Another day, another WR visit. We found out tonight that Alabama WR Kevin Norwood had visited the Eagles. Norwood is 6-2, 199. That’s not huge for a WR, but is good size and he fits the trend of the Eagles looking for bigger guys. Norwood will probably be a 3rd or 4th round pick. You could think of Norwood as a faster version of Jason Avant (Norwood ran 4.48 at the Combine).
I hooked up with AJ McCarron for workouts with the Browns and the Bengals. I went to visit the Redskins, the Colts and the Eagles. All those northern teams seem to like me. That’d be different. It’d be great, though. I’ve always wanted to play in snow. All I’d have to do is keep my hands warm and catch the ball.
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Good news on the Evan Mathis front.
Got punked by @evanmathis69. Sent me a map pin last night claiming to be in Turks & Caicos. He wasn't. Will be at NovaCare today.
I guess that’s why Mathis is one of my favorite Eagles. He loves to have fun and knows how desperate media and the fans are for any good story, even a made up one.
Well played, Mr. Mathis. Well played.
Let’s hope this means all is okay between him and the Eagles and we can enjoy another season of him kicking the butts of DTs, DEs and LBs.
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Good news for those of you who have been wanting a new H2H show. Jimmy and I talked about the draft tonight for 1:20. I’ll post a link as soon as the show is ready and posted.
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Terrelle Pryor was traded to Seattle today. Good move for them. Seattle runs a ball-control offense that is more conservative than what the Eagles do. Pryor has a chance to succeed in that set-up. He would have been lost in trying to run Chip Kelly’s no-huddle attack.
I expect the Eagles to draft a CB, as early as the 1st round or possibly in the middle rounds. They have a pair of starters in place for 2014, but there is a need to upgrade the position for the long haul. So let’s talk about what the Eagles are looking for.
Bill Davis and Chip Kelly haven’t offered exact information, but they have talked about wanting big corners. Davis also wants physical corners. The goal in his defense is for the corner to play tight and affect the receiver. Don’t give him a clean release. You can do this by jamming the receiver or by playing press coverage and simply not giving him room to work with. Bump ‘n run and press coverage are not the same thing. Press doesn’t mean there has to be contact. The CB can simply line up on top of the receiver and then mirror his steps at the release. Some players/coaches are hesitant with jamming receivers for fear of missing and getting burned. By pressing, the receiver is affected in a less risky way.
I’m not going to talk about every top CB prospect. I’m going to focus on a few guys from different areas of the draft.
We know DBs coach John Lovett was at the Pro Day for Darqueze Dennard. The Eagles have to be interested in the Michigan State star. He is a top shelf cover corner, even though he lacks the ideal size/speed ratio. Dennard is 5-11, 199, but only ran 4.51. That’s not fast for a guy who isn’t huge. Another concern for the Eagles is that his arms are only 30 1/4. They would prefer 32 or 33 inches.
Watch Dennard’s game tape and you’ll see why he’s so highly thought of.
He has outstanding man cover skills. Dennard can be physical with receivers. He can play the ball. He has good instincts. Plus, he’s ultra-competitive. He wants to make every play. Dennard is a solid hitter and tackler. He will play the run. I could see the Eagles considering him at 22.
The 2nd round player I like is Bashaud Breeland from Clemson. He ran 4.62 at the Combine and re-timed 4.57 at his Pro Day. That hurts his value since he’s only 5-11, 197. He does have 31 3/4 arms. Breeland is quick, agile and has very good feet. He has outstanding ball skills. That’s something the Eagles value. They like a CB who can knock the ball away in the air. They teach very specific techniques for this. Breeland does it naturally, but could get even better with good coaching.
Breeland plays right, left and in the slot. That’s the kind of versatility the Eagles value. He will hit and tackle. He was booted from the FSU game for hitting Jameis Winston in the head. You don’t like that, but at least there is no hesitation before contact. If Breeland was a hair faster, he could be a 1st round player. His lack of long speed is an issue on deep routes. Breeland excels when allowed to press and be physical with receivers.
The more I watch Stanley Jean-Baptiste, the more he’s grown on me. I still have concerns with him athletically, but he’s good at what he does…being physical with receivers. SJB wants to bump, grab, push and anything else he can do to keep players from getting a clean release.
There was a discussion about SJB not being aggressive enough as a hitter and tackler. I watched several of his games over the weekend. In 3 of them, he took on a pulling O-lineman. That’s not something a wuss does. SJB does hesitate before getting into some piles. I don’t know if there is a previous injury from this or what, but he will hit and tackle in open space.
The Eagles were at his Pro Day. They have to love a guy that is 6-3, 218 with 32 3/8 arms. That’s a huge CB that can affect plays just by being in an area. He did only run 4.61 at the Combine, but that’s more acceptable for a guy that is 218 pounds.
I wouldn’t want SJB until the 3rd round. The Eagles might feel different and taking him in the late 2nd wouldn’t be the worst thing ever. He’s just not my ideal guy, but if Davis wants huge corners and thinks SJB is a great fit, that makes sense.
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I’m still trying to figure out some other corners. Putting a value on small school guys like Pierre Desir and Walt Aikens is tough. Both are big and athletic. Phillip Gaines from Rice is a freak athlete that I need to study more. Dontae Johnson from NC State was mis-used in college so his tape isn’t ideal. They played him off most of the time, despite the fact he’s an ideal press corner.
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The Eagles offseason program kicks off today. The one bit of news is this.
Eagles All Pro LG Evan Mathis is expected to be a no-show when team kicks off voluntary offseason workout program this week.
Pryor is going to be cut and the Eagles might have a chance at him. Pryor will have to pass through waivers so that means other teams will have a chance to claim him. There are some QB needy teams who could take a chance on him. If Pryor hits the street, will the Eagles have any interest?
My guess is no.
We’ve assumed that Kelly is looking for an athletic QB since he got here, but he’s done nothing to make us think that is his ideal target. Kelly did re-sign Michael Vick, but that was partly due to the fact there weren’t great options and Vick is a very talented QB. To Kelly, that was a low-risk, high-reward move. Vick then lost his job to Nick Foles, who played at a very high level.
The 2 QBs that Kelly went out and acquired were Matt Barkley and Mark Sanchez. Neither of those players was ever referred to as a mobile QB. They move well enough, but are not runners per se.
Kelly might have interest in Pryor, but I doubt it. Kelly seems to prefer QBs that can throw the ball well first and foremost. He needs the passing game to be a threat to the defense so that will open up the running game. Pryor is a dynamic runner, as we saw first hand, but he is not a functional passer at the NFL level. He is a major project. The fact Oakland, who is QB needy, is letting him go isn’t a great sign.
Kelly coached James at Oregon. James was a workhorse back that thrived in the spread offense. Would Kelly have interest in getting back his old buddy?
The problem is that the Eagles already have a deep backfield. Shady, Bryce Brown and Chris Polk form a good trio. Brown had an odd year so many assume the team is looking to dump him. I don’t think that’s the case at all. Brown is very talented. He’s also young and cheap. That’s the kind of player you keep around and see if you can develop. At his best, he is a very impressive RB. Brian Baldinger compared him to Bo Jackson. Obviously that was a bit silly, but Brown does have a great size/speed combo. I don’t think you give up on him this quickly.
If James was flat out released, I could see the Eagles having interest. I just don’t see them trading a pick for a player at a position where they have depth. If the coaches think Brown is a lost cause, maybe they do deal him. I just don’t anticipate that happening.
Some football coaches love specialists. They want players who have mastered a particular skill or role. Chip Kelly is not one of those coaches. He’s pretty much the exact opposite. Kelly wants players that he can move around and be creative with. His no huddle approach has helped him to see the value of players being able to handle different jobs. Substitutions slow the game down, plus you tell the opponent what you’re doing and allow them to react.
I covered a few prospects who are versatile and could be of interest. Obviously there are plenty more guys that I left out. Just know that when trying to figure out if the Eagles are going to be interested in a player, if he’s not versatile, that hurts his chances.
One player I mentioned in the article is Dee Ford. The more I think about it, the less sense he makes based on what we know about Kelly and the Eagles. Ford lacks ideal size. He isn’t versatile. He even uses the same rush move most of the time (flying off the edge and trying to win with speed). Ford is a quality prospect, but he doesn’t seem like a player for this scheme. He’d be ideal for the Wide-9.
When it comes to the Eagles, versatility is a virtue.
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Please let me know if you have updates to the Visits/Interest List. I added a couple from the previous comments section.
This started back in 2004 with me and a guy named MuddyWaters on the EMB. We started scouring the internet for any mentions of the Eagles and prospects. Over time that grew to being a lot of people helping to check. The more eyes and ears we have checking, the better our info will be.
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One of the people who had names to add to the list is someone named Allen Rodriguez. He runs a blog called BirdBreakdown. He’s got a recent post up that is pretty cool. Allen made a list of the players that Kelly offered scholarships to while at Oregon.
There are some pretty interesting names on there. If you match that list with the Player Interest list, there are a few guys who show up on both.
LB Anthony Barr
WR Marqise Lee
DE Taylor Hart
LB Ronald Powell
TE Richard Rodgers
Here’s an additional note of interest on WR Shaq Evans from UCLA, who I like quite a bit.
Evans is interesting because he is a big receiver (6’1”, 213) who Kelly appears to have attempted to acquire twice already. Aside from his initial offer from Oregon out of high school, after Evans decided to leave Notre Dame, he was reportedly deciding between UCLA and Oregon. Will Kelly let him get away three times?
Here is Evans going up against Va Tech in the bowl game.
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One player on that list who I’ve been asked about is Antone Exum from Va Tech. He was injured and missed part of the season. Exum is either a big CB or Safety. Prior to his knee injury, I liked him as a CB target for the Eagles. I think I wrote about him for the Eagles Almanac last summer as a prospect to watch.
I haven’t heard a word connecting him to the Eagles, but he could absolutely be a late round target if his knee checks out.
We just found out this morning that Odell Beckham, the star WR from LSU, will be making a trip to Philly. I’ve also been doing some digging to find out where some Eagles assistant coaches have been spending their time for the past 4 to 6 weeks. So I now present to you the updated lists of visits and workouts info.
PLAYERS THAT HAVE VISITED PHILLY
* WR Mike Evans – Texas A&M – 6-5, 231
* WR Maqise Lee – USC – 6-0, 199
* WR Kelvin Benjamin – FSU – 6-5, 240
* WR Cody Latimer – Indiana – 6-2, 215
* WR Odell Beckham – LSU -
* OG Trey Hopkins – Texas – 6-3, 305
* OG Spencer Long – Nebraska – 6-5, 320
* OC/OG Marcus Martin – USC – 6-3, 310
* DE Taylor Hart – Oregon – 6-6, 284
* LB Jeremiah Attaochu – Georgia Tech – 6-3, 252
* LB Anthony Barr – UCLA – 6-5, 255
* LB Marcus Smith – Louisiville – 6-3, 251
* LB Larry Webster – Bloomsburg – 6-6, 252
* ILB Jordan Tripp – Montana – 6-3, 234
* CB Aaron Colvin – Oklahoma – 6-0, 186
* CB Jaylen Watkins – Florida – 6-0, 194
* S Deone Bucannon – Washington State – 6-1, 216
PRO DAYS / WORKOUTS
QB Brett Smith – Wyoming … Bill Musgrave was at his Pro Day
QB Garrett Gilbert – SMU … Bill Musgrave was at his Pro Day
RB Jerick McKinnon – Georgia Southern
RB Tre Mason – Auburn … worked out by Duce Staley
RB Andrew Pierce – Delaware
RB Charles Sims – West Virginia … “had meetings with the Eagles”…not sure if at Combine or private workout
WR Donte Moncrief – Ole Miss … worked out by Bob Bicknell
WR Robert Herron – Wyoming
WR Brandon Coleman – Rutgers … worked out by Bob Bicknell
WR Quron Pratt – Rutgers … worked out by Bob Bicknell WR L’Damian Washington – Missouri
TE Asante Cleveland – Miami
TE Richard Rodgers – Cal … Ted Williams worked him out
TE Blake Annen – Cincinnati … worked out by Justin Peelle (Asst TE coach)
TE Marcel Jensen – Fresno State … at his Pro Day, had dinner with him the night before
OT Ja’Waun James – Tennessee … worked out by Jeff Stoutland
OT Tiny Richardson – Tennessee … worked out by Jeff Stoutland
OC James Stone – Tennessee … worked out by Jeff Stoutland
OG Zach Fulton – Tennessee … worked out by Jeff Stoutland
OG Trai Turner – LSU … met with him at the Combine
OT Laurent Durvernay-Tardiff – McGill
NT Zach Kerr – Delaware … worked out by Jerry Azzinaro
DE Khyri Thornton – Southern Miss
DE Kareem Martin – UNC … worked out by Jerry Azzinaro
DE Shamar Stephen – UConn … Jerry Azzinaro was at his Pro Day
DE Ed Stinson – Alabama … Jerry Azzinaro was at his Pro Day
LB Jeremiah Attaochu – Georgia Tech
LB Will Clarke – West Virginia … worked out by Bill McGovern
LB Scott Crichton – Oregon State … worked out by Bill McGovern
LB Anthony Barr – UCLA … worked out by Bill McGovern
LB Jesse Joseph – UConn … worked out by Jerry Azzinaro, then got additional meeting
LB Keenan Graham – UCLA … worked out by Bill McGovern
LB Chris Smith – Arkansas …. worked out by LBs coach at Pro Day (most likely McGovern)
ILB Ryan Shazier – Ohio State … Rick Minter at his Pro Day
ILB Preston Brown – Louisville … Rick Minter at his Pro Day
ILB Jordan Zumwalt – UCLA … worked out by Bill McGovern
Safety — The Eagles haven’t had a lot of individual workouts with Safeties, but they aren’t ignoring the position. Chip Kelly attended the Pro Day for many of the top S prospects (Pryor, Dix, Joyner, Brooks and Loston). Coach Lovett was at Isaiah Lewis’s Pro Day, but I don’t know for a fact that he worked him out.
CB Kyle Fuller – Virginia Tech
CB Darqueze Dennard – Michigan State … worked out by John Lovett
CB Joe Rankin – Morgan State
CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste – Nebraska … worked out by John Lovett
CB Mohammad Seisay – Nebraska … worked out by John Lovett
PK Cody Parkey – Auburn
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Chip Kelly at these Pro Days:
Pat Shurmur at these Pro Days:
Bill Davis at these Pro Days:
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OLB Ronald Powell – per Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com
RB Storm Johnson – per Elliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com
Let me know if you have questions on that info.
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John Lovett went to Nebraska to work out CB prospect Stanley Jean-Baptiste. He also got a chance to see a couple of other guys show great athletic ability.
Taylor Martinez was a QB for the Huskers, but doesn’t look like an NFL passer. He is a gifted athlete. Check out his Pro Day numbers, per Gil Brandt.
Martinez (6-foot 1/4, 201 pounds) ran the 40-yard dash in 4.45 and 4.6 seconds. He had a 39-inch vertical jump and 10-foot-9 broad jump. He had a 20-yard short shuttle time of 4.03 seconds and did the three-cone drill in 6.85 seconds. All of those numbers with the exception of the three-cone would have either been the best among quarterbacks or matched the best among quarterbacks at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Martinez worked out as a quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back at Nebraska’s pro day. Some NFL team will have to take a look at Martinez and decide what to do with him because he’s such a gifted athlete.
That’s a big guy that can run, jump and cut. He could be an interesting late round or UDFA target.
Baptiste had a good showing himself.
Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB (6-2 7/8, 213) — Jean-Baptiste ran the 40 in 4.48 and 4.45 seconds, had a short shuttle time of 4.27 seconds and a three-cone time of 6.72 seconds. He did not participate in the jumps (he was a top performer in both the vertical jump and the broad jumpamong cornerbacks at the combine). He has very long arms, is smooth in coverage and displays good ball skills (he originally came to Nebraska as a wide receiver). Jean-Baptiste should be a second-day draft pick.
I’m not his biggest fan, but SJB has the size and skills the Eagles want.
Gil Brandt didn’t provide the workout numbers for Mohammad Seisay so I don’t fully trust these, but if they are close, they are sure impressive. And if you watch Seisay on the move, you see this kind of athleticism.
What’s up with the greatest Eagle of them all? Former NFL lineman Nate Menkin joining Ottawa RedBlacks: Offensive lineman to sign two-year contract http://t.co/4rY3FjAcsF — NationalFootballPost (@FootballPost) April 16, 2014 Good luck, Nate.
Rolando McClain was once a Top 10 pick. He has terrific ability, but off field issues slowed his career and then he abruptly retired. He talked to the Ravens about coming back so they had him workout for them. Things … Continue reading →
Kurt Coleman talked to several teams, but finally ended up signing with the Vikings. Minnesota fans are happy to have him and showed their appreciation with some Photoshop work. “@VikingsRepor: @k4coleman We think you need some purple for your twitter. … Continue reading →
The Eagles brought in Oregon DE Taylor Hart for a visit. Hart is keeping a draft diary for The Oregonian, but unfortunately hasn’t updated that since coming to Philly. Here’s what he had to say a few weeks back. “It … Continue reading →
Check out this pic. Eagles and rams need to be front row RT @Vol_Football: All 32 @nfl teams are represented at Vols Pro Day in Knoxville pic.twitter.com/wWAK9gxbf9 — Bradley Dean (@BradD_Parker) April 2, 2014 That is personnel executive Rick Mueller … Continue reading →
Here is Chip Kelly hanging out with Mike Tomlin and new PSU coach James Franklin at the Nittany Lions Pro Day. Penn State Pro Day attendees. #DominatingtheState with the @Eagles & @steelers coaches. pic.twitter.com/v7VqzBYUdB — Penn State Football (@PennStateFball) April … Continue reading →