Draft Tidbits

Posted: April 18th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 111 Comments »

San Jose State DL Travis Raciti will be coming to Philly for a visit. Per Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee:

San Jose State defensive lineman Travis Raciti, who played at 300 pounds last season, is down to 288 pounds and looked noticeably slimmer and quicker on Friday. Raciti wants to show teams that he can play on the inside of the line and also be a five-technique player in a 3-4 defensive front. Raciti has upcoming visits with the Eagles and Washington.

Raciti had 8.5 sacks in 2012, playing in an attacking 4-3 scheme. SJSU lost their DC after that year and the new guy brought in the 3-4. Raciti moved to DE and wasn’t nearly as effective. SJSU fired the DC and went back to the 4-3, allowing Raciti to move back to DT. He only had 3 sacks, but his tackle total did jump from 37 to 72.

Raciti is 6-4, 288. He had a solid Pro Day workout.

Defensive lineman Travis Raciti (6-foot-3 7/8, 288 pounds) ran the 40-yard dash in 5.06 and 5.18 seconds. He had a 31 1/2-inch vertical and a 8-foot-10 broad jump. He recorded times of 4.66 seconds in the short shuttle and 7.52 seconds in the three-cone drill. He performed 21 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. Raciti had a good workout. His good quickness makes up for his lack of speed and he will likely be a priority free agent this year.

Raciti is a talented late round prospect. The question is what the Eagles think of him. Do they like him as a DE, even though Raciti didn’t thrive at that spot? Could the Eagles want him to switch positions? It is possible the Eagles could want Raciti to drop down to 275 pounds and play OLB. Another possibility is that they have interest in him as an OL. Per Brandt, the Eagles OL coach was at Raciti’s Pro Day. I can’t confirm if that’s true or that if it is, the coach was there to see Raciti.

I think Raciti has the skills to be a DE. He has a good motor. He can take on and shed blocks. The fact his production fell isn’t a huge deal to me. 3-4 DEs don’t make a ton of plays. Raciti has shown that he is willing to do the dirty work, which is key at 3-4 DE.

As for OL…that is a complete projection. I think he’s got the right disposition to play there. He has enough size and athleticism to play there.

Raciti is a 6th or 7th rounder, or a UDFA.

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The Eagles interest in Adrian Amos forced me to watch a lot of him. It didn’t really affect my thinking. He’s okay and has some good skills, but just isn’t my cup of tea.

The Eagles interest in Jake Fisher has forced me to watch more of him. And he has grown on me. I especially enjoyed the nasty streak he showed in this 2013 game when he was playing RT.

I won’t have any problems if the Eagles take him at 20. I still wonder if he can play OG or needs to be an OT.

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Chris Conley is a very talented WR that will go somewhere in rounds 2-4. Watch this play from the bowl game to appreciate just how fast and explosive he is.

The CB had no chance on that.

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The Eagles brought Utah LT Jeremiah Poutasi in for a visit. I have no idea what to make of this.

Poutasi isn’t a typical Eagles type of OL. He goes 6-5, 335. He ran 5.32 at the Combine and had a 3-cone time of 8.09. I think the Titanic had a 3-cone time of 8.04, if that’s any hint of how slow that is.

So what gives?

This could be one of those visits that is meant to confuse other teams. The Eagles might have zero interest in Poutasi. Or this could be a case where the Eagles think he could be an interesting late round target. Poutasi could be an interesting OG. You would think he is a dominant run blocker with that size, but he didn’t stand out to me. He is erratic in pass protection. There are times when he looks okay, but there are other times when he gets off balance and looks terrible.

With this one…your guess is as good as mine.

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DBs of Interest

Posted: April 17th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 132 Comments »

The Eagles know they need help in the secondary and they are checking out quite a few DB prospects.

Marshall CB Darryl Roberts visited the NovaCare recently. This is an interesting player. He doesn’t have the ideal size the Eagles love, going “only” 5-11, 187. The Eagles seem to prefer CBs that are 6-0, 200. But as Chip Kelly points out, sometimes you have to compromise. I think it is smart that they’re showing interest in him. This guy can play.

Check out the tape.

You see a CB who can press and be physical. He can also turn and run with the receiver. I was most impressed with the fact that he looked smart and instinctive. He was able to mirror receivers on short and intermediate routes, but he’s not just reacting to them. He has a feel for what they are going to do.

Roberts has good ball skills. He broke up 17 passes in 2014. Troy Hill of Oregon is the only player I saw with more pass breakups. Roberts generally tackles well. He has some “corner” moments when he whiffs, but I’ve seen plenty of impressive tackles by him. He finished his career with 10.5 TFLs so that tells you he’s an aggressive defender. Trae Waynes, the top CB in this class, had 4 in his career.

Roberts opened some eyes with his Pro Day numbers:

40 – 4.38
VJ – 39 inches
BJ – 11’1
BP – 23 reps
3C – 6.66
SS – 4.08

Gil Brandt mentioned him as a 6th or 7th round pick. I seriously doubt that. I’m thinking more like 4th round. Roberts has good tape, good stats and freakish workout numbers. And here’s the thing…you see that athleticism on the tape. He’s not a workout warrior. I think Roberts can be a starting CB in the NFL.

The Eagles also have shown a lot of interest in Penn State DB Adrian Amos. I’m less excited about him.

Full disclosure here…I’m a PSU fan. Instead of overrating their players, I’m often on the other side of things and not as high on them. I guess when you see every play of a kid’s career, the bad memories can be hard to wipe out.

Amos started at CB in 2012 and then moved to S for the past 2 years. He had a solid career. Watch his highlights and you’ll think he was a dominant All-American.

The problem is that there were a lot of “eh” moments between the highlight plays. We’re talking about a guy that is 6-0, 218 and runs 4.56. He has a VJ of 35.5 inches. That’s a terrific combination of size, speed and explosion.

I have 2 big problems with Amos. I don’t see anything special in terms of instincts. He never looks dumb on the field or anything like that, but I just don’t see a player that shows much of a feel for things. The other thing that bothers me is that Amos doesn’t play with any urgency. There was a run play in one game where he was chasing a RB down the field. Amos had a good angle. Out of nowhere, a CB from the backside passed him and made the tackle. The CB was running for his life. Amos wasn’t being lazy, but he also wasn’t going all out. And that wasn’t a one-play anomaly. It’s almost like he plays cautiously.

The Eagles like Amos for a reason…he has good cover skills. He started at CB for a full year and played there after that from time to time. He played in the slot on a regular basis the last 2 years. I actually think Amos could play CB in the NFL. He has good feet and looks natural in man coverage. The Eagles love Safeties that have CB cover skills so Amos makes a ton of sense.

I do think Amos could turn out to be a better pro than college player, but that’s not a sure thing. I think of him as a 4th rounder, but the Eagles might like him more than that. Amos could be drafted as a CB by someone. He has 32 1/4 arms and some teams covet CBs with that kind of length (along with his height and VJ).

Both Roberts and Amos would help themselves with the Eagles if they did well in chalk talks. That’s a point of emphasis for Chip Kelly and Bill Davis. They want prospects who are smart and understand scheme. In a couple of weeks we’ll find out which DBs impressed the Eagles.

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Drafting and QBs

Posted: April 16th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 150 Comments »

This is a weak class of QBs. Even the top duo aren’t in the Andrew Luck class. No one feels like a “we absolutely must have that guy” kind of QB.

One thing we have to understand is that not every pick has to be likely to be a 10-year starter. The Eagles have a starter in Sam Bradford. They have a backup in Mark Sanchez. There is room for a number three QB. Matt Barkley has the job now, but I’ll be surprised if he’s here much past the draft. It just hasn’t worked out. GJ Kinne is a fan favorite, but he’s never shown the passing ability needed to be an NFL QB.

You would ideally love the #3 QB to be someone to develop into a future starter, but that doesn’t have to be the case. The Eagles simply need to find a player they like and think could be effective when called upon. If the guy has a ceiling that keeps him #3, that’s okay.

Ron Wolf, probably the best GM of the past 30 years, believed in drafting a QB every year. You never knew when you would strike gold. He traded for Brett Favre in the 1992 offseason. Then he started drafting QBs.

1992 – Ty Detmer – 9th round
1993 – Mark Brunell – 5th round
1994
1995 – Jay Barker – 5th round
1996 – Kyle Wacholtz – 7th round
1997 – Ronnie McAda – 7th round
1998 – Matt Hasselbeck – 6th round
1999 – Aaron Brooks – 4th round

Hits and misses.

Wolf traded Brunell, Hasselbeck and Brooks away for good compensation. He lost Detmer as a free agent. Wolf didn’t have to use early picks on QBs since he had a great, durable player in Favre. But he still saw value in taking a QB every year. If you hit on one of those guys, it either gives you depth at the most important position or it gives you great trade material.

If the Eagles miss on Mariota in the 1st and then don’t go for Petty or Hundley in the 2nd…there is still something to be said for spending a mid-round or late pick on a QB. The key is for the coaches to have someone they like. If they don’t like any of the prospects, then pass.

Understand that just because you and I don’t like a QB, that doesn’t mean the coaches feel the same way. They go meet these kids and QB is a position where brains and personality really mean something. There might be a player who looks talented, but flawed on tape. If the coaches like his mental make-up, they may feel he is a player that can be developed.

There is nothing wrong with spending a late pick on a QB to try and develop.

I think you’ve got a problem when you spend an early pick on a QB who needs a lot of work. Things do get tricky as we discuss this. Cam Newton went #1 overall, but needed some work. I thought that was a great pick and a no-brainer. He was a special talent, having carried his team to the national title. You have to understand that Newton only played at Auburn for one year and they used a very odd, creative offense. He hadn’t struggled or failed as a drop-back passer. We just hadn’t seen him do much of it. That is very different from a player like Brett Hundley who started at UCLA for 3 years and had some of the same issues late in his career that he did early on.

It will be interesting to see what Chip Kelly does in this draft. Does he go back on his word and make an all-out play for Mariota? Does he draft a mid-round QB? Late rounder? If so, what kind of guy does he go for? Matt Barkley was a polished QB prospect with an average arm and no athleticism. Will Kelly go for an athletic QB? Would he take someone from a small school? Lots of questions to be answered.

There aren’t any late round QBs that I’m infatuated with. I would love to get Petty in the 3rd round, but doubt he lasts that long. The Eagles had dinner with him prior to his Pro Day so they have shown some interest. I wrote the other day about them possibly liking Garret Grayson, a mid-round target. The Eagles have shown interest in Cody Fajardo, who would be a late rounder. Kelly recruited and coached Bryan Bennett for a couple of years at Oregon. He’s another late rounder. Shane Carden doesn’t have a good arm, but he’s grown on me the more I’ve watched of him. He would be a 7th rounder or UDFA. If the Eagles pass on drafting a QB, I do hope they make it a priority position with UDFAs. I think they need a rookie with some talent to add to the mix.

I’m not naive about this. If the Eagles draft a QB late or sign one as a UDFA, the chances are that the player will fail. The numbers tell you that. The point is that QB is such a critical position that it is worth the risk to at least try. Tom Brady was a 6th rounder. Matt Cassel was a 7th rounder. Tony Romo was a UDFA. Matt Flynn was a 7th rounder. Tyrod Taylor, who will compete with Cassel for the starting job in Buffalo, was a 6th rounder. You can find players late. It isn’t common to find them and it can take time to develop them. But the payoff can be worth it if you do get the right guy.

Only a couple of more weeks until we can quit guessing and we finally get some answers.

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As we talk about player evaluation, remember that we all see different things. I watch Brett Hundley and see a player with immense talent. But I also see a player with some bad habits and some issues. The first 90 seconds of this video just concern me too much for me to be completely comfortable with Hundley.


Brett Hundley vs Utah (2014) by db_adrian

I have doubts on whether he will pan out in the NFL, but would only be bothered if the Eagles took him 20th overall. That’s just too early for me. While I don’t love Hundley, I could live with him in the 2nd round. Once again, I’d be placing a lot of trust with Kelly. If this is the guy Kelly wants…let’s see what he can do. Hundley does have NFL talent and he seems to be a high character guy. If you’re taking a risk, you could do worse.

Some people hate Petty. Really hate him. I see a guy who I think would fit the Eagles well and has some talent. He makes some mistakes and lacks a great arm, but I loved the way he ran Baylor’s up-tempo attack so well the last couple of years.

QB evaluation is extremely difficult. There is no formula for success. You need to see tangible talent and physical characteristics, but this is the position where intangibles matter more than any other. You and I can only guess at that stuff from afar. Scouts and coaches have a much better feel in this area, but even they are still doing some guessing.

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Another QB to Consider

Posted: April 14th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 383 Comments »

The Eagles would love to get Marcus Mariota, but know that’s far from a sure thing so they are checking out a lot of different QB prospects. Here is a rumor someone shared in the comments section the other day.

Interesting.

Grayson played at Colorado State and had an outstanding Senior season. He went to the Senior Bowl and was the best QB down there, although he wasn’t facing murderer’s row.

Grayson has NFL talent, but I’ve gone back and forth on whether I like him or not. I watch one game and don’t like him. Then I watch another and I feel differently.

He throws a good deep ball. He makes some good throws over the middle in traffic. He shows good accuracy and seems to be a smart decision-maker. He’s not reckless, but will take some chances. Grayson had a good workout at his Pro Day, but I didn’t see that athleticism on the field with any consistency.

4.75
34-inch VJ
6.97 3-cone

Watch this segment with Jon Gruden and Grayson comes across like a bright QB.

Watch his showing in the bowl game and you see a bit of everything. Utah’s defense played well that day so definitely factor that into the equation.

When first watching Grayson, I certainly didn’t think of him as a Chip Kelly QB. Then again, I didn’t think Chip would draft Matt Barkley or trade for Sam Bradford.

I think Grayson is probably a 3rd round prospect.

My Top 5 QBs

1 – Marcus Mariota
2 – Jameis Winston
3 – Bryce Petty
4 – Garrett Grayson
5 – Brett Hundley

I think there is a big drop from the top pair to Petty and then another big drop from him to the final pair. I know many of you like Hundley, but the fact he took so many sacks at UCLA concerns me. They’re not all his fault, but they can cause him to develop habits that will never go away.

The Eagles spent a lot of time with both Petty and Hundley. Kelly would love to find a young QB to develop. We don’t know for a fact who they like and how much they like ‘em, but the rumors are keeping us entertained and doing a lot of guessing.

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Too Legit

Posted: April 13th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 245 Comments »

I saw this today on Twitter and loved it.

Interesting. Made me think of this.

Chip Kelly does love QBs who move to other spots. Lane Johnson was a junior college QB. James Casey played some QB. Brad Smith was a star QB in college. The thought of moving Bennett to a new position makes some sense.

But not all that much sense.

Bennett has DB size at 6-2, 211, but he ran 4.81 at the Combine. The Eagles like Safeties that have good man cover skills. Do I want a converted QB that runs 4.8 covering a WR? Heck no.

It is possible the Eagles see him as a UDFA and do want to try him at DB. Timed speed isn’t the same thing as game speed. But why would Eagles scouts be sharing that info? This totally feels the scouts are spreading mis-information.

Now comes the tricky part.

Are the scouts doing this because the Eagles like Bennett as a QB and they are trying to make people think Chip Kelly has no interest in his former pupil? I mean, if Kelly doesn’t think Bennett is a good QB, why should any other team have interest?

The other possibility is that the scouts were told to do this to make people think the Eagles do have interest in Bennett. By spreading the story, the scouts are bringing attention to Bennett. You might do that if there was another late round QB you had your eyes on and didn’t want teams to notice that player.

Jimmy Bama and I discussed Bennett recently. He wasn’t sure Kelly liked Bennett. This was a hunch of his based on some things that were said and the way they were said. I didn’t draw the same conclusion, but certainly could see Jimmy being right. Bennett never started for Kelly and ended up transferring away. Their relationship might have been more rocky than we would guess. Might, being the key word.

I think Bennett would be a good late round target for the Eagles. Matt Barkley seems to have a short future here in Philly. The team will need to add a young QB to the mix. Bennett is a solid athlete with a good arm. He also knows Kelly’s offense. He’s the kind of player you could develop over time. He might never become starter material, but might be a good backup.

time will tell if the Eagles are genuinely interested in him as a QB or DB, or if this is just a way to throw people off some other target.

* * * * *

DE Ced Thornton signed his RFA tender.

That’s good news, but now the team has to work with him on a long term deal. Thornton is a good player and should come at a reasonable price.

* * * * *

The Eagles have checked out quite a few TEs. Most of them are bigger guys that have the potential to be very good blockers. This makes sense with Brent Celek’s age. Zach Ertz is a terrific pass catcher, but his blocking needs a lot of work. It seems like the Eagles would love to find a guy that is about about 6-4 or 6-5 and goes 260 pounds.

James has a lot of potential and would be an interesting player to add. He’s a big guy that can catch and block. So often these days TEs seem to be smaller, athletic guys…essentially bulked up WRs. James is a legit TE.

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