The big recent news is that Luke Kuechly is going pro. He is my #1 target for the Eagles, assuming Matt McGloin doesn’t go pro. Matt would be the first QB to convince Andy Reid to become a coach who focused on running the ball.
Kuechly would be a perfect fit for the Eagles. I know some of you have doubts about his speed. Some his size. Some wonder how well he sheds blocks. As far as speed, Jamar Chaney was the fastest MLB at the Combine when he came out. Do you see that speed on gameday? Not with any consistency. Size? We think Trot and Disco Stew are normal MLBs at 260 pounds. No. Those guys are exceptions. Most MLBs are about 240. So is Luke.
No college LB is great at shedding blocks. I think Kuechly is the best at it that I’ve seen this year. He uses his hands well and is a strong, physical player. There are times he gets stuck on blocks, but that is true for Ray Lewis as well. 240-pound LB vs 310-pound OL isn’t always going to work well for the smaller guy.
Kuechly is a tackling machine. That is exactly what we need. Chaney played in 49 games at Miss State, not all as a starter. He finished with 135 solo tackles and 286 total. Kuechly played in 38 games at BC, a starter in all. He finished with 299 solo tackles and 532 total. Just let those numbers sink in for a minute. Wow. And trust me, I am a skeptic when it comes to tackle numbers. I’ve seen plenty of times where they were inflated. That’s not the case with Kuechly. Simply put, he is a freak, a tackling freak.
The question now is Kuechly’s value. We’ve got to see the process play out a bit before knowing that. We have plenty of time to talk about this in depth. For now, I’m just covering the situation in a quick, casual manner. I’ll sum things up this way. If we don’t go for a MLB in free agency (or via trade), the Kuechly needs to be our primary draft target.
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Anyone watching the Cotton Bowl had to be intrigued by Arkansas WR/PR Joe Adams. He showed great moves and electric speed. He ran 5 punts back for TDs in his career, including one last night. He caught 17 career TD passes.
Baylor WR Kendall Wright isn’t a gifted RS, but is a very good WR. He’s got speed, RAC ability, and toughness.
FIU has a receiver named T.Y. Hilton that has great speed and elusiveness. He is a great PR and KOR. Good WR as well. Finished his career with 37 total TDs.
If the Eagles decide to move on from DeSean Jackson, there are going to be lots of options in the draft (and FA).
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Should the Eagles have any interest in a guy like Vontaze Burfict? I really don’t think so. He has big time talent, but needs to be developed as a player and person. We haven’t done well with LB projects. Reid doesn’t tend to do well with guys that have maturity issues. If Burfict free-falls in the draft and the Eagles use a mid-round pick on him, I won’t be mad. He’s got tremendous talent. I just don’t think that is likely to happen.
My advice, forget about Burfict.
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Now for some pro talk. The Eagles signed WR/KOR Mardy Gilyard. This isn’t a huge deal. Gilyard is here primarily because of his ability as a RS. Here are his numbers from college:
PR 21-252-1 … 12 yards per PR
KR 93-2664-4 .. 29 yards per KOR
Gilyard was a rookie in 2010 with the Rams. He caught 6 passes. He averaged 22.3 yards per KOR. He is just coming to Philly to compete for a spot as a backup WR and RS. Last year we tried that with Johnnie Lee Higgins. Didn’t work. Gilyard doesn’t have his track record, but will have a full offseason to learn the offense and try to win a job. Nice signing because he fits a need, but he’s just one of many players who will have a shot at RS.
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Someone asked in the last comments section about DL Jason Jones. He is a free agent of the Titans. Jones was a very good DT for Jim Washburn in 2010, but was less effective this year when he played a lot at DE. Jones is just 25. He’s 6’5, 276. In 2010 he had 3.5 sacks, 10 TFLs, and 3 FFs. I don’t know what kind of market there will be for Jones. He doesn’t fit every system, but young, productive DTs aren’t always available. Adding him to the mix would be very interesting. We do need some youth on defense.