More Eagles Draft Talk

Posted: April 23rd, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 7 Comments »

The Eagles want to add CB help in the upcoming draft. The top 2 CBs are Marshawn Lattimore and Gareon Conley from Ohio State. The problem is that both CBs are virtually a lock to be taken before 14. I would be shocked if either guy fell that far. I would be ecstatic, but it just isn’t going to happen.

The Eagles have been meeting with all sorts of CBs. This tells me they aren’t going to force the issue by taking a CB at 14. They will take the best player. With Conley and Lattimore gone, that isn’t likely to be a CB. The good news is that this draft is filled with talented CBs. The Eagles can move down if they want. They can get CBs in the 2nd, 3rd or possibly even 4th rounds.

The nightmare scenario is that there’s a run on CBs and the Eagles don’t end up with the players they targeted. That’s possible, but doesn’t seem likely because the team has been looking at so many CBs. They have checked out playmakers, athletes, big guys…you name it. They don’t seem to be overly picky right now. And that’s smart.

Does sound like the Eagles love Gareon Conley. Joe Douglas certainly does.

“The public has just caught onto him,” Douglas said. “Our staff did a great job getting Conley on the board early. Unbelievable talent. With Gareon, the speed jumps out; the length jumps out. One of the best leaders on their team.”

If you’re doing a mock draft, you better have Conley going off the board early.

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I wrote about Joe Mixon last night and that upset some people. I knew that would happen because he is such a hot button topic.

Some people took my piece as a defense of Mixon. That wasn’t the case at all. My point is that I think you are smart to figure out if he’s a kid who did a horrible, horrible thing or if he’s a bad kid that you want nothing to do with.

I can’t make that call without talking to him and doing all the background research that NFL teams do.

I struggle when it comes to the subject of character. I’d love the Eagles to have nothing but nice guys. But that team just isn’t going to win games. The Chiefs have Tyreek Hill, who choked his pregnant girlfriend, out there making big plays. The Cowboys best player is rookie Ezekiel Elliott and he appears to be a mental midget who does whatever he wants. There are some questions about him assaulting a woman.

Teams have to decide who is a bad person  vs who made a bad mistake, but is truly sorry for what he did and can be a functional part of a team. And teams have to figure out which people/incidents they can live with.

I personally hope the Eagles don’t draft Mixon because I don’t want to have to deal with the blowback. I went through that with Michael Vick and it was no fun. That’s more about my personal convenience than any moral high horse.

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A few of you have asked about Alvin Kamara, the star RB from Tennessee. He will likely be a 2nd round pick. There is no question that he is a really talented player. Kamara is a gifted runner, receiver and returner. The problem I have is whether he can be a starter or is he strictly a role player. He played 2 years at UT and never had 20 carries in a game. He only had 15 or more in 5 games.

I do think he’s a RB, but he can play in the slot at times. The Eagles don’t have to land a RB who can carry 25 times a game, but I do wonder if Kamara is too much of a role player.

Part of the reason he didn’t get a ton of carries is that UT also had Jalen Hurd at RB for part of those 2 years. Maybe Kamara is just waiting to be unleashed at the NFL level.

Curtis Samuel is a similar player, but I see him more as a slot receiver who can line up at RB. Kamara is 5-10, 214. Samuel is 5-11, 196. Samuel is faster and more explosive. I could see the Eagles having interest in Samuel because of his speed and ability to play in the slot.

There is no doubt this offense needs playmakers.

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Joe Douglas and Howie Roseman talked the other day about changes in the grading system. I don’t know exactly what they are talking about because I’ve never seen any Eagles draft grades.

Roseman used to refer to having players graded in certain rounds. I don’t know that was exactly the case or something he said to help the media and fans understand. If he said “We had Bennie Logan graded at 5.94” that wouldn’t mean a thing to anyone outside the NFL scouting world. Much easier to say we had him as a 2nd rounder.

But Roseman did say there was as change.

“Part of bringing him in here is trying to change what we’ve done, and trying to get better. It started when we hired him, about using a different grading scale, and getting us all acclimated into the way he talks about players and he grades players,” Roseman said. “We have tremendous trust in Joe and his ability to put (the draft board) together. I think it’s been a really fun process. It’s really rejuvenated a lot of guys, including myself, who have been here for a while.”

And Douglas added this.

I’m not sure exactly what this all means. I do think you have to grade players very specifically. Mike Mayock loves 280-pound DEs who can play the run. I prefer pass rushers. I would hope my scouts and his scouts would grade players differently because of what we were looking for. Maybe in the past the Eagles graded in a more generic way.

It will be interesting to see if this draft feels different because of Douglas and the changes he has made.

At the end of the day, it boils down to picking good players. The Eagles have done that in some years and whiffed badly in others.

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Draft Talk – Mixon Up and Moving Down

Posted: April 23rd, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 163 Comments »

Joe Mixon has been getting a lot of attention recently. Is he on the Eagles draft board? Is he too toxic to touch? None of us know for sure, but the vibe among smart writers seems to be the Eagles are keeping an open mind.

How can they do that? He’s a scumbag, right?

This is where we need some nuance. To some of you, hitting a woman is completely unacceptable and that labels him for life. Scumbag. End of discussion. I certainly get where you are coming from. Not everyone will see it that way. Mixon isn’t a guy with a pattern of bad behavior. He has a horrible incident, but it seems to be one of a kind. To some people, that makes a huge difference.

Compare Mixon to Dalvin Cook, another top RB in this class. Cook was involved in multiple incidents in high school. He was involved in multiple incidents in college. He hasn’t come across well in all of his meetings and interviews with NFL teams. No one is comparing him to Hitler or Charles Manson, but there is a pattern here. As much as you love Cook’s game tape, you have concerns about him as a person.

Mixon has actually impressed some teams with his interviews. He does not have a string of incidents in his past. He’s doing a good job of trying to sell himself to NFL teams. Not all are buying, but things seem to be going better than I would have anticipated.

The Mixon incident is especially troubling because we all saw it. He punched a girl, breaking 4 bones in her face. Even though time has passed since that horrible event, it isn’t going to be forgotten any time soon. You can’t un-see something like that.

Paul Domowitch wrote a good piece on Mixon and his situation.

Mixon’s dream of ever being a first-round NFL pick went out the window the moment he threw that punch. However, his dream of playing in the NFL still is very much alive.

With the help of his agent Peter Schaffer, Mixon has done an impressive job of refurbishing his image in recent months. And while some teams have taken him off their draft board, many others haven’t.

“I think he’s going to go in the second or third round,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said. “There’s an ownership conversation involved with him. Some owners have already told their people to take him off the board.

“But he’s made visits to nearly 20 teams. He did a very smart thing by hiring (Schaffer) who’s a respected agent. Schaffer attacked it head on instead of trying to hide from it. They have controlled the narrative from Day 1.

And

Mixon was smart to hire Schaffer. He’s one of the league’s most respected agents. He has represented some of the league’s best players, including Hall of Famers Jerome Bettis, Barry Sanders and William Roaf.

He has represented several former Eagles players, and always has had a good relationship with the organization, including executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman.

If anybody can convince the Eagles that Mixon is worth the PR hit they would take by drafting him, it’s Schaffer.

“There’s no question that the people you associate yourself with factor in to your character and your background,” Roseman said Thursday. “We’ve had conversations (about other players in the past) where we’ve wondered, why did he hire that guy? He’s got enough questions here and he goes and hires that guy. He’s not helping himself.

“But there are a bunch of agents in this league that have tremendous character that do really well for their players. They’re about helping their players. Peter’s done that. It certainly helps when you look at the complete picture and see who they’re entrusting their career to.”

My guess is that Mixon gets taken before the Eagles even have a shot at him. The Eagles have pick 43. Cincy is 41 and the Saints are 42. Both could use a RB and both have shown a willingness to roll the dice on character. Mixon could get taken before that even. I wouldn’t spend too much time getting fired up if you are anti-Mixon.

Still, it will be interesting to see what happens if he is on the board when the Eagles pick. Mixon would be an excellent fit for the offense and Eagles management saw the impact that Ezekiel Elliott had on Dallas last year. That’s not to say Mixon would do the same thing for the Eagles, but his impact could be enough that the reward is worth taking the risk.

Someone is going to take Mixon. He’s just too talented and NFL teams are desperate to win.

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Very interesting nugget from Dave Spadaro.

It seems very unlikely that the Eagles are going to move up in the first round. The Eagles want to maximize their eight selections. If anything, they are probably more likely to move down in the first round – and in the rounds thereafter – to acquire more picks.

I am completely on board with this thinking.

I would love to see the Eagles move back to the 18-20 range and add a 3rd round pick. The Eagles would then be choosing from a group of players I still like a lot, but at a better spot for value.

CB Kevin King
CB Tre’Davious White
DE Charles Harris
WR Corey Davis
WR John Ross

They could even consider these players.

CB Adoree Jackson
DE Taco Charlton
DE Jordan Willis

I would be a happy camper if the Eagles could trade 14 and get one player from the top group along with a 3rd round pick. The more picks you have this year, the better.

I know some people hate moving back. The Eagles have had mixed results with it in the past. They usually moved back from the 20’s to the 30’s. Moving from 14 to the late teens or early 20’s is different. I also have faith in Joe Douglas and his scouts to help the Eagles find some real talent this year.

Some of you want the Eagles to go get an impact player. Okay. Who? I don’t see any guy in the Top 10 that is worth spending extra picks to go get. I like plenty of the players who will go early, but I don’t see guys the Eagles can afford or who will be worth the price. Myles Garrett is great, but he’s out of the Eagles price range. I like Derek Barnett quite a bit, but not enough to move up for him.

If the Eagles could move up a spot or two for a top DB, okay. That’s worth it. But aggressively going after Marshawn Lattimore or Gareon Conley in such a deep CB draft doesn’t make sense to me.

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One interesting late round pass rusher is Evan Schwan from Penn State. I expect the Eagles to add someone early or in the mid-rounds, but Schwan would be a good late round target. He’s 6-5, 261. He emerged as a Senior, racking up 5.5 sacks, 31 tackles a FF and a couple of pass deflections. Schwan ran 4.68 at his Pro Day. Did 19 reps, 31.5 VJ and  4.39 SS. Not great numbers, but enough to get your attention. He is a late bloomer and he can still get better.

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Busy Day

Posted: April 21st, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 243 Comments »

The draft is a week away, but the big focus today was the unveiling of the 2017 schedule.

I’m not a big one for schedule analysis. So much can change between now and when the games are actually played that trying to figure out what looks easy and what looks hard is often a futile exercise.

The first 2 weeks on the road isn’t a great way to start, but there is a nice stretch of home games in the middle of the season. The Eagles could build some momentum if they can take advantage of those games.

There are multiple trips to the West Coast. That’s not awesome. Not sure how I feel about the Eagles playing on Christmas. It is a night game so that might be a good way to end the day.

That’s probably the best news of all. Last year the Eagles seemed to constantly be facing a team that was well-rested and ready to go.

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Joe Douglas and Howie Roseman met the media to answer some questions on the draft.

Jeff McLane’s take.

Les Bowen’s take.

Jimmy Bama’s take.

Nothing too crazy, but it is always good to find out what Howie and Joe said. I thought this might have been one of the best points.

People assume that experts, draft analysts and sportswriters all have a strong feel for what’s really going on. That just isn’t the case. A lot of information gets out, but not everything. Just because Conley wasn’t getting a lot of publicity didn’t mean that teams didn’t love him.

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A horrible postseason continues for Foster. He got kicked out of the Combine for berating a hospital worker. He then didn’t handle the fallout from that situation very well. Foster still has some issues with his shoulders. His interviews with teams have reportedly not been ideal. Now he fails a drug test.

He is not worth pick 14.

Good player, but not as good as the hype. Foster might be a terrific NFL player, but he isn’t showing the league that he can handle his business right now. I think he will slide. Does that mean to the late 1st? Does that mean the 2nd round? Further?

We can only speculate. I would guess some team would use a 2nd round pick on him. Heck, someone in the late 1st could take a shot. There is no question that Foster is talented. I just don’t think he’s as good as Luke Kuechly or Patrick Willis. And now he’s bringing plenty of baggage with him.

It will be interesting to see how far he falls.

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More on Harris

Posted: April 19th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 360 Comments »

Missouri DE Charles Harris has become a strange topic recently. There is a buzz around him now being a Top 15 pick, possibly even Top 10. The Eagles took a look at him and I mentioned he could be in the mix at pick 14.

People were not happy.

“This is Marcus Smith all over again.”

“Would be a wasted pick.”

“Why do the Eagles always draft busts?”

Etc.

I am not Charles Harris biggest fan, but I don’t get the hate toward him. He might be the most explosive pass rusher in the draft. That’s a good thing. In 2 years as a starter, he piled up 30.5 TFLs (16 sacks). Harris was productive and disruptive and played in the best conference in the nation.

He did have a poor showing at the Combine. That got everyone’s attention and made us wonder about his value. Harris then posted better numbers at his Pro Day. That’s the whole point in having a Pro Day. It allows you to bounce back after a bad Combine. CB Joe Haden had a bad Combine when he was coming out. He did much better at his Pro Day and ended up going 7th overall. Haden has been a terrific NFL player.

The poor showing by Harris in Indy made people think he would go late 1st or early 2nd. Prior to that, he was considered a solid 1st round pick. When Harris originally declared for the draft, Todd McShay had him ranked as the 11th overall prospect. Several other key sites had him in the 16 to 32 range. Back in mid-January, Daniel Jeremiah had him going 19th overall to the Bucs in a mock draft.

This isn’t some mid-round guy you’ve never heard of being talked about going early. Harris had an outstanding career and he’s been highly thought of by coaches and scouts all along. At his worst, Harris wasn’t going to fall out of the Top 45. He’s just too explosive for that.

His Pro Day, workouts and visits have gone well enough that teams now see him going early again. This isn’t just some Eagles thing.

Teams want pass rushers. They really want explosive pass rushers. Myles Garrett, Jonathan Allen and Solomon Thomas will all be Top 10 picks because they are explosive. Harris is explosive and that puts him in the conversation.

I would rather have Derek Barnett than Harris, but Barnett doesn’t have the explosive burst that Harris does. Some people covet that burst.

While Harris isn’t my ideal pick for the Eagles, I wouldn’t be upset with him. DE is a critical position in the NFL and Harris has the potential to be a difference-maker at that spot. I’m not trying to convince anyone to suddenly love Harris, but do understand this is a really talented football player and there are legitimate reasons that he could go in the Top 15. Watch the clips below. Not many guys in this draft class have that kind of get-off.

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I do need to put up a post sharing some thoughts on the different edge rushers. There are a lot of guys I like. I’m curious as to whether Jim Schwartz and the Eagles prefer size vs speed vs athleticism vs production. It will be interesting to see who they pick, whether he goes 14th overall or is a 4th round pick.

I also need to share which guys I do covet in the 1st round. One hint…none are QBs.

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Up Chuck?

Posted: April 17th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 342 Comments »

The Eagles are very interested in pass rushers in the upcoming draft. We’ve talked about a lot of different targets, but one guy has eluded discussion to this point…Charles Harris from Missouri.

Harris declared early for the draft after a 9-sack season for Mizzou. That total doesn’t begin to tell you how disruptive he was. Harris might be the most explosive pass rusher in the draft. He’s certainly one of the most disruptive. He’s 6-3, 253 and is a terrific speed rusher. 4-3 teams will want him as a DE. 3-4 teams will like him as an OLB.

Harris had a poor showing at the Combine. The guy you see on tape looks like an explosive athlete. He posted poor numbers and that got everyone a bit worried. Some of you will wonder why that’s a big deal. Game tape is significantly more important. You don’t need players to shine at the Combine, but you do want them to be at least solid, especially if their game is built on athleticism.

Luckily Harris had a much better showing at his Pro Day. His vertical jump went from 32 inches to 37.5. That shows explosion, which is what the game tape showed. That workout made me more comfortable with him. It was thought Harris would go in the late 1st or even early 2nd round. The Pro Day workout has people thinking that he might climb back up to the middle of the 1st round.

The Eagles might consider Harris a target at 14. Watch him at RDE below and you can see him down in that stance in the Eagles D.

And you can bet Jim Schwartz would have interest in that kind of an explosive edge rusher.

Is he worth pick 14?

Harris reminds me somewhat of Dwight Freeney, who was taken 11th overall. Freeney was on a different level, though. He had 17.5 sacks as a Senior. He was 266 pounds. He ran 4.48 at the Combine and had a 40-inch VJ. He wowed you on the field and with his workout.

That doesn’t mean Harris isn’t a Top 15 pick, but he’s not sure to go that high. Some teams like 250-pound edge rushers. Other teams prefer bigger guys. The Eagles could see Harris as similar to Brandon Graham, who was taken 13th overall back in 2010. Graham was 268 pounds. He tested well for speed, quickness, agility and strength. He did have a poor VJ (31 inches). Graham was a great college player and then dominated at the Senior Bowl.

Harris feels like he is a notch below Graham and Freeney, but the Eagles could still consider him worth pick 14. One thing that helps him is that Mizzou has put out a string of good DL in recent years. Aldon Smith, Sheldon Richardson, Kony Ealy and Shane Ray all starred for the Tigers.

Oh yeah…and his game tape is really impressive.

https://twitter.com/DaBigEasy24/status/843968146696486916

I don’t know if the Eagles will take Harris at 14, but I don’t think he’ll be sliding to the end of the 1st.

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