Meet the UDFAs

Posted: May 2nd, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 181 Comments »

No official announcement as of this morning, but this seems to be the list.

C Tyler Orlosky – 6-3, 298 – West Virginia
RB Corey Clement – 5-10, 220 – Wisconsin
WR Greg Ward – 5-11, 186 – Houston
DT Winston Craig – 6-3, 288 – Richmond
LB Marcus Oliver – 6-1, 236 – Indiana
CB Jomal Wiltz – 5-9, 178 – Iowa State
DB Randall Goforth – 5-10, 190 – UCLA
TE Billy Brown – 6-4, 255 – Shepherd
FS Tre Sullivan – 5-11, 189 – Shepherd
P Cameron Johnston – Ohio State
QB Dakota Prukop – Oregon/Montana State (camp invite)

I have not watched any tape of the bottom 3 guys. Everyone else I’ve seen in action. This won’t be lengthy scouting reports, but more an introduction to these guys and how they fit.

Orlosky was the top overall UDFA to some draft anaylsts. I had him rated as a 4th round pick. Orlosky was a 3-year starter at WV. He has NFL ability, but isn’t special in any way. He has solid size. His snaps need to be quicker. He gets a bit off balance at times and isn’t overly athletic. Orlosky is a grinder, but that’s okay at C. You can get by in there if you’re smart and tough. He’s both of those. I do think he could develop into a future starter, but I wouldn’t say that is likely. He’s going to have to really battle to even make this team.

It is interesting that the top UDFA C signed with the Eagles, who have Jason Kelce and Stefen Wisniewski and Isaac Seumalo already. How did the team convince him to sign here? Will Kelce be dealt this summer?

Clement has NFL size and potential. He is 5-10, 220. He can catch the ball. He can return punts. He’s just not dynamic in any way. There were some character issues with him that hurt his value. There is also a bias against Wisconsin RBs. UW normally puts out good OL. That means the RBs have holes to run through and their job is much easier. There is no doubt Clement benefited from this. At the same time, you don’t run for 1,375 yards as a Senior because the line is good. Clement played a big part in that.

Clement is not as good as Wendell Smallwood was last spring. He’s not as good as Donnel Pumphrey. Don’t pencil him into the lineup quite yet. He has an opportunity in Philly, but Clement has to come in hungry and with a chip on his shoulder. If he’s willing to work his butt off and battle for a job, he can help this team out. The raw talent is there.

At his best, he is a N-S runner. He makes one cut and then gets up the field. He has okay speed for a guy who is 220 pounds. And that clip shows he can break it loose for a big run. Clement has a great opportunity. I hope he can take advantage of it.

Ward was a great QB for Houston. He comes to the Eagles to play WR. Ward has the size and skills to be a good slot receiver. He is more quick than fast, only running 4.59 in the 40. Ward isn’t going to fly downfield, but he is very elusive and could turn short plays into solid gains. Can he make the transition to WR? He has experience as a PR from college so that tells you he has good enough hands that the coaches trusted him in that role. Ward has to show he can catch passes. I’m not worried about him after the catch. In 2015 he averaged 6 yards per carry and ran for 21 TDs. He knows how to run in traffic and make people miss.  Read the rest of this entry »


Sunday Draft Review

Posted: April 30th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 348 Comments »

The draft is over. The UDFAs have been signed. Let’s take a look at everything and I’ll offer some thoughts.

The picks:

1 – DE Derek Barnett – Tennessee – 6-3, 259
2 – CB Sidney Jones – Washington – 6-0, 186
3 – CB Rasul Douglas – West Virginia – 6-2, 209
4 – WR Mack Hollins – North Carolina – 6-4, 221
4 – RB Donnel Pumphrey – San Diego State – 5-8, 176
5 – WR Shelton Gibson – West Virginia – 5-11, 191
5 – LB Nate Gerry – Nebraska – 6-2, 218
6 – DT Elijah Qualls – Washington – 6-1, 313

Barnett  can come in and challenge for a starting role right away. We know Brandon Graham will have one spot. Chris Long, Vinny Curry and Barnett will battle for the other spot. Barnett is young, but played a lot of football in his 3 years at Tennessee. He was highly productive. He is not a developmental pick (like Alex McCalister last year or Gerry this year). Barnett doesn’t have to change his body or his position. He’s coming here to contribute right away, whether as a starter or role player. He will get as much playing time as he earns. Or as little.

Should Jones play this year? Jimmy Bama wrote an interesting piece saying the Eagles should sit Jones…but for financial reasons not medical ones. This is an interesting argument that does make a lot of sense. I don’t know if that would be the right decision, though. The ultimate goal with Jones is to develop him as a football player, not being the best long term contractual position. Jones might benefit from getting on the field in 2017, even if we’re talking about being mixed in on a situational basis. Notice I said “might”.

You have multiple things to consider with Jones. First, there is the physical side of his rehab. He needs to get better and eventually go test his leg. He can run full speed on his own, but might benefit from being in a competitive environment like practice or a game. Most players won’t push themselves the same way in a workout as they would when going against another player. There is also the mental part of rehab. Jones has to develop confidence in his leg. That could be a slow process. If he starts that now, it could help him. If he first goes against good competition in the spring of 2018, that would be a long layoff.

There is also the football side. Jones might benefit from playing/practicing some this year. He would have ups and downs, but could learn from that and apply those lessons in 2018.

The Eagles love his long term potential. They are not going to rush him back. That said, they might think getting some action in this year is the best thing for his long term development. The key to all of this is how Jones heals. If there are any setbacks, sitting him the whole year makes a ton of sense. If he feels all the way back by mid-October, that leaves a lot of season to be played. It might be worth it to get him on the field.

I guess the other consideration in all of this is how Patrick Robinson, Jalen Mills, Ron Brooks and Rasul Douglas are playing. If they are actually getting the job done, you may want to leave them alone and not mess with a good thing. This doesn’t seem like a likely scenario, but why ruin things with reality?

Douglas will have a chance to compete for a starting job. I don’t think his transition to the NFL will be as easy as Barnett’s, but he will have much weaker competition. And I do think Douglas has the kind of competitive personality that will help him to battle for a job rather than settling for learning as a rookie. He will want to play.

Hollins will be on the field right away on STs. He can be a situational receiver. They got Bryce Treggs just before the start of the season and mixed him into the offense. Hollins will have a whole offseason and he will have the same type of role. He will be out there to run a few routes, likely with a focus on going deep. Obviously that won’t be all he does, but I think that he’ll run more vertical routes than anything else.

It took me a while to figure out who Hollins is like, but I finally did. He reminds me of a pair of former Chargers WRs. Malcom Floyd and Kasim Osgood were both about 6-5, 210. Floyd was a terrific #2/#3 receiver for years. In 11 years, he caught 321 passes, including 34 TDs. He averaged 17 yards per reception. Floyd never caught more than 56 passes in a season, but he was part of a good passing attack. Osgood only caught 45 passes in his 12-year career. 28 of those came in his first 2 years. At that point he and the Chargers realized he should focus on STs and he was great there for the rest of his career.

Howie Roseman said Hollins is not here just to be a STer. The Eagles see him as potentially a future starter. At his best, he would probably be Floyd, catching 40 passes for 600 yards and scoring 4 or 5 TDs. If he struggles as a receiver, he could still turn out to be someone like Osgood. That’s not ideal for a 4th round pick, but if he stuck around for a decade and was a critical part of a very good STs unit, that is more valuable than you think.

I need to write a long post on Pumphrey. He is too complex a subject to discuss like this. Joe Douglas did make one key point.

It is easy to compare Pumphrey to Lorenzo Booker, the former Eagles minicamp legend. Pumphrey is small, but he is not a finesse runner. Booker (5-10, 191) was completely a finesse runner. He was good in space, but struggled in traffic and didn’t want to get hit. Pumphrey plays bigger than he is. He doesn’t shy from contact. He’s not taking on defender like Leonard Fournette, but isn’t running out of bound or out wide on every play either. He wants every yard he can get.

I still have concerns about spending a 4th round pick on a 176-pound RB, but Joe Douglas is correct in his evaluation that Pumphrey doesn’t play small. That gives him a chance to make it in this league. Attitude plays a huge part. DGB has great size, but doesn’t consistently play big. He will break tackles when he has the ball, but watch him compete for a jump ball against a 5-10 CB and you’d think they were the same size.

The Eagles wanted speed. They got Gibson. Like Hollins, he can stretch the field. There is a big difference in the two guys. Hollins is a vertical threat. Gibson is a threat every time he touches the ball. Not only is he fast, but Gibson is quick and very elusive.

Gibson can be a good situational receiver this year. He could be the KOR as well. Down the road, I think he could be a starting WR.

Can Nate Gerry make the transition from S to LB? The Eagles think so and I agree. He is 6-2, 218. You can play LB in the 225 to 235 range these days. Heck, Willie T. was 6-2, 220 when he came into the league and I’d say he had a pretty darn good career. Gerry isn’t going to get much bigger. He already has a thick neck and that tells you he’s filled out on his frame for the most part. Some guys are his size naturally and others are that size after bulking up. He had to work for his size.

I didn’t like this LB class very much. There just weren’t guys I found compelling. One thing I wanted was a player who used his hands well. You must be able to grab runners and receivers and tackle them. Too many LBs love to hit with their shoulders or use their arms like a club. i prefer LBs that use their hands. Makes you less likely to miss tackles. Gerry did a good job of this and that impressed hem.

He plays with a lot of attitude and that will help him in the transition. LBs have to be tough. It helps when they are mean/nasty. Gerry fits that profile. You watch him play and he looks like a jerk. I love that. It is possible that he won’t make a good transition to LB. He can move back to S. Gerry could be an effective backup in the NFL and could be very good on STs.

I thought DT Elijah Qualls was good value in the 6th round. I had him rated higher. I think the primary reason he fell is size. He’s short at 6-1. He has a lot of bulk on that frame at 313 pounds. And keep in mind that this was him being in good shape for the Combine. Maybe most importantly, he has short arms. They are just a notch under 32 inches.

You want OL and DL to have long arms so they can engage the player across from them and keep that person from getting into their frame. Qualls can get engulfed by blockers due to his short build and/or short arms. This wasn’t a huge problem in college, but the NFL is very different. When you go against the best of the best, every little thing can make a difference. Qualls short build won’t be as much of an issue in the Eagles scheme. He will be allowed to attack off the ball and shoot gaps. His job is to beat blocks rather than taking them on. I’m excited to see how he does in an aggressive scheme.

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This post went longer than expected so I’ll write about the UDFAs later.

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Eagles Finish with DT, Start on UDFAs

Posted: April 30th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 326 Comments »

The Eagles spent their final draft pick on DT Elijah Qualls, a player they had shown interest in for a while. He is 6-1, 313, but don’t think of him as a fat, run-stuffer. Qualls is surprisingly athletic and a terrific fit for the Eagles scheme.

Jim Schwartz wants DL who get to the QB. Qualls had 7.5 sacks over the last 2 years, a solid total for a big DT who wasn’t allowed to attack up the field on a regular basis. Schwartz will turn him loose in Philly.

Qualls offers depth. Beau Allen is rehabbing from an injury, but we don’t know for a fact he’ll be ready to go this season. He’s scheduled to be back in early September, but you cannot count on him. Destiny Vaeao flashed as a rookie, but the  team needed depth and competition. Qualls helps in this area. If he isn’t good enough to make the team, Qualls could spend a year on the practice squad and push for a spot in 2018.

Good pick, in terms of need, value and talent.

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UDFA signings

RB Corey Clement – Wisconsin
C Tyler Orlosky – West Virginia
WR Greg Ward – Houston
DT Winston Craig – Richmond
LB Marcus Oliver – Indiana
CB Jomal Wiltz – Iowa State
TE Billy Brown – Sheperd
CB Tre Sullivan – Sheperd
P Cameron Johnston – Ohio State

Clement is the key addition. He ran for 1,375 yards and 15 TDs this year for the Badgers. Clement is 5-10, 220 and has the potential to be a good NFL RB. The problem is that he’s not special in any way. Ran 4.68, which is average speed for his size. Had a 28.5 VJ, which shows a lack of explosiveness. Was better at his Pro Day, running 4.59 and jumping 32 inches.

There are some character concerns and some durability issues that affected his value, but he is a terrific UDFA signing. Clement gives the Eagles a talented RB who was highly productive in one of the best conferences in college football.

Clement might get cut or he might make the roster and show the Eagles that he deserves reps, not just a roster spot.

Ward is an interesting addition. He had a great season playing QB for the Cougars, but will move to WR in the NFL. Ward is a high character player who did everything in his power to get his team to the national title game. Ward is a good athlete, and is the kind of competitive, athletic player Joe Douglas wants fighting for a roster spot.

I’ll write more on the UDFAs on Sunday.

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Another WR and a LB

Posted: April 29th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 421 Comments »

The Eagles used their 5th round pick on WR Shelton Gibson, a 5-11, 191 speedster from West Virginia. He “only” ran 4.50 at the Combine, but was faster at his Pro Day with a 4.42. That is the kind of speed he showed on game tape. Gibson averaged 23 yards a catch for his career. He had 17 TD receptions over the last 2 years. Carson Wentz just got another weapon.

Gibson can be a downfield threat, but is also dangerous after the catch. The Eagles want to throw deep and Gibson helps there, but he also is a guy you can get the ball to on screens. He can turn a short catch into a big gain.

Gibson has added value as a RS. He averaged 24 yards per KOR in his career, with 1 TD. Good value pick in the 5th round.

DGB and Nelson Agholor have to be nervous after seeing the Eagles take Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson. There will be a lot of competition for roster spots and playing time. Keep this in mind…the Eagles brought both Gibson and Hollins to Philly for visits. These are players they targeted. Both help the team  on offense, but also on STs.

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With the final pick in the 5th round, the Eagles added Nate Gerry from Nebraska. He was a SS in college, but will move to LB in the NFL.

Gerry is 6-2, 218. Ran 4.58 at the Combine. That’s a solid size/speed combination. He didn’t have the cover skills to be a starting S in the NFL, but has good athleticism for a LB. He was a good box defender in college and played the run very well. Gerry still managed to have 13 INTs so he continues the trend of these draft picks being highly productive.

We don’t know what Mychal Kendricks future is so Gerry gives the Eagles a body at that spot for them to develop for the future. Gerry also has a chance to be an outstanding STer. Keep in mind that LB Bryan Braman wasn’t re-signed so the team could use a LB to take his spot.

Good pick.

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4th Round – Eagles Add WR and RB

Posted: April 29th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 276 Comments »

The picks are in.

118- WR Mack Hollins – UNC – 6-4, 221

132 – RB Donnel Pumphrey – SDSU – 5-9, 176

Let’s start with Hollins.

Good WR, great STer. Some of you hear that and focus on STs. Do you spend a 4th to get someone who can cover kicks? Hollins does a great job of that and will make Dave Fipp a very happy man. But don’t overlook him as a receiver.

Hollins has a big body and long arms (33 inches). He ran 4.53 at the Combine. That isn’t great speed, but he is a terrific downfield receiver. He uses his long gait to eat up ground and get by CBs. He averaged 21 yards per catch for his career. Hollins wasn’t a volume receiver, only catching 81 career passes. He did miss half of his Senior year and that cost him about 20 grabs. He was an impact receiver. He had 20 TD catches.

I don’t see Hollins as a starter, but he can be a very good role player because of his ability to stretch the field and offer impact in the Red Zone. He’s a big guy with good hands and he will go up and get the ball.

The Eagles needed a player like Hollins. He helps on offense because the teams wants to throw the ball downfield and that’s his specialty. He also helps because the teams needs WRs to play on STs. Nelson Agholor might try some of that this year. DGB is in big trouble with this pick. He better play so well the Eagles have to keep him in the mix.

Hollins also fits what the team wants in terms of intangibles. This is exactly the kind of player Joe Douglas wants.

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Mixed feelings on this pick.

Pumphrey had an amazing season for the Aztecs. He ran for 2,133 yards and averaged 6.1 yards per carry. That is insane production, whether mid-level competition or not. His size is a serious issue for me. He is only 176 pounds. He did 5 reps on the bench at the Combine. That went up to 8 at his Pro Day, but that’s not good either. He has short arms and small hands.

The talk is that Pumphrey will replace Darren Sproles. I think that is a major projection. Sproles was an outstanding returner in college. Pumphrey returned 5 KOs and no punts. He has to learn how to do that in the NFL.

Pumphrey was very durable in college. He got a ton of carries and didn’t get hurt. That does tell you this kid is tough and does play bigger than his size. The Eagles wanted playmakers on offense. Pumphrey does have the potential to deliver some big plays. He has 4.48 speed, runs well and can catch.

I’ll have to trust Joe Douglas, Doug Pederson, Duce Staley and Dave Fipp on this one.

The Eagles need to add another RB, whether in the draft or as a primary UDFA. It is also possible they could add a veteran free agent after the draft.

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