Misc Eagles Draft Talk

Posted: April 2nd, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

There isn’t one compelling story tonight so let’s talk about the draft.

Should the Eagles have interest in Shaquem Griffin?

Sure. They want to spend mid-round picks to build up LB depth. Griffin is likely a 4th round pick so he would make sense. I hope he goes somewhere else, though. Griffin is at his best right at the LOS. He is quick, slippery and deceptively powerful. I hope he goes to a coach who gets creative with his LBs and will blitz/rush Griffin on a regular basis. Playing off the ball and in space, Griffin is good, but he’s not special. Let him attack and he will make plays.

Is Kalen Ballage worth Duce Staley’s time and effort? 

100 percent…maybe. Ballage has incredible potential. He was fantastic at the Senior Bowl. Look at Tony Pauline’s description of his Pro Day.

The big story out of ASU’s pro day is Kalen Ballage and what some are calling the best pro-day workout they’ve ever witnessed from a running back. Ballage timed as fast as 4.35 in the 40 while a few watches had him in the low-4.4s. He hit 37 inches in the vertical jump, a vast improvement from his mark of 32.5 inches at the combine.

We’re talking about a RB that is 6-2, 222. He is fast, athletic and skilled. And powerful.

He caught 82 passes in his career. He is a good KOR. So what’s not to love?

Ballage ran for 1,984 yards and 27 TDs in four years. Part of that is being on a dysfunctional Arizona State team, but part of that is on Ballage.

Staley went to ASU to work him out on Pro Day. I’m sure Duce wanted to get a feel for whether Ballage is talented, but soft or a guy who had a so-so college career, but who can become a monster in the pros. Some guys blossom in the NFL. Ballage has that kind of talent. You just don’t want to waste a pick on him if you don’t think he will embrace pro football and work his butt off.

Staley got the most out of an odd backfield last year. Ballage has more natural talent than any of the 2017 Eagles RBs. If Duce thinks he can get Ballage to play to his potential, he would be a major steal in the 4th round.

Are there any underrated TEs prospects who should interest the Eagles?

The more I watch Tyler Conklin of Central Michigan, the more I like him. He goes about 6-3, 252. He’s got some Trey Burton in his game, but Trey was a far better athlete. Conklin is bigger and is a better blocker.

CMU lined him up in the slot and outside. They used him as a weapon in the Red Zone. I don’t see him as a starting TE in the NFL, but could be a good #2 and would fit the Eagles. Should be a 4th or 5th round pick.

https://twitter.com/fanaticsview/status/798754886657536000

Heckuva catch.

Is there a Penn State player the Eagles should be interested in? 

MLB Jason Cabinda would be a great locker room fit, but I don’t think he’s athletic enough for what the Eagles want in a LB.

TE Mike Gesicki is an athletic freak, but he’s more of a WR/TE hybrid and isn’t a great fit for the Eagles roster.

One guy who would make sense is CB Grant Haley. He can play in the slot or outside. He is a good athlete and plays on STs. Haley w0uld be a late round target, but could come in right away and challenge for the nickel spot. He’s only 5-9, 190, but that’s fine for playing in the slot.

If Saquon Barkley falls to 32, I guess the Eagles could take a chance on him. I hear he’s pretty good.

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An Interesting TE Prospect

Posted: April 1st, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

TEs coach Justin Peelle went out to Brookings, South Dakota on Friday. There are some rumors that he was out there just doing some shopping, but my sources tell me that’s not true. He was actually there to work out a TE prospect, Dallas Goedert of South Dakota State.

This will be a new name to some of you, but Goedert has been a highly regarded prospect all year. He was invited to the Senior Bowl and looked very good there, before getting hurt. Goedert wasn’t able to work out at the Combine so his Pro Day drew quite a crowd. Per Tony Pauline, there were 7 TEs coaches on hand. Peelle was one of the coaches and ran some of the workout.

I wasn’t sure what the Eagles would think of Goedert. He has excellent size at 6-5, 256. He can make some freaky catches.

Goedert had a good workout. He posted excellent numbers, showing the kind of athletic ability that was expected. His workout matched his game tape, which is what you want from a prospect.

The reason I wondered about the Eagles interest in him is that he’s a highly inconsistent blocker. There are some plays where he looks really good. There are others where he doesn’t come close to getting the job done. His scouting report will look a lot like Zach Ertz’s.

Peelle likely went to the workout to get a better feel for whether Goedert would be a good fit for the Eagles. Can he come in here and compete for the #2 TE spot right away? One way to judge that is to put him through blocking drills and see up close what you think of him. Peelle is a former NFL TE so knows what it takes.

Another question with Goedert is value. Is he worth pick 32? Is he more of a mid-to-late 2nd rounder? Heck, some team could take him before 32. The whole league is interested in Goedert.

*****

Robinson will be missed, but overall this group is so much better now. Depth. Size. Athleticism. Experience.

There is a good chance the Eagles add another CB in the draft. They would love someone who is a natural fit in the slot.

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Randall Cunningham’s “A Football Life” will be on the NFL Network on Monday night at 9pm. That will be torture to watch. At his peak, Cunningham was a great player who did truly special things. You can argue that he’s the most naturally gifted QB to ever play the game.

Unfortunately he was more interested in being a star than being a star player. Combine that with a highly dysfunctional coaching situation and you have wasted years. Cunningham won a single playoff game in his time with the Eagles. That’s hard to believe. In five playoff games with Cunningham, the Eagles scored 62 offensive points. Nick Foles just led the team to 41 points in the Super Bowl. That’s hard to believe.

As frustrating as RC was, he was fun to watch. Especially in those uniforms and those black shoes.

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Even Better

Posted: March 30th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Even Better

The Eagles defense finished 4th in points and yards allowed last year. Then they shut down the Falcons and Vikings, before getting lit up by Tom Brady in the Super Bowl. That was a bad showing in the big game, but overall the defense had an outstanding season.

The defense has a chance to be even better this year. They will add a potential difference-maker at CB in Sidney Jones. He has a chance to be a star.

Jones isn’t the only potential help.

Jordan Hicks started 7 games for the Eagles last year. He got hurt in the 7th game and didn’t finish. Hicks expects to be completely healthy for 2018 and could be an impact player in the middle of the defense. Hicks did not have an INT, FF or sack last year. Normally he is very productive.

If he’s all the way back, I think Hicks will make plays this year. He’s got a good track record (5 INTs in 2016) so last year was the anomaly.

The Eagles do have some pieces to replace, but adding Jones and Hicks is some real firepower.

*****

The Raiders cut punter Marquette King on Friday. Not only was he good, but he kept things entertaining.

The Eagles need a P. King would be a good fit in a variety of ways. He’s talented. He likes to have fun. He’s also a good athlete and might give Dave Fipp and Doug Pederson a new weapon for trick plays.

King isn’t cheap, though. The Eagles don’t have much cap room and need to be smart about what they do spend. If the offense is going to be dynamic and Pederson is going for it on 4th downs, then you just can’t put much money in P.

The Eagles should absolutely call his agent to see what the price is, but I just can’t see this happening if he wants good money. Teams have to cut corners somewhere. You can’t pay everyone big money. For the Eagles, P is a spot to be frugal.

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Special Teams Impact

Posted: March 30th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Special Teams Impact

Doug Pederson has talked openly of the Eagles needing better STs play in 2018. I think that is especially true in the return game.

The team has shown interest in RBs, WRs and DBs who have good return skills. We don’t know what the future holds for Darren Sproles. He has been a dynamic punt returner throughout his career. The Eagles would love to find a young player to take that role. The younger guy would have the role for the next several years and would do it at a fraction of Sproles cost. With the Eagles spending big on the LOS and in other areas, they have to cut costs somewhere.

They hoped Donnel Pumphrey would offer some impact as a returner. That didn’t work out last year, but it still could. The Eagles just can’t count on that. They need serious competition for that role.

WR Christian Kirk would be a target at 32. The Eagles sent WRs coach Gunter Brewer to work him out at his Pro Day. Kirk is also a great PR. He averaged 22 yards per punt return with 6 TDs.  Wow. That’s kinda decent, huh?

Kirk has the ability to make the first guy miss, which is critical for a good return. He then can explode when he has space up the middle or gets a lane to the outside. I love the fact he runs so hard. Brian Mitchell did that and broke tackles on a regular basis. Too many returners dance around or slow down to read blocks, making them easier to tackle. Go full speed and make them tackle you.

Kirk was my top WR coming into the season. I would try to study WR Josh Reynolds last year and #3 just kept catching my eye. He should go in the late 1st or early 2nd. Kirk is outstanding in the slot, but also has the speed to play outside. I think he would be a terrific fit in the Eagles offense.

Nyheim Hines played WR some and RB some in his time at NC State. He was an outstanding KOR, but didn’t handle punts until this past season. He averaged 11.3 per PR and ran one back for a TD. Hines has explosive speed and could develop into a dynamic returner.

Hines is the kind of versatile offensive weapon the Eagles coaches would love. He can play in the slot or in the backfield. He’s only 5-8, 197, but that 4.38 speed is why you want him, not size.

You don’t see a lot of skill in those plays, but that speed makes him a weapon.

The Eagles have also shown some interest in Braxton Berrios, your prototypical WR. He’s 5-9, 186. He’s quick and elusive, but not explosive. He has a lot of PR experience, going 47-488-1 for his career.

Berrios is going to be a late round pick. He would be a slot receiver on offense and STer. He’s going to be reliable and make the occasional play, but isn’t going to wow you.

The Eagles would love to add an explosive playmaker to STs, but you never know how the draft will work out. If they go for an OL or DL early, they may have to settle for someone like Berrios. The Eagles will bring in some small school guys as UDFAs or late picks and give them a chance. They are going to add competition to the KOR and PR spots.

If the draft doesn’t break the way the team wants, maybe Sproles does come back. The Eagles have to figure roster spots and cap space to see what the best solution is. Pederson clearly loves Sproles, as anyone would. You just can’t guarantee that he’ll be the best fit for the team. This is about 2018 and 2019 and 2020. If it were just this year, Sproles would be your guy. Football doesn’t work that way. You have to factor in future seasons and decide if going with the veteran is the right move.

A month  from now, we’ll have a better idea on Sproles future and what’s going on with the return game.

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Odd personal note here. Rusty Staub died on Thursday.

I’m sure many of you will say…who?

I grew up in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Staub was one of my sports heroes. And yet…I don’t know that I ever saw him play a full game. By the time I had a chance to watch Staub play, he was a deadly pinch hitter, but no longer a starter.

As with so many of my heroes, I knew of Staub from books. I would go buy older baseball books and read their notes on him. I loved his nickname, Le Grand Orange. Seeing that as a kid is probably one of the things that made me like him.

Brooks Robinson is one of my all-time favorite players. Never got to see him play live. I loved him based on highlights from the 1970 World Series and the little sports books I used to get from the school library. Reading about Rusty or Brooks or Johnny Bench or Lou Brock in those books was my way to get to enjoy them. There was no YouTube or SportsCenter in those formative years. I did love This Week in Baseball. Mel Allen gave me a chance to see some amazing plays from around the league.

Last week I took a break from studying draft prospects for a few minutes. I pulled up YouTube. Usually I will watch a clip from Always Sunny or The Office to make me laugh and clear my head. For some reason, I decided I wanted to watch something different.

Out of the blue, I typed in a name I hadn’t thought of in years.

Rusty Staub.

For a few minutes, I got to be a kid again and Staub got to be a skilled hitter in his prime, spraying the ball all over the park.

RIP, my old friend.

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Updated Draft Visits and Interest

Posted: March 29th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Updated Draft Visits and Interest

Only about a month left to go. Let’s see who the Eagles are looking at.

Visits to Philly

RB Derrius Guice – LSU
RB/KOR Rashaad Penny – San Diego State
WR Daurice Fountain – Northern Iowa
TE Chris Herndon – Miami
OT Chukwuma Okorafor- Western Michigan
OC James Daniels – Iowa

LB Leighton Vander Esch – BYU
LB Darius Leonard – South Carolina State
LB Jermaine Carter Jr. – Maryland
DB Justin Reid – Stanford
CB Donte Jackson – LSU

Pro Days

OT Orlando Brown – Oklahoma – OL coach worked him out at Pro Day
OT Chukwuma Okorafor – WMU – Jeff Stoutland worked him out at Pro Day
OT Mike McGlinchey – Notre Dame – Asst OL coach Eugene Chung worked him out at his Pro Day
OT Jamil Demby – Maine – Asst OL coach T.J. Paganetti worked him out at his Pro Day
OT Matt Gono – Wesley – scout at his Pro Day

OG Austin Corbett – Nevada – OL coach at his Pro Day
OG Will Hernandez – UTEP – OL coach worked him out at his Pro Day
OG Quenton Nelson – Notre Dame – Asst OL coach Eugene Chung worked him out at his Pro Day

OC Tanner Stallings – UTEP – OL coach worked him out at his Pro Day

TE Tyler Conklin – Central Michigan – TE coach at his Pro Day
TE Hayden Hurst – South Carolina – TE coach at his Pro Day
TE Durham Smythe – Notre Dame – TE coach Justin Peelle worked him out at his Pro Day
TE David Wells – San Diego State – Eagles will work him out

WR J’Mon Moore – Missouri – Says he is “receiving interest from the Eagles”
WR Christian Kirk – Texas A&M – WRs coach Gunter Brewer worked him out at Pro Day
WR Courtland Sutton – SMU – Eagles to meet with him before Pro Day
WR D.J. Moore – Maryland – workout scheduled with him

RB Nyheim Hines – NC State – Duce Staley at his Pro Day
RB Jaylen Samuels – NC State – Duce Staley at his Pro Day
RB Kalen Ballage – Arizona State – Duce Staley at his Pro Day
RB Sony Michel – Georgia – Duce Staley worked him out at his Pro Day
RB Nick Chubb – Georgia – Duce Staley w0rked him out at his Pro Day
RB Trent Cannon – Virginia State – scout worked him out at Pro Day

QB Kyle Lauletta – Richmond – Press Taylor at his Pro Day

RS/WR Braxton Berrios – Miami – Eagles scout worked him out at Pro Day

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DE Kentavious Street – NC State – DL coach Phillip Daniels at his Pro Day
DE Rasheem Green – USC – DL coach Chris Wilson worked him out at his Pro Day
DE Josh Sweat – Florida State – DL coach Chris Wilson worked him out at his Pro Day
DE Harold Landry – Boston College – Jim Schwartz was at his Pro Day

DT Nathan Shepard – Fort Hays State – DL coach worked him out at Pro Day
DT Tim Settle – Virginia Tech – DL coach worked him out at Pro Day
DT Joshua Frazier – Alabama – met with him
DT B.J. Hill – NC State – DL coach Phillip Daniels at his Pro Day
DT Justin Jones – NC State – DL coach Phillip Daniels at his Pro Day
DT Josh Fatu – USC – DL coach Chris Wilson was at his Pro Day
DT John Atkins – Georgia – DL coach Phillip Daniels at his Pro Day
DT Trenton Thompson – Georgia – DL coach Phillip Daniels at his Pro Day
DT Derrick Nnadi – Florida State – DL coach Chris Wilson worked him out at his Pro Day
DT Tracy Sprinkle – Ohio State – talked to him at his Pro Day
DT P.J. Hall – Sam Houston State – campus workout
DT McKay Murphy – Weber State – son of Dale Murphy…Eagles met with him at Pro Day
DT Taven Bryan – Florida – DL coach Chris Wilson worked him out at Pro Day
DT Maurice Hurst – Michigan – asst DL coach Phillip Daniels worked him out at his Pro Day

LB Nate Cichy – Wisconsin – LB coach at his Pro Day
LB Jaylyin Minor – Cincinnati – interviewed by multiple Eagles scouts at all star game
LB Uchenna Nwosu – USC – extensive interview at his Pro Day…DL coach was there

CB Chandon Sullivan – Georgia State – coach at his Pro Day
CB Tremon Smith – Central Arkansas – met with him before his Pro Day
CB Trey Johnson – Villanova – met with him at his Pro Day
CB Josh Jackson – Iowa – Eagles showing lots of interest per Tony Pauline

SMALL SCHOOLS

James Madison – scout at Pro Day
Maine – scout at Pro Day
Missouri Western – scout at Pro Day

Best source for info … Tony Pauline’s Draft Analyst

*****

The thing that really stands out to me is the amount of work being done on DTs. Some of you will interpret this as the Eagles maybe having concerns with Tim Jernigan. I suppose that is possible, but I think this is really more about the Super Bowl. The Eagles didn’t get good enough pressure up the middle in that game. You can also see this in the Giants games when Eli was getting rid of the ball quickly. The best way to fight that is through getting pressure up the middle.

While the Eagles are looking at lots of DTs, the guys they have shown the most interest in are players that can pressure the passer.

Maurice Hurst
Taven Bryan
P.J. Hall

These guys are explosive 1-gap DTs. Hurst and Bryan would be 1st round targets. Hall is a mid-rounder. All of them would be excellent fits for the Eagles. This Bryan video is a fun watch.

Other DTs might not be as explosive, but can get to the QB using a combination of quickness, skill and power.

Nathan Shepard
Tim Settle
B.J. Hill
Justin Jones
Derrick Nnadi
Trenton Thompson

The Eagles already have Destiny Vaeao and Elijah Qualls in place, but neither has done enough to feel secure about his job. The team clearly wants the best DT play it can get from the backups. That could mean spending pick 32 one one, a mid-rounder or even a late rounder.

*****

The team is looking at the right kind of TEs. They aren’t looking at freak athletes or dynamic pass catchers. They are trying to find complete players, guys who can block and catch and contribute on STs.

Hayden Hurst is my favorite TE. He is 25-years old and that turns off some people (possibly named Bo or Noah). Durham Smythe would be ideal. He is a mid-round target who can block and catch. He impressed at the Senior Bowl and the Eagles seem very interested. He will turn 23 this summer. Wells is primarily a blocker. He would be a late round guy or priority free agent.

Herndon would be a mid-round target. He might remind you of Trey Burton, but he’s bigger and a better blocker. He’s not as athletic.

The team could still add a veteran. Clive Walford was cut by Oakland and would make some sense. There are still some other players on the market. The Eagles might wait to see how things go in the draft before pursuing a veteran. It all depends on cost and also what the team thinks of the available players. To this point, it doesn’t seem like they are overwhelmed by any of the options.

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