Eagles Are No. 2

Posted: April 20th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 688 Comments »

Another boring day in Eagles World.

Wow.

There was a lot of talk, but I wasn’t sure they would actually make the move.

Wow.

The Eagles gave up a lot, but they’re going up to get a QB. Go watch Howie Roseman’s interviews and he will explain things pretty well.

Press conference

Interview with Dave Spadaro

The Eagles believe this is a unique opportunity. It was too good to pass up. They decided to go all-in and move up for a QB to be the future of the franchise.

I would feel completely comfortable with this move if it was for Jared Goff.

Unfortunately, I think Goff will go number one and the Eagles will be drafting Carson Wentz. I think Wentz is a very talented prospect with a bright future, but he feels like less of a sure thing than Goff. The good news is that Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel will be the QBs for this year and probably next. Wentz will have plenty of time to develop behind the scenes. He has NFL talent. He needs time and coaching.

Is it smart for the Eagles to move up, not knowing for sure who the player will be? That is strange, but that tells you they like both players quite a bit. The QBs are different, as Roseman explained, but both are quite good and have the potential to be stars.

I’m sure some people will see this as a knee-jerk move. The Eagles got into the Top 10 and then just decided to roll the dice. That’s not what happened. The Eagles have been scouting Goff and Wentz since last summer. I have a North Dakota State game on my DVR from August 29th. I knew about Wentz back then. The Eagles sure as heck knew about him. Goff was projected as a possible Top 10 pick all year. I still have a handful of Cal games on my DVR that I’ve studied a few times.

The Eagles got to see Wentz at the Senior Bowl. Doug Pederson, Howie Roseman and Jeffrey Lurie watched 3 days of practices. The Eagles met with both QBs at the Combine. Then the Eagles loaded up the plane and went to work both players out at their respective colleges. Finally, the Eagles brought both players to the NovaCare Complex for final interviews and to do any medical checks they wanted.

I don’t think the Eagles have ever studied 2 QB prospects more than this.

That doesn’t guarantee the pick will work, but the Eagles are going to make a very informed decision. This will not be “what the heck, let’s go for it” kind of stuff. Roseman and Pederson may be tying their job security to this pick.

And let’s be honest. This move does involve serious risk.

There is so much potential value in landing a stud QB that I think the risk can be worth the price the Eagles paid. It all depends on how much you believe in the prospect. I’m firmly in the Goff camp. I appreciate the physical skills that Wentz has, but he does have some issues that make me nervous.

I know people want an immediate conclusion…good move or bad move? I want to see who the Rams pick and I want more time to wrap my head around this situation. I just didn’t expect this deal to happen so quickly, if at all. I thought a trade might happen next Tuesday or Wednesday. Seeing 2 trades before we even get to draft week is nuts. I don’t ever recall something like this happening.

No matter what, I do give the Eagles credit for taking a chance. You don’t build a Super Bowl team without taking some risks. Remember that Peyton Manning had all kinds of health concerns when Denver signed him. Aqib Talib has had serious character issues. DeMarcus Ware was 32 and coming off a 6-sack season when the Broncos signed him. Those risky moves happened to pan out and Denver got another Lombardi for the trophy case.

QB is the most important position in all of sports. To get the right one, you have to do a lot of looking and you can pay a high price. The Eagles made a move today that could help take the franchise to the next level. Or it could pushing Roseman and Pederson a lot closer to the unemployment line.

Just keep your fingers crossed that the Rams shock us all and pick Wentz.

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Trading Up

Posted: April 20th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 913 Comments »

The Eagles talked to the Titans about a deal for the #1 pick.

The Eagles are reportedly talking to the Browns about the #2 pick. One person is reporting the cost would be this year’s 1st and a 3rd and then next year’s 1st and a 3rd.

Oh wait. The Eagles have reportedly worked out a deal with San Diego for the #3 pick.

What about Dallas and #4?

Howie Roseman is busy working the phones. He has talked to all the teams ahead of the Eagles to see who might be interested in a trade and what the asking price would be. It never hurts to ask. You and I can guess at a trade price, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to be close, let alone right.

Roseman is only going to pay a reasonable price. The Eagles have Sam Bradford. They aren’t desperate for a QB the way the Rams were. Also, the Eagles are moving from 8 to 2 or 3 or 4 or wherever. That’s hugely different than jumping from pick 15.

As much as Cleveland or some other team might want a deal, they won’t have 30 suitors. There will likely be a couple of teams talking to them about realistic deals. And with a limited market, you will have controlled bidding. The Eagles aren’t going to make a crazy bid since there isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime prospect available and there won’t be tremendous competition for the pick.

Cleveland may decide to pass on the Eagles offer. Negotiating is a game of chicken. If no one blinks, the Browns may be “stuck” with the pick and just take their target. There is still a lot of time for all this to be sorted out.

I do think the reported asking price of the 1st & 3rd for both years is too much. I like Carson Wentz, but don’t love him. I would not break the bank to get him. I would be more inclined to pay that for Jared Goff, but even then…that still feels high.

I wrote about Roseman and trading up for PE.com. He was well trained by Joe Banner and Tom Heckert on how to work the phones and how to make smart deals. He’s made some good draft trades in the past so I trust him to feel out the situation and figure out the smartest scenario. The Eagles will know which players they like and exactly how much they like them. They’ll make an informed decision based on the appropriate costs.

*****

Want to hear me talk about the draft?

I did my annual show with Todd and Chuck to discuss the state of the team, the QBs, other areas of need and some possible players of interest.

Lots of fun as always.

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Eagles Draft Talk

Posted: April 18th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 352 Comments »

Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman met the local media to offer some thoughts on the upcoming draft.

Howie

Doug

There wasn’t a whole lot to take away from what they said. The guys can’t exactly spill the beans less than 10 days away from the draft. I know the media would love them to come out and announce which QB they prefer. Or to talk about whether draftin Ezekiel Elliott is a real possibility. You would be foolish to give that info to the other 31 teams.

We did learn a few things.

The Eagles don’t sound as high on Paxton Lynch as the other 2 QBs. I heard something similar so that means he likely isn’t in play at 8 or even if they trade back a few spots.

Fletcher Cox isn’t going anywhere. Roseman was asked about dealing his star DL to move up. Roseman explained that Cox will not be traded. Roseman went on to say the Eagles know they aren’t going to “win” the negotiations with Cox. The Eagles are going to have to pay him huge dollars. Roseman did mention that he hopes some day down the road that Cox is considered one of the greatest Eagles of all time.

Roseman mentioned Dennis Kelly a few times when talking about the O-line. Roseman didn’t try to oversell him, but I think wanted to make sure people know Kelly does have a shot to win a backup job this year. Roseman did say the team won’t draft an O-lineman for the sake of it. They right player has to be on the board. Good news is that this is a deep group of OL and the Eagles should have plenty to choose from.

The Eagles are exploring all their options. They could move up, stay put or move back. It all depends on who is available and what the cost or benefits of the potential deal are. I know this drives some of you crazy, but it is the smart thing to do. If the cost of moving up isn’t that high, do it. If some team offers you a huge deal to move back, do it. If the right player falls to 8, take him. There is no magical answer that the team must do this or that. Explore the options and then see what makes the most sense.

Someone, I think Derrick Gunn, asked a question about drafting a QB. He said there have been 42 1st round QBs since 2000, but only 4 or 5 true franchise QBs. I disagree with this strongly. There may have only been a handful of truly great players, but you can’t judge based on that criteria. Philip Rivers is a franchise QB. So is Eli Manning. So is Matt Ryan. Not every QB is going to be Aaron Rodgers or Ben Roethlisberger or Cam Newton.

Someone asked about the cost of moving up and whether that risk was worth it. Roseman rightly responded that there is also a potential cost in not moving up. He mentioned that in order to separate yourself from the pack, you have to take some chances. You aren’t likely to build a title team painting by numbers, so to speak. You have to roll the dice some times and you need a bit of luck.

You also can’t be afraid to fail.

We didn’t come away from this knowing who the Eagles will take or anything all that definitive. We just got a couple of interesting comments and maybe a hint or two.

*****

If Jack falls to 8, should the Eagles draft him? That all depends on the Eagles doctors. If they think the Eagles can get several outstanding years out of Jack, they have to consider it. But there is serious risk. And don’t be fooled by videos or stories of him working out. The concern here is how his knee will hold up over time, not if he can run/cut right now.

Since the Eagles don’t need a LB right now, I’d be very cautious about taking him.

Smith has serious issues and is reportedly planning to sit out the 2016 season already. The medical staff would have to feel that there is a likelihood he could play in 2017 and beyond. If you want to risk a 5th round pick on him, go for it. I’d be nervous about taking him prior to that.

Smith could play MLB or either of the outside spots. He has big potential, but that does you no good if his injury has permanent affects.

No matter who these kids play for, I hope the best for both of them. You really hate to see gifted players hurt before they ever get a chance to show what they can do in the NFL.

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Top 10 Talk

Posted: April 17th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 305 Comments »

After talking to some people and doing more thinking, I’m afraid Jared Goff is going to be the Rams  pick at #1. I was hoping there would be some way he would get to the Eagles, but I don’t think that is going to happen.

Here is a guess at the Top 10.

1 – STL – QB Jared Goff
2 – CLE – DB Jalen Ramsey
3 – SD – DL DeForest Buckner
4 – DAL – RB Ezekiel Elliott
5 – JAX – LB Myles Jack
6 – BAL – OT Laremy Tunsil
7 – SF – DE Joey Bosa
8- PHI – QB Carson Wentz

I struggled with the Niners pick. They could easily take Wentz. Their QB position is not exactly set.

Colin Kaepernick
Blaine Gabbert
Thad Lewis
Dylan Thompson

I’m just not sure I can see Chip Kelly wanting to spend a Top 10 pick on a small school QB. I know Trent Baalke is the GM and controls the draft, but I’m not sure he would force an early QB on a coach who wasn’t totally in on the pick. There is also the question of trying to get immediate impact. Do Baalke and Kelly have the job security to draft a player who wouldn’t be likely to help them this season?

It might seem crazy to imagine Wentz falling all the way to 8, but this is a strange draft class at the top. Usually you don’t have so many teams that are set at QB.

If the Eagles feel strongly about Wentz and want to make sure they get him, they should either talk to CLE, SD or JAX about moving up. This is where Howie Roseman will need to have a good feel for what the other teams will do.

If Wentz is gone, I think the Eagles will go CB Vernon Hargreaves. I do not think Paxton Lynch will be in play with pick number 8.

*****

The Eagles have shown interest in Listenbee.

6-0, 197
4.39 at the Combine
30-597-5 (2015 stats)

That’s a terrific size-speed combination. He was a big play machine at TCU, averaging almost 20 yards per catch for his career.

The Eagles could use someone with that kind of speed.

Beyond speed, Listenbee is a good downfield receiver. He tracks the ball well and is comfortable catching it on the run. I think he could go as early as the 3rd round.

*****

I posted some draft notes over at ScoutsNotebook.

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Presence

Posted: April 16th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 107 Comments »

Presence is the name of a great Led Zeppelin album. Achilles Last Stand is the classic song, while Hots On For Nowhere is incredibly underrated.

Okay, enough about Zep.

Presence is also a key quality with successful NFL QBs.

I remember being at the Senior Bowl in 2012. Both Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins had the presence of starting QBs. This is a mixture of confidence and awareness. You want to be confident, but not arrogant. You also know you’re “The Man”. That means treating others around you a certain way.

QBs are leaders by default. They run the huddle. They have all eyes on them, whether on or off the field. Good QBs have presence, where they come across as natural leaders and being comfortable in the spotlight.

Carson Wentz passed this test in Mobile at the Senior Bowl. He might have been a kid from North Dakota State, but if you took the helmet off him you would have guessed he was a 4-year starter at USC, Notre Dame or Alabama. He knew he was the Big Dog at the Senior Bowl this year and projected that vibe. But not in a cocky way.

This is a big selling point for Wentz in my book.

I’ve never been around Jared Goff or Paxton Lynch. Goff played at a big school and his coaches raved about him. I’ve heard good things about him. I don’t know anything for a fact, but I feel comfortable with him. Lynch is more of a mystery. He played at Memphis, never really having much of a spotlight on him. His team was solid, but nothing special. Since he was an underclassman, Lynch didn’t get to go to an all star game. I have not heard anything about him from people I trust so I’m not sure what to make of Lynch in terms of intangibles.

Goff is the QB I prefer, but there is a strong case to be made for Wentz. Lynch remains the mystery man.

I can’t wait to see who the Rams want. I think Wentz is Jeff Fisher’s type of QB, but Goff is the most NFL-ready QB of the bunch so you can make a strong argument that he should be the pick.

*****

One late round RB I like quite a bit is Auburn’s Peyton Barber.

He left school early to help provide for his mom and family. That sounds good, but you always get nervous when a kid has to provide for so many. Can he stay focused and be successful in pro football?

I love what I see on tape.

Barber is a north-south runner who keeps his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage. He doesn’t go down on first contact and will run over his share of tacklers. He shows the ability to make some defenders miss. Barber is 228 pounds and is a physical runner, as you would expect.

There are plenty of questions in regard to Barber’s ability to block and catch, but there shouldn’t be many questions about him as a runner. I have no idea if the Eagles are interested in him, but Barber would be an interesting addition to the backfield because of his size and running style.

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