The Rumor Mill

Posted: April 23rd, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

The draft starts in less than 48 hours. That means there are a lot of rumors out there, some involving the Eagles. My sources tell me…that I should quit asking them questions and mind my own damn business. So I have no special insight for you.

I don’t anticipate the Eagles doing anything dramatic, but you can never say never with Howie Roseman at the trigger. He is aggressive and he loves to trade.

First, the rumor that became reality.

No more questions about the Eagles dealing for Clark. He’s now a member of the Chiefs.

The Eagles reportedly had some interest in Peterson prior to the trade deadline. If he is really on the market, could they be interested? Absolutely.

While the Eagles have a talented group of young corners, no one is remotely close to Peterson’s level. Adding a player like him to the secondary would be huge.

No one knows what is going on in the desert right now. Is Josh Rosen the QB or about to be traded? Is Kyler Murray the #1 pick? How much say does rookie coach Kliff Kingsbury have in personnel matters?

If that team expects to struggle this year, there is some logic to dealing Peterson. At the same time, you aren’t sending the best message to your players or fans if you deal the best players on the team. I have no idea what to expect from the Cardinals. Peterson has removed references to the Cardinals from his social media accounts so it does feel like something odd is going on.

If the Eagles want a young MLB to add to the mix, Schobert would be an interesting target. He is in a contract year and the Browns may not see him as a long term fit.

This is pure speculation on my part. I have no idea if the Eagles have any interest. Or if Schobert really is on the market.

Clowney would be an interesting target for the Eagles. He was dominant against them this past season. That had to make an impression. But he wouldn’t come cheap, in terms of trade capital or salary. I doubt anything happens, but he does feel like the kind of player the Eagles would target.

Smith would be interesting. The problem is that he is making $12M per year and that is pricey for a LB for the 4-3 defense. The Eagles did clear a lot of cap space so they have options.

It is starting to feel more and more like Chris Long won’t be coming back. We won’t know for sure until after the draft. That means the Eagles have to strongly consider drafting a DE. Without Long, they are relying on Vinny Curry, Josh Sweat, Daeshon Hall and Joe Ostman off the bench.

Stay tuned.

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Speaking of rumors…

What a butt-kicking. That was fun.

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Safety Desired

Posted: April 23rd, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

This isn’t the story of a dreamy safety that the ladies all go ga-ga over. We would just call that the Mike Zordich Story. No, this is about the Eagles and their desire to add a young safety to a talented group of veterans.

Malcolm Jenkins is good. And he’s also going to turn 32 this season. Rodney McLeod will turn 29 in June. Andrew Sendejo will be 32 in September. To be fair, the Eagles do have young guys in Avonte Maddox and Tre Sullivan. The problem is that Maddox might be a CB or play in the slot. He’s not locked in at safety. And Sullivan just hasn’t shown that he is someone you want starting. He’s still very much in development.

So, the Eagles could use a young talent to add to the mix.

Here are my quick thoughts on the top guys:

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson – Florida – Outstanding prospect. Can play in the slot, in the box or back deep. Explosive. Will hit and tackle. Has good ball skills. Good in man coverage or as a deep centerfielder. The kind of versatile talent the Eagles love in a safety. Possibility at 25. As Jimmy Bama recently pointed out, the Eagles have never drafted a safety in the first round, so that may be unlikely. I’m not sure CGJ falls to the bottom of the second.

Nassir Adderley – Delaware – Another gifted, versatile safety. Small school guy had a good showing at the Senior Bowl. Legit player. Good hitter and tackler. Has good coverage ability and outstanding ball skills. At his best playing deep, but can come up and play in the box.

Taylor Rapp – Washington – Really good player. I’m just not sure he’s an good fit for the Eagles. At UW, he tended to play back and attack the ball in front of him. Good hitter and tackler. I didn’t see much in the way of man coverage. I also didn’t see someone who showed great range on the back end. Not sure Rapp is a guy they’ll have interest in.

Darnell Savage – Maryland – Lacks ideal size at 5-11, 198, but put on the tape and you’ll be impressed. Explosive player. Had a great workout at the Combine and you see that athleticism on the field. Very good in man coverage. Can play all over the field. Plays with a lot of attitude and is a lot of fun to watch. Definitely a player to keep an eye on in the second round. Does he make it to the bottom of the round, though?

Johnathan Abram – Mississippi State – Physical, aggressive player who is outstanding near the line of scrimmage. Would be ideal for the Seahawks system, in the Kam Chancellor role. I don’t think the Eagles will want him. Not as good in coverage.

Marquise Blair – Utah – No idea if the Eagles will like him. I do. A lot. My favorite player in the draft. Blair is like watching the 2019 version of Wes Hopkins. He lines up in centerfield and covers from sideline to sideline. He doesn’t have nearly as good a set of ball skills, but his range is outstanding. Blair comes up hard in run support. He doesn’t care if you’re the RB, OL, TE or someone’s grandmother. You are going down. Hard.

Blair isn’t a headhunter. Those days are gone. But he is a strong, physical tackler. He is an impact hitter. You can cross the middle, but there will be a cost.

I don’t have a good feel for his man cover skills, but I value his ability as a deep safety and hitter/tackler. Would love to see this dude in green.

Juan Thornhill – Virginia – And now we come to the polar opposite of Blair. Thornhill is a former CB and he covers like a CB. He also tackles like one. Thornhill would be ideal for the Eagles system, but he is not my cup of tea. Continually dives at the ankles of players instead of trying to make form tackles or forceful tackles. There were times when I yelled at the screen while watching him. And not in a good way. In the modern NFL, his cover skills may be valued so much you take him and hope he can be developed as a tackler. I’m hoping the Eagles go elsewhere in the second round. If they took him in the first, I’ll be heading to the store for a lot of PBR and pudding.

Deionte Thompson – Alabama – Outstanding deep safety. Good range and ball skills. Didn’t play much for three years, but was very good in 2018. Like Blair, Thompson isn’t a guy who did a lot in man coverage. Inconsistent tackler, but has some pop as a hitter. Had 3 FFs this season.

Jaquan Johnson – Miami – One of my favorite players in the draft. He’s only 5-10, 191. Only ran 4.69 at the Combine. Forget that stuff and watch the tape. Johnson was a playmaker at Miami. Finished his career with 7.5 TFLs, 8 INTs, 3 FRs and 6 FFs. He plays with a real sense of urgency. Every play is the Super Bowl to him. Maximum effort. I see a guy like Thornhill slowly working his way to the ball. I see Johnson going like his life depends on it.

https://twitter.com/theACCDN/status/1063963499934687232

I doubt the Eagles will have interest in Johnson. I’m not sure he’s their type of guy. But I love this kid and will be pulling for him wherever he goes.

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Instant vs Impact

Posted: April 22nd, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

The Eagles have a championship-level roster right now. It isn’t perfect, but there is a lot of talent and only a few holes. With that in mind, Howie Roseman is looking to add to the roster to help this team go pursue a championship.

Interesting.

If the Eagles take either Brown or Simmons, they would be adding tremendous talents. But neither player would likely offer much help for 2019.

Brown is a clone of DeSean Jackson. But if you have Jackson, you’re not going to sit him for a rookie very often. You can certainly move receivers in and out to give them rest. Still, Jackson is the proven veteran and would be the deep threat you focus on.

Brown would provide insurance and there is value in that. If Jackson gets hurt, you’d hate to rely on Mack Hollins to take over as the vertical threat. While Brown may not have experience, he does have legit speed and defenses would have to account for that.

Simmons tore his ACL back in February and won’t be in action until mid-season at the earliest. He could offer some help down the stretch or possibly in the postseason. Or his rehab could take a full year and he’s not ready until the 2020 offseason.

Is there really any way Howie would spend a first round pick on a player who might not help at all?

I think both picks are realistic possibilities. Howie is looking for impact players. You can fill holes on a roster with Treyvon Hester, Richard Rodgers, Tre Sullivan and other guys like that. Finding impact players is a whole other story. You have to take them when you can.

I wrote about Simmons and how good he is in a previous post. He would certainly be a Top 10 pick if healthy. He might have gone Top 5. Simmons is a special player. Taking him at 25 would require patience and embracing some risk. You couldn’t count on him playing until 2020. If he gets on the field this year, that’s great. You just couldn’t expect it. And ACL injuries aren’t what they used to be, but there is always risk with a guy coming off a torn knee.

The general argument against Brown is that he’s 5-9, 166 and coming off an injury of his own. He had surgery to repair a LisFranc injury back in February. He is expected to be completely healthy by this summer. The presence of DeSean means there is the additional argument that he would be a luxury pick for the Eagles. Can you afford to do that?

You can’t think of Brown as just another WR. He has game-changing speed. We’ve seen first-hand what DeSean does to defenses. Look at what Tyreek Hill does for the Chiefs. These guys are difference-makers.

You can point out that there are other speedy receivers for the Eagles to take at better value spots. And that is true. But go watch Emanuel Hall of Missouri and compare that to Brown. Hall is bigger and still runs 4.39. He might be available in the fourth round. But just that statement should tell you the difference. Hall is likely to be a fourth round pick. He’s fast, but he’s not an impact player. He’s not Brown.

I’m not arguing that Howie should definitely take Simmons or Brown at 25. Heck, we don’t know that both guys will be available. I do think you have to identify special talents and strongly consider them. Both Simmons and Brown fit into that category for me.

I do have to say that the idea of taking Simmons has really grown on me. I just keep going back to the idea of how crazy it would be to add another Fletcher Cox to the defense. There are no guarantees Simmons would be that good, but it is a real possibility.

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The Next Nellie?

Posted: April 21st, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

A couple of Aprils ago, we thought the Eagles got a huge steal when they drafted CB Sidney Jones 43rd overall. He was a Top 20 talent that fell after getting injured at his Pro Day. Getting Jones in the second round seemed too good to be true.

So far, the results have been disappointing.

Jones missed all but one game as a rookie. That was expected. Jones played in nine games last year, with only four starts. That was not expected. When he was on the field, there were mixed results.

I think too many people see Jones as a bust. He struggled in the Dallas game and got lit up by Amani Cooper. Jones couldn’t run so it isn’t exactly fair to judge him on that. If anything, give the guy points for wanting to be on the field and wanting to compete. The coaches should have seen he couldn’t run and gotten him out of there. They did eventually, but not soon enough.

What do the Eagles think of Jones?

You wouldn’t expect the coaches or front office to openly rip Jones, but they could have danced around the subject if they wanted to. Instead, they seem to think Jones will still turn into a good player.

Their actions are a bit different. The Eagles re-signed Ronald Darby and that gives the team a lot of bodies at CB. Will they have Jones battle for an outside job or will they have him battle Cre’Von LeBlanc for the nickel role? That remains to be seen.

While Jones hasn’t played at a high level yet, it is too early to give up on him. Nelson Agholor was healthy in 2015 and 2016 and still found his way to rock bottom. In his third year, Agholor woke up and started playing well. He was a changed man.

Jones could still have a bright future in the NFL. He can learn from the struggles of Agholor and Brandon Graham. You can be a high pick and still take time to develop, due to injuries or other factors.

We don’t know if Jones will ever pan out or not, but this wasn’t a reach or dumb pick by the Eagles. Jones was a terrific cover corner in college. No one questioned his talent. You could argue whether he should have gone at 10 or 15 or 20, but he was going to be a first round pick.

The injury happened and changed things in a hurry. Unfortunately, Jones hasn’t been the same since.

That could change this year, but nothing is guaranteed. Some players who get off to a slow start never overcome that and they don’t get better.

Jones has shown us some flashes of ability. It isn’t enough for people to get excited about him, but it is enough to make the coaches and front office think Jones can still be the guy they expected when they spent a high second round pick on him.

Here are some interesting thoughts on Jones from a Giants blogger. Pretty good stuff.

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Updated RB Thoughts

Posted: April 19th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

I can say with one million percent certainty that the Eagles are probably likely to maybe draft a RB next week. But Tommy, how can you be so sure? You’ll just have to trust me on this.

The Eagles have wanted to spend an early pick on a RB for the past few drafts, but things just didn’t work out for one reason or another. The RB position has been a mixture of one-year veterans, late round picks and UDFAs. It just might be time to change that.

While you can bet Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman would love a RB, they aren’t going to force things. The value still has to work.

So who will the Eagles take?

I think we’ll all be surprised if they go for Josh Jacobs in the first round. It would be fun to see them add a major talent like that, but it doesn’t feel like a likely move. The Eagles addition of Jordan Howard give them a workhorse player. They can certainly still add Jacobs, but he’s not a necessity.

My number two RB is Miles Sanders from Penn State. I thought he might be an option for the Eagles in the second round. Unfortunately, that doesn’t sound like it will be happening.

Good for Sanders. Bad for the Eagles.

He is the only RB I have rated with a second round grade. There are some RBs that others like more than me. Darrell Henderson of Memphis is one of those guys.

He is expected to go in the second or early third round. There was speculation about him sneaking into the first round, but that seems a bit much.

Henderson was incredibly productive for the Tigers. He ran for 1,909 yards and 22 TDs last year. He averaged 15.5 yards per catch. Big time playmaker. He’s got explosive ability and a lot of speed. But that is part of what makes me nervous. Speedy RBs don’t always translate well to the NFL. You can dominate in college, especially against mediocre competition. Everyone in the NFL is fast, relatively speaking. You need footwork, vision and instincts.

Bryce Brown was faster than either Brian Westbrook or LeSean McCoy, but those guys were gifted runners and they had great careers.

I’m not saying Henderson will flame out like Brown, but his game makes me a bit nervous. I wouldn’t be upset with the Eagles taking him in the late second round because he does have serious potential and I do think the Eagles offense would be a good fit for him. The Eagles coaches know how to scheme for the run. The Eagles OL can block. Henderson might turn out to be a real good fit.

Here are some quick thoughts on some other RBs.

  • David Montgomery – I love watching him at Iowa State. I don’t love him as an NFL prospect. Should go somewhere between the second and fourth rounds. Great effort. Tough as nails. Not a gifted athlete, though.
  • Trayveon Williams – I used to be high on him, but his Alabama tape bothered me. That was a tough defense to battle and it didn’t bring out the best in Williams. He delivered a lot of big plays for Texas A&M and would be good value for the Eagles in the fourth round.
  • Damien Harris – Solid RB, but not compelling in any way. Put on some Bama tape and you can see how Jacobs is special and Harris is just a solid player. He can be a good role player in the NFL, but I don’t ever see him starting.
  • Justice Hill – The Eagles have shown interest in undersized RBs in recent years. I’m not a huge fan of that, but Hill would be different. He’s explosive. He ran 4.4 at the Combine and that speed shows up on his tape. I see him as a mid-round target.
  • Rodney Anderson – If healthy, I’d be pushing his name all day long. The problem is that he can’t stay healthy. Anderson played in 17 games during his three years at Oklahoma. He is a great runner/receiver and would be ideal for the Eagles. Lots of risk with him, but could be a huge reward if he can stay healthy.
  • Travis Homer – Duce Staley went to Miami to work him out. Put on the tape and you can see why. Homer can run, catch and block. He’s NFL ready. Homer isn’t huge at 5-10, 201, but he is a smart, physical player. He ran 4.48 at the Combine and produced plenty of big plays. I see him as a role player in the NFL, but he could be a very good fit for the Eagles. Homer feels like someone that is being overlooked by a lot of people. The more I watch him, the more I like him.

There are a lot of other RBs the Eagles have done research on. We don’t know for sure who they like and who they don’t. We’ll have to wait another week to find out.

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