The NFL Combine continues today, but the media portion (player interviews) is over. Back from Indy, here are three Eagles-related takeaways.
1. We’ve discussed at length how the Eagles need to overhaul their secondary this offseason. In case you missed it over the weekend, here’s my take on the Nnamdi Asomugha situation. Even if Asomugha returns, the Birds are in dire need of cornerback help. And they could use a pair of safeties as well.
The good news is this draft appears to be loaded with defensive backs. It’s not top-heavy, but remember, the Eagles have three picks in the first 67. I would be shocked if at least one of those three did not include a corner or safety. Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel recently listed his top-55 prospects, which include six cornerbacks and six safeties. Gil Brandt of NFL.com has nine corners and eight safeties in his top 100.
Alabama corner Dee Milliner and Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro appear to be locks to go in the first round, and a couple others could sneak into the top-32, but even if the Eagles don’t end up with either of those players, they still have a great opportunity to rebuild their secondary through the draft.
2. Who’s going to be the top pass-rusher (DE/OLB) off the board? That’s a very difficult question to answer right now. Georgia’s Jarvis Jones has medical concerns, and according to Pro Football Talk, some teams are removing him from their draft boards. Oregon’s Dion Jordan could be an option, but he’s scheduled to have shoulder surgery and is facing a three-to-four month rehab stint.
Florida State’s Bjoern Werner? Texas A&M’s Damontre Moore? BYU’s Ziggy Ansah?
Teams put a premium on pass-rushers. And it’s likely that at least one of the names I just mentioned goes in the top five. I’m just not sure who it’s going to be.
3. The first QB domino that is expected to fall once the trading period begins (March 12) is an Alex Smith deal. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that the Chiefs have shown a lot of interest. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com says the 49ers have a deal in place and are just waiting for it to be official. If Kansas City does acquire Smith, the chances of the Eagles trading Nick Foles would go way down.
And then there’s the draft. Geno Smith ran the fastest 40 time of any quarterback in Indy. But there’s little consensus about where he’ll be picked. I’m not ready yet to rule him out completely for the Eagles at No. 4.
WHAT YOU MISSED
The Eagles are reportedly interested in Dolphins cornerback Sean Smith.
Think Kelly would like to get his hands on West Virginia’s Tavon Austin? Austin ran a 4.34 40.
Jeff Stoutland’s message to his offensive line at Alabama: Make your opponent feel you.
Oregon RB Kenjon Barner uses a story from last year’s ‘Civil War’ game to explain Kelly’s genius.
Tom Coughlin once tried to hire Kelly. Now he’ll coach against him twice a year.
Kelly’s specific preferences will affect the Eagles’ draft board.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown talked about his brother Bryce. From Chris McPherson of PhiladelphiaEagles.com:
“I was proud of my brother just being able to see him be successful, accomplishing his goals,” he said. “When the odds were against him, he continued to push forward and he is where he is and he’s done a great job of what he’s doing.”
Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei has been diagnosed with a heart condition, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen:
Lotulelei was discovered to have an abnormally low Ejection Fraction, detecting that the left ventricle of his heart was pumping at only 44 percent efficiency, sources said. The normal range is between 55-70 percent efficiency.
The 6-foot-2, 311-pound Lotulelei will undergo further testing in Salt Lake City in an effort to seek more clarity with the condition, a source said. If it’s a confirmed chronic condition, medical experts consider it an indication of possible heart damage.
A lot to get to between now and free agency on March 12. We’ll have you covered.