We asked NFL analyst Brian Baldinger to identify three free agents that are a match for the Eagles in terms of both need and scheme fit. Here are the three players he would go after (assuming they hit the market):
OLB Brian Orakpo
Baldinger: I think he’s just a solid outside linebacker. I believe he’d be a great fit opposite Connor Barwin. He plays the run well, he’s strong at the point. I know in 2012 he got hurt but for the most part he’s been very durable. And when he’s durable he’s giving you 10 sacks or more a year and I think that’s what you’re looking at. I think Connor and Orakpo, if they lined up and played 80 percent of the snaps next year, I think you would get 20 sacks out of those guys. Read more »
Chip Kelly‘s “big people beat up little people” line is a popular one, and will be recited plenty in the coming days with the combine getting underway later this week. Height, weight, hand size, wing span…all of these measurables mean something to Kelly, and can help lead us towards the players that may be of interest to the Eagles. But there’s another, less heralded quote that should also be kept in mind as the powers that be descend on Indianapolis to get up close and personal with the draft prospects.
“There’s a very cerebral part to this game that I don’t know if people give enough credit to. It’s about making good decisions. Dumb people do dumb things and smart people rarely do dumb things,” he said last April. Read more »
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From @pmeredith77: Why are people saying the Eagles won’t pursue Jairus Byrd or TJ Ward when mid-level safeties haven’t gotten it done in the past?
Many view the message coming out of the NovaCare as a smokescreen, but I really believe the Eagles have changed their thinking when it comes to free agency. They’re wary of sinking a large chunk of their available cash into a single player. On multiple occasions, Howie Roseman has likened free agency to an arranged marriage: you don’t know whether team and player are truly compatible until after pen has gone to paper.
The fact that Chip Kelly‘s time at Oregon overlapped with both Byrd and Ward’s takes some of the guesswork out of it. He has spent time around the players, and has a basic understanding of how they would fit into the Eagles’ defense and culture. That alleviates some of the concern. Read more »
Chip Kelly likes him some Oregon players, you may have heard.
From Dennis Dixon to Jeff Maehl, he brought in plenty of familiar faces to play a variety roles as he transitioned from college to the pro game. There are six Ducks currently on the roster (DE Brandon Bair, S Patrick Chung, LB Josh Kaddu, Maehl, LB Casey Matthews and WR Will Murphy), which is the most players from any one university on the squad.
Safe to say Kelly will have some opinions on the Oregon players that have declared for the 2014 draft, seeing as he recruited and coached them in a former life. It’s probably a good idea that we become familiar with them. Read more »
If you’re like me, you find Joe Banner to be an oddly fascinating study. If so, you’ll especially enjoy the anecdotes that Peter King unearthed about Banner’s final days as boss in Cleveland.
The scene is set around the interview Banner and the rest of the Browns’ brass held with head coaching candidate Ken Whisenhunt this offseason. Whisenhunt interviewed for the same position last year but the gig instead went to Rob Chudzinski, who was promptly fired after a 4-12 campaign. He wanted to know why he didn’t get the job the first time around. Read more »
A record 98 underclassmen have declared for the 2014 NFL Draft. Within that wave lies a group of talented receivers that has enriched the position significantly.
“When you talk about the underclassmen, that’s where the guts of this draft is. Last year was more senior-heavy,” said Daniel Jeremiah, a former scout for the Eagles. “This year we’re talking about 9-10 underclass wide receivers that are first, second-round players in my opinion.”
Jeremiah sees seven receivers being selected in the first round, which would be the most since 2004. And they are: Sammy Watkins (junior, Clemson), Mike Evans (redshirt sophomore, Texas A&M), Kelvin Benjamin (redshirt sophomore, Florida State), Marqise Lee (junior, USC), Paul Richardson (redshirt junior, Colorado), Jarvis Landry (junior, LSU) and Davante Adams (redshirt sophomore, Fresno State).
Mel Kiper, incredibly, has nine going in the first round in his latest mock draft. (He projects LSU junior Odell Beckham, Jr. to the Eagles at 22.)
Howie Roseman agrees with the sentiment that this is a strong class of wideouts, and must decide how much — if at all — that will impact some key decisions that are before him.
Read more »
Here’s what the media are saying about the Eagles:
Most of the conversation today surrounds draft prospect Michael Sam, who could very well become the league’s first openly-gay player. If you missed it, Peter King pointed to the Eagles specifically as a team that would likely not hesitate to draft the Missouri product.
It could be that a liberal owner and progressive coach like Jeffrey Lurie and Chip Kelly of the Eagles will not care at all, and if he’s there in the fourth or fifth round will grab him.
When asked by Mike Sielski whether Sam’s announcement would affect the franchise’s willingness or unwillingness to draft him, a team spokesman responded, “Why would it change anything?” Read more »
Once the 2013 season was a wrap, Chip Kelly thanked his players for taking a chance on a rookie coach.
“He was just proud of his guys and just appreciative of everyone buying into his program,” said Eagles receiver/special teamer Brad Smith, via SI.com. “A lot of people didn’t know if it would work — a college coach coming into the NFL and how guys would respond and how they would respect him.”
It wasn’t so hard generating that level of respect in the latter stages of the season when the Eagles captured seven of eight to win the NFC East. It was early on, around the time that Philly was 1-3 and then 3-5, that could have presented problems. There were skeptics inside the locker room for sure, but the majority of players were on board despite the sub-.500 record. Read more »
A few links to pass along. Hope everyone is having a good weekend (complete with power).
Judy Battista of NFL.com spoke with an NFL exec about the prospects of Michael Vick landing a starting job.
One NFL personnel executive said teams undoubtedly will rate Vick the best of a middling quarterback free-agent market — one likely to include Matt Schaub, Matt Cassel and Mark Sanchez — and the exec said he would rate him as a mid-tier starting quarterback, somewhere between 13 and 16. In a league with 32 teams, that’s better than half. Read more »
The Eagles signed former Bears wide receiver/special teamer Joe Anderson on Friday.
The 25-year-old Texas Southern product signed with Chicago as an undrafted free agent in 2012 and spent most of that season on the practice squad. Anderson has appeared in nine games overall since entering the league, with the bulk of his action coming on special teams. He was placed on injured reserve this past November with an abdonimal and groin injury.
Anderson (6-1, 196) returned punts and kicks some on the collegiate level. He returned five kicks for 82 yards (16.4 avg.) in 2013 for the Bears. Read more »