Over the course of this hectic offseason, the Philadelphia Eagles made some major changes to the squad, front office, and coaching staff. Among these offseason decisions was the choice to not have a specific person be the offensive coordinator this season, instead opting for a system that’s being used more regularly in the NFL, a system that sees almost a committee of coaches contribute on offense.
One of the main contributors to this new system is former 49ers QB coach and Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello. When the Eagles announced the appointment, many people just shook it off and it’s fair to see why. On paper Scangarello hasn’t really blown people away, especially given his time with the Broncos ended badly with Joe Flacco publicly attacking his former OC.
However, when you take a deep dive into his coaching past, the teams he’s been with and their philosophies, and the head coaches he’s worked under, you then connect all the dots on one of the biggest additions the Eagles made this year.
Scangarello got his first NFL job with the Raiders back in 2009 as their offensive quality control coach but this job doesn’t mean much in the long run. After some stints in college football, Scangarello came back to the NFL with the Falcons in 2015 in the same role as the one he was in at the Raiders. Back in the 2015 draft, whilst Rich was with the team, the Falcons drafted players like Vic Beasley who scored 9.87 on the RAS, Tevin Coleman with a 9.72 RAS score, Grady Jarrett with an 8.86 RAS score, Akeem King with an 8.43 RAS score, and Jalen Collins with an 8.29 RAS score.
Then you look at the UDFA’s the Falcons brought in with guys like Derek Akunne, Joshua Stangby, Roberson Therezie, and Shane Wynn all score elite speed and/or elite explosiveness on the RAS. The Falcons focussed on athletes in this draft class and this was the group that came in when Rich was hired for the quality control coaching role. Can you see what I’m getting at?
Moving on to 2017, Rich Scangarello was announced as the 49ers quarterback coach, a role that would put him in charge of coaching Jimmy Garoppolo and they went on to have a great relationship during the 2 seasons they spent together. Now let’s take a look at the 49ers haul in the 2017 draft, just after Rich landed in San Francisco. The 49ers landed players like Akhello Witherspoon with a 9.89 RAS score, Solomon Thomas with a 9.71 RAS score, George Kittle (remember this one for later) with a 9.49 RAS score. The 49ers also took QB C.J. Beathard in 2017 and added guys like Joe Williams, Pita Taumoepenu and Adrian Colbert who all score elite speed and/or agility in the RAS.
2017 was also the year that the 49ers landed running back Matt Breida, who scored 9.43 on RAS, J.P. Flynn with an 8.54 RAS score, Bret Treadway with a 9.39 RAS score and two other prospects who both scored elite speed in the RAS. Once again, with Rich joining the team in San Francisco, the team focussed on drafting athletes and taking athletes within their UDFA haul, something that continues to be a constant within the teams Rich joins.
The 2018 49ers draft haul had a very similar out look to it as the ones I previously mentioned beforehand. In 2018, the 49ers took guys like Jullian Taylor, who scored 9.86 on RAS, Fred Warner who scored 9.68, Tarvarius Moore who scored 9.23, Dante Pettis, and Kentavius Street who both scored just shy of 8.
2018 was the last year Rich spent with the 49ers as he left to join the Broncos as their offensive coordinator for the 2019 season and, once again, the Broncos went through the same transition that the Falcons did in 2009 and the 49ers did in both 2017 and 2018. The Broncos left the 2019 draft with a pretty nice haul with guys like Noah Fant who scored 9.88, Justin Hollins who scored 9.69, Drew Lock who scored 9.39. You also had Dalton Risner who scored just shy of 8. This draft is more of a link to something else that I’ll discuss later in this piece, but 4 of their 6 picks in 2019 were on athletes for the team.
Rich didn’t last until the 2020 draft this year, as most of you know since he joined the Eagles, however, I think it’s relevant to my point that I show you how the Broncos drafted in 2020, just to see the influence and impact Rich has on a team’s philosophy. In 2020, the Broncos took guys like Jerry Jeudy who scored a high-speed score, K.J. Hamler didn’t produce a RAS score but most will know he would have had a pretty high one given his speed and agility, Michael Ojemudia who scored 9.17, McTelvin Agim who scored 8.56, Albert Okwuegbunam who scored an elite speed and 40-yard dash time and Tyrie Cleveland who scored 9.65.
Now we go to the 2020 Eagles draft haul, many people didn’t see the link between Rich’s past in the NFL and why the Eagles hired him in the first place, especially given Howie Roseman’s comments saying they were focussing on athletes more than anything in this draft. The Eagles 2020 draft haul included Jalen Reagor who scored elite speed and explosiveness, Jalen Hurts who scored 9.53, Davion Taylor who scored 8.54, K’Von Wallace who scored 9.42, Jack Driscoll who scored 8.9, John Hightower who scored 8.03, Shaun Bradley and Quez Watkins both scored just shy of 8 and both had elite speed scores and Casey Toohill who scored 9.7.
As you can see from the numbers above, in the first few months of Rich being with the Eagles, they drafted athlete after athlete and it can’t be a coincidence at this point that every team Rich joins decides to go with the mentality that they need speed and athletes from their drafts. However, in the past ones, I’m not trying to say Rich had the influence on the team to dictate their drafts, the only one he really had that option was the Broncos draft in 2019 but you can clearly see the coaching tree he is coming from and the Eagles saw this and appointed the expert in changing a team’s philosophy to speed and nothing else.
I had previously mentioned, back in the 2019 Broncos section, that I had another couple of points to make around Rich and what he brings to the team. If you look back to the 2017 49ers draft class, they took QB C.J. Beathard who scored just shy of 8 on his RAS, then in 2019 the Broncos took Drew Lock, who scored 9.39 and has taken the starting role in Denver and showed great promise. Then you look to the most controversial pick of the 2020 draft, Jalen Hurts, who scored 9.53 on RAS. It’s also not a coincidence that Rich joined the Eagles or any of the teams I mentioned and they instantly drafted an athletic quarterback.
Then factor in that another person on the Eagles offensive committee, Marty Mornhinweg, who was the mastermind who brought Raven’s Quarterback Lamar Jackson into the league and figured out a way to use him alongside Joe Flacco, you now have a better situation in Philly with Carson Wentz, who’s much more athletic and younger than Flacco was, and Jalen Hurts, who is probably a better all-around QB than what Lamar Jackson was when he entered the league.
One of the other factors you can link between Rich and at least 3 of the NFL drafts he’s been involved with as a coach is, they always take an athletic tight end. In 2017, the 49ers took, now franchise tight end George Kittle, who scored 9.49 on the RAS. In 2019, Noah Fant, who scored 9.88 on RAS, was taken by Rich with the Broncos and then in 2020, the Broncos took another athletic tight end in Albert Okwuegbunam, who scored elite speed and an elite 40 yard dash time. I see that you’re probably thinking “Well, the Eagles didn’t take a tight end in the 2020 draft, did they?” and whilst you’re right, you have to look at their UDFA haul, a haul that’s full of athletes, but the one I’m pointing to is tight end Noah Togiai, who scored 7.43 on RAS with elite speed.
Most of you will be thinking that UDFA’s usually don’t mean anything to how a team wants to develop, however, when you take into account that the Eagles tight end situation isn’t the clearest at the minute, with doubts over whether we’ll be able to keep Ertz and Goedert together beyond 2021, Noah Togiai could be a really promising prospect to have, if the time comes for one of Ertz or Goedert to leave.
The main thing I’m trying to get at is that many didn’t think too much about the hirings of guys like Marty Mornhinweg and Rich Scangarello when they first happened, but when you look at it in detail, the hirings of them and especially Rich show where the Eagles want to go in the future with their team and how they build for the future. The team as a whole will be making a huge shift in the coming few years, but the offense will certainly be making a huge change starting in this upcoming season. You do not simply hire Marty and Rich, draft Jalen Hurts and all of those speed receivers, and simply stay the way you were previously. I know Doug came out and said Jalen is simply a back-up to Wentz but I’m not buying it and besides, why would Doug go out to national media and expose their entire masterplan so teams know how to prepare for. Although now I think about it, I may have just done that myself…
Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports