Some weekend links to pass along…
Evan Silva of Rotoworld recently released his rankings of all 32 NFL rosters. And he’s pretty high on the Eagles, slotting them at No. 8. Here’s what Silva says about the Eagles’ defense:
Billy Davis deserves credit for coordinating a defense that stayed competitive throughout 2013 despite a below-average assembly of players, particularly excelling versus the run. The unit still needs upgrades at all three levels. Cole is no longer a franchise pass rusher going on age 32, while Barwin is a better cover guy and edge setter than threat to enemy quarterbacks. The secondary played well as a unit last year, but lacks a high-end starter. The Eagles could use a bulkier nose tackle to take snaps off undersized Logan’s plate. I think this defense remains a work in progress, and I expect Philly’s draft approach to confirm they agree.
I agree with much of Silva’s assessment. The good with the Eagles’ defense is that it got significantly better from Week 1 to Week 17. The players showed great effort, the tackling got better, and I can’t really think of a player that underachieved.
Having said that, they are still in need of a talent upgrade. The only new starter added through free agency was safety Malcolm Jenkins. It’s reasonable to think that the Eagles should be able to do more with less on offense because of Chip Kelly. While I don’t expect them to force picks on defense, it will be interesting to see if the draft slants towards that side of the ball.
Former Eagles scout Daniel Jeremiah Tweeted out his notes from Nick Foles’ Pro Day. I thought this was pretty cool:
Hopefully that Tweet makes its way to Teddy Bridgewater.
Bob McGinn of the Journal Sentinel has some of the best draft coverage in the country. He polled 17 personnel people and got their rankings of the top wide receivers in the class.
The results? Sammy Watkins was first, followed by Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr., Brandin Cooks, Marqise Lee, Jordan Matthews, Kelvin Benjamin, Cody Latimer and Paul Richardson.
The guess here is that Watkins, Evans and Beckham are the first three to go off the board. I think boards could vary on the next group of receivers. As I’ve said before, I think Cooks and Lee are the most likely receivers to be options for the Eagles at No. 22.
Meanwhile, one scout ripped Benjamin to McGinn.
Dismissing Benjamin, another scout said: “He’s stiff and lazy. Can’t separate. Inconsistent catcher. I don’t think he has off the field what it takes to be great on field.
“Other than that he’ll be fine.”