We may only be halfway through preseason, but by now we have a pretty good idea of who will be on the Philadelphia Eagles final 53 man roster. The players running with the first team are pretty safe bets, the early to mid-round drafts picks are also pretty safe and the players who are playing well with the second team are also likely to make the final roster. It’s those final few spots that are tricky.
Do the Eagles keep those last few players that have more upside, performed the best in preseason or offer the biggest contributions on special teams? I tend to go for upside with these spots as the final roster spots tend to go to players who won’t be active on gameday. So if you like what you’ve seen from Greg Ward during preseason then don’t expect to see him win the spot as the 6th wide receiver over a player like Shelton Gibson who has a higher ceiling.
Continue reading “Philadelphia Eagles 53 Man Roster Prediction”
So let me start off by saying I am not at training camp . If you want to read detailed training camp reports, go check out bleedinggreennation.com, they do an amazing job. What I do here on my site is I read, watch and soak up as much info as I can get a hold of from the camp practices and I use that as a guide during the actual preseason games.
If I keep hearing about a player lighting it up or getting torched in camp, I want to see if that translates in an actual game. Watching a wide receiver torch a defensive back in a one-on-one drill in practice is one thing, but doing it on actual plays in a real game against a unfamiliar team is a whole other dimension.
I picked 15 Eagles player to keep an eye on during the first preseason game. 7 of the 15 are either wide receivers or defensive backs, the two biggest weak spots on this team last season. Most of the players on this list are getting rave reviews in practice, but one veteran is having an awful summer and may go from projected starter to victim of the first round of cuts.
It’s a really fascinating group of 15 and none of these guys are locks to start or have major roles early in the season. They all have a ton to play for over the next month.
Continue reading “Philadelphia Eagles Preseason Week 1 Preview: 15 Players to Watch”
After the Philadelphia Eagles took recovering cornerback Sidney Jones in the second round, they were still left with a need at the position because of the uncertainty of Jones’ injury. In the third round the Eagles took a big corner(6’2, 209) out of West Virginia. Rasul Douglas is a similar build to Richard Sherman and a similar playing style as Charles Tillman.
Douglas has a great story and a drive like nobody else in this draft class. He grew up in a rough neighborhood, was so poor as a JUCO player that he had to make a $1 fast food sandwich has lunch and dinner(one sandwich, two meals) and finally caught a break in life when he received a full scholarship at West Virginia. He’s had to work his ass off for everything in his life and it shows when you watch him on tape. Several corners were faster, but I wouldn’t bet against this kid. Sometimes a prospect’s drive and focus matter more than anything else.
As a late third round pick I love the value with Douglas. He’s good enough to start right away as an outside corner and he fits the scheme well. He can play zone and man and he gets after it in run support. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will love his style of play and he has a great opportunity to start right away.
Continue reading “Rasul Douglas Post-Draft Film Study”
The 2017 NFL Draft has come and gone and in my lifetime I can’t recall a more entertaining draft weekend. Over 250,000 fans attended the draft in Philadelphia, which was a record according to the NFL. We also saw a very chaotic first round, several prospects with a lot of off the field baggage being taken early and two playoff teams from last season taking a quarterback in the first 12 picks.
From the Eagles point of view, it was a pretty successful weekend in terms of who they drafted. For all the talk about how this franchise isn’t afraid to take on a character risk, they drafted eight players who are all outstanding human beings. None of them have that troubled past or incident caught on tape that fans have to defend or justify for the next several years. The Browns and Bengals both drafted a player who has(allegedly) knocked out a woman and the Cowboys drafted a player who has a trial date for July 24th for his alleged domestic assault dating back to last March.
I think the only major gripe from this draft class is the lack of a true primary back on the Eagles roster. If Ryan Mathews is healthy come August this will matter a lot less, but there is serious doubt that he will. Some have even suggested he could retire, but GM Howie Roseman said in his post-draft press conference that he has been cleared to start working out. There is also a possibility they sign or trade for a veteran running back like a Jeremy Hill, Matt Jones or LeGarrette Blount, but right now it seems they will stick with who they have already on the roster.
One thing to keep in mind with this initial draft post is that this is just a general review of who the Eagles acquired with their picks and undrafted class. I will go through each draft pick and a couple noteworthy undrafted signings and break down their tape individually with a clean slate.
It’s important to go back to the tape and see what the Eagles front office saw in each player and try to project each prospect’s possible role and ceiling, but for now this is just a quick overview at what transpired this weekend.
Continue reading “Reviewing the Philadelphia Eagles 2017 NFL Draft and UDFA Class”
I’ve finally reached the position group Philadelphia Eagles fans really care about, the cornerbacks. It’s top heavy, bottom heavy and just deep throughout the draft. It also happens to be the position the Eagles haven’t gotten right since 2010 and their biggest need at the moment.
The Eagles have picked the perfect time to come into the draft needing a cornerback. First off, they don’t have to force a pick early because they can go into the season with Jalen Mills and Patrick Robinson on the outside and be okay. There is also so much depth at corner in the draft that they can get a starter as early as their 14th overall pick and as late as one of their two fourth round picks.
Before I unveil my corner rankings, let’s first talk about what Jim Schwartz targets at corner to give us a better idea of who he will target. To play in this defense, corners need to be fast and they need to be comfortable in both zone and single high coverages.
Tackling is also key, but it’s not everything. You don’t want to draft a corner who tries to avoid tackling(Quincy Wilson) but being a big hitter at corner won’t help you if you aren’t solid in coverage. Speed, fluid hips and great ball skills are the key here. Also, it’s important to note that in the five years Schwartz was the head coach in Detroit, the earliest they ever drafted a corner was in the second round. Corner was always a need, yet in five years he spent 3 first round picks on the defensive line, none on the secondary.
Continue reading “NFL Draft Rankings: Cornerbacks”
The NFL Scouting Combine is the most over-hyped event of the season not just in football, but in the entire sports season. The sports media goes crazy over 40 times and bench press reps, but the truth is fast guys look fast on tape and strong guys look powerful on the football field in actual games.
Having said all this, it’s still a crucial time for three reasons. One, medical evaluations on players with previous or current injuries. A player with a recent injury can save their high draft stock if he is cleared while a player with a previous injury can be taken off nearly every team’s draft board if there is nerve damage or if something hasn’t healed correctly.
Two, the interview process is huge for every prospect, not just those with some off the field issues. Teams want to make sure the guys they are drafting fit the mentality their coaching staff wants. Some teams demand high character guys or “tough guys” or guys who are football junkies. Some teams value that a lot less, but they still want to make sure they like what they hear from a player they might be drafting pretty early.
The third reason is the workouts, but only for certain players. We already know players like Dalvin Cook and John Ross can fly and that Jonathan Allen and Reuben Foster are powerful. But the players that are really protected by their scheme or wide outs who didn’t get a lot of deep balls because their quarterback didn’t have an arm for it, those players can really help or hurt themselves in Indy.
Here are those 10 prospects that I will be watching closely at the combine:
Continue reading “10 Players to Watch at the 2017 NFL Combine”