Draft Buzz: Manuel Likes His Chances Of Landing In Philly

With the draft now just eight days away, the talk is starting to pick up. Let’s get to it:

EJ Manuel was on the Dan Patrick Show Wednesday, and was asked which teams he feels have shown him the most love during the pre-draft process. The first team out of his mouth?

“I feel really good about the Philadelphia Eagles,” Manuel replied. “I feel really good about the Buffalo Bills. I feel really good about the New York Jets. Those are some of the teams that I feel really confident in. I know they need quarterbacks, I know they want quarterbacks, figuring they have brand new coaching staffs and things like that so they may want a fresh start and a new, energetic quarterback to come in and play.”

If the Eagles do in fact have eyes for Manuel, the question becomes: how do they land him? The closer we get to April 25, the more analysts seem to think that Manuel could be taken in the first round. The Florida St. QB was asked if he thinks he will be taken on Day 1.

“I do. Yes sir. I’ve heard some really good things,” said Manuel. “I think teams need quarterbacks, and I think the teams that really need quarterbacks brought me in for invites and meetings and things like that, and I know that I impressed those teams, so I think at least one will take a shot. You only really need one team to fall in love with you, man, in this whole deal.”

The Eagles likely won’t spend the No. 4 pick on Manuel. Would they trade back? Package the No. 35 pick and move into the back end of the first round? Stay tuned.

A couple Tavon Austin notes

West Virginia’s Tavon Austin visited the Lions on Wednesday, and likened himself to a current player on Detroit’s roster.

“Another type of player like Reggie [Bush]. Me and him would probably be twins back there,” Austin said, via PFT.

Some see the dynamic playmaker as a perfect fit for Chip Kelly‘s offense. Jon Gruden, for one, is a really big Austin fan.

“He’s my favorite player in the draft.  I’m sensitive to him because he’s 5’8″ like myself.  When you watch the kid play, he’s magnificent.  He’s a great return man, punts, kicks.  He lines up at tailback, and he plays like a tailback.  He looks like Darren Sproles at tailback and he looks like Wes Welker in the slot,” said Gruden in a conference call.

“I’ve seen him be magnificent after the catch, all-purpose yardage, look, he’s tough.  Tremendous stop and start quickness and flat‑out finishing speed.  I’ve seen quick guys, fast players, but I’ve never seen very many that have the combination of speed and quickness like Austin has.  He ran for 8,000 yards as a high school tailback in Maryland, and he averaged 7 or 8 yards a carry this year when they handed it to him.  He’s just a fun, deluxe joker to have on your football team.  He’s going to make an impact, I believe, big time.”

More draft visits

Add a couple more names to the list of players who have met with the Eagles. Utah defensive lineman Joe Kruger and LSU running back Spencer Ware have both been brought in for visits, according to Pro Football Scout.

Kruger (6-6, 269), the younger brother of Browns linebacker Paul Kruger, has experience all across the defensive front.

Ware (5-10, 228) had a down year last year after leading the Tigers in rushing the season prior. He did not participate in the Combine due to a hamstring injury.

You can find all of the Eagles pre-draft visits and workouts here.

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  • Geagle

    sorry EJ..If Howie wanted you, you would not be saying this right now…..Maybe someone could convince me that we would draft EJ at 35, but there’s no way I see us giving up valuable picks to trade back into the end of round 1 so that we can take EJ….lol He listed the Bills hahahahah…yeah they might be interested In you if Nassib is off the board…but he is listing a team that he isn’t even a first option for as one of the 3 teams showing the most interest….so he clearly doesn’t know anything!!!!

    • Capt. Undapants

      I think I’ve said this before, but Chip recruited this dude out of high school. He clearly has interest. I’m not saying that he will be chosen. I’m not saying that he will not be chosen. Just because you are biased against him and love Nick Foles does not mean that E.J. is out of the running.

      You know as much about who the Eagles want as I do… Nil.

      • Geagle

        hahahahaha ok.

      • Geagle

        so, let me get this straight, your opinion is that the Eagles will draft EJ manuel, whether its at 35 OR trading picks to move up and get him? am I understanding correctly?

        • Capt. Undapants

          No you are not understanding my opinion at all. You didn’t read. “I’m not saying that he will be chosen” were my exact words. I was picking more at your “he will not be chosen.” I never tied the Iggs to him at all. Nor did I even say that I wanted Manuel. Personally, (this is where you get my opinion) I think he’s VERY overhyped. He never wowed me when I caught FSU games. He actually pissed me off. However, I’ve been enjoying his blog. Seems like a good kid, and if CK can work some magic, I’m all for it.

          • Geagle

            You gotta understand…we can’t be jumping down each others throats over strong wording. the Eagles are the most secretive organizations in all of sports…none of us can possibly know what they are going to do with any type of certainty. I don’t know anything more about what they will do, then the next man…we are all just trying to read between the lines as best we can to give our best Guesses, oppinions and hypothesis…..So when I say, no shot in hell that EJ Manuel gets drafted at 35…Aim not trying to tell you what the Eagles are actually going to do, I’m just giving you what my Hypothesis…

            As for the college angle, it helps because Chip would have had to believe in his Charecter out of high school to have wanted to recruit him, so I can see how one would correlate that Chip will like his Charecter coming out of college..But from a skills perspective, recruiting EJ out of high school means nothing at all…you can recruit a mobile beast like that for college, where the options, and read options have ruled the landscape for a long time…But I don’t think it’s fair to say, chip liked his skills for Oregon, so he must like his skills for the Eagles

          • Capt. Undapants

            You are absolutely right about jumping down each other’s throats. I apologize.

      • Richard Colton

        The high school angle doesn’t move me. Maybe he likes EJ. But does CK like him enough to pound the table in the war room to get Howie to move up to 29 to take him? Is EJ worth our 2nd and 5th round picks? I don’t think so.

    • Tom W

      I agree … he started as a late 3d rd prospect and is getting pushed up but I dont see any chance eagles move up to get him. Do they have interest if he is there at 35 — certainly — I don’t think you interview him, have a visit w qb coach (and supposedly alot of other others hush hush) and have him in if you aren’t interested. Supposedly he is coachable and can do everything — just needs time to develop. I personally don’t believe he has the “it” factor at qb you need for the NFL but no denying the athleticism, potential, and work ethic. I think the draft is so deep at other positions and I’m not wowed by first or 2d rd qb prospects this year that I would probably avoid.

      More likely, is some team moves up into back end of first rd to get him or if he falls to the top of the second.

      If our 1 pick is Jordan/Star, then I think we are going ol and te in rds 2 and 3. If we pick Fisher or Johnson, I could see that 2d pick go a variety of ways. W the likely trade down to 7, 8, or 12 … and the extra 2d or 3d rounder … yes i could that eagles lean more towards EJ at 35 bc you have other picks to get the 5-tech, ol, te.

      Personally I’m hoping for 2 trade downs at this point (unless Jordan falls to 7 or Star to 12) back into the 17-25 range (vikes, rams, etc)

      • Geagle

        yeah, we pretty much see things the same exact way….I just dont know that EJ can make every NFL throw consistently. Just because you have a Big arm, doesnt mean you are acurate and have touch…I also think its always a risk drafting a player who hasnt had to read the entire field in College. Some prospcts have overcome it to become good NFL QB’s, but when a prospect already has a ton of question and Issues, I dont feel comfortable drafting him if he hasnt read the entire Field…I just dont see the point in settling for one of these QBs when we are only a year away from what could be a very strong QB class. Especially since neither Geno or EJ can be put on the field as a rookie…
        EJ should consider himself EXTREMELY FORTUNATE if he is drafted by a team like Dallas, who has an established Starter that will allow EJ to sit and devlope for 3-4 years before he takes over…Unfortunately, young QB’s rarely see sitting on the bench as a good thing…Draft EJ Manuel, and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US, will be clamoring for the Eagles to draft a QB next year…so how could that be the best use of a 2nd round pick? I wrote about this already, but I think its much more important to add 4-5 players that can play, to build this team around the QB, so that we can be in a position to trade all our picks next year to move up and get a Franchise QB that we really believe in, as opposed to taking a flier on one of the best of a bad class. We wouldnt add ANY QB’s, in any rounds this year if it were up to me…But if we did have to draft a QB, I would want it to be Drysert in round 4, preferably 5(which might be a pipe dream).
        I do think our strategy is exactly what you say it is…Take Dion at 4 if he is available and Run..If he isnt available, trade back to a spot where you can still land Sharrif,Star, or Sheldon…If we go defense in round 1, I certainly expect us to go Oline and TE in round 2 and 3…If we pick an Olineman in the first round, I think you can be ready to pencil in one of these names as our 35th pick:
        Jon Hankins
        Tank Carradine
        Jesse Williams
        Sylvester Williams
        Kawaan Short
        possibly Okafor and Hunt

      • Richard Colton

        Totally agree on EJ – I don’t think he’s the guy, and I don’t think he makes it to #35. I’m opposed to the trade downs – I’d rather see them take their guy at #4.

  • Mr. Magee

    Wes Welker is good – very good. But what makes him appear great at times is (was) Tom Brady and the system he operated in. The same may be true for Tavon Austin – a good sytem may produce exceptional results for him.

    But I don’t want the eagles and Chip Kelly to aspire to win the regular season crown; I want them focused on winning the Super Bowl. And that means more emphasis on winning the line of scrimmage, which makes all skill-position players look better.

    Speaking of skill players – and wide receivers in particular – I like ‘em big, tough, and disciplined (reliable) in their route running. Speed is good, too (especially in the ‘new’ NFL with more emphasis on protecting defensless ball carriers). But we have enough speed guys, and they should be ‘good enough,’ as well. If we’re adding skill guys on offense, they should be big red zone targets that know how to leverage their size.

    • Geagle

      AMEN! Dominate the Line of scrimage on both sides of the ball, and you will always give yourself a chance to win After our front 7 is set, after the Oline depth is set, after the secondary has depth in place, thats when I would start looking at flashy new, skill position Toys….Want a Reciever, draft a TE!!!!

  • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

    I’d love to see Chip get his hands on Tavon Austin. Not at 4, but if we traded back and got another 2nd or 3rd. Sure we have a speedy wideout in DeSean but I can’t see DeSean being able to do the same things as Austin.. Slot, RB and KOR to name a few.

    • BrickSquadMonopoly

      Its a nice thought. We got major needs elsewhere and he isnt even close to the best player available although he is a very unique versatile player which kelly likes.

      • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

        All depends on who you ask really. Is there a player in this draft that has as much game changing potential as Austin? He can score from anywhere on the field. Can’t remember the last time we’ve had good kick off returns, punt return has been lacking since DeSean stopped. I agree we’ve got major needs elsewhere but it’s not always about that. There are definitely safer picks but if you feel a player is a true game changer and difference maker, then they may roll the dice. Can’t really know until we learn more about how Chip drafts.

        • Geagle

          Dominate the line of scrimage on both sides of the ball, before we start worrying about flashy new, skill position toys. A TE can help on the Line, and also be a reciever(which is why Im ok with drafting a TE).
          We would have to aquire 3 extra picks in the first 5 rounds, for me to be ok with taking a reciever
          FYI: Brian Dawkins will be on 97.5 in 3 minutes: 3:15pm

  • Cyrus

    Talking about Tavon Austin, Chip Kelly has donemost a complete overhaul on special teams, but there’s still (to my knowledge) one huge hole: KOR.
    For someone that takes special teams so seriously, it seems Chip will want a premiere KOR.
    Any thoughts on who would be a good fit besides Austin (since he probably won’t be available later)?

    • Cyrus

      *done almost

    • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

      Yep.. that’s what I’m saying below. People keep saying we’ve already got the speedy receiver. But Austin is much more than just that. DeSean is a pure homerun receiver. Austin is a jack of all trades, KOR included.

      If he’s looking for a pure KOR specialist it’ll probably be an UDFA. But there could be some corners or wideouts that he likes that can also do KOR (versatility!). Or maybe he already likes someone on the roster. We’ve never lacked speed, just poor blocking and bad decisions by our return guys (taking kicks out that are way too deep)

    • cliff henny

      tommy lawlor over at igglesblitz address KO/slot/hybrid RB with goodwin out of texas, guy that’s little bigger and 3rd/4th round. austin seems like a luxary 1st rounder we cant afford.

      • Average__Joseph

        Not being picky but it is Tommy Lawlor at igglesblitz.com not Tommy Taylor

        • cliff henny

          thnx, i noticed that too late. talking on sales calls and typing, shouldnt do it.

  • cliff henny

    think Manuel is right, wont be shocked if he’s top 20, and Geno is going top 10, both will be over-drafted. there’s a reason the same teams draft in top 10 year in year out. qb desperate teams that reach for qbs and goes hand in hand with drafting poorly, bills, cards, raiders, browns, dolphins , etc. they’ve done last 25 yrs, what makes anyone believe they wont do it again? just hoping i dont have to add our name to list.

  • Token

    Im struggling to determine what is a more depressing thought. Watching Vick play another year or being tied to Manuel for years? Its a tough one.

    • Geagle

      way to ruin my lunch! lol How rude(in my best Michelle Tanner voice lol) JK

      • Richard Colton

        I believe that’s the first Full House reference on 24/7. cut. it. out.

        • GGeagle

          hahaha what can I say, Im a Renaissance man!

  • Geagle

    Lane Johnson is now saying that he thinks the Eagles like him at #4
    this EJ and Lane talk does not sound like The secrative Howie “Splash Roseman” that I know and love!

    • cliff henny

      at 4, the philadelphia eagles take Dion StarSmith Fisher-Johnson…better have a really big jersey Roger

  • JofreyRice

    I’m not keen on taking a running back, but Spencer Ware would be a really nice complement to the attack. Vicious runner that batters defenders. Totally different style than anyone we have.

    • Token

      Not sure how much the defender battering running backs will be of value anymore. Many of those guys lower their head to deliver blows.

      The league inches closer to flag football each year. May as well draft accordingly.