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?”
What we learned in each case was that NFL locker rooms are far more mature, far more diverse workplaces than they appear from the outside. Vick was accepted immediately by his teammates and developed into a respected elder statesman during his five seasons in Philadelphia. After some early wariness, Cooper was embraced by many teammates, accepted by others and at least tolerated by the rest.
Those things pass, they really do. The Eagles went to the playoffs after each of their first two seasons with Vick on the roster. They went back to the playoffs this year just months after the Cooper incident.
For a team to pass on drafting Sam because of the possible media attention or issues in the locker room is ultimately a copout.
NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah compared Sam to Trent Cole.
“He doesn’t have a clean position in either the 4-3, or the 3-4. He’s a little undersized to be a defensive end. You question his athleticism to play linebacker. To me, he’s a pure pass rusher, which, there is a lot of value for that, but for me, that puts him in that fourth-, fifth-round area,” Jeremiah said. “… I want to see how he runs (at the combine), how well he runs will be important. But I want to see him in the linebacker drills, how he moves around. There are some questions when you watch him on tape, you worry a little but about him being tight in the ankles, tight in the hips. He’s going to have to transition to linebacker, you’re going to have to drop and cover and do some things in that area. I’d like to see him do that at the combine.”
Although Jeremiah, a former Eagles scout, said Sam isn’t quite as talented as Cole, their styles are similar.
“Trent is also a little tight in the ankles, tight in the hips, but he’s got explosive hands and he plays with a relentless motor, and it’s served him well and the Eagleswell during his NFL career,” Jeremiah said.