Eagles Draft Nuggets

Posted: April 9th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 111 Comments »

Chip Kelly was down at LSU for their Pro Day. WRs Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham were the big names, but Kelly was watching a lot of guys. LSU is loaded with NFL talent every year. Here are the top names (not in any order).

WR Odell Beckham
WR Jarvis Landry
OG Trai Turner
RB Jeremy Hill
RB Alfred Blue
QB Zach Mettenberger
DT Antonio Johnson
DT Ego Ferguson
ILB Lamin Barrow
S Craig Loston

Go here to see the full list of players who worked out. Even a few former Tigers stopped by. OLB Sam Montgomery, who was a mid-round pick last year and then got cut, was on hand to show teams he wants back into the league. I don’t know if anyone will be interested in a guy who has openly acknowledged that he picks and chooses when to  try hard.

Landry had a bad day. I wrote a piece about him and trying to understand Pro Days over at ScoutsNotebook. That workout is definitely going to hurt Landry.

Gil Brandt has the numbers from the Pro Day.

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Geoff Mosher had an interesting update on the Marqise Lee visiting Philly story.

That’s more than just passing interest or due diligence. It doesn’t mean the Eagles love him, but they obviously are taking a very serious look at Lee.

Some readers had a question about Lee’s size. He was 192 at the Combine and 199 at his Pro Day. USC had him listed at 195 on his bio and they aren’t one of those schools that generally puts up wrong sizes. I’m guessing that Lee is normally in the 195 range. I would bet he went to Indy light trying to run well.

Lee isn’t a burner. Never has been. He runs hard and has good burst, but lacks ideal long speed. That’s okay. You don’t need elite speed to be a playmaker if you are quick and elusive. And 4.5 isn’t slow. Remember that Boldin ran 4.71 at his Combine. He was a bit heavier, but 4.7 is stil 4.7.

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The Eagles were at the Pro Day for Morgan State CB Joe Rankin. He has some size and athleticism, but is a late rounder or UDFA.

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Chip Kelly was a Penn State’s Pro Day and got to see WR Allen Robinson up close and personal. Robinson changed his body from the Combine, hoping to be faster and more athletic. In Indy he was 220 and ran 4.6. At the Pro Day, Robinson was down to 207 and ran in the 4.5 range. He isn’t a burner on tape. I am curious as to what size he played at this year. PSU had him listed at 210. Was he heavy at the Combine or had he bulked up intentionally?

I like Robinson for the Eagles. He has good RAC skills and would fit the offense well. The one concern is that he’s a marginal blocker, and that is probably a generous description. Kelly would only draft him if Robinson promised that he’d be a better blocker in the NFL.

I wouldn’t consider him at 22, but would think about him at pick 54.


The Case for Marqis Lee

Posted: April 9th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 95 Comments »

The Eagles are going to be bringing in USC wideout Marqis Lee for a pre-draft visit. This is really good news to me. Lee is coming off an up and down season due to injuries, but he looked like a Top 10 type of player a year ago.

Lee isn’t the huge guy the Eagles have mostly looked at. He is “only” 6-0, 192. With that frame, he could bulk up to over 200 pounds and carry it well if the Eagles want him to do so. Lee only ran 4.52 at the Combine and he’s not a burner.

Put on the tape and you’ll see why Lee is so highly thought of. Check out this game vs Stanford from 2013.

That game shows Lee doing a lot of good things. You see that he’s got very good hands. You see great body control. He’s got the ability to separate from defenders in tight space. He will work the middle of the field and catches the ball well in traffic. He’s got terrific RAC skills. Lee is a willing blocker and has the size/strength to do a solid job.

Put on his 2012 highlights and you’ll see Lee healthy and making some dynamic plays.

He posted huge numbers in 2011 and 2012. Having a star QB like Matt Barkley helped him go 73-1143-11 and 118-1721-14. With a younger player in 2013 and nagging injuries slowing him down, Lee was only 57-791-4.

Lee would fit the Eagles offense. He can move around and be successful in a variety of roles. He could help as a RS. He will block. Lee is a RAC weapon and that would be perfect for Chip Kelly’s quick screens.

It is possible that him visiting is a smokescreen, but I tend to think Kelly saw just how good Lee was for 2 years and has definite interest. Kelly has acquired players that lit him up at Oregon. Lee was 8-187-1 in 2011 and 12-157-2 in 2012. I’d say that got Kelly’s attention in a big way.

I would be happy with the Eagles getting Lee at pick 22. Really good player who has the skills to succeed in the NFL.


Tuesday Night Draft Update

Posted: April 9th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 40 Comments »

I’m mentioned the Eagles showing interest in Canadian OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. Apparently they are more than casually interested in him.

Let’s keep a few things in mind. Just because teams are interested doesn’t mean he’s an early target. This feels a little like Todd Herremans when he was coming out. Todd played in a D-2 all star game and that got the attention of some scouts and coaches. He had something like 20 teams at his Pro Day, even some OL coaches. Todd still went in the 4th round.

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is raw. He’ll need some time to develop. The interest in him is due to the fact he’s got a good frame and is naturally athletic. He has good feet. Check out his Pro Day results:

At his pro day, Duvernay-Tardif ran the 40 in 4.94 and 5.08 seconds. He had a 31 1/2-inch vertical and a 9-6 broad jump. He ran the three-cone drill in 7.30 seconds and had 33 bench-press reps. Duvernay-Tardif was not at the combine, but those numbers were as good as any offensive linemen there, including Taylor Lewan. I would imagine that a team will take a chance on him around the sixth or seventh round and hope to turn him into an NFL player

Some will try to compare LDT to Danny Watkins. I’ve been guilty of making the jokes myself, but they really are very different guys. LDT has a better frame and more athletic ability.

Watkins – 6-3, 310
5.36 in the 40
VJ – 26 inches
BJ – 7’8″
3-cone – 7.61

Watkins was a more physically dominant run blocker, but you can see he’s shorter, slower, less agile and less explosive. Neither guy was a lifetime football player. Both came to the sport at a late age. LDT is a medical student so we know he is smart and willing to grind away learning complex subjects.

Here is LDT’s Pro Day workout.

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FOXSports.com is reporting that Marqis Lee will be visiting Philly. This makes total sense. Lee is a terrific WR prospect and should be a 1st round pick. I would rank him 3rd among WRs, behind only Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans.

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Chip Kelly was in State College checking out WR Allen Robinson and other PSU prospects on Tuesday. On Wednesday he should be down at LSU for their Pro Day. The focus could be on WR Odell Beckham.


Lots of Draft News

Posted: April 7th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 144 Comments »

There are a lot of little things to get to in regard to the Eagles and the draft so lets get started.

WR Kelvin Benjamin was at the NovaCare Complex today for a pre-draft visit. Some of you will love this news. Not me. I’m not Benjamin’s biggest fan, as I covered here. Just because I don’t like him doesn’t mean the Eagles agree. Bringing him in means one of two things…the Eagles have serious interest in Benjamin or they want people to think they do.

One thing we do know is that the Eagles have serious interest in adding a big WR. They already brought in Mike Evans, another huge target. Cody Latimer visited Philly on Monday as well. He’s got good size at 6-2, 215. Bob Bicknell was at Donte Moncrief’s Pro Day. He’s not huge, but is a big receiver. Chip Kelly was at Jordan Matthews’ Pro Day. Matthews is 6-3, 212.

And then check out this nugget from today.

Coleman is another big kid. He goes 6-6, 225.

Noticing a trend? The Eagles are serious about getting bigger at WR. You wouldn’t check out all these guys as part of a smokescreen. One or two of them might be smokescreens, but the overall trend can’t be ignored.

About the players…I hope the Eagles don’t see Benjamin as a 1st rounder. I just don’t think he’s athletic enough for a high pick. Again, the Eagles might disagree. Kelly is fascinated by uniquely big players (Clifton Geathers, Ifeanyi Momah). Benjamin at 6-5, 240 is a monstrous WR.

Kelly might see Benjamin as a great fit for the offense. He gained a ton of RAC yards at FSU. I question whether that will translate to the NFL, but Kelly could think so.

I’ll do a write-up on Latimer at some point, but he is a good prospect. He could go as early as the 2nd round or as late as the 4th. Latimer has size, speed and production. He fits just about any offense with his skill set.

One note here. Some of you get indignant when there is talk of a receiver falling. This is one of the most talented sets of receiver prospects in draft history. There are a ton of good players. Some will fall. We know Sammy Watkins is a 1st rounder. We’re 90 percent sure Mike Evans is as well. After that, nothing is set in stone. Don’t get offended if someone mentions a player possibly sliding. There will be surprises on draft weekend.

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The Eagles had CB Aaron Colvin in for a visit. He tore his ACL at the Senior Bowl. The Eagles were showing interest in him that week. I could see the Eagles bringing him to town to get a medical update so they know where to value him in the draft and whether he’s worth taking a risk on at all.

Taking a player with an ACL injury is a gamble. The Eagles tried that with Cornelius Ingram and Jack Ikegwuonu. Both failed. That doesn’t mean you never try again. Each case is different than the others. You must find out the seriousness of the injury and then how well it was repaired. If the ACL tear was reasonable and the surgery good, there is every reason to expect a recovery. Ingram got crappy surgery. Ikegwuonu had a terrible tear.

I don’t know where Colvin will go, or if he’s worth the risk.

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The Eagles looking into a Canadian OL…what could go wrong? This guy wouldn’t be an early pick. He could be the kind of player the team would like to develop behind the current starters.

And the Eagles have had at least one good Canadian OL. Mike Schad played here 20 years ago. He was from Belleville, Ontario.


The Corner Situation

Posted: April 7th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 101 Comments »

Some people feel the Eagles are now set at CB. They have starters Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher returning. They added Nolan Carroll in free agency. Brandon Boykin is already one of the better slot guys in the league. And Roc Carmichael is still a young guy in the mix. To some, that group seems pretty set.

I’m not in that category.

Let’s start with the incumbents. Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher are not good CBs. I would describe them as being effective starters. They can have good games. When officials let them get away with a bit of contact, the duo is much more effective. There are times when the duo will struggle and give up some plays. I don’t think you can ever be comfortable with marginal starters. 

There are other factors. Williams will turn 30 in December so he’s got that working against him. Fletcher has durability issues. He missed 3 games last year and has had major injuries in the past. 

I do agree that adding Nolan Carroll was a good move and makes me more comfortable with the depth on the outside. Still, it isn’t as if he’s some shutdown corner.

The subject of Brandon Boykin is complicated. He is a very talented player and is coming off a good season. Boykin has the potential to be a great nickelback. Will the Eagles ever move him outside on a full time basis? I don’t know. Some argue that they’ll have to when he’s going for his second contract. If not, he’ll leave. That makes a lot of sense, but I’m not sure the Eagles want him outside. Bill Davis tends to prefer big CBs who can re-direct receivers as they release off the ball. Boykin is only 5-9, 183. That’s small for a corner.

I guess we’ll find out how the Eagles feel about him moving outside when we see if they go for a CB early in this draft. If they don’t, maybe the team does see him moving there in the future. I’ve got my doubts.

As to Carmichael…he’s a non-factor at this point. He showed very little last year. He wasn’t some awful player that looked hopeless, but he didn’t impress me. We can hope he does well this summer, but you sure don’t count on him.

This is the time to draft a CB. Get one and let him sit and learn for a season. Williams is a smart, veteran player. I’m sure the young guy could learn from him. You always prefer the ability to work a guy into the lineup rather than having to throw him out there from Day One.

I’m not saying the Eagles must go get a CB in the 1st round. I do think they can go for one that early if the right guy is on the board. I don’t mind having the guy sit. Lito and Sheldon sat as rookies and both turned into very good players.

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The Eagles have LB Jordan Tripp from Montana in for a visit today. What I’m curious about is if they see him as an OLB or ILB.

Tripp is 6-3, 243. He is listed by most as an OLB, but I think that is in the 4-3. He had 9 sacks in college so clearly he wasn’t used as a primary pass rusher. He is good in coverage.

The Eagles could see him as a backup to Connor Barwin or they could see him as someone for the inside. DeMeco Ryans isn’t a long term answer at ILB. Tripp would be someone to draft and develop for the future. The Eagles do have Jake Knott, Najee Goode and Emmanuel Acho there now. If they spend a mid-round pick on Tripp, that could tell you that the team isn’t that high on the guys already there.

Per Elliot Shorr-Parks, the Eagles have already shown serious interest in Tripp. They met with him at the Combine and also sent a key guy to his Pro Day.