Let the Board Come to You

Posted: April 25th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

There are a lot of cliches when it comes to the NFL draft. One of the good ones is “Let the draft board come to you”. This means that you don’t reach for players. You have to be patient and let the picks ahead of you happen and then take the best player available when it is your pick.

The point of this is that teams spend from June-January scouting and then spend another few months doing more draft preparations. That information is used to build the draft board. Teams have to trust the board during the draft. Don’t get too cute and throw away all those months of preparation. The board will tell you who the good players are. Take one.

I mention this because this is a tricky time for the Eagles. They just won the Super Bowl and have a strong roster already in place. There is a good mixture of veterans, players in their prime and even young talent. You could argue that they have the freedom to do just about whatever they want in the draft.

The Eagles need to be careful.

Back in 2012 the Niners had what looked to be the best roster in the league. They were loaded with players all over the place. They looked like they could turn into a real juggernaut. The Niners were good again in 2013, but quickly went the other way. You can argue about the QB situation or Jim Harbaugh or ownership, but one of the big problems is that they quit drafting well.

In 2012, the team spent a 1st round pick on WR A.J. Jenkins. That was a major reach and he was an awful pro. He was gone from SF after one season and only caught 17 passes in his short career. He makes DGB look like Canton material. In the 2nd round, the Niners took LaMichael James, the small RB from Oregon. He ran for 193 yards over the course of four years.

The 2013 showed some hubris by taking major chances on hurt players. Tank Carradine had 1st round talent, but SF got him in the 2nd because of his injury. He has stayed somewhat healthy in the NFL, but only has 5.5 sacks in four years. RB Marcus Lattimore, a 4th round pick, never played a down in the NFL.

Good teams must draft well to stay good.

Seattle won the Super Bowl in 2013 and just missed in 2014. Now that team has major issues. Their top pick last year was DL Malik McDowell, who they are considering cutting. Seattle drafted really well when they put together their SB roster, but they just aren’t hitting on those picks in recent years. Remember that Russell Wilson was a 3rd rounder, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor both 5th round picks. Recent 5th rounders have been Jimmy Staten, Tye Smith and Quinton Jefferson. Those guys aren’t key role players, let alone impact starters.

The Eagles have a chance to go on a really good run for the next few years with Carson Wentz and the talent around him. But the team must draft well.

I do think the presence of Joe Douglas will be a big help. He is a former scout and will be a big believe in trusting the board and all the work the scouts have done for the last 10 or so months. Joe won’t overthink things.

The Eagles have looked at a lot of DBs, WRs, TEs and RBs who could make sense at 32. Why? Those are the positions where guys are likely to be available at that spot. There isn’t going to be a good DE on the board at 32.

The Eagles have looked at some DEs who would make sense in the mid-2nd, in case they want to move back. The DEs would be good value there and the team will have a good feel for them if they are on the board after a trade back into the 2nd round.

It feels like the Eagles are being smart and are prepared for a variety of scenarios.

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I posted some more draft notes over at ScoutsNotebook.

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Another Mock Draft

Posted: April 24th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

We’re getting closer.

I did my second mock draft for PE.com. I actually liked this one for the most part. There is only one real frustration…no WR.

The Eagles won’t be able to get every need addressed this week. It just doesn’t work like that. I know the team has shown serious interest in some WRs and it won’t surprise me if they go with one with the first pick. Why?

Jeffery, Wallace and Agholor give the Eagles a good trio of receivers for 2018. Mack Hollins showed serious potential last year and should be better. Shelton Gibson practiced well and has the kind of deep speed the team loves. That’s a good group. Wallace is here for a year and Agholor could be in the final year of his deal. It would help to have another player in the mix this year.

As Howie Roseman has pointed out, rookie receivers don’t tend to play well. Those guys need time to adjust to the NFL. The Eagles would draft a WR this year to get him ready for 2019, when they might need him. Might.

One other thing to consider…the Eagles did a good job of developing WRs over the past decade, but they were mostly high picks. It will be interesting to see if the current coaches can develop UDFAs or late picks.

Marcus Johnson made the team and caught a few passes, but was only a marginal contributor.  I’m still curious to see if Greg Ward can take a big step forward this year. Marquess Wilson has NFL experience. His big issue is staying healthy. I’m curious to see if he can do that and win a roster spot.

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I have been way behind in my draft writing this year. I apologize for that. The Eagles winning the Super Bowl was amazing, but losing that month of draft writing and research was crushing. I spend hours every day watching prospects and doing research, but just haven’t had enough time to also put those thoughts down on paper, so to speak. I’m finally changing that.

Here are my Positional Rankings for 2018.

Here are some random draft notes on players I like/don’t like.

I will keep posting material in the next few days. There will be a 1st round mock draft, Top 100 and of course I’ll post an Eagles Draft Preview here.

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Worley messed up and it cost him a spot with the Eagles. I hope he learns his lesson and stays out of trouble in Oakland. Playing in the NFL is a privilege. He’s got NFL talent, but seems to lack some maturity and focus. Hate to see guys not realize the opportunity in front of them.

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Joe Douglas did a short interview with Dave Spadaro.

There aren’t any significant nuggets. It is always interesting to hear Joe talk, since he’s still learning how to deal with the media.

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Any Interest?

Posted: April 23rd, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

The Philly media and Eagles bloggers do a tremendous job of keeping track of the players the Eagles show an interest in. These players are not always picked, but there definitely is a correlation between the team showing interest and those guys ending up as Eagles.

There are a few good players that would seem to fit the Eagles, but the team hasn’t publicly shown any interest in. There may have been a Combine meeting, but the team meets a ton of guys there. I’m talking about coaches going to their Pro Days or visits to Philly or private workouts. Specific interest.

Frank Ragnow will likely be the second C chosen this week. He is big at 6-5, 312, but is still a good athlete. No one is looking to get rid of Jason Kelce right now, but he’s not getting any younger. The Eagles already brought James Daniels, the top C prospect, into Philly for a visit. Both Daniels and Ragnow have the size that the Eagles like in their OL. Both guys can play G or C.

Ragnow can block on the move, something that is a must in the Eagles offense.

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The Eagles have shown interest in just about every RB with a pulse. One guy I haven’t seen the team checking out closely is Kerryon Johnson, the star from Auburn. He is 5-11, 213 and a good athlete. He played through some nagging injuries this year, showing he’s got the toughness for the NFL. He ran for 18 TDs. For his career, Johnson caught 55 passes and showed the potential to be a solid receiver.

Johnson is a gifted runner.

https://twitter.com/SkyeUnderwood/status/916698481703702528

You see vision, footwork, patience, burst, balance and strength. I love his lateral agility. He’s no Shady McCoy, but is still pretty good. Johnson should go in the 2nd or 3rd round. If the Eagles trade back from 32, he could make some sense for them.

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My favorite CB in the draft is Josh Jackson of Iowa. He could go Top 20 or still be on the board at 32. I love his instincts and ball skills. He picked off 8 passes in 2017 and some of them were highlight plays. There was some luck in there as well, but we see plenty of defenders who don’t catch the ball when it does come their way. Jackson has good hands and excellent awareness. My guess is that he’ll be gone by 32, but it just seems funny that the Eagles have checked out so many other CBs, but seemingly not him.

https://twitter.com/BradleyRfc/status/988066152231432194

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Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas spoke to the media last week.

Chris McPherson shared his takeaways on PE.com.  Here are a couple.

3. Scouts will need to win on Saturday

Douglas is excited about the fact that the Eagles have five picks on Day 3 of the draft (Rounds 4-7). Those players might not get the big headlines next weekend but will loom large in the overall picture of building the roster. There were 36 players on the Eagles’ roster alone for the Super Bowl (including Injured Reserve) who were chosen after the third round or not at all.

An interesting side note is that Douglas believes it may be harder as the defending Super Bowl champions to draw in undrafted players because of the perceived lack of open roster spots.

And

6. Don’t rule out a running back early

The Eagles had a successful running back committee paced by LeGarrette Blount (a free agent added after last year’s draft), Ajayi (acquired at the trade deadline), and rookie free agent Corey Clement. The trio accounted for 155 rushing yards, 100 receiving yards, and two touchdowns in the Super Bowl win over New England.

However, Douglas acknowledged that he’s not opposed to taking a running back as early as the first round.

“Great running backs are difference-makers,” he said.

The Scouts are going to be the key to the bottom of the draft. The obvious star players will be gone. The scouts will either deliver Jalen Mills or Paul Fanaika. Those picks can make a big difference.

I know some of you are completely against a RB at 32, but I can live with it. I think part of the rationale is financial. Do you pay Jay Ajayi big money after this season or let a RB on his rookie contract play with Carson Wentz for the next several years? You can’t pay everyone.

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Howie said that he is open to trading back. Jimmy Bama wrote a lengthy piece on moving back that covers every angle you can imagine.

Good stuff from Mr. Bama.

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More on Foles

Posted: April 21st, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

This is interesting.

If Foles plays a decent amount this year, he will make good money. If he leads the team to another Super Bowl, he’ll make good money.

The revised deal is a way to make him a happy camper, but also to give both sides some flexibility. This is a highly unusual situation, with a backup QB winning the Super Bowl and playing at such a high level in the postseason. Then you mix in the fact that Carson Wentz is coming off an ACL injury and we don’t know for sure if he’ll be ready for the start of the season.

The Eagles are lucky to have a pair of starting caliber QBs they like so much. The new deal seems like a good short term solution for keeping everyone happy. Who knew that winning the Super Bowl would make life so complicated?

Just wait til Nate Sudfeld hits the field and starts throwing TDs and making plays. Then things will really get nuts.

Or Wentz could start all 16 games and win the Super Bowl and no one will remember any of this stuff ever happened.

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Extra Coin for Nicky Franchise

Posted: April 20th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

We got some Nick Foles news on Friday. He wasn’t traded, instead getting a bit of a bonus from the Eagles.

Foles led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl so it is hard to have any issues with him getting extra money.

The Eagles wanted to do right by Foles to reward him, but also to keep him happy this year. Carson Wentz might not make it back for the beginning of the season and there is no guarantee he’ll play every game once he does return. The Eagles think they have a team ready to challenge for the Super Bowl again so it is worth it to them to keep a smile on the face of their talented backup QB.

The Eagles don’t have great cap space this year or next, but I trust Howie Roseman and Jake Rosenberg when it comes to these moves. Those guys know how to structure deals and move money around to get the most bang for their buck.

As for the mutual option for 2019, it would be shocking for Foles to remain an Eagle. Some team will take a chance on him and Foles wants one more chance to show what he can do. Still, you never know what will happen so it can’t hurt to have the option in there.

Last year Foles played very little in the offseason and looked awful when he did play. This year Wentz will miss the offseason and Foles will have a chance to work on his game all spring and summer. That should help him to be at his best if he is called upon to play this year.

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Speaking of Wentz…

The Eagles paid a huge price, but that was a franchise-altering move. Wentz has been worth every draft pick the Eagles gave up and then some.

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Let’s hope the Eagles get a bunch of calls this week. Nothing will happen until draft night. Teams need to see who is falling and then decide if those players are worth moving up for.

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Want a draft prospect to keep an eye on? Julian Taylor from Temple would make a lot of sense as a late round DT for the Eagles. Has a good frame and is athletically gifted. Best football is ahead of him.

Would be a perfect fit in the Eagles scheme.

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