Eagles Wake-Up Call: On the 2014 Draft Class

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Today’s question comes from reader Jeffrey via email. He had a lot to say, so I will just paraphrase here to give you the gist:

I was reading your roster projection, and it made me think about what a colossal failure the 2014 draft has been. Other than Jordan Matthews and Beau Allen, it was total trash. Champions pick Pro Bowlers on Day 3 and don’t totally blow first-round picks. Chip Kelly’s player selection in the draft could be his undoing. Would love to hear your thoughts.

We projected roles for rookies last week, so might as well go over second-year players today. Here’s a player-by-player look at where things stand with the guys taken in the 2014 draft.

Marcus Smith, OLB – I have joked all offseason that I’m the only person on his bandwagon if anybody wants to give me company. The truth is there are not a lot of positives to point to so far. Only one first-round pick played fewer snaps than Smith last season. He jumped around from outside linebacker to inside linebacker. And this spring he’s battled a groin injury. Best-case scenario for 2015 is that Smith improves and gets on the field as the third outside linebacker behind Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham. Maybe he flashes pass-rushing potential, displays his versatility and competes for a starting spot in 2016.

But there are obviously no guarantees that those things happen. Smith has the measurables and appears to have the work ethic. It is just a matter of putting it all together. If he gets beaten out by Travis Long for the No. 3 OLB job, the cries of “bust” will be deafening. Read more »

Three Eagles Numbers That Matter

NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

From the pass rush to a surprising Nick Foles stat to the run game, here are three Eagles numbers that matter.

29.6 – The percentage of pass plays last year in which the Eagles’ defense generated pressure. That number ranked first in the NFL, according to Football Outsiders. It’s a pretty remarkable stat for a couple different reasons. The Eagles play a two-gap 3-4 in which they focus on stopping the run on early downs. And I don’t think they have a player who would be considered a premiere edge rusher.

Connor Barwin led the team with 14.5 sacks and 21 hurries (coaches’ stats) last year. Those are great numbers, but in many cases, he’s not blowing by (or running over) offensive tackles. He’s savvy and does a great job of anticipating where the quarterback is going to end up. To his credit, Barwin knows how to finish also. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Eagles 15th In Future Rankings

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Much of what we’ve discussed in this space recently has centered on the 2015 Eagles.

But Chip Kelly made a bunch of changes this offseason that will affect the franchise long-term. So how are the Eagles set up beyond the 2015 season?

ESPN Insider put together future power rankings that focus on how organizations are looking for the next three seasons. The rankings were compiled by analyst Louis Riddick, along with writers Mike Sando and John Clayton. They used the following criteria: roster (30 percent), quarterback (20 percent), draft (15 percent), front office (15 percent) and coaching (20 percent).

So how did the Birds fare? They came in at No. 15, dropping seven spots from last offseason. Here’s the overview: Read more »

Showing Up: Inside Fletcher Cox’s Journey

Fletcher Cox Feature

Fletcher Cox, Shaddrick Cox and Malissa Cox

 

Shaddrick Cox always told his brother to listen, and so Fletcher tries.

When friends and family explain to him that things will get better, that the good days will outnumber the bad, that he should focus on the happy times he had with Shaddrick, Cox pays attention.

But that doesn’t make it any easier.

“Losing my brother had to be one of the hardest things that I’ve faced as a young man,” Cox said. “Everybody says it’ll get better. There’s days where I don’t think it’ll get better. Some days I may believe that. But some days I’m like, ‘This’ll never get better.’ ”

On Jan.5 of this year, Shaddrick was in the process of purchasing a 1999 two-door Chevrolet Tahoe. A mechanic by trade and a car junkie, he’d had his eyes on that specific SUV for some time. But before he was able to drive away with it, he suffered a heart attack.

Shaddrick had been dealing with heart issues for years and was also working to keep his diabetes under control. But his big heart failed him that day, and he died at the age of 34. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Projecting Rookie Roles

agholor_940_060215

Over at the Philly Voice, Jimmy Kempski had a good post up on snap counts from rookies (draft picks) in 2014.

He found that only six teams got fewer snaps from their draft class than the Eagles. Jordan Matthews was the only pick who played more than 210 snaps for the Eagles last season. Marcus Smith played the second-fewest snaps among first-round picks.

What will these numbers look like next year? Below is a player-by-player look at the Eagles draft picks, what we saw in the spring and where things stand with each guy going into training camp. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: A Russell Wilson Hypothetical

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Today’s question comes via Twitter:

Let’s start with a disclaimer: Russell Wilson most likely isn’t going anywhere. But it’s June, we all have the football itch, and these are the types of questions fans casually discuss while we wait for training camp. So it doesn’t hurt to at least address it.

Wilson is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2016 season. According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report, he wants to be the highest-paid player in the NFL. So what are the Seahawks’ options? Read more »

Giants’ Weatherford Takes Jab At Eagles QBs

Steve Weatherford (Noah K. Murray/USA Today)

Steve Weatherford (Noah K. Murray/USA Today)

It’s not exactly LeSean McCoy vs. Osi Umenyiora.

But it’s June 28, so it’s something.

Giants punter Steve Weatherford appeared on WFAN recently and took a jab at the Eagles quarterbacks, according to NJ.com. Weatherford said he wouldn’t want Tim Tebow taking any snaps for his team and then weighed in on Mark Sanchez and Sam Bradford. Read more »

Football School: Three Things We Learned This Week

Rich Kotite (USA Today)

Rich Kotite (USA Today)

Like many of you, I am a football consumer. And one reason I like this slow period from mid-June to early August is I can catch up on things I’ve been meaning to read, watch, listen to, etc.

So each week between now and training camp, I’ll share three items I find interesting. Here’s the first edition.

1. Bringing the Heat by Mark Bowden has been sitting on my shelf for a couple years. It chronicles the story of the 1992 Eagles, one of the first teams I remember following. The book is filled with colorful anecdotes and really illustrates how much has changed since that era.

Bowden tells one story of Marvin Hargrove, an undrafted free agent wide receiver who made a splash during training camp. Many around the team apparently felt Hargrove was getting a bit too cocky with his success. So one day, athletic trainer Otho Davis decided to knock him down a peg. He “gave him a couple of pills and rigged one of his famous menthol heat balm wraps that set Marvin’s nuts on fire – as intended.” Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Eagles To Reportedly Add OL Moffitt

John Moffitt (Chris Humphreys/USA Today)

John Moffitt (Chris Humphreys/USA Today)

In 2013, John Moffitt decided he’d had enough of the NFL.

A 2011 third-round pick by the Seahawks, Moffitt started 15 games at guard before being traded to the Broncos. In the middle of his first season with Denver, Moffitt announced he was retiring at the age of 27.

“I just really thought about it and decided I’m not happy. I’m not happy at all,” Moffitt told The Associated Press in a phone interview from Seattle. “And I think it’s really madness to risk your body, risk your well-being and risk your happiness for money.

“Everybody, they just don’t get it and they think it’s crazy. But I think what I was doing is crazy.”

Less than two years later, Moffitt has had a change of heart, and according to Ross Jones of Fox Sports, he’s signing a one-year deal with the Eagles. Read more »

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