two largely unproven quarterbacks who weren't exactly top prospects coming out of college, with no apparent chance to be named the starter ahead of Vick.

It's a shot in the gut, as we've speculated for a long time the Eagles could get at least a first for Kolb. However, there are still several key differences between Schaub in '07 and Kolb present day that lead me to believe they can still get that kind of compensation.

First of all, we can't truly use that trade as a template, because the move in the first round is a big deal. It may only be two spots, but that early in the draft, two spots can be the difference between a Pro Bowler and a Hall of Famer--though Atlanta wound up with DE Jamaal Anderson, a huge bust.

Furthermore, the Falcons had the advantage of doing that deal a month before the draft. The Eagles and Cardinals can't swap first round picks now because this year's draft is already over, and who knows where anybody will finish in 2011. That takes one component of the deal right off the table.

Then there is the comparison between Schaub and Kolb. Granted, nobody is saying Kolb is any kind of sure thing, but his small body of work dwarfs the Texans QB's at that stage of his career. Schaub started two games for the Falcons, went 0-2, and threw 161 total passes. Kolb has seven starts, is 3-4, and two NFC Offensive Player of the Week awards.

Plus, the two have slightly different pedigrees. Schaub was the fifth quarterback taken in '04, and 90th overall. Kolb was the third signal caller off the board in '07, 36 overall. Ultimately, that may mean nothing, but there were greater expectations for Kolb in the NFL.

Then again, Schaub has gone on to develop into one of the better passers in the league, throwing for over 4,000 yards in consecutive seasons, and making the Texans relevant in the process. Maybe Somers is right, and some seconds are about what the Birds can hope for in the exchange.

I still don't think so. That may have been fine for Atlanta and Houston, but there are far more examples where young, franchise-type quarterbacks go for firsts than examples where they go for less. Look at Matt Hasselbeck, Jay Cutler, Brett Favre. Every situation is different, but even with Schaub, firsts were exchanged.

And of course, there are the various reports that at least one team already has a first on the table. It's only a rumor, but one that contradicts the idea the Eagles won't receive at least that.

Why not? If Kolb is an NFL-caliber quarterback and can stay healthy, there's no reason Arizona should be picking in the top five again next year. Is it a risk? Hell yeah. I think Kolb could be a fine quarterback, but I've also seen A.J. Feeley have success in Andy Reid's system.

That's the price you pay though, Mr. Somers. The Cardinals had the opportunity to draft a franchise quarterback in the first round, and didn't. That doesn't mean the Eagles should treat them like a charity case, taking less than the perceived value.

>> Setting a trade value for Kevin Kolb [Arizona Republic]

Up from 217 to 250, Ben Simmons also stronger mentally from work with LeBron

Up from 217 to 250, Ben Simmons also stronger mentally from work with LeBron

CAMDEN, N.J. — It appears Ben Simmons took the saying about having the weight of the world on your shoulders a tad literal.

The Sixers' No. 1 overall pick walked into the team's sparkling new training complex for media day sporting a much bigger frame than when his name was called on draft night.

"I'm a lot stronger. When I started getting ready for the draft I was about 217 [pounds] and now I'm around 250," Simmons said Monday.

When you're expected to be the centerpiece of an organization that managed just 10 wins a season ago, it helps to have that extra bulk to carry those expectations. 

But Simmons isn’t just being looked at as a key to help change the franchise’s fortunes. He’s also being viewed as perhaps a once-in-a-generation talent after drawing several comparisons to LeBron James, who Simmons shares an agent with in Klutch Sports Group.

So how did the incoming rookie deal with being likened to four-time MVP and three-time NBA champion James? He went to work like someone trying to achieve those same goals.

“Just being around him and learning from his habits and what he does has just helped me overall,” Simmons said of working out with James and other NBA stars during the summer. “He’ll be one of the first guys in the gym every day. It doesn’t matter what day it is. He’s one of those guys who gets the work in and enjoys the rest of his day. Just learning from him I think I can take a lot from what he’s done. ... He’s done a lot for me. He’s helped me experience things I need to learn.

“They get in the gym and work. It’s one of those things where they don’t play around. They get straight to it. Obviously in the weight room too. LeBron loves the VersaClimber and they also brought two more in here. I’m starting to learn from what these guys do, D-Wade (Dwyane Wade) also. They’re all doing the same thing, working out every day and getting ready.”

That type of work ethic will go a long way toward Simmons' earning the respect of his Sixers teammates. The group was already eager to get on the floor with him for training camp at Stockton University and get a firsthand look at the versatile forward, especially his prowess as a passer.

“The most exciting thing that I’ve seen was his passing ability,” Jahlil Okafor said of Simmons. “That’s going to help me out a lot. He’s selfless. Being with the summer league guys he was always about the team. I’ve always considered myself a good teammate and he’s a great one as well. I’m excited to work with him.”

“I think for anybody who likes to shoot or likes to score, whenever you can have a big man who is a really good ball handler, can make good decisions, has great vision, it’s always a great thing,” Gerald Henderson said. “If you can be aggressive on the offensive end you don’t always have to have the basketball to be able to be right there and score. You have somebody that can find you and really is thinking pass-first. I think it’ll be great, not only for us but just our offense in general.”

Considering that the Sixers finished 29th in scoring a season ago, Simmons knows they will need him to be more than just a facilitator. The team needs consistent scoring from everyone on the court. And while the LSU product’s jump shot was questioned during his lone year in college, he believes he has worked hard to silence those doubts.

“I usually try to take what they give me. Obviously I’ve been working on my shot a lot with all the coaches,” Simmons said. “I can shoot the ball. I’m not really worried about that. Coming into training camp, it’s one of the things I’ve been working on since LSU.”

Simmons made it clear several times that he is confident in his offensive game and that the Sixers’ logjam in the frontcourt will work itself out on the floor. One thing he’s not so sure about: that he’s even in this position.

Despite dreaming about being in the NBA since he was a kid in Australia and being groomed to be the No. 1 overall pick for years, Simmons said it’s still a bit of a surprise to be at this point.

“I think it’s still surreal for me,” he said. “I think it’ll finally hit me once I step on the court matched up against OKC the first game.”

There were Carson Wentz and Ben Simmons fans at the debate last night

There were Carson Wentz and Ben Simmons fans at the debate last night

I'm not sure if they could win nationally, but there is absolutely no doubt that a Wentz-Simmons ticket would dominate the Delaware Valley.

An intrepid Philadelphia sports fan was up at the Presidential Debate last night at Hofstra University and made a sign showing his support... for the Eagles and Sixers.

I don't know though, I'm pretty sure Simmons was born in Australia.