I put together my first Eagles mock draft of the offseason. Remember…this isn’t my ideal scenario, but rather one possibility based on the kind of players the Eagles like and where they are likely to go in the draft.
The hardest part of doing a mock is trying to address all the positions with early picks. I think the 1st round pick needs to be about the best player, not the most needed position. If we did go with position, which one would you choose? You could make a strong argument for WR, RG, CB, FS or QB. There is no definitive right answer and that’s what makes roster building so tricky. Are you drafting for right now, next year or 3 years from now? If you draft a stud WR, will he make the current OL better? If you draft a stud RG, will he make the current WR better? And so on.
The only thing I feel definitive about is that the Eagles need to draft a couple of OL and a Safety. They don’t have to be early picks, but you don’t want them to be 6th and 7th’s.
Fire away with your questions and comments and I’ll answer them in a post later today.
There continues to be all kinds of talk about the Eagles trading up for Marcus Mariota. After all, Sam Bradford is in the final year of his deal and people still don’t buy Chip Kelly’s desire for him as his QB. Mariota still has to be a key target, right?
I think Kelly would love to get Mariota, but only at the right price. There won’t be a trade up to pick #1 or #2. There are still holes on the roster. Picks are needed to fill those holes.
There is another angle to this. Kelly has said publicly that he sees Mariota as the #1 QB in the draft and he thinks highly of him. But, Mariota isn’t a great prospect. He’s not Andrew Luck. He’s not Cam Newton. Mariota is the best or 2nd best QB in a weak group. He’s not a guy you necessarily build a franchise around.
I still think Mariota goes very high. But this is a strange draft and I could be very wrong on the QBs. It is possible that both Winston and Mariota could slide. The question is where Kelly would find the price to be reasonable. Is he willing to try and get into the Top 10? I tend to doubt that, but that is just a guess.
Mariota to the Eagles remains a long shot in my mind. He’s a talented QB prospect and there are teams in the Top 10 who need a QB. If he slides, we’ll see what happens. Just don’t get your hopes too high.
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This is not a great class of Safeties, but this notion that the Eagles can’t find anyone is ridiculous. History is filled with can’t miss prospects who did miss and guys with no chance who played for a decade. It is up to the scouts and coaches to find players who fit the Eagles scheme and could become effective players. Earl Wolff was a 5th round pick and showed promise as a rookie. You don’t have to find the perfect player. You need someone who is good enough.
The Eagles have shown interest in Damarious Randall of Arizona State. He is exactly the type of guy they like at S.
Randall is 5-11, 196. He generally is the Safety on the wide side of the field. ASU moves guys around and does a lot of blitzing. Randall will drop down into the slot and cover WRs on a regular basis. He has good cover skills. Randall is a solid tackler. He regularly tries to wrap-up and tends to go low, aiming for the legs. Randall isn’t a punishing hitter, but he is physical enough.
Randall ran 4.46 at the Combine. He had a 38-inch vertical and 10-foot broad jump. You can see that explosiveness when you watch him play. He gets an excellent break on the ball when playing off a target. He also has terrific closing speed. He was a good playmaker for ASU. As a Senior, Randall had 3 INTs, 9 PBUs, 9.5 TFLs and 2 FFs.
I’m still figuring out what his draft value is, but Randall could be of serious interest to the Eagles. He is the kind of versatile, interchangeable Safety they like.
Here is a highlight video. It won’t blow you away, but you can at least see him in action. I watched him recently vs USC and liked what I saw.
A word of warning…very NSFW music. I almost never have the volume open when I watch YouTube videos. The music isn’t my type and the lyrics are often inappropriate for consumption in public areas. I won’t put this warning up for every video I post in the next 2 months. Please be smart and turn off the sound when you watch the videos. I don’t have time to listen to all the sound and I don’t want to get anyone in trouble with their kids/spouse/parents/boss/whoever. Thanks.
Lots more Safety talk to come.
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Chuck Bednarik has died.
If anyone was the Philadelphia Eagles personified, it was Concrete Charlie. He led the team to their last NFL title. He played both C and MLB. And he was part of the most iconic moment in Eagles history…when he stood over an unconscious Frank Gifford in November of 1960 after delivering The Hit.
There isn’t one overriding topic tonight so let’s hit a few draft topics.
* What position do the Birds address with pick 20? When it comes to the 1st round, think players not positions. The best example I can give is Dallas taking OL Zach Martin in the 1st round last year. Their defense was in desperate need of help. Dallas passed on defense and even Johnny Manziel and took Martin. He had a great rookie year and that team played their best football in years.
As easy as it is to get fired up about a certain position, the Eagles need to focus on finding the best possible player.
* Could it be a WR? This is hard to say. I think the Big 3 (Kevin White, Amari Cooper, Devante Parker) will be long gone by pick 20. Is Jalen Strong worth that pick? I’m not so sure. Would Chip Kelly have any interest in Dorial Green-Beckham? Another tough question. DGB is huge and athletic. He also got kicked out of Missouri. DGB transferred to Oklahoma and the coaches are supposedly saying good things about him.
DGB would likely be a Top 10 prospect with a clean background. If Kelly is willing to take a chance on Sam Bradford’s knee, why not take a chance on DGB’s character? We know Kelly loves big guys. DGB is 6-5, 237. That is one huge WR.
I have my doubts about DGB being a target, but he is really talented and this wouldn’t shock me.
* Speaking of character issues…what about CB Marcus Peters? Back in the summer of 2010, Kelly was trying to convince Peters to come to Oregon to play for him. If Kelly still wants Peters, it will be much easier this time. Kelly would just have to draft him.
There are varying stories about what happened with Peters at Washington and why he was kicked off the team. The Eagles have scouts and other personnel who will get to the bottom of the situation and will know the real truth. If they think Peters is a good guy caught up in a bad situation, they’ll have a 1st round grade on him. If they think he has serious coachability issues, Peters might not even be on their draft board.
That’s a lot of Marcus Peters content in a short time. Is that a coincidence or are the Eagles trying to tell us something?
I am very impressed by Peters the player. I have no idea what to make of Peters the person. I’ll be very interested to see if the Eagles have any interest.
* Will the Eagles add a QB? Kelly made mention of the Eagles checking out all the QB prospects in a recent PC. He loves Macus Mariota, but what if MM is gone? There is a lot of speculation about Brett Hundley, but the guy I could see Kelly loving is Bryce Petty. He is a pocket passer who has some mobility. He led the best up-tempo offense in college football and put up some crazy numbers.
Petty is far from perfect, but QB is a weak group this year. My guess is that some team will spend a 2nd round pick on him.
* Phillip Dorsett of Miami might be my favorite WR in the draft. The question I have is whether he can be a volume WR in the NFL. Dorsett caught 36 passes as a Senior. He did catch 58 as a Soph. I think erratic QB play hurt his numbers. I just wonder if you could plug him in as a starter and feed him 80 catches or is Dorsett more of a complementary guy who is meant to catch 45 to 60 passes.
* I would love for the Eagles to spend their 2nd round pick on OL Ali Marpet. Yeah, he’s from D3 Hobart, but the guy is smart, tough and athletic. It would be kinda cool to replace D2 Todd Herremans with a D3 player. Jimmy Bama and I spoke to Marpet in Mobile and he absolutely seemed like a Chip Kelly guy.
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Jimmy Bama and I were supposed to record a podcast on Wednesday, but ran into complications. Ditto that for Thursday night. We’ll see if we can get one done on Friday. We promise to get one done.
The Eagles have lost some really good people this offseason. Trent Cole, Todd Herremans and Jeremy Maclin were good players and team leaders. They were the kind of guys you want to build the team around. The Eagles decided to go with younger options over Cole and Herremans. Maclin simply cost too much.
Today the Eagles rewarded OLB Connor Barwin by restructuring his deal and giving him a raise.
This was a smart move. The Eagles have made quite a few changes. You have to be careful about rewarding too many outsiders when free agency rolls around. Current Eagles can get frustrated when they see friends leave and outsiders coming in, generally with big bank accounts.
While Barwin wasn’t drafted by the Eagles, he is a very popular and well-respected player. He has become a key piece for Chip Kelly, both in the locker room and on the field. This is a guy you want to reward. The Eagles are rewarding DeMeco Ryans, another key leader, by keeping him around. Jason Kelce is a key leader on offense. He got a new deal just over a year ago.
You can’t keep everybody. You can’t pay all 53 players as much as you want. The coach and GM have to carefully select the players to give good money to. Sometimes it will be a veteran from another team who fills a desperate need (Byron Maxwell), while other times it will be rewarding a key leader like Barwin who is already on the team.
Chip Kelly wants the right kind of culture and that means finding the right kind of guys. Barwin is just about the ideal Kelly player so rewarding him makes a lot of sense.
I’m assuming Barwin’s first purchase with his new money will be a case of PBR.
A lot of mixed feelings seeing this pic. Corey Simon was a terrific DT from 2000-2003. He became a bit more erratic in 2004. The Eagles tried working out an extension with him, but nothing happened. Simon wanted elite DT money. Eventually the Eagles worked out a trade with the Ravens. All Simon had to do was sign a deal with them. Didn’t happen. The Eagles eventually pulled the franchise tag off Simon and he went to the Colts. Simon played there for one year and was largely ineffective. He had some strange weight problems that ended his career prematurely.
Simon sacked Troy Aikman on the very first snap of his NFL career. That was a great moment. He had times when he looked like a special player, but never became the updated version of Jerome Brown that we all dreamed of.
The Eagles won a lot of games with Simon, but I’ll never forgive him for costing the Eagles high picks in the Ravens deal.
Simon had a nasty parting with the Eagles so it is interesting that he returned to the NovaCare for a visit. Time heals all wounds.
Michael Crabtree is visiting the Dolphins today. Reportedly SD showed some interest last week. I wondered if the Eagles would have any interest, but it sure doesn’t seem so.
Hakeem Nicks and Reggie Wayne haven’t gotten a sniff so far. Denarius Moore is talking to the Jets. Dwayne Bowe and Greg Jennings are still on the market.
If the Eagles can get the right guy at the right price, they might go for a veteran. They aren’t going to overpay for any of these guys. You would think these players would be interested in a 1-year “prove it” deal seeing as how DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin both had career years.
The Eagles may prefer to try and draft a WR. If that doesn’t work out, there will be some veterans available after the draft. There isn’t a rush to get anyone signed. It doesn’t seem like the team is all that high on any of these guys.
“Does Kelly remind you of you, 25 years ago?” I asked Johnson the other day.
“Well, in some ways,” Johnson said. “I really like what I have seen out of Chip Kelly. Chip called me and we visited a couple times, and what I heard from him, I liked. No one can say from the outside—right moves, wrong moves. You gotta let ’em play out. You won’t know until you see the results. I felt I was right when I did the things I did, but who knew? I traded away my starting quarterback, Steve Pelluer, to Kansas City. The leading receiver, I don’t remember his name [it was Ray Alexander] we got rid of. I talked to Danny White, and he retired. Then I traded Herschel Walker. You can’t be afraid to make moves. Chip’s not. So some of it is similar. But there is one big difference: We were the worst team in the league two years in a row [1988, 1989]. People were ready for a big change.
“The similarities? We’re both confident, both competent, both know how to win. We talked after he got the new responsibilities this year. I just said, ‘Go with people you believe in, and go with players who fit your personality and fit your system.’ I have talked to Bill Belichick about this too. Certain players are going to be successful in his system and not in others.”
“Well, with Bradford, the biggest concern I have, and the thing that concerned me with some players that I got burned on, is the injury factor. I remember I traded for [former University of Miami running back] Alonzo Highsmith, because I had great memories, and I did it against my doctor’s recommendations, and he wasn’t the same. So that’s my biggest concern, the health. I love Bradford, but is he gonna be on the field? But if he plays, I like him. Foles, his accuracy was a question. Bradford’s better at that, and it’s not even a questions if he’s healthy. I think Chip looked at Foles as not his guy.”
I asked Johnson if he got a sense in his talks with Kelly that he was going to be active in remaking his roster this off-season.
“Oh yeah,” Johnson said. “The last conversation was over an hour, going over everything. He was loading his guns.”
As much as I hate Jimmy from the Cowboys days, I am glad Chip talked to him. Johnson did a phenomenal job at taking over a team and building them the way he wanted. He took a ton of criticism for many of his moves and had to fight a constant battle for a couple of years with the notion that he was in over his head.
Johnson’s ideas worked and helped shape the game of football in the 1990’s.
Kelly’s ideas have worked to a certain extent, but he has yet to get the team just the way he wants it. One of the problems with inheriting talent is that it can cause you to change your ideas. Had Kelly taken over a bad team, he’d have built it his way from Day One. He saw the talent the Eagles had and tried to build the group to “win now”. After a couple of solid years, Kelly decided solid isn’t good enough and decided to build the team the way he wants it. That meant anything was possible and just about every player was available.
This offseason has been pretty wild so far. And it sounds like Kelly has more moves to make.
What we’re unclear on is whether the offer was made to the Rams or Eagles. Why would the Rams turn down such an offer? Jeff Fisher must believe Nick Foles can be the right guy for that team.
I know some people think Bradford is still trade material, but everything I’ve heard is that he’s here to stay. The Eagles would like to sign him to an extension, but that’s tricky. There isn’t much incentive for Bradford to do an extension right now. Play out the season and hit the market as a free agent next March. A good showing could make him a lot of money.
If he gets hurt or struggles, he can sign cheap for a year with someone and try again in March 2017.
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Sources with the Eagles say they are trying to trade Matt Barkley. If he is traded, I'm told there's an "80% chance" they'll sign Tim Tebow
This doesn’t make much sense. As Sheil Kapadia and Jeff McLane already pointed out on Twitter today, the roster limit is 90. If the Eagles want Tebow, they can sign him. Has nothing to do with Barkley…for now. They could be connected in September when there is a roster limit. For now, the Eagles could keep both if they wanted.
We’ll see what happens.
As for trading Barkley, it would be great to get anything for him. I’m guessing he gets released eventually. Barkley hasn’t panned out. I think teams know the Eagles will have to cut him so why trade anything, even a 7th round pick, for him?
All it takes is one team to either like him or to be desperate enough to take a chance. I doubt that happens, but I’ll certainly be hoping it does.
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