We had a good discussion on Howie Roseman yesterday. If you have any follow-up questions or thoughts, post ’em here since we’re going to talk some NFL Draft and that’s central to Howie’s job.
* First, Chip Kelly is the new coach. That means we have to un-learn everything Andy Reid taught us and start from fresh. Since Chip hasn’t had a draft class yet, we’re going to be doing a lot of guessing. I will tell you now that I am going to be completely wrong on a few things. I’m studying Chip’s past and inferring things, but until we see him involved in a couple of NFL draft classes, we won’t know as much as we want to. We’ll be guessing.
* In regard to the draft, Howie had final say last year. He’s got it this year. That doesn’t mean that the coaches aren’t part of the process. Howie is finding players for Chip Kelly and the staff. He’s trying to get their guys. They will have some input. That’s the way it should be. However, you don’t want the coach forcing a player to be picked, like say… a Safety from Temple. That’s when there is a breakdown in the process.
* The Eagles are checking out players at every position. They’ve been at Pro Days checking out long snappers. They’ve worked out RBs. They’re looking at WRs. Don’t get caught up in “We need LBs, DEs, OTs, and DBs.” The draft is about adding talent. These are the players you want to build around.
Right now the only thing we “need” is a backup LT and a DE. There are a lot of positions where we want help and hope to upgrade the talent, but the active FA period filled many holes and has given us the freedom to draft who we want, for the most part. The LT and DE can be drafted early, middle, or even late. We can do what we want with the early picks.
* The Eagles are being thorough with talented players with medical questions. They brought in DE/LB Tank Carradine for a visit. He tore his ACL in November. There are some who think he had a shot to be the #1 overall pick if healthy. The Eagles brought in RB Marcus Lattimore. He is very talented, but had the gruesome injury this year where his leg flailed around in the air. The Eagles met with Jarvis Jones. He has some back issues. To listen to his agent, they’re nothing. USC wouldn’t let him play due to fears about the situation so he transferred to Georgia. The Eagles met with or worked out Star Lotulelei. He’s got the heart issue that was discovered at the Combine.
* It sure seems like Kelly wants to draft a TE. The Eagles have checked out a few guys that we know about. And you can bet there are others we don’t know about. They’ve had meetings or workouts with Gavin Escobar (2nd to 3rd Rd), Vance McDonald (2nd to 3rd Rd), Chris Gragg (mid-rounder) and Matt Furstenburg (more of a late round type). All 4 are athletic pass catchers.
* WRs coach Bob Bicknell has been on the move and at several Pro Days. He’s been focusing on big WRs or small, slot guy types. I don’t anticipate the Eagles going for a WR in the first couple of rounds, but after that, nothing will shock me. Tavon Austin, as we recently discussed, is the one wildcard. I think he could be a target early on.
* The Eagles are all over QBs. They have checked out Geno Smith, Zac Dysert, Matt Scott, and EJ Manuel that we know of. We don’t know who they like (if anyone). Right now they are doing a lot of work to try and decide if any of these guys is worth taking and in what round are they good value. All these guys have talent. All have NFL potential. You just don’t take QBs casually, though. It has to be a player you feel very confident can succeed. If you miss on a QB, he isn’t likely to find some other way to help the team. Guys at other positions can become role players and STers.
* The Eagles have shown a lot of interest in Syracuse OT Justin Pugh. He played LT for the past 3 years. Good player. Athletic. Good feet. Good run blocker who will mix it up. Looked very good at the Combine.
The problem is that he’s got short arms and struggled at the Senior Bowl. He might not pan out at LT. You could try him at RT and he’s tough enough to even play some OG. Sounds like he’ll go in the 2nd round.
* Plenty of defensive players are getting checked out as well. The Eagles seem focused on DEs and DBs. The focus is on getting big, fast, talented players. That meshes with Kelly’s history and the free agent moves the team made.
I know I’ve written a lot about size in regard to FA and the draft. Kelly is pretty specific about what he wants. This is an area where I can still do some learning. Kelly will make an exception at some point. I don’t know who and where. He likes small RBs and some WRs, but those guys are on offense and can hide from defenders. Being small works as an advantage at times.
I am more interested to see when Kelly goes small on defense or with the OL or something like that. That’s when we’ll learn a bit more about him and where he’s willing to bend his own rules.
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I posted some draft notes over at ScoutsNotebook. Some of the guys are Eagles targets, others just general prospects.
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LB Victor Butler is visiting the Eagles today. Here is Jimmy Bama’s take on that.
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Speaking of the Eagles and the draft…someone did a review of teams drafting from 2000-2007. Check out how the Eagles did and the overall study. Interesting stuff.