Herremans Out

Posted: February 26th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 203 Comments »

The ugly side of pro football.

Herremans struggled with the move to RG in 2013, but played much better in 2014. Unfortunately he got hurt and missed the final 8 games of the year. He will turn 33 in October and the Eagles felt it was time to move on.

Herremans played 10 years for the Eagles. He was never a star, but was a very good offensive lineman who played LG, RT and RG. He played a few games at LT, but was never a regular starter there.

I wrote something about Todd for an old PE.com piece on player development.

Back in 2005, I remember reading NFL.com one day to see what Gil Brandt was reporting about pro day activity. He mentioned that a lineman from Saginaw Valley State had drawn quite a few offensive line coaches to his workout, as well as the normal contingent of scouts. The coaches and scouts came away raving about the prospect’s footwork and overall potential. The player was some guy named Todd Herremans. I’d never heard of him. I didn’t have any game tape of him from the season, but did have a copy of the Division II all-star game called the Cactus Bowl.

Herremans played in the Cactus Bowl and I was excited to pop it in and take a look. I watched the game and took some notes. I came away impressed, but noted that Herremans had zero chance to play left tackle in the NFL. He was beaten a couple of times by pass rushers in that game. If a guy can’t block rushers coming from D-2 schools like West Virginia Wesleyan, Colorado School of Mines or Eastern New Mexico, how the heck is he going to have any chance against NFL rushers? I was so focused on results that I lost track of watching Herremans’ raw ability.

I went up to training camp at Lehigh a few months later to watch the team practice. I looked out on the field and was shocked to see Herremans at left tackle with the starters. To quote the great Vince Lombardi, “What the hell is going on out there?” Tra Thomas wasn’t healthy so Juan Castillo had to put a backup on the field. He decided that Herremans was the next best fit. That really blew me away. Herremans got beat a few times, but held his own for the most part. How was it that the guy who gave up sacks in the Cactus Bowl could now function as a left tackle in the NFL?

Coaching.

Herremans had the raw tools. He was big and pretty athletic. He did have good feet. He was experienced, so he had a solid understanding of blocking concepts. Herremans was smart and coachable. Castillo was able to teach Herremans the Eagles’ blocking system and the specific techniques needed to make it work. I learned a valuable lesson that day up at Lehigh. Don’t underestimate the importance of coaching.

A bit more nostalgia. Here is something I wrote on him after the Eagles drafted Herremans.

Interesting RT prospect. A lot of people don’t remember this, but Jon Runyan was a 4th Rd pick himself. He was 6’7, 310 and ran in the 5.25 range. We can only hope that Todd develops into the kind of player Runyan became. Todd has a similar description to Jon’s when he came out. Good run blocker. Needs some work on pass protection. Herremans has good feet. He moves well and does a good job of keeping his feet active. Bends his knees, but needs to be more consistent about it. Can mirror DEs. Does have trouble with inside moves. That’s something that needs work. Does a good job of extending his arms to keep DL from getting to his body. Will ride a DE wide of the QB. Shows a feisty side. Caught a DE off balance and slung him to the ground. Does a good job of blocking LBs in the run game. Not likely to see much playing time this year. Has the raw physical ability to be an NFL RT. Should get good coaching from Juan Castillo and will be given time to develop.

6’6, 321…5.13 in the 40

Son of a HS Coach. Played basketball and baseball for 4 years in HS. 2 time all conference. Started 40 of 48 college games.

Old Notes: We’ve been mentioned as a team interested in Todd. Some projections have said that he could go as high as 3rd Rd. I’m thinking more in the 5th.

Cactus Bowl Notes: I saw him in a Div. II all star game. Played RT and LT. Didn’t look comfortable at LT. Did look right at home at RT. Comes off the ball very well. Very good job of getting to the 2nd level and taking out LBs. I’ve read he has “great feet”. Can’t say I saw that. Good feet. He needs work at handling edge rushers. Lots of upside. 

Enough looking back…let’s look ahead.

What happens at RG? Allen Barbre, Matt Tobin and Andrew Gardner could take over the spot for 2015. Barbre is the best of the trio, but is an older player. There is something to be said for giving Tobin a full-time shot at the job. He is a good run blocker, but needs work on his pass protection.

The Eagles could go after someone in free agency, but that seems unlikely with a lot of money already going to the OL. They could take an OL early in the draft. They were likely to take an OL or two in the draft anyway. Now, the rookie would have a chance to compete for a starting job.

As for Herremans, he will get a chance to play with another team. Please let him go anywhere outside the NFC East so I can enjoy seeing him with his new team.

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Business Decisions

Posted: February 24th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 433 Comments »

Senior Bowl…over.  Combine…done. The focus now is on the Eagles and business. Who gets cut? Who gets an extension? Who gets re-signed? And so on.

PE.com has a good interview with Adam Caplan where he discusses a lot of the issues.

That’s definitely worth checking out.

Les Bowen had some Eagles nuggets in a recent article. He talked about who would be dealing with agents.

An agent who dealt with the Eagles recently on a player contract matter said yesterday he spoke exclusively with Howie Roseman, did not hear from Chip Kelly. There was a report at the Senior Bowl that Kelly was giving agents his cellphone number, but this agent said he sees no difference in the team’s contract setup, from his perspective.

Another agent who met with the Eagles in Indianapolis said he sat down with a triumvirate – new personnel vice president Ed Marynowitz, Roseman and director of football administration Jake Rosenberg.

It has been unclear, since the front-office restructuring announced Jan. 2, exactly how this dynamic will work. Will Roseman control every aspect of contract negotiations, make decisions on what the team can afford, or will he work within parameters established by Kelly? No one from the team has been made available to speak to this.

This isn’t ideal, but Roseman and Rosenberg are good negotiators and generally get deals done. Players/agents don’t seem to mind dealing with them. Things could get adversarial at times when Joe Banner was in charge of contracts.

Still no word on Cary Williams contract. Can the Eagles really pay him $8M this year? I find that hard to believe.

It will be interesting to see how Chip Kelly handles the business decisions. Letting go of James Casey certainly wasn’t fun for him, but that shows he can do what’s got to be done.

* * * * *

Someone recently asked about Nate Allen coming back as a backup. I doubt it.

I’d have no problem with Nate as a backup, but there is one flaw. Backup Safeties need to shine on STs. Nate isn’t exactly a warrior on STs and doesn’t fit that role all that well.

If no one else is interested…maybe he comes back to compete for a job.

I am glad he got his name cleared in the recent situation. Nate might be a frustrating player, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about him as a person.

* * * * *

I am mixing in some NFL game watching with draft prep. I’ll have a post up on Brandon Graham soon.

I also watched a bit of Jaylen Watkins recently. I came away feeling better about him than I expected.

And I’ll be writing about Byron Maxwell. Sure feels like the Eagles have to go all-in on him. That makes this good news.

Honestly, the move just makes too much sense. Maxwell needs a big deal. The Eagles need a big corner. Match made in free agent heaven.

* * * * *

Want to support a good Eagles fan? Check out the show “Fresh Off the Boat” tonight on ABC at 8pm (EST). One of the writers is a die-hard Eagles fan and a friend of mine.

Gotta support each other so we can continue our move toward world domination.

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DL/LBs in Indy – A Mixed Bag

Posted: February 24th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 272 Comments »

The Eagles have a good front seven. The problem is the secondary. Still, that doesn’t mean the Eagles won’t take a DL or LB if the right guy is on the board. Those guys can take over games and offer huge impact. Plus, there is some uncertainty at OLB and ILB.

Let’s talk about some guys of interest. I’m not looking for DL specifically because the Eagles would seem to be set with Thornton-Logan-Cox up front. Still, you can’t help but be interested in some guys.

* If Arik Armstead is on the board at pick 20, do you pass on him? He measured in at 6-7, 292 and showed good agility for such a high-cut guy. He’s only 20. Armstead didn’t wow with numbers, but looked good. Really intriguing guy because of just how good he can be if he puts it all together.

* Henry Anderson continues to have a good postseason. He would be an interesting player to throw into the DE mix. He is 6-6, 294 and has long arms. Anderson showed good movement skills in Indy after impressing at the Senior Bowl.

* Mario Edwards is similar in size to Vinny Curry. Beyond that, they’re different. Curry had a relentless motor and was highly productive. Edwards was too heavy and didn’t really get in good shape until the middle of 2014. He did play well once he got into shape. Edwards posted solid numbers, but didn’t stand out in Indy. I don’t think he has the attitude to fit the Eagles culture.

* If the Eagles want a NT to add to the mix late, JT Surratt of South Carolina looked interesting. I have not watched game tape of him. He’s only 6-1, 304, but the Eagles seem flexible with it comes to NTs and size. Leterrius Walton of CMU is another guy I don’t know, but he’s 6-5, 319 and has a background playing baseball and basketball. Sounds like someone Kelly could be interested in.

Now for the edge rushers…the OLBs.

* Bud Dupree could be a guy that falls to pick 20. He measured in at 6-4, 267 and ran very well. He wasn’t able to do the on-field workout. You know the Eagles love that size/speed combo in an OLB.

* I was disappointed in Trey Flowers. He looked more like a DE than LB.

* Danielle Hunter is fascinating. He is 6-5, 252 and ran 4.57. He has 34 1/4 inch arms and 10 1/2 inch hands. This sounds like the body Chip Kelly would mold for OLB. Hunter isn’t instinctive or productive, though, and that makes him a bit of a risk.

* Nate Orchard was a sack machine during the season and looked great at the Senior Bowl, but had issues in Indy. He didn’t test well and I thought he looked stiff in the drills. More DE than LB.

* Owamagbe Odighizuwa tested lights out. He’s 6-3, 267. He showed speed, strength, explosion. He has long arms and 11-inch hands. This is another guy Kelly will love based on numbers. The tape isn’t as good as the numbers. The Eagles have to figure out how he would look as an OLB.

* I didn’t come away feeling strongly about Preston Smith. I like him quite a bit, but I’m not sure if he’s right for the Eagles. Smith is huge at 6-5, 271. He could be a DE or OLB. Smith tested well, but I thought he looked a bit stiff in the drills. Very interesting guy.

* Zach Wagenmann of Montana looked agile and athletic. He’s only 6-3, 247, though. Marcus Smith was 6-3, 251 when the Eagles picked him. They felt he had the frame to add weight. I don’t have a good feel for whether Wagenmann could bulk up or if he’s maxed out his frame.

* One player I’ve liked for a while is Eli Harold of Virginia. He tested well and looked good in the drills. Harold is 6-3, 247. Has he maxed out that frame or can he get bigger? One issue…small hands. Kelly prefers his players to have big hands.

* Lorenzo Mauldin didn’t impress me. He has a great frame at 6-4, 259, but he didn’t run well and he looked stiff.

Finally, the ILBs.

* Coach Rick Minter was on the field and watching the drills up close. That doesn’t mean anything specifically, but it does show interest.

* We don’t know if the Eagles want an athlete or a thumper so we’ll talk about both types.

* Paul Dawson is the headliner. He had a great Senior season and was talked about as a potential 1st round pick at WLB for 4-3 teams or ILB for 3-4 teams. Dawson had a disastrous Combine. He weighed in at 235 pounds and then ran 4.93. He only had a 28-inch vertical jump. He didn’t look good at all. This doesn’t mean that he can’t play, but you have to really figure out what you think of him.

* One player who had a strong showing is Stephone Anthony from Clemson. He’s bigger at 6-3, 243 and ran/jumped well. Anthony had a good showing in Mobile as well. I would think the Eagles have to be interested in him.

* If the Eagles want a late round player to add to the mic, Bryce Hager from Baylor could be of interest. He looks solid on tape and showed good athletic ability in Indy. He lacks ideal size at 6-1, 234, but Hager moves well and could be a good backup/STer.

* UCLA star Eric Kendricks turned out to be smaller than I anticipated. He’s only 6-0. 232. Kendricks has good instincts and showed good athleticism in Indy. He could eventually bulk up to 240 and still carry it well. Would you want him playing along side his brother, Mychal Kendricks?

* Denzel Perryman measured in at 5-11, 236. I was hoping he’d be over 240. He ran okay, at 4.78, but that’s not good. Perryman didn’t impress me in the drills. You could see his athletic limitations. I still like him very much and think he could be a 2nd round consideration.

* Jake Ryan from Michgan could be interesting in the late rounds. He is 6-2, 240. That’s a good frame. Ryan ran well, 4.65. He posted solid numbers all around. I thought he looked pretty good in the drills. Ryan would need time to develop, but should help on STs right away.

* Shaq Thompson deserves his own post and a discussion on whether he is a S or LB.

* I was disappointed in Tony Washington. He looked good at Oregon and I thought he might be a late round steal for the Eagles. Washington did not test well and looked awkward in the drills.

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DB Day at the Combine

Posted: February 23rd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 276 Comments »

Even if the Eagles address the secondary through free agency, they’ll still need to add a DB or 2 in the draft. They need depth.

Landon Collins from Alabama is the Safety to pay the most attention to. Chip Kelly likes SEC guys and Collins is a terrific prospect.

There are lots of CBs to watch. I like PJ Williams quite a bit, but scouts seem to think he’s slow. I’ll be interested to see how he runs. Ideally, you want all your CBs to be below 4.55. Anything above that and they better be 6-2, 215 or something like that.

I’ll be putting up a post later on that covers the DL and LBs.

I’ll watch the DBs when I get home tonight and then write about them on Tuesday.

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Saturday Combine Stuff

Posted: February 21st, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 409 Comments »

The QBs, WRs and RBs worked out on Saturday. The Eagles saw some good performances.

* Marcus Mariota had a good day. He did well in the athletic tests. He threw the ball well. He looked like a big-time QB. Chip Kelly watched his old pupil closely, but the good showing by Mariota makes it all the more likely that the Eagles have little to no chance to get him.

Mariota mentioned on the NFL Network that he didn’t meet with the Eagles. This makes sense. The team has a limited number of interview sessions. Why waste one on a guy Kelly knows very well?

* Jameis Winston threw the ball better than anyone else at the Combine. His combination of touch, accuracy and arm strength is outstanding. With a clean background, he’d be almost universally #1.

* Brett Hundley had a good showing. He tested well. I thought he looked good throwing the ball. There is no question that he’s got good potential. I’d love to spend a mid-round pick on Hundley and develop him for several years. The problem is that his potential means he’s almost certain to go in the 1st or 2nd round.

Chip Kelly loves athletic QBs with big hands. You know he’s got to be fascinated by Hundley. With Mariota quickly fading into the distance, it is important for the Eagles to have other options. I’m not a fan of taking Hundley at 20, but it is a possibility. We’ll have to wait and see how much Kelly likes him.

* I thought Bryce Petty helped himself more than any other QB. He had a terrific season for Baylor, but was up and down at the Senior Bowl. His intermediate passing was less than ideal, which led to this.

Petty looked much more natural throwing the ball in Indy. His intermediate throws were more accurate and had better velocity. Understand that QBs go work with tutors when the season is over to deal with the flaws in their game. Petty had about 2 weeks between the end of his season and the Senior Bowl. He’s had another 4 weeks since then. I’m sure he’s getting all kinds of training on footwork and mechanics.

I’m not excusing the faults Petty has. Watch the game tape and you see some accuracy issues and some erratic decision-making (heavily affected by his offensive scheme and the lack of reading progressions). There are also some medical issues for doctors to check out.

But I feel more comfortable with Petty after the Combine than I did the Senior Bowl. He’s another player I’d prefer in the 3rd or 4th, but I’m not sure he makes it out of the 2nd round.

* More than a few Eagles fans like QB Brandon Bridge. He showed a terrific arm in Indy. He’s big and pretty athletic. I just see him as a major project. I’m only interested in him late in the draft. QB projects don’t pan out very often.

* Bryan Bennett threw the ball well, just like at the Senior Bowl. I see him as a developmental QB of interest, but he also would need some work.

* Would the Eagles consider WR Dorial Green-Beckham? DGB is huge at 6-5, 237 and has the potential to be a special player. But he’s also got major baggage. You want to learn from the Justin Blackmon-Josh Gordon types. They have great talent, but can’t stay out of trouble. Is DGB one of them or is he a kid that can learn from his mistakes?

* If Devante Parker is on the board at 20, do you take him? Big talent with no real questions. Parker had a solid day.

* Sammie Coates will not be pick 20. He has good talent and potential, but you could see how problematic his hands can be. Had several drops today and you can see that he’s not a natural hands-catcher.

* Devin Funchess is a player I struggle with. Kelly loves big guys. Funchess, a former TE, is 6-4, 232. He only ran 4.70 today. That’s not awful since he’s 232 pounds, but it does affect his draft value. Some teams will still see him as a matchup nightmare and want Funchess. I don’t see a guy who always plays up to his size and that bugs me for a guy who is slow and has to use his size/strength to win. Still could be a terrific pro if he’s in the right situation.

* I would love Phillip Dorsett in the 2nd round. He ran 4.33. He is a gifted downfield receiver and that speed shows up on game day. Devin Smith wasn’t quite as fast as expected, but is another talented WR. I doubt Jaelen Strong lasts to pick 20 in the 2nd round.

* RB Ameer Abdullah had a great showing, except for his 40 time. He is strong, explosive, agile and versatile, but he doesn’t time fast. Could he be another Westy/Shady type that comes from the 2nd or 3rd round and turns out to be a stud? Would be an interesting fit in Kelly’s offense.

* I was impressed by RB Davis Johnson as a receiver. Big and athletic, and looks natural in space. Catches the ball well.

* Several small school guys got my attention. I need to watch more of Zach Zenner from South Dakota State. I’m also interested in Thomas Rawls of Central Michigan.

* * * * *

There wasn’t one player I cam away thinking “We must get him”. I get a lot of questions about what the Eagles will do. Remember that we need to see free agency before we know what the draft plan is going to look like.

I thought this was a good showing by the skill players. The Eagles have a talented offense already, but they shouldn’t pass up talent if the right guys falls to their spot.

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