Will Clarke

Posted: April 13th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 64 Comments »

The idea of drafting Will Clarke to be the ROLB is growing on me. Clarke was a DE/DT for West Virginia. That makes sense for a guy who is 6-6, 271. Clarke flashed at both the Shrine Game and Senior Bowl, but I was stuck on the idea of him as a DE, even in the 3-4. I didn’t like him as a fit for the Eagles.

Moving him to LB is a different story. I hadn’t even considered the idea until I read Tony Pauline’s report that the Eagles worked him out as a LB. Here is the workout, which was run by Eagles OLB coach Bill McGovern. (Clarke is the tall guy with long hair)

You can see that he is a good athlete. Clarke isn’t your typical 6-6, 271 guy. He’s not a freak athlete like Dion Jordan, but that’s okay. Jordan was the rare LB that could cover like a DB. Clarke has no coverage experience, but he is a good pass rusher. His sack total won’t blow you away, but part of that is due to WVa’s defense (scheme and lack of talent).

I think Clarke is an ascending player who could be a much better pro than college player. Put him on the edge and let him rush. Put some good players around him and I think he’ll be that much more effective.

Clarke would appeal to the Eagles because of his size and versatility. He has the kind of build that Chip Kelly would love in an OLB. He’s basically the same size as Clyde Simmons, if that helps to put things in perspective. Clarke played all over at WV. He was on the left side and right side. He was DT and DE. He lined up out wide and in tight. When you put on the tape, you’re going to see Dee Ford at the same spot almost every play. Clarke moves around, which is something the Eagles like.

What is his draft value? Interesting question. I think Clarke will go in the 3rd or 4th round. I’d have no problem with the Eagles using their 3rd rounder on him. This, of course, assumes there are no character issues or anything like that.

Of course I’d prefer for the Eagles to get Anthony Barr or Jeremiah Attaochu and guys on that level, but Clarke has really grown on me as a non-1st round target. I’d much rather the Eagles take a chance on Clarke than someone like Demarcus Lawrence, who doesn’t stand out to me at all. There is risk with Clarke, but you could always try to bulk him up and move him to DE if the LB experiment failed.

Here is a game.

And here are some highlights.

Don’t expect to see some dominant player that will blow your socks off. There is a reason he’s being looked at in the 3rd/4th round area. Clarke is talented and has potential, but does need some work. I also think WV mis-used him by playing him in traffic so much. He looks much more natural in space.

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Biggies

Posted: April 13th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 25 Comments »

Chip Kelly likes his players big. He’s made no secret of that since coming to Philly. For this week’s PE.com column, I took a look at some of the players in this draft class that the kind of size that will get Kelly’s attention. An OL who is 6-5, 300…not a big deal. A WR who is 6-2, 215…not a big deal. I went for the guys who have rare size.

I really can’t wait until this draft is over. We’ll then have 2 draft classes in the book and we’ll hopefully start to see some patterns for how the Eagles are going to do things under Kelly. I don’t doubt that the Eagles would take a small WR. But would they do it in the 1st round?

I would love for the Eagles to shock me and draft Lamarcus Joyner to come be a Safety. He is small, but he is a gifted player that will knock the pudding out of you (I assume most players eat pudding as part of a pregame ritual).

Even if the Eagles make moves I don’t love, it will just be nice to have more data to study so we can try to figure out how they think. We’ll look at who they draft, but also who they pass on. When the Eagles didn’t take Geno Smith last year at #4 (when many thought that might happen), we figured that just meant they didn’t have a super high grade on him. When the Eagles also passed on him in the 2nd round, we learned that Geno just wasn’t a player the Eagles had much interest in, if any.

The more we see, the better we can try to figure out how Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman think in regard to the draft.

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Why would the Eagles be checking out a C? Because he played LG his first couple of years at USC. Here he is going up against Notre Dame. I think you can see why teams are high on him.

Chip Kelly is familiar with Martin. Kelly watched him play in high school…since Martin was opening holes for some guy named De’Anthony Thomas, who went on to be a star for Kelly at Oregon. Martin is 6-3, 320 and has long arms (34 inches).

Martin would make sense for the Eagles since he can play C or G. He is a good run blocker. He’s got a nasty disposition and is the kind of physical player you want to run behind.

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Wyoming WR Robert Herron talked to the Eagles on his Pro Day. He’s only 5-9, 193, but runs 4.48 and has a 35-inch vertical. He impressed at the Senior Bowl and had a terrific last couple of years at UW. He was a big play guy in 2012 (31-657-8), but more of a workhorse receiver this past year (72-937-9).

I worked out with the Carolina Panthers. I’m going there to visit with them again. Then the Dolphins are planning to work me out after that visit. The Rams contacted me. At my pro day, I talked beforehand to the Eagles and the Chiefs and afterwards to the Patriots and the Cowboys. My agent said you never know what team may pick you, so just stay open-minded, don’t get attached to one team liking you. It’s just a toss-up, really.

Teams want to verify some things about your background, how you rate your play. They want to know, does it translate to how they do things? And you just watch things on film. I rate my play at Wyoming very high, just because it’s all about opportunities. When you get the ball, what can you do with it? When the ball’s thrown your way, are you going to catch it? Are you going to make something happen? I feel like the majority of the time, I made the play that I had to make.

Herron would make a lot of sense for the Eagles. He has the build and skill set to be good in the slot, but he is also a good downfield receiver. He is one of the best route-runners in the draft. He has great hands. Herron also has outstanding RAC ability. Fun player to watch.

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Moving Up For Mike Evans?

Posted: April 11th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 113 Comments »

The Eagles like WR Mike Evans. Chip Kelly went to his Pro Day. Then the team brought Evans to Philly for a visit. But just how much do the Eagles like him?

Tony Pauline says…a lot.

– Consensus is Mike Evans/WR/Texas A&M is a lock to be a top ten pick. Several teams feel the spread between he and Sammy Watkins of Clemson is not a great as many are making it out to be, something I completely agree with.Based on conversations its my educated “guess” the team who selects Evans will make a trade to acquire his services . Right now it looks like three teams are the frontrunners to make some sort of move for Evans. If the St Louis Rams trade out of the second spot, and they will make every effort to do as much, Evans would be a target assuming they stay in the top ten. Two teams selecting in the middle of the first frame who are very high on Evans and would consider trading up to grab him are the Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens.

Why such love for Evans?

Size is the first thing that gets your attention. Riley Cooper is a big receiver at 6-3, 222. Evans is huge at 6-5, 231. And he’s athletic. This is a huge WR that has good speed, agility and explosive ability. That makes him rare. Evans isn’t some freak that is more athlete than football player. He posted huge numbers for Texas A&M, including big games against some elite competition.

Every now and then you see a guy with great size/speed numbers who is a clear developmental prospect. Not Evans. He is a very talented player that should contribute immediately and could become the kind of receiver you build a passing game around. Evans is one of the rare guys who can be open even when he is double-teamed. He’s 6-5 with 35 inch arms. Who’s going to out-jump him for a pass?

Evans is a great fit for the Eagles. He could become a dominant blocker, which would help the run game. He has good RAC ability, which helps the quick screens. Evans can also be a good downfield receiver, which helps to stretch the defense.

I still question just how likely it is the Eagles will move up. They’ve only got 6 picks. I don’t think they will pay a high price to move up for a player. The flip side to that thinking is that they may feel Evans will be available later than he normally would due to the draft being so good. If the Eagles have him rated as Top 5, ten trading up to pick 10 or 12 may be good value.

In essence, this isn’t a question of whether they like him, but if they think Mike Evans is a special player that is worth the cost.

Stay tuned.

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Speaking of liking a player…the Eagles sent Duce Staley down to Auburn for RB Tre Mason’s Pro Day.

I can see the Eagles liking Mason a lot. He’s my favorite RB in the draft. I don’t think he is the best, but I love watching him play. Mason runs so hard that you can’t help but love watching him.

The Eagles don’t need a RB, but they could like Mason so much that they feel he’s worth taking anyway. If they have a high grade on him and he slides a bit (as so many RBs do), the Eagles might feel he’s too good to pass up.

I do think Mason would be a great fit for Kelly’s spread running attack. Mason is a N-S runner who has terrific power and doesn’t go down on first or second contact. He likes to make one quick cut and keep his shoulders facing upfield. Enjoy these highlights.

I tend to think the Eagles won’t take a RB, but never say never.

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A Couple of Big CBs

Posted: April 11th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 44 Comments »

The Eagles prefer big CBs. Bill Davis wants his corners to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage and throw off the timing of their routes. That half-second can give other cover guys time to get in position and more importantly, it gives the pass rushers extra time to get to the QB.

Two big CBs that will be available outside the 1st round are Keith McGill and Stanley Jean-Baptiste. I much prefer McGill. I see a corner with size and some quickness. SJB is huge and has some impressive moments, but he looks to stiff to me.

By the numbers…

Keith McGill
6-3, 211
arm – 33 1/4
hand – 10 1/4
40 –  4.51
VJ – 39.0
BJ – 129.0
3-cone – 7.29
SS – 4.18

Stanley Jean-Baptiste
6-3, 218
arm – 32 3/8
hand – 8 5/8
40 – 4.61
VJ – 41.5
BJ – 128.0
3-cone – (didn’t do it in Indy)
SS – 4.33

Neither guy has ideal agility. Jason Kelce’s SS was 4.14. That was freakishly good for an O-lineman, but those aren’t good times by McGill or SJB.

Set aside the numbers and check out the tape.

vs

SJB looks stiff and a bit slow. McGill will never be called Mr. Agility, but I think you can see that there is a clear difference in the 2 players. I don’t know if the Eagles like either guy or who they prefer, but I would think McGill should be higher on their list.

SJB didn’t impress me at the Senior Bowl either. You could see he lacked athletic ability down there.

I focused on these CBs since they are huge and Davis likes big guys at that spot. There are players who will go before them that are much better. There are other big corners who will go after them that could be better value picks. McGill and SJB are big CBs with big names. I’ve gotten a few questions about them so figured it would be good to take a look at them.

Of the two, give me McGill.

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Looking for a LB

Posted: April 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 61 Comments »

Bob Grotz reported that the Eagles did try to deal for OLB Dion Jordan. We’ve speculated about this quite a bit, but this is the first time anyone has reported that it actually happened.

Grotz says the Eagles made an offer for Jordan 2 months ago. The offer was a 2nd round pick and Brandon Graham, which is something we’ve mentioned as potential compensation. It would give Miami a young pass rusher to add to the mix and another pick in a deep draft. The Eagles could use an OLB with the size and athleticism of Jordan.

It doesn’t sound like this is going to happen. Miami would take a major cap hit if the deal happened before June 1st. I don’t know if they can work the trade around that date. You also wonder if they worry about the public relations fallout of dealing the #3 overall pick just a year after drafting him.

I hope Howie continues talking to the Dolphins. This deal does really make sense for both sides. Miami is a 4-3 team with a pair of good DEs in Cam Wake and Olivier Vernon. If they had any idea how good Vernon would turn out, they’d have never dealt up for Jordan last year. Miami still needs OL help, among other things. Adding another pick could really help them.

Dealing for Jordan would be a terrific move, even if it seems like a long shot at this point.

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If you need to know anything about Jordan and his rookie season in Miami, the guys at ChipWagon have a great post that covers everything you would want to know, aside from what color underwear he wears on Tuesdays.

I’m guessing it is something unusual.

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If the Eagles miss on adding a LB early on, there will be late round players to target. Here’s one.

Webster is a developmental project, but he has NFL potential.

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The Eagles have been checking out other OLB prospects. They are interested in all kinds of sizes, skill sets and backgrounds. The key is that they are trying to find a good pass rusher.

I like the fact they are being creative in trying to find a LB. They’ve worked out guys from the 4-3, 3-4 and 3-3-5. They are looking at someone like Dee Ford (6-2, 252) as well as Will Clarke (6-6, 270). We don’t know if the Eagles will find the answer at ROLB, but they are doing everything they can to try and and find the right guy.

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