Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'eagles insider'.



More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Forums

  • Eagles and Football
    • Talk About The Eagles
    • Rant 'N Rave!@#
    • Around the NFL
    • Ask "Dave"
    • Lincoln Financial Field: Getting In & Hanging Out
    • Eagles Fans Around the World
    • NFL Draft and College Football
    • Fantasy Football
    • Sports Betting
  • Off Topic
    • In and Around Philadelphia
    • What's Up

Product Groups

  • Amazon.com
  • Fanatics.com
  • Rakuten.com
  • Fubo.TV
  • Click for Affiliate Links
  • Under Armour
  • GoFundMe

Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Joined

  • Start

    End


Group


Twitter


Instagram


Snapchat


Skype


Website URL


Yahoo


Jabber


Original EMB Join Date


Original EMB Member Number

Found 149 results

  1. Roob's observations: Why Roseman's trade-up attempts could fail Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER The challenges of trading up, Kyle Hamilton’s 40 speed, Bobby Hoying’s historic 1998 season and Thanksgiving with Rich Kotite. We’ll start there with this weekend’s edition of Roob’s Random Eagles Offseason Observations. 1. I’d bet anything Howie Roseman would love to trade up a few spots from 15 and get out of 18, but it’s easier said than done, and I’m not sure he’ll be able to find trade partners. There’s a growing notion around the league that the real value in this draft is in the top 10 picks and then in the 2nd and 3rd round. If that is the case, then 15 and 18 are kind of no-man’s land. If you feel like you can land the same caliber player at the end of the first or into the second round as you can in the middle of the first, then you don’t want to pick at 18. You want to get out of there, be patient, add some picks and then get the players you want later. But the buzz around the draft is that it might be difficult or impossible to move into that top 10 or 12 because teams that are already in there know what the Eagles know and don’t want to give up those picks. Because they don’t like the middle of the first round either, and they want one of those handful of potentially elite players. And it might be tricky also to trade down from 18 because why would anybody give up late 1st-round value or Day 2 value for less value in the middle or end of the first round? If that all happens and the Eagles wind up picking at 15 and 18, they’ll still have a chance to get a couple good players. They just might not get the overall value out of this draft that they would if Howie can pull off some moves. 2. I know there’s a lot of skepticism about Roseman’s comment the other day that the trade with the Saints wasn’t made to enhance the Eagles' chances of possibly drafting a top quarterback in the 2023 draft. Here’s the thing. Of course that’s part of the equation. We don’t know if Jalen Hurts will be the guy long term. And it would be silly to pretend there’s no chance the Eagles will be thinking QB in next year’s draft. But trading No. 16 and 19 for No. 18 and the Saints' 2023 1st-round pick – along with a 3rd-round pick this year and a 2nd-round pick in 2024 – makes sense no matter what your quarterback situation is. Even if the Eagles had Donovan McNabb in his prime you still make this trade. So maybe the trade ends up helping the Eagles get a QB a year from now, maybe it doesn’t. Either way, it's still a strong move. 3. Remember Howard Mudd? He was Eagles offensive line coach in 2011 and 2012, Andy Reid’s last two years here. Mudd was a legendary o-line coach, but he was also a three-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman with the 49ers and was named to the NFL’s all-decade team for the 1960s. Howard was a 9th-round draft pick out of tiny Hillsdale (Mich.) College in 1964, and you know how he found out he was drafted? The 49ers mailed a letter to the Hillsdale athletic director informing him they had drafted Mudd. The AD had Mudd come down to his office, showed him the letter and an NFL career was born. 4. Jalen Hurts Stat of the Week: Hurts last year became only the 15th player in NFL history to rush for 750 yards with a 5.6 average or higher and at least 10 rushing touchdowns. In the last 48 years, only Eric Dickerson, Barry Sanders, Maurice Jones-Drew, Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, Nick Chubb and Kyler Murray have also done that. 5. I laugh whenever I read how Kyle Hamilton is supposedly dropping in the draft because he ran such a slow 40 at the Combine - 4.59. Hamilton is a big, strong, rangy, intelligent, instinctive safety who made plays all over the field at Notre Dame. If he drops out of the top 10 and starts drifting toward the Eagles because of his 40 time, teams are crazy and I would do anything within reason to snag him. He’s one of the true potentially elite players in this draft. So what about that 4.59? Dawk ran 4.62. Malcolm Jenkins ran 4.57. You don’t need elite speed to be an elite player. If you have elite intelligence and instinct and see the play happening before it happens, you’ll play fast, and that’s what Hamilton does. His ability and understanding of the game allow him to play faster than his 40 time. And if teams really think he's too slow to be an elite NFL safety, I'll take him in a heartbeat. 6. The last time the Eagles had two Hall of Famers on the field at the same time was 1997, with Brian Dawkins in his second year and Richard Dent in his 14th. The last time they had two Hall of Famers on the field at the same time on offense was 1968, when Bob Brown and Mike Ditka played 11 games together. 7. We’ve talked a lot about how the Eagles ranked 31st in the NFL last year with just 29 sacks, matching the fewest they’ve ever had in a season since sacks became an official stat in 1982. But let's look at the numbers behind the numbers. What makes that number worse is that six of those 29 – more than 20 percent – came in one game vs. the Lions that they led by as many as 41 points. Four more came in Dallas in a game the Eagles trailed by as many as 27 points. That leaves 19 sacks for the Eagles’ 15 other games. Five times they had no sacks. Four times they had one sack. They were 2-7 in those nine games. They had six total sacks in eight home games, which is the fewest in NFL history. They had one or fewer sacks in seven of eight games against playoff teams. Can’t win like that. Can’t win without making QBs feel uncomfortable. Haason Reddick will help. Solid pickup. But it was only a start. The Eagles need more. 8. I still marvel at Bobby Hoying’s 1998 season. He threw 224 passes without a touchdown. That’s an NFL record. He threw nine interceptions. That’s not quite an NFL record, but it’s the most INTs without a TD over the last 44 years. He had a 45.6 passer rating, 2nd-lowest in the NFL since the late 1970s (ahead of only Ryan Leaf’s 39.0 rating the same year). He averaged 4.3 yards per pass attempt, lowest in NFL history. He averaged 8.4 yards per completion, tied for the worst in history. He went 1-7 in his eight starts, the one win coming over a 2-6 Lions team when he threw for 97 yards. He generated 35 points in those eight starts, That’s 4.4 points per game. He put up the equivalent to 1 ½ field goals per start. Of the 114 passes he completed, none went for more than 38 yards and 41 – more than a third – went for five yards or less. Quite possibly the worst season a quarterback has ever had. 9. I thought it would be fun to find the best player the Eagles have ever drafted with each pick in the first round. So I started going through it. Best top overall pick would be Chuck Bednarik. Best No. 2 pick Donovan McNabb. Then Jerry Sisemore at No. 3, Lane Johnson at No. 4, then Steve Van Buren, Charle Young and Clarence Peaks. Then I got to pick No. 8 and the choices were a few guys from the late 1940s and early 1950s – end Neill Armstrong and halfbacks Clyde Scott and Chet Mutryn – plus Michael Haddix and Antone Davis. That’s it. Armstrong caught 76 passes in a nondescript Eagles career. Scott rushed for 402 yards in his career. Mutryn never even played for the Eagles. Haddix is one of the greatest 1st-round busts in franchise history, which leaves Antone, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to put him on a list with Bednarik, Van Buren and other Eagles greats. So I just abandoned the whole idea. 10. It was the day before Thanksgiving in 1993, and after practice me and another Eagles beat guy were summoned into head coach Rich Kotite’s office. Rich was furious. We had both been critical of the team, and Rich felt like screaming at us. I had written a story critical of the team’s free agency signings. After the Great Exodus that saw Reggie, Seth, Clyde, Keith Jackson, Eric Allen and so many others leave town, the Eagles began to fill holes with a pathetic parade of aging, fading free agents, and most were disasters. From Tim Harris to Keith Millard to Ken O’Brien to Erik McMillan to William Perry to James Lofton to Michael Carter to Mark Duper … it was just one washed-up veteran after another. So Richie starts screaming and cursing and carrying on, and he finally paused long enough for me to offer, "But Rich, all your free agents do suck.” At which point a PR guy in the room screamed at me, "What about Vai Sikahema?” Which was hilarious because Vai was a nice addition and still a capable punt returner, but he was also 31, in his final NFL season, already eying up a TV career, and if he’s the centerpiece of your rebuild you might be in a little trouble. Finally, Rich was done with us, and as we were escorted out of the room, I said, "Happy Thanksgiving, Rich.” He didn't say anything. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/eagles-observations-why-howie-rosemans-draft-trade-attempts-could-fail
  2. In Roob's Observations: Roseman's secret weapon in the draft Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER Trying to understand Howie’s plan, a crazy Bryce Brown stat, a Dallas Goedert prediction and the most anonymous Eagle in history. That’s just a taste of what’s in store for you in this weekend’s Roob’s Random Eagles Offseason Observations! 1. Part of me just assumes the plan has to be to get out of the first round in two weeks with a receiver and a cornerback. Because 1) the Eagles haven’t significantly addressed either position so far, 2) they can’t go into a season with playoff aspirations with Zach McPhearson as CB2 and Zach Pascal as WR3, 3) they’ve already addressed edge rusher with Haason Reddick,and 4) WR and CB are positions that are strong where the Eagles pick in the middle of the first round. But it’s not like Howie Roseman to go into a draft locked into drafting for need, and he’s right about that. It’s a dangerous way to go because that’s when you reach. So has he backed himself into a corner and forced himself to draft WR/CB at 15 and 18 since he hasn’t addressed those positions? And here’s what I decided: Roseman is confident he can land a potential Day 1 starter in the second round at whatever position he doesn’t draft in the first round, which gives him the flexibility to go in any direction with those first three picks instead of being locked into WR/CB with the first two. And – surprisingly - history says he may be right. Relatively speaking, Roseman has drafted much better in the second round than the first (I know, I know, low bar). Since he became GM in 2010, he’s drafted 12 players in the second round, and most of them were either starters or key contributors as rookies: Nate Allen, Mychal Kendricks, Zach Ertz, Jordan Matthews, Dallas Goedert, Miles Sanders and Landon Dickerson – and even Jalen Hurts in a way. The only ones who made little or no impact as rookies were Jaiquawn Jarrett, Vinny Curry, JJAW and Sidney Jones, and we knew Jones wasn’t going to play as a rookie because of his Achilles injury. Five of his 12 second-rounders started double-digit games as rookies. And five of his 10 1st-round picks have started double-digit games as rookies. He’s really swung and missed more in the first round (Fireman Danny, Marcus Smith, Derek Barnett, Andre Dillard, Jalen Reagor) than the second (Jarrett, JJAW). The Eagles have No. 51 in the second round, and there will be good 2nd-round value at corner, receiver and edge. The way it’s gone around here, the Eagles may have a better chance of nailing 51 than 15 or 18. 2. Jalen Hurts has had more seasons in his career with 26 combined rushing and passing touchdowns than Troy Aikman. 3. Nobody in NFL history has ever had more 150-yard rushing performance before their 22nd birthday than Bryce Brown. 4. In 2013, Nick Foles averaged 14.2 yards per completion. That’s highest in the NFL over the last 15 years. 5. Devon Allen is the 21st-fastest 110-meter hurdler in world history with his 12.99 at the Diamond League Final in Zagreb, Croatia, last September soon after placing fourth in the Olympics. Allen edged Olympic gold medalist Hansle Parchment of Jamaica and moved up to No. 12 in U.S. history over the 42-inch barriers. But if Allen makes the Eagles’ roster, he won’t be the fastest hurdler in NFL history. Renaldo "Skeets” Nehemiah, who went to Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School in Central Jersey, set a then-world record of 12.93 in 1981 at the Weltklasse in Zurich, and more than 40 years later that remains No. 9 in world history and No. 7 on the all-time U.S. list. Even though Skeets didn’t play college football, he decided in 1982 to try out for the NFL, and among the teams that worked him out was the Eagles. He signed with the 49ers and over the next three years caught 43 passes for 754 yards and four TDs, all from Joe Montana. In 1984 he won a Super Bowl ring. Nehemiah returned to track in 1985 but never approached his pre-football times. 6. I’ll be shocked if Dallas Goedert doesn’t go over 1,000 yards this year. And that’s not even going out on a limb. If you take his production in 11 games after the Zach Ertz trade and project it over 17 games you get 72 catches for 1,091 yards and a 15.1 average. How many tight ends have caught 70 passes with a 15.0 average in a season? Gronk. 7. Jalen Reagor had 43 offensive touches last year – 33 catches, 10 runs. He gained five or fewer yards on 17 of those plays (11 catches, six runs). He became only the 5th WR in NFL history to net 350 or fewer yards on at least 43 touches in a season. Only the second drafted in the first round. 8. Is Sam Bradford the single most anonymous quarterback in Eagles history? I literally can’t remember one thing he did here. And it was only seven years ago. It’s hilarious. He came, he played, he left, without making any impression on anyone. And he wasn’t horrible. He went 7-7 in 2015, and that’s actually the only time in his career he started more than two games and didn’t have a losing record. He went into Dallas and beat the Cowboys. He threw for 320 yards three weeks in a row. He tied a franchise record with five 300-yard games. And this is crazy, but I just looked this up, and Bradford actually completed a pass of at least 50 yards to five different players that year (78 to Jordan Matthews, 62 to Riley Cooper, 60 to Zach Ertz, 60 to Brent Celek and 53 to Nelson Agholor). He was the first Eagles QB to do that since Donovan McNabb hit 50-yarders to seven guys in 2006 (87 yards to Hank Baskett, 84 to Donte’ Stallworth, 60 to L.J. Smith, 60 to Matt Schobel, 55 to Correll Buckhalter, 52 to Brian Westbrook and 50 to Reggie Brown). And get this. Bradford is the only quarterback in Eagles history to start 10 games in a season and only play one year in Philly. And the only one to make $24 million for starting 14 games. But to me he’ll always be the guy between Mark Sanchez and Carson Wentz. The human footnote. 9. Donovan really did have nobody to throw to most of the time he was here. During Five’s 11 years in an Eagles uniform, the leading WR targets were Todd Pinkston [380], Reggie Brown [337], James Thrash [307] and Greg Lewis [243]. Holy Yikesville. After D-Jack [237] and T.O. [219], the next few were Kevin Curtis [213], Torrance Small [193], Charles Johnson [172] and Freddie Mitchell [171]. What a collection. He had Brian Westbrook for seven of those years, and he was a hell of a receiving back. But as far as outside receivers? Big Red did him no favors. Really is incredible what Donovan was able to achieve here with legitimate WRs only 3 ½ of his 11 seasons – T.O. in 2004 and half of 2005, DeSean in 2008 and 2009 and Maclin as well in 2009. 10. I’m just warning you: By the end of the draft, you’re going to be so sick of the phrase, "He loves ball.” https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/eagles-observations-howie-rosemans-secret-weapon-nfl-draft
  3. In Roob's Observations, an underrated area the Eagles have to improve Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER An underrated area of desperate need, a first-time Pro Bowler in 2022 and legendary sports writer Red Smith’s take on the 1960 Eagles-Packers NFL Championship Game. We’re all over the place in this week’s Roob’s 10 Random Offseason Eagles Observations! 1. One of the more surprising stats from 2021: The Eagles only allowed 16 touchdown drives of 75 or more yards last year, and only eight teams allowed fewer – the Bills [7], Saints [10], Dolphins [11], Giants [12], 49ers [13], Titans [14] and Patriots and Bucs [15 each]. So why were they 18th in points allowed? Field position. Thanks mainly to poor special teams (and to a lesser extent turnovers deep in their own territory), the Eagles had to defend a short field more than almost anybody last year. Their opponents’ average drive started between the 36- and 37-yard-line, which means they started out less than 64 yards from the end zone. That was 8th-worst in the league. That also explains the disparity between the Eagles ranking 10th in yards allowed but 18th in points allowed. Why was field position so bad? First of all, the Eagles had a terrible punter. After a promising start, Arryn Siposs was awful, and he finished at 43.9 yards per punt – 29th out of 33 punters who had at least 32 attempts – with a 38.7 net, which ranked 31st. He was last in both categories the last six weeks of the season. But it was more than just bad punting. The Eagles ranked 24th covering punts and 28th covering kicks. They were one of only three teams ranked in the bottom 10 covering both punts and kicks. We talk so much about receivers and corners and edge rushers and safeties, but the Eagles have some work to do on special teams, too. Starting with a new punter and some young guys who can run around and make a tackle on cover teams. 2. The Eagles have drafted 42 quarterbacks. Only five of them had a career winning record: Donovan McNabb [98-62-1], Randall Cunningham [82-52-1], Carson Wentz [44-40], Nick Foles [29-27] and West Philly High School graduate Bill Mackrides [2-1]. Jalen Hurts goes into 2022 with a 9-10 record. 3. One thing to keep in mind in the wake of the trade with the Saints is that even with unloading one of their three 1st-round picks, the Eagles still have two top-20 picks – which they haven’t had since 1973 – and five picks in the first three rounds – which they haven’t had since 1995. They’re one of only two teams with four 1st-round picks over the next two years (the Lions do also). And if they stay where they are, this will be the first time in franchise history they’ve had three picks in the first two rounds in three consecutive drafts. They had 11 picks in the first three rounds before the trade. Now they have 13. That’s the beauty of this trade. Roseman created a 2nd-round pick and 3rd-round pick out of thin air without compromising the Eagles’ ability to upgrade immediately. 4. That said, all these picks also give Roseman the flexibility to trade up if it makes sense. And I think it will make sense. I figure guys like Jermaine Johnson, Jordan Davis and Garrett Wilson are really good candidates for a trade-up. If they slip out of the top 10, don’t be surprised if Howie starts working the phones trying to move up a few spots to snag one of them. That extra 3rd-round pick in this year’s draft the Eagles got in the Saints trade could come in handy. That 3 and maybe one of the Eagles’ 5th-round picks could probably get the Eagles in range to strike. I just don’t see Howie sitting at 15 and waiting around if he can move up for a top-10 type of talent. 5. From 1982 through 2000, the Eagles didn't have a single offensive lineman make a Pro Bowl. Nobody. That’s 19 consecutive years without a Pro Bowl offensive lineman. In the 21 years since, they’ve had nine different offensive linemen make a total of 29 Pro Bowls. In franchise history, eight Eagles o-linemen have made at least three Pro Bowls. Four of the eight were coached by Jeff Stoutland. The Eagles have had at least one Pro Bowl offensive lineman in each of Stoutland’s nine seasons. His linemen have made a total of 17 Pro Bowls since he got here in 2013. 6. Landon Dickerson will be a Pro Bowler in 2022. 7. Boston Scott has 13 rushing touchdowns on 228 carries in his first 45 NFL games. No other running back in NFL history has ever had 13 rushing TDs on 228 or fewer carries in his first 45 games. 8. How crazy was Randall Cunningham’s NFL record of 8.0 yards per carry in 1990? He broke the previous record by more than a yard per carry. Bobby Douglas of the Bears averaged 6.9 yards per carry on 141 rushing attempts in 1972, and that stood as the NFL record for yards-per-carry with a minimum of 100 attempts for 18 years, until Randall destroyed it in 1990 with 942 yards on 118 carries. That stood as the NFL record for 16 years, until Michael Vick averaged 8.4 yards per carry in 2006 for the Falcons on 123-for-1,039. Randall also threw 30 touchdowns in that 1990 season, and he should have been MVP over Joe Montana, who had four fewer TDs, three more interceptions and 780 fewer rushing yards. 9. Nick Foles is the only quarterback in NFL history to throw 2,000 passes but never start 12 games in a season. 10. Why is Red Smith considering the greatest sports writer ever? Here’s the first few paragraphs of his syndicated column the day after the Eagles beat the Packers in the 1960 NFL Championship Game at Franklin Field: "The clock seemed to race and the players to crawl. In the stands of Franklin Field, 67,352 witnesses - more than the proudest civic booster could claim for the entire population of Green Bay, Wis. - swiveled heads like watchers of a tennis match, apprehensive eyes shifting from the struggle on the field to the dial on the upper deck, back to the field, back to the clock. "For 59 minutes plus, the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers, 1958 dogs of the National Football League but now champions of their sections, had heaved and hauled and grappled and threshed across the squashy turf for $2011.41 per Hessian, the difference between winning and losing the title of world’s toughest mercenaries. "One minute, 20 seconds had remained when the Eagles, leading by 17-13, punted for the last time and the Packers started their last grinding advance toward the goal line, 65 yards away. Painfully, they hacked out gains, and every yard seemed like a city block as the seconds melted away. "Now the clock’s hands were barely split at the top of the dial. From the Philadelphia 22-yard-line, Bart Starr, the Green Bay quarterback, passed to Jim Taylor. That wonderful runner ducked his head like a charging bull, bolted like an enraged beer truck into Philadelphia’s congested secondary, twisted, staggered, bucked and wrestled on, a step at a time, to go down at last in a sprawling pileup nine yards from victory., "Jess Richardson, 270 pounds of courtly Alabama violence playing tackle for the Eagles, helped the big fullback to his feet and stroked his torso compassionately. "They started off the field together, a winner and a loser after a genuinely first-rate clambake. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/eagles-observations-underrated-area-where-drastic-improvement-needed
  4. What the draft experts said about Derek Barnett before the 2017 draft Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER When the Eagles drafted Derek Barnett with the 14th pick overall five years ago, all we heard about was how he broke all of Reggie White’s records at Tennessee. Barnett didn’t quite turn out to be the next Reggie White. Barnett had 21 ½ sacks in five seasons with the Eagles. White once had 21 sacks in 12 games in one season. Barnett’s career never really got going. He wound up with more penalties than sacks in five years in Philly, and as he explores free agency, we thought it would be fun to look back at what all the draft experts were saying about him before the Eagles made him the 14th pick in the 2017 draft. Most of them raved about Barnett, but there were a couple doubters, whose words seem prescient today. We’re not trying to embarrass anybody, and these are all highly respected draft experts who clearly did their homework. But it is fascinating to look back five years later and take a look at what each of them saw in Barnett heading into the draft. Previously, we looked back at what the scouts said about Jalen Reagor before the 2020 draft and what they said about J.J. Arcega-Whiteside before the 2019 draft. Lance Zierlein, NFL.com "Strong edge presence with NFL-caliber hand usage and play strength. Barnett is one of the most productive defensive linemen to come out of the SEC in quite some time despite lacking the length and twitch that teams usually look for off the edge. His awareness and play traits should keep him near the action and he has the talent to step into a starting base end spot right away.” Comment: Zierlein, like many of the draft analysts, recognized Barnett’s lack of length and twitch. He did not realize what a handicap it would wind up being. NFL Mocks, Sayre Bedinger "Derek Barnett is one of the best pure pass rushers in the entire draft class. His greatest asset is his relentless motor, but this is a player that can really get around the edge in a hurry. Barnett has playmaking skills from the defensive end position, and he can apply pressure from both the right defensive end spot (his primary position) or the left defensive end spot. He also showed he can drop into coverage on occasion and showed phenomenal timed quickness in the three-cone drill at the Scouting Combine. More than anything else, Barnett’s effort, grit, and hustle shine in every game I watched.” Comment: Motor? Sure. Three-cone drill? Whatever. Drop into coverage? Ha. Get around the edge in a hurry? Nah. SI.com, Chris Burke "The production in college was special. Barnett recorded double-digit sacks in all three of his seasons at Tennessee, and he averaged 17.3 tackles for loss per year. He was such a force in the backfield that teams would hammer the opposite side of the line, rather than run right at him—Alabama did this, to a degree, even though it had first round-bound tackle Cam Robinson to block Barnett. He’s not a massive edge presence (6' 3", 259 pounds), but he plays with enough force to be able to hold the line. And as a pass rusher, it’s an effort-technique combo that gets the job done for him. When Barnett times the snap, he has the quickness to bend the edge and meet the QB at the top of his drop; when he’s met with a blocker, he unleashes an effective rip move to pull himself clear with his hands.” Comment: Burke made the same mistake so many draft analysts (and the Eagles) made, projecting Barnett’s college production into the NFL. Never happened. Never came close to happening. Bleacher Report (no writer listed) "As great as Barnett is, he's not a generational prospect like (Myles) Garrett. He's an excellent all-around pass-rusher who can handle himself against the run and showed occasional ability to drop into coverage without needing a roadmap. He lacks an array of technical moves, however. … He's not Reggie White. But there are Mike Mamulas lurking in this draft, and Barnett is not that, either. He'll fit the system, upgrade the pass rush and not get pushed around.” Comment: Bleacher Report sure nailed Garrett being a better edge prospect in 2017. Garrett went No. 1 overall and has 58.5 sacks in five years – nearly three times as many as Barnett. They were wrong about the Mamula comparison. Mike had 31 ½ sacks in his first five seasons – 10 more than Barnett. CBS Sports, Pete Prisco "Barnett gets dogged for not being athletic enough, which is a bizarre thing to be concerned about for a guy who has the pass-rushing chops that Barnett does. Ever heard of a guy named Reggie White? He was pretty good, and Barnett broke his Tennessee record for sacks in a career, finishing with 33 for his career. He's got a non-stop motor and outstanding hands. If he'd tested better, we'd have been talking about him going even higher.” Comment: OK, you should just never ever write: "Ever heard of a guy named Reggie White?” unless you’re really sure you want to make that comparison. Maybe that concern about Barnett’s athleticism wasn’t that bizarre after all. CheeseHeadTV, Abraham Jaroszewski "While Barnett showcases many traits that make him a great pass rusher, the first one that immediately jumps off the screen is his speed off the edge. Most of his pressures and in turn sacks came as a speed rusher to the outside shoulder of the offensive tackle, displaying elite burst to beat the tackle out of his stance before getting to the quarterback. Few players enter the draft with a more proven track-record of sacking the quarterback. But despite his illustrious sack totals, Barnett’s pass rush leads to more questions than answers. While his speed rush and hand usage are terrific, he does not have much in the way of counter moves and lacks the ability to overpower his opponents. The latter in particular draws into question whether or not he can win in the NFL consistently as purely a speed rusher.” Comment: Dude nailed it. Jaroszewski was one of the few draft analysts who recognized that Barnett’s crazy college production was likely not going to translate into the NFL. Note to Eagles: Hire Abraham Jaroszewski. Dane Brugler, CBS Sports "Unlike most productive pass rushers, Barnett lacks explosive traits, but makes up for his methodical burst with powerful hands and off-the-charts awareness to consistently be in the right place at the right time. Although he doesn’t have a high pro ceiling as a pass rusher due to his average athleticism, Barnett is a reliable run defender and his consistency on every snap is valuable.” Comment: Brugler was one of the more restrained analysts, noting Barnett’s lack of explosive traits and absence of a high ceiling. But that "consistency on every snap” is something we never saw here. Unless we’re talking about consistently underachieving. Mel Kiper, ESPN "When you see him on tape and you watch him and in the NFL will he struggle a bit against these elite offensive tackles? He did a great job in college, will it translate to the NFL the way it did at the collegiate level? … I think when you look at Barnett, I mean, the production is incredible, that's what you're hoping if you draft Derek Barnett, that he can overcome not having great measurables to continue what he did in college and translate it to the NFL.” Comment: Kiper is clearly skeptical of Barnett as an NFL edge rusher, although he never quite comes out and says it. But he was definitely on the right track. Walter Football (no writer listed) "A smooth player who has some natural pass-rushing skills for the pros. Barnett's hands are very good for a player entering the NFL. He shows a nice ability to use his hands and feet at the same time. Tackles try to get a hold of him, but Barnett has strong hands to slap them away and get free of blocks. Once Barnett is free, he has a real burst to close and is adept at getting the quarterback on the ground. Some who have had Barnett's skill set haven't always been able to translate it. However, I would bank on Barnett's production and think he has a solid career.” Comment: About that solid career ... oops. HogsHaven.com, Gabe Ward "Derek Barnett is one of the top edge defenders in the draft because of his fundamentals and technique. Most of the time we project a prospect - particularly an edge defender - based on their athleticism and wish their pass rushing technique and hand usage was as refined as Barnett’s. Well, projecting Barnett is sort of like doing the opposite. Personally, I think he is an adequate athlete to rush off the edge as a DE or OLB and I even liked what little I saw of him in coverage. Barnett doesn’t boast any elite athletic traits and he doesn’t do anything fancy, he just consistently beats his man off the snap, swats down some hands, turns the edge, and makes a play.” Comment: Ward was kind of on the right track. No elite traits? Checks out. Doesn’t do anything fancy? Checks out. Consistently beats his man? Never happened. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/what-draft-experts-said-about-eagles-derek-barnett-2017-draft
  5. In Roob's 10 Observations: Making sense of the Derek Barnett signing Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER Why I can't get too outraged about the Derek Barnett signing, a crazy Steve Van Buren stat, two players who shouldn't be in the Eagles Hall of Fame and a WR Zach Pascal reminds me of. It's all here in this weekend's edition of Roob's 10 Random Eagles Offseason Observations! 1. It’s been a few days now since the Eagles signed Derek Barnett, and nobody has reported the contract numbers. This is potentially very good news. The reason the numbers aren't out there is because the agent doesn’t want them out there. That’s where "leaked” contract numbers almost always come from. When a player signs a contract that makes the agent look good, the numbers are everywhere the instant the contract is signed. When the numbers don’t show up, that means the agent intentionally withheld them. It’s stupid, but that’s the way the game is played. We’ll get the numbers in the next few days, and I’d be surprised if Barnett got more than $5 million per year over two years. Considering that would make him the 61st-highest-paid edge rusher in the league in 2022 based on average annual salary, that’s fair. From 2018 through 2020, Barnett ranked 46th among defensive ends in sacks, 38th in tackles for loss and 21st in quarterback hits. If the Eagles had signed a guy with Barnett’s exact same resume from another team, nobody would have gotten worked up about it. But because it’s Barnett, it looks bad. Because we’ve seen all his mis-steps and lived with his disappointments since 2017. He’s a failed 1st-round pick. But he’s no longer being paid like a 1st-round pick, and he won’t be expected to perform like a 1st-round pick. He’s now a 3rd or 4th pass rusher with a presumably modest salary, and if you can get a guy who averaged 6 sacks, 18 QB hits and 8.0 tackles for loss in his three full seasons before 2021 at this kind of price, it’s not a bad deal. Now, if the numbers come out and it’s something like $7 million a year? Then we have a big problem. Then I'll be outraged. 2. The Eagles haven’t drafted a Pro Bowl defensive back in 20 years, since Lito Sheppard and Michael Lewis in 2002. During that span, they’ve drafted 33 defensive backs – four in the 2nd round, three in the 3rd round, 10 in the 4th round, six in the 5th round, six in the 6th round and four in the 7th round. League-wide, there have been 141 Pro Bowl d-backs drafted during that 20-year stretch. In the previous 20 years – 1983 through 2002 – the Eagles drafted six Pro Bowl defensive backs (Wes Hopkins, Eric Allen, Bobby Taylor, Brian Dawkins, Lewis and Sheppard). 3. Correll Buckhalter had more seasons with at least 50 carries and a 4.8 average than Steve Van Buren. 4. If the Eagles draft Chris Olave Jameson Williams or Garrett Wilson, I’m fine with that. They’re all terrific talents. But if they elect to focus on defense in the 1st round and then select someone like North Dakota State’s Christian Watson in the 2ndround, I’m all for it. Great size at 6-4, 210, ran a 4.36 at the Combine, polished route runner, terrific hands and answered all the questions about level of competition with a monster performance at the Senior Bowl. Watson might be gone when the Eagles pick at 51, and the way things are going he could even go late in the 1st round. But he seems like the sort of guy Howie Roseman would move down in the 1st round draft or up in the 2nd round to snag, and Nick Sirianni must love this kid. A WR room with DeVonta Smith, Christian Watson, Quez Watkins and Pascal, and you’re on the right track. 5. Boston Scott last year had eight rushing TDs on 88 carries. Only nine running backs in NFL history have had more rushing TDs on 88 or fewer carries. 6. I’m so tired of hearing so-called Eagles fans ****ling about how "They only beat one winning team.” What nonsense. And it’s all coming from people who picked the Eagles to go 4-13 or 5-12 who are trying to justify how much they misjudged Nick Sirianni and the 2021 team. The Eagles were legitimately a playoff team last year, no matter who they played, no matter who they beat, no matter what lousy quarterbacks they faced. I guarantee you no Rams fans were complaining in 1999 when the Greatest Show on Turf won the Super Bowl without beating a single team with a winning record during the regular season. I didn’t hear any Tampa Bay fans ripping the Bucs in 2020 because they went 1-4 against winning teams in the regular season. Heck, the Giants won Super Bowls in 2007 and 2011 and beat one winning team each year before the playoffs. Complaining about losses I can understand. Complaining about wins I just don't get. 7. As much as we project what the Eagle will do with the 15th, 16th and 19th picks, I put the odds of Howie Roseman actually picking players in all three spots at about 7 percent. In his 11 drafts as Eagles GM – 2010 through 2014 and 2016 through 2021 – Roseman has made 36 trades on draft weekend or the days leading up to it. He made moves involving the Eagles’ original 1st-round pick in 2010, 2012, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021 – seven out of his 11 drafts. If a player the Eagles covet but they don’t believe will last until 15 – say Kyle Hamilton, Ahmad "Sauce” Gardner or maybe Jordan Davis - starts slipping, Howie has the assets and flexibility to move up and snag him. And if he likes the depth at a certain position – say defensive tackle or receiver – and he believes he can get similar value later in the 1st round while adding picks, he won’t hesitate to get out of one of those picks and still land a player he likes. Howie loves the action and has a hard time sitting still on draft weekend. Doesn’t always take the right player, but he sure knows how to wheel and deal and maximize the picks’ value. 8. The NFL started tracking receiving targets in 1993. What Eagle has the highest yards-per-target on record with a minimum of 25 catches? DeSean Jackson? Nope, he’s 4th at 9.5 yards per target. T.O.? Nah, he’s 5th at 9.0. Donte’ Stallworth is 2nd at 10.4. So who’s first? Would you believe backup tight end Richard Rodgers? The veteran backup tight end has been targeted 34 times as an Eagle and caught 27 passes for 363 yards for a franchise-best 10.7 yards per target. You could have given me 1,000 guesses and I wouldn’t have guessed RichRod. 9. Zach Pascal reminds me of Jason Avant. Tough dude, slot specialist, terrific blocker, unselfish team guy. Avant averaged 41-for-511 in his seven full seasons with the Eagles, and Pascal has averaged 41-for-540 in his three full seasons in Indy. Considering the $1.5 million price tag, I’m fine with Pascal – as long as the Eagles still draft a WR in the first three rounds. 10. Someone needs to explain to me why Bill Hewitt and Ollie Matson are in the Eagles Hall of Fame. Nothing personal. Both were great players. But not here. Hewitt played in the 1930s and made three all-pro teams and reached two NFL Championship Games with the Bears – winning one. But he only spent 3 ½ seasons with the Eagles and only played in 38 games. He caught 51 passes for 699 yards and 10 touchdowns as an Eagle and was on four teams that went a combined 13-27-2. And Matson spent the last three seasons of a 15-year career here and only played in 40 games for the Eagles. Matson was a five-time all-pro with the Cards but by the time he arrived in Philly he was 34 and a part-time player. He rushed for 608 yards and caught 25 passes for 301 yards in three years with the Eagles and scored 10 touchdowns. Hewitt and Matson were both inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the early 1970s but not for anything they did with the Eagles. The Eagles’ Hall of Fame should be reserved for those who truly made a monumental impact on the franchise. Hewitt and Matson didn’t come close. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/eagles-observations-making-sense-derek-barnett-free-agency-signing
  6. Eagles add a starting linebacker in free agency Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER The Eagles on Saturday agreed to terms with free agent linebacker Kyzir White, who spent the last four years with the Chargers and had a breakout season this past year in his first season as a full-time starter. It’s a one-year deal that with incentives could be worth as much as $5 million, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The Chargers drafted White in the 4th round in 2018 out of West Virginia as a safety but converted him to linebacker during his rookie preseason. White started 37 games for the Chargers, including 10 in 2020 and all 17 last year, when he blossomed with two interceptions, a sack, seven tackles for loss, four QB hits and 144 tackles, 8th-most in the league. White, who played at Emmaus High School near Allentown, turned 26 on Thursday. He was ranked as the 8th-best linebacker available in free agency this year by Pro Football Focus. The Eagles have now added two significant and very different linebackers in free agency with pass-rusher Haaason Reddick expected to play the SAM linebacker role and White, who is more of a weak-side linebacker and can drop back into coverage but is also a very good tackler and can play in the box. White played 981 snaps last year, or 84 percent of the Chargers’ defensive plays, and if the Eagles don’t make any more linebacker moves he would project as the closest thing the Eagles have to an every-down linebacker, with middle linebacker T.J. Edwards presumably focusing more on run downs than last year and Reddick lining up mainly on passing downs in a variety of roles. Other linebackers currently on the roster include 2020 3rd-round pick Davion Taylor, 2021 7th-round pick Patrick Johnson, 2020 6th-round pick Shaun Bradley and 2021 6th-round pick JaCoby Stevens. Also, the Eagles added Christian Ellis in January on a futures contract. White becomes the Eagles’ third significant outside offseason addition, along with Reddick and wide receiver Zach Pascal. The Eagles have also re-signed Andre Chachere, Greg Ward, Nate Herbig, Anthony Harris, Boston Scott, Derek Barnett and Fletcher Cox, who were on the team last year. White missed Nick Sirianni by one year with the Chargers – Sirianni’s last year in San Diego was 2017 – although Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen was in San Diego with White from 2018 through 2020. White’s older brother Kevin was the Bears’ 1st-round pick in 2015, also out of West Virginia, and is currently with the Saints. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/nfl-free-agency-2022-eagles-agree-terms-linebacker-kyzir-white
  7. Appreciating Kelce, Fletch and B.G. as end of era approaches Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER They're three of the best to ever wear an Eagles uniform. And they're all coming back for one last run. Fletcher Cox re-signed for another year, Jason Kelce decided to play another season and Brandon Graham is under contract for one more year. Amidst their bid to get younger and healthier and faster, the Eagles are making room for three of their all-time greats. Graham is heading into his 13th year as an Eagle, Kelce into his 12th and Cox into his 11th. Three Super Bowl champs. Three future Eagles Hall of Famers. Three legends. One of the hardest things for any NFL team is figuring out when to cut ties with older players. They’re generally locker room leaders and popular with fans, but they also come with big contracts and often eroding skills. Kelce is 34, Graham 33 and Cox 31. They’ve all played over 160 games in an Eagles uniform and zero games in any other uniform. Only four others have done that - Jerry Sisemore, Randy Logan, Chuck Bednarik and Brent Celek. There are only eight active position players who’ve played at least 160 career games, all for the same team. The Eagles have three of the eight. So the Eagles’ veteran nucleus of Cox, Kelce and Graham is unique in the NFL and in the Eagles' 89-year history. Nobody else has kept three starters together this long. If each plays 15 games this year – which is possible – they will rank 4th, 6th and 7th in franchise history in games played by the end of the season. It’s a risk. The Eagles this year will pay Cox and Kelce about $14 million each, and Graham is going into the final year of a three-year, $40 million contract. Kelce is still the best center in the game, but Cox has been declining for a couple years now, and Graham is coming off a torn Achilles. Howie Roseman speaks a lot about taking the emotion out of roster decisions, but there’s no question that he and everybody in the organization feels very strongly about all three of these guys, and it’s not easy to say good-bye. But all three have contracts that expire after this season, and most likely this will be it in Philly for Cox and Graham. How long Kelce remains is up to him, but by the end of this season he’ll be 35, and the day we’re all dreading is getting closer. Cox is a six-time Pro Bowler, Kelce a four-time all-pro, Graham a first-time Pro Bowl in 2020 in his 10th season. To find an Eagles team that had three players who had been with the team for 10 years you have to go back nearly 40 years, to 1983 with Harold Carmichael, Sisemore, Logan and Guy Morriss. That was a decade before free agency began and that’s the only other team in franchise history with at least three players who’d been on the roster for 10 years. The 1955 Eagles were close with Bobby Walston, Bednarik and Pete Pihos, but Pihos played only nine years. Bottom line is that in a lot of ways the 2022 season will mark the end of an era. Kelce, Cox and Graham are the last link to the Andy Reid Era. They survived the ups and downs of Chip Kelly, celebrated the championship run under Doug Pederson and helped ring in a new beginning under Nick Sirianni. They’ve been a part of five playoff teams and one unforgettable parade. They’ve embraced the city and the franchise. Cox from 2015 through 2020 was as dominating as any defensive lineman we’ve seen around here since the days of Reggie, Clyde and Jerome. B.G. through the sheer force of his will and determination shed the 1st-round bust tag to become a Pro Bowler. And Kelce is on his way to the Hall of Fame after watching 190 players get drafted ahead of him. These guys will be impossible to replace, and the Eagles will be a very different team with a very different personality once they’re gone. So enjoy Fletch, B.G. and Kelce while they’re still here. Appreciate how they play the game and how they represent the franchise and the city. Because the end of an era is just a few months away. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/appreciating-eagles-jason-kelce-fletcher-cox-and-brandon-graham-end-nears
  8. What Eagles' offseason QB pursuit means for Hurts Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER I strong>Is Jalen Hurts your guy? "There's no doubt about it." (Unless it's Russell Wilson.) Is Jalen Hurts your guy? "There's no doubt about it." (Unless it's Aaron Rodgers.) Is Jalen Hurts your guy? "There's no doubt about it." (Unless it's Deshaun Watson.) The real answer when Howie Roseman was asked at the Combine if Jalen Hurts was definitely the Eagles' quarterback moving forward should have been ... "Yeah, definitely. Unless we can find someone better." And that's fine. Nothing wrong with trying to upgrade at every position, including quarterback. And Roseman wouldn't have been doing his job if he didn't explore every imaginable quarterback option during the offseason. And just because the Eagles poked around the quarterback market the last month doesn't mean they don't value Hurts. They do. They look at him as a 23-year-old with an unparalleled work ethic and peerless athleticism and tremendous character who took a mediocre team to the playoffs in his first year as a starter and showed significant growth over his rookie year and should keep improving. But Wilson, Rodgers and Watson are three of the best to ever play the game. Matter of fact, along with Patrick Mahomes, they are the only four QBs with a career passer rating over 100. Rodgers, Watson and Wilson were all longshots. Rodgers was either going to retire or go back to the Packers. The Eagles were never on Watson's radar. Wilson seemed at least possible, especially with the Eagles' draft capital. But honestly, the odds that the Eagles were going to land one of those guys was remote when the offseason started. But Roseman had to do his due diligence. I believe Roseman and Nick Sirianni when they say how much they like Hurts. There's a lot to like about him as a person and as a young quarterback. If you're in the "HE CAN'T PLAY" camp, you're just a hater. If you're in the "HE'S DEFINITELY THE ANSWER" camp, you're just not being realistic. The truth is I don't know how much better he'll get. I don't know if he'll ever be accurate enough to lead a team on a deep playoff run. I don't know what his ceiling is. And neither do the Eagles. Which is why they were willing to ship every 1st-round pick they could scrounge up and presumably some other assets to land a Hall of Fame-caliber QB. But don't kid yourself. The Eagles' quarterback search isn't over. What we've learned over the past couple months isn't how committed the Eagles are to Hurts, it's how committed they are to finding the best possible quarterback to lead this team. They're not going to suddenly stop looking for a quarterback because Watson, Rodgers and Watson are no longer options. That's not how Howie thinks. That's not how he operates. And if they were willing to trade a bunch of picks for a veteran, there's no question they'd be willing to draft a quarterback in the 1st round -- if they're convinced he's an upgrade. The only real options where they're sitting are Pitt's Kenny Pickett and Liberty's Malik Willis, but it's easy to see the Eagles being enamored of Willis's arm strength, off-schedule throws and field vision. Would you really be shocked if the Eagles take him? No way. That "Quarterback Factory" line wasn't just a quote, it was a philosophy. Roseman wouldn't have said it if he didn't truly think that way. With three 1st-round picks, the Eagles have a tremendous amount of flexibility on Day 1 of the draft. And it's easy to imagine them letting Willis sit behind Hurts for a year and letting this all sort itself out. Now, we've all seen what can happen when a team with an established starting QB starts looking for another one. It can get ugly. Look at the Browns. They dipped their toes in the Watson waters and Baker Mayfield immediately wanted out. Heck, look how Carson Wentz reacted when the Eagles drafted Hurts. He hasn't been the same since. So there's a lot to weigh. A lot to consider. But Hurts is about the last guy I'd worry about reacting negatively to the Eagles' quarterback search. He's just not wired that way. He'll use it as positive motivation and continue trying to prove people wrong. Which is what he's always done. None of this means the Eagles have given up on Hurts. They like him. They're just never going to shut the door on finding someone they like more. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/what-eagles-offseason-quarterback-pursuit-means-jalen-hurts
  9. Eagles tender Nate Herbig, making his return in 2022 likely Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER The Eagles have issued valuable reserve offensive lineman Nate Herbig a tender at the right-of-first-refusal level, as reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter and confirmed by NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Dave Zangaro. As a three-year veteran, Herbig went into free agency as a restricted free agent, and the tender gives Herbig a one-year, $2.433 million contract. Other teams starting on Wednesday can sign Herbig to an offer sheet, and the Eagles would have five days to match his salary or lose him. At the right of first refusal level, there is no compensation in the form of draft picks if the Eagles lose Herbig. Herbig made the Eagles as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Stanford. He barely played as a rookie – three offensive snaps, nine on special teams in two games – but started 12 games in 2020 – five at left guard, seven at right guard – and another five games this past year, all at right guard. As an undrafted rookie, Herbig has earned only $2.02 million in his three NFL seasons, so the one-year tender would dramatically increase his earnings. It’s conceivable but unikely that another team would try to steal Herbig away from the Eagles, and if that happens the Eagles would have to decide whether to let him go or match the offer. Their decision would depend on the size and structure of the offer sheet. Although he’s never been an opening-day starter and doesn’t project as an opening-day starter in 2022, Herbig has been a valuable backup over the last two seasons as the Eagles have dealt with constant injuries along their offensive line. His 17 starts are 4th-most on the o-line over the last two years, behind Jason Kelce (33), Jordan Mailata (24) and Lane Johnson (20). Although Herbig has played almost exclusively guard, he has also been Kelce’s backup at center. Herbig, who stands 6-foot-4, 330 pounds, doesn’t have the athleticism the Eagles ideally like in their offensive linemen but he’s been a solid performer over the last couple years, and the Eagles clearly value him as a backup at both guard spots. With Kelce set to return for a 12th season in 2022, the Eagles are set with Mailata at left tackle, Landon Dickerson at left guard, Kelce at center and Johnson at right tackle. Also under contract among interior linemen are versatile Jack Driscoll, who’s started 13 games the last two years at guard and tackle, Isaac Seumalo, who’s started 43 games at guard since 2016, Sua Opeta, who’s made four starts at guard over the last two years and Kayode Awosika. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/nfl-free-agency-2022-eagles-move-keep-nate-herbig-one-year-tender
  10. Bloated wide receiver contracts keeping Howie Roseman on the sideline Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER We can all agree the Eagles need help at wide receiver, and most likely more than just another draft pick. So here we are three days into free agency, and wide receivers keep signing contracts, and none of them are with the Eagles. What gives? Simple. Have you seen these contracts? Because good lord. Wide receivers are getting drastically over-paid so far, and it’s smart for the Eagles to sit and wait for the numbers to come down to a more reasonable level. Because when Christian Kirk – who’s a nice player but has four career 100-yard games - is getting $18 million per year and $37 million guaranteed, can you imagine what Allen Robinson is going to want? So far, eight unrestricted free agent wide receivers have signed significant deals either with their current team or a new team. Those eight have combined for one Pro Bowl and four total 1,000-yard seasons in their careers. Only one of them was among the NFL’s top 20 receivers last year. They averaged 636 yards in 2021. And those eight signed contracts over the past few days worth a total of about $288 million with bonuses totalling about $178 million. Yes, the salary cap went up from $182 million to $208 million, so all free agency contracts should go up, too. And yes, WRs are always going to make a lot of money. Heck, didn’t Nelson Agholor sign for $11 million per year with the Patriots last spring? And maybe these eight guys will all turn into the next Justin Jefferson, Deebo Samuel and Cooper Kupp. But if you’re the Eagles and you have decent but not unlimited cap space and you already have DeVonta Smith and Quez Watkins and three 1st-round picks and five of the first 83 picks, there really is no urgency to over-pay for a mediocre free agent. Sometimes the best free agents are the ones you don’t sign. Here’s a glance at the big-money receivers who’ve signed so far: Christian Kirk [Cards-Jaguars] AGE: 25 CONTRACT: $18 million per year [4 years, $72 million, $37 million guaranteed] PRO BOWLS: 0 KIRK’S CAREER: Averaged 59 catches for 726 yards and 4 TDs in four seasons with Cards. Has four career 100-yard games. Was 77-for-982-5 last year in best season. Based on average annual salary, Kirk now ranks 9th in the NFL among WRs. In his best season, he ranked 21st among NFL wide receivers in catches, 24th in yards and tied for 30th in touchdowns. DJ Chark [Jaguars-Lions] AGE: 25 CONTRACT: $10 million per year [one year, $10 million] PRO BOWLS: 1 KIRK’S CAREER: Had a 1,000-yard Pro Bowl season in 2019 with eight TDs but dropped to 719 yards in 2020 and was limited to just four games this past season. Has four 100-yard games in four seasons, just one since Week 11 of 2019. Cedrick Wilson [Cowboys-Dolphins] AGE: 25 CONTRACT: $7.35 million per year [3 years, $22.05 million, $12.75 million guaranteed] PRO BOWLS: 0 WILSON’S CAREER: Missed rookie year with injury, barely played in 2019, caught 17 passes in 2020 and finally got an opportunity last year and caught 45 passes for 602 yards and six TDs playing behind Amari Cooper, Ceedee Lamb and Michael Gallup before he got hurt. Has only had four career games with more than 46 yards. Zay Jones [ Raiders-Jaguars] AGE: 25 CONTRACT: $8 million per year [3 years, $24 million, $14 million guaranteed] PRO BOWLS: 0 JONES’ CAREER: Has had three career games in five years with more than 68 yards. Bills’ 2nd-round pick in 2017 has averaged 34 catches for 377 yards and 2.2 touchdowns in his career with the Bills and Raiders. Career 11.0 average ranks 112th of 127 active WRs with at least 100 catches. Mike Williams [re-signed with Chargers] AGE: 25 CONTRACT: $20 million per year [3 years, $60 million, $40 million guaranteed] PRO BOWLS: 0 WILLIAMS’ CAREER: Williams had 1,000-yard seasons in 2019 and 2021 and has 26 TD catches over the last four years. His 16.0 career average is 8th-highest among active NFL receivers, and he has 26 touchdown catches over the last four seasons. Michael Gallup [re-signed with Cowboys] AGE: 25 CONTRACT: $11.5 million per year [5 years, $57.5 million, $27 million guaranteed] PRO BOWLS: 0 GALLUP’S CAREER: Gallup has averaged 48 catches for 726 yards and 15 TDs in his four NFL seasons. He missed the second half of this year with a torn ACL. His best season was 2019, with 1,107 yards. Braxton Berrios [re-signed with Jets] AGE: 25 CONTRACT: $6 million per year [2 years, $12 million, $7 million guaranteed] PRO BOWLS: 0 GAGE’S CAREER: Special teams all-pro has just 89 catches for 940 yards and five TDs in three years as a wide receiver. Russell Gage [Falcons-Buccaneers] AGE: 25 CONTRACT: $10 million per year [3 years, $30 million, unknown guaranteed] PRO BOWLS: 0 GAGE’S CAREER: A 6th-round pick in 2018, Gage has been somewhat productive the last two years, averaging 69 catches for 778 yards and four TDs. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/nfl-free-agency-2022-wide-receiver-contracts-keeping-howie-roseman-sideline
  11. Eagles agree to blockbuster contract with pass rusher Haason Reddick Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER Haason Reddick is coming back to Philly. Reddick, a Haddon Heights High School graduate who played at Temple, agreed to a blockbuster contract with the Eagles on Monday, the first day of the NFL’s free agency legal tampering period. The agreement was first reported by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. The deal for the 27-year-old linebacker is worth $45 million over three years with $30 million guaranteed at signing and a maximum value of $49.5 million, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Dave Zangaro. The Eagles are banking on Reddick delivering something that was in short supply around here last year: Sacks. The Eagles ranked 31st in the NFL with just 29 sacks last year, matching the fewest they’ve ever had in a season since sacks became an official stat in 1982. Reddick’s 23 ½ sacks over the last two seasons are 5th-most in the NFL. The Eagles haven’t had anybody with 12 ½ sacks in a season since Connor Barwin had 14 ½ in 2014, and they haven't had anybody with double-digit sacks in consecutive seasons since Trent Cole from 2009 through 2011. The 27-year-old Reddick was the Cards’ 13th pick in the 2017 draft, one pick before the Eagles took Derek Barnett. He had only 7 ½ sacks in his first three seasons but has blossomed since with 12 ½ sacks in 2020 for the Cards and 11.0 last year in his only season with the Panthers, where he played for his former Temple coach, Matt Rhule. Reddick’s average annual salary of $15 million is 5th-highest on the team, behind Lane Johnson [$18 million], Fletcher Cox [$17.1 million], Darius Slay [$16.8 million] and Jordan Mailata [$16 million]. Reddick was a safety and running back at Haddon Heights and began his career at Temple in the fall of 2012 as a walk-on. He red-shirted his first year and was a backup for the Owls in 2013 and 2014 before blossoming. In 2015 and 2016, he had 14 ½ sacks and 35 ½ tackles for loss. In 2017, he became the first Temple player taken with a top-15 pick since the Steelers made guard John Rienstra the 9th pick in 1986. Reddick becomes the Eagles’ most prominent free agent from the Philadelphia area since Rancocas Valley graduate Irving Fryar signed a three-year, $4.5 million deal in March of 1996. He also becomes the most prominent Temple player on the Eagles' roster since three-time Pro Bowler Bucko Kilroy from Northeast Catholic in the 1940s. Reddick is the second Temple player currently on the roster. The Eagles drafted linebacker Shaun Bradley in the 6th round in 2020. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/nfl-free-agency-haason-reddick-eagles-agree-blockbuster-contract
  12. Jason Kelce on Jalen Hurts: 'Somebody I want in my corner' Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER They were both doubted early in their career. People questioned whether they had the physical tools to get the job done. There was constant speculation about their future and who would replace them. They weren’t big enough. They weren’t good enough. "Being honest, there’s a lot of similarities between myself and Jalen Hurts,” Jason Kelce said Wednesday. "I think in some ways we’re cut from the same cloth.” Kelce, appearing on the 94 WIP Morning Show, spoke at length about Hurts Wednesday and why he believes Hurts can be the Eagles’ long-term solution at quarterback. It starts with something Kelce is very familiar with: Hurts’ resilience, strength and toughness in the face of the constant doubt and questions and rumors. Not all professional athletes can handle that. We’ve seen a couple high-profile instances of that in Philadelphia over the past year. But Kelce said one of the most impressive things about Hurts is how that outside stuff only drives him in a positive way. "I don’t think it bothers Jalen Hurts,” Kelce said. "I probably wouldn’t be a fan of a guy if it did bother him. "I think at the end of the day, this is what happens in the NFL. Everything is critiqued, you’re going to be judged, people are going to tell you you’re not good enough and are you going to have the mental fortitude to believe in yourself – and your teammates – despite all that to become the best player you can be. "I like when people are getting criticized to see their reaction in some regards. I don’t want to speak for Jalen in terms of this, I’m sure it does piss him off to some extent, but I think it makes him a better player and I know when I’ve gone through it it’s made me a better player.” We’ve analyzed Hurts’ strengths and weaknesses for a couple years now. We know he’s a great athlete, we know he’s a tremendous leader, we know he has to get more accurate. But hearing a likely Hall of Famer like Kelce break down Hurts’ game is fascinating. Kelce has snapped the football as an Eagles center to Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Michael Vick, Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Vince Young, Gardner Minshew, Matt Barkley, Nate Sudfeld, Mike Kafka, Josh McCown, Trent Edwards and Josh McCown. He knows a little bit about quarterbacks. “[Jalen] has certain measurables and things that cause people to question his game, but he’s proven people wrong every step of the way so far,” Kelce said. "That’s somebody that I want in my corner, somebody who’s proven he can fight and push through adversity. He uses probably some of that as fuel to make him a better player. "There is unquestionably a lot of support within our team for Jalen Hurts for who he is and the player he can be and has been. So I’m a big Jalen Hurts fan and I have been since the moment I got to know him. He’s got a great personality, obviously the intangibles everyone knows about, but I think he has tools that make him unique. He has tools that separate him in a game where it’s hard to be unique at a level that it’s hard to be unique. "He has athleticism, he has the ability to make all the throws. I know the arm strength is a question, but I’ve seen him make every throw. If he can anticipate and deliver it with good technique and the proper mechanics, he can make throws. I will always bet on guys that continue to prove people wrong.” https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/eagles-legend-jason-kelce-opens-jalen-hurts-future
  13. Kelce announces his return in a way only he could Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER Eagles fans everywhere can breathe a huge sigh of relief. Jason Kelce is coming back. Kelce said on Thursday evening he plans to return for a 12th season with the Eagles. The four-time all-pro center turned 34 in November and has been taking his career year-by-year lately, pondering retirement when the offseason arrives. He’s got two young kids and numerous outside interests and has dealt with a wide variety of nagging injuries in recent years. But retirement can wait. Kelce announced his return in a way only he could. CLICK ON LINK TO ARTICLE BELOW TO VIEW VIDEO When he plays in 2022, Kelce will become the 11th player in franchise history to spend at least 12 seasons with the Eagles. Of the 10 others, only six spent their entire career with the Eagles – Bobby Walston, Jerry Sisemore, Vic Sears, Bucko Kilroy, Chuck Bednarik and – so far – Brandon Graham. Kelce, who turns 35 in November, is already the 2nd-oldest starting interior lineman in the NFL. Alex Mack, who made his seventh Pro Bowl this past season with the 49ers, turns 37 in November. Kelce is already among the most decorated centers in NFL history. He’s one of only 11 centers to earn all-pro honors at least four times, and the 10 others are already in the Hall of Fame. Of 50 offensive linemen who are eligible for the Hall who have been named all-pro 1st team at least four times, 44 have been enshrined. The six others played in the 1950s or earlier. Kelce goes into 2022 with a streak of 122 consecutive starts, the longest current streak of any interior lineman by 40 games and the 4th-longest streak of starts in Eagles history behind Jon Runyan (144), Herm Edwards (135) and Jerry Sisemore (127). The Eagles drafted Kelce in the 6th round in 2011, and after a training camp battle with incumbent Jamaal Jackson he won the starting center position as a rookie playing on an offensive line with Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Todd Herremans and Danny Watkins. He missed most of the 2012 season with a torn knee ligament and missed four games in 2014 with a sports hernia, but other than that he’s manned the center of the Eagles’ offensive line at an elite level for over a decade under four head coaches and two legendary offensive line coaches in Howard Mudd and Jeff Stoutland. Kelce didn’t make his first Pro Bowl until his fourth season, but since 2014 he’s been either a Pro Bowler or an all-pro in seven of eight seasons. In 2019 and 2021 he was both. Kelce already ranks 9th in Eagles history with 159 games played and would pass Jon Dorenbos, Tra Thomas, Chuck Bednarik and Brent Celek if he plays all 17 games in 2022. Depending on how many games Graham plays – he’s currently at 161 – that would move Kelce into either 4th or 5th, behind David Akers (188), Brian Dawkins (183) and Harold Carmichael (180) along with perhaps Graham. Fletcher Cox isn’t far behind at 156 going into 2022. At 295 pounds, Kelce is the NFL's lightest starting center, and he's made a living using his speed and athleticism with spectacular down-field blocks that centers generally don't make. His intelligence and understanding of the nuances of the game are off the charts. But Kelce’s impact on the city and the team have gone far beyond his play on the field. His performance at the Super Bowl parade elevated him into legendary status and made him a folk hero in Philadelphia, and he’s worked tirelessly for several charities, including Habitat for Humanity, the Ronald McDonald House, the Eagles Autism Foundation and former teammate Connor Barwin’s Make the World Better Foundation. Kelce is indisputably one of the greatest and most popular figures in Philadelphia sports history, and we’re all lucky to get another year of him. At least one more year. Kelce’s return answers one question facing the Eagles, and that’s who plays center. The Eagles are set with Jordan Mailata at left tackle, Kelce at center and Lane Johnson at right tackle. It’s hard to imagine the Eagles moving Landon Dickerson out of left guard, which means Isaac Seumalo likely moves to right guard, with Jack Driscoll and Nate Herbig also in the mix. Back in October, Kelce addressed his unrivaled and unquestioned popularity in the city that he’s called home for 11 years. "A lot of people say it’s a hard place to play,” Kelce said. "I think it’s pretty f---ing easy, to be honest with you. "This city really appreciates accountability, appreciates people being very honest, real, emotionally invested, caring. You want to be loved in this city as a baseball player? Run to first base. They’re going to f---ing love you. That’s what it comes down to. If you come up here and make a bunch of excuses and try to lie to them and act like they don’t know what they’re talking about – which sometimes they don’t – but when you act that way or when you aren’t accountable if you’re making mistakes or you’re not getting better or anything like that, they’re going to crush you. "Everybody’s going to get crushed at some point. Everybody’s going to go through a downturn or be struggling. But if you stick to it and you fight through it and you get better and everything like that, they’ll respect the hell out of you. Even if you’re struggling, if you’re fighting and you’re really trying? They’re still going to respect you.” https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/eagles-legend-jason-kelce-returning-2022-nfl-season
  14. How much better can DeVonta Smith be in Year 2? Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER DeVonta Smith had a very nice rookie year. Nobody would argue that. He caught 64 passes for 916 yards and five touchdowns. He became the fourth rookie in franchise history to lead the Eagles in receiving, joining Don Looney in 1940, Keith Jackson in 1988 and DeSean Jackson in 2008, and he broke DeSean's Eagles rookie receiving record set in one fewer game. He made a ton of circus catches, had two 100-yard games, caught a pass in all 18 games he played in, averaged a solid 14.3 yards per catch. A fine year. If Smith simply repeats his 2021 production for the next several years, he'll be on his way to a solid career. But Smith can get so much better, and there are reasons to believe he will. In the big picture, Smith was not among the NFL leaders in any category. He ranked 29th in the NFL in receptions, 45th in yards and 40th in touchdowns. He was fifth among rookies in receptions and fourth in yards, behind Ja'Marr Chase, Kyle Pitts and Jaylen Waddle. To be considered elite these days, you need to be in the 1,300-yard range. The only players in Eagles history to surpass 1,300 yards in a season are Mike Quick in 1983, Irving Fryar in 1997, Jackson in 2013 and Jeremy Maclin in 2014. That's where he needs to be, and here's why he'll get there. First of all, Smith was playing with a 1st-year starting quarterback, and even though he and Jalen Hurts had a year together at Alabama in 2018, this is a completely different offense and that was three years ago. As he and Hurts continue to grow together, you'll see their production improve. If you think about Smith's 2021 season, not a lot of big plays came easily. He made so many incredible contested sideline catches but if Smith and Hurts have the chance to grow together they'll be able to connect on more routine big plays in ways they didn't this past year. Also, keep in mind the Eagles threw the ball an NFL-low 494 times this year, just 29.4 pass attempts per game, their fewest since 1992. The Eagles ran the ball so much there just weren't that many opportunities for Smith to catch the ball. For the sake of comparison, Justin Jefferson had just over 1,600 receiving yards, but the Vikings threw the ball more than 100 times more than the Eagles. That's a ton more opportunities. Something else that limited Smith was the Eagles' desire to force-feed Jalen Reagor, with disastrous results. Reagor had 57 targets, and if those targets had been spread evenly over players who can actually catch a football and make plays -- Smith, Dallas Goedert, Quez Watkins, Kenny Gainwell -- it would have helped the entire offense, Smith included. The Eagles tried everything to involve Reagor, and that won't happen in 2022. Smith got 104 targets in 17 games, and that was tied for 37th in the NFL. He had five games with four or fewer targets, which just should never happen. In games he had at least six targets, he averaged 63 yards. Over a full season, that's just under 1,100 yards. He averaged 8.8 yards per target, so let's say he was just 20th in the league in targets with the exact same yards-per-target figure. Hunter Renfrow was 20th this past season with 128 targets. With the same production, if Smith got 128 targets, he'd have 1,126 yards. What if he was 10th? Now he has 1,284 yards. More targets equals more production. The Eagles have to do better getting the ball in Smith's hands. One other thing that will help Smith -- and this goes back to Reagor -- is that the Eagles know they have to upgrade the wide receiver room, and if they draft a WR who can contribute and/or sign a free agent who can contribute along with the anticipated continued improvement by Watkins, now all of a sudden, defenses will have more to worry about and they won't be able to slide all their coverage to Smith. Plus just having a year under his belt in the NFL will help. We've all seen players make a big jump from Year 1 to Year 2, and Smith is the kind of serious-minded kid who's obsessed with working hard and improving his route running, beating press coverage, understanding defenses and catching the ball, and that should translate into increased production as well. What does it all mean? How much better can Smith get? DeSean improved 244 yards from Year 1 to Year 2, Maclin improved 191 yards, Jordan Matthews 125 yards, all in 16-game seasons. In the same system for a second year with a presumably improved quarterback, a greater emphasis on the passing game and a couple more targets per game, an improvement of 20 yards per game seems reasonable. That gets him to 79 yards per game, which is 1,343 for a 17-game season. So Quick, Fryar, DeSean, Maclin 2014 range. That's where he needs to be. And I have a hunch when all is said and done, that might even be a little low. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/eagles-rookie-devonta-smith-second-season-wide-receiver
  15. In Roob's Observations: Can Eagles end 40 years of terrible DE drafting? Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER The world's most surprising Mike Mamula stat, a look at the biggest one-year improvements ever by Eagles wide receivers and the crazy story of a player the Eagles drafted in 1959 who became one of the greatest receivers in history ... but not for the Eagles. That's a small sampling of what's in store for you in today's Roob 's 10 Random Eagles Offseason Observations! Here we go! 1. Since the start of the official sack era in 1982, the Eagles have drafted 13 defensive ends in the first four rounds. It has not gone well, to put it mildly. Out of those 13, you know who had the most sacks per game during their Eagles career? Take a look: 0.41 … Mike Mamula [1st, 1995] 0.37 … Brandon Graham [1st, 2010] 0.34 … Derek Barnett [1st, 2017] 0.32 … Josh Sweat [4th, 2018] 0.28 … Derrick Burgess [3rd, 2001] 0.27 … Vinny Curry [2nd, 2012] 0.24 … Greg Jefferson [3rd, 1995] 0.17 … Daniel Te’o-Nesheim [3rd, 2010] 0.14 … Victor Abiamiri [2nd, 2007] 0.13 … Jamaal Green [4th, 2004] 0.09 … Jerome McDougle [1st, 2003] 0.08 … Jon Harris [1st, 1997] The notion that Mamula was a bust is pretty funny when you consider that in terms of sacks per game he’s the most productive edge rusher the Eagles have drafted in the first four rounds in the last 40 years. Maybe Sweat will surpass him. He should. Considering his contract, he better. If Sweat plays all 34 games over the next two seasons, he would need 10 sacks per season to move ahead of Mamula in career sacks per game going into the 2024 season. And Sweat has gotten better each year. But these numbers do illustrate just how poorly the Eagles have drafted edge rushers on Day 1 and Day 2 not just under Howie Roseman but for the last few decades. The best defensive ends the Eagles have drafted - Clyde Simmons in 1986 and Trent Cole in 2005 – were a 9th-round pick and a 5th-round pick. Brandon Graham made the play of the century and developed into a Pro Bowler late in his career and overcame a lot of adversity, but the bottom line is he’s averaged 4.9 sacks per season in his career and has never reached double figures. The last defensive end the Eagles drafted in the first four rounds who had double-digit sacks in a season was Dennis Harrison, a 4th-round pick in 1978 who had 10½, 11½ and 12 sacks from 1982 through 1984, the first three years sacks were an official stat. That was 44 years ago. All of which leads to this year’s draft. Derek Barnett won’t be back and obviously Ryan Kerrigan won’t be back, Graham will be 34 years old coming off an Achilles injury and that leaves Sweat and nobody else. There are a ton of edge rushers who could go in the first round and a bunch more will go in the second round. The Eagles will draft one of them, Quite possibly two. They need to get it right for once. 2. There’s a chance half the 1st-round picks on the Eagles’ 2022 roster will be from the 2022 draft. The only former Eagles 1st-round picks that are locks to be here next year are Fletcher Cox, Lane Johnson and DeVonta Smith. We don’t know about Brandon Graham’s health, Andre Dillard could get traded, Barnett is expected to sign elsewhere and Jalen Reagor could very well be released. The only other active former Eagles 1st-round picks are Nelson Agholor and Carson Wentz, and I have a hunch neither one of them will be back. Of course, there’s a chance the Eagles won’t pick three players in the 1st round, but they might. 3. Let’s take a moment to appreciate Keith Byars. No, he wasn’t the stud running back the Eagles expected when they made him the 10th pick in the 1986 draft. But he quickly developed into one of the greatest receiving backs in NFL history. Byars finished with 610 catches, 5th-most in NFL history among running backs. But just focusing on his seven years with the Eagles, Byars caught 371 passes for 3,532 yards, and even though he only average 382 rushing yards per season he was still 10th among all RBs in the NFL in scrimmage yards during that seven-year stretch before he left for Miami as part of the Norman Braman-inspired Great Free Agent Exodus. Byars had five 50-catch seasons as an Eagle, and Zach Ertz is the only player in franchise history with more. And he had three 700-yard receiving seasons, as many as every other Eagles RB combined (Brian Westbrook 2, Timmy Brown 1). He’s one of only three backs in NFL history with three straight 700-yard receiving seasons. The others are Hall of Famers Lenny Moore and Marshall Faulk. And even though he only spent seven years here, he still ranks 8th in franchise history in receptions and 12th in scrimmage yards. Byars also averaged 9.3 yards per catch, which is 6th-highest of the 42 running backs with at least 350 catches. Maybe not the career Eagles expected but one of the best receiving backs in NFL history. 4. The last five players the Eagles have drafted in the second half of the 1st round: Danny Watkins, Marcus Smith, Nelson Agholor, Andre Dillard, Jalen Reagor. 5. Quez Watkins’ jump from 106 yards as a rookie to 647 in Year 2 got me wondering what the biggest jumps ever by Eagles wide receivers are from Year 1 to Year 2. Watkins is right up there. Here’s a look at all the 400-yard increases: 1,253 yards … Mike Quick [156 in 1982, 1,409 in 1983] 1,122 yards … Ben Hawkins [143 in 1966, 1,265 in 1967] 997 yards … Bud Grant [0 in 1951, 997 in 1952] 799 yards … Chris T. Jones [61 in 1995, 859 in 1996] 677 yards … Cris Carter [84 in 1987, 761 in 1988] 541 yards … Quez Watkins [106 in 2020, 647 in 2021] 487 yards … Charlie Smith [28 in 1974, 515 in 1975] 405 yards … Todd Pinkston [181 in 2000, 586 in 2001] So Watkins’ 541-yard increase is the largest since the Hall of Famer Carter’s first couple years and 6th-largest in Eagles history by a WR. Interesting to note that 1952 was Grant’s final season with the Eagles. He spent two years with the Lakers in the NBA and then spent in 1951 as a defensive end with the Eagles before his one season as an offensive end. When he and the Eagles were at a contract impasse after the season, he spent four years in the CFL before embarking on his Hall of Fame coaching career. 6. Also interesting that Bud Grant, Bill Cowher, Mike Ditka and John Madden all had very high-profile coaching careers but long before they became coaches all had fairly obscure careers playing for the Eagles. Another Hall of Fame coach – Guy Chamberlain – played for the Frankford Yellow Jackets and was on the 1926 NFL Championship team. 7. The Eagles have a lot of work to do at linebacker, but they are very high on T.J. Edwards, and while the rest of the linebacker corps is kind of muddled going into the offseason, Edwards is a lock to remain in a key role. Roseman brought up Edwards on his own Wednesday when asked about linebackers – "T.J. had a heck of a year, a very good year” – and didn’t mention anybody else. I don’t think anything is etched in stone with Alex Singleton, Davion Taylor, Genard Avery or Patrick Johnson, but Edwards really took his game to another lever in his third year as an undrafted free agent out of Wisconsin, and everything points to him remaining a key piece of Jonathan Gannon’s defense moving forward. 8. Michael Vick averaged an NFL-best 7.8 yards per rush in 2011 at the age of 30. That’s by far the highest rushing average in NFL history by a player after his 30thbirthday. Steve Young is the only other QB who’s been over 6.5. Overall, Vick averaged 6.7 yards per carry after his 30th birthday, another NFL best. Among players with 500 or more career rushing attempts, Vick’s 7.0 career average is highest in NFL history. More than half a yard per carry ahead of No. 2 Randall Cunningham at 6.4. Put it this way: Vick had a higher rushing average in his 30s than anybody in NFL history in their 20s. Incredible. 9. Kenny Gainwell this past year became only the 3rd rookie running back in the NFL in the last 50 years with at least 540 scrimmage yards and six TDs on 101 or fewer touches. The others are the Raiders’ Bo Jackson in 1987 and Keith Jones of the Falcons in 1989. 10. One of the biggest whiffs in Eagles history is Art Powell, and his story is remarkable. The Eagles drafted Powell as a defensive back in 1959 in the 11thround out of San Jose State. He played in 12 games as a rookie as a backup corner and showed some promise with three interceptions and a 27.1 kick return average, 2nd-highest in the NFL. But the next summer, the Eagles cut Powell. According to an article by Jack McKinney in the Aug. 27, 1960, Philadelphia Daily News, "The move was seen as an indication of the Eagles’ growing confidence in their two rookie defensive backs, Jim Niemann and Bobby Jackson.” McKinney also wrote: "Powell reportedly was overweight when he reported to training camp at Hershey and his play in the (preseason) games with the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers was something less than inspired.” What happened next? Powell signed with the AFL New York Titans (who became the Jets), converted to receiver and over the next seven years with the Jets and Raiders caught 458 passes for 7,669 yards and 77 touchdowns. He had more yards and TDs during that seven-year span than any other receiver in the AFL or NFL. He made five Pro Bowls and led the league in yards and TDs twice. From 1962 through 1964, he averaged 1,265 yards in a 14-game season. He should be in the Hall of Fame. As for Jackson and Niemann, they played a combined 12 games in Eagles uniforms, starting four. Both were gone by 1961. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/eagles-draft-history-defensive-ends?fbclid=IwAR1ss4FpAKCrEW0wgInEtibw_nsJ3h0mr_tcBkqqFf3MIJ-BeZOyBbdsf9Y
  16. Howie Roseman hints about Miles Sanders' future Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER Maybe they’ll still move on from Miles Sanders. Maybe they’ll draft a cheap young replacement in the middle rounds and let Sanders leave as a free agent after the 2022 season. Maybe the Eagles just don’t think it makes sense to spend millions of dollars to re-sign a veteran running back who’s missed all or part of 12 games over the last two seasons. Maybe. But that’s not the impression Howie Roseman gave Wednesday at the Combine. Sanders is one of the more interesting potential free agents on the roster. When he’s been healthy, his production has been off the charts. His 5.04 career rushing average is 8th-highest in NFL history among running backs with at least 500 carries and higher than every Hall of Fame running back other than Jim Brown. He’s one of only seven RBs to begin his career with three straight seasons with 750 rushing yards and an average of 4.5 or higher. He’s one of only nine backs in history to average 5.3 or higher in back-to-back seasons. But the injuries are impossible to ignore. Sanders was the Eagles’ 2nd-round pick in 2019, and his rookie contract expires at the end of 2022. Roseman on Wednesday compared his situation to four guys drafted the year before him – Dallas Goedert, Josh Sweat, Avonte Maddox and Jordan Mailata. This is significant considering Roseman gave all four of those guys contract extensions this past August and September. If he's thinking that way now, that's a pretty strong indicator Sanders won't be going anywhere. "Miles is a heck of a player, heck of a person,” Roseman said. "I think you saw a lot, too, we had guys who were in their fourth year last year, whether you go back and you look at Sweaty and you look at Dallas and you look at Avonte and you look at Jordan, guys like that. Maybe I'm missing a couple guys, who even became better in their fourth year in the league." Roseman’s point is that Goedert, Sweat, Maddox and Mailata all enjoyed their best NFL seasons in 2021, in their fourth year. And Sanders is going into his fourth year. "We haven't even seen everything Miles can give this team,” he said. "Obviously, he's been really productive. I know he wants to get in the end zone, as well. But I think the best is yet to come from Miles.” It’s tricky trying to determine Sanders’ value, but running backs in general are inexpensive because of their short shelf life. According to Spotrac, the average NFL running back in 2021 earned $2.34 million, which was less annually than the average kicker ($2.70 million), not even half as much as the average outside linebacker ($5.40 million), nearly 3 ½ times less than the average left tackle ($7.75 million) and about $8 million less than the average quarterback ($10.07 million). If Roseman follows the same pattern with Sanders this year as he did with the 2018 picks last year, an extension offer can be expected in August or early September, assuming Sanders has a healthy, productive preseason. If you’re Sanders and the Eagles offer you $3 to $4 million per year with a decent signing bonus – let’s say $5 million - why wouldn’t you take it? Do you really want to risk waiting till March of 2023 and taking your chances on the open market at a position that earns less than placekickers? And if you’re the Eagles, why not lock up another piece of your young nucleus who has one of the highest rushing averages in NFL history with a cap-friendly deal? Do you really think you're going to find someone better in the middle rounds. Even with all his injuries and missed time, Sanders has the second-most scrimmage yards of any Eagle in franchise history through 40 games, just 416 fewer than LeSean McCoy. More than DeSean Jackson, more than Mike Quick, more than Wilbert Montgomery, 1,000 more than Brian Westbrook and 1,500 more than Harold Carmichael. Roseman wouldn’t comment on whether the Eagles have started contract talks with the 24-year-old Sanders, but it really doesn’t matter at this point. If both sides want to get a deal done, it’ll get done. And why wouldn’t they? https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/eagles-gm-howie-roseman-hints-about-miles-sanders-future
  17. In Roob's observations: Will Eagles do something no NFL team has ever done? Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER An all-time great Eagle you probably haven’t heard of, an underrated offseason need and a historical precedent the Eagles could decide to break. 1. Guess how many teams have given up on a 23-year-old playoff quarterback. If you answered none, you’re correct. There have been 26 quarterbacks in NFL history who’ve taken a team to the playoffs before their 24th birthday, most recently Jalen Hurts and Mac Jones this past season. Not one of the previous 24 got traded, benched or otherwise lost his job before the start of the next season. Not one. The closest I could find involved Tim Tebow, who was 25 when he went 7-4 with the Broncos, then won a playoff game (despite completing just 10 passes). There are a few key differences. Tebow didn’t begin 2011 as the Broncos’ starter (Kyle Orton did), he was two years older than Hurts, he didn’t play nearly as well in 2011 as Hurts did (46.5 percent completion vs. 61.2 percent, 72.9 passer rating vs. 87.2, etc.), and the Broncos had the opportunity to sign a Hall of Famer in Peyton Manning as a free agent that offseason. Doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Doesn’t mean it can’t happen. When Howie Roseman is involved, anything is possible. But there is no precedent for it. 2. Kenny Gainwell was 9-for-13 converting 3rd downs last season, good for 69.2 percent. That was tied for highest 3rd-down conversion percentage among all RBs who got at least a dozen 3rd-down carries. Damien Harris of the Patriots was also 9-for-13. 3. Let’s take a moment to appreciate Ernie Steele, who spent his entire career - 1942 through 1948 - with the Eagles (1943 was the Steagles). As a two-way player, Steele averaged 5.2 yards per carry and also had 24 interceptions. He’s the only player in NFL history to average over 5.0 yards per carry (minimum 100 attempts) who also has at least 20 interceptions. Incredible! To this day – 73 years after he played his last snap – he ranks 1st in franchise history in rushing average by a running back (Miles Sanders is just behind at 5.1) but he also ranks 8th in franchise history in interceptions! Oh and one other thing … Steele has the highest punt return average in NFL history at 14.7 yards per return! Can we please get ol’ Ernie into the Eagles Hall of Fame? 4. TE2 is an underrated need for the Eagles. Undrafted rookie Jack Stoll did a nice job this past year as a blocker, and Tyree Jackson is an intriguing prospect, but the Eagles can’t really count on either of them to become a consistent enough receiver to serve as a long-term No. 2 tight end. You know what’s interesting – Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert are the only tight ends the Eagles have drafted in any round in the last 10 years. The last TE they drafted in the first three rounds before Ertz was L.J. Smith, and that’s 19 years ago now. My guy is Wisconsin’s Jake Ferguson, who should be there when the Eagles pick at No. 83 in the 3rd round. He’s a solid receiver and capable blocker, and he's not some crazy down-field threat with blazing speed, but he’d be a heck of an option in 12 personnel with Goedert. 5. It’s fascinating to look back at Torrey Smith’s 2017 season. We remember the postseason production, but he actually had a terrible regular season, with just 36 catches for 430 yards and two touchdowns. This after the Eagles gave him a three-year, $15 million contract. Smith had the fewest yards in the entire NFL among WRs who started more than 10 games (he started 14), and his 11.9 average was more than five yards per catch below his career average of 17.0. He averaged 9 yards more per game than Jalen Reagor averaged this past season. Then the playoffs started, and he became a different guy. He went 3-for-39 against Atlanta, 5-for-69 against the Vikings with a TD and 5-for-49 in the Super Bowl. So he surpassed 30 yards in six games all year – three in the regular season, three in the postseason. Smith really symbolized that 2017 Eagles team. He was only an Eagle for one year, he didn’t have a very good season, but in the most critical moments of the postseason, he came up big. 6. It’s amazing to think that Brandon Brooks and Jason Kelce – who have a combined eight Pro Bowls – could both retire and the Eagles would still have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Line up Jordan Mailata, Landon Dickerson, Isaac Seumalo, Jack Driscoll and Lane Johnson, and that’s a heck of an O-line. And all Howie Roseman draft picks. 7. Matter of fact, if the Eagles start that O-line – or with Kelce at center – along with DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins and a rookie at WR, Goedert at TE, Sanders at RB and Hurts at QB, that’s 11 draft picks starting on offense. There’s a very good chance of that happening, and that would be impressive. 8. As bad as the Jaguars loss was for Carson Wentz and the Colts – and it was horrible - is that really reason enough to give up on him after one year? During the 12-game stretch from Week 4 to Week 16, Wentz completed 64 percent of his passes, had 22 TDs and 5 INTs, the Colts went 9-3, and Wentz’s 99.8 passer rating was 3rd-highest in the league (behind only Aaron Rodgers and Joe Burrow). He was one of the best QBs in the NFL for over 70 percent of the season. If the Colts do move on from Wentz, there’s no way it’s just for football reasons. Obviously, the consistency wasn’t there, but it’s hard to imagine Frank Reich looking at those numbers and thinking, "Nope, I can’t work with that, get rid of him.” No, there has to be something else factoring into the Colts’ reported decision to move on from Wentz and replace him with ... what exactly? And wouldn’t it be something if the Colts trade Wentz before the Eagles even use the 1st-round pick they got for him? 9. I still can’t get over Travis Fulgham. Did that really happen? Do you realize in the last 17 years, only three Eagles WRs have had 70 or more yards in four straight games, and they’re Terrell Owens, DeSean Jackson and freaking Travis Fulgham? And Fulgham had as many games with 152 or more yards in an Eagles uniform as Hall of Famer Harold Carmichael? And over that crazy five-week period in 2020 only Davante Adams and D.K. Metcalf had more yards? And then straight off the face of the Earth. Fulgham spent a couple months on the Dolphins’ practice squad this past year and finished the season with the Broncos. If you add up his numbers with the Lions, Packers, Dolphins and Broncos he has zero catches. But for five crazy weeks in 2020, he was as good as anybody. 10. This is a good time to pay homage to Pat Ryan, who authored the worst performance by an Eagles quarterback in the last 50 years. With Randall Cunningham out for the year in 1991, the Eagles signed the 36-year-old veteran Jets backup out of retirement – he was working construction – to back up Jim McMahon. In Week 5, the Eagles were at RFK to face Washington, and McMahon got hurt while getting sacked by Charles Mann at the end of the 1st quarter. How bad was Ryan? He played eight series and completed four passes. Thanks to Wes Hopkins’ strip sack on Mark Rypien early in the 3rd quarter, the Eagles did get the ball inside Washington’s 10-yard-line down 10-0. But Ryan – in one of the most hilarious decisions a quarterback has ever made – tried to force a pass into the end zone to 1st-round bust Kenny Jackson, who caught four passes all year and was being covered by Hall of Famer Darrell Green. Needless to say, Green picked him off. Ryan’s final line was 4-for-14 for 24 yards with three INTs and the only 0.0 passer rating by an Eagles QB in the last 50 years. One of the Elias Sports Bureau guys told me that night, "Passer ratings can’t be less than zero, but if they could, his would have been.” Ryan is the only NFL QB in the last 35 years to throw at least 14 passes, complete four or fewer, throw at least three interceptions and pass for fewer than 25 yards. A few weeks later, the Eagles released Ryan, and he never played again. I’ll never forget what Rich Kotite said when the Eagles cut Ryan: "You guys never saw the real Pat Ryan.” Yeah, we did, Rich. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/jalen-hurts-eagles-draft-picks-ernie-steele
  18. In Roob's Eagles Observations: The free agent Eagles have to bring back Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER A veteran I changed my mind about, why Shady is a Hall of Famer and my favorite Jerome Brown story. All that and more in this week’s edition of Roob’s 10 Random Eagles Offseason Observations. 1. If you asked me with seven or eight weeks left in the season whether the Eagles should bring back Rodney McLeod, I would have said no way. McLeod looked old and lumbering. He was almost a year removed from that torn ACL but at 31 and coming off two torn ACLs in three years, it looked like he had lost about three steps. It wasn't out of a lack of effort, because nobody can ever question Rodney McLeod's effort. But he legitimately looked like he was at the end of the line in his 10th season. Hey, it happens. Then Jonathan Gannon began cutting his snaps. After playing 100 percent of the snaps in almost every game he played since he got here in 2016, McLeod played about 75 percent down the stretch. And his body responded. He started moving better. He started making more plays. He was able to be physical because he was physically able to get into position to be physical. With the Eagles sputtering in the third quarter of a Week 15 must-win against the Giants, his interception and 24-yard return set up the Eagles' first TD, a Boston Scott run. A week later, his diving INT in the end zone against Washington essentially saved the season. The McLeod we saw late in the season, I want that guy back. Anthony Harris won't be here in 2022, Marcus Epps is a nice player but probably best suited to be a rotational guy, and who knows about K'Von Wallace. It's not easy to replace two starting safeties in one offseason. McLeod is a free agent, but I want to see the Eagles bring him back if McLeod is willing to do another one-year deal. And why wouldn't he? At 31, he's not likely to command a multi-year big-money deal on the open market. He's made it clear he wants to be here, he's a big-time leader, he's deeply involved in the community and he won't break the bank. He showed he can still play. Give me one more year of Rodney. 2. With DeVonta Smith starting 16 games and Landon Dickerson 13, this was the first time in more than a quarter of a century that the Eagles' 1st- and 2nd-round picks both started at least 12 games. In 1995, 1st-round pick Mike Mamula started 13 and 2nd-round pick Barrett Brooks -- NBC Sports Philadelphia's own -- started 16. The only other times it happened were 1957 (Clarence Peaks, Billy Ray Barnes) and 1988 (Keith Jackson and Eric Allen). 3. Eight reasons LeSean McCoy will be a Hall of Famer: 1) During the decade from 2010 to 2019, he made six Pro Bowls. No other RB made more than four; 2) During the 2010s, he rushed for 10,434 yards and nobody else was within 600 yards; 3) During the 2010s, his 13,923 scrimmage yards were more than 2,000 more than any other running back; 4) During the 2010s, his 463 receptions were 2nd-most among all NFL running backs (three behind Darren Sproles); 5) Of the 22 RBs in NFL history with 11,000 rushing yards, his 4.5 rushing average is 6th-highest; 6) He's one of only five RBs ever with 11,000 rushing yards and 500 receptions. Four others are in the Hall of Fame. Shady has a higher rushing average than all of them; 7) Over the last 50 years, only 10 running backs have made six Pro Bowls. All are in the Hall of Fame except Adrian Peterson, who will be when he's eligible; 8 ) Shady's 4.5 career average is higher than 23 of 30 Hall of Fame running backs. 4. When the Washington Commanders hired Juan Castillo on Friday, they became the fifth team he's coached with since he broke in with the Eagles in 1995. The head coaches he's worked for since Andy Reid fired him six games into the 2012 season? John Harbaugh, Sean McDermott, Matt Nagy and now Ron Rivera. All four coached with Castillo under Reid. This is the impact of the Andy Reid Coaching Tree. The relationships all these guys built up over the years are pretty powerful. Rivera and Castillo haven't worked together since 2003, but 19 years later Rivera didn't hesitate to hire him. 5. The Corey Clement Super Bowl performance remains one of the craziest things that's ever happened in the history of the world. Clement has played 67 NFL games. He had 100 receiving yards in the Super Bowl and has averaged 6.6 yards in all his other games. He had more yards on that 55-yard catch-and-run from Nick Foles to set up the Philly Special than he's had in any other entire game. And that remains the longest pass play in the last nine Super Bowls. It's insane that Clement -- a 3rd-string undrafted rookie -- had a hand in three of the biggest plays in the Super Bowl: his miracle 22-yard touchdown, the 55-yarder and the Philly Special. What a performance. What a story. 6. I was happy to see that the Raiders signed Cre'Von LeBlanc on Friday. I'm still convinced Cre'von can play if he can get in the right situation and stay healthy. He's a tough, physical, smart, instinctive slot corner. The problem has been injuries. He's played only 13 games the last three years and that's not all injuries but also just waiting for a shot. Strap was huge down the stretch and in the playoffs here in 2018 but has barely played since. Since his last snap -- Week 10 of the 2020 season -- LeBlanc has spent time with the Eagles, Dolphins, Texans and now the Raiders. He's still only 27, and the Raiders' director of pro personnel is Dwayne Joseph, who was with the Eagles from 2015 through 2019, so he knows what LeBlanc is capable of. This is life as an undrafted free agent out of Florida Atlantic. Lots of bouncing around, lots of waiting for an opportunity, lots of trying to get noticed. Hopefully, LeBlanc puts it together in Vegas. 7. Quez Watkins has 753 career receiving yards. Every other WR the Eagles have drafted in the 6th round in franchise history has 14 career receiving yards as an Eagle. 8. The Eagles got 2nd- and 4th-round picks from Washington for Donovan McNabb, a 2nd-round pick for Kevin Kolb, 1st- and 4th-round picks for Sam Bradford and now 1st- and 3rd-round picks for Carson Wentz. All of which is insane and kind of hilarious. But the Eagles' ultimate QB trade thievery came back in March of 2004 when they somehow conned the Dolphins into trading the Eagles a 2nd-round pick for A.J. Feeley. The Dolphins coveted Feeley based on five starts he made in place of injured McNabb in 2002, when he led the Eagles to a 4-1 record. Feeley was always a very good backup, but in those five starts he threw 5 TDs and 5 INTs, completed 60 percent of his passes only once, had a lowly 72.6 passer rating, averaged a paltry 6.58 yards per attempt and put up 18 points per game. Did the Dolphins even watch film of those games? Feeley started eight games for the Dolphins, going 3-5 with 11 TDs, 15 INTs and a 61.7 passer rating that was worst in the NFL. Yikes. The Dolphins traded Feeley to the Chargers in 2005 for Cleo Lemon -- in one year his value went from a 2nd-round pick to Cleo Lemon. When the Chargers released him after the season, the Eagles signed him without giving up anything. Feeley had a heck of a career as a 5th-round pick, playing 11 years for five teams. The Eagles drafted Reggie Brown with the 2nd-round pick they got from the Dolphins, and although his career was ultimately disappointing, he did have over 2,500 yards and 17 TDs in five years with the Eagles. The Dolphins haven't won a playoff game since they made that trade. 9. Jordan Mailata's current contracts run through 2025 and assuming he plays at least that long here, that would mean either Tra Thomas, Jason Peters or Jordan Mailata has manned left tackle for virtually all of a 28-year period, the only exception being 2012, when Peters was hurt (and King Dunlap and Demetress Bell were the starters), and a few other games here and there because of injuries. Twenty-eight years, three legends. 10. The Eagles used to always stay at the Crystal City Marriott in Arlington, Va., the night before games at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., and back then the beat guys would always stay in the team hotel. In 1990, Eagles-Washington was on Oct. 21, and early that morning I wandered over to the hotel gym for a workout. I didn't realize I was wearing a Notre Dame t-shirt that I had picked up a year earlier covering La Salle in the NCAA Tournament in South Bend. I was walking through the lobby to the elevator after I finished, and I was in this kind of rotunda with the elevators when Jerome Brown saw me. He was glaring at me and I had no idea why. Then I remembered what happened the day before. Notre Dame had beaten Miami 29-20 in South Bend in the Catholics vs. Convicts game. This was at the height of the Miami-Notre Dame rivalry. Remember how Miami ran up the score on Notre Dame 58-7 in 1985? And in 1988, both teams were undefeated, Notre Dame winning 31-30. In 1989, Miami ended Notre Dame's 23-game winning streak 27-10 at the Orange Bowl in a battle of the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country. Jerome Brown despised Notre Dame, and the morning after that 1990 game one of the first things he sees is me in a Notre Dame t-shirt. Jerome was a large man. He was a strong man. He came up behind me and picked me up by my shoulders and slammed me against the wall, saying, "Why are you wearing that shirt?" I mumbled something and he let go of me and I crumpled down to the floor, making sure my arms and legs were still in place. Then Jerome helped me up and laughed that giant Jerome belly laugh, smacked me on the back and said, "I'm just playing with you, homes!" https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/eagles-free-agents-rodney-mcleod-roob-observations
  19. What the experts said about Reagor before the NFL draft Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER A couple weeks ago, we looked back at how a variety of NFL draft analysts evaluated J.J. Arcega-Whiteside before the Eagles selected him in the second round of the 2019 NFL draft. It was so much fun we figured we’d make it a semi-regular feature around here, and today we take a look at what the scouts and analysts were saying about another wide receiver. The Eagles drafted Jalen Reagor with the 21st pick in the 2020 draft, making him the fourth receiver taken out of 35 two years ago. It has not gone well. Of 124 wide receivers drafted in any round since 1970 who’ve started at least 24 games in their first two seasons, Reagor’s 695 yards ranks 117th. Now, maybe Reagor takes off in Year 3. If he’s even here. Stranger things have happened. I can’t think of any but they probably have. But so far, Reagor has been a monumental disappointment. It’s interesting looking back at what the scouts said before the draft in April of 2020 because while they didn’t all see Reagor as a slam-dunk 1st-round pick, the scouts’ pre-draft evaluations were way more positive than you might think. I included the analyst’s name when it was listed. Most of these blurbs have been edited for space, but I tried to accurately capture the writer’s general impressions of Reagor. This isn’t meant to embarrass anybody. All these writers clearly studied a lot of film and did their homework. But sometimes you just don’t know. Charlie Campbell, Walter Football: "Reagor is a speed demon who is a true home run hitter with mismatch speed. He’s a threat to score anytime he touches the ball, similar to DeSean Jackson, Marquise 'Hollywood' Brown or Will Fuller. Reagor uses his speed to create separation and shows a nice ability to track the ball downfield. For a speed receiver who lacks size, he looks comfortable with defenders around him and does not seem to get afraid of hits coming his direction. Reagor is worthy of being a late 1st-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but he probably will get selected in the 2nd round. He could be a game-changing receiver as a pro.” Comment: Yeah, I always think of D-Jack when I watch Reagor. DeSean had more yards this year at 35 years old getting cut in the middle of the season and playing for two teams and playing 450 fewer snaps than Reagor had as a starting WR2. Eric Eiger, Pro Football Focus: "Reagor is one of the more interesting prospects in the entire draft. In fact, our athleticism metric, which combines various combine metrics using principal component analysis and forecasts how this combination of new variables projects to PFF grades at the NFL level, has never given a receiver a better grade than it gave Reagor.” Comment: I read this and re-read this about 100 times. If PFF’s athleticism metric has never given a WR a better grade than it gave Reagor, maybe it’s time for PFF to change the athleticism metrics formula? Joshua Hong, Music City Miracles: "With his elite long speed and ability to make people miss in the open field, Reagor is a threat to take it all the way every time he touches the ball. He can be used in a gadget manner by giving him jet sweeps, screens, shallow crossers, or even a hand off from the running back position. Whatever way you can, it is best to give him the ball as much as possible.” Comment: I can’t get over "a threat to take it all the way every time he touches the ball.” Because he’s exactly the opposite. Reagor’s 10.9 yards-per-catch ranks 166thof 170 WRs since 1970 who’ve caught at least 50 passes. Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network: "The production is not where you'd want it, but, man, you can see him move and he's explosive, he's a fluid athlete. He'll go up and make some big-time catches, contested catches, play above the rim. But then he just has a ton of drops. So he's got to sort the drops. He's gifted as a returner but then he's got a bunch of muffed punts. There's some people that really like him and some people that are down on him. I'm somewhere in the middle. He's my 56th player but he's my 10threceiver, and I know some teams that think he's the fifth receiver. It wouldn't be stunning to see him find his way either into the back of one or very early in round No. 2.” Comment: The always-perceptive Jeremiah wasn’t totally captivated by Reagor but did see some positives. If he was the 56 player taken it would have still been a terrible pick but at least not a catastrophe. Matt Miller, Bleacher Report: "Reagor is a fan favorite, but there are concerns with drops, focus and limited routes. However, his potential as a speedy threat with the ball in his hands or working as a vertical option is intriguing. He could dominate in a scheme that lets him work down the field and highlights his speed and agility.” Comment: A number of these analysts understood Reagor’s limitations but were also intrigued by his potential. As it turned out, the limitations pretty much erased all the potential Asher Molk, Apex Fantasy Football: "All in all, Jalen Reagor screams 1st-round pick. If the depth and quality of this wide receiver class was not so epic, he would be being discussed as a likely top-20 pick. However, it is looking entirely likely he falls into Day 2 of the draft. At worst, he seems like he would be a top-tier WR2 on an elite passing offense and would probably slot in as the WR1 on a large number of teams at this very moment. Jalen Reagor is a future stud wide receiver.” Comment: I give Asher an awful lot of credit for not retroactively just deleting this. I would have! NFL Draft Network: "Jalen Reagor is one of the most dynamic receiving prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft. Reagor's skill set fits best when projecting forward into a vertical passing offense as a Z-receiver, where he can defeat press coverage, attack down the field and force defenses to respect his speed or pay the consequences. Reagor brings explosive burst and simultaneous control on his stems to carry himself for separation — he's got upside to work inside as a slot receiver as well. NFL starter.” Comment: I don’t even recognize the player he described. NFL Mocks: "Jalen Reagor is one of the more intriguing prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft. The now-former TCU Horned Frog is widely known for his elite speed and would be a serious get for a team looking for a deep threat. That being said, while he does show flashes of making physical plays, there are times particularly vs. the run where he is overpowered by stronger defenders. His hands are solid overall, but there are times on film where he drops some easy throws. Feistier corners with speed to match him will probably give him trouble, as there are a few times on film where defenders will knock the ball out of his hands. Reagor has struggled with losing the ball in post-catch situations, where the defender will knock the ball straight out causing him to fumble. … But he still remains one of the more promising players in the 2020 NFL Draft.” Comment: This is a weird one because the anonymous analyst correctly recognized many of Reagor’s deficiencies but still called him one of the more promising players in the draft. Tony Pauline, Pro Football Network: "Explosive skill player who lends a hand as a receiver and return specialist as well as on reverses. Quickly and fluidly releases off the line of scrimmage, has a burst that he turns on in a single step and makes opponents play back on their heels. Possesses quick, strong hands and snatches the ball out of the air away from his frame. Runs solid routes, fires into breaks and separates from opponents. Displays himself to be a terrific vertical threat, tracks the pass in the air and reaches back to grab the ball in stride. … Does not always come away with the difficult reception and drops some catchable throws. Struggles in battles and gets beaten down by opponents. Highly rated by some, Reagor is a solid receiver who should go in the second day of the draft and produce at the next level as a slot wideout and return specialist.” Comment: Pauline did correctly recognize that Reagor didn’t belong in the 1stround, but obviously the production he expected hasn’t been there. Pro Football Network: "Reagor is commonly stamped outside of the top five wide receivers in this draft class, but after watching the film, I have to question why that is. Sure, Reagor has some drop issues and may not be the most polished route runner, but this is a guy who has dynamic skill set meant to live and thrive in the modern NFL. It is not like he is a bad route runner, either. Reagor can put guys in a blender; he just has to do that consistently and improve each year. Reagor’s speed, yards after catch ability, ability to win at all three levels of the field, and route running ability all come together to create a pretty dynamic prospect. This is a guy who is going to be an electric play-maker and a big-time contributor. Reagor is a legitimate first-round talent.” Comment: The blender thing? Not exactly sure what it means, but I’m pretty sure he hasn’t done that. Chris Trapasso, CBS Fantasy: "Reagor is a smaller but rocked up and incredibly slippery, blazing fast wideout who plays bigger than his size thanks to high-quality ball-tracking and jump-ball skills in traffic. There are some concentration drops on Reagor's film which are, in a way, counteracted by a handful of high-point grabs with coverage on him down the field. His super-smooth movements look so effortless -- both as a route runner and after the catch -- as is the case with his acceleration down the field. Reagor is a natural separator at all levels of the field and provides return ability.Randall Cobb will be a common comp, but Reagor is a bit bigger and looks more explosive when you compare the pair's jumping ability. In a good situation like Cobb found himself in Green Bay, Reagor has the potential to put up seasons comparable to Cobb's best. Guys like Tyler Lockett and Stefon Diggs also represent high-end comps for Reagor.” Comment: About that Reagor-Diggs comparison…. At his current pace of 347 yards per season, Reagor would need 21 seasons to catch Diggs’ production through seven years. Lance Zierlein, NFL.com: "Reagor is a smooth athlete with blazing speed who has more playmaking talent than receiver skill, and play-callers need to account for that when determining how to utilize him. He's electric with the ball in his hands, so getting it to him quickly rather than asking him to consistently make plays for himself as a ball-winner could be crucial. When 2019 is balanced against his 2018, the grade and projection begin to climb with a versatile receiver who's able to spice the offensive gumbo.” Comment: Zierleim perfectly described how the Eagles have tried to use Reagor, getting him the ball quickly in creative ways. It’s been a disaster. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/what-experts-said-about-eagles-jalen-reagor-nfl-draft
  20. Roob's Obs: When Kotite's ultimatum to Lurie backfired hilariously Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER The time Corey Simon got locked out of his hotel room at the Super Bowl, an underrated Eagle who needs a new contract and a Philly legend goes into the Hall of Fame – but not the one you’re thinking of. It’s this weekend’s edition of Roob’s Random Eagles Offseason Observations! 1. Nine games into his fourth season as Eagles head coach, Rich Kotite had a 36-21 won-loss record, a playoff win under his belt, and his 1994 Eagles were 7-2 nine games into the season. But Kotite didn’t have a contract beyond 1995 and he was adamant about wanting an extension before the 1994 season even ended. When new owner Jeff Lurie correctly insisted there wouldn’t be any contract talks until he evaluated Kotite’s performance after the season, Kotite tried to pressure him for a new deal by saying, "I might do some evaluating of my own,” adding, "Anybody in my profession or any profession has a right to make judgments, I think that’s healthy. It’s not a one-way street, it’s a two-way street.” He concluded: "I believe my record speaks for itself.” What happened next? The Eagles became the first and only team in NFL history to open a season 7-2 and not win another game, and Lurie fired Kotite after the Eagles lost their last seven games. Kotite spent the next two years coaching the Jets, going 3-13 and 1-15. So after stating "I believe my record speaks for itself,” Richie the K. went 4-35 in his next 39 games. Think about that. Four wins in 39 games. He never coached again. 2. I hope the Eagles understand how valuable Boston Scott is. The guy's a touchdown machine. He’s got 14 career rushing touchdowns on just 235 carries. Only two players in NFL history have more rushing TDs on fewer than 250 carries – Hank Bauer of the Chargers in the 1970s and 1980s and John Kuhn of the Packers and Saints from 2008 through 2016. Scott is a restricted free agent, but the Eagles can’t mess around here. They need to tender him or better yet sign him to a long-term deal. They can’t risk losing him. 3. Clyde Simmons and Brian Dawkins had the same number of pick-6’s in their career. Two apiece. 4. Good for DeVonta Smith articulating just how important it is for the Eagles to go out and get a veteran WR in free agency this spring and how valuable it would be for him to have a guy to watch and learn from and play alongside. Not only do the Eagles need a legit WR2, they need a veteran presence in a young wide receiver room, and it was important for Smith to say that and put a little pressure on Howie Roseman to make it happen. 5. It was about five hours after Super Bowl XXXIX ended with a thud, and I finally arrived back at the team hotel – the Sawgrass Marriott in Ponte Vedra Beach – at about 3 a.m. Walking through the lobby I spotted Corey Simon having an animated conversation with a front desk clerk, and I overheard her telling Corey she couldn’t give him a room key without a photo ID. Turns out Corey had locked himself out of his room, and he didn’t have any ID with him, and they wouldn’t give him a new key without it. Corey was exhausted. It was a long year, a long hot and humid day, a bitterly disappointing loss. "Rooooob,” Corey mourned to me. "They won’t let me in my room.” I vouched for Corey: "That’s really Corey! He just played in the Super Bowl!” But she said it didn’t matter what I said, she wouldn’t give him a key without a photo ID. That’s when I pulled my official Super Bowl program out of my computer bag, opened it up to the Corey Simon page – which had a nice big glossy photo of Corey – and held it up for her. Corey got his key. 6. Jalen Hurts Stat of the Week: Jalen Hurts generated a total of 199 first downs in 15 games this year – 143 passing and 56 rushing. That’s 13.3 first downs per game, and that was 11th-most among all NFL quarterbacks this year behind Josh Allen (16.9), Patrick Mahomes (16.8), Justin Herbert (16.7), Tom Brady (16.6), Lamar Jackson (15.3), Dak Prescott (14.6), Matt Stafford (14.2), Derek Carr (14.1), Aaron Rodgers (13.9) and Joe Burrow (13.5). 7. Amazing to see Philly native Art McNally become the first NFL official voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. McNally is a heck of a story. Born and raised in Philly, attended Roman Catholic and Temple, served in the Marines in World War II, and then began a two-decade teaching career at Central and Edison high schools while also officiating NFL games. McNally, who settled in Morrisville, Bucks County, went to work full-time as the NFL’s supervisor of officials in 1968 and spent more than 30 years as the NFL’s officiating guru and another decade in various supervisory roles in the NFL and other leagues before finally retiring in 2015 at the age of 90. A tremendous honor for a true Philly guy. 8. The Eagles this year became the first team in NFL history to have five players with 50 or more carries average 4.3 yards per carry or higher: Jalen Hurts [5.6], Miles Sanders [5.5], Jordan Howard [4.7], Boston Scott [4.3] and Kenny Gainwell [4.3]. 9. We made a big deal about it early in the season when the Eagles were the most penalized team in the NFL, so it’s only fair to look at what happened after that. Through five games, the Eagles committed an NFL-high 50 penalties, most in franchise history through five games. The last 12 games, they committed 57, and only five teams committed fewer. Penalties reflect a lack of discipline, and for Nick Sirianni to find ways for his team to dramatically reduce the penalties as the season went on is a really good sign. It’s not always easy to teach discipline. But Sirianni did it. 10. I know I’m in the minority on this one, but I could never bring myself to care about jersey numbers or uniform colors. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/roobs-observations-when-rich-kotites-ultimatum-jeff-lurie-backfired-hilariously
  21. What the draft experts said before Eagles drafted Arcega-Whiteside Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER Three years, 16 catches. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside so far has been one of the most disappointing 2nd-round wide receivers in NFL history. Only two receivers drafted in the 1st or 2nd round who’ve played in at least 40 games their first three seasons have had fewer catches. Ever. One was Bobby Crespino, drafted with the 10th pick in 1961 by the Browns. He caught six passes for 97 yards and two TDs in his first three seasons. The other was Gerald McNeil, another Browns pick 25 years later. McNeil was the 44th pick in 1986, and he caught just 14 passes in his first three seasons, although he did make the Pro Bowl as a punt returner in 1987. Then there’s JJAW. Ten catches as a rookie. Four last year. Two this year. And while it’s fair to ask how the Eagles could miss so badly on a 2nd-round pick, the reality is that just about everybody missed badly on Arcega-Whiteside. With the draft approaching in two months, we thought it would be interesting to look back on 10 draft experts and what they thought of JJAW before the Eagles made him the 57th pick in the 2019 draft (or in a couple cases, immediately after the draft). The intention isn’t to embarrass anybody. On the contrary. All these draft analysts based their conclusions on exhaustive tape study, and their scouting reports on Arcega-Whiteside were all incredibly detailed and comprehensive. These are some highly respected draft analysts. I’ve included just short excerpts from most of them. The Eagles saw what these draft experts saw. But sometimes everybody is just wrong. OK, not everybody. One of these guys flat-out nailed it. NFL.com: "Big, strong target who plays like he's big and strong and gets more and more dangerous the closer he gets to the red zone. Arcega-Whiteside plays with functional quickness in spurts, but not enough to get away from tight coverage and he won't run by many NFL cornerbacks on go routes. However, his basketball bloodlines are on full display every time the ball is in the air, using his body control and ball skills to excel at combat catches and back-shoulder throws. Arcega-Whiteside may not be explosive, but his competitive nature should help make him a future NFL starter.” Comment: NFL.com correctly predicted that JJAW wouldn’t run past anybody. Perhaps the lesson here is that "competitive nature” isn’t enough to overcome a limited skill set. Gary Davenport, Bleacher report: "Stanford's J.J. Arcega-Whiteside won't be the first wideout selected on Day 2. But with a tantalizing combination of size, strength, speed and the best high-pointing skills of any receiver in this draft, Arcega-Whiteside could wind up being the best wide receiver selected outside the first round in 2019. As a matter of fact, the 6'2", 225-pounder may wind up the best wideout from this class, period.” Comment: Davenport went out on a limb, and I like that. But the "best wideout from this class, period” has fewer yards through three seasons than 18 receivers drafted in 2019, 13 of them drafted after him. Among that group? Former Eagles practice squadders Travis Fulgham and KeeSean Johnson. Draft Network: "Love the way he uses his head and his hands to ensure space to climb. He doesn't always sell vertical components with effectiveness but he's got ample awareness of changing his angles to create space and good feet at the top of routes. Has let a few gimmes get away but generally speaking has good hands, a notable catch radius and is effective to pluck the ball in traffic. His hand strength is exception and and definitely one of his better overall qualities (His contested catch ability is) unbelievable. He welcomes the contact and will box out defensive backs to pluck the ball. His wins in the red zone are phenomenal. He'd be on a lot of posters if that was still a thing. His strength, catch radius and sense of jostling to get into the "low post" are big winners." Comment: A very detailed look at JJAW’s strengths. None of which have been strengths in his first three NFL seasons. Pro Football Focus: "No one in this class possesses a better combination of ball skills and body control than the 6-2, 225-pound wideout. While that’s obviously an opinion, our data vehemently backs up that claim. A lot of guys get tagged as being good at contested catches. Arcega-Whiteside is on his own level though. a nuanced route runner who can get himself clean with his release and separate from defenders with his physicality. … Arcega-Whiteside deserves more first-round hype.” Comment: First-round hype? Can you imagine if the Eagles took JJAW in the first round? Of course that means they wouldn’t have drafted Andre Dillard. But it might have meant taking JJAW and Jalen Reagor in the 1st round in back-to-back years. Yikes. College Football Metrics NFL Draft Scouting Report: "Everyone seems to love Arcega-Whiteside, and I don’t. Part of it I’ve seen a good amount of his tape, and I didn’t get ‘it’ at all. Slow out of the gate, constantly covered tightly, good hands but never open. Then I saw his weak pro day numbers and was like...‘Yup.’ I thought he’d fall mightily in the draft and then the constantly-making-me-go-‘WTF’-Eagles selected him #52 overall (their last 4-5 years of drafts is head-shaking). And then I see reports of him working in the slot and people talking about him as the Eagles future #1 WR, and yet I’m sitting over here wondering if he should even be drafted. I’m watching a UDFA talent WR – good hands, slow feet, no downfield burst, no sharp cuts 3+ yards down the field. Everything is a leaping catch or contested catch. No thank you.” Comment: OK, the Eagles need to hire whoever wrote this because this dude is a genius. The only draft analyst I found who completely nailed it. I looked everywhere for his name but couldn’t find it. But spot on. Mel Kiper: "When I had to pick my ‘favorite’ prospects in this class at every position -- regardless of ranking -- I chose … Arcega-Whiteside as my receiver. The 6-foot-2 Arcega-Whiteside is like a basketball player in the red zone, boxing out corners to snag touchdowns. He had 28 career scores. He also ran a 4.49 at his pro day, so he can be a really good No. 2 receiver." Comment: Nobody is more respected than Kiper, who’s been doing this for ESPN for nearly four decades. But he too just missed on JJAW. Like many of the analysts, he went big with the basketball and boxing out angles, a part of JJAW’s game that just never materialized. Draftwire: "Arcega-Whiteside is physically impressive and his basketball background is evident, showing the ability to box out, out-physical defenders and handle the ball with phenomenal ball skills. While he isn’t an elusive player, Arcega-Whiteside is more than just a possession target, always looking to turn catches downfield and create yards after the catch. Overall, Arcega-Whiteside isn’t a speed demon and needs work with his route running and the finer points of the position, but the former Stanford product’s NFL body and strong hands make him an intriguing wide receiver, who can earn his checks at the sticks and in the red zone. Projection: 3rd round.” Comment: OK, Draftwire brings up the basketball stuff but also acknowledged that JJAW wasn’t a finished product, and they didn’t have him as a 1st- or 2nd-round pick, so they were on the right track. Michael Kist, Bleeding Green Nation: "Arcega-Whiteside projects as a starting caliber X receiver by year two that can contribute at all levels of the field in year one. That was my summary of him before the draft, so obviously his situation in Philadelphia may delay production you typically associate with those expectations. My final evaluation of Arcega-Whiteside resulted in a firm second round grade. For where he was selected, he represented great value. Arcega-Whiteside gives the Eagles a great insurance policy that fits snugly in the offense.” Comment: Kist was spot on with the "situation in Philadelphia may delay production” part of this. Year 4 maybe? Nicholas McGee, Last Word on Sports: "Arcega-Whiteside enters the draft in need of substantial polish for to him become the dominant receiver his traits give him the potential to be. Still, with his abilities at the catch point, there is perhaps no wideout in this class with as much touchdown upside as Arcega-Whiteside. If he lands in an offense that can quickly harness it, he should be an immediate scoring threat at the next level. Teams struggling in the red zone may be infatuated with Arcega-Whiteside, whose basketball background undoubtedly plays into his ability to dominate in contested-catch situations. There is also a reason for hope he can become more than just a jump-ball specialist, and if a team makes use of his surprising speed and is successful in helping him learn a full route-tree, Arcega-Whiteside could well to develop into an ultra-productive starting receiver at the next level." Comment: The "touchdown upside” part. JJAW has one career touchdown catch, and that was his rookie year in Miami. Mike Tagliare, Fantasy Pros: "With all the incredible athletes in this draft class, it’s easy to forget about JJ Arcega-Whiteside. He reminds me of a smaller version of Mike Evans. There are a few players who you could use as comparisons for Arcega-Whiteside, but Evans is someone who uses his body extremely well. He’s not a special route-runner, but he’s good enough. It’s important to note that Evans is three inches taller than him, but they have the same style of play. It’s extremely unlikely Arcega-Whiteside walks into an offense and gets 150-plus targets like Evans did, but he should be making an impact for some team, particularly in the red zone.” Comment: JJAW isn’t reminding anyone of Mike Evans these days. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/what-nfl-draft-experts-said-eagles-drafted-jj-arcega-whiteside
  22. Howie Roseman's Top 10 value draft picks Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER We talk all the time about the early-round disappointments, and there have been plenty of them. Nobody needs to be reminded about Antone Davis, Bernard Williams, Fireman Danny, Freddie Mitchell, Jalen Reagor or all the other 1st-round disasters in Eagles history. Oops. We weren't going to talk about them. No, we're going to go in the opposite direction today. Since Howie Roseman was reinstated as general manager in 2016, he's actually had very good success mining the later rounds of the draft, and that's helped make up for the misses in the early rounds. Imagine if Jordan Mailata was a 1st-round pick and Andre Dillard was a 7th-round pick? Or if Quez Watkins was a 2 and Jalen Reagor was a 6? What if Josh Sweat had been the 1st-round pick and Derek Barnett went in the 4th round? We would look at all these players a little differently. Nobody wants to keep missing in the 1st round, but Roseman and his staff have made up for it -- to some extent -- with some very good picks in the later rounds. So with that in mind, here are Roseman's Top 10 late-round value picks. We went 4th round or later and limited this list to players drafted since 2016, when Roseman was reinstated by Jeff Lurie as general manager. The later the round, the greater the value. So in ranking them, we considered both where they were drafted and what they achieved on the field. 1. Jordan Mailata (7th round, 233rd pick): Quite possibly will turn out to be the Eagles' best 7th-round pick since Hall of Famer Harold Carmichael in 1971. To get a franchise left tackle, a potential Pro bowler, with the 233rd pick in the draft is amazing enough. To do it with a guy who had never played organized football in his life makes this pick even more remarkable. 2. Jalen Mills (7th round, 233rd pick): Never a great player, but nobody got more out of their ability than Mills. He was huge during the 2017 Super Bowl season, with three interceptions, including a pick-6, as well as 14 pass knockdowns, and his defense on Julio Jones in the end zone on the final play of the Falcons playoff game that year saved the season. Mills wasn't an elite corner, but he was a tough, physical player who gave you everything he had. The only player drafted in the 7th round who was a full-time starter on the 2017 Super Bowl championship team. 3. Avonte Maddox (4th round, 125th pick): After a promising 2020 season, the Eagles last year tried to force Maddox into a role as an outside corner that he wasn't suited for. This year, as a full-time slot, Maddox had an outstanding season, playing 46 snaps per game -- only 15 fewer than Darius Slay. Maddox brings an element of toughness and physicality to the secondary. He's a sure tackler, outstanding in coverage in the middle of the field and gave the Eagles very consistent play this year. A steal in the 4th round. 4. Quez Watkins (6th round, 200th pick): It's rare to find receivers in the later rounds, and when you do, it generally takes them a few years to find their way. Watkins this year became only the 6th receiver in the last 30 years drafted in the 6th round or later with 600 yards before his 24th birthday and the first Eagle to do that since Harold Jackson in 1969. Watkins is still raw and has plenty of upside, so 647 yards and 15.1 yards per carry in an offense that doesn't throw all that much is awfully promising. Other than Jason Kelce, quite possibly the Eagles' best 6th-round pick since Andy Harmon in 1991. 5. Kenny Gainwell (5th round, 150th pick): Finding a running back as gifted as Gainwell in the 5th round is unheard of. Gainwell is only the 11th RB drafted in the 5th round or later in the last 30 years to have a season with 500 scrimmage yards before his 23rd birthday. And Gainwell netted 544 yards despite averaging just 17 snaps per game. Think about this: Jalen Reagor had almost half as many scrimmage yards as Gainwell despite playing nearly 500 more snaps. Gainwell had eight games where he got three or fewer touches, yet if you include the postseason, he had 599 scrimmage yards and seven touchdowns. Including the playoffs, Gainwell had 107 touches. He's the sixth player in NFL history to score 7 or more TDs on 107 or fewer carries as a rookie drafted in the 5th round or later. 6. Josh Sweat (4th round, 130th pick): It took him a while, but by the second half of this season, he had finally become truly a feared edge rusher. Sweat had 6 of his 7½ sacks the second half of the season and the league noticed because he was voted a Pro Bowl alternate, then became a Pro Bowler this week when the 49ers' Nick Bosa pulled out of the game with an injury. Finding an edge rusher like Sweat is difficult this late in the draft. Trent Cole was a 5th-round pick, but he was drafted 17 years ago. Clyde Simmons was a 9th-round pick back in 1986, when there were 12 rounds. Sweat is the first 4-3 edge rusher drafted as late as he was -- with the 130th pick -- with at least 7½ sacks since Willie Young of the Bears in 2014. Howie missed on Derek Barnett, but the Sweat pick is looking good. 7. Halapoulivaati Vaitai (5th round, 164th pick): He's no longer here, but Big V really did a fantastic job filling in for Jason Peters at left tackle during the 2017 Super Bowl run. J.P. tore his ACL in a Week 7 game against Washington, and now you have a 24-year-old 5th-round pick with six career starts filling in for a likely Hall of Famer, but the offense didn't miss a beat. Including the postseason, the Eagles went 14-1 when Vaitai played significant snaps (not counting the meaningless season-ending game against the Cowboys). His play earned Vaitai a five-year, $45 million contract with the Lions in free agency. Vaitai -- along with Kelce and Mills -- was one of only three regular starters on the Super Bowl-champion Eagles drafted in the 5th round or later. 8. Jack Driscoll (4th round, 145th pick): Injuries have cut his first two seasons short, but Driscoll has shown in a short time that he's a very capable piece either at guard or tackle. Right from Day 1 of his rookie year, when he made an emergency start in place of Lane Johnson, Driscoll has been solid whether playing right guard (eight starts) or right tackle (five starts). A potential starter but may be most valuable as a backup at four spots. Since Roseman became GM, the Eagles have drafted Kelce, Mailata, Big V and Driscoll all in the 4th round or later (not to mention Dennis Kelly, who's had a 10-year career). 9. Shaun Bradley (6th round, 196th pick): Bradley missed some time with injuries this year, but in his two years out of Temple, he's proven to be an exceptional special teamer, and he even was named a Pro Bowl alternate as a special teamer this year, an honor voted on by his peers. Bradley, a native of Mount Holly and a graduate of Rancocas Valley High School, hasn't played a lot of linebacker yet -- 111 snaps his first two seasons -- but if you can find a special teams star in the 6th round, there's nothing wrong with that. 10. Wendell Smallwood (5th round, 153rd pick): Smallwood had a nice three-year run as a special teamer and backup running back for the Eagles from 2016 through 2018. He had over 1,300 scrimmage yards during that span, second-most among all Eagles RBs, just 17 yards fewer than Darren Sproles. And he won a ring. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/eagles-gm-howie-rosemans-top-10-value-nfl-draft-picks
  23. In Roob's Observations: The Eagles' forgotten hero in Super Bowl LII Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER The Eagles' forgotten Super Bowl hero, expectations of DeVonta Smith in 2022 and an unforgettable Andre Waters story. It's all here and lots more in this week's edition of Roob's 10 Random Eagles Offseason Observations! 1. As much as we talk about the performances of Nick Foles, Zach Ertz, Brandon Graham, Corey Clement, Alshon Jeffery, LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi in Super Bowl LII, the story of the Eagles' Super Bowl championship can't be told without the performance of Nelson Agholor. Nelly has played in 108 NFL games. He's caught nine passes once, and it was in the Super Bowl. Only seven WRs have ever caught more passes in a Super Bowl. But what makes his performance legendary is what he did on the game-winning drive. The 4th-down Nick Foles-to-Zach Ertz conversion gave the Eagles 1st-and-10 on their own 48-yard-line trailing by a point with 4:52 left. After a short Blount run, here are the Eagles' next three plays: Foles to Nelly for 10 yards, Foles to Nelly for 18 yards, Foles to Nelly for 10 yards. Three plays, three first downs, 38 yards, moving the ball from Eagles territory down to the Patriots' 14-yard-line. That's the only time in Agholor's career he's had three 1st-down catches on the same drive. Nelly has had fewer than 38 yards in more than half his career games -- 62 of 108. But he picked up 38 yards and three crucial first downs in the span of three plays on the game-winning drive in the fourth quarter of a Super Bowl. Ertz of course capped the drive with his miracle TD catch, but none of this happens without Nelly coming up huge. 2. I'd love to see Doug Pederson consider Duce Staley as his offensive coordinator in Jacksonville. I don't know how likely it is, and I know Dan Campbell really values Staley in Detroit, but Pederson played with Duce in 1999 and coached with him under Andy Reid and then kept him as an assistant when he became head coach, so nobody knows what Duce brings to the table more than Doug. And Duce is so much more than a running backs coach. He knows blitzes. He knows coverages. He knows the passing game. He knows blocking schemes. He could call plays. Pederson understands Staley's value, and Staley knows every nook and cranny of Pederson's offense. Seems like a perfect match. 3. Imagine what it was like being an Eagles fan in the 1960s and 1970s? After the 1960 team won the NFL Championship and the 1961 team went 10-4, the Eagles proceeded to go 73-142-9 during the 16-year span from 1962 through 1977. No other team lost more than 130 games during that span. Think about that for a second. Over a decade and a half, the Eagles averaged 4½ wins per year. They had one winning season during those 16 years -- the 1966 team somehow went 9-5 despite losses by 49, 31, 20 and 14 points. So if you became an Eagles fan in 1962 and you were 14 years old, you got to experience one winning season and no playoff appearances by the time you were 30. There have been a lot of disappointments over the last few decades, but consider this: The last 34 years, the Eagles have had seven losing seasons. The previous 34 years, they had 23 losing seasons. It's not a bad time to be an Eagles fan. 4. It's just bizarre to me that Rich Kotite, Chip Kelly and Buddy Ryan all had a higher winning percentage as head coach of the Eagles than Doug Pederson. 5. Josh Sweat is the Eagles' first defensive player 24 years or younger drafted in the 4th round or later to make a Pro Bowl team in 67 years. The last one was Wayne Robinson, a linebacker the Eagles drafted in the 8th round out in 1952 out of Minnesota, where he played with Hall of Fame coach Bud Grant (who the Eagles drafted in 1950). Robinson was 24 when he made the 1954 Pro Bowl team, and he made the team in 1955 as well. He was just 26 when he retired after the 1956 season to accept a job as an assistant coach with the CFL Winnipeg Blue Bombers, where Grant had been just named head coach. 6. In the first quarter of his first NFL game, on his first career target, Jalen Reagor caught a 55-yard pass from Carson Wentz. He hasn't had a catch of 40 yards since. 7. I fully expect DeVonta Smith to be in the 1,300-1,400-yard range next year. For him to be over 900 yards as a 22-year-old rookie with a 1st-year starting quarterback in a run-first offense? Smith made so many spectacular highlight catches but didn't get a lot of easy yards. With presumably more depth at WR and another year in the offense for Jalen Hurts, the Eagles' passing game should make a big jump in 2022. Think about it. One more 25-yard catch per game gets Smith to 1,341 yards. I'll be surprised if that doesn't happen. 8. It occurred to me this week that we never talk about Pete Pihos. And we should. The guy is an all-time top-10 Eagle. Pihos grew up in Chicago and was a 5th-round pick out of Indiana in 1945 as an offensive end. Because of his service in the Army during World War II, he missed two years of his prime, but in his nine NFL seasons -- all with the Eagles -- he still won two NFL Championships, made 1st-team all-pro five times and seven Pro Bowl teams, led the NFL in catches three times, scored 61 touchdowns and got inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1970. His best year was 1953, when he led the NFL with 63 catches, 1,049 yards and 10 TDs in just 12 games. Project that over a full season now and you're looking at 89 catches, 1,486 yards and 14 TDs. When Pihos retired -- immediately after leading the NFL in catches and yards in 1955 -- he ranked 3rd in NFL history in catches, 4th in receiving yards and 2nd in TDs. To this day -- 67 years after he last played -- Pihos ranks 7th in Eagles history in catches, 6th in Eagles history in yards and 3rd in TD receptions. An all-time Eagle, and every Eagles fan should know about Pete Pihos. 9. Dallas Goedert has caught 29 passes on 3rd down over the last three years and 28 of them have gone for 1st downs. That's 97 percent. The only exception was a 3rd-and-20 against the Browns last year where he gained 12 yards. The last time Goedert caught a pass on 3rd-and-10 or shorter and didn't get a first down was late in 2018 on a 3rd-and-1 against the Texans when he caught a short pass from Nick Foles for no gain. 10. The Eagles had the worst pass defense in the NFL in 1987, allowing a league-high 240 passing yards per game -- at the time 10th-worst in NFL history. That was a year before Eric Allen arrived. Wes Hopkins missed the entire season with a torn ACL, Roynell Young got old overnight, Elbert Foules was dreadful and Terry Hoage was a year away from becoming a terrific safety. Andre Waters, on the other hand, was playing lights out. So late in the season, I wrote a column for my old newspaper, The Burlington County Times, blasting the play of the secondary, although I made sure to mention that Waters was the one exception, that he was playing at a high level. I had just started covering the Eagles during the player strike, taking over the beat when my esteemed colleague Phil Sheridan -- who you remember from his days with the Inquirer and ESPN -- was promoted to general sports columnist. So my piece on the secondary ran in the paper on a Tuesday, and the next day, a bitterly cold December afternoon, I went to watch practice at JFK Stadium. The Eagles were in the midst of dropping out of the playoff hunt with four losses in five games, and these were tense days around the team. As soon as practice ended, there was Andre in full pads with his intimidating No. 20 jersey and helmet still on stomping along the sideline, screaming at the top of his lungs, "WHERE'S REUBEN FRANK??? WHERE'S REUBEN FRANK???" My initial instinct was to run like hell and hide in a cave in the hills for the rest of my life. But I walked over and said, "I'm Roob." Turns out Andre was furious with the column I wrote. The problem wasn't that I criticized his teammates, it was that I praised him. "We are a team," he told me. "We are a group. We play together, and if we're not playing well, it's all of us, not just two or three of us. You don't praise one of us, you criticize all of us. We're not getting it done as a TEAM. And that means I'm not playing well enough." We shook hands, and he thanked me for my time. That remains one of my favorite interactions ever with a player in the 35 years I've covered the Eagles. Andre's been gone over 15 years now. God bless him. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/super-bowl-eagles-unsung-hero-nelson-agholor-devonta-smith
  24. Report: Eagles losing a top Howie Roseman assistant to Bears Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER The Eagles are losing a highly regarded member of Howie Roseman’s scouting department to an NFC rival. Ian Cunningham, who’s been with the Eagles since 2017, most recently as director of player personnel, is joining the Bears as assistant general manager under close friend Ryan Poles, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Poles was named Bears GM on Tuesday, replacing the fired Ryan Pace. Cunningham will become the first front office executive in Bears history to carry the assistant general manager title. Since Cunningham is under contract to the Eagles, the Bears would only be allowed to hire him if it’s for a promotion, and assistant general manager is the only title that makes sense between GM and director of player personnel. Cunningham has won two Super Bowl rings, first working with legendary Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore and then working with Roseman with the Eagles in 2017. In Baltimore, Cunningham worked closely with Joe Douglas, who brought him to Philadelphia. Cunningham quickly moved up the ranks with the Eagles, from director of college scouting to assistant director of player personnel to director of player personnel this past year, a role he shared with Brandon Brown. In his nine years in Baltimore, the Ravens were 85-59, the sixth-best record in the NFL during that nine-year span. The Eagles were 44-36-1 in his five years in Philly, the 13th-best record in the league. Overall, his teams have reached the playoffs in 10 of his 14 NFL seasons. Cunningham played college football for Virginia, where he was teammates with Chris Long, and was in training camp with the Chiefs in 2008, the year before Poles was first hired by the Chiefs as a scouting assistant. Cunningham was a second cousin of legendary tennis Hall of Famer Arthur Ashe, the only Black man to win singles titles at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/nfl-rumors-eagles-losing-top-howie-roseman-assistant-bears
  25. 3-time Eagles Pro Bowler Brandon Brooks retires Reuben Frank EAGLES INSIDER Brandon Brooks, the best guard in football during the Doug Pederson Era, plans to retire after 10 seasons. In a videoconference Tuesday morning with Eagles beat writers, the 32-year-old Brooks made the announcement, which certainly didn’t come as a surprise to anybody. "After 10 years in this game, it's true, I am retiring," Brooks said. "The past six years I wouldn't trade for the world. It didn't end the way I would have liked it, but to me it's never about the ending it's about the journey. I was fortunate enough to go on this journey with a group of brothers. Not teammates but family. You'll always be family. "I was extremely fortunate to help bring a championship to the city and made multiple Pro Bowls but there was no greater honor than being an Eagle and putting the midnight green on and playing in front of the greatest fans in the world. Since Day 1, you've supported me through ups and downs and all my struggles. I couldn't imagine finishing my career anywhere else. Although I may no longer play, I'll be an Eagle forever. I'll always bleed green." Brooks has not finished a season healthy since the 2017 Super Bowl season and played only two games over the last two years. "It's something I wrestled with since really last offseason. Although I'm a young man in the game of life, I'm older now at 32," he said. "I think my body is trying to tell me through these injuries (to retire). Can I still play? Yes. But can I hold up? After all these injuries at what point do I listen to my body? And I think my body was just telling me and I had to make a decision, and I think at this point in time I think it's the right decision." Brooks, the Texans’ 3rd-round pick in 2012, spent the first four years of his career in Houston before signing a five-year, $40 million contract with the Eagles before the 2016 season. He made the Pro Bowl after the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons, but late in 2018, he suffered the first in a series of major injuries when he tore his Achilles early in the playoff loss against the Saints at the Superdome. He returned in 2019 and late in the season signed a four-year, $56.5 million extension that made him the NFL’s highest-paid guard. But he played only nine more games in an Eagles uniform. During the regular-season finale, he suffered a dislocated shoulder and missed the playoff game against the Seahawks. In June of 2020, Brooks suffered another torn Achilles and missed the entire season. He returned for the start of 2021 but suffered a pec strain in a Week 2 loss to the 49ers and spent the rest of the season on Injured Reserve. "You realize at a certain age your body isn't recovering like it used to," he said. "It took a little longer than I would have liked and at the end, I didn't have enough time to get where I needed to be to at least get a couple practices under my belt. "It was unfortunate, really, the last two years how things ended. But for me, it was a lot more about the journey. You can't have joy without sadness, right? And the first four years I wouldn't trade for the world if I had to weather these last two. I wish I could have been out there, but at the end of the day, it didn't happen. Really, 2½ years just rehabbing and trying to get back out there." So this year’s season opener against the Falcons was the only game he started and finished since Week 15 of the 2019 season. Brooks also missed three games during his Eagles career because of anxiety -- two in 2016 and another in 2019. By being open about his condition and the value of medication and counseling, Brooks inspired countless athletes and non-athletes to seek help for similar issues. Brooks has earned just under $60 million in his career, and he’s walking away from base salaries of $13.4 million in 2022, $11.6 in 2023 and $13.4 million in 2024 -- a total of $38.4 million. To help the Eagles’ cap situation, the Eagles and Brooks restructured his contract that lowered his 2022 cap figure from nearly $20 million to about $7 million. Brooks said Wednesday that he plans to apply to Penn business school and hopes to eventually work in finance and investing, which has been an interest of his since he got to the NFL. Brooks played only four full seasons here, but his three Pro Bowls are tied for most ever by an Eagles guard. Bucko Kilroy, a Northeast Catholic graduate, made three Pro Bowls in the 1950s late in his career. Shawn Andrews and Evan Mathis made two apiece. "Brandon Brooks is as special a person as he was a player," Eagles owner Jeff Lurie said in a statement. "During his six years in Philadelphia, he played a significant role in creating and maintaining a winning culture that will resonate throughout our organization well into the future. Very few NFL players have ever possessed Brandon's unique blend of toughness, power, athleticism, intelligence, and skill." Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, Mathis and Brooks made a combined 13 Pro Bowls under Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland. None ever made a Pro Bowl in 14 combined seasons before they were coached by Stoutland. The Eagles don’t have another Brandon Brooks on the roster, but they have gotten used to playing without Brooks and they do have very good depth along the offensive line. With Brooks out much of the last two years, the Eagles have used seven different right guards: Nate Herbig (12 starts), Jack Driscoll (8), Matt Pryor (6), Jason Peters (2), Brooks (2), Jamon Brown (1), Landon Dickerson (1), Jack Anderson (1). Depending on whether Jason Kelce returns for a 12th season, the Eagles have some options along the interior of their offensive line for 2022. If Kelce is back, the Eagles could go with either Isaac Seumalo and Driscoll as the right guard starter, with Sua Opeta and Herbig also in the mix. If Kelce retires, Seumalo would likely move to center, although Dickerson could swing inside, with Seumalo returning to left guard and Driscoll handling right guard. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/brandon-brooks-retires-eagles-offensive-line
×
×
  • Create New...