Eagles Wake-Up Call: Kiper Talks Quarterbacks

USATSI_7542610_168380503_lowresMel Kiper, Jr. held his first conference call to discuss the 2014 NFL Draft Thursday. He touched on several topics that may be of interest to Eagles fans.

Let’s start with the quarterbacks:

Kiper thinks that there could be as many as six QBs taken in the first round (assuming the listed underclassmen come out). And they are: Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville), Marcus Mariota  (Oregon), Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M), Brett Hundley (UCLA), Derek Carr (Fresno State) and Zach Mettenberger (LSU). He views Carr and Mettenberger as fringe first-rounders.

On the 20-year-old Mariota, who is coming off a down game against Stanford while dealing with a knee injury: “One game does not a career make. He’s at five on the big board. I’d like to see him go back to Oregon. The more you can play [in college] the better you will be in the NFL. It’s been proven, it’s something a lot of NFL teams really believe in. I think he is still in that early first-round discussion. You need a quarterback, you look at him.”

On Manziel: “He has certainly improved his status and stock in terms of the draft. He had some issues obviously going in and then all of a sudden when he gets out on that field and puts his pads on and starts leading his team, all you can do is be impressed. His pocket skills have improved, his ability to throw the football accurately has improved, his decision-making has improved. You know what a competitor he is — he lays in on the line every play. He’s a warrior out there. To me, I have him at 12. Some may have him a little higher, some may have him a little lower. I think Todd McShay has him at 21 right now. I know system-wise everyone says it’s the Eagles, but bottom line the kid is a football player and if he just takes care of business and becomes the first one in and the last one to leave and sets the tone off the field, he can be a heck of an NFL quarterback.”

Interstingly, Kiper projects Clemson’s Tajh Boyd to go between rounds 3-5. Some early mocks have him as a first-r0und pick.

It’s probably a good idea to keep an eye on the Oregon players that are coming out. Besides Mariota, Kiper spoke about running back/utility man De’Anthony Thomas and cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.

Thomas: “He is a wild card. He’s a situational dynamo — this league could use a guy like that. You can see the type of ability he has running the ball, catching it, return game. A muti-facted, multi-dimensional player that can light up the scoreboard. I would say second or third round for De’Anthony Thomas.

Ekpre-Olomu: You look at what he’s done at corner, he has enormous talent. He’s done a good job. Is he a lockdown corner? Maybe, possibly. In this league you only have a couple of them now, maybe only one. In the top 15 to 20 is where I would project him right now.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

In the latest Inside Voices, LeSean McCoy rolls out his top-5 running backs, Eagles fans give their team the finger and Brandon Graham vents.

Sheil takes a look at the state of the Eagles defense with some help from  the All-22.

No longer fighting the system, DeSean Jackson is in the midst of a career year.

Kapadia takes a look at the Eagles pass-rusher rankings through 10 weeks.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

The Redskins media talked to Chip Kelly about RGIII. From the Washington Post. 

Griffin is coming off of two of his better performances of the season, having completed 47 of 69 passes (68 percent) for 572 yards and three touchdowns while throwing just one interception. Griffin also has regained explosiveness as a runner, although he still may not have totally returned to last season’s level.

“He seems like he’s a little bit back to his old self,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said during a conference call Wednesday morning. “Obviously, the first game we played him, he was coming off the injury and didn’t really take any live reps from what we understood going into our game, and that was really his first live reps.

“Now that he’s got all those games behind him, I think he’s playing at a high level,” the coach said. “Their offense is ranked very, very high in every category — total offense, rushing offense, passing offense. He’s really playing at a high level right now.”

Don Banks of SI.com is picking the Eagles over the Redskins, 33-27.

Picking the Eagles to win at home keeps costing me ground this season, but the stink at the Linc has to lift eventually. Win-starved Eagles fans might tear the place down if the Birds snap their 10-game home losing streak and climb over .500 in one fell swoop. Philly’s offense won’t look the same as it did the last time Washington saw it, in that Week 1 Monday-nighter, but it’s actually a better, more consistent unit with quarterback Nick Foles having supplanted the streaky, oft-injured Michael Vick.

COMING UP

We’ll continue to get you ready for Sunday’s game.

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