Lots of little topics to get to today. The Eagles are going to sign QB G.J. Kinne today or in the near future. He’s got to get his release from an Arena League team before the Eagles can officially make the move. Several of the beat writers reported that Kinne is just here as a camp arm.
I liked Kinne coming out of Tulsa last year. I mentioned him last spring in a PE.com piece on draft prospects that were creating a buzz.
It is also worth noting that Kinne’s QB coach at Tulsa in 2011 was Press Taylor. He’s now the Offensive Quality Control coach for the Eagles. Kinne was signed because the Personnel Dept had a good grade on him and not because of anything Taylor said, but it sure can’t hurt Kinne that his old position coach is on the staff.
Kinne had a highly productive career at Tulsa. His highlight was a 28-27 upset of Notre Dame in South Bend back in 2010. Tulsa ran a spread attack and finished in the Top 6 in points and yards that season.
Chip Kelly runs up-tempo practices that have lots of reps. He might want 5 QBs to keep everyone’s arm fresh. He could add a 6th QB in the draft or as a UDFA. We could turn around and cut Trent Edwards (or Kinne), but it is possible Kelly will want to start with 6 QBs and see how things go from there.
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Our old friend Stewart Bradley was cut today. The Cards signed him to a 5-year, $25M deal a couple of years back. Oops. Disco Stu hasn’t been the same since his ACL injury in the summer of 2009. Such a promising career…gone.
Could the Eagles look at him as a backup ILB? DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks are good as the starters. Jamar Chaney and Casey Matthews are the backups. I’m fine with both of them for the WILB spot (Kendricks). There, they’ll be protected and just have to run to the ball.
We need someone to be the backup at SILB. Some call this the thumper role. You must be able to engage OL and shed blocks. Chaney can do that occasionally, but not consistently. Matthews has struggled in this area going back to Oregon. Bradley was very good at it prior to his ACL injury. He struggled in Arizona at just about everything.
The argument against Bradley is that he’s going to turn 30, was relegated to STs this past season, and hasn’t played well since 2008. The argument for him is that he does have good size and would be cheap. If he comes to camp and looks good, you keep him. If he struggles, you send him packing. Bradley always seemed like a leader and good locker room presence to me. I’d be willing to sign him for the veteran minimum and see if he could be good depth.
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The Falcons cut RB Michael Turner, DE John Abraham, and CB Dunta Robinson. Turner is of no interest to us. Abraham had 10 sacks and 6 FFs in 2012, but he turns 35 in May. I think he signs a short deal with a SB contender. The Falcons may have tried to re-negotiate his deal. There is also talk of them making the full conversion to a 3-4.
Robinson is a starting CB, but not a very good one anymore. He’s going to turn 31 in April and is undersized at 5-10, 185. I don’t think the Eagles will have interest in him.
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A lot of you want to know about Safeties in the draft. I’m watching lots of tape and doing my evaluations. I’m also looking at the free agents.
Here’s the thing…I think the only guy on the roster that can now be looked at as starting material is Nate Allen. And he’s coming off a bad season. I’m not comfortable with him right now.
I think the Eagles need to add a starting Safety in free agency. I then think the Eagles need to add a Safety in the first 4 rounds of the draft. That way you’ll have 3 starting caliber talents competing for 2 jobs. If Nate gets his act together, great. If he is erratic, he can sit. Kurt Coleman and David Sims will battle a UDFA or possible late rounder for the #4 spot. I’d love Kurt to win that because I still like him a lot. He’s just not the guy that Bill Davis is going to want on the field. Colt Anderson stays because he is an impact STer.
If you read Bill Davis and John Lovett’s comments, they seem to want big guys. What I don’t know is how badly they want a ballhawk. All 32 teams would love guys that are big, fast, physical, and can make plays in the passing game, but those guys are hard to find.
I think the Eagles focus should be on adding at least one big Safety. I’m even open to the idea of going after LaRon Landry. We need Safeties that aren’t just big blow up hitters, but are big and strong enough to be physical run defenders. We need guys that are strong open field tacklers.
Assuming we add a SS type in FA, we’d need more of a FS to come in and challenge Nate. I’d love to add Jonathan Cyprien in the 2nd round, but don’t think he’ll be there. He probably goes late in the 1st. Two guys that have grown on me considerably are Eric Reid and Baccari Rambo. I watched them intently early on and they didn’t live up to the hype, but I found as I watched tape of their teammates, those guys started to show up on a regular basis. They weren’t as good as the SEC hype machine made them out to be, but both guys can be good NFL starters. Reid is bigger and more physical. Rambo has better hands and is more of a ballhawk.
DJ Swearinger is a big time hitter, but he’s a walking fine from Commissioner Goodell. He’d have been ideal a decade ago. He’s still a good player, but is a better hitter than tackler. JJ Wilcox is a bit raw, but has excellent potential. Phillip Thomas led the nation in INTs this year. He has great hands. He’s big. Thomas lacks ideal speed and is an inconsistent tackler.
I won’t cover every Safety here, but those are some of the big names that get the most questions. I don’t know what the Eagles will think of Matt Elam or Shamarko Thomas. Elam is 5-10, 208. Thomas is 5-9, 213. Those aren’t the frames the coaches prefer, but both players have thick, strong builds. Both can be explosive hitters. Could we live with the lack of height due to the strength? I don’t know. This is where we have to learn the new staff and how they think.
I haven’t settled on which FA Safety I want the most. Jairus Byrd just got the franchise tag so he’s off the market. If I can get a veteran S with some size and then add a guy like Reid, I’d be very happy. If we pass on a S in the 2nd or 3rd, but took TJ McDonald in the 4th…that would also interest me. He’s big. He has good hands. He can hit. McDonald was inconsistent at USC, but has serious potential. He’s no Taylor Mays either. Mays was a wuss. McDonald can be tough. He just has yet to put it all together.
What about Kenny Vaccaro? Love him. Not worth pick #4. Won’t last past 25. Could go Top 15. If the Eagles move back, he’s definitely a target. I think. As Sam has pointed out many times, the Eagles didn’t take a Texas player during the Reid era. I’m not sure about UDFAs either. I know we had a QB at mini-camp once. We did sign Vince Young.
The Eagles had serious interest in Aaron Ross a few years back. I don’t know how much interest they had in Earl Thomas. Would the Eagles have broken the streak to draft those guys or was Reid so anti-Texas that he wasn’t going to take anyone from there? It will be interesting to see when we do finally draft a Texas player. We did take one in 1998, the year before Reid arrived.
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Tim McManus spoke with Brandon Graham and got some good info on his potential move to OLB. I do call a little B.S. on Graham saying he played at 275 last year. Washburn wanted his guys light and sleek. Graham was super-proud of losing a bunch of weight. I’m guessing he was probably under 275. His goal is to be in the 260′s this year. Smart.
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David Syvertsen put together some post-Combine thoughts. I don’t always agree with Dave’s opinions, but he does the film study and I respect what he has to say.
Part of the fun in being a draftnik is seeing how your opinion varies from someone who just watched the very same player/game as you. Sometimes, obviously, that is due to the other person not knowing what they’re talking about. There are plenty of times when scouts, coaches, and GMs disagree. Player evaluation is tricky. You can see different things. You can like/dislike different things. This is like the art at the mall where you stared at the piece. Someone saw Jesus on a skateboard while the next guy just saw trees and rocks.
Dave covered the Safety position with a quick blurb in his piece. Good stuff.
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Cullen Jenkins is reportedly visiting the Giants today.