The UDFAs

Posted: May 5th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 783 Comments »

My UDFA review took longer than expected. I took the time to watch tape on everyone, except the punter. Jimmy Bama is the punting expert. I don’t want to infringe on his turf. Next thing you know I’ll wake up with a horse head in my bed. Onto the good stuff…

Here are the 16 undrafted rookies signed by the Eagles:

OG Brett Boyko
OG Malcom Bunche
OG Cole Manhart
OC Mike Coccia
TE Andrew Gleichert
TE Justin Tukes
TE Eric Tomlinson
WR Rasheed Bailey
WR Devante Davis
WR John Harris
RB Raheem Mostert
DE Travis Raciti
DE B.J. McBryde
LB Jordan Dewalt-Ondijo
CB Denzel Rice
P Kip Smith

Now for some details.

OG Brett Boyko – UNLV  – 6-7, 301

Combine info is here. Nothing special athletically. Boyko played LG and LT for the Rebels. He does not have the footwork to play OT in the NFL. He struggled with speed rushers in college. Gets off-balance at times and will lunge at defenders. Boyko is a good run blocker. He comes off the ball quickly and is aggressive. He will win if he gets his hands on the defender cleanly. Boyko is more about effort than talent. Tough, experienced player.

OG Malcom Bunche – UCLA – 6-6, 320

Interesting player. Spent 4 years at Miami and then spent 2014 at UCLA as a grad student. Started at LT in 2012, was mostly a backup at RT and OG in 2013 and then started at both LT and LG in 2014. Doesn’t have the feet to play OT. Is a smart blocker who understands angles and positioning. I need to study more tape to see him as a run blocker. The Bruins didn’t always run the ball a lot. Does have heavy hands. When he gets a shot on a rusher, the guy feels it. Lost his LT and then his LG jobs in 2014. That’s not encouraging. Looked better at LG. Able to pull and block on the move. Showed some potential.

OG Cole Manhart = Nebrask-Kearney – 6-4, 298

I like this kid. Honors student who has already graduated. Started at LT for 3 years in college. Not a natural pass-blocker, but is technically sound with his kick-slide. Has pretty good feet. Able to engage a defender and keep his feet moving. Generates good power when he plays with good pad level. Uses his hands well. Knows his limitations as a pass blocker so tries to quickly get his hands on the rusher to keep him wide of the QB. Smart player. Excellent effort. Blocks to the echo of the whistle. Needs to get stronger. Has the build and blocking style of an Eagles OL. Played LT in the NFLPA all star game and generated some buzz out there. Looked good. Solid showing at his Pro Day. Eagles assistant OL coach Greg Austin was there since Manhart worked at out Nebraska’s Pro Day.

OC Mike Coccia – New Hampshire – 6-3, 302

Quick from snap to block. Has good feet. Likes to get shots in on DTs when he’s uncovered and can help his OG’s out. Good with his hands. Plays too high at times, but generally anchors well in pass pro. Shows good awareness. Handles stunts and blitzes well. Not a great athlete, but had a good Pro Day workout, which the Eagles attended.

TE Andrew Gleichert – Michigan State – 6-5, 258

Played mostly TE, but also a little FB. In 33 career games, caught 6 total passes. Isn’t too hard to figure out what his specialty was. Effective in-line blocker. Good when blocking on the move. Used as a lead blocker in some sets.

TE Justin Tukes – UCF – 6-4, 259

3-year starter who caught 30 career passes. Grinder. He is going to get his money’s worth on every snap. Not a dominant blocker,  but works his butt off. Engages the defender and doesn’t stop until the whistle blows. Looks good in pass pro. Limited as a receiver. Gets a good release, but lacks the agility to make quick cuts and run crisp routes. Fun to watch as a blocker.

TE Eric Tomlinson – UTEP – 6-6, 263

Good prospect. 2-year starter caught 59 career passes. Better blocker than receiver, but moves pretty well for a player his size. Has some really good moments as a blocker. At his best on down blocks. Gets into the defender aggressively and works hard to move him to the inside. Good effort. Struggles to get open as a receiver. Excellent frame. Could easily add 10 pounds and carry it well.

WR Rasheed Bailey – Delaware Valley – 6-1, 205

Dominant player at his level. Bigger, stronger and more athletic than the DBs he went against. That won’t be the case in the NFL. The Eagles saw his Pro Day workout and were impressed. They obviously feel like he at least has a chance to play in the NFL.

WR Devante Davis – UNLV – 6-3, 220

Terrific size/speed combo. Ran 4.57 at 220 pounds. The bad news…Davis struggles to get separation. The good news…he is a big-bodied receiver who is good at making contested catches. Has the size, strength and concentration to catch the ball even with a DB all over him. Good effort as a blocker. Caught 186 career passes for 22 TDs. Lacks the agility you really want in an NFL receiver.

WR John Harris – Texas – 6-2, 213

Has real NFL potential. Very good blocker and talented receiver. Hands catcher who plucks the ball away from his body. Plays to his size. Catches the ball in traffic. Able to take big hits and play through contact. Has pretty good body control. Needs to work on his route running. Played in the slot and outside. Moved around a lot. Redshirted in 2010, then caught a total of 9 passes in 3 years. Exploded as a Senior, going 68-1051-7. Raw, but talented.

RB Raheem Mostert – Purdue – 5-10, 195

Has played WR and RB, but former track star really made his mark as a KOR. Had great showing at his Pro Day. One report had him at 4.32, another at 4.38. Had a 40-inch vertical. Had 5 career returns of more than 71 yards.

DE Travis Raciti – San Jose State – 6-5, 285

Athletic DL who has played DT and DE. Played in both 3-4 and 4-3. At his best in 2012, when he was an attacking 1-gap DT. Some think he could lose weight and play OLB. I watched the Shrine Game, where Raciti played LDE. Did not look good playing in space. More effective playing in traffic. Has 2-gap experience, but still needs work. Has the potential to challenge for backup role.

DE B.J. McBryde – UConn – 6-5, 292

Little-used for 3 years, but emerged as Senior. Started at DT. Also played DE in some 3-man lines. Has good athletic ability for his size. Flashes potential, but doesn’t stand out on a regular basis. Probably best suited to play 3-4 DE.

LB Jordan Dewalt-Ondijo – Duke – 6-4, 239

Played mostly RDE at Duke. Was used in 2 and 3-point stance. Doesn’t stand out as run defender or pass rusher. Solid athlete who might be best suited to play 4-3 SAM. Could also be a good fit in 3-4 as OLB. Will need to bulk up and get stronger.

CB Denzel Rice – Coastal Carolina – 6-0, 190

2-year starter. Broke up 22 passes in those seasons. Has the size the Eagles like in a CB. The Eagles had a scout at his Pro Day. Tom Heckert always said the test with small school guys was to see if they looked dominant at their level. Rice was good, but not special. Press corner. Less effective when playing off. Lacks ideal deep speed.

P Kip Smith – Oklahoma State – 6-1, 235

Began his career at UCLA before moving on to OSU. Has experience as a P, K and KO specialist. Raw, but has good size and a strong leg.

* * * * *

If ranking the UDFAs…

1 – John Harris
2 – Travis Raciti
3 – Brett Boyko
4 – Eric Tomlinson
5 – Cole Manhart
6 – Devante Davis
7 – Jordan Dewalt-Ondijo
8 – Malcom Bunche
9 – Justin Tukes
10-Andrew Gleichert
11- Raheem Mostert
12- Rasheed Bailey
13- BJ McBryde
14- Denzel Rice
* Kip Smith

Since there is such interest in the O-linemen, I’ll be writing more about them in the next few weeks (or sooner).

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Draft Wrap

Posted: May 3rd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 524 Comments »

I’ll be writing a lot more about the Eagles picks in the coming weeks. For now, let’s talk about some general points.

No QB

The Eagles didn’t land Marcus Mariota, but also passed on mid-round QBs. They didn’t even sign an undrafted QB. This is good news for Matt Barkley and Tim Tebow. They are battling for the #3 job. There is no QB of the future to push them out.

I really thought Kelly would want someone to develop behind Sam Bradford. It sure seems that Matt Barkley isn’t part of the long terms plans anymore.

Bradford is the present and future for now.

While that is a scary statement, this is a situation of Chip Kelly’s  choosing. He is going to do everything in his power to make this work.

No Oregon Players

I did a few Eagles-only mock drafts and never had Chip taking an Oregon player. That always brought out the smart-ass comments. “Well we know this won’t happen. No Oregon players.”

Chip didn’t draft anyone from Oregon. He didn’t even sign any UDFAs from Oregon. Is this a sign of the apocalypse?

Listen, there is no denying that Chip has brought Oregon guys in here. But it isn’t as if he’s done it to a level that hurts the Eagles or is out of line. In his first 2 years, Kelly drafted 2 Oregon players. Both were highly rated Seniors. they were college stars and each was invited to the Senior Bowl (Hart missed due to injury).

Kelly has put guys at the bottom of the roster. I don’t like Will Murphy being on the practice squad, but let’s not act as if that is a huge deal. Back in 2010 Andy Reid had some guy named Jeremy Williams as a WR on the practice squad. I don’t remember him at all. There have been some bigger names (BJ Cunningham for instance), but even those guys rarely pan out.

Chip likes his Oregon guys because they played well for him and  he knows them. But he showed this weekend that he’s not going to force the issue.

Draft Theme – Fix the Passing Game

The Eagles needed a WR to replace Jeremy Maclin. They took care of that right off the bat, drafting Nelson Agholor with pick 20. Agholor, like all rookies, is unproven, but he has the potential to be just as good as Maclin. They have similar sizes and skill sets. I think Maclin was the better route runner. I think Agholor has better RAC skills.

It used to be that rookie WRs needed time to fit into the NFL. Freddie Mitchell was a backup. Todd Pinkston caught 10 passes as a rookie. That has changed in recent years. DeSean Jackson had 10 passes thrown his way in his first ever NFL game. Maclin started as a rookie. Jordan Matthews was highly productive last year. There is every reason to believe that Agholor can contribute right away.

The secondary needed a ton of help. Someone asked me on Twitter why the Eagles didn’t just draft one CB and get it right, allowing them to focus on other spots after that. If only things were that easy.

The Eagles did what I call saturation drafting. You don’t fix the secondary with one CB. You load up on them. This way if Eric Rowe tears his ACL, struggles to adjust to the NFL or is abducted by aliens, you have other options. This is simple math. You have better odds is you use more resources to solve a problem.

This draft class was deep at CB, but light on Safeties. I don’t know if Kelly and Ed Marynowitz came up with this strategy or things just turned out this way, but they drafted CBs, giving them the freedom to move tweeners already on the roster over to S.

Who is more likely to help at S this year, Jaylen Watkins or Adrian Amos? Watkins has been in the NFL for a year and has some idea of what’s going on. Amos has more S experience, but would have to adjust to the NFL. EJ Biggers and Nolan Carroll could potentially move to S. I think it is more likely with Biggers. Carroll offers depth outside and in the slot, plus playing the role of Dime LB.

There is no question that the Eagles wanted a Safety. There just weren’t many choices who fit what the Eagles like and the right player wasn’t available at the right time.

I hoped the team would at least make a strong push for someone like Kurtis Drummond as a UDFA, but that either didn’t happen or the Eagles felt the players available late and in the UDFA market would not have been upgrades on guys like Jerome Couplin, Ed Reynolds and Chris Prosinski.

I don’t think anyone would dispute that the Eagles secondary is better. The team didn’t stop there. Jordan Hicks was drafted because the Eagles wanted a 3-down LB. Mychal Kendricks is a 3-down LB. DeMeco Ryans is smart enough to have his moments in coverage, but he’s not a guy you want on the field in the passing game on a regular basis.

Hicks has the athletic ability and cover skills to play on passing downs. The middle of the field has been a huge problem on pass defense the last 2 years. The Eagles now have Kendricks, Hicks and Kiko Alonso. That should help them to better control the middle of the field.

Lastly, Brian Mihalik can help. He is a more natural pass rusher than Cedric Thornton or Brandon Bair. He has great height and length, which can be useful for batting passes or at least getting into the passing lanes and forcing the QB to adjust. There are no guarantees Mihalik will make the 53-man roster, let alone be active on gamedays, but he has the potential to help with the pass rush, this year or in the future.

* * * * *

I’ll post UDFA notes later tonight.

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The Final Pick is the Biggest of Them All

Posted: May 2nd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 377 Comments »

The 2015 draft is over for the Eagles. In the 7th round, they drafted Boston College DE Brian Mihalik.

This kid is huge at 6-9, 302. He is surprisingly athletic. Check out these numbers:

40 – 4.89
BP – 23
VJ – 35.5
BJ – 10’2
SS – 4.37
3C – 7.23

Wow. I don’t know if you realize how good that is. Here is JJ Watt’s Combine workout at 6-5, 290:

40 – 4.84
BP – 34
VJ – 37
BJ – 10’0
SS – 4.23
3C – 6.88

Mihalik is a gifted athlete.

I am not comparing him to Watt as a player. Watt went early because he was dominant on the field. Mihalik had 4.5 sacks last year and is talented, but is nowhere close to Watt in terms of football ability or potential.

Mihalik played RDE, LDE and DT for BC. They mostly ran 4-man lines, but occasionally went to a 3-4 look. He lined up as a 3-4 DE vs Penn State and had a beautiful sack of Christian Hackenberg. Mihalik just threw the RG out of his way and engulfed the QB. Really impressive.

He is talented, but was awkward at 4-3 DE. I think he is best suited to play in the 3-4.

Taking a chance on a guy like this in the 7th round is smart. Ray Rhodes used a 1st round pick on a similar player back in 1997 and it was a disaster. Jon Harris was a complete bust in the NFL. Mihalik is a better scheme fit and is going to work with a terrific DL coach. I think he can definitely play in the NFL.

The Eagles wanted help for the DL. They looked at a variety of players from a variety of schools. In the end, they seemed to go with the biggest athlete they found.

Solid pick with good potential.

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Doubling Down on DBs

Posted: May 2nd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 243 Comments »

Forget the OL for now. Chip Kelly spent both of his 6th round picks on DBs.

CB JaCorey Shepherd – Kansas

CB Randall Evans – Kansas State

I didn’t anticipate the Eagles doing this, but I like it. Think about what Seattle did in recent years. They built up the best secondary in football by pumping resources into it. You don’t go get 4 or 5 players and then sit tight. You know some guys aren’t going to pan out so you overload to make sure you can build up a talented and deep group.

Shepherd (5-11, 199) ran slow at his Pro Day, but he reportedly had an injury. His tape sure doesn’t show any issues with speed. He broke up 31 passes over the last 2 years. He can be physical at the line or play off and react to receivers.

Evans has great measurables. He is 6-0, 190 and ran 4.44 at his Pro Day. KSU had him play CB, S and in the slot. He spent a lot of time in the slot and the Eagles could look at him as the replacement for Brandon Boykin. The Eagles brought him to the NovaCare for a visit so he’s clearly a player they had interest in.

The Eagles pass defense was awful at times in 2014. The team brought in Byron Maxwell, Walter Thurmond, EJ Biggers, Eric Rowe, Shepherd and Evans to try and fix that. The secondary needed a makeover so this was a smart series of moves by Chip Kelly.

More on these picks later.

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6th Round Preview

Posted: May 2nd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 300 Comments »

The Eagles traded their 4th round pick on Saturday, after having dealt both 5th round picks on Friday. That made the early part of today awfully boring.

The talk now is that the Eagles made a huge mistake by not drafting an OL in the 4th. They didn’t add any last year and this is now bordering on them being irresponsible.

That is stretching things just a bit.

The Eagles didn’t pass on anyone in the 4th that seemed like a great fit. My favorite OG prospect, Mark Glowinski, went in the late 4th. The Eagles may have had some interest, but taking him at 113 must have felt too early. It is possible they didn’t have him on their draft board.

In return for sending the 4th round pick to the Lions, the Eagles got back Detroit’s 3rd round pick next year. That is especially important since the Eagles don’t have a 2nd rounder (traded for Sam Bradford). The Eagles will now have a pair of 3rd round picks.

There should still be some interesting OL prospects still on the board when the Eagles do pick at 191. As of now:

Big school, but not ideal fits

OL Tyrus Thompson
OL Austin Shepherd
OL Josue Matias

Guys from big schools who have the right measurables

OL Laurence Gibson
OL Takoby Cofield
OL Sean Hickey
OL Darryl Baldwin
OL Cody Wichmann

Small School guys

OL Cole Manhart – 6-4, 298
OL Jake Rodgers – 6-6, 315
OG Chad Hamilton – 6-2, 292
OL Mike Coccia – 6-3, 301

* * * * *

What about Safety prospects?

Kurtis Drummond
Cody Prewitt
Ryan Murphy
Anthony Jefferson
Dean Marlowe

None of those guys is compelling. Drummond is the best FS of the group. Murphy might be the best scheme fit. Oregon State had him drop down and cover the slot on a regular basis. Jefferson originally committed to play for Kelly at Oregon, but went to UCLA to be closer to a sick relative.

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