Draft Daily: Arizona St. WR Jaelen Strong

Arizona State WR Jaelen Strong. Ivan Pierre Aguirre / USA TODAY Sports

Arizona State WR Jaelen Strong. Ivan Pierre Aguirre / USA TODAY Sports

Between now and the draft, we’ll zero in on one prospect a day with an Eagles slant. If you have a player you want covered, let us know on the Birds 24/7 Facebook page.

THE BACK STORY

As names fly off the board in the first round of the draft, there will be plenty of people in Philadelphia glued to their TVs to see where Arizona State wide receiver Jaelen Strong ends up.

The West Catholic product has roots in the city. His Dad, John Rankin, was a standout basketball player at Drexel, scoring 2,111 points, second in school history. He went on to serve as a detective in the Philadelphia Police Department before leukemia took his life when Strong was 9-years-old (good story here on Strong and Rankin from the Inquirer).

Strong was a standout high school athlete himself, but he didn’t have the grades to play Division I and ended up attending Pierce College (JUCO) in Southern California before eventually landing at Arizona State. Read more »

Jenkins: McCoy Trade Didn’t Surprise Players

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Malcolm Jenkins stopped by the NFL Network on Wednesday morning to offer his thoughts on the wild offseason the Eagles have experienced so far. He claimed the players in the locker room were not surprised by the trading of LeSean McCoy, but rather what they got in return for him.

“When you talk about what you can get for — if you are looking to acquire more talent — I just think Shady’s cap number and what we were able to get in return for Shady, I think made sense,” Jenkins said. “And some guys in the locker room who kind of know what’s going on weren’t surprised by it.

“In the locker room a lot of guys weren’t surprised by the trade, what we were more surprised of was that it was just a player-for-player trade. I think everybody thought we would have gotten more — Kiko [Alonso], plus a couple draft picks, you know, somebody else.” Read more »

It’s Official: Eagles Sign WR Miles Austin

Miles Austin. Aaron Doster/USA Today

Miles Austin. Aaron Doster/USA Today

Miles Austin identified a few reasons for deciding to sign with the Eagles: the winning culture, the guys in the locker room and the proximity to his home town in New Jersey.

Those are all reasonable factors, but the truth is, it sounds like Austin didn’t have many (any?) other options.

“I didn’t visit anywhere [else],” Austin confirmed. “This is the only place I came.”

The Eagles officially announced Tuesday that they’ve signed Austin to a one-year deal. According to NFL Network, it’s worth $2.3 million, a curious amount for a player who didn’t seem to be generating much interest on the open market. Read more »

What They’re Saying About The Eagles

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Here is what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.

Some Dolphins-related Eagles buzz from the South Florida Sun Sentinel:

Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Bradford And the Zone Read

Daniel Shirey | USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Shirey | USA TODAY Sports

Today’s question comes from reader Andrew, via e-mail:

I have been waiting for an article discussing Sam Bradford and running the read option. It seems like the guy is already a risk to get hurt just staying in the pocket. Do we really want this guy running the read option 5-7 times a game? I already envision Sam tearing an ACL running to the sideline a la Mcnabb in 2006. Talk me off the ledge Sheil.

I imagine that when he’s surrounded by his peers, Chip Kelly speaks rather eloquently about the intricacies of the zone read and why it works/doesn’t work in certain situations. But with reporters, he’s usually not very forthcoming on this topic, Andrew.

Just last week at the owners meetings, Kelly was asked about the zone read.

“We don’t run as much zone read as you think we run,” Kelly said. “Probably less than two times a game.”

Can it be an effective tool at the NFL level?

“It depends on your personnel,” Kelly said. “I think the Seattle Seahawks run it outstanding. And it’s a real difficult play in terms of how they run it. But I think we’re maybe less than one a game in terms of running zone read plays. It’s not a big part of what we do.” Read more »

Maclin: ‘You Just Can’t Plug Guys In Anywhere’

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

There was no bitterness in Jeremy Maclin’s voice.

He had hoped to stick with the Eagles for the next stretch of his career. He watched his former team throw out guaranteed dollars to outsiders like Byron Maxwell and DeMarco Murray. He said his decision wasn’t all about the money, while admitting that the contract obviously played a role.

But Maclin seemed happy when he addressed reporters at Todd Herremans’ charity event last week. And why shouldn’t he be? He got $22.5 million guaranteed, will be playing for the coach who drafted him and is returning to his home state.

Maclin even praised Chip Kelly, saying he believes in his former coach and expects the Eagles to be productive offensively for years to come.

The topic of how the Eagles will replace Maclin is one that will be discussed often between now and draft time. For the second year in a row, the Birds will return to training camp without their leading receiver from the previous year. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: ‘I Think It’s A Huge Risk’

Jeff Curry / USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Curry / USA TODAY Sports

Overall, Rodney Harrison said that he is pretty excited about what Chip Kelly and the Eagles are doing this offseason. He thinks dealing LeSean McCoy and replacing him with DeMarco Murray was the right call. He suggested that Kelly’s decision to allocate more resources to the defensive side of the ball is a sign of growth out of the head coach.

When it comes to the quarterback swap, though, Harrison sounded skeptical at best.

“Really the only move that kind of caught me off guard was the Nick Foles [trade],” the former Patriot safety and NBC analyst told 97.5 The Fanatic. “I really like Nick Foles. I thought he could be similar to Joe Flacco. I really felt like this kid had an opportunity to be special, especially in that offense.” Read more »

Three Leftovers: Kelce Working With Bradford

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

From Connor Barwin’s contract to Jason Kelce’s view of the QB situation to Jeremy Maclin’s praise for Nick Foles, here are three Eagles leftovers from Todd Herremans’ charity event on Thursday night.

1. Kelce is one of the Eagles players who stays in the Philadelphia area and works out at the NovaCare Complex in the offseason. That means he’s already had a chance to get a first impression of new quarterback Sam Bradford. So what does Kelce think?

“I’ve been meeting with him and going over things,” Kelce said. “I think he’s a guy that comes off as very cerebral, very smart, very quick. He’s had a lot of bad luck in his career as far as injuries are concerned and as far as… I don’t want to throw any offensive lines under the bus, but I think he’s much better suited now with us. I think that he has a good chance to be very successful in this offense.”

As for the draft, Kelce said he doesn’t think the Eagles will make a move to land Marcus Mariota. Read more »

Weekend Reading: Carroll Backs Kelly

Photo Credit: Jeffrey G. Pittenger-USA TODAY

Photo Credit: Jeffrey G. Pittenger-USA TODAY

Here are some Eagles-related links to check out this weekend.

Noted Chip Kelly enthusiast and Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll believes Kelly knows what he is doing. From CSN Philly:

“I think the people in Philadelphia should be very excited about the changes that are coming,” Carroll said this week at the owners meetings. “Maybe they can’t see it — the vision is not clear to them. Chip knows what he’s doing. It’s going to be interesting to see.”

As someone in the same situation as Kelly, Carroll, the head honcho of player personnel in addition to coach in Seattle, pointed to Kelly’s record for a strong vote of confidence.

Read more »

Kelly On Marynowitz: He Blew Us Away

marynowitz_940_012915

Between Chip Kelly‘s time at Oregon, Ed Marynowitz‘s days alongside Nick Saban at Alabama and their respective years in Philadelphia since, the new personnel tandem has a healthy amount of player evaluation and program building experience. On the flip side, they are both still pretty green when it comes to operating at the pro level. Kelly and Marynowitz have a total of five years in the NFL between them, and are new to their roles as heads of construction.

Given that, are they leaning on anyone to help them with the draft process, trade evaluations and the like while they get their feet wet?

“No,” Kelly said flatly during his session with reporters at the owners meetings. Read more »

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