Bounce Back

Posted: March 21st, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

Nelson Agholor  was terrible in 2016. The low point came against Seattle, when he lined up incorrectly and that penalty erased a wild TD by Zach Ertz. Not catching the ball is bad, but when you can’t even friggin’ line up correctly? Ugh.

Luckily the Eagles didn’t banish Agholor to the ice caverns of Fridgia. Instead, they hired a new WRs coach and moved Agholor to the slot. I think the changes helped reset his mind and gave him a fresh outlook. Agholor became a key part of the offense in 2017 and now has a bright future.

The talent was always there. Something just wasn’t working right in 2016.

The Eagles have some other young players who are in a similar situation right now. No one is at rock bottom the way Agholor was, but there are some guys who need to get things turned around.

Isaac Seumalo

The Eagles thought they had their starting LG in Seumalo. Oops. He struggled in a big way and got benched after two bad starts. Seumalo really had a problem with physicality. Defensive linemen were able to push him around. This wasn’t due to a lack of strength, but rather not playing strong. Seumalo looked so polished, tough and confident as a rookie that it was very surprising to see him look so lost in 2017.

Seumalo got some time at RT and some later time at OG last year. He was the jumbo TE as well and that got him on the field almost every game. I thought he looked most comfortable at RT, as crazy as that sounds. I’m interested to see what the Eagles do with him this spring and summer. Do they make him strictly the backup C? Do they play him at RG? Does he see time at RT?

Seumalo showed real promise as a rookie, starting at multiple spots and always giving the team a good effort. Everyone expected him to take a big step forward last year. Didn’t happen. He took a step backward. The Eagles aren’t giving up on him, but he will have to earn his role this summer.

Wendell Smallwood

Another guy who showed serious promise as a rookie. Smallwood was expected to be a key part of the RB rotation last year. He struggled with some injuries and then got lost in the shuffle. The Eagles had a strong group of RBs and Smallwood couldn’t find his way onto the field.

Smallwood generated some buzz in Training Camp and that is one of the reasons people thought he might be ready for a breakout season. Just didn’t happen. Smallwood is now in line behind Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement, two other young RBs who have proven themselves to the Eagles. Smallwood will need to show a sense of desperation this spring. He has NFL talent. He just has to stay healthy and play at a consistent level. If that doesn’t happen, Smallwood will be looking for a new career.

Joe Walker

The Eagles used a 7th round pick on Walker in 2016 because they loved his athletic ability. Walker tore his ACL in the summer of 2016 and missed that year. He returned last year, but wasn’t all the way back. His athleticism was his best trait and it was missing. The Eagles kept him on the roster, hoping he would get better over the course of the season. Walker then had some nagging injuries to deal with and he went on IR late in the season.

Walker hasn’t played nearly as much as Seumalo and Smallwood so we really don’t have a feel for what he can and can’t do in the NFL. Walker must stay healthy this year to have any chance to make the team. He also needs to show he is all the way back from the ACL injury. If Walker doesn’t have his speed and agility, he’s a mediocre LB prospect. The Eagles would love him to play well and add to the depth at LB. It also helps that he’s cheap.


Apparently Long is still trying to decide if he wants to play this year. I totally get that. Football is tough. You have to work incredibly hard to stay in shape and to hone your craft. Then you go out on Sunday and have 30 to 50 collisions with giant, angry humans. Millions of people scrutinize everything you do and say.

On the flip side, Long could go sit back and eat chocolate pudding and spend his days taunting Beau Allen on Twitter. Tough call.

I hope Long comes back for another season. I loved watching him play and he was a great leader, on and off the field.

Give us one more year, Mr. Long. And then I’ll send you my grandmother’s recipe for chocolate pudding.


What’s Up at TE?

Posted: March 21st, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

Brent Celek is gone. So is Trey Burton. Celek was cut and has talked to some teams, but is still on the market. Burton is now a highly-paid member of the Chicago Bears.

The fact the Eagles haven’t added anyone and that Celek hasn’t signed anywhere makes you wonder if he could return to the team. The Eagles haven’t talked to any free agent TEs. They obviously aren’t in a rush to get anything done.

It is possible that they would prefer to add someone in the draft. If they could add a talented TE to pair with Zach Ertz for the next four to five years, that would be ideal. It is also possible the Eagles aren’t in love with any free agents and are waiting for the players on the market to lower their prices. Don’t pay for steak if you’re eating hamburger.

There are some guys I still have interest in. It sounds like Luke Willson will be signing in Detroit, but there are still a few interesting targets.

Levine Toilolo
Troy Niklas
Sean McGrath

That’s not a compelling list. Toilolo was cut by the Falcons, which helps his case. If you sign him, he doesn’t count against comp picks in 2019. Toilolo is an effective receiver and solid blocker. Niklas is a massive man at 6-7, 270. He will turn 26 this summer. He is coming off his best season, but only caught 11 passes. He is more blocker than receiver. I do wonder if he could develop in a more creative offense.

McGrath is strange. He’s 30. He was a rookie in 2012, but has only played in four years. His best season came for KC in 2013, when Doug Pederson was the OC for the Chiefs. He is more of a #3 TE, but at least does have NFL experience and has played well for Pederson.

The name I left off the list is Martellus Bennett. Would he be a great addition? Possibly. The problem is that he is a volume receiver. He was a backup to Jason Witten for the first four years of his career. Since then, he averages 58 catches a year. Celek had 54 catches over the last three seasons combined. I get that Bennett might be willing to make sacrifices to play with his brother and chase a ring, but is he really going to be happy with 30 catches? I struggle with that.

One of the special things about the 2017 players is that they didn’t complain when the ball didn’t come their way. That was a team offense. The stars were racking up huge numbers. I just don’t know that Bennett would be okay with that.

The key for me in all of this is that the Eagles must get someone who can be at least an average blocker. Ertz is below-average. The run game requires a TE who can get the job done on a regular basis. Celek did a terrific job in that role. I do not want the Eagles to go sign another Ertz. They must find someone who wants to block and who can block.


The Eagles are checking out TE prospects. Hurst is my top TE. He can block and catch. I expect him to go in the 2nd round so the Eagles would have to take him at 32 or move back. Some are bothered by the fact he will turn 25 in August.

Do not listen to Bo, generally considered the Mike Kafka of Eagles writers.

Age is a concern, but players are playing longer than ever so this isn’t as big a deal as it was 10 to 15 years ago. Hurst would be a good addition to the Eagles and a solid replacement for Celek.

Many of you love Mike Gesicki. He is an athletic freak and can make some incredible catches. The problem is that he’s more of a big WR than a true TE.

Gesicki could potentially develop as a blocker, but those clips are not easy to watch. That’s a big guy who is hesitant about making real contact. Ugh. You draft that guy to catch passes and make plays for you. The problem is the Eagles already have that guy in Ertz. They really need someone who can block and catch.

It is possible the Eagles could love Gesicki and go for him, but I’d be shocked. Pederson appreciates physicality, which is not a strong point for Gesicki, whether blocking or catching. I think Gesicki can develop into a real weapon in the NFL if he goes to the right team. I just don’t see him as a good fit for the Eagles as it currently stands. I’ve been wrong before so those of you who want him can keep your hopes up.

I prefer this guy.

Hurst was 44-559-2 as a receiver this year so he can get the job done in the passing game as well.


More Draft Talk

Posted: March 20th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

We got more Eagles draft news on Monday.

Let’s start things off at NC State, where Duce Staley was on hand to check out their RBs. Tony Pauline has more.

Nyheim Hines was another who looked explosive and displayed his sheer athleticism on pro-day.  Hines posted a 10-foot-2-inch broad jump, timed 4.21s short shuttle and 6.85s 3 cone- marks all better than the one’s he laid down at the combine.

Much of his position drills were run but Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur until the end when Duce Staley of the Philadelphia Eagles took over.

Hines is a small, but explosive RB. He is 5-8, 198 and has played WR as well as RB. He also has value as a KOR and PR. Doug Pederson made mention of wanting to upgrade STs so this could be a player that makes a lot of sense for the Eagles. He is more of a weapon than a true position player.

The other RB is Jaylen Samuels. He played TE and RB at NC State. He is a terrific pass catcher. Samuels is about 225 pounds so he won’t be explosive, but he is a good inside runner and can break his share of tackles.

Both players make sense for the Eagles.

Staley wasn’t alone in Raleigh. NC State has 4 stud DL prospects so assistant DL coach Phillip Daniels was on hand to see them work out.

DE Bradley Chubb
DT B.J. Hill
DT Justin Jones
DE/DT Kentavious Street

Chubb will be a Top 5 (or so) pick. The Eagles could have interest in Hill and Jones as young talent for the DL. Street is interesting. He goes 6-2, 280 and is incredibly powerful. He could play DE, but some teams think he might be better as an interior pass rusher.


Most teams got a chance to study Lauletta in-depth at the Senior Bowl. Press Taylor was busy getting ready for some sporting event up in Minneapolis. Can’t remember what they call that. Should the QB market go sideways and the team end up trading Nick Foles, the Eagles might have interest in adding another QB. You can never have too many of them.


Fountain had a strong showing at the Shrine Game. He is 6-2, 210 and is very good after the catch. Talented mid-round prospect.


Tony Pauline recently mentioned he heard the Eagles loved Vander Esch. I can see why they would because he’s very talented.

At the same time, Vander Esch makes no sense for the Eagles. He could be a Top 20 prospect. Let’s say he does drop to 32, are you taking a LB when you just re-signed Nigel Bradham and you have young talent in Jordan Hicks and Corey Nelson?

I’m all for the Eagles adding talented depth in the middle of the draft. I just don’t know about spending pick 32 on a LB. I realize Bradham’s deal isn’t truly a 5-year pact and that Hicks has injury issues, I just don’t know about the value of taking a LB at 32 for this defense.

The Eagles are at least curious. And maybe they do love him. He just doesn’t seem like a likely pick.


Reid makes a ton of sense for the Eagles. He played S and CB in college. He can play the slot and looks pretty good there. He has great hands and could be a terrific Safety if that’s where the coaches preferred him. Reid isn’t a great tackler, but gets the job done. He is a gifted athlete and smart player.

Of all the candidates we’ve talked about for pick 32, Reid might be the best combination of fit, value, potential and ability to contribute early on. I’ll write a long post on him sometime soon.


Ballage is incredibly talented. He is a freak. But he wasn’t as productive as he should have been. Was that a case of the coaches not knowing how to use him or was Ballage to blame. He wouldn’t be the first talented underachiever in football history. Ballage looked great at the Senior Bowl. He could be a real interesting project for Duce Staley. If Duce could get Corey Clement to play like he did, Duce could do amazing things with a size/speed/skill guy like Ballage.

You can bet interviews will be critical for Ballage. Underachievers have a lot of explaining to do and they better do a good job of it. Duce doesn’t take a lot of B.S. so if he comes away liking Ballage, that does say something.


The Eagles had a scout work out Virginia State RB Trent Cannon. The small, but speedy RB averageed 7 yards per carry and ran for 18 TDs this year. He also is a good KOR.


Now for a bit of non-draft news. The Eagles introduced Michael Bennett and Daryl Worley to the media today.

Read Les Bowen’s story for all the exciting details.


Eagles Draft Talk

Posted: March 18th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

For the past couple of weeks, we have focused on free agency, trades and cuts. Let’s put that stuff aside for the moment and shift gears to the draft.


Visits to Philly

CB Donte Jackson – LSU
RB Derrius Guice – LSU

Pro Days

OT Orlando Brown – Oklahoma – OL coach worked him out at Pro Day
OL Austin Corbett – Nevada – OL coach at his Pro Day

TE Tyler Conklin – Central Michigan – TE coach at his Pro Day

DT Nathan Shepard – Fort Hays State – DL coach worked him out at Pro Day
DT Tim Settle – Virginia Tech – DL coach worked him out at Pro Day
DT Joshua Frazier – Alabama – met with him

LB Nate Cichy – Wisconsin – LB coach at his Pro Day
LB Jaylyin Minor – Cincinnati – interviewed by multiple Eagles scouts at all star game

CB Chandon Sullivan – Georgia State – coach at his Pro Day


James Madison – Scout at Pro Day

In order to keep up with this on a regular basis, here are your best resources:

Draft Analyst (Tony Pauline’s site)

Bleeding Green Nation

Now let’s talk about some of these players.

Guice is a terrific RB prospect. The Eagles only chance at him would be to use pick 32 or to trade back into the early 2nd round. Would they do that for a RB? It doesn’t feel likely, but maybe he is a prospect they feel strongly about.

Jackson? A CB? Are you kidding me? Jackson is a complete DB. He played CB, slot and even some Safety at LSU. The Eagles love versatile DBs. Jackson could come in and compete for the nickelback spot or be the #3 Safety. Like Guice, Jackson would take pick 32 or a trade back into the 2nd round.

On to the Pro Day workouts. Brown had an awful showing at the Combine, but has good game tape. He is a massive LT prospect who can be a physical presence up front. Doug Pederson loves those guys. Brown is most likely going to be a mid-round pick. I’m sure Stoutland wanted to go work him out to get a good feel for the young man. Stoutland worked him out. What we don’t know is if Stoutland came away impressed or not.

I would spend a pick on Brown. He has the potential to be a starting LT. That’s a guy I’m willing to take a chance on.

Corbett is a different story. He played LT in college, but he’s 6-4, 310 and doesn’t have great feet so most people project him to OG in the NFL. OL coaches love Corbett because he is smart, tough and physical. The Eagles could use a LG of the future. Corbett would make sense as a target. He could play some LT if needed, but doesn’t appear to be someone you want starting there on a regular basis. Corbett is probably a 2nd rounder.

The Eagles need help at TE and Conklin is an athletic, talented pass-catcher. He is 6-3, 252. Conklin is a mid to late-round target. Expect to hear about more TEs as the Pro Day season continues.

DT is another spot the Eagles are checking out. Shepard went to a D2 school, but now could be a Top 50 pick. He was terrific at the Senior Bowl and at the Combine. Frazier was a backup at Bama and is a late round target. Settle is interesting. He only started one year at VT, but is very talented. He is 6-3, 329. He had 12.5 TFLs this year and can be quick off the ball and disruptive, despite being such a big man. Settle could be a 2nd round pick. I think opinions on him are going to be all over the place.

LB isn’t as much of a need since Nigel Bradham re-signed, but the Eagles do need depth there. I’m a big fan of Cichy’s. He missed the year due to injury, but his 2016 tape is outstanding. He was a 3-4 ILB in college, but could play OLB or MLB for the Eagles. Very instinctive. Minor is a priority free agent. He was the MLB for Cincy and was a physical presence in the middle of their defense. Big hitter.

Sullivan is another prospect who could play in the slot. He’s 5-11, 190 and more quick than fast. He is a late round target.

I’ll write more in-depth stuff on these players as we go along.


Jimmy Bama wrote about the Eagles picks in 2019. With comp picks, the Eagles could have 11 draft picks next year.

I don’t think this is by accident. The Eagles could have some veterans to replace and another group of free agents to deal with. Carson Wentz will likely get a big contract extension so the team will need a cheap way to potentially fill roster holes. That makes draft picks especially valuable.


Two For The Road

Posted: March 16th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

Howie Roseman is one of the best traders in the NFL, if not the best. But he is a mere mortal. When teams know the Eagles are likely to cut a player, not even Howie relentlessly working the phones can be enough.

They couldn’t work out a trade. Some reported the Eagles couldn’t get him to take a pay cut. I’m not sure what to make of that idea. No matter what was going on, the bottom line is that Curry is gone and the Eagles now have additional cap space.

Curry was a good player for the Eagles, despite the fact he had some tough circumstances at times. He didn’t play much as a rookie in 2012 and then was thrown into the 3-4 defense from 2013-2015. Curry did post good numbers in 2014, with 9 sacks and 4 FFs. I thought Curry would thrive when Jim Schwartz brought the 4-3 back in 2016. That just didn’t happen.

Curry proved to be an excellent run defender as the RDE. He set the edge, forcing RBs to stay inside or bounce deep and to the outside. Curry had 13 TFLs over the last two years. He would penetrate and blow plays up.

The problem is that Curry wasn’t good enough as a pass rusher. He only totaled 5.5 sacks over the past two seasons. Curry did get pressure more frequently than that sack total would indicate, but the coaches were frustrated with his inability to finish plays. Curry was due $11M this year and you can’t get paid like that if you aren’t more of a playmaker.

It would have been cool for Curry, who grew up an Eagles fan, to play in Philly for his whole career. Unfortunately, football is a business and that didn’t happen. Curry did say goodbye with an Instagram post.


That’s a great way of looking at things. Not every contract extension is going to work out. When two guys turn into stars and the other is still above average…that’s how you build a Super Bowl team.


More news.

This is good news for the Eagles.

Blount played well for the Eagles in 2017. He had some great moments (that run vs the Chargers was football heaven). But Blount was an awkward fit as well, with his limited ability as a receiver. He’s 31 and more of a luxury than a necessity. I’m shocked he got that much money, but happy for him.

The Eagles will have Jay Ajayi as the workhorse RB this year. Corey Clement is going to be a key player for the offense. Wendell Smallwood and Donnel Pumphrey give the team another couple of young options. The Eagles will add a rookie RB to the mix. The draft class is loaded so the team will have some good options.

If anything happens between now and August, the team could look to add a veteran. I think the smart thing is to go young at RB. Save money there if you can.


Blount’s deal with Detroit helps the Eagles in the hunt for 2019 comp picks. PK Caleb Sturgis signed with the Chargers as well.


Tyrann Mathieu signed a one-year deal with the Texans tonight. It wasn’t ever likely that he would come to Philly, but it made for a fun thought.