Analyzing the Roster – Offense

Posted: April 30th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 117 Comments »

The Eagles have gone though free agency, the draft, and even added some good UDFAs.  We now know who the key players for 2012 are going to be.  With that in mind, let’s take a look at the roster.

QB:  Michael Vick, Mike Kafka, Nick Foles, Trent Edwards

Edwards is the odd man out, but could win a roster spot with a great showing.  Is that possible?  Sure.  The guy finished the 2008 season with 5 games where his QB rating was 95 or higher.  Is it likely?  That’s a whole other story.  No.  Edwards is a lottery ticket.  Maybe you get him back to what he was.  This is the most talented team he’s ever been a part of, but there aren’t many guys who regain their confidence after an extended rough patch like he’s gone through.  Kafka needs to play well to make sure he’s the #2 guy and to keep his roster spot.

RB:  Shady McCoy, Dion Lewis, Chris Polk, Bryce Brown, Graig Cooper

The Eagles probably only keep 3 guys:  Shady, Dion, and one other.  That means Polk and Brown are in for a serious battle.  Oddly, I think Polk could be the backup ahead of Lewis.  Polk has the size and skill set to handle that job.  Cooper won’t go down without a fight.  It is possible the team could still add a veteran.  For now, I think they want to see what the young guys can do.

FB;  Stanley Havili, Emil Igwenagu, Jeremy Stewart

The Eagles aren’t going to use the FB much this season so the guy doesn’t have to be great.  Havili must show that he can be a functional blocker.  He has the running/receiving skills the team is looking for.  Igwenagu is a good receiver and marginal blocker.  He played FB and TE in college.  I know nothing about Stewart.  Hard to believe, right?

WR: DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, Marvin McNutt, Jason Avant
Key Bodies: Chad Hall, Damaris Johnson, Mardy Gilyard, Aaron Pflugrad, Ronald Johnson, Jamel Hamler

The Eagles will likely keep 6 guys.  The 5 up top are pretty set.  Hall hasn’t worked out as hoped, which opens the door for the others.  Gilyard has NFL experience and good KOR ability.  Johnson is a natural slot guy and RS.  Pflugrad could be a good slot guy.  He had a big time Senior season at ASU.  Ron Johnson was good at USC as a WR and PR.  I’m interested to see what he can do at Lehigh.

TE:  Brent  Celek, Clay Harbor, Brett Brackett, Chase Ford

In recent years the Eagles have kept just 2 TEs.  If they do intend to run more 2 TE sets, they need a 3rd guy to make the roster.  Sam noticed that the Eagles gave Brackett some bonus money to keep him around.  That doesn’t mean anything huge, but giving a guy $20K does show that you like him and want him.  Brackett could be a player to watch.  Ford has an ideal build and good natural ability, but finished his career with only 16 catches.  He could be an ideal PS guy.

OT:  Demetress Bell, Todd Herremans, King Dunlap, D.J. Jones, Dennis Kelly — Jason Peters

Jones looks like the odd man out after the drafting of Kelly.  Jones can really help himself if he can show that he’s able to play some OG.  The other guys are pretty much set.  Dunlap will be the primary backup.  I am curious to see if Kelly works at LT (college position), RT (where some think he can only play), or both.  Peters should be on the PUP list.

OG:  Evan Mathis, Danny Watkins, Julian Vandervelde, Brandon Washington, Dallas Reynolds, Steve Vallos

Interesting point to consider.  The Eagles didn’t add UDFAs here.  They brought in NFL type guys to be competition.  You have to wonder if that means they are trying to light a fire under Danny Watkins.  Mathis is set.  Vandervelde had good moments last summer.  Washington has starting potential.  Vallos has been in/around the league a couple of years.  Reynolds has tons of PS experience.  Every single one of these players has a legit shot at making the roster.  There are no true “camp bodies”.

OC:  Jason Kelce, Mike Gibson, Zane Taylor

Kelce is set as the starter.  Gibson and Taylor will have an interesting battle to see who can be the backup.  Gibson has some starting experience, although it was at OG.  He’s also a better athlete.  Taylor is a pure OC and that helps his cause.

* * * * *


PK Alex Henery is on his own.

P Chas Henry is getting competition from UDFA Ryan Tydlacka.  Henry finished the season on an up note, but the Eagles don’t want him to relax.  They made an offer to a veteran free agent, only to lose him to a team where he can likely start.

LS Jon Dorenbos will have some help/competition from UDFA Matt Camilli.  Both are from UTEP.

PR:  DeSean Jackson, Chad Hall, Damaris Johnson, Brandon Boykin, Ronald Johnson

DeSean is a guy you want back there (if his head is clear and he’s back to his old self).  That said, he’s so valuable as a WR that you want to limit his exposure as a PR.  Boykin was up and down as a PR.  He could handle the job.  Damaris was a good PR at Tulsa and could really help here, if he’s able to make the roster.  Hall is Steady Eddie, but lacks the speed to do anything.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention DB Cliff Harris as a candidate.  He had 4 PR TDs in college.  He’s a longshot to make the roster and also had 2 PR TDs vs New Mexico and 1 vs Washington State so I’m not sure exactly how good he is.

KOR:  Boykin, Dion Lewis, Damaris Johnson

Boykin was a gifted KOR at Georgia and should be a big help in this department.  Dion did his best last year, but never looked natural back there.  Damaris was good at Tulsa and could offer depth.  You wonder if any of the other RBs will get mixed in.  Brown did some KORs when he was back in HS.

* * * * *

I’ll do a post on the UDFAs tonight.  There were rumors about certain guys going elsewhere and that kind of thing so I wanted to let the dust clear so we could focus on who was actually here.

Honestly, I was surprised at the quality of the UDFA class.  The Eagles haven’t had strong classes in recent years because the team drafted so many players that I don’t think UDFAs wanted to come here.  This year we got several that have a legit shot to make the roster.  The scouts and coaches did a great job of recruiting the guys to come here.

117 Comments on “Analyzing the Roster – Offense”

  1. 1 T_S_O_P said at 10:15 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    No mention of Cliff Harris as a PR; an oversight?

  2. 2 TommyLawlor said at 10:53 AM on April 30th, 2012:


  3. 3 T_S_O_P said at 11:25 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    I saw Cliff’s stats (i.e. 2 aginst NMSU), however, 4 TD from 29 career returns is some going. I hope he is an IR candidate if he is not ready.

  4. 4 Kevin McCann said at 10:17 AM on April 30th, 2012:


    I would really like Damaris Johnson to make this roster. Could he seriously challenge Avant for the slot position?

  5. 5 TommyLawlor said at 10:55 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    Doubtful. He would take Chad Hall’s spot. Role player WR and KOR/PR.

    In the future, Damaris could challenge for the slot spot. Not this year.

  6. 6 Kevin McCann said at 11:26 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    Fair enough. I would prefer Johnson over Hall even if he can only contribute on special teams. We need a spark on our return game. We finally have a couple of guys who could provide that. I’m looking forward to seeing who steps up whether it be Johnson, Boykin, or someone else

  7. 7 iskar36 said at 11:45 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    For the Hall role I don’t see it being a big deal, but at 5’6″, wouldn’t Damaris be too small to really challenge for the slot spot?

  8. 8 A_T_G said at 8:09 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Wow, a guy too small to take Chad Hall’s position. That’s saying something.

  9. 9 iskar36 said at 8:33 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    I was saying for Hall’s position, Damaris’ size is fine, but for the slot position, he would be too small to really challenge for anything.

  10. 10 Jim Reynolds said at 12:08 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Thing you have to realize about Avant, 6′ 210 lbs, is how he’s used when he isn’t running down field. He’s held in to block, basically as a 2nd TE, on a lot of running plays.

    Damaris Johnson is 5’6″ 165 lbs.

    Even a big guy like Marvin McNutt (who lined up both outside and in the slot in college) will have to work hard to develop the blocking skills to challenge Avant.

    This doesn’t mean you don’t ever see the #4 or #5 receiver on the field when 1-2-3 are healthy. It does mean that Avant’s job is likely just about as safe as DeSean’s and Maclin.

    Oh, and remember Miracle at the New Meadowlands? The block that sealed DeSean’s TD was delivered by Avant, who literally knocked out a linebacker sized STer on the Giants.

  11. 11 Jim Reynolds said at 12:13 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    In addition to the below, the person I see Damaris Johnson challenging is Chad Hall. Johnson played hybrid WR/RB/KOR/PR in college, and holds NCAA records for career all purpose and KOR yardage.

    Johnson is a lot like Chad Hall, except with blazing speed that Hall lacks.

    McNutt, I think, is here to challenge Riley Cooper, though nothing says they have to have only 5 WRs on the roster. Back in ’08 or ’09, the Eagles began the season with 7 WRs and carried 6 most of that year, I believe.

  12. 12 Alex Karklins said at 10:19 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    Thanks for leaving Elvis Akpla off your list of WRs. Montana State Bobcat trash . . . or, was that a mistake?

  13. 13 TommyLawlor said at 10:54 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    Need to watch more tape of him. Looked stiff in the tape I saw. More camp body than anything else.

  14. 14 Alex Karklins said at 11:19 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    Yeah, I’m just bitter that the Eagles passed on Trumaine Johnson, and the Cowboys drafted Caleb McSurdy. I really have nothing against Akpla, except the fact that he went to Montana State (which is a character flaw, IMO). I’m sure I’ll get over it 😉

  15. 15 laeagle said at 1:18 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    HEY! Watch that! My wife went to Montana State. She says going to Montana is a character flaw. Who to believe?

  16. 16 Alex Karklins said at 2:47 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Haha! Oops . . . Bozeman is actually a lovely place, and I’ve met plenty of great MSU Bobcats who were able to succeed despite their handicap.

  17. 17 D3Keith said at 4:44 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    This explains no mention of Darnell Williams too, yes?

  18. 18 Ryan Highlands said at 10:23 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    I like Damaris Johnson a lot, hope he can impress as a 6th wr and return specialists and make the team. Ron Johnson and Gilyard should give him good competition though. (loved watching Gilyard at Cincy). I hope to see Boykin light it up as a KR though so that could really limit the other guys chances to stick as a returns guy. Its weird having some RB competition, haven’t had that in a while, I love it. Lets see this raw ability Brown has

  19. 19 Donald Kalinowski said at 10:31 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    I think Dennis Kelly is too light to be an offensive lineman. He’s 300 lbs, but he’s 6-7. Are there any OTs with his same measurables? Do you know what Jason Peters weighed when he was a rookie? I wonder if the Eagles put him in the blocking TE role until he’s able to grow into an OL body.

    The idea that Kafka and Foles might start for Vick in 4-6 games doesn’t make me feel confident. AJ Feeley is a FA 🙂

    When Maclin gets injured and DeSean gets benched, Avant, McNutt and Cooper will be our WRs.- yuck

  20. 20 Matthew Verhoog said at 10:37 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    There aren’t many teams in the league who can say, oh our number 1 and 2 WR are down and we still look dangerous

  21. 21 JRO91 said at 10:39 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    I read that Kelly is already up to 320 since the combine. He was told to gain weight….

  22. 22 TommyLawlor said at 10:56 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    Kelly was 321 at his Pro Day. That’s fine.

    Jason Peters came into the league about 330 pounds.

  23. 23 D3FB said at 5:24 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Kelly should just go hang out w/ Riley Reiff

  24. 24 D3Keith said at 5:28 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Do you think there’s any chance we keep four QBs? If, say, Vick is banged up in the preseason?

    I know we’ve done it once before, the Kelly Holcomb year. This seems similar to that.

    I’m figuring the Kafka/Edwards winner is No. 2 and the other is cut, if there’s a clear winner. If not, or if Foles is really slow to pick things up, I wonder if we keep four. Especially since we’re a man down from what a normal team keeps at TE … yet we don’t have the usual DE/DT or CB/S hybrids that save you a roster spot.

  25. 25 JRO91 said at 10:38 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    Tommy – two questions…do you think Cliff Harris has a legit chance to make the roster over say Bradnon Hughes?DRC/Nmandi/Marsh/Harris/Hanson/Boykin?

    Also, What are your thoughts on McNutt vs Avant for the starting slot job? I also am really intrigued by Demarius Johnson….I think can be what the Eagles hoped Chad Hall would be. A speedy slot guy like Welker.

  26. 26 TommyLawlor said at 10:57 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    Avant should be the slot. Need to go back and re-watch McNutt tape to see if he could challenge there. I don’t think so, but need to do more tape study before I can say that with confidence.

  27. 27 JRO91 said at 11:35 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    If Demarius Johnson makes the team I’d love to see some slot packages for him. He would create massive mismatch problems for safeties and LBs with his quickness and acceleration.

  28. 28 NoDecaf said at 11:43 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    Spuds got indignant when I asked about competition for Avant. He asked me how many drops Avant had…then offered 1…2? I replied, I don’t know. How many field goals did Akers have to miss? He didn’t like that.

  29. 29 JRO91 said at 12:27 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Spuds is a coporate lemming….who cares how many catches he has…the guy is slow as tar. Trotter could handle Avant one on one…I am happy having him as a 3 or 4, but it wouldnt be a bad thing to have some speed in the slot…seemed to work for Giants pretty well?!?

  30. 30 Baloophi said at 12:29 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Ha! Great comeback, NoDecaf!

    Was definitely a bummer to see Akers at Dawk’s retirement… I mean good to see him there but I felt kinda bad for him (even though I’m sure he’s happy in SF). McNabb just looked lost…

  31. 31 TommyLawlor said at 12:35 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    McNabb did look like a stranger. It really bugs me the way things have come undone for him. I hate seeing him deal with this side of things. Unfortunately, a lot of it he brought on himself.

  32. 32 Baloophi said at 1:01 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    He looked like the high school sports star who returns to visit a couple years later and just lingers far too long… you know, he eventually takes a job teaching “Health” and winds up terrorizes the JV team with war stories from days of yore.

  33. 33 LiamGarrett said at 1:11 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    … and perhaps basks in the attention of underage coeds just a little too long?

    (I’m starting to see “Dazed and Confused” in my head.)

  34. 34 D3FB said at 5:25 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Nah man, Friday Night Lights all the way. “Billingsley! Billingsley! Party at Taylors House! Billingsley! We’re getting wasted!” “Isn’t that dude like 30?”

  35. 35 Toby_yboT said at 2:19 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    As I was listening to Dawk speak it seemed like a lot of what he said could have been directed to McNabb. I’m sure it wasn’t, that it’s just my wishful thinking because I want McNabb to wise up. But when Dawk talked about how thankful he was just for the chance to play, etc., how humble he was. He was the opposite of entitled.

  36. 36 T_S_O_P said at 11:33 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    I think Harris has more of a shot if Boykin beats out Hanson. Afterall, we released him last year only to resign him a week later.

  37. 37 Daniel Suraci said at 11:11 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    Tommy, I’ve seen you note a few times that “if the Eagles want to run a two TE set, they need to do xyz.” Have you heard they are looking to do more two TE sets or just speaking hypothetically? Thanks!

  38. 38 TommyLawlor said at 11:21 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    They ran more last year than in the past. I’m reading between the lines with them going with Havili at FB and then showing interest in Allen, Fleener early in the draft. Plus, Mudd’s blocking scheme worked very well in Indy with 2 TEs.

  39. 39 TommyLawlor said at 11:21 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    Andy Reid just said on Eagles Live that they had a 4th round grade on RB Chris Polk, medical issues aside.

  40. 40 T_S_O_P said at 11:28 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    How much of a hand do you think Bobby April has had in the UDFA signings?

    I didn’t realise Dorenbos was also form UTEP, remember a couple of years ago that I wanted us to get Jamal (sp) Hunt from them too as he could also play TE? Last I heard he was suing the Cowpukes over an injury sustained when their tent blew over.

  41. 41 TommyLawlor said at 11:44 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    April has a huge hand in the STs stuff. Someone said over the weekend that Boykin was April’s #1 rated combo returner, meaning he could do both PRs and KORs.

  42. 42 T_S_O_P said at 12:10 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    That was Reid, but what does he know… ?

  43. 43 JRO91 said at 12:29 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Id be curious to see what Bowles grades were on Boykin and Harris

  44. 44 izzylangfan said at 11:41 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    I disagree on two points.

    Did Kafka show enough last year to indicate that he is ready to be a number two this year. No! One of the key abilities for a quarterback is to be able to see what is happening as it is happening perhaps even before. This is a skill that to some extent can be learned but is often an inborn talent. You have to have the eyes. A second ability that young QB’s often struggle with is understanding just how hard you have to throw the ball and how accurate you have to be to be able to fit the ball in those narrow windows and to avoid interceptions when dealing with the high level abilities of NFL defenders. These are two abilities that Edwards has demonstrated that Kafka has not. In my view it is more likely that Edwards regains his confidence than Kafka finds two skills he never had. Remember Vince Ferragamo and Kurt Warner.

    A good backup QB doesn’t have to be great. But he has to be able to avoid big mistakes and work with the coaching staff to keep the game within his abilities and accentuate the aspects of the offense (and in the Eagles case a good defense) that can work. Reid has had success this way with AJ Feeley, Garcia and Kolb. But I think generally it can be better to have an experienced guy who is not going to make dumb mistakes trying to prove hims self and has the experience and confidence to execute the basic stuff and the maturity to keep his ego at bay.

    In my view the Eagles need back up wide receivers to provide four things:

    1. Red zone help

    2. Jump ball skills ala Plaxico – this first two might be one and the same

    3a. Speed on the wing to stretch the field in a back up role if one of our starters gets hurt particularly DeSean. 3b. General ability to get open and catch the ball in a back up role.

    4.Ability to back up Avant in the slot, perhaps challenge him for snaps now and the ability to take over for Avant in a year or two.

    Riley Cooper potentially addresses 1,2 and 3b. But he has generally come up short at 1 and 2. I’ll give him 3b reluctantly. McNutt addresses 1 and 2 and 3b. And with is straight line quickness he can probably handle some slot functions like slant routes. Thus McNutt seems to be competing for the same niche as Cooper although McNutt seems a bit more versatile. I don’t think Cooper is likely to end up on the roster, rather he is fighting for his Eagles life. If they keep McNutt and Cooper then they have duplicated at functions 1 and 2 and need one guy to provide 3a and 4 if they go with six receivers.

  45. 45 TommyLawlor said at 12:01 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    If you judge Cooper and Kafka on what you’ve seen, both guys come up short. That’s why this offseason is so critical. Both guys are getting coached on a daily basis. They are able to work on little things that they couldn’t do last year (lockout).

    Both players could take a big step forward or flat line. No guarantees. We want them to work out, but that doesn’t mean they will.

    We need to see them in the passing camps and mini-camps to see if they are truly headed in the right direction. If they aren’t, the Eagles could make moves. There are veterans on the street who could be brought in.

    One other thing to remember with Kafka is that he played very well vs ATL. The coaches felt they were too conservative with him and had him be very aggressive vs NYG and that was a disaster. Kafka then didn’t play the rest of the year. One good game, one bad. That’s hardly a sign that Kafka can’t play. And he might have led us to a win vs ATL if Maclin had just held onto the 4th down pass.

  46. 46 JRO91 said at 12:32 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    I am rooting for Riley this offseason…hope he makes the strides everyone hopes he does. He has a rare combo of speed and size. If he learned how to use his body to box people out he could be very dangerous….
    I really hope Demarious Johnson makes the team…his speed in the slot could make for a unique package of plays….WR screens would work well with his speed.

  47. 47 iskar36 said at 2:51 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Do you think the Nick Foles pick tells us anything about how the Eagles feel about Kafka that we didn’t know already? I know this offseason was going to be an important one, but could the Nick Foles signing suggest that the Eagles don’t trust Kafka to be starting material?

  48. 48 D3Keith said at 5:45 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    In this sense, because the Eagles went so young the past two years, more than a normal team, this year is like getting 2 or 3 draft classes. The Allen/Graham class has had a full training camp but never a full offseason as professionals to improve under the team’s guidance. And the Watkins/Jarrett class was locked out last year.

    So while it’s safe to say everyone won’t make the leap, or get the opportunity to show how much they’ve improved, there are guys who are likely going to come out of nowhere for us this year.

    As much as we suffered last year with all the upheaval when veteran teams prospered, there will be unexpected success from young players and guys who signed in a huff last August.

    I’m looking forward to it. Which player do you think is most likely to be a lot better than he was last season, and why?

  49. 49 TommyLawlor said at 11:45 AM on April 30th, 2012:

    Off-topic question. Writer is doing research for a story on Phillies fans being denied tickets by the Washington Nationals. Anyone here affected by that? The writer is looking for people to talk to.

  50. 50 D3Keith said at 5:37 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    I probably can’t help you out from the Phillies fan perspective, but I know down here they think that policy is the bees knees. Also it’s zip-code based, and I know at least one Phillies fans based in Maryland scooped some up to resell to fellow Phillies fans. Would that help?

  51. 51 nopain23 said at 12:21 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    any info on the safety out of syracuse?..and has anyone been watching the game tape on mcnutt
    ? i’ve seen quite a few one handed grabs and the kid just fighting the DB for balls..ala hakeem nicks.vick is not the most accurate passer so mcnutt,s ability to haul in the pass could be invaluable no?….or i’m I issing something? cause i’m no scout.

  52. 52 JRO91 said at 12:33 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    One thing I saw with McNutt in film is he has trouble with getting off jams at the line by top flight corners…NFL coaches will work with him on that, but yes he could help a lot in the redzone…he caught a lot of slants and fades in college.

  53. 53 TommyLawlor said at 12:36 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    I watched Thomas in a couple of games. Will cover him in the UDFA post tonight. Lots of potential.

  54. 54 chris buresch said at 1:19 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Thomas signed with Redskins after VISITING Eagles, per out of his mouth in interview with hogs Radio

  55. 55 TommyLawlor said at 1:44 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Howie Roseman said Thomas is an Eagle.

  56. 56 nopain23 said at 1:46 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    oops!….bummer…we could have used some competition at safety.hope howie has J Bell’s number on speed dial

  57. 57 DamonL86 said at 2:23 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    On his twitter page he said he signed with the Eagles as of 22 minutes ago.

  58. 58 TommyLawlor said at 2:40 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Twitter never lies!!!

  59. 59 DamonL86 said at 2:51 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    I thought everything i read on the internet was true!

  60. 60 D3FB said at 5:27 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Well then Tommy has some great deals on Lasik and Sunglasses for you.

  61. 61 JRO91 said at 3:11 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Mclane says he is a redskin… this kid the second coming of Palamalu….choose a team.

  62. 62 TommyLawlor said at 3:36 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    McLane hasn’t said that on Twitter that I can see. Eagles keep saying Thomas has signed with the team.

  63. 63 Jack Bauer said at 5:10 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Schefter said he’s an Eagle 2hrs ago as well…..too much drama over an UDFA

  64. 64 Septhinox said at 12:49 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Graig Cooper has KOR ability as well. Had a few 100+ yard returns in college called back because of penalties.

  65. 65 ACViking said at 12:55 PM on April 30th, 2012:


    Two questions for you . . . .

    1. What 2-3 players — outside Rd 1 — are you sorry the Eagles missed out on.

    2. Same question for UDFAs.

  66. 66 nopain23 said at 1:52 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    i was hoping the iggles would take a flier on the safety from boise st. george iloka in say rd 5..6…great measurables….intriguing prospect.thought we needed to add some competition at safety

  67. 67 TommyLawlor said at 3:30 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Gotta think about this. Good question.

  68. 68 Andrew Price said at 6:09 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    I would have loved to get Demario Davis, but after the Kendricks selection, it didn’t appear that the birds would still grab him.

  69. 69 Baloophi said at 12:59 PM on April 30th, 2012:


    In the previous thread I was trying to push for an Eagles/Pac 12 conspiracy which, by the way, would make for an excellent Oliver Stone “film.”

    What do you think?

    Mychal Kendricks – Cal
    Nick Foles – Arizona
    Chris Polk – Washington
    Cliff Harris – Oregon
    Aaron Pflugrad – Arizona State
    Jeremy Stewart – Stanford

    It looks like we decided to do the bulk of our shopping in the Pac 12. I wonder if our regional scout has some serious salesmanship skills back in Novacare…

  70. 70 TommyLawlor said at 1:46 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    West scout is Anthony Patch. I’ve previously written about him. He does have some pull. Veteran guy and just got promoted when Grigson left. Patch has found us some real good players over the years.

  71. 71 Baloophi said at 2:12 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Interesting. I’m sure it’s just coincidence but never-the-less found it interesting that we took so many from “out west.”

  72. 72 TommyLawlor said at 3:30 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    It isn’t a coincidence. Patch might be our best scout. Either he does the best job of finding players or Howie/Andy simply trust him an awful lot.

  73. 73 Anders Jensen said at 3:49 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Wasnt it you I saw retweet a big kudos to Patch from Roseman?

  74. 74 TommyLawlor said at 4:52 PM on April 30th, 2012:


  75. 75 LiamGarrett said at 1:08 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Tommy, I hate to be an alarmist Negaldelphian, but I’m a little concerned we haven’t addressed more strongly the issues we have on Red Zone offense. That third-round pick we spent on Foles seemed perfect for picking up a guy like Sanu or Green. Is it possible the Eagles think, when it comes to the Red Zone, it’s a scheme problem and not a talent problem?

    That would make a really good post if you laid out the problems the Eags have in the Red Zone, and what changes we could make with roster or the scheme that could possibly remedy those problems. (I’m not thrilled with the idea of Plaxico Burress being our savior.)

  76. 76 TommyLawlor said at 3:29 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    RZ deserves a full post. McNutt is a big guy with RZ ability.

  77. 77 HazletonEagle said at 1:11 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Cliff Harris averaged 18.8 yards per punt return. Thats sick. He seems way too skinny to compete at CB, so he will have to make the teams strictly as a specialist. But I am really pulling for that to happen. Watching some of his returns, he is clearly the best option on the roster outside of DeSean. I know he only ran a 4.6 at the combine, but hes definitely faster than that. He is very explosive on returns.

    I noticed Apkla wasnt mentioned in the WR picture, and you thought he looked stiff, but man the guy is a playmaker. And he has a knack for making really tough grabs. He adjusts to the ball very well. And he has some wiggle with the ball in his hands. He has a great juke move that leaves a lot of guys reaching for air. I think he is one of the better WRs we will have in camp.

    I think McNutt beats Cooper for a spot, and its between Apkla, Johnson, and Hall for the final spot. Apkla wins because he is better than hall, and being that Harris and Boykin can handle returns, theres no need for a 5’6” WR on the roster.

  78. 78 laeagle said at 2:34 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Everyone keeps saying that McNutt will beat Cooper. Maybe, but if we could retain both Steve Smith and Cooper, why not McNutt and Cooper? It’s the Chad Hall spot that’s up for grabs, not the Cooper spot. Is Hall so valuable that you’d keep him over Cooper? I don’t think so.

    I see it as
    Jackson/Maclin/Avant/Cooper/McNutt/replacement for Hall

    No need to jettison Cooper if we are already retaining 6 WRs.

  79. 79 TommyLawlor said at 3:28 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    I think Cooper stays, as long as he shows progress. Having him and McNutt would give us 2 big WRs.

  80. 80 HazletonEagle said at 6:38 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    I think Hall is off the roster no matter what. We got some talent at the bottom of the depth chart there now, and he just isnt very good. Hes like Mahe. He is reliable if you need him to return, but you know youre not going to get any big plays out of him. Hes just there.

    However, I am down on Cooper. He hasnt shown any improvement in 3 years. He is a big body, but doesnt play like it at all. Thats frustrating. He still hasnt done anything to earn playing time. He only gets on the field due to injury. I think his spot is up for grabs as much as anyones, and McNutt just may win the job because at least he still has potential whereas you kind of know what youre getting from Cooper at this point. He will need to look like a totally different guy this year if he wants a shot imo. If its more of the same from him, then hes gone. Its time to move on to another project.

  81. 81 laeagle said at 6:43 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    I kind of think differently about Cooper. I’ve seen enough flashes from him to keep some hope alive. At times, he’s looked downright electric. He’s made a couple of big-time catches, including a one-hander that was pretty darn fantastic. I also think he’s a nice combination of size and speed. I think he got screwed by the lockout as much as anyone, and I’m expecting bigger things from him. I may be wrong, but I can see him as being a nice complementary player.

    Of course, if he shows no improvement, there are others waiting to take his spot. I’d just hate for that to happen b/c you can never have enough big wide receivers, and in our case, we just don’t have enough big wide receivers!

  82. 82 nopain23 said at 1:26 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    I know everyone loves the cox and curry picks and trust me i’m with you guys..but i’m really excited about boykin.the kid just seems to be really physical for his size and is so versatile.he seems to just relish his tape and you see him going after guys almost twice his size and delivering a “pop” when he tackles.iggles fan will really appreciate that.kendricks REALLY makes up for us not getting the jedi master.another really physical linebacker with ..wait for it..SPEED.what’s the use with being fast if you cant’t make the tackle when u get there.i’m looking at you ZBrown.Some say he cant play SAM in our defense.Hmmm..i wouldn’t bet against this kid. I WILL be getting a boykin jersey in midnight green…book it!!!he’s number was 2 in i’m thinking he get’s asante’s old no. 22
    Go Iggles….

  83. 83 47_Ronin said at 3:16 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Count me as one of those who was ecstatic that the Eagles were able to get Cox and Kendricks (this combo was my preference over the mocked Kuechly and some 2nd round DT pick for the Eagles). I have a friend from law school who played LB at Cal and has close tabs to the program and he told me months ago that Kendricks (despite his height) was one of the surest tacklers his seen (and he played along side Hardy Nickerson). The Eagles 2012 draft looks excellent, my only disappointment is that the Eagles didn’t bring in some competition at SS, Antonio Allen slid to round 7 (or Winston Guy or even a UDFA like Duke Ihenacho).

  84. 84 Dominic Machado said at 1:42 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Tommy, I was wondering what your thoughts on Clay Harbor’s role in the offense this year. Do you think he’ll get involved more on passing downs and perhaps as a redzone target; he certainly has the size and athleticism to do well in the redzone.

    I am hoping Brett Brackett does make the team; he’s from my hometwon (he was the star quarterback/basketball star at the local highschool). He’s big kid, legit 6’6” with some solid athleticism (he schooled my team in a pickup basketball game with all sorts of dunks and spin moves).

  85. 85 TommyLawlor said at 3:28 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Clay should have a chance at a big season. He’s the #2 TE. Could get mixed in to some WR sets. Could get some FB reps. I think he’s just scratching the surface of how good he can be.

  86. 86 Dominic Machado said at 4:16 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    That makes sense, his combine numbers were off the charts, 40 inch vertical, 4.69 in the 40, I wonder if they might try to use him like Gronk or Jimmy Graham.

  87. 87 Kevin_aka_RC said at 4:30 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    4.69? Harbor is lucky Kendricks is playing SAM for us.

  88. 88 Baloophi said at 2:00 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Howie Roseman’s supposed to be on Adam Schein/Rich Gannon’s show this hour. For those of you with access and not in a workplace environment we would all appreciate any nuggets…

  89. 89 izzylangfan said at 2:14 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    One interesting aspect of this year’s draft is that the fans apparently got exactly what they hoped for. True, we were guided by some pretty insightful stuff by guys like Tommy. But it still has to give one pause to wonder if the Eagles brass is on the same capability level as the fan base.

    And if that isn’t enough I saw on ESPN that Matt Millen thinks that the Eagles drafted well.

    That is really scary.

  90. 90 Baloophi said at 2:21 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    That’s not true. There’s no way the Eagles brass is even close to the capability level of the fan base.

  91. 91 izzylangfan said at 5:43 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    You really owe me for setting you up like that.

  92. 92 TheRogerPodacter said at 2:55 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    sorta off topic:
    someone in a thread during the draft was trying to pull donations in for the site. i pledged my donation, but didnt actually do it at the time. Finally got around to making the donation today. i wonder what happened with all of that?

  93. 93 TommyLawlor said at 3:27 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    A bunch of people chipped in and then Baloophi made a very, very generous donation.

    I’ll be sending out thank you emails as I get a chance this week. Greatly appreciate all the support.

  94. 94 TheRogerPodacter said at 5:18 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    awesome stuff! do you think you will be using it as bank to make the trip up to lehigh this summer? i know i’d certainly chip in some extra cash to get you up there!! i’m sure others would as well.
    man…i’m so pumped for the offseason stuff to get going. i want to read about these guys out on the field!

  95. 95 D3FB said at 5:32 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    The chance to crush a PBR w/ Tommy and Jimmy Bama after a morning practice? Legendary.

  96. 96 pjxii said at 7:18 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    I’ll gladly chip in to support Tommy’s trip to Lehigh. His insight on this team should be the “priceless” in one of those Mastercrd commercials.

  97. 97 bebin abraham said at 3:10 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Tommy I think brown is a early candidate for PUP/IR…

    I can’t see him making the roster after being out of football for so long and I also can’t see him beating out polk or lewis this yr for a spot…and I doubt they put him on the practice squad if they were afraid of losing him as a UDFA

    I think Cooper puts up a good fight but probably won’t make it over polk and lewis

    will be interesting to see who makes the team…you think we carry a fullback or go with 3 tightends this year?

  98. 98 TommyLawlor said at 3:25 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    I think we need a FB. Havili is athletic enough to be that and help at RB.

    Brown is big time mystery. Nothing will shock me with him. Excellent combination of size, speed, and ability. Can’t coach Dion into being bigger or Polk into being faster. Brown has big time talent.

  99. 99 M0rton said at 3:37 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    I actually like this draft, in that quite a few players have the potential to be impact starters, unlike, say, last year’s draft.

    But one thing bugs me about the 1st round pick: Fletcher Cox only had 7.5 sacks in college. That’s really not alot of sacks at all for a supposedly elite “pass rushing” DT. Every single elite DT in the NFL over the past 20+ years has typically had at least 15-16 sacks in their college career prior to being drafted.

    I have this feeling that DT Derek Wolfe of Cincy, who was drafted by the Broncos in the upper 2nd round, and who had 19.5 sacks in his college career, will be the better player in the NFL.

    Or even Kendall Reyes of UConn, also drafted in the 2nd round, who has had 17.5 sacks in his college career.

    I really want to like the Fletcher Cox pick, but I feel like in a few years we will look back on this draft and say to ourselves that trading down in the first round and picking Kendall Reyes, Derek Wolfe, or even Devon Still or Jerel Worthy would have been the smarter move rather than trading up for Fletcher Cox.

  100. 100 T_S_O_P said at 4:22 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    To help you feel better, Reyes had 7 career sacks entering his senior year, and Derek Wolfe had 10. Wolfe’s production as a senior matched he total production in terms of sacks and doubled in terms of hurries. Reyes too, had his best year as a senior in terms of sacks and hurries. I can’t see why Cox, has he stayed one more year, would not have been the same as those two players and giving very similar career numbers. By the way, the NCAA stats on Reyes are 11.5 career sacks I think:

  101. 101 Baloophi said at 5:09 PM on April 30th, 2012:


    If you’re interested in adding even the slightest hint of silver to your dark Fletcher Cox cloud, here are some qualifiers you will probably immediately discount:.

    – From what I saw, Cox was facing double and triple teams in the SEC. Coaches were scheming against him with superior talent (versus Wolfe’s Big East foes).

    – As a junior, Cox is missing out on an entire year of production, so “only” 7.5 career sacks doesn’t seem that bad… especially since Kendell Reyes – who you believe will be a better player – finished his 4 year career with 7 sacks against inferior talent. For what it’s worth Devon Still had 10.5 sacks in his full 4 years, and I’ll give you Jerel Worthy’s 12 sacks since he’s a junior, but with a giant asterisk – he was a redshirt freshman and started for three years and not 2 like Cox, who played as an actual freshman.

    – From highlights and even “every play” tapes I watched, Cox was consistently collapsing the pocket. So even if you feel he falls short on sack production he does cause sacks for others or forced throws which often wind up incomplete or intercepted.

    Obviously I understand you’re stricken with a “grass is greener” philosophy so I was surprised you only included Derek Wolfe, Kendell Reyes, Devon Still and Jerel Worthy as tackles who will have better careers than Cox. Why not mention every single other tackle who went after us so you can fully cover your bases? Here, I’ll do it for you:

    Michael Brockers
    Brandon Thompson
    Billy Winn
    Jared Crick
    Alameda Ta’amu
    Mike Martin
    Josh Chapman
    Kheeston Randall
    Jaye Howard
    Travian Robertson
    Malik Jackson
    Markus Kuhn
    John Hughes
    Jerome Long
    Jeris Pendleton

  102. 102 SportiVore said at 8:16 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    As an SEC fan, it would be worthwhile to do a study on how many pass drops Cox had the opportunity to see. I’d nearly guarantee those guys from the Big East saw a lot more pass attempts, just because there isn’t a single offense in the SEC that is based around the pass.

  103. 103 A_T_G said at 8:46 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    I think the best strategy would have been to play the odds and draft a few of the guys you listed. Hughes, Long, Cox would have been a combination that could have generated interest.

  104. 104 A_T_G said at 8:46 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    I think the best strategy would have been to play the odds and draft a few of the guys you listed. Hughes, Long, Cox would have been a combination that could have generated interest.

  105. 105 M0rton said at 10:26 AM on May 1st, 2012:

    See, now you’re just being ridiculous.

    There was this perception that Cox and Brockers were the “First Tier” of DTs and Stil, Reyes, and Wolfe were just below. I am merely opining that Still, Reyes and Wolfe are maybe not much worse than the first tier, or even better.

  106. 106 Chris Tomlinson said at 9:27 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    I would really like to see a post where Morton says who he would’ve taken at each spot – only ONE player who was still on the board at the time. There’s only so much speculation you can do about saying “trading down” or whatnot, so I think just saying what ONE player he would’ve taken would be interesting (i.e. Morton thinks Michael Floyd would’ve been a better choice then Cox at 1.12 or Bobby Wagner would’ve been a better choice than Kendricks at 2.14).

    By doing this we can eliminate any JPP/Graham arguments in the future…

  107. 107 M0rton said at 10:25 AM on May 1st, 2012:

    If you couldn’t figure it out from my post above, I think that trading down and picking up one of: Derek Wolfe, Devon Still, or Kendall Reyes would ahve been smarter.

    Or similarly, picking a different prospect in the 1st round, such as Michael Floyd, or Dre Kirkpatrick, or David DeCastro, and then picking one of those three DTs (Still, Wolfe, or Reyes) with the first 2nd round pick.

  108. 108 A_T_G said at 6:50 PM on May 1st, 2012:

    How about just one? With the first pick, _______ would have been a better choice than Cox. With the second pick, _______ would have been a better pick than Kendricks.

  109. 109 Anders Jensen said at 3:53 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    I know you have touched this alittle with, but what people forget about our last two draft classes is that neither of them has ever had a full off season with the team. That means that 3rd years players such as Cooper, Harbor, Chaney, Clayton, Allen and Graham from the 2010 should/could all make big strides this year and the same with last years draft class

  110. 110 laeagle said at 5:57 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Flip side of that is who will the coaches spend the most time with? In years past, they could always spend some extra time with the rookies at the minicamps and stuff. Now, they’ve got 3 classes full of people to try to coach up. I don’t envy the coaches.

  111. 111 Lukekelly65 said at 4:03 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    I think the RB position is going to have a great battle this off season. I believe shady/dion are locked in but between polk/brown/cooper i feel polk would be a nice complament to McCoy…as long as he stays healthly. Brown is also interesting he has all the physical pieces i think its a matter of how badly he wants to be great. maybe it just takes a wake up call like almost going undrafted to show him he needs to be serious.. hes got alot of talent and could be a serious wild card when camp comes around…. just wondering what your thoughts were tommy

  112. 112 Lukekelly65 said at 4:09 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Also im excited about the two UDFA in the secondary that we signed. Cliff Harris is a bit of a knucklehead but has serious talent, hes alittle under weight but could be a nice ST contributor to start. I also like Thomas the kid out of Syracuse hes got a good saftey frame and showed to be a real playmaker in college. At the very least these two come in a add some depth at camp but it wouldnt surprise me to see one of these guys at least be a nice ST addition for us.

  113. 113 aerochrome2 said at 5:59 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    I know its not offense but has up some well put together 1.5 minute snippits from NFL films on on Mcnutt ( and Polk. Better than the youtube fan highlights (no offense to those who make them)

  114. 114 D3Keith said at 7:06 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    From the D.C. Sports Bog:

    “Cousins told [Dan] Patrick that he had expected to be taken by either the Broncos or the Eagles, so the host asked if he’d rather be a backup to Peyton Manning or Robert Griffin III.”

    Interesting. If we had Foles graded higher but had given Cousins the impression he was coming to us, I wonder if it was deliberate, or we thought someone else would take Foles before we got a chance. Which would suggest the Eagles thought even more highly of Foles than late third round.

  115. 115 Baloophi said at 7:46 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    This has almost no connection to your post but I heard John Schneider (Seahawks GM) on NFL Radio say Bruce Irvin and Russell Wilson were the only two people they HAD to have. He mentioned that they talked to Wilson 4 or 5 times at the Senior Bowl and then played it cool at the Combine. He said they started hearing someone would take him at the end of the 2nd and were relieved when he wasn’t. I wonder if he was worried about the Eagles…

    Anyway, I suppose my point is that it’s interesting how teams really become enamored with a particular QB and your post makes me think they really like Foles… seems hard to believe that would take “the next guy” in the third round when we’re not really pressed to take one this year…

  116. 116 RC5000 said at 7:34 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    I realize there’s no risk in checking out players like Harris and Thomas and it’s a difficult question to answer but how much do their off the field issues ultimately figure in come roster decision day even if they’re choirboys and perform well? Obviously there’s the practice squad also but I’m just wondering how great they have to perform to risk a spot and weighed against letting someone else go. What exactly are we looking for to justify keeping them ultimately?

  117. 117 SportiVore said at 8:00 PM on April 30th, 2012:

    Good read, Tommy.

    Random tangent, here are some brief press conference takeaways for me (yeah I know, it’s just a press conference):

    All of the top 3 picks are blue-collar guys. All three talk a lot about the passion for the game. All three mention that a lazy football player is akin to the seven deadly sins. All three are RELENTLESS effort guys. None seem phased by the press conference, etc. Sometimes you see guys that are kinda deer in headlights in the PC. All three seemed pretty at ease.

    1) Fletcher Cox

    Looks like he’s about to bust out of his suit. Big dude. I think Wash said he’s the biggest 6’4 you’ve ever seen, or something like that. Sounds about right. Seems focused and motivated. Mentioned thinking of being a draft pick in HS and always working to that goal. Takes pride in his state, mentioned wanting to be “one of the guys from Mississippi that made it to the next level.” Again, a focused, driven type of comment. Thinks he could be a major league baseball player, confidence.

    2) Mychal Kendricks

    Very businesslike approach. Admitted to not knowing much about the Eagles (seemingly not about the NFL either). Doesn’t mean anything really. But I loved his demeanor. Very confident. In his interview with Spadaro he talked about how far he could have gone as a soccer player. I like that confidence. He believes in himself. For a guy who is expected to taking a starting job from day 1, you need a guy who isn’t going to doubt or worry, but know he’s ready. Or, to be prepared to make mistakes at 100 mph and be okay with that. Considers himself an underdog too, so I like that chip-on-the-shoulder mentality. Shows up on tape.

    3) Vinny Curry

    Everyone is ecstatic about his love for the Eagles and it really is great. His passion is evident. Emotional guy. Comports himself well. Confident. Like Kendricks, carries that chip-on-the-shoulder attitude. Mentioned people expected him to get beaten at the Senior Bowl, he dominated.

    Anyway, sorry for the randomness. Enjoyed listening to all three guys. All intelligent guys, all have high character, all play with ridiculous effort. I cannot imagine those first three picks going any better.