In the event you're a degenerate gambler who sits there and sweats out Pac-12 games at 1 a.m. -- or, you know, if you're just a college football fan -- there's a good chance you were already familiar with Jordan Poyer.
The Oregon State corner was a consensus All-American in 2012 and finished second in the nation with seven interceptions. He was the leader of an Oregon State secondary that helped hold opponents to the third-fewest passing yards per game in an offense-happy conference.
He's even a potential return threat in the NFL.
He was widely projected as a Day 2 or very early Day 3 pick. So how did he manage to fall to the Eagles in the seventh round?
We're now four days after the NFL Draft and that's still a fascinating question.
Poyer had some character concerns -- he was apparently banned from a bar and then later charged with trespassing when he was detained following a fight at that same bar last May -- but guys with his on-field resume have done worse and not slid all the way down the board.
Then there's the fact that his combine was apparently pretty unimpressive -- which Poyer cites as the reason for his fall -- and that his weaknesses from a variety of scouting reports indicated that he lacks strength and speed in coverage. Those traits potentially paint him as a nickel corner, which also likely made him less of a target higher up on the board.
Per Paul Domowitch, here's Poyer's post-draft evaluation from an anonymous scout:
“This is a helluva value pick here. We had him as a late-five.
Some teams I talked to had him higher than that. Speed was the obvious
concern. Ran a 4.65. But he plays faster than that. Tight in the hips
and doesn’t have great recovery speed. But he’s got really good hand-eye
coordination. Had seven interceptions as a nickel last year, which is
where he’s going to play at this level. Eventually, I could see him
being moved to safety. He’s going to help them right away on special
teams. He was a gunner on their punt coverage unit and also can return
kicks. He needs to get a little stronger. He only did the 225-bench
eight times. I know he’s a corner, but that’s still pretty bad.’’
It was apparently enough for the Eagles, according to the aforelinked story from Reuben Frank, to pace like mad men as Poyer remained on the board and the team was without a pick:
“We didn't have a pick for a long time from round five
to round seven, and any of you guys that know me, that's not my most
comfortable thing,” [GM Howie] Roseman said. “I had to take a little walk to keep
myself in line a little bit. … And when I came back I said maybe I
should take another walk.”
“I don't know. I think that you're
very surprised about some of the guys that go undrafted, and you go, 'Oh
my god, how did that guy not get drafted?’ But it's the nature of the
draft process. It's unique."
So what's the deal with airline peanuts/Jordan Poyer?
Somehow, a consensus All-American fell all the way to the seventh round. And, if not for Chip Kelly, who took kids from the Pac-12 with four of his eight picks, Poyer had the potential to go undrafted. Either he validates the Eagles or proves why 31 other teams passed on him.
The Eagles already have a guy with a similar skill set in Brandon Boykin, but in age when so many front-office types talk about draft "value," is there anyone who had a greater seventh-round value than Jordan Poyer?
>> New Eagle Jordan Poyer: 'I'll remember who passed me up' [Roob]
Ryan White was whisking by to the visiting locker room when he had to stop.
With huge delight, the long-haired forward hugged a Flyers employee in bright orange athletic gear standing outside the laundry room.
The two exchanged hellos and good wishes before White’s path was impeded again.
None of this was a nuisance. This is what he loved.
“That’s probably the biggest thing I miss here in Philly is the people around the rink are great,” White said late Thursday night inside the Wells Fargo Center. “The guys from the locker room attendants to the security guys to people taking care of my girlfriend and stuff like that. It’s a special place to play and I always felt like I was welcomed here.”
White had just scored his first goal of the 2016-17 season. All offseason, he hoped and planned for the occasion to be in a Flyers sweater. He talked about his endearment for the organization trumping the worth of money elsewhere.
But on Thursday night, he was wearing an Arizona Coyote uniform and, what he called, “putting the final nail in the coffin” of a 5-4 loss for the Flyers.
“It feels good scoring here,” he said.
Not at all how he pictured it.
Playing fourth-line minutes (8:09), White somehow snuck a shot past Steve Mason from a nasty side angle with 4:19 remaining in regulation, making it 5-3 and virtually snuffing another Flyers comeback bid.
“Any time you’re coming back playing your old club, you want to make sure you get a win. … I loved playing as a Flyer, it was a lot of fun playing here,” White said. “Guys over there are a great group of guys, good coaching staff, good people in the organization. It’s just a special place to play.”
It’s where White wanted to be but he holds no ill will towards general manager Ron Hextall and the Flyers. Hextall liked and expressed interest in re-signing White, a role-playing fourth-liner, but went out and inked free-agent right winger Dale Weise (four-year, $9.4 million deal), more of a third-line player with similar attributes.
That signaled White’s end with the Flyers after two seasons.
“I think I’d be crazy if I didn’t want to come back here, it just didn’t work out,” White said. “I’m just happy I’ve gotten a chance to play in Phoenix and it’s been pretty good so far.”
White on Wednesday night caught up with former Flyers teammates Radko Gudas and Michal Neuvirth. While with the Flyers, he lived in the same building as the two. They all had dinner and White got to visit Gudas’ baby daughter.
On the ice, White, gritty and physical-minded, made his presence felt. He was penalized in the second period for charging Nick Cousins. He was also called for a delay of game penalty in the final two minutes for closing his hand on the puck. The Flyers scored on the power play, ironically turning White’s goal into the gamer-winner.
“He told me he just wanted the winning goal,” Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said with a laugh. “So that’s all that counts.”
White enjoyed the rough-and-tough nature against his old friends.
“All those guys play hard, they know how the game goes,” he said. “I had a little conversation with Gudy last night at dinner and he said, ‘You’re going to be running around out there.’ I figured it would be no other way. You’ve got to expect that coming from those guys, they’re a hard group over there.
“Those guys know how I play and they all play the same way, too, so it was fun.”
He also appreciated seeing the Flyers Heritage Night pregame ceremony honoring the organization’s legends, led by late founder Ed Snider. White kept tabs on the Flyers’ home opener last week when a banner commemorating Snider was raised to the rafters.
“I even heard about the first game coming back, it was pretty emotional in here,” he said. “It was a pretty special time playing here with Mr. Snider around. I think he’ll obviously be forever missed and like I said, it was just special to be a part of it.”
White wasn’t sure what to expect in his return. In the end, he wasn’t surprised.
“It’s funny, I thought maybe coming back here, it would be a little bit different,” White said. “But they’re a pretty welcoming group and it’s nice to be here.”
Even if it’s just for one game.
When he was introduced at center ice Thursday night, Rod Brind’Amour, who epitomizes what it meant to be a Flyer perhaps like no other player in franchise history, acknowledged the crowd.
And then the current Carolina assistant coach walked over to former teammate Eric Lindros and hugged him.
There were indeed some awkward moments for the two back in the 1990s, but they remain Flyers forever and this was Heritage Night for the organization’s Hall of Famers in celebration of their 50th Anniversary.
“You know I haven’t seen him in forever, and it was just fun and when we got out there we just said, ‘nice to be back on the ice again’, it’s been a long time and I haven’t seen him,” Brind’Amour explained of the gesture toward Lindros.
“I saw Johnny [LeClair] last year but it was just nice to catch up with these guys and relive some stories, we had a lot of great times so it was nice to see him.”
How ironic that Brind’Amour would get traded to Carolina for a larger centerman in Keith Primeau and eventually after the pain of separation from the Flyers womb had healed, he won a Cup with the Hurricanes.
Ask Roddy and he’ll tell you that Cup should have been won in Philly. He began the season as a member of the 1999-00 team that blew a 3-1 lead to the Devils in the Eastern Conference finals, but was traded at the mid-point.
To this very day, it ranks all-time as the most controversial trade the Flyers ever made. As if the very soul of the organization had been purged.
“Well I mean that’s the way it goes, right?” Brind’Amour said. “We had a great team. We had a great team back then, but trades happen and they were trying to make the team better. Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t, but had we stayed together who knows what could have happened.
“I’m just fortunate that I got that Cup because obviously, that is what I played for my whole life. Would it have been great to have it here? Yes, I mean that would have been something special, but that’s life. It doesn’t always work out the way you want it to.
“It was just unfortunate we didn’t win because we were one of the best teams in the league there for a long time and things just didn’t work out. It’s hard to win a Stanley Cup, let me tell you.”
He admitted there’s an orange ‘n black spot in his heart that will forever belong to the Flyers. That’s why he interrupted his own season in Carolina to return here for one night of memories.
He also said how much it meant to him last spring when club chairman Ed Snider reached out to him shortly before his death.
“I got a great phone call before Mr. Snider passed and him telling me what he thought I meant to this team,” Brind’Amour said.
“It meant a lot. So I really feel connected to the Flyers' organization again and I’ll take any chance I can to get back here and be a part of it.
“It has meant a lot to me to be back here and be in the fold. I love the alumni … so, any chance to get to reconnect with these guys means the world to me.”
Which is pretty much how Flyers fans felt about him, too.