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Found 71 results

  1. Why analyst's Hurts-Allen comp should thrill Eagles fans There are tons of reasons to get excited about the Eagles' 2022 season, but everyone knows the main storyline will be Jalen Hurts' quest to prove he's a franchise quarterback and not just a bang-average starter. Hurts' first full year as the Eagles' QB1 was a roller coaster, and now it's his job to become more consistently good (and great) than bad. One thing Hurts was last year? A fantasy football dynamo. And NBC Sports fantasy analyst Matthew Berry said before Thursday night's Hall of Fame game that he expects Hurts to take another leap this year - which would be great for fantasy owners and great for Eagles fans. Here's Berry's reasoning for the expected improvement: "Currently going as QB8 in Yahoo Fantasy, seventh round, I think that's too low. Everyone knows about the rushing but people question the passing, they question the accuracy, but think about another young quarterback who had good running, who had questionable accuracy: Josh Allen. "Look at Josh Allen's second year, and then look at Jalen Hurts' second year which he just completed. Jalen Hurts had more passing yards, a higher completion percentage, more rushing yards, same interceptions, same touchdowns per game. "What happened going into Year 3 for Josh Allen? They gave him Stefon Diggs. Completion percentage goes up, he was the No. 1 quarterback in fantasy. What'd [the Eagles] do this year? They gave [Hurts] A.J. Brown, who Jalen Hurts is very close to off the field. The second year of DeVonta Smith as well. So the No. 1 quarterback in fantasy is within the range of outcomes for Jalen Hurts. I have him at QB4. "I'm not saying he's got Josh Allen's arm, but I think the passing improves a lot and he's going to be a Top 5 fantasy quarterback this year." Very interesting! I hadn't drawn that connection yet, but I think it has merit. Let's look at the two quarterbacks' second years in the league: Allen: 58.8%, 20 TD, 9 INT, 6.7 Y/A, 193.1 Y/G | 510 rush yds, 4.7 Y/R, 9 TD Hurts: 61.3%, 16 TD, 9 INT, 7.3 Y/A, 209.6 Y/G | 784 rush yds, 5.6 Y/R, 10 TD Okay! So Hurts was a little more reliant on his legs to score, while also being a little more accurate and better at accumulating yards through the air. But largely those numbers are similar, which is why Berry's idea of adding a Top 10 wideout to the mix to help kickstart that development is so intriguing. It certainly worked for Allen, who quickly became a perennial MVP candidate once Diggs arrived. If the same thing happens for Hurts with Brown, that'd be a gigantic win for the Eagles. He's still under contract at a second-round pick's scale for this year and next year. If he has a big season, sure, he'll want to get paid. But if he earns it, Howie Roseman won't have any problem handing out that money for a legit franchise QB. We'll see if he can make it happen. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/fantasy-football-why-expert-sees-eagles-jalen-hurts-top-5-qb
  2. NFL OC highlights 1 big area Hurts still needs to fix Jalen Hurts made some strides last year in his first full season as a starting quarterback, but he finished the 2021 season with plenty of question marks still intact - which is why 2022 is going to be such a gigantic year for the soon-to-be-24-year-old. We know the guy is patient in the pocket, we know he can extend plays with his legs, and we know he excels against the blitz. But can he routinely make third down throws? That's the question one current NFL offensive coordinator asked recently in Mike Sando's annual poll at The Athletic of NFL execs, coaches, coordinators, and scouts. Sando asked important folks around the league for their takes on quarterbacks - specifically, where each QB ranks in terms of tiers - and the Hurts answers were interesting. The one quote that really stuck out, though, was this one from the aforementioned OC: "The prevailing thought on Hurts is that he's doing an excellent job running an offense that the Eagles’ coaching staff has effectively tailored to his strengths, and that he’ll need to grow considerably as a passer for Philly to contend. "'If the guy can't stand there and win on third down with his arm, you don't have a chance,' an offensive coordinator said." You never want to hear "you don't have a chance", even if it's just one person's opinion and it's also mildly hypothetical. The coordinator might have a point, though: Hurts could stand to beef up his third down productivity through the air. Like most QBs around the league (except for 2017 Carson Wentz), Hurts' worst down last year was third down. Here were his passing and rushing splits by down: 1st down: 60.0%, 6 TD, 3 INT | 4.5 Y/R, 3 TD 2nd down: 70.9%, 5 TD, 3 INT | 6.3 Y/R, 4 TD 3rd down: 53.7%, 5 TD, 3 INT | 6.8 Y/R, 2 TD That considerable drop-off in completion percentage is not ideal. (Also: dang, Hurts was fantastic on second downs last year!) Now let's look at where Hurts ranked among QBs with at least 80 third-down pass attempts last season in a few categories: T-13th (tied with Tom Brady) in yards/attempt T-13th (with Sam Darnold) in INT% T-22nd (with Russell Wilson) in first downs 22nd (behind Taylor Heinicke) in TD% 26th (behind Taylor Heinicke) in COMP% Interesting. Being tied with Tom Brady in one stat, tied with Sam Darnold in another, and being behind Taylor Heinicke in two others is... quite a spectrum. And, frankly, I think it paints an accurate portrait of Hurts as a quarterback who is still coming along in terms of his effectiveness in high-leverage passing situations. That's totally fine considering last year was just his first as a starter, and he has just 19 starts to his name as a pro. He's still so young. But the NFL is evaluating QBs faster than ever, and the Eagles generally have a pretty strong roster. So if Hurts wants to prove he can be the guy to start, and get paid, after this season it's clearly time to take another few steps forward. And third down is a perfect place to start. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/eagles-jalen-hurts-needs-fix-1-big-area-2022-coordinator-says
  3. Why Jenkins says Eagles fans should trust Epps at safety Malcolm Jenkins is one of the best Eagles defenders of the past decade, a true Birds great with a Super Bowl ring to boot. He's forever a hero in Philadelphia. So when he speaks about the state of the team, even now as a retired NFLer after 13 tremendous years in the league, fans tend to listen. And this week on the Eagles Unfiltered podcast Jenkins had a message for anyone worried about the Birds' safeties: Don't sweat it. Marcus Epps can do this job. Which is good news, because the Eagles spent resources basically everywhere this offseason... except safety. They brought Anthony Harris back, they brought Marcus Epps back, and they added veteran Jaquiski Tartt on a 1-year deal. That's it. On a team suddenly dreaming of a deep postseason run, safety is the position most fans have questions about. But here's why Jenkins thinks Epps is up for the challenge: "When I was there, he was a player that was behind me and Rodney [McLeod] but was rising fast on the depth chart, somebody who's physically gifted and smart enough to understand defenses and where he needs to be in alignments and leverage. I think he's soaked up a lot of game, and that was one of the things I recognized about him early was, you know, he's somebody who wants to know how he can become the best player he can. He'd stick around late after meetings and ask questions and watch extra tape, and so for me I know that, just because of those things, he's going to be fine. "Obviously he's gonna have a ton of expectations, and we know how Philadelphia feels about its safeties, so it's a daunting task. But like anybody, he's got to take the same approach and deal with the same stuff that even I went through, where you can't try to be Dawkins or myself or whoever - because you can't. I've tried, I've done that before, I've watched Dawkins' tape. I can't do what he does. That's why he is who he is. "So he's gotta figure out what he does really well. I think he's got great ball skills, I think he's got range, he tackles well. As long as he can continue to develop his game and what he does well, and tries to be the best Epps he can be, I think he'll be fine." You love to hear it! Epps, 26, has appeared in 45 games but has just eight career starts to his name, all of which came in the past two seasons. He's notched 3 INTs and 9 passes defended since the start of 2020, solid numbers for a safety, and received a pretty solid 72.8 grade from Pro Football Focus for his play in 2021. We still need to see more from the Wyoming product, but there do indeed seem to be bones of a player who can excel in a regular starter role. I also love that Jenkins watched Dawkins tape during his time with the Eagles and concluded that he just couldn't do the stuff that Weapon X could so, so he blazed his own path instead. They were two distinctly great safeties, the two best in franchise history. No one's saying Epps is in line to be the next legendary Birds backstop, but if he's got Jenkins' vote of confidence that's certainly a step in the right direction. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/why-malcolm-jenkins-says-eagles-fans-should-trust-marcus-epps
  4. Brandon Graham opens up about end-of-career plans No one, not even legends etched in franchise history, plays forever. Which is why even though Brandon Graham says he feels as good as he did this time last year following a devastating Week 2 Achilles injury during last season, the Eagles great is also thinking about how he'd like to wrap up his career. It's better to be prepared, right? Graham joined JAKIB Media's "Sports Take" show Wednesday to talk about a bunch of things Eagles-related, and at multiple points he addressed his future with the team. Here are a few excerpts that stood out: On his role this season "I'm here right now, I've got another opportunity. It's the last year on my deal, they're gonna honor me for this year, and whatever role it is man just enjoy it. Because you didn't have football last year, you had time with the kids, and you still got one year left of the football if that's what you choose to do. And I'm like, man, I'm about to enjoy it." On how much more he'd like to play "Three more seasons." On whether he'd play elsewhere "You know what? I would. But it would only be probably for a year. The kids are together right now and they're settled, so that always - I know they wouldn't up and leave right away - so being away from them and the family, that would only probably last a year. We'd see how it works out, but I'd probably end up playing 14 [years] instead of 15. My goal is to finish on 15 if I could, as an Eagle." It sure sounds like the 12-year vet is eyeing the end of the road, eh? Graham, who turned 34 this past April, wasn't showing any signs of slowing down in 2020 - his most recent full season - when he made his first career Pro Bowl by notching 8.0 sacks, 16 QB hits, 13 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. He was a man possessed. But following an Achilles injury and a season away from the game, it's not clear where Graham will be when he returns to the field. And even if he's close to his former self, the Eagles have to be mindful of the future when constructing their roster after 2022. Graham counts for $9.4 million against the cap this season, and while he probably won't expect that same figure (unless he balls out this season) he will still command some fair money on the open market. So it's fully possible 2022 is Graham's final ride in midnight green, and that he could be playing for a different organization in 2023. I don't fault him at all for the decision, but that is going to feel extremely weird. Of course he'll almost certainly do the one-day deal retirement thing with the Birds and come home for proper sendoff, so it doesn't really matter. But still - something to get ready for as 2022 bears down on us. Enjoy BG this year, because it might be his last one in Philly. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/eagles-great-brandon-graham-opens-about-end-career-plans
  5. Why Jenkins says Eagles fans should trust Epps at safety Malcolm Jenkins is one of the best Eagles defenders of the past decade, a true Birds great with a Super Bowl ring to boot. He's forever a hero in Philadelphia. So when he speaks about the state of the team, even now as a retired NFLer after 13 tremendous years in the league, fans tend to listen. And this week on the Eagles Unfiltered podcast Jenkins had a message for anyone worried about the Birds' safeties: Don't sweat it. Marcus Epps can do this job. Which is good news, because the Eagles spent resources basically everywhere this offseason... except safety. They brought Anthony Harris back, they brought Marcus Epps back, and they added veteran Jaquiski Tartt on a 1-year deal. That's it. On a team suddenly dreaming of a deep postseason run, safety is the position most fans have questions about. But here's why Jenkins thinks Epps is up for the challenge: "When I was there, he was a player that was behind me and Rodney [McLeod] but was rising fast on the depth chart, somebody who's physically gifted and smart enough to understand defenses and where he needs to be in alignments and leverage. I think he's soaked up a lot of game, and that was one of the things I recognized about him early was, you know, he's somebody who wants to know how he can become the best player he can. He'd stick around late after meetings and ask questions and watch extra tape, and so for me I know that, just because of those things, he's going to be fine. "Obviously he's gonna have a ton of expectations, and we know how Philadelphia feels about its safeties, so it's a daunting task. But like anybody, he's got to take the same approach and deal with the same stuff that even I went through, where you can't try to be Dawkins or myself or whoever - because you can't. I've tried, I've done that before, I've watched Dawkins' tape. I can't do what he does. That's why he is who he is. "So he's gotta figure out what he does really well. I think he's got great ball skills, I think he's got range, he tackles well. As long as he can continue to develop his game and what he does well, and tries to be the best Epps he can be, I think he'll be fine." You love to hear it! Epps, 26, has appeared in 45 games but has just eight career starts to his name, all of which came in the past two seasons. He's notched 3 INTs and 9 passes defended since the start of 2020, solid numbers for a safety, and received a pretty solid 72.8 grade from Pro Football Focus for his play in 2021. We still need to see more from the Wyoming product, but there do indeed seem to be bones of a player who can excel in a regular starter role. I also love that Jenkins watched Dawkins tape during his time with the Eagles and concluded that he just couldn't do the stuff that Weapon X could so, so he blazed his own path instead. They were two distinctly great safeties, the two best in franchise history. No one's saying Epps is in line to be the next legendary Birds backstop, but if he's got Jenkins' vote of confidence that's certainly a step in the right direction. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/why-malcolm-jenkins-says-eagles-fans-should-trust-marcus-epps
  6. New NFL WR rankings should have Eagles fans pumped Howie Roseman went out and seriously upgraded the Eagles' wide receiver room on Draft night when he added A.J. Brown in a trade with the Titans. The move, along with the rest of Roseman's excellent offseason, took the Birds' window and moved it from "the future" to "right now". At least, that's how fans see it. But is it a little bit of recency bias and overexuberance? Are the Eagles' weapons really as good as fans think they are? The experts are chiming in, and it seems like they agree. Pro Football Focus, everyone's favorite group of polarizing film-crunchers and obscure-numbers-users, put the Eagles a sky-high fourth (!) in the entire NFL in their new wide receiver corps rankings. Fourth! In the whole dang league! Here's what they had to say about the Birds' WR room: "A.J. Brown, a legitimate No. 1 option who can win over the middle of the field, changes everything for Philadelphia’s receiving corps. The only wide receivers to average more receiving yards per route run than Brown — who the Eagles traded for on Day 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft — since he entered the league in 2019 (2.61) are Davante Adams and Justin Jefferson. "Brown, DeVonta Smith and one of the more underrated tight ends in the league (Dallas Goedert) is a nice core with players like Quez Watkins and the thus-far disappointing Jalen Reagor adding some speed behind them on the depth chart." The only teams ahead of the Eagles in PFF's rankings were the Bengals, Buccaneers, and Dolphins. It's hard to argue the Eagles' WRs are better than any of those groups. PFF put six teams in the top tier, the "Elite" tear: those three, the Eagles, the Raiders, and the 49ers. I imagine some people will say the Raiders belong ahead of the Eagles, and I would have a hard time disagreeing. I think you have a better argument for the Eagles ahead of the Niners. Regardless, it's clear the Eagles are viewed as having a straight-up elite WR group in Brown, Smith, Watkins, and Goedert (who isn't a WR, but also basically is a WR). That's a far cry from what it felt like at the end of the season, when fans all over were calling for a serious upgrade at the position. Thank you, Howie. Now it's up for these guys to get open - and for Jalen Hurts to get them the ball. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/pffs-wide-receiver-corps-rankings-put-eagles-dolphins-top-5
  7. Simms' new QB rankings show Hurts still gets no respect Former NFL QB and NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms has had a tempestuous relationship with his evaluation of Eagles QB Jalen Hurts - and it doesn't seem to be over just yet. Last offseason Simms boldly left Hurts off his list of the Top 40 quarterbacks in the league, a clear miscalculation which was quickly proved incorrect by Hurts' play. Eventually Simms admitted his mistake, joining the Eagle Eye podcast to break down where he went wrong: "I took an L on it. I should have had him on the top 40,' Simms said. 'I was wrong to (leave him off). I think the reason I didn't have him on the top 40 are some of the things you're talking about. Those are my concerns. Still my concerns going forward. Hey, I agree with the Eagles' standpoint that Jalen Hurts did enough this year, certainly, to come back and be the starter and be that guy. There's no doubt about that." A notable sports personality admitting they were wrong isn't terribly common, so Simms' admission earlier this year of the L was appreciated. And yet... it seems the former QB still doesn't have much respect for Hurts and his game, as evidenced by where Hurts falls in this year's edition of his rankings. Simms is slowly unveiling his Top 40 in descending order over the course of multiple days, but on Thursday his Nos. 25-21 were released and Hurts is behind some players he should not be. Simms put Hurts at No. 25, two spots behind the Bears' Justin Fields (!) and three spots behind the Jets' Zach Wilson (!!), which frankly feels crazy. Before we go any further, here's what Simms says his rankings are based on: "-This is not an all-time rank -This is not about career potential -This is not about how good a QB's team is "This is which QB I’d take right now, this year, with a generic supporting cast." Hmm. So it's not about potential, which I could see helping the Fields and Wilson cases because of their first-round pedigrees? Then, uh... what's the argument here? MORE: The real reason Eagles-Foles reunion didn't work out A quick look at last year's numbers: Hurts: 61.3% comp, 7.2 Y/A, 16 TD, 9 INT | 5.6 rush Y/A, 10 rush TD Fields: 58.9% comp, 6.9 Y/A, 7 TD, 10 INT | 5.8 rush Y/A, 2 rush TD Wilson: 55.6% comp, 6.1 Y/A, 9 TD, 11 INT | 6.4 rush Y/A, 4 rush TD I don't know about you, but it's pretty clear which QB I'm choosing based on those stats. Add in Hurts' extra year of experience in the league (even if it was just a few starts, he's had an entire extra 12 months as an NFL player) and I just don't see Simms' justification for putting those two ahead of Hurts. Believe me: I think Hurts has a long way to go until he's considered a legit long-term starter, and I have plenty of reservations about his game. But there is no way I'm taking either of those guys ahead of Hurts if I need to win a game in Week 1 of 2022. Looks like Hurts will just need to keep showing up and proving that he's better than many believe. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/eagles-jalen-hurts-still-being-disrespected-2022-qb-rankings
  8. The real reason Eagles-Nick Foles reunion didn't work out The Greater Philadelphia Area received a collective jolt over the weekend when reports of the Eagles considering a reunion with Nick Foles started swirling about. Ultimately Foles wound up joining the Colts, which at the time felt unsurprising: the Eagles obviously hold the allure of his Super Bowl organization and a fanbase forever indebted to his miraculous postseason run, but the Colts are coached by the guy who unlocked Foles' potential during those playoffs years ago while the Eagles' coaching staff has been refreshed. If Foles made the decision, it was hard to blame him. But... it sounds like that's not what happened. ESPN insider and scoopmaster supreme Adam Schefter joined 97.5 The Fanatic's The John Kincade Show for his weekly Wednesday morning appearance, and Schefty had an interesting detail about the dynamics of that near reunion: "KINCADE: It appears it came down to [the Eagles] and the Colts. Was it just for that kind of veteran steward to help [Hurts] in the film room, to help him on the sidelines, in practice, etc.? "SCHEFTER: I actually think, when it comes to Nick Foles, it was more of him wanting to come to Philadelphia and the Eagles not necessarily having a spot for him, as much as they like and respect him. I think it was more that way than it was the other way." Wow. Eagles legend Nick Foles wanted to return to Philly after a little bouncing around across the league? Right as the juice around this team is reaching critical levels?! That would've tipped the scale. The city would've lost its collective mind and these next three-plus months ahead of Week 1 would've seen hype reach a mythical peak. This is also a fascinating twist in Foles' story, because you might remember that the Bears tried to send Foles back to Philly about a year ago and he wasn't interested in the idea. Here's that nugget, from NFL reporter Tyler Dunne's Go Long Substack in May 2021: "The Bears tried cleansing their hands of the Nick Foles mistake by trading Foles back to Philly. Foles didn’t want to go, one source says, so the Eagles refused to trade for a QB who wouldn’t report." Hmm. At the time, it seemed like Foles had decided he didn't want to go back to Philly and possibly tarnish (though he never, ever could) the perfect reputation he has in this city. The Super Bowl run, the incredible redemptive arc, everything - his story with the Birds is 100% crystal. Why risk that? But now, a year later, Foles seems to have changed his mind and is only headed to Indy instead of Philly because the front office looked at the roster, looked at Foles, and made a tough decision. I have a feeling some Eagles fans might be angry at this revelation, but I don't mind it. Foles is 33, and while he led the Bears to a few improbable wins last year he is also clearly on the downslope of his career. It would've been a cool little addition to an already-exciting squad, but Howie Roseman & Co. seem fully focused on building the future and (strange Fletcher Cox decision aside) intent on shedding that nostalgic reputation. I'm sure Foles will have fun backing up Matt Ryan in Indy, while Hurts and the Eagles look to make it to the playoffs for a second straight season. And I'm also sure that, at some point in the next few years, Foles will sign a one-day contract with the Eagles to retire and the reception at the Linc will be deafening. It will rock. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/nfl-rumors-why-eagles-nick-foles-reunion-didnt-work-out
  9. Mock draft: Best-case scenario delivers Eagles two studs We're just TWO days away from the 2022 NFL Draft. That's wild. Who will your favorite team pick? Who knows? I certainly don't! But here's how things might shake out Thursday night when Round 1 begins and general managers begin throwing caution to the wind in search of the perfect selection. 1. Jaguars: EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan Hutchinson might be the most talented player in this draft between his size, speed, and pass-rush skillset. He will dominate off the edge no matter where he goes; with the O-line taken care of, the Jags add a monster. 2. Lions: QB Malik Willis, Liberty Jared Goff is not the guy in Detroit - he just can't be - so the Lions make a very bold move and take a quarterback way higher than anyone expects a QB will go this year. Goff can be the starter to begin the season and Willis can either take over mid-year or start 2023 as QB1. 3. Texans: DL Travon Walker, Georgia Walker is a beast and is rising on everyone's draft boards, so if he lasts past first overall the Texans will be thrilled. This best player available mentality: the Georgia product nabbed 6.0 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery last year, and his Combine testing was 99th percentile stuff. 4. Panthers (via NYJ): QB Kenny Pickett, Pitt Pickett is a real question mark for a lot of draft experts; he had just one truly great collegiate year, but boy was it great. The Panthers need an actual answer at QB, and they're going to keep throwing darts at the board until they find one. You've almost got to respect it. 5. Giants: OT Evan Neal, Alabama Neal could've gone first overall if the Jaguars didn't address the O-line in free agency. He's gigantic - 6-foot-7, 337 pounds - and the Giants both need to protect Daniel Jones to keep the ball in his hands and pave more lanes for Saquon Barkley. Problems addressed. 6. Jets (via CAR): CB Sauce Gardner, Cincinnati Sauce (!) Gardner will be the best corner in this year's draft class. He notched 3 INTs in each of his three seasons with the Bearcats, stands 6-foot-2, and is great in man coverage. Also his nickname is Sauce. He's gonna be a difference-maker for Robert Saleh's defense immediately. 7. Giants: EDGE Jermaine Johnson II, Miami A possible Eagles target goes off the board a little too early. Johnson's had a great pre-draft run among draft heads. He brings big production - 11.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss in a breakout 2021 season - and is an explosive, energetic guy. The ceiling is high. 8. Falcons: CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU He's been rumored as a possible drop candidate, but I think Stingley is too good of a prospect to pass up. He's 6-foot-1, he had six picks in 25 games with LSU, and he has the combination of instincts and speed to be DBU's latest star. 9. Steelers (via SEA): QB Matt Corral, Ole Miss The Steelers panic after two quarterbacks go in the Top 4 and vault into the Top 10 to get one of their won. Corral is an interesting dual threat QB (20 passing TDs and 10 rushing TDs in 12 games this year) who can compete to start Week 1. 10. Jets: OL Ikem Ekwonu, NC State Ekwonu's upside has scouts thinking he could wind up being the best O-line prospect in this draft. If the Jets really want to get a good evaluation of Zach Wilson they need to keep him protected and upright, and this is how you do it. 11. Commanders: OL Charles Cross, Mississippi State Getting Cross at 11 feels like value for Washington. They made the splashy move for Carson Wentz, and if the Commanders want to keep their QB from turning the ball over left and right they need to keep the pocket clean. Cross excels in pass protection and should start Week 1. 12. Vikings: WR Jameson Williams, Alabama The Vikings aren't hurting for wide receiver talent but they can always use more, especially considering Adam Thielen turns 32 before the 2022 NFL season begins. Williams caught 79 passes for 1,572 yards and 15 TDs for the Tide last year and brings serious quickness to the table. Don't worry about the injury; he's a stud. 13. Texans: CB Trent McDuffie, Washington McDuffie isn't huge - just 5-foot-11, 195 pounds - but he makes up for it with serious speed and athleticism. He's a ball of energy on the field, and while he only notched two INTs in 27 games with the Huskies, his ability to see the entire field should help him find more at the next level. 14. Ravens: DL Jordan Davis, Georgia Some have their concerns about how a guy at Davis's size - 6-foot-6, 341 pounds - and I understand the trepidation. It's the era of the ultra-athletic edge rusher, and defense is all about speed, speed, speed. Guess what: Davis has that in bunches. He ran an absolutely absurd 4.78 (!!!) 40-yard dash at that size and seems to be the kind of athletic specimen who simply breaks models. 15. Eagles: EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon Thibodeaux was once expected to go first overall, but for some reason he keeps popping up as a guy who could drop Thursday night. He's a complete edge rusher, the kind of guy who will contribute starting in Week 1. The Eagles capitalize on everyone else's mistake and make the easiest decision of Howie Roseman's career: nabbing Thibodeaux at 15. He'll be a fan-favorite in no time. 16. Saints: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame Hamilton was a possibility for the Eagles, but he slips one more spot. Like Thibodeaux he should be a no-brainer Top 10 pick, but he too is rumored to be a slider - in large part because his Pro Day numbers were underwhelming. Consider me unconcerned: Hamilton is an all-around elite safety talent. 17. Chargers: OL Tyler Smith, Tulsa There's nothing more important than protecting your young superstar quarterback, so the Chargers double up on offensive tackles in back-to-back-years and find a running mate for Rashawn Slater. Smith is huge (6-foot-5, 324 pounds) with crazy explosion out of his stance. 18. Eagles: WR Chris Olave, Ohio State Eagles fans seem curiously worried about another first-round wideout pick, but I like it - in fact, I want it. Get more talent in the WR room as soon as possible. Olave is a speedy and slick do-it-all wide receiver who stands 6-foot-1 and put up 35 touchdowns in 38 games with the Buckeyes. He'll quickly be Jalen Hurts' favorite deep target. 19. Saints: OL Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa If the Saints have any hope of being not awful next year with Jameis Winston (?) as their guy, they'll need to give him time to see the field and not rush into interceptions. Plus Penning is a towering human at 6-foot-7, 340 pounds, and has skills to match. 20. Seahawks (via PIT): CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson Booth didn't have crazy INT production in college (just 3 INT in 24 career games), which will probably worry some Seahawks fans. But that can happen at the collegiate level, where each team only has one NFL-quality corner if that. Booth is all about measurables, technique, and potential. 21. Patriots: LB Devin Lloyd, Utah Lloyd is an impressive, attacking linebacker who excels in coverage - he had 7.0 sacks and 22.0 tackles for loss this season, but he also had four interceptions and six passes defended - and brings the kind of versatility and athleticism that should make him a starting linebacker immediately. 22. Packers: WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State Davante Adams gone in the offseason? Enter Garrett Wilson, a monster wideout who racked up crazy production for the Buckeyes this year - 70 catches, 1,058 yards, and 12 TDs - and would provide the Packers with some help if they do in fact manage to keep Aaron Rodgers around. Sammy Watkins can't carry a passing attack on his own. 23. Cardinals: EDGE David Ojabo, Michigan Ojabo tore his Achilles during his Pro Day, a huge bummer for a player who could've been picked in the Top 10. But his talent and potential are still too good to pass on, and the Cardinals need to future-proof their defensive line. 24. Cowboys: OL Kenyon Green, Texas A&M The Cowboys' vaunted offensive line hasn't exactly been up to snuff in recent seasons, and Dak needs better talent in front of him. Green is gigantic and in some evaluators' eyes is probably a Top 10 talent, so this could be a steal for Dallas at a sneaky position of need. 25. Bills: CB Kaiir Elam, Florida With Levi Wallace now in Pittsburgh, Sean McDermott would like to keep his defense in tip-top shape. Elam's size (6-foot-2) and length make him an exciting young option to start opposite Tre'Davious White in the secondary. Elam had 5 INTs with the Gators. 26. Titans: C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa Linderbaum is slightly undersized but is a blue-chip talent with a penchant for mauling. Iowa breeds offensive linemen like no other, and "the next Jason Kelce" slides right in as a Day 1 starter. 27. Bucs: DL Devonte Wyatt, Georgia Tampa Bay still doesn't have any huge question marks throughout the roster, but with Ndamukong Suh still a free agent the Bucs could stand to beef up the D-line. Wyatt is a potential Eagles choice in the middle of the first round; his production wasn't there in 2021 but the talent definitely is. 28. Packers: WR Drake London, USC The Packers double down on wide receiver? The Packers double down on wide receiver! They brought Aaron Rodgers back for a reason: to win now. So they go out and grab an exciting prospect in London whose ceiling is sky-high. He had wild collegiate production in his final year at USC (88 catches, 1,084 yards, 7 TD in just eight games). 29. Chiefs: WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas I really like Burks as an alternate option for the Eagles. He's an impressive, big-bodied wide receiver who doesn't sacrifice speed for size - think Chargers wideout Mike Williams. He notched 67 catches for 1,123 yards and 11 TD this year, including 179 yards and two touchdowns against Alabama. He had TD catches of 91, 85, 66, and 52 yards this season, plus a 49-yard rushing TD. 30. Chiefs: EDGE George Karlaftis, Purdue Karlaftis has real upside as a pass rusher despite his lack of production statistically (just 4.5 sacks in 12 games) with the Boilermakers last year as opposing offenses keyed on him. He makes the Chiefs better immediately. 31. Bengals: OL Zion Johnson, Boston College The Bengals need to protect Joe Burrow better. Zion Johnson will do that. Duh. 32. Falcons (via DET): QB Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati The Falcons get wacky! They trade back into the first round to get that fifth-year option and take a flier on Ridder, a solid-not-spectacular prospect out of Cincy who should give you a pretty solid floor of adequate quarterbacking. Not sure I see the ceiling, but it's worth a shot when your current starter is Marcus Mariota! https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/2022-nfl-mock-draft-quarterbacks-climb-top-10-gets-chaotic
  10. Schefter details likely, unlikely Eagles draft trades By now you've likely heard that (surprise!) Eagles general manager Howie Roseman is actively calling other front offices, looking for potential trades up and down the draft board ahead of Thursday's 2022 NFL Draft kickoff. This is not a shocker. Roseman is one of the NFL's biggest deal-makers, a notorious trade master who regularly makes swaps on draft night. The real question is: if Roseman pulls the trigger, what would a trade actually look like? What's he trying to accomplish on Thursday night? For the answer we turn to ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter, who appeared on 97.5 The Fanatic on Wednesday morning to discuss what he's heard about Roseman's M.O. before the festivities begin. Host John Kincade asked Schefter whether he'd be surprised if, come Friday morning, talk radio was filled with discussion of a "bold" Eagles trade. Here's what Schefter had to offer: "SCHEFTER: What's your definition of bold? "KINCADE: Top 6 or 7 pick. "SCHEFTER: I don't think they're going that high. I don't think so. The cost is going to be too great, and I don't think there's going to be enough interest in someone to go that high. "[...] "I think it's the kind of thing that, if they basically get to a spot where all of a sudden there's a guy there at 10, 11, 12, they go up three, four, five spots to go get him. That's the kind of thing I think - if there's a guy they've identified and like - that's the kind of thing I think they'll do. Do I think they're going up to 6 tomorrow night, this dramatic move? I don't think they're doing that. They've worked too hard to accumulate all this draft capital to go and spend it on one guy. I just don't think they do that." Schefter went on to say he does not envision a scenario where Roseman trades either of the two first-round picks the Eagles hold in 2023. Okay, interesting. Roseman is willing to part with some capital... but not a ton. He wants talent, but he also recognizes the Eagles can stand to improve in multiple areas. I think that's smart. If the Eagles want to trade up from 15 to 10, it'll take roughly 54 value points according to the Rich Hill trade value chart. The Eagles' earlier third-round pick (83rd overall) is worth 52 points. Does 15, 83, and one of their three fifth-rounders get the job done? Probably. And I think I'd do that deal if you really, really love a guy. Now to wonder who exactly Roseman might want to target in the case of a draft-night slide. Could they look to shore up CB2 across from Darius Slay with a stud at the top of the board? Schefter said Eagles fans dreaming of a star corner might want to pump the brakes: "I happen to think the cornerbacks will go early, like [Derek] Stingley and Sauce Gardner. I don't think that either one of them will slide down to Philly's turn or be in that range." Shoot. If we assume these players are off the board by 10... Derek Stingley Sauce Gardner Evan Neal Aidan Hutchinson Travon Walker Ikem Ekwonu Charles Cross Kyle Hamilton One WR One QB ...then who makes sense for a trade-up? Is it Kayvon Thibodeaux? Is it Jermaine Johnson II? Maybe Jordan Davis? Or perhaps a wide receiver the team has its eyes on? It's a great big question, one the Eagles' front office is surely pondering at this very moment. Thursday night should bring some fireworks. As Bart Scott would say, can't wait. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/nfl-draft-rumors-insider-sees-ahmad-gardner-derek-stingley-jr-going-early
  11. This NFL exec sure sounds afraid of Roseman Eagles general manager Howie Roseman is known for a few things: shrewd cap space maneuvers, questionable roster management, and making a ton of trades. And his reputation as a guy who normally wins trades continued to grow last week when Roseman swapped draft picks with the Saints, adding even more ammunition for a potential QB pursuit next offseason. Different people will have different views, but the general consensus was that Roseman won the trade. Between the Saints deal and the Carson Wentz trade with the Colts last offseason, Roseman has now overwhelmingly won two big-scale swaps... and it sounds like some around the league are starting to get scared of Roseman giving their team a call. In a story published Friday at The Athletic, numerous NFL executives spoke anonymously about all 32 teams. The quote one exec gave about Roseman's offseason moves was very interesting: "I don't know who would want to trade with Philly," an exec said. "Howie has a little bit of a Danny Ainge syndrome. If he is making a deal with you, he has identified something. That is his bread and butter. Now, granted, he is in a position of leverage because he has three first-round picks or whatever it was. And Howie has the ability to think long term, because he is going to be there next year." Dang, Howie has these folks shaking in their boots! Being associated with Ainge's reputation as a general manager has its pluses and minuses. On one hand, Ainge (formerly in charge of the Boston Celtics' basketball operations, now a member of the Utah Jazz front office) is famous for being "in" on every big trade rumor and always "showing interest" in big-name free agents with... very little to show for it in terms of actual blockbuster moves. Roseman and the Eagles are often linked to big trade names, but over the past two offseasons they've made precious few needle-moving moves. (Part of that is where the Eagles' timeline stands, but the point remains.) However, Ainge also successfully orchestrated the Celtics' Big Three and fleeced the Nets in the subsequent Kevin Garnett-and-Paul Pierce mega-deal, and is generally viewed as a smart team-builder. So you take the good with the bad. Eagles fans will be the first ones to rattle off Roseman's list of shortcomings - yes, yes, we know about JJAW over Metcalf - but from cap management to trade success he's definitely near the top of the league's GM rankings. And it seems the rest of the league knows it. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/nfl-exec-eagles-howie-roseman-ex-celtics-gm-danny-ainge?cid=sm_npd_rsn_phi_fb_mn&fbclid=IwAR21Jfg8NTou2rjjYXSNJGe31uSIa_ILsj_Ksyplk9Gu7q5NGx3BS6EujmQ
  12. Elite prospect's rumored draft board slide could help Eagles The Eagles' safety position has been underwhelming at best since Malcolm Jenkins left after the 2020 season, and after striking out on the big names in free agency the Birds still need an answer at safety opposite Anthony Harris for 2022 - and they could use some larger answers for the position in the long-term as well. Odds are good Howie Roseman will try to target a safety in April's 2022 NFL Draft, but the question is where. The Eagles pick thrice in the first round, but the best safety prospect in the draft class has long been expected to go in the Top 10 and out of the Eagles' range. That, however, may be changing. Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton seems like a can't-miss prospect at the position, yet ESPN draft analyst and insider Matt Miller reported this week that, in conversations with teams around the league, he's heard Hamilton isn't as highly-regarded: The draft's best safety prospect falling outside the Top 10, you say? Now we're cooking with gas. It's curious to see a player like Hamilton, who many evaluators consider a guy with Week 1 impact ability, drop this late in the draft process. But Hamilton's 4.72 40-yard dash at his Pro Day is apparently making waves. If that's all it takes to bump a monster like Hamilton out of the Top 10, it feels a little odd. Here's a sampling of the way draft evaluators have sung Hamilton's praises during the pre-draft process: NFL.com's Lance Zierlein: "High-impact safety with unique blend of traits and characteristics that make him a bit of a unicorn at the position." The Draft Network's Kyle Crabbs: "Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton might just be the best NFL draft prospect I’ve personally studied since entering into the draft space in 2014." Pro Football Network's Oliver Hodgkinson: "I would go as far as to say he is one of the best players in the 2022 NFL Draft class regardless of position." Sounds pretty good to me! I can't see Howie Roseman surrendering the kind of draft capital it takes to move up in the first round in order to go land a safety; it's just not prudent in terms of positional value. But if someone like Hamilton falls into your lap - or within a few picks of your first selection at No. 15 overall - you have to think Roseman will try his best to nag the 21-year-old. Using the most recent version of the NFL Trade Value Chart, if Hamilton makes it out of the Top 10 here's what it would take for the Eagles to trade up and get him: No. 11: 43 points (92nd overall pick, late third round) No. 12: 32 points (108th overall pick, early fourth round) No. 13: 21 points (129th overall pick, late fourth round) No. 14: 10 points (159th overall pick, mid fifth round) A third-round pick is probably too rich for my blood, but any of the other options are fine. The Eagles have three first-round picks and they'll still have those three first-round picks; go get a guy who is more than likely a difference-maker and also solves a problem at a position for years to come. Draft night is less than a month away now. Should be a good time. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/nfl-draft-rumors-could-eagles-target-kyle-hamilton-if-he-falls
  13. Ex-GM explains return Eagles could look for in Reagor trade Jalen Reagor's first two years with the Eagles have been a colossal disappointment, full stop. The first-round pick has turned in one of the worst starts to a career of any first-round receiver in the last 50 years: 64 catches, 695 yards, 3 touchdowns in 28 games. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/are-eagles-stuck-1st-round-pick-jalen-reagor-another-year With Zach Pascal now in the fold and the upcoming NFL Draft loaded with wide receiver talent, I simply can't see Reagor still being on the roster when training camp opens. Frankly, he could be gone in the next few weeks before the draft to a team that doesn't want to rely on pick luck - or in the weeks following the draft, when teams know which holes remain on their roster. In any case, Howie Roseman should be working the phones looking to find any team willing to part with some sort of draft capital in exchange for Reagor. And if he's successful, former Jets and Dolphins executive Mike Tannenbaum offered up some idea of what the Eagles could seek in a trade. Tannenbaum, speaking with ESPN's Tim McManus this week, had this to say about Reagor's trade value: "'Sometimes a fresh start is good for both sides and [Reagor] may be a guy where a fresh start is worth it,' Tannenbaum said. 'This year's draft is littered with receivers again, you have a [No.] 1 in DeVonta Smith, so of the [players] we talked about, he would be the guy I'd probably consider moving on from.' "As far as compensation, Tannenbaum said, 'If you could get a fourth-round pick, I'd think you have to really consider it.'" A fourth-round pick? That's a no-brainer. Whether it's used as ammo to acquire a quarterback next year or simply turned used as it stands, the odds are good the Eagles will get more value and production out of the pick than Reagor. And while some might scoff at the idea of any team giving up a fourth-round pick for Reagor right now, I wouldn't totally write it off. The guy's only 23 years old and he comes with a first-round pedigree (even if the pick was a stretch), making him a perfect reclamation project for some coach out there silly enough to think he can turn a bust into a diamond in the rough. I personally wouldn't bet on Reagor's upside - because I have seen precious little over two seasons - but if Roseman can find someone who would, he should pull the trigger. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/ex-gm-eagles-should-trade-jalen-reagor-if-they-can-get-4th-round-pick
  14. Eagles have 'called' about former All-Pro cornerback After a rental year of Steven Nelson, the Eagles are back in the market for a second cornerback to start opposite Pro Bowl CB Darius Slay. There are still some intriguing options at the position in free agency - and the 2022 NFL Draft has numerous first-round possibilities - but it sounds like the Birds' front office has some idea of who they'd like to land. Veteran Stephon Gilmore, the five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro who spent last season in Carolina after long stints in New England and Buffalo, is still a free agent. According to his wife's Twitter account, he's received a call from the Eagles about potentially heading to Philly to team up with Slay in the secondary: Slay and Gilmore? Man, talk about a secondary that would've fired you up five years ago! Okay, just kidding. Slay is coming off a Pro Bowl campaign and was extremely good last season, and Gilmore is one of the best corners of his generation who's made four straight Pro Bowls and has 27 interceptions across his illustrious 10-year career. PFF graded Gilmore at 77.7 last year, not totally elite status (Slay graded out at 81.3, for reference) but a very good number. They'd be a great, if slightly elderly, tandem. The Eagles still don't have much in the way of an answer at safety - Anthony Harris is back after a totally whatever 2021 season - so the secondary still needs work, and I'm not sure that investing money and years into Gilmore, who turns 32 in mid-September, is the right answer when the Eagles should be looking to the future instead of grasping at win-now veterans. There are probably cheaper, younger options out there - plus I'd imagine someone like Clemson's Andrew Booth Jr. could be available around the Eagles' picks next month, and I would much prefer playing a rookie corner over a veteran one when the team isn't expected to really contend. But if Gilmore is for some reason willing to take a little less money and come to Philly to play with Slay, Haason Reddick, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, and Josh Sweat? Sure, give me a two-year deal at a reasonable number and let's win some games with defense. Plus Gilmore has the name recognition and pedigree to be a potential trade deadline move if the Eagles sputter and a contender wants to upgrade its secondary with a veteran presence. We'll see! https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/nfl-free-agency-stephon-gilmore-receiving-interest-eagles
  15. NFL insider shoots down a big Eagles draft question mark The Eagles' front office has tried at every turn to throw its support behind Jalen Hurts heading into 2022. Yet Howie Roseman's reputation for surprise moves and part of the fanbase's distrust in Hurts' ceiling has kept "will the Eagles draft a QB?" questions churning in the months since the Eagles' playoff exit. And with the Combine behind us and some impressive Pro Days lodged in our recent memory, the question remains: could Roseman really target a QB with one of the Eagles' three first-round picks? Eh... maybe not. ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter joined 97.5 The Fanatic for his weekly segment Wednesday morning and didn't really parse his words when asked about a possible QB selection: "KINCADE: Am I reading too much into it, that the [Eagles] might be kicking the tires more than we think they are [on rookie QBs]? "SCHEFTER: I have not heard that, I do not know that, and we'll see how it plays out - you can never dismiss anything in this league, right? - but I don't view the Eagles as being a big player in the quarterback market in this draft. I don't, today. Now I could be wrong, but that's not how I view it. "[...] "My sense is they're not shopping [for rookie QBs]. My sense is they think they have a pretty good team, that they can win now, that they think this is a good draft, that they think they can help themselves with other players - and that this is probably not the best quarterback draft." Got it. Schefter left the "I could be wrong" door open in case things do a complete 180, but for right now it seems pretty clear the Eagles aren't trying to go crazy next month and use one of those picks on a QB. The top options, if QB was in play, would include guys like Pitt's Kenny Pickett and Liberty's Malik Willis. The Eagles have been tangentially linked to Pickett: they reportedly bought him dinner the night before his strong Pro Day and Roseman traveled to Pittsburgh during the NFL season to watch Pickett play in person. But I don't think they view Pickett as a guy they need to spend a first-round pick on. And Willis is probably the prospect with the highest ceiling in this class, an athletic wunderkind who also has a cannon arm. Willis wowed at his Pro Day this week, including this victory cigar throw: CLICK ON LINK TO ARTICLE BELOW TO VIEW VIDEO I like Willis' potential a lot, but there's been no indication the Eagles have their eyes on the Liberty gunslinger. Overall this isn't terribly surprising news. The Eagles will probably focus on the positions they usually value - defensive end, wide receiver, maybe cornerback - and keep an eye on possible quarterbacks in later rounds. But with Roseman, where you simply never know until the picks are officially in, it's good to keep updated on the latest thinking around the Eagles' front office as we approach April 28. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/2022-nfl-draft-eagles-wont-be-big-players-qbs-adam-schefter-says
  16. How NFL analysts graded Eagles' Reddick signing The Eagles made a sizable splash on the first day of the NFL's free agency tampering period, inking edge rusher Haason Reddick to a three-year, $45 million deal. The 27-year-old pass rushing specialist has been one of the league's more underrated monsters in his last two seasons and will help the Eagles' defense immensely in 2022. Fans in Philadelphia were pretty excited about the move - at least in part because Reddick is a Camden native and Temple product - but what did the larger football community think of the Birds' first major offseason move? Let's take a spin around the football internet and see what some NFL analysts are saying about the Reddick deal: Sporting News "Philadelphia needed to improve the depth and effectiveness of the edge pass rush with Derek Barnett a free agent and age/injury concerns with Brandon Graham. Reddick, a Temple product, cashes in big time after two big sack seasons with Arizona and Philadelphia." Grade: B CBS Sports "The Eagles were able to acquire a 27-year-old linebacker who racked up 23.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles over the past two years. They did so without breaking the bank, as Reddick comes to Philadelphia for a reported $45 million over three years." Grade: A+ Sports Illustrated "The former situational inside linebacker turned deadly outside rusher, who played on more than 80% of the Panthers’ snaps last year, adds a different dimension for the Eagles than they’ve had previously. In the era of simulated pressure, Reddick is athletic enough to approach the line and drift back into coverage to cloud throwing lanes. [...] "He could easily be in for his third straight double-digit sack season. Philadelphia was 21st in pressure percentage last season, and if the Eagles intend to continue blitzing at the paltry 16% rate they did a year ago, they’ll need a spark such as Reddick." Grade: B Bleacher Report "In his first three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, Reddick shifted between inside and outside linebacker before coming into his own as a pass-rusher in 2020 with 12.5 sacks and 34 quarterback pressures. Last offseason, he signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers and proved himself as a reliable edge-rusher, recording 11 sacks and 33 pressures. "Reddick's rise wasn't fluky. He possesses the speed, power and flexibility to rush the passer in even- and odd-man fronts. Alongside defensive tackles Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox, the 27-year-old should be an upgrade over impending free agent Derek Barnett, who logged 21.5 sacks and 80 pressures in five terms with the Eagles." Grade: A SB Nation "Reddick has had a great two seasons prior, but this is a whole lot of money. It’s unclear if Reddick can fill the role of a top-tier solo pass rusher, but he’s being paid that kind of money. "On the one hand I like the talent, on the other, it feels bizarre to see the Eagles spend big money on a pass rusher when they have three first round picks in a draft with astounding depth at the position. Feels like a misallocation of resources unless there’s something more to this." Grade: B- The Athletic "Reddick, 28, hit free agency last offseason and settled for a one-year, $6 million deal with the Panthers. He had 11 sacks in 16 games. Reddick has 23.5 sacks over the past two seasons. The only players with more are T.J. Watt, Myles Garrett, Trey Hendrickson and Aaron Donald. "Eagles GM Howie Roseman is never shy about investing in pass rush. Reddick gives the defense a young, versatile edge defender with upside." Grade: B To summarize: Sporting News: B CBS Sports: A+ Sports Illustrated: B Bleacher Report: A SB Nation: B- The Athletic: B Nothing lower than a B-, and an A+ thrown in for good measure? Eagles fans will certainly take that kind of assessment while teams around the league are getting pilloried for some questionable moves. I also think SB Nation's explanation misses the mark on the way Howie Roseman likes to build his team. Being concerned about Roseman's investment in pass rushing as a "misallocation of resources" is not exactly salient Eagles analysis, because that's simply his model - plus Reddick's level of game-breaking edge rushing has proven to be one of the most important parts of a productive modern NFL defense. All in all, Eagles fans should be happy with the team's first big move of free agency. General consensus is the signing was a good idea and a good deal, and Reddick should be one of the team's biggest names and producers for at least the next three years. Fun! https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/nfl-free-agency-grades-eagles-haason-reddick-deal-gets-rave-reviews
  17. More Wentz personality issues led to latest trade: report Carson Wentz was shipped from the Colts to the Commanders on Wednesday, the quarterback's second trade in 13 months and an indictment of where his once-promising career now stands. The former Eagles quarterback was ticketed for the NFL's MVP award in 2017 before his ACL tear, and in the years following that injury both his game and his reputation took repeated hits. Initial reports of Wentz's abrasive personality and lack of leadership skills were treated with skepticism in Philly, but eventually the noise grew too loud - and now it seems Wentz's departure from Indy was thanks at least in part to the same problems. A new report Wednesday from The Athletic's Colts insider Zak Keefer includes information from multiple sources close to the Colts' organization about why the Wentz era failed, and a lot of the info will sound extremely familiar to Eagles fans. Here are some key excerpts from Keefer's reporting: "Truth be told, some inside the Indianapolis Colts’ West 56th Street facility were finished with the Carson Wentz experiment long before the team’s late-season collapse, according to several recent conversations with sources inside the organization. "[...] "As for the Colts, the issues with Wentz stretched back to before the season began, one source said, and over the course of the year, some grew frustrated at what they deemed a lack of leadership, a resistance to hard coaching and a reckless style of play, which had a role in several close losses this year. "[...] "What was missing, some within the team believe, was the type of direction the Colts got from the quarterback position in recent years, namely with Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers and even Jacoby Brissett, who despite struggling late in the 2019 season remained a deeply respected voice within the locker room. "In other words, with a QB in place besides Wentz, some believe, the gutting late-season collapse the Colts suffered would have never happened." Yep, that all sounds about right to Birds fans who suffered through the anonymous 2019 teammate leaks, the ugly 2020 season, and Wentz's ensuing preference to be traded after he was benched for Jalen Hurts. The guy possesses (or possessed, anyway) unique physical abilities that made him, briefly, a transcendent NFL quarterback, which is great. But it sure sounds like he's a nightmare in the locker room and in coaching sessions. And now that Wentz can no longer conjure the magic he once did on a football field, the resistance to hard coaching - something we heard about his time in Philadelphia, along with the underwhelming leadership - is probably rubbing most folks the wrong way. Wentz's is such a staggering fall from grace. He was once viewed as the guy in Philly for the next decade, voted the third-best player in the league by peers, and given a nine-figure salary. Now he's on his third team in 13 months and he'll probably have to prove himself in training camp to even earn the starting job. Maybe Wentz will finally learn something after things deteriorated the same way in a second place. Or maybe this is who he is, and Washington is in for some choppy waters. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/carson-wentz-personality-issues-led-colts-commanders-trade-report
  18. One insider keeps linking Eagles to a Watson trade When Howie Roseman was asked about Jalen Hurts' status as QB1 heading into 2022, the Eagles general manager didn't hesitate. "Yeah, there’s no doubt about it," Roseman said. "I think when you talk about all the things we talked about at the end of the season, nothing’s changed." And yet, as the trade winds blow out in Indianapolis amid the ongoing NFL Combine, one prominent NFL insider seems pretty certain the Eagles have their eyes on a quarterback who's expected to find a new home before the 2022 season begins. That QB is Deshaun Watson, the 26-year-old Houston Texan who hasn't played since Jan. 3, 2021 as he faces dozens of sexual assault and harassment allegations. Watson has proven himself to be a tremendously talented quarterback on the field, but teams have been understandably resistant to surrender anything of value for the QB as his case works its way through the legal system - not to mention the message trading for someone like Watson sends to your fanbase. Yet twice in a three-day span this week, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reported that the Eagles are one of the leading suitors for Watson when he's eventually traded from Houston. Here's what Breer wrote March 2: "As for who he lands with, the Broncos and Eagles are two teams that I believe would make strong bids, depending on how a few other things play out (the availability of Rodgers and Russell Wilson, etc.). I’d think the Panthers will try to reenter the picture too, and it’s hard to rule out a dark horse or two (Cleveland? Tampa?) for getting involved. We should know more soon enough." And here's what Breer wrote March 4: "Those in the league continue to connect Deshaun Watson to the Eagles and Broncos. Obviously, clarity with Watson’s legal situation would help (and further bolster the market for him), but the football people in those two places are positioned to strike if the right deal is there. Philly owner Jeffrey Lurie has consistently been willing to take players with baggage, and Denver doesn’t have an owner right now." Very interesting. Is this a guarantee that the Eagles are going to push hard for Watson? Not exactly. But Breer doubling down on the idea of Watson to the Eagles with two reports in one week, as the league is gathered in one place and plenty of chatter is taking place, certainly doesn't feel like nothing. The Eagles reportedly had contact with the Texans around this time last year about a Watson trade, which of course was before Hurts' first full year as the team's starting QB. Hurts was perfectly fine but didn't exactly show the kind of growth many hoped to see from Week 1 to Week 17, and his ceiling as a starting QB seems to be limited. So the search sounds like it's continuing behind the scenes, despite saying publicly that Hurts is their guy. Houston's plan, less than two months ago, was reportedly to try and move Watson before March 16, when the NFL league year begins. We're 10 days away from that target date now and things don't seem to have heated up precipitously, but this kind of noise trickling out from Breer with a week and a half to go feels... interesting. It's officially Keep An Eye Out season. Stay spry. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/nfl-trade-rumors-eagles-keep-getting-linked-deshaun-watson
  19. How Eagles could still play international game in 2022 The NFL announced the five teams that will host international games during the 2022 season, and for Eagles fans looking to head abroad to watch their team, there's still hope. Between a game in Munich, a game in Mexico City, and three games in London, 2022 will tie 2017 for the most international games (5) in a single season in league history - and will set a record for the number of separate countries to host an NFL game in a single season. Here's the list of the sites and the host teams: Munich: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mexico City: Arizona Cardinals London (Tottenham Hotspur Stadium): Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints London (Wembley Stadium): Jacksonville Jaguars All five teams will be the "home" teams for the respective games, and while we don't know the Eagles' actual 2022 schedule we do know which teams they'll face on the road and which teams they'll face at home. The Eagles are playing both the Packers and the Saints next year, but those games will be played in Philadelphia, which rules out the Birds' first trip to the UK since 2018 when they beat the Jaguars at Wembley Stadium. There's still a chance, however, that the Eagles could head to Mexico City because their 2022 matchup with the Cardinals is a road game. If the idea of the Eagles facing Arizona in Mexico City seems oddly familiar, it's because it had a chance of happening two years ago. There was a possibility the Eagles could've played the Cardinals down at Estadio Azteca back in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic ruined all hopes of any international NFL games that season. I think it'd be pretty neat if the Eagles went to Mexico to face the Cardinals. Inject a little extra intrigue into a random regular season game. Shoot, why not? Spice it up! The Eagles also have a fascinating history with NFL games in Mexico City. They were slated to play the first-ever NFL game in Mexico against the Lions in 1968 (a preseason contest) but the game was cancelled - possibly because of lack of interest, or possibly because of planned demonstrations during the Movimiento estudiantil, a widespread movement seeking greater political freedoms throughout the country. Ten years later Ron Jaworski and the Eagles played in the actual first-ever NFL game in Mexico (also a preseason contest) and lost to the Saints, 14-7, in a game Jaworski said the Eagles weren't prepared for. Here's Jaworski, via ESPN: "We played in a bullring, the locker rooms were too small, and the goal posts were crooked." Wild! We'll see what happens with this year's slate. In case you need a reminder, here's a look at the Eagles' home and away opponents for 2022: Home: Cowboys, Giants, Commanders, Vikings, Packers, Titans, Jaguars, Saints, Steelers Away: Cowboys, Giants, Commanders, Bears, Lions, Colts, Texans, Cardinals https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/nfls-2022-international-game-host-teams-announced-eagles-still-play
  20. Is NFL draft's most intriguing QB really just another Hurts? The Eagles are at an absolutely fascinating place with their quarterback room. They have a cheap, bang-average starting QB who might have another level in him... or who might've already hit his ceiling. They have one of the best backups in the league on an even cheaper deal, but they might be tempted to turn him into draft capital while his value is still high. A few star veteran quarterbacks are expected to be at least marginally available via trade this offseason. And they have three first-round picks... in a draft that doesn't have any great quarterback prospects, which could be good or bad for the Eagles, depending on how you look at it. If Howie Roseman & Co. aren't inspired by Jalen Hurts' future, don't want to pass on a chance to add multiple first-round-worthy players, and are afraid of kicking the can down the road too far, they might be tempted to use one of their picks on a QB this April. Say... Liberty's Malik Willis, the quarterback most draft experts view as the highest-ceiling prospect in the class? I personally like the idea a lot - I love Willis' overall athleticism, his cannon arm, and his tantalizing potential - but some pro scouts seem to be saying the Eagles should avoid this exact idea. ESPN draft expert Todd McShay spoke with Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer this week ahead of the Combine, and he had a very interesting comparison point for Willis' future based on people around the league he's talked to. Here's what McShay had on Willis: "'I actually have equal grades on Malik [Willis] and Kenny [Pickett],' McShay says. 'I have Malik 20, Kenny 21, [Matt] Corral 25 overall.' "As for Willis, McShay sees the former Liberty star as the one prospect in the group with the kind of untapped potential that might make someone believe there might be something there. "'Some guys really love Willis. Other guys think, I'm getting Jalen Hurts, at best,' McShay says. 'I think he's more athletic, a more dynamic athlete and he definitely has a stronger arm, but Hurts was more mature and won bigger games in bigger scenes. [...] Malik has the biggest upside, but there's probably the lowest floor of all the guys.'" Hmm. So some scouts think taking Willis could unlock your entire team... but others think he's literally just the guy the Eagles already have. Suffice to say, that'd be quite a bummer outcome. What else is out there? Someone I really like reading on the NFL Draft is NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein, so let's dig into his scouting reports on the two guys and see if he agrees. Here's what he had to say about Hurts heading into the draft process, when his pro comparison for Hurts was Eagles legend Tim Tebow: "Like Tim Tebow, Hurts is a winning dual-threat quarterback known for his strength, toughness and character. Hurts is a more accurate passer and better runner than Tebow but is inconsistent as a decision-maker and tends to break the pocket when throws are there to be made. His deep-ball touch and intermediate accuracy improved this year so teams may see him as a developmental talent who will keep getting better in the right scheme. He'll struggle to beat NFL defenses from the pocket, but his ability to grind out yards on the ground and make off-schedule plays should make him a solid backup with upward mobility." Other than the iffy Tebow comparison, this is basically on-point from what we've seen so far out of Hurts: an inconsistent passer who doesn't excel in the pocket, an exciting athlete who extends plays and succeeds off-script, and a sometimes-confounding decision-maker. Now here's Zierlein on Willis, who gives the Liberty QB a hilariously on-the-nose pro comparison for this examination: Jalen Hurts in terms of "build/play style", and Jay Cutler in terms of the arm: "Upside quarterback with special parts of his game, but with no guarantee they will be assembled properly into a finished product. Willis uses his rare combination of elite rushing talent and a rocket-launching right arm to unlock explosive plays in two different ways. He has the arm to beat safeties to the deepest parts of the field and makes impressive throws from inside and outside the pocket. On the flip side, Willis' mechanical and operational inconsistencies lead to erratic timing and accuracy, and he doesn't throw with enough touch. [...] On the pro level, additional film work and a layered, pro-style passing attack could allow for more focused reads and help him see the field faster and more clearly from the pocket. Play-callers must lean into his special talent as a runner and include called runs into the game plan. Even if Willis fails to reach his passing potential, running ability doesn't slump and he has the talent to produce on the ground at a level between Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson." Interesting. What I'm taking away from Zierlein's analysis on these two players is that Willis is basically Hurts with a cannon arm, which is... exactly the attribute I'd love to give Hurts to convince me he's The Guy in the long-term. Think about all the problems we saw from Hurts in 2021. What's one that stood out? Every single week, I was underwhelmed by Hurts' arm talent. He doesn't have a strong arm, regularly underthrowing his guys down the field. Often he's able to extend plays with his legs and put himself in winning positions, only to be undone by his own limitations on where he can put the ball. Imagine that type of player with a rocket of an arm and you've got something special. Based on what I've seen from the guy and what people who know more about football than I do are saying, the floor for Willis is probably a Hurts-type quarterback who makes more mistakes than Hurts, while the ceiling is probably Lamar Jackson-lite. That's a pretty wide gulf. Jackson is a former MVP, while Hurts will be battling every week to prove he belongs as QB1. If I'm in the Eagles' front office? I'm absolutely willing to take the risk and select Willis. That doesn't mean it's a no-brainer to use one of those first-round picks on a quarterback; Hurts is already in the building and has shown he can play at a starter level. But if you really want to try and hit a home run at QB, and would like to do it through the draft, Willis still feels like a guy worth a shot. Even if, in the end, you wind up right back where you started. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/2022-nfl-draft-malik-williss-pro-comparison-really-jalen-hurts
  21. Mock draft: Eagles trade up for QB, pick two elite defenders We're just 65 days away from the 2022 NFL Draft, and with the postseason firmly behind us it's basically all fans of the draft can think about. Free agency is exciting and splashy, but building a team through the draft is really where the great organizations do it. Things will change before the draft, sure, but right now is the perfect time to really dive into film, get to know these guys, and form your opinions. You have nine weeks and change until your team is on the clock. So let's dive into the picks in my latest mock draft: 1. Jaguars: OT Evan Neal, Alabama Doug Pederson is obviously renowned for his work with two different quarterbacks in 2017 en route to the Eagles' Super Bowl - he was at the helm for Carson Wentz's best season as a pro, and Nick Foles' greatest two-game stretch of his career - but a gigantic part of that title run was thanks to success along the line. Pederson knows how important keeping your QB upright is, and now that he has Trevor Lawrence to protect, he'll want the Jags to take the biggest, meanest O-line prospect in the draft in Neal. 2. Lions: EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon Thibodeaux was long thought of as a no-brainer No. 1 overall pick, and he still might be, but going second isn't too bad either. He's proably the most physically-gifted player in the draft. Thibodeaux finished the year with 7.0 sacks, 12.0 tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles in 10 games, and really his impact goes even beyond the box score. He's gonna be a complete force. 3. Texans: EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan Hutchinson had a great 2021, but he really popped on big stages - check his performance vs. Ohio State - and catapulted himself to the top of the draft board. The Texans need to improve all over, so they grab an edge rusher with athleticism, production (14.0 sacks, 16.5 TFL, 2 forced fumbles), and a motor that will make any defensive coordinator salivate. 4. Jets: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame New York replaces the Jamal Adams-sized hole in their secondary with a cornerstone pick. Hamilton is the big-bodied, ballhawk-y type of playmaker you can build a secondary around, not just another piece in the unit. Think Brian Dawkins. In 31 career games with the Fighting Irish he notched eight interceptions, 16 passes defended, and 7.5 tackles for loss. That production is insane. 5. Giants: OT Ikem Ekwonu, NC State How do you clear running room for Saquon Barkley and try to keep Daniel Jones clean so he stops fumbling so much? Nab an enormous and gifted tackle who could feasibly be the No. 1 overall pick this year. Ekwonu combines crazy strength with surprising mobility for a guy his size (6-foot-4, 320 pounds) and should be a revelation for the Giants. 6. Panthers: QB Kenny Pickett, Pitt Pickett goes from one kind of Panther to another. Carolina owner David Tepper is a Pittsburgh guy, Pickett is an extremely interesting QB option in this year's class, and he's probably the one with the highest floor - though also probably the lowest ceiling. But he had an incredible 2021 campaign, so the Panthers keep stabbing at the QB position because until you get that right, basically nothing else matters. Can't blame 'em. 7. Giants: EDGE David Ojabo, Michigan The Giants are building along the trenches this year. Howie Roseman would be so proud. Ojabo was hidden in the shadow of Aidan Hutchinson's rising star on Michigan's D-line, but he's a monster in his own right. The 6-5, 250-pound pass rusher notched 11.0 sacks and 12.0 tackles for loss last year, plus five forced fumbles. He can be a perennial Pro Bowler. 8. Falcons: CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU There are few things more thrilling than your team having a lights-out cornerback, Stingley is going to make one NFL fanbase extremely happy. He's 6-foot-1, he had six picks in 25 games with LSU, and he has the combination of instincts and speed to be DBU's latest star. If the Eagles could manage to get into his range, I'd try to do it. 9. Broncos: QB Matt Corral, Ole Miss Corral is a very intriguing player with dual-threat upside (he has 20 passing TDs and 10 rushing TDs in 12 games this year) and could be the piece the Broncos need to take that offense and those weapons to the next level. You can bet new head coach Nathaniel Hackett is champing at the bit to get his QB of the future in the building and work his magic, and Corral might not be the best prospect but he certainly has potential if used correctly. 10. Eagles (via NYJ): QB Malik Willis, Liberty TRADE ALERT! Eagles swap No. 15 for the Jets' No. 10 and give up their third-round pick this year and their 2023 sixth-round pick. Pretty similar to the Bears' trade up for Justin Fields last season. And it's all in the name of figuring out the QB position. Does this trade mean the Eagles have to get rid of Jalen Hurts? Not at all. Hurts showed last year he's a perfectly serviceable, replacement-level starting QB in the NFL. He can get you to the postseason, which not every quarterback can do. That's valuable! And Willis has a sky-high ceiling, but he's also a raw player and could probably do with sitting for a year, a la Trey Lance. I don't think the Eagles are a quarterback away from being a Super Bowl team, so grab a guy who can make you great for the next 15 years in Willis. If he delivers on his promise, he's going to be electric. Think Michael Vick's arm strength and Colin Kaepernick's escapability. He's got athleticism in barrels, and every time you watch him Willis makes a play that will leave your jaw on the floor. A little more polish and he'd be a no-brainer Top 3 pick. He still needs some work, though. Those rough-hewn edges - the occasional sailed ball (his completion percentage dropped by 3.1% last year), the decision-making that still needs improvement (he threw 12 INTs in 2021 after throwing just six in 2020) - will give some people pause. But you don't have to squint hard to see Willis lighting the league up in midnight green for a decade-plus. The ability is right there. It'll be up to the Birds to plant the seed and let him blossom. 11. Commanders: QB Sam Howell, North Carolina FOUR quarterbacks off the board by No. 11, and in a weak QB year! There's just so much demand for improvement at the position across the league, and Washington is in desperate need of a better man under center. 12. Vikings: CB Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, Cincinnati Nothing like a tremendous nickname to get folks fired up about taking you in the first round. Sauce Gardner lives up to his name: he notched three interceptions in each of his three seasons with the Bearcats, stands 6-foot-2, and has very solid man coverage ability. He feels like the kind of player who can slide into a pro system and start in Week 1. 13. Browns: WR Jameson Williams, Alabama With Odell Beckham Jr. gone and the Browns still searching for the right way to maximize Baker Mayfield, Cleveland turns to wide receiver machine Alabama to try and find WR1. Williams caught 79 passes for 1,572 yards and 15 TDs for the Tide last year and brings serious quickness to the table. 14. Ravens: OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State The Ravens need to protect Lamar Jackson at all costs, and Cross is the exact guy to target for that job. Cross (6-foot-5, 290 pounds) is good in pass protection, ideal for keeping Jackson upright and allowing him more time to scan the field instead of forcing the QB to flee the pocket. Cross can be a Day 1 impact player on the O-line. 15. Jets (via PHI): WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas I really like Burks as an alternate option for the Eagles. He's an impressive, big-bodied wide receiver who doesn't sacrifice speed for size - think Chargers wideout Mike Williams. He notched 67 catches for 1,123 yards and 11 TD this year, including 179 yards and two touchdowns against Alabama. He had TD catches of 91, 85, 66, and 52 yards this season, plus a 49-yard rushing TD. Zach Wilson needs weapons, and Burks is a weapon. 16. Eagles: LB Devin Lloyd, Utah You're going to keep seeing linebackers mocked to the Eagles in the first round, and while I understand Birds fans' trepidation - Howie would never - it might finally be time. This year's class has two incredibly realistic LB options for a middle-of-the-first round pick, and it just makes too much sense. Either Lloyd or Georgia's Nakobe Dean could go here, but Lloyd would be my pick. He's an impressive, attacking linebacker who excels in coverage - he had 7.0 sacks and 22.0 tackles for loss this season, but he also had four interceptions and six passes defended - and brings the kind of versatility and athleticism that should make him a starting linebacker in midnight green immediately. I really liked this report on Lloyd's game from The Draft Network's Drae Harris: "In the run game, [Lloyd]’s a thumper who plays downhill and physical. He has a heavy run lane anchor and has good tackling efficiency in the box. He's a downhill player who is among the nations leader in TFLs." This is the do-it-all linebacker the Eagles' defense has needed for years. 17. Chargers: DT Jordan Davis, Georgia Big boy alert! Davis stands 6-foot-6, weighs 340 pounds, and will wreck opposing offensive lines with abandon. Some will have questions about whether Davis translates in the pros, but he anchored Georgia's legendarily good D-line last season, drawing attention to let those around him eat. Davis finished 10th in the nation in sacks despite Davis racking up just 2.0 of his own. The Chargers had the 12th-fewest sacks in the NFL last year. Problem, solution, etc. 18. Saints: WR Chris Olave, Ohio State I'm not sure what the Saints will be doing at quarterback next season, but I know they'll need people to throw to. Marquez Callaway had a solid sophomore season, but he's not the type of top-end talent New Orleans needs at WR. Olave is a speedy and slick do-it-all wide receiver who stands 6-foot-1 and put up 35 touchdowns in 38 games with the Buckeyes. He'll quickly be Jameis Winston's (?) favorite deep target. 19. Eagles: CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson Steven Nelson was good-not-great in 2021, and odds are good the veteran cornerback doesn't return for another go-round in Jonathan Gannon's defense. The Birds need someone opposite Darius Slay who can hold his own, and Booth can be a legit long-term answer at the position. Booth didn't have crazy INT production in college (just 3 INT in 24 career games), which will probably worry some Eagles fans. But that can happen at the collegiate level, where each team only has one NFL-quality corner if that. Booth is all about measurables, technique, and potential. His height (6-foot) and his long arms make him an exciting prospect in terms of his ability to cover guys in the pros. He's super fluid and should translate well to playing against NFL wideouts. Also he can do this: Yep, sign me up for some of that. 20. Steelers: OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa It's no secret that, outside of answering the QB question, the Steelers' main need on the offensive side of the ball is beefing up the O-line. Dan Moore Jr. was not terribly good at left tackle, and as Pittsburgh moves into a new era they need someone who can anchor the blindside for a long time. Penning, a towering human at 6-foot-7, 340 pounds, can be that guy. 21. Patriots: EDGE George Karlaftis, Purdue Karlaftis feels like the platonic ideal Patriots pick. I could see him going anywhere from the Top 10 to the bottom of the first round, and I think his lack of pop statistically (just 4.5 sacks in 12 games with the Boilermakers last year as opposing offenses keyed on him) could hurt his stock. But he's a monster in pass rush situations and will immediately improve the Patriots' fortunes on defense. 22. Raiders: WR Drake London, USC With Henry Ruggs out of the picture and DeSean Jackson likely gone after this season after his nine-game rental, Derek Carr needs more targets to make things happen. London feels like a perfect pairing: the Trojans wideout caught 88 balls for 1,084 yards and 7 touchdowns this season and at 6-foot-5 he has the size to become a go-up-and-get-it monster. 23. Cardinals: CB Trent McDuffie, Washington McDuffie isn't huge - just 5-foot-11, 195 pounds - but he makes up for it with serious speed and athleticism. He's a ball of energy on the field, and while he only notched two INTs in 27 games with the Huskies, his ability to see the entire field should help him find more at the next level. 24. Cowboys: WR George Pickens, Georgia Do the Cowboys desperately need another wideout? Nah. But they're not a team with a ton of holes that can be filled in the first round, Michael Gallup is likely going to get paid in free agency, and Dallas likes to throw the ball with Dak Prescott under center. So add Pickens, whose size and skillset will make him dangerous in the pros, to an already-juiced offense and watch what happens. 25. Bills: CB Roger McCreary, Auburn Levi Wallace is a pending free agent, Tre'Davious White was injured last year, and Sean McDermott's Bills like to emphasize their defense, so look for a defensive pick here. I like McCreary's production - six picks in three seasons as a starter for the Tigers - and his 20 passes defended over the past two years. Toss in his athleticism and you've got a surefire starter. 26. Titans: EDGE Jermaine Johnson II, Florida State A possible Eagles target, Johnson should get looks throughout the first round and might not make it this far. But if he does, the Senior Bowl standout will be a huge addition to a Titans defense to pair with Denico Autry. Mike Vrabel likes an attacking defense, and this is his chance to double-down on the idea. Johnson notched 11.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss in a breakout 2021 season. 27. Buccaneers: LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia Like I said before, Dean could be in play for the Eagles and might be gone by this time. He was an exciting cornerstone of the Bulldogs' legendary 2021 defense who broke out for a career year with 6.0 sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss, 2 INT, and 2 forced fumbles. The Bucs go best player available here and wind up with a stud. 28. Packers: WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State Davante Adams gone in the offseason? Enter Garrett Wilson, a monster wideout who racked up crazy production for the Buckeyes this year - 70 catches, 1,058 yards, and 12 TDs - and would provide the Packers with some help if they do in fact manage to keep Aaron Rodgers around. Marques Valdes-Scantling can't carry a passing attack on his own. 29. Dolphins: OL Kenyon Green, Texas A&M The Dolphins had a historically bad offensive line last year, just absolutely abysmal, and if they want to be able to evaluate Tua Tagovailoa they need to let him operate. Green is gigantic and in some evaluators' eyes is probably a Top 10 talent, so this could be a steal for Miami at a position of dire need. 30. Chiefs: DL Travon Walker, Georgia Walker set career-highs in tackles (30), sacks (5.0), tackles for loss (6.5), and passes defended (2) as a key piece in the Bulldogs' deep-as-a-chasm defense. He should shine in an NFL system. The Chiefs finished fourth-lowest in the NFL in sacks last year and could use some defensive juice to keep the pressure off Patrick Mahomes. 31. Bengals: C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa Like the Dolphins, Cincinatti needs to protect its franchise QB. Joe Burrow had an unreal 2021, but the Bengals were undone in the Super Bowl by their inability to keep him upright. Linderbaum is slightly undersized but is a blue-chip talent with a penchant for mauling. Iowa breeds offensive linemen like no other, and Linderbaum slides right in as a Day 1 starter. 32. Lions: QB Carson Strong, Nevada Gamble time! The Lions went with a no-brainer talent at the top of the draft in Thibodeaux, so now they go left field and roll the dice on Strong, the biggest question mark of this year's quarterback class. Jared Goff clearly isn't the answer, so Detroit opts for a traditional pro-style passer who put up 36 touchdowns and eight interceptions last year for Nevada on 70.2% completion and 8.0 yards per attempt. It's worth a shot! https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/2022-nfl-mock-draft-eagles-trade-qb-upend-first-round
  22. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/nfl-rumors-why-insider-says-jalen-hurts-has-high-trade-value Insider says Hurts trade would bring Eagles a strong deal by Adam Hermann Despite a portion of the Eagles fanbase clamoring for a Russell Wilson trade, and another portion of the fanbase musing on the potential of an incoming rookie like Malik Willis (guilty!), a bettor would be best served putting their money on Jalen Hurts being the Birds' QB1 for 2022.D Entering his third year in the league, Hurts is coming off a totally acceptable first year as a starter and is looking to build on some much-needed continuity. It's entirely possible he takes a leap in 2022 if afforded the chance, and I think a lot of Eagles fans are banking on that upside. But... what if this is close to the ceiling on his NFL potential? That seems relatively likely. He was a second-round pick for a reason: he doesn't have those jump-off-the-film physical traits that separate a Top 10 pick, he didn't really show a ton of growth in his weak areas from Week 1 to the Wild Card round, and I'm just not sold on that arm in today's NFL. MORE: 5 moves Eagles can make to create more salary cap space in 2022 If the Eagles' front office feels the same way, it sounds like they might be smart to sell high on Hurts. This offseason could be the prime time to do so, according to one insider who says the Eagles could recoup some pretty solid draft capital in a Hurts trade. Here's what ESPN insider extraordinaire Adam Schefter said Wednesday morning during an appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic's The John Kincade Show: https://mssl.fwmrm.net/m/1/391823/26/31824794/GJGX0242002H_ENT_MEZZ_HULU_4394477_578.mp4 "KINCADE: Could the Eagles, today, say 'We are trading Jalen Hurts, we want the 53rd pick in the draft back'? "SCHEFTER: I think in this market absolutely. In this market, absolutely. In fact not even a question in my mind about that. "Let's play this out. Let's say - we don't know Aaron Rodgers is staying in Green Bay, but it certainly seems like he's open to that idea. We haven't heard anything with Russell Wilson and Seattle despite the fact that there are numerous teams that would be interested. And Deshaun Watson obviously has a lot going on off the field. "Let's just say one of those quarterbacks comes free - in fact I'll give you two. That's probably a best-case scenario, two of 'em. Now we've got Denver, Indianapolis, Tampa, Carolina, Washington, Pittsburgh. That's six teams right there. Six. So where's everybody getting their quarterback from? "[...] "If you're looking at Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, or Mitchell Trubisky, would you be willing to trade your second-round draft pick to Philadelphia for Jalen Hurts? Oh yeah. Oh yeah." Maaaan, I don't know about you but if I'm Howie Roseman I've got to at least consider it. I really like Hurts as a person, and I like him as a placeholder starter, a bridge guy when you're looking for your next franchise QB, or basically any role that isn't The Guy for an organization. But Roseman knows, like everyone else in the league knows, that you've got to really nail the QB position these days if you want to have staying power as an organization in the NFL. And whether that's drafting the next great QB or trading for someone we already know is great, Roseman will need as much draft capital as possible. Do I think he would trade Hurts without directly doing one of those two things this offseason? No, I don't. Hurts is a clear upgrade from Gardner Minshew, and Roseman and Jeffrey Lurie don't seem willing to fully punt on an entire season in pursuit of a QB - especially after they just improbably made the playoffs in Nick Sirianni's first year. But I can definitely see multiple scenarios where Roseman gets a bold idea for the QB position this offseason and subsequently sends Hurts elsewhere before the NFL Draft. We'll see what happens.
  23. What to make of weird Eagles-Garoppolo trade buzz If you hang out on the Philadelphia sports corner of the internet, chances are good you've run into a jersey swap of Jimmy Garoppolo in midnight green or a tweet freaking out at Howie Roseman over some reported interest in trading for the 49ers quarterback this offseason. Before you go nuclear, I'm here to tell you: that buzz is fabricated. Is there a tiny, theoretical chance that Roseman trades for Garoppolo? Yes, because he's an NFL player and Roseman is in charge of an NFL team. But this current sweep of trade noise is extremely overblown, a result of twisted words and a good look at how the internet's rumor mill can run amok. Here's what happened. On Monday, Sports Illustrated insider Albert Breer tossed a note at the bottom of his Monday Morning Quarterback column looking at Garoppolo's trade value. Here's what Breer wrote: "While we’re there, it’s really hard to assess the trade value of Jimmy Garoppolo. The reason? We still don’t know which quarterbacks are going to be available. There’s a good group of suitors out there ready to take a major swing at the position (the Broncos, Eagles, Panthers and Commanders)." Here's what you should take away from this note: the Eagles are a suitor for the quarterback position as a whole, and their involvement (or non-involvement) in a trade will be part of what shapes the QB trade market - including Garoppolo's market. Here's what you should NOT take away from this note: the Eagles are a specific suitor for Garoppolo. But not everyone connected those dots successfully. Later that day an extremely spicy headline was published on Outkick exclaiming "EAGLES EXPECTED TO PURSUE QB JIMMY GAROPPOLO DURING OFFSEASON" while citing Breer, who was - again - not reporting that the Eagles are specifically pursuing Garoppolo but rather are looking at the entire QB market and will be part of setting it. And then on Friday morning, an unverified Twitter account called NFL Rumors tweeted "The Philadelphia have had rumored interest in Seahawks Russell Wilson and now we are hearing 49ers Jimmy Garoppolo as well", without any citation or explanation. The tweet generated some moderate traction. That's a whole lot of trade chatter... that came from nowhere. Now, for a view from someone who would know, ESPN insider Adam Schefter talked Wednesday about the Garoppolo-to-the-Eagles buzz: "I don't see that happening. I have not heard his name floated once. That's not to say it couldn't happen or wouldn't happen, I just have not heard his name connected to Philadelphia." Schefter acknowledges, as I did earlier, that it is theoretically possible for that trade to happen, just as it's theoretically possible that the Eagles could trade for any player in the league. But for now? There's nothing to this rumor. It's smoke with no fire. As Kendrick Perkins would say, carry the hell on. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/nfl-rumors-buzz-around-eagles-jimmy-garoppolo-trade-overblown-49ers
  24. How Rams' win should influence Eagles' decision on Sanders The Los Angeles Rams' running backs ran the ball 19 times for just 30 yards on Sunday vs. the Bengals, and the team won the Super Bowl. Running the ball is good and cool, and it's great that the Eagles did it well this year, but the final game of the NFL's latest season was yet another reminder that investing big money in a running back simply doesn't make much sense. For an even better visualization check out this chart from NFL reporter Marcus Mosher, who looked back at the last 13 years of Super Bowl champions to see how much each team was paying its leading rusher in that game: In short: not a lot! The Eagles are heading into the final year of Miles Sanders' rookie deal, which has been a delightful bargain: Sanders has counted for $3.65 million against the cap over three years while running 480 times for 2,439 yards and nine TDs, plus 104 receptions for 864 yards and three TDs. That's great value! The question, of course, is whether we can reasonably expect Sanders to show some kind of marked improvement that would make paying him substantially more a good use of cap space. Sanders has looked like the same running back for about three years now, a solid and potentially explosive RB with a bit of a penchant for ball security issues and negative plays. It's easy to get swept up in his excellent career yards per attempt figure (5.1) and his strong 2021 ranking in rushing yards over expected per attempt (0.90, third in the NFL) when the fact is he wasn't even the most effective running back on his own team this year. A look at the Eagles' four primary running backs by EPA (expected points added) per rush: Boston Scott: 0.12 Kenneth Gainwell: 0.05 Miles Sanders: 0.00 Jordan Howard: -0.02 Third on his own team is tough! The stat will skew a little bit towards someone like Scott, who had an inordinate amount of goal-line touches compared to his overall rushing total, but all four backs here got touches all over the field. Basically anyone who ran for the Eagles this year was going to have a good time because Nick Sirianni and Jeff Stoutland schemed up a great rushing offense. And, assuming nothing goes horribly wrong, the same should be true next year and into the future, with key O-line pieces like Jordan Mailata, Landon Dickerson, and Lane Johnson locked up for years to come. All of this is to say: Howie Roseman and the Eagles' front office should not invest a lot of money in Sanders after this season. If he's willing to take a discount to stay in his home state and in the only NFL organization he's ever known? Then we can talk. But I'd imagine Sanders will be looking for a solid pay-day as he hits the open market (as he should!) and in that case I'm not interested. The Rams had a first-round pick and a second-round pick running in Sunday's Super Bowl, neither one could do anything, and they still won. When the Eagles won the Super Bowl they added a veteran entering his eighth year in the league for $1.25 million and he balled out. Running back value can be found all over the place. So go find it. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/rams-super-bowl-win-should-influence-eagles-miles-sanders-decision
  25. Evaluators' take on 2022 draft class is bad news for Roseman The Eagles are positioned to dictate the 2022 NFL Draft thanks to Howie Roseman's stockpile of first-round picks, a place of power every general manager dreams of. But it would be a little more helpful if Roseman managed to grab these three first-rounders in a draft class loaded with top-end quarterback talent, instead of... what we've got this year. Matt Corral, Malik Willis, and Kenny Pickett headline the 2022 class and there are probably three or four QBs who will go in the first round just because of the inherent positional value. Yet to hear a few veteran talent evaluators around the league tell the story, teams aren't exactly going to be climbing over each other for the opportunity to trade up and snag one of the gunslingers. Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer spoke to some NFL talent folks after last week's 2022 Senior Bowl, where Willis, Pickett, and Carson Strong all showed off their skillsets in front of decision-makers from around the league. The overall vibe from folks in charge of evaluating pro talent? Meh: "The quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl showed as they were expected to. And that’s not great news. The group, compromised of all the top guys outside of Ole Miss’s Matt Corral, came in perceived to be an average lot. It left Mobile with a lot of NFL folks convinced of that. A couple of veteran NFL evaluators told me late in the week that they don’t believe there’s a single NFL starter in this year’s quarterback class. Not everyone was that harsh, but it was unanimous that these quarterbacks aren’t close to last year’s — and most agreed that all five of last year’s first-round signal-callers would’ve been the top guy at the position in the 2022 draft." Not a single NFL starter in the class? Yikes! The beauty of a draft class loaded with interesting QB talent is that teams with a war chest of draft assets can turn picks into more picks, or players, or both because of the level of desperation from other teams to figure out the QB position. A guy who one team like falls and they're suddenly three picks away from taking a potential franchise guy? They're happily tossing future picks around - the Bears sent a fifth-rounder, a future first-rounder, and a future first-rounder to jump nine spots last spring! - to go get him. This year, while the Eagles are flush with picks, there don't seem to be any QBs like that in the draft class. Perfect timing. Now, there's always a chance that one team out there has a different scouting grade on one of the QBs and will be willing to try and pounce if the opportunity arises. A few evaluators don't speak for the entire league. But on the whole, it would've been nice to have a Fields or a Zach Wilson or even a Daniel Jones in this year's class to spice things up. https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/eagles/2022-nfl-draft-evaluators-crush-first-round-qbs-after-senior-bowl
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