An Overview

Posted: May 2nd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 365 Comments »

We now know the team. Let’s look at the updated depth chart.

QB – Sam Bradford … Chase Daniel … Carson Wentz … McLeod Bethel-Thompson
RB – Ryan Mathews … Darren Sproles … Kenjon Barner … Wendell Smallwood
WR – Nelson Agholor … Rueben Randle … Jonathan Krause ,,, Cayleb Jones
WR – Jordan Matthews … Chris Givens … Xavier Rush … Marcus Johnson
WR – Josh Huff … T.J. Graham … Byron Marshall … Hunter Sharp
TE – Brent Celek … Zach Ertz … Trey Burton … Chris Pantale …. Dillon Gordon
LT – Jason Peters … Halavoulivaati Vaitai … Brett Boyko
LG – Alan Barbre … Stefen Wisniewski… Malcolm Bunche … Isaac Seumalo
OC – Jason Kelce … Josh Andrews … Barrett Jones … Bruce Johnson
RG – Brandon Brooks  … Matt Tobin … Darrell Greene
RT – Lane Johnson … Dennis Kelly … Andrew Gardner

DE – Vinny Curry … Connor Barwin … Travis Long … Alex McCalister
NT – Bennie Logan … Beau Allen … Mike Martin … Connor Wujciak
DT – Fletcher Cox  … Taylor Hart … Travis Raciti … Destiny Vaeao … Aziz Shittu
DE – Brandon Graham … Marcus Smith … Bryan Braman … Steven Means
WLB – Mychal Kendricks … Najee Goode … Myke Tavarres
MLB – Jordan Hicks … Joe Walker … Deontae Skinner
SLB – Nigel Bradham … Brandon Hepburn … Quentin Gause
SS – Malcolm Jenkins … Ed Reynolds … Jalen Mills
FS – Rodney McLeod … Chris Maragos … Blake Countess
CB – Eric Rowe …. Nolan Carroll … Denzel Rice
CB – Leodis McKelvin … Ron Brooks … Jaylen Watkins … C.J. Smith
NB – JaCorey Shepherd … Randall Evans … Aaron Grymes

P – Donnie Jones …Ryan Quigley
K – Cody Parkey … Caleb Sturgis
LS – Jon Dorenbos … John DePalma

I left off a WR / RB or two to save space. But these are the key players listed.

Overall, this is a solid roster. There are holes to be sure, but there is also plenty of talent. Don’t read too much into the order of players. This is a guess on my part. The players will set the depth chart with their performance.

I’ve also guessed at some positions. Stefen Wisniewski could play LG or C. Josh Andrews and Barrett Jones could also play G or C. I don’t know if Blake Countess is going to play CB, S or the slot. With so few Safeties on the roster, I went ahead and put him there.

Look back to last spring and check out the roster.

The big difference to me is summed up in one word…competition.

The LG was basically given to Allen Barbre last year after Evan Mathis was released. Riley Cooper wasn’t pushed at WR despite coming off a disappointing 2014 season. Vinny Curry was a key player, but couldn’t push for a starting role because he didn’t fit the base scheme.

This year feels different.

Sam Bradford is going to be pushed by Chase Daniel and Carson Wentz.

The Eagles added young veteran WRs Rueben Randle, Chris Givens and T.J. Graham to fight for roster spots and/or playing time.

OL depth is greatly increased with 2 draft picks and 2 good free agent additions. There will be true competition this year.

There should be good competition for the backup DE and DT spots.

CB is wide open. There will be competition for the starting roles as well as backup spot.

Some spots are weaker than others. There isn’t great depth at LB. The Eagles like a trio of rookies that they brought in, but it isn’t ideal to have that much youth at one spot.

*****

Too bad about Couplin. I thought he had a chance to play this year. Injuries got the best of him last year and the position was upgraded this year.

*****

Howie Roseman had some interesting things to say about the draft.

His take on rounds 5-7.

Interview with Dave Spadaro.

Both videos are worth watching.

*****

Sam Bradford isn’t generating a whole lot of support for his recent actions. Brandon Lee Gowton has the story on Sam’s current situation, which is best described as twisting in the wind.

The Eagles have said all the right things publicly. They have tried to make contact with Bradford. He’s not responding.

I don’t know where he thinks he’s going at this point. The Eagles might be willing to trade him if the right situation came up, but it isn’t here now.

Bradford needs to handle this the right way. He’s made his feelings known. Now he needs to show up and start getting on with the business of football. If he’s dealt, he’ll be more ready for his new team. If he sticks around, he’ll be ready for the Eagles.

The big thing Bradford seems to want is a long term home. The best way to get that is to play well in 2016. If he’s up and down like previous years, he won’t be getting a long deal anywhere.

_


The Day After

Posted: May 1st, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 397 Comments »

The draft is in the books. The Eagles have added some good UDFAs. Since we’ve already talked about the draft picks, let’s now talk about the UDFAs.

OG Darrell Greene – 6-3, 321 – San Diego State – 3-year starter for SDSU. Played RG. Plays with good leverage and is a powerful blocker. Limited athlete, but good enough for RG. I’m sure one of the things the Eagles liked about him is that he plays with an edge. Shows a nasty streak on the field. Draftable player, but was suspended for some games at the beginning of the year and that may have hurt him. Also was a very deep OL class. The Eagles checked him out before the draft so this is someone they had real interest in.

LB Myke Tarvarres – 6-0, 230 – Incarnate Word – Small school star, but previously played at Arkansas so he has legit talent and athleticism. Had 22.5 TFLs in 2015 and was just dominant against lesser competition. Had a good showing at his Pro Day. Played LB/DE and attacked off the ball a lot. Projects to WLB in the NFL. Could also be a great STer with his athleticism and physicality. Punishing hitter. Really interested to see him play.

DT Connor Wujciak – 6-2, 291 – Boston College – Athletic, hard-working DT. Played a lot of NT and was willing to do the dirty work of eating up blockers. When allowed to attack, he was disruptive. Had 12 TFLs (4.5 sacks) on the season. Draftable player. Good fit for the scheme. Can play the NT role, but also able to slide over and be effective 3-technique.

DT Aziz Shittu – 6-3, 279 – Stanford – Odd player. Played DE, DT and NT for the Cardinal. Led the team with 14 TFLs (4.0 sacks). Put on some game tape and he’s very limited. Watch other games and Shittu jumps out. Can be very quick off the ball. Problem is that he lacks ideal agility. Limited athlete. Has violent hands and uses them effectively. Defensive MVP of the Rose Bowl. Haven’t had a chance to watch that game yet. Would be a 3-tech in the Eagles system. Needs to bulk up a bit. UDFA grade.

DT Destiny Vaeao – 6-3, 298 – Washington State – Breakout season for the Cougars, finishing with 12 TFLs (4.5 sacks). Looks very good at times. Strong Pro Day performance. Did 27 reps, showing upper body strength. Had vertical jump of 35.5 inches, incredibly good for a DT. That shows lower body explosion. You see that on tape when he attacks off the ball. Was DE in base 3-4 defense at WASU. Strong enough to be stout vs run. Athletic enough to rush the passer. Draftable player who can play NT or 3-tech for the Eagles. Good scheme fit.

LB Quentin Gause – 6-0, 232 – Rutgers – Played SAM. Doesn’t have ideal frame for that spot in the NFL, but is strong and will set the edge. Played in space as well as up on the LOS. Solid athlete. 2-year starter who finished 2nd on the team in tackles each year. UDFA prospect who could challenge for roster spot or be ideal practice squad candidate.

WR Byron Marshall – 5-9, 201 – Oregon – Versatile playmaker for the Ducks. RB/WR/KOR. Not a great athlete. Ran 4.56 at his Pro Day. Terrible vertical jump of just 29.5 inches. That would be okay for OL, not a skill player. He is a quick, agile player. I wonder if the Eagles see him as potential replacement for Darren Sproles or more of a slot receiver candidate. Ran for more than 1,000 yards in 2013. Had more than 1,000 receiving yards in 2014. Only played 4 games as Senior before getting hurt. Was KOR this year and averaged 27.5 yards per return.

WR Cayleb Jones – 6-3, 209 – Arizona – Son of former Dallas Cowboy LB Robert Jones. Began at Texas, but left after breaking the jaw of a tennis player. Got a fresh start and Arizona and spent 3 years there. No incidents. Star receiver for them in 2014, 2015. Averaged 15 yards per catch and totaled 14 TDs. Big receiver who can play through contact and make tough catches. That’s the good news. Bad news is that he only runs 4.65 and also doesn’t get much separation from DBs. Will need to learn to run routes. Has potential, but needs work. Should have stayed for his Senior season.

LS John DePalma – 6-6, 252 – West Virginia – 4-year snapper for the Mountaineers. Also played some TE. The Eagles need competition for Jon Dorenbos.

WR Hunter Sharp – 5-11, 196 – Utah State – Suspended for the first 2 games of 2015. Came back from that and posted solid numbers. Ran 4.51 at his Pro Day. Has good RAC ability and a bit of return experience. Doesn’t have great speed, but was effective downfield receiver at times. UDFA prospect.

WR Marcus Johnson – 6-1, 204 – Texas – Explosive speed. Ran 4.39 at his Pro Day. Unfortunately, a straight line player. Terrible agility numbers (4.39, 7.26). Had a 37-inch vertical, which shows explosion and helps with his speed. Caught 61 career passes. Also has some KOR experience. Long shot, but you live the size/speed combo.

RB Cedric O’Neal – 5-11, 204 – Valdosta State – Very good small school player, but limited pro prospect. Scored 49 TDs and averaged more than 6 yards per carry. Had a very strong Pro Day workout that got teams attention. I’m just not sure how he will adapt to stronger competition. Certainly has the physical ability to play in the NFL, but I’m not sure about the polished running skills. Worth a look in camp. The Eagles did show interest in him prior to the draft.

CB C.J. Smith – 5-11, 188 – NDSU – 3-year starter for the Bison. Broke up 56 passes in that time. Picked off 8 others. You love that kind of production, but also worry why so many passes came his way. Sloppy tackler. Must get stronger and more physical to have any chance in the NFL.

TE Dillon Gordon – 6-4, 295 – LSU – Crazy story. Started 25 games, but got hurt and missed most of his Senior season with Achilles injury. Victim of a stabbing at a bar so I’m sure that incident prompted plenty of questions from teams. Lists at 295, but doesn’t look that big to me. Good blocker, but I don’t think he’s likely to convert to OL. At his best blocking vs LBs and DBs. Had 7 career catches. Get him healthy and see what he can do in 2017.

C Bruce Johnson – 6-3, 302 – Maine – Good athlete who started for 3 years. Won the 2015 Rimington Award for the FCS level, meaning he was the top Center at the FCS level. Dominant at his level. Watch him play against Boston College and he more than holds his own. My favorite UDFA and it isn’t even close. Hell, might be my favorite Eagle. This kid is rattlesnake mean. Blocks until the whistle blows and then keeps going for half a second. Doesn’t want to just block his opponent. Wants to put the guy on the ground and drive him through the earth until the dude is in China. I’ll be writing a lot more about him this spring.

*****

I’ll be posting a draft recap and all kinds of thoughts in the coming days.

The Eagles made some interesting moves and added some talented players. There are a lot of football and non-football angles to discuss.

Overall I think Howie Roseman and the scouting staff did a good job.

_


7th Rounders to the D

Posted: April 30th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 463 Comments »

The Eagles had a trio of 7th round picks and added a trio of defenders.

S Jalen Mills, LSU
DE Alex McCalister, Florida
ILB Joe Walker, Oregon

I was shocked that Mills fell this low. I had him going in the mid-rounds. The only question is if he would be viewed as a Safety or CB. The Eagles are listing him at S for now. The 6-0, 191 DB is very talented. He fell in the draft for a couple of reasons. He ran a 4.61 at the Combine. He was much faster at his Pro Day, running 4.47. Mills also had character issues. He was arrested for hitting a woman. The charges were lowered and then dismissed, but it hardly sounds like he’s totally innocent. I’m not a PI so I’ll stick to the football stuff for now.

Mills reminds me of Walter Thurmond. He’s not as much of a playmaker, but is much more physical. I think Mills can develop into a starting S in the NFL. He has a good frame and can add a bit of weight. He can play the slot or even cover on the outside.

The Wide 9 needs DBs who can tackle. That said, Jim Schwartz is no longer a coach that wants a pure box Safety. He now believes in the importance of cover skills and likes interchangeable DBs. Mills makes a lot of sense from that standpoint.

McCalister is a 6-6, 239 pass rusher. He obviously must get bigger and stronger if he’s ever going to push for a starting role. He is a DPR (designated pass rusher) for now. McCalister has a natural bend and dip as he gets by OTs. Some players are quick or fast, but stiff. McCalister’s agility helps him as a rusher. While he lacks ideal strength/power, McCalister has the kind of long frame that Schwartz loves in his DL.

I think McCalister can bulk up to the 260-pound range and eventually challenge for a starting role. I’m not saying that will definitely happen, but he’s got the kind of frame to add bulk and carry it well. He was good value in the 7th round.

Walker is a player I need to do work on. I watched him play early in the year and thought he looked like a late round or UDFA target. His Pro Day results shocked me.

40-yard dash: 4.56 seconds
Vertical: 37 1/2 inches
Broad jump: 10 feet, 4 inches
Short shuttle: 4.31 seconds
3-cone: 6.81 seconds
Bench: 23 reps of 225 pounds

Those are great numbers for a guy who is 6-2, 236.

I need to re-watch tape on  him to see if I missed something or if Walker is a workout warrior. He did start for 2 years at Oregon and led the team in tackles this year so it isn’t as if he’s completely a workout guy. I just didn’t see that level of athleticism.

Walker makes a lot of sense when you consider his size and workout numbers. He could be a backup at SAM or MLB. The Eagles aren’t exactly set at either spot.

*****

Lots of UDFA rumors right now. Every year we find out some reports are wrong so don’t get too excited by anything you see tonight. We’ll have a more definitive idea of who really signed where on Sunday or Monday.

_


Help for the Defense

Posted: April 30th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 357 Comments »

The Eagles moved back in the 6th round, adding a 7th round pick. When they got back on the clock, the Eagles finally added some help for the defense, drafting DB Blake Countess.

This is a really interesting pick. Countess played at Michigan for 3 years and then transferred to Auburn for his final season. He played CB and S. I’m really interested to see where the Eagles use him. Countess could play FS, CB or possibly in the slot.

Put on the tape and you see a good player. He has man cover skills. Solid hitter and tackler. He lacks ideal speed, but has good quickness. Lists at 5-10, 184. That is good size for a slot CB.

Countess wasn’t a guy getting a lot of attention until Auburn’s Pro Day.

Cornerback Blake Countess — 5-9 3/4, 184 — ran the 40 in 4.5 and 4.48 seconds. He had a 36 1/2-inch vertical and 10-foot-1 broad jump. He did the short shuttle in 4.19 seconds and the three-cone drill in 6.85 seconds. He also performed 21 reps on the bench press. He worked out well enough to get earn a camp look by an NFL team.

21 reps on the bench is good for a DB. You see that strength show up with the physicality he plays with. He’s got a CB build, but it won’t shock me if they try him at FS. Should also be a good STer.

_


Another Blocker for Wentz

Posted: April 30th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 190 Comments »

The Eagles selected a franchise QB on Thursday night.

On Friday they added an interior lineman to protect him. Today they added an OT, Halapoulivaati Vaitai from TCU.

I like this pick quite a bit. I’ve listed Vaitai to the Eagles in previous mock drafts. He is a big man at 6-6 and 320. He played RT and LT at TCU. He has good feet and is a natural pass blocker. I think he’s got the potential to be a starting LT in the NFL. He certainly adds a big, talented body to the OT mix.

The Eagles didn’t have to grab an OT, but Vaitai was a combination of good fit and good value.

Doug Pederson made no secret of his desire to upgrade the OL. The team has done that in the past couple of days. These are young, big, talented blockers.

One of the benefits from this move is that Vaitai can work at LT behind Peters and Dennis Kelly can focus on RT behind Lane Johnson. That helps both players, as they fit those positions. It gives the Eagles better OL depth.

_