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 »

Wake-Up Call: Coleman Backs DeSean

Eagles Safety Kurt Coleman on field helmet off
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 »

Wake-Up Call: Maclin Takes Center Stage

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Pittsburgh Steelers

It is not totally clear when we will see Jeremy Maclin for the first time.

The soon-t0-be 26-year old says his straight-line speed is back to where it was before he tore the ACL in his right knee, but needs to add strength in his quad and improve his lateral movement. The OTAs begin on May 27 and the mandatory minicamp runs from June 17-19. Chip Kelly wouldn’t commit to the receiver being ready for these activities, but believes he will be 100 percent for training camp.

Whenever Maclin jumps into action, he will assume the role as the Eagles primary receiver for really the first time in his career. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: B-Dawk’s Take

US Presswire Sports Archive
Brian Dawkins
was not shocked by the DeSean Jackson news. To him, the situation is pretty straightforward.

“This is not something that all of a sudden had the gang affiliation thing tied to it and that was the thing the Eagles looked at to say, ‘You know what? This is the thing we’re allowing him to walk for.’ No, it was all the other things that have happened over the time that he’s been here and the things he has not corrected in his character, some of the things that he does within the building with coaches and the like they were concerned about,” said Dawkins during an appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic. 

“And when you have a new coach coming in, he doesn’t have to pull punches or be as patient as Andy Reid was as someone invested in him. When you have a guy come in who is trying to build a system the way that he wants it to be run, he’s going to bring in people that are going to follow it to the letter of everything he wants to have happen. He’s not going to be as patient. So this is not something that surprised me as far as them letting him go.” Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Why the Eagles Passed On Byrd

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills

Jeffrey Lurie made it clear that if Chip Kelly wanted him to write a large check to land Jairus Byrd, he would have obliged.

The head coach, though, said his sights were set elsewhere.

“We looked at everybody,” said Kelly. “We did an extensive study, our coaches and personnel department on everybody that’s available. We all felt when it came down to it that Malcolm [Jenkins] was the best fit for what we do defensively and we were excited to get him. He was the number one guy that we went after and we got the number one guy we wanted.”

That’s a head-scratcher, at least on the surface. Byrd is largely considered the better football player. He’s been the superior playmaker [Jenkins has six interceptions in five NFL seasons; Byrd has 22 over that same time]. So what went into their thinking? Read more »

Wake-Up Call: The Eagles After Day 1

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Here’s where the Eagles stand as they enter the second day of free agency:

There was plenty of chatter surrounding the team Tuesday but they ended up signing just one free agent — New Orleans’ safety Malcolm Jenkins. They also re-upped punter Donnie Jones and cut Patrick Chung.

Jenkins should be an upgrade over Chung but the Eagles are still thin at the position. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Notes On Barr, OLB Prospects

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Linebackers took center stage along with defensive linemen at the combine Monday. Some notes to pass along:

– Could the Eagles be within striking distance of UCLA’s Anthony Barr on draft day? Mike Mayock, for one, doesn’t believe Barr is a top-10 player.

UCLA’s Anthony Barr is Mayock’s No. 3 linebacker, but Mayock doesn’t think Barr is a top-10 pick. While Barr is a good pass rusher, Mayock said that “when he doesn’t win with speed,” he has issues. Mayock also said Barr is best against the run as a chaser: “He’s not real strong at the point of attack.”

Some pundits disagree. Mel Kiper, as an example, has Barr going sixth overall.

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. This after starting his college career on the offensive side of the ball as a running back and wide receiver. He 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. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Lyerla Wants To Land In Philly

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INDIANAPOLIS — You could hardly see Colt Lyerla through the thicket of reporters and cameras.  He was seated at a round table inside the media room at Lucas Oil Stadium Thursday, surrounded by a large contingent of media that were firing off one probing question after the next. Once through the throng there he was, face flush,  hands clasped tightly together in between his knees, revisiting a past that he is trying to escape.

“Probably the night I spent in jail,” responded Lyerla, when asked about the moment he realized his football career might be over. “That was huge for me, and like I said, it gave me time to self-reflect and realize that’s a place I never want to be again.” Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Draft Offers Options At Receiver

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

A record 98 underclassmen have declared for the 2014 NFL Draft. Within that wave lies  a group of talented receivers that has enriched the position significantly.

“When you talk about the underclassmen, that’s where the guts of this draft is. Last year was more senior-heavy,” said Daniel Jeremiah, a former scout for the Eagles. “This year we’re talking about 9-10 underclass wide receivers that are first, second-round players in my opinion.”

Jeremiah sees seven receivers being selected in the first round, which would be the most since 2004. And they are: Sammy Watkins (junior, Clemson), Mike Evans (redshirt sophomore, Texas A&M), Kelvin Benjamin (redshirt sophomore, Florida State), Marqise Lee (junior, USC), Paul Richardson (redshirt junior, Colorado), Jarvis Landry (junior, LSU) and Davante Adams (redshirt sophomore, Fresno State).

Mel Kiper, incredibly, has nine going in the first round in his latest mock draft. (He projects LSU junior Odell Beckham, Jr. to the Eagles at 22.)

Howie Roseman agrees with the sentiment that this is a strong class of wideouts, and must decide how much — if at all — that will impact some key decisions that are before him.

Read more »

Wake-Up Call: Kiper Through Eagle Eyes

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Mel Kiper Jr. held a conference call with media members Thursday and touched on several subjects that could interest Eagles fans. Some highlights:

(Note: I linked to some film of each of the players mentioned, courtesy of DraftBreakdown, in case you want to study any of them a bit more.)

– Kiper is very high on this wide receiver class. He has nine going in the first round alone, and thinks quality will still be there later in the draft.

“There’s going to be an opportunity I think at wide receiver to see guys in the third, fourth, fifth round get it done. That’s going to be a very deep position with 19 underclassmen coming out at that spot.” Read more »

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