The Eagles added a pair of talented players on Friday:
2 – 35 – TE Zach Ertz – 6-5, 249 – Stanford
3 – 67 – DL Bennie Logan – 6-2, 309 – LSU
I’m going to start with Logan. I watched him to get a feel for him a couple of months back. I could see he had talent, but I didn’t see a guy that fit what the Eagles were going to be doing on defense (playing the 3-4, liking bigger, taller players). I focused my energy on others and hoped to get back and take another look at Logan. For a variety of reasons, that never happened.
I was extremely surprised when the Eagles picked him. I just didn’t see the fit based on my casual tape study and research. I was able to go back tonight and watch several games. My reaction to the pick has changed quite a bit.
I get it, now.
You literally have to watch Logan play in 5 or 6 full games to have a true feel for him. His responsibilities change from game to game. John Chavis is the DC for LSU. He is a gifted defensive mind and creative coach. He took full advantage of his versatile players by drastically changing the gameplans depending on the opponents.
Put on the Clemson or Texas A&M games. Both teams run the spread. Both have mobile QBs that are also talented pocket passers. Attacking upfield can create as many problems for the defense as it does for the offense. Watch Logan in those games. He generally came off the ball passively. He would shove the blocker in front of him and then back off. Logan would then mirror the QB and chase him if the guy tried to run outside. Sure enough, Logan got a “sack” of Johnny Football by chasing him out of bounds while doing this. He had a couple of plays like this vs Clemson, where he read a play and got in on the tackle (not just of the QB).
Logan isn’t anything special athletically. He is surprisingly agile. He has good field vision and awareness. If he had some closing speed, Logan would be dangerous. He does have good upper body strength. He can hold his ground with no problems against single blockers. He is inconsistent vs double teams. When Logan is fresh and uses his hands well, he is tough to move. He wears down and will then use his shoulders more than he should. That can be worked on.
Watch the Florida game and you see some stout play from Logan. Put on the Bama game and he more than held his own against Chance Warmack. That was impressive. There were at least 2 snaps in the Bama game when Logan lined up at DE.
I thought Auburn and Washington were his best games. He was regularly disruptive vs Auburn. Against UW, I thought Logan had a few “wow” moments. He fired upfield on one pass play and either timed the snap perfectly or showed some explosion I hadn’t seen before. That was really impressive. Since the LSU coaches didn’t fear the UW and Auburn QBs getting loose, they let the DL attack up the field. Logan showed he could do that.
I still don’t see a great fit for Logan in our defense, but his versatility may be one of the things that the scouts and coaches like the most. Logan could play NT and DE in the 3-4, NT and 3-tech in the 4-3. His best fit might be NT in the Nickel and Dime. He can push the pocket and occupy 2 blockers, to free up Fletcher Cox and let the DEs come off the edge. Logan showed some ability to push the pocket at LSU. There were some sets where he’d be the NT in a 3-man line and try to collapse the line.
Chip Kelly did say the Eagles had a 2nd round grade on Logan. I like the guy, but the Eagles must really like him. Kelly said the team thinks based on his frame that he can carry another 10 to 15 pounds pretty easily. Logan does have 34-inch arms and 10-inch hands so that will help him play DE if they want to try that at times.
I dug up some good stories on Logan and posted links here. He sounds like a high character guy that will come in and gladly do the dirty work. Darwin Walker wanted to rush the passer every play and that’s why he was so frustrating despite all his talent. Logan will do whatever the coaches ask.
One of the nice side effects of this pick is that it sounds like Dallas had targeted Logan. They had him in for a visit. Cowboys insiders were disappointed when he was picked and a few had mentioned him in articles as a player to watch. Nice.
Chip Kelly and Bill Davis say they want to run a hybrid defense. Well, they need some hybrid players. Logan is exactly that, with the ability to move around and do various things. The Eagles also needed to improve the depth of the D-line. The pick makes a lot of sense from that standpoint.
Here is his game vs Ole Miss from this year. Logan is #18 and generally the RDT.
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As for Zach Ertz, I’ve written a lot about him already.
Here’s something from PE.com the other day:
“Chip Kelly is going to make the tight ends more a part of the offense than Andy Reid did. That means he needs depth and talent. Brent Celek is a good starter, but Kelly will want someone good behind him.
Ertz is a very good prospect. He was the featured receiver for Stanford and led the team with 69 catches for 898 yards. I think he’d be an ideal fit in Kelly’s offense. Ertz can line up as a traditional tight end and work the short and underneath routes, but he can also split out wide and catch passes down the field. He has very good hands. He runs well. Ertz looks like a big wide receiver. His ability to move around and create mismatches is something Kelly would love. He will give linebackers fits. He’ll get open against most safeties. In college, Ertz even beat some cornerbacks. He runs very good routes and sells his fakes well. He does this at full speed and it gets him open.
Stanford is a running team. You don’t play if you don’t block. Ertz isn’t going to overwhelm anyone, but he gives good effort and is willing to do the dirty work. Kelly knows all about Stanford and Ertz. Back in November, Stanford ran for 200 yards against Oregon and Ertz caught 11 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown in a big upset. ”
I cannot stress enough that Ertz is here to be part of the TE group. He isn’t here to replace Celek this year. Chip Kelly wants both Celek and Ertz on the field together.
James Casey is an H-back. He doesn’t affect Celek/Ertz at all. I think the Eagles could still add another player, for either the TE or H-back roles. Expect Kelly to want to keep 4 TEs. Right now Celek, Ertz, and Casey are 3 of them. Clay Harbor, Emil Igwenagu, Evan Moore, and Derek Carrier are hoping for the final spot, but will have to earn it.
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I started 2 for 2 in my mock draft for PE.com with Lane Johnson and Ertz. Not too bad, huh? Logan killed me.
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I will put up a Day 3 preview on Saturday morning. There are still quite a few good players left. If only we had more picks…