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.