Wake-Up Call: How Early Is Too Early?

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The Eagles weren’t planning on taking a quarterback in the fourth round last year, exactly. There wasn’t really a plan at all in that sense. They had Matt Barkley rated significantly higher than any of the remaining prospects, and decided the best value play was to move up to grab him. Pretty straightforward.

Funny thing about this time of year: We know that the Eagles have been disciplined about choosing the best available player in recent drafts and that most teams try to stay true to that approach, yet we often predict and project based on need. It’s our answer to the blindfold  as we try to make our darts fly a little straighter. We’d be better served looking back at the Zach Ertz pick in the second round and the Barkley selection in the fourth and realize it’s about the player and not the position.

If it was about the position, it would be about quarterback. It’s no secret that this league is largely about having quality signal-callers, and Howie Roseman has made it known that the Eagles won’t stop hunting even though Nick Foles laid claim to the starting gig with a spectacular 2013 season. Read more »

Draft Daily: One-On-One With Pryor

NCAA Football: Russell Athletic Bowl-Miami vs Louisville
Calvin Pryor
was on the road en route to Cincinnati when Birds 24/7 caught up with him.

Considered the top safety in this draft class alongside Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the Louisville slugger has been a man in demand during the pre-draft process. His travels have taken him to Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Chicago and New Orleans, he says. Up next, the Bengals. And next week he’s scheduled to meet with the Falcons and Jets.

Philadelphia is not on the itinerary, however, and the Eagles have not held a private workout for Pryor. Does that mean he is off the team’s radar? Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Kelly’s Tweaks In Year 2

NFL: NFC Wildcard Playoff-New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles

When Chip Kelly took a seat inside a Ritz-Carlton ballroom in Orlando last month and was surrounded by reporters, he knew DeSean Jackson was not going to be back with the Eagles.

Jackson’s release was the biggest move the team made this offseason, and undoubtedly, Kelly had already given a lot of thought about what the Eagles’ offense would like without the speedy wide receiver.

Year 1 under Kelly was a clear success. By just about any statistical measure, the Eagles had a top-five offense that included a quarterback reaching heights even his biggest supporters never envisioned. The team set record after record, the offensive line stayed healthy, and the skill-position players nearly all put up career numbers.

Now perhaps the biggest question facing the team going into 2014 is: How will Kelly alter the scheme to fit different personnel? Read more »

Draft Daily: Close-Up On Louisville OLB Marcus Smith

NCAA Football: Louisville at Connecticut

The Eagles have done little to hide the fact that they’re big fans of Dolphins edge defender Dion Jordan.

Last year, Chip Kelly indicated that Jordan was high on the team’s board and would have been the pick had Miami not traded up to the No. 3 spot. And more recently, the Birds have been rumored to be looking to trade for Jordan in his second season.

Connor Barwin and Trent Cole manned the OLB spots in the Eagles’ 3-4 last year. The defense could use more pass-rush from that pair, but overall, the transition to a new scheme was smoother than expected. Cole, however, will turn 32 next season, and the Eagles have little in the pipeline to eventually replace him.

That brings us to May’s draft and a player who in some ways could be described as a poor man’s Dion Jordan: Louisville’s Marcus Smith. Smith is one of 30 prospects to make an official visit to Philadelphia, per FoxSports.com. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Coleman Backs DeSean

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Kurt Coleman
defended former teammate DeSean Jackson on his way out the door.

Coleman, who has agreed to terms with the Vikings, joined NFL Radio on Sirius XM Monday and talked about Jackson’s release and the notion that he was a problem in the locker room.

“I think Philadelphia is going to miss him big time,” said Coleman. “I find it troubling to hear some of the stories — and I don’t know who is really putting them out there. I thought DeSean was a good guy in the locker room. He was someone I could talk to and could relate to. Read more »

Source: Anthony Barr To Visit Eagles

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UCLA outside linebacker prospect Anthony Barr has a visit scheduled with the Eagles, a league source confirmed.

Ross Jones of FOX Sports was first with the report. Barr is scheduled to be in Philly on April 23.

The 6-4, 255-pounder out of UCLA recorded 23.5 sacks and 41.5 tackles for a loss over the last two seasons while playing outside linebacker. He started his college career on the offensive side of the ball as a running back. Barr estimated that he dropped into coverage about 30 percent of the time last season, and said he fared pretty well. Rushing the passer, though, is his primary objective.

Von Miller, Aldon Smith, Clay Matthews, DeMarcus Ware, guys like that,” said Barr on the NFL players he looks up to. “One day I’d like to be named with those guys.” Read more »

On Spiller, QBs And Outside Linebacker Interest

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The Eagles inquired about Bills running back C.J. Spiller prior to landing Darren Sproles, according to CSN’s Geoff Mosher.

Like Sproles, Spiller is a pass-catching threat out of the backfield. He is also four years younger than Sproles. The Bills weren’t interested in moving the five-year vet so talks never got very serious, according to the report. It’s an interesting nugget nonetheless. Clearly, Chip Kelly prioritized finding a versatile weapon to add to the mix this offseason, particularly given the decision to move on from DeSean Jackson. Read more »

Draft Daily: Why USC WR Lee Makes Sense At No. 22

NCAA Football: Southern California at Arizona State

Against Chip Kelly’s Oregon squad in 2012, USC wide receiver Marqise Lee caught 12 balls for 157 yards and two touchdowns in a 62-51 loss.

He lined up all over the place in that game – outside, in the slot and in the backfield. He drew a pair of penalties in the end zone and gave the Trojans excellent field position on multiple occasions with tremendous kickoff returns.

“He may be the best receiver I’ve had the opportunity to coach against,” Kelly said at the time, per USC’s Web site. “He’s impressive on film, but even more impressive when you watch him in person.” Read more »

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