Wake-Up Call: Big Corners To Consider

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Chip Kelly
‘s emphasis on measurables really seems to show up at the cornerback position.

The Eagles moved quickly last March to give Kelly a pair of big, physical corners by signing Cary Williams (6-1, 190) and Bradley Fletcher (6-0, 200) in free agency. This offseason they added Nolan Carroll (6-1, 205)  to the mix. It’s hard to miss the similarities there. And even though Brandon Boykin (5-9, 185) played just over 50 percent of the snaps last season as the slot corner, the head coach doesn’t sound interested in moving the playmaker outside.

“It’s a matchup game. The bigger receivers are on the outside. The smaller receivers are on the inside. So you’ve got two longer guys in Fletch and Cary that really fit in terms of getting matched up,” said Kelly. “When most people, if they’re gonna be in ’21′ personnel, then they’re not small outside. They’re big outside. So when they’re big, we’re big. I think when you bring in the Wes Welkers and the great slot receivers in this league, you need to have someone that has the ability to cover them. And I think that’s what Brandon’s strength really is. That’s the way we’ve always looked at it.”

The Eagles’ scouting department is given specific measurables to look for when searching for players. That doesn’t mean they will ignore every talent who fails to check a box, but there are guideline that they try to follow pretty closely. And Howie Roseman indicated last year that there are “deal-breakers.” Read more »

Draft Daily: Oregon St. WR Cooks a Perfect Fit?

NCAA Football: Washington at Oregon State

Scan a sampling of mock drafts online, and the one name you’ll see mentioned time and again as a possible replacement for DeSean Jackson is Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks.

Reasons for the comparison are obvious. Cooks is 5-10, 189 and ran a 4.33 at the combine. Jackson is listed at 5-10, 175 and ran a 4.35 coming out of Cal. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: How Foles Can Improve

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings

After the Eagles beat the Bears last season, right tackle Lane Johnson was asked to recall if he’d ever seen Nick Foles frustrated on the field.

“Usually he’s pretty calm,” Johnson said. “I know when we played Detroit, Coach [Bill] Lazor was going up to him telling him he was babying the ball, and they got into kind of an altercation because you couldn’t throw the ball too hard because it was so hard to see, so hard to catch and throw [in the snow]. So that’s probably one time.”

Posed with the same question, multiple other Eagles offensive players said they simply could not provide an example. They had nothing.

It’s one of Foles’ biggest strengths and something that Chip Kelly values: the QB’s inclination to stay even-keeled regardless of the circumstances. In the first meeting against the Cowboys last season, Foles had the worst game of his career and got knocked out with a concussion. The next time he stepped onto the field, he fired seven touchdowns in Oakland and took off on one of the more improbable runs by a QB in recent memory. Read more »

Draft Daily: Buzz Building on FSU WR Benjamin

NCAA Football: ACC Championship-Florida State vs Duke

In the past week or so, a number of analysts have linked Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin to the Eagles.

Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com said Benjamin is a player to keep an eye on for the Birds at No. 22. And Ron Jaworski recently compared Benjamin to Harold Carmichael.

At 6-5, 240, Benjamin is the most physically imposing wide receiver in this year’s class. He has 34 7/8-inch arms and 10 1/4-inch hands: Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Will Boykin Get a Shot?

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

Towards the end of last year, Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis was asked about the way he handled Brandon Boykin’s playing time and whether there were ways to get the play-making defensive back more snaps.

“I really think, and I believe this, that one of the reasons that he’s grown like he’s grown and made the plays that he’s making is because we’ve allowed him to specialize and really focus on the nickel position and how to play,” Davis said. “He’s a young player that’s still growing and I think that is one of the things that we’ve done that I’m most happy with. And I understand he’s got a lot of interceptions and second in the league, but I think that’s a product of specialization and really knowing exactly and playing a position with confidence and that’s how you win.” Read more »

Draft Daily: Close-Up On LSU WR Odell Beckham Jr.

NCAA Football: Outback Bowl-Iowa vs Louisiana State

The Eagles took five players in the first five rounds of last year’s draft.

After each selection, head coach Chip Kelly stood at the podium at the NovaCare Complex and explained the pick. When describing four of the five players, he used some version of one of his favorite words: versatile. The only player who didn’t draw the label was QB Matt Barkley.

So it stands to reason that the guy who won college football’s Hornung Award, given to the nation’s most versatile player, would be on the Eagles’ radar heading into May’s draft. That player is LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. 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 »

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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