Draft Buzz: EJ Manuel On the Rise?

If the Eagles don’t use their first-round pick on EJ Manuel, they are not going to land him. That’s the feeling of one league source close to the situation, who says a couple teams are showing significant interest in the Florida State signal-caller.

“I think the media is pretty far off as far as where they have EJ right now,” the source said.

Many analysts believe Manuel will be taken in the second round. There are no shortage of mocks that predict he will be the Eagles’ selection at 35. But this is a quarterback class (and therefor, a draft) that has been very hard to pin down. There is no consensus on how these QBs will come off the board, or when.

Two teams believed to have eyes for Manuel are the Bills and Jets. The Bills hold the eighth overall selection, while the Jets pick at both nine and 13. Cleveland, which holds the No. 6 pick, worked out Manuel on Saturday.

Both Buffalo and New York will almost certainly be hunting for a quarterback. But who, and when? Many are making the Bills-Ryan Nassib connection given that former Syracuse coach Doug Marrone is now the head man for Buffalo. The latest report suggests that the Bills are concerned that the Jets may be in pursuit of Nassib, which could force them to pull the trigger at eight. Geno Smith could still be in play at this point as well.

There are plenty of variables, and a lot of misdirection going on right now. But don’t rule out Manuel’s name being called Thursday night.

I spoke to a league insider today with ties to a projected top-10 pick. He said the uncertainty surrounding the top of the draft is unprecedented.

“I cant believe it’s the day before and I have no idea where he’s going,” he said. “It’s shocking to me.”

One name that seems to have crept into the top-five conversation is BYU defensive end Ziggy Ansah. From NFL.com:

Ansah has received much more top-five attention in the last few days, NFL.com’s Albert Breer reported. The Lions, with the No. 5 pick in the NFL draft, could be the landing zone if tackles Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher are picked beforehand. Defensive line coach Jim Washburn is in the Ansah camp, according to Breer.

Breer noted there are teams interested in moving up and could make a deal with the Eagles at No. 4 to jump in front of the Lions.

The Eagles wouldn’t deny Washburn his man, would they?

The Baltimore Sun writes that the Ravens are considering moving up from the No. 32 spot to land tackle Lane Johnson. That’s a far climb, with Johnson potentially going in the  top five, but they are armed with 12 picks.

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Draft Buzz: How Far Could Geno Smith Fall?

Welcome to draft week. Let’s get started with a league-wide roundup. And if you haven’t done so already, check out yesterday’s post on Darrelle Revis, EJ Manuel and Matt Scott.

Let’s start with Geno Smith. Good luck finding anyone who has a handle on where the West Virginia quarterback is going to go. Tweeted ESPN’s Chris Mortensen:

And SI.com’s Peter King added:

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, tweeting Sunday night about what more and more people in the NFL feel: Only four or five teams in the first round could take West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith — the consensus top quarterback in this week’s draft — and there is absolutely no guarantee that one will.

Obviously, there’s plenty of misdirection this time of year, but up until now, we’ve been discussing Smith as a possibility for the Eagles at No. 4. I’ve said for weeks that I don’t think they’re going to take him at that spot, but what if he falls into the 20s? What if he’s there at the start of the day Friday?

On one hand, you could argue that if the Eagles don’t like him enough to take him at No. 4, then they’re not going to take him if he falls. But that’s not really true. The farther he falls, the lower the risk. To exaggerate the point, I can pretty much guarantee the Eagles would take Smith if he was available in the sixth or seventh round.

My guess? Smith is still going to go in the top-10, but clearly, no scenario is off the table for Thursday night.

On that same note, Mortensen reports that there’s a “growing belief” that the Bills could take Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib with the No. 8 pick. Nassib played for coach Doug Marrone at Syracuse, and if Buffalo feels good about him, it might avoid the risk of waiting for him in the second round.

In his latest mock draft for Rotoworld, Josh Norris has Nassib going No. 8:

The closer we get, the more confident I am that this will be the pick. A “get your guy when you can” scenario, if you will. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the quarterback run does not take place until later in the first-round.

Norris also thinks the Eagles could trade back into the first round (No. 29) for EJ Manuel:

Like the Jaguars, this selection could be a number of quarterbacks, but Manuel fits the bill in many categories. “Clean slate” and “coachable” are words frequently floating around Manuel, which leads me to think the NFL believes the QB was held back by coaches in college.

Greg Cosell of NFL Films unveiled the first of his two-part mock draft on Yahoo Sports, projecting picks 17 to 32. Obviously, that’s not where the Eagles pick, but there are some names he has going in the first round that are of interest: Florida International safety Jonathan Cyprien (No. 21), Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown (No. 25), UCLA defensive lineman Datone Jones (No. 26), Florida State defensive lineman Tank Carradine (No. 28) and Alabama defensive lineman Jesse Williams (No. 31).

All of those players could be second-round targets for the Eagles if they fall.

Meanwhile, King predicts another potential target, Oregon offensive lineman Kyle Long, will also go in the first round.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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Draft Buzz: On Revis, Manuel And Matt Scott

Some draft links to pass along on this Sunday…

The big news around the league is that the Bucs appear set to acquire Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. League sources tell ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Revis has been granted permission to take a physical and negotiate a contract with Tampa.

If the deal goes through, the Jets are expected to receive the No. 13 overall pick as part of the package. That would make New York one of three teams with two first-rounders (the Jets also have the ninth pick). St. Louis (Nos. 16 and 22) and Minnesota (23 and 25) are the others.

Any time a team has multiple first-round picks, it automatically becomes a candidate to potentially move up. The Jets are in prime position to get two quality players in the top 13, but in case you’re wondering, those two first-rounders add up to 2,500 on the old draft value chart. The fourth pick, which the Eagles hold, is at 1,800.

The Jets also have the 39th pick (second round). So they could potentially package that pick with one of the first-rounders to move up to No. 4.

Again, probably unlikely, but those are the scenarios.

Buzz continues to grow that Florida State’s E.J. Manuel will be the second QB off the board, behind Geno Smith. NFL Network’s Mike Mayock had Manuel as his second-rated signal-caller, and this from Dan Pompei of the National Football Post:

There is a feeling in some NFL front offices that E.J. Manuel has leapfrogged Matt Barkely, Mike Glennon and Ryan Nassib and now could be the second quarterback taken, perhaps even in the first round. Part of this may be because teams have been unable to sell themselves on Barkley, Glennon and Nassib. And part of it may be that Manuel might have more potential than any of them. There clearly is a bust factor with him, but some think Manuel can be a better player at the next level because he has more raw talent than any quarterback in the draft other than maybe Geno Smith.

If Manuel falls to 35, the Eagles will think seriously about taking him. But I’m not sure they’d be willing to trade back into the first round to get him.

Which means the quarterback to keep an eye on might be Arizona’s Matt Scott. Expected to be a Day 3 pick, Scott has the athleticism Chip Kelly covets out of the quarterback position.

In his annual prospect rankings, here’s what Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel wrote about Scott:

Benched early in 2010 in favor of Nick Foles. Redshirted in 2011 and came back to flourish in coach Rich Rodriguez’ read-option offense. “Very interesting guy – he’s like a (Colin) Kaepernick,” one scout said. “Not as big and doesn’t have as strong an arm. Really came on this year. He’s a very, very talented athlete.” Finished with an 11-6 record and passer rating of 88.1. Wonderlic of 22. “Low release, lot of tipped balls, raw, OK smarts and leadership,” another scout said. “He’s had a bunch of concussions, which is a little scary. Three this year. But he’s kind of gaining steam.” From Corona, Calif. “Highly inconsistent as a decision-maker,” a third scout said. “But throwing the ball, he has up side.”

Once Smith and Manuel are off the board, Scott is the name to watch at QB for the Birds.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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The EJ Manuel Diaries: Feeling Good About the Eagles

Quarterback EJ Manuel is doing a weekly diary here on Birds 24/7 as we count down to the draft. In this installment he writes about his visit to Philadelphia, and his emotions with the draft less than a week away.

What up Bird Gang!

Man, this feeling has been a long time coming. We are days away from the 2013 Draft and I feel like I’ve done so much to help myself. I made a few visits, which included a stop to Philly.

First off, the fact that there is a hotel connected to the airport is by far one of the most convenient things I’ve experienced in the past 3 months. Once I was settled in, we headed to dinner at Chicky Pete’s (sorry if I’m spelling it wrong guys) that first night. Of course, I had a Philly cheesesteak and these really good fries, which pretty much put me to sleep within the next hour.

Woke up bright and early to meet with the GM, asst. GM, owner, OC, Qb coach, head coach, and pretty much anyone else who had an office within the facility. I don’t want to give away too much, but I left the building feeling good about the Eagles taking me. The good thing is I’ve had the same feeling from every team I’ve met with. This is why I’m so proud of handling every meeting, every visit, every film session, every dinner as if my life depended on it.

I would love to become a Philadelphia Eagle, but if they decide to go a different route, I’m sure I’ll be getting a call soon after. The biggest thing I will do as the draft approaches is to enjoy the moment. You only get drafted once, and this is an extreme new beginning for not just me, but my family also.

Hope I’ll be writing you guys back soon, and it has been my pleasure giving you all insight on this process. Looking forward to seeing what happens draft day! God Bless!

EJ Manuel

Draft Buzz: Manuel Likes His Chances Of Landing In Philly

With the draft now just eight days away, the talk is starting to pick up. Let’s get to it:

EJ Manuel was on the Dan Patrick Show Wednesday, and was asked which teams he feels have shown him the most love during the pre-draft process. The first team out of his mouth?

“I feel really good about the Philadelphia Eagles,” Manuel replied. “I feel really good about the Buffalo Bills. I feel really good about the New York Jets. Those are some of the teams that I feel really confident in. I know they need quarterbacks, I know they want quarterbacks, figuring they have brand new coaching staffs and things like that so they may want a fresh start and a new, energetic quarterback to come in and play.”

If the Eagles do in fact have eyes for Manuel, the question becomes: how do they land him? The closer we get to April 25, the more analysts seem to think that Manuel could be taken in the first round. The Florida St. QB was asked if he thinks he will be taken on Day 1.

“I do. Yes sir. I’ve heard some really good things,” said Manuel. “I think teams need quarterbacks, and I think the teams that really need quarterbacks brought me in for invites and meetings and things like that, and I know that I impressed those teams, so I think at least one will take a shot. You only really need one team to fall in love with you, man, in this whole deal.”

The Eagles likely won’t spend the No. 4 pick on Manuel. Would they trade back? Package the No. 35 pick and move into the back end of the first round? Stay tuned.

A couple Tavon Austin notes

West Virginia’s Tavon Austin visited the Lions on Wednesday, and likened himself to a current player on Detroit’s roster.

“Another type of player like Reggie [Bush]. Me and him would probably be twins back there,” Austin said, via PFT.

Some see the dynamic playmaker as a perfect fit for Chip Kelly‘s offense. Jon Gruden, for one, is a really big Austin fan.

“He’s my favorite player in the draft.  I’m sensitive to him because he’s 5’8″ like myself.  When you watch the kid play, he’s magnificent.  He’s a great return man, punts, kicks.  He lines up at tailback, and he plays like a tailback.  He looks like Darren Sproles at tailback and he looks like Wes Welker in the slot,” said Gruden in a conference call.

“I’ve seen him be magnificent after the catch, all-purpose yardage, look, he’s tough.  Tremendous stop and start quickness and flat‑out finishing speed.  I’ve seen quick guys, fast players, but I’ve never seen very many that have the combination of speed and quickness like Austin has.  He ran for 8,000 yards as a high school tailback in Maryland, and he averaged 7 or 8 yards a carry this year when they handed it to him.  He’s just a fun, deluxe joker to have on your football team.  He’s going to make an impact, I believe, big time.”

More draft visits

Add a couple more names to the list of players who have met with the Eagles. Utah defensive lineman Joe Kruger and LSU running back Spencer Ware have both been brought in for visits, according to Pro Football Scout.

Kruger (6-6, 269), the younger brother of Browns linebacker Paul Kruger, has experience all across the defensive front.

Ware (5-10, 228) had a down year last year after leading the Tigers in rushing the season prior. He did not participate in the Combine due to a hamstring injury.

You can find all of the Eagles pre-draft visits and workouts here.

QB Stock Watch: Analysts Link Geno, Manuel To Eagles

First, some direct Eagles connections:

Rob Rang of CBSSports.com has the Eagles taking Geno Smith. Same for  Clark Judge and Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com; Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times; Mel Kiper of  ESPN; Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com; and the fine people over at OurLads.com.

Chris Steuber and the folks at both Mocking the Draft and Walter Football.com predict EJ Manuel will be the Eagles’ second-round pick.

Jon Gruden says Malvern Prep’s Ryan Nassib could be the sleeper of the draft.

When it comes to the tools, I see a guy with a live arm who can deliver the ball with great timing. He needs work on how and where he uses velocity on his throws, but he can make all of them. I don’t see a great athlete — this isn’t a guy who will run the read-option for you consistently, but he’s shown he can run it, and he has what I call “nuisance speed.” He has enough to bother you if you don’t account for him, and he can scramble for first downs. He’s benched 420 pounds, so the guy has some strength and can stand in there and take a hit.

I can’t stand here and predict a great career for Nassib. But I’m not afraid to call him a sleeper because I know he can make adjustments, I know he’s been able to thrive in situations in which he’s not being handed a big talent advantage and I know he can make calls and execute at pace.

Ron Jaworski‘s QB rankings are as follows:

1) Smith
2) Nassib
3)  Manuel
4) Landry Jones
5) Mike Glennon

Matt Barkley is all the way down at No. 6.

Then there are the physical concerns. When I see Barkley throw, I don’t see enough drive on the ball. I don’t see him snapping off throws. I thought he often pushed the ball rather than get that good wrist snap that generates velocity and a tight spiral. I also didn’t see him driving off his back leg on throws. He threw the fade well and had some nice deep posts, but I didn’t see him making a lot of NFL throws despite an NFL-caliber receiving corps in a pro-style offense under Lane Kiffin.

I think Barkley is capable of having a very long NFL career. But I don’t consider him one of the top QB prospects in this draft class.

As for Manuel, Jaws predicts that “at a minimum, I think we’ll see a team trade up into the back end of Round 1 to select him.”

Manuel is scheduled to attend the draft in New York. (He and Smith will be the lone representatives of this quarterback class.) I checked in with someone close to the Florida St. quarterback to see if they viewed the invite as an indication that he will definitely be a first-round selection. The Manuel camp hopes that’s the case but don’t know for sure, and say EJ wanted to attend regardless.

Josh Norris at NFL.com believes that Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson is the top quarterback in this class.

I don’t expect Wilson to be among the top quarterbacks selected in April’s draft, but he can be successful wherever he lands, thanks to his willingness to stick to the pocket and test vertically. There are some placement issues, but those can be fixed with improved footwork.

Less than two weeks, and still no consensus when it comes to this group of quarterbacks. Pretty telling.

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Eagles Wake-Up Call: Kiper Expects Offers For No. 4 Pick

Earlier this week, we discussed the possibility of the Eagles trading down out of the No. 4 pick.

And while many believe teams at the top of the first round will have a tough time drawing significant offers, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. thinks the Eagles will get some calls.

“You’re going to get offers because it’s not costly to be up there,” Kiper said. ‘It’s a case where there’s going to be some hot players, and the hot players are going to be those left tackles. Everybody seems to want to go up and get those guys. After [Luke] Joeckel goes, if he goes one, that’s going to make Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson two possibilities for teams that are going to look to move up.”

The tackles seem to be the players to watch. Joeckel, Fisher and Johnson are the clear-cut top three options. It seems likely that Andy Reid and the Chiefs will go with one of them. But the Jaguars and Raiders at two and three could go in a number of different directions.

One team that has the ammo to move up is the Miami Dolphins. But Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald reports that the Dolphins like Joeckel and Fisher much more than Johnson. There are plenty of smokescreens this time of year, but that’s something that could work in the Eagles’ favor.

Meanwhile, one option for the Birds with the No. 35 pick (second round) could be Florida State QB EJ Manuel. But will he still be there? Kiper said he loves Manuel, but has some concerns.

“I just saw a kid who didn’t go through progression to the third or fourth option,” Kiper said. “He’d go one, two, and underneath.  Didn’t have to read the whole field, read half the field, that’s a concern.  At times he made inaccurate throws, questionable decisions. That’s a concern. I didn’t see him take his game to an elite level despite having elite physical and athletic skills.

“On the numbers alone he’s first round. He tests like a first rounder. I thought his performance was more like a second or third rounder. Do the math on that, you’re thinking late one, early two.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

In his Twitter Mailbag, T-Mac discusses the Tavon Austin possibility.

Is Geno Smith the next Tony Romo? Here’s the latest draft buzz.

The Eagles traded Dion Lewis to the Browns for linebacker Emmanuel Acho.

Here’s our latest draft profile of Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson.

DeSean Jackson talks about the Geno Smith possibility.

The Eagles have released linebacker Ryan Rau and three others.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock tells Paul Domowitch of the Daily News that he doesn’t think Florida’s Sharrif Floyd is a great fit in a 3-4.

“I don’t think 3-4 teams are going to be very interested in Sharrif, unless they intend to use him like Houston uses J.J. Watt. The base 3-4 teams typically are looking for longer, bigger guys to line up head up on that tackle.”

Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz.com would not be on board with a Geno Smith pick:

I will be highly disappointed if the Eagles use the #4 pick on Geno Smith.  If they trade back and take him, I’d be more comfortable, but that wouldn’t change the fact that I’m just not sold on Geno.  Greg Cosell has pointed out the “slow eyes” issue.  Geno is a smart QB, but as Ron Jaworski says so perfectly, a QB must process information quickly.  Geno doesn’t do this.  He’s late on his reads and decisions.  I’m not sure that can be coached out of him.  The situations in the NFL will only be tougher.  Receivers will be less open.  Pass rushers will be bigger, faster, and stronger.

COMING UP

Draft, draft and more draft!

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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Eagles Wake-Up Call: The Latest Draft Buzz

With the draft just 15 days away, here’s a roundup of the latest buzz.

Josh Norris of Rotoworld/NFL.com has a new mock out that includes a twist – projected trades. While he has the Eagles staying put at No. 4 and taking Utah DT Star Lotulelei, Norris predicts that the Cardinals trade up to No. 3 to take Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher:

The Cardinals can’t afford to wait until pick No. 7, just in case the Eagles, Lions, or another team trade up to target the remaining two tackles. Fisher and Johnson are more proven commodities than many prospects in this class, so they should go off the board early.

If Fisher or Luke Joeckel makes it to No. 4, the Eagles could definitely get a call or two. Of course, if the offers aren’t good enough, it makes perfect sense for the Birds to just draft the offensive tackle and move on.

In an ESPN Insider piece, Ron Jaworski ranks his top-eight quarterbacks. Jaws has Geno Smith first, followed by Ryan Nassib and EJ Manuel. He has an interesting comp for the Florida State QB:

I’ll be honest, when I first started watching Manuel on film, I didn’t really like him. Then, last week, when I broke him down a little more, he reminded me of another notable recent prospect: Colin Kaepernick.

With Kaepernick, I went back and forth a lot. Same thing here. I don’t like a lot of the negatives I see with Manuel — too many misreads, too many throws into coverage — but if you speak to NFL scouts and coaches, they’ll tell you that when it comes to projecting prospects, it’s more important to see the high end of the talent spectrum than to focus on mistakes. Once you know a QB is capable of making the great plays, you can spend time on eliminating the mistakes. It’s easier to erase flaws than to teach greatness.

Jaws doesn’t see Manuel getting out of the first round, but some mocks have the Eagles grabbing him with their second-round pick.

Chris Burke of SI.com offers a safe pick and a surprise pick for each team. He’s got Fisher as the Eagles’ safe pick and Tavon Austin as their surprise selection:

May as well go all out here, eh? Geno Smith is the obvious “surprise pick” candidate for the Eagles — it’s hard to tell if Chip Kelly is sold on Michael Vick and Nick Foles does not seem to be a very good fit for Kelly’s new offense.

Austin, on the other hand, feels like a natural for the Kelly spread. Just imagine him in the slot, flanked by DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, with LeSean McCoy coming out of the backfield. Good luck defending that.

WHAT YOU MISSED

An All-22 look at how DeMeco Ryans fits in a 3-4.

Many analysts are projecting Geno Smith to the Eagles. Here’s the latest mock draft roundup.

Chip Kelly talks Michael Vick, draft strategy and roster-shaping.

Jon Gruden offers his thoughts on this year’s QB class.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Brian Solomon of McNabbOrKolb.com wonders whether Trent Cole could play 5-technique defensive end in the Eagles’ new scheme:

He’s no prototypical 5-technique defensive end, but Cole works there if you think more about the player and less about a rigid scheme. First, he’s still great against the run, which is that player’s primary job. Second, it allows him to keep his hand on the ground, rather than convert to a stand-up linebacker in his ninth season. Third, it keeps the team’s best personnel in the game, and actually aids scheme flexibility.

Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz.com isn’t sure Jason Avant will have a spot:

Jason has been a good Eagle since he was drafted in 2006, but he’s not fast, he’s not a huge guy, he doesn’t have RAC ability.  There’s just nothing compelling about him, besides having good hands and being a very polished receiver.  Is that good enough in the Kelly offense?

COMING UP

Plenty to get to today.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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Eagles Wake-Up Call: EJ Manuel On Visiting Philly

Quarterback EJ Manuel is doing a weekly diary here on Birds 24/7 as we count down to the draft. In this installment, he talks about his upcoming visit to the NovaCare Complex, and watching an Eagles game in person as a kid.

What’s up everybody!? I’ll be making my way to Philly this weekend. Really looking forward to getting a chance to see the city, the facilities, meeting with the coaches and players. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to grab some good food, too.

This will be my second team visit, as I already visited Buffalo last week.

As a kid, my dad and I went to an Eagles game when I was either 13 or 14. They beat the Chargers who had Drew Brees and LT. It was really exciting to watch Donovan and TO get after it out there, and now possibly having the chance to play there on Sundays is a blessing in itself.

One of my main questions to the Eagles staff will be if the #3 is open?? haha. (Editor’s note: At the moment, that number is being worn by Dennis Dixon).

As the draft approaches, it’s somewhat a relief because you are getting closer to your dream coming true. I have had so much fun the past 3 months getting the opportunity to raise my draft stock, but the real work is soon to begin. All I can think of is my phone ringing draft day, looking down and seeing the area code of my future team. Hugging family and shaking Mr. Goodell’s hand. One of the things that has driven me since high school to be the best, because only the elite have the opportunity to enjoy that experience.

God Bless,
EJ Manuel

WHAT YOU MISSED

Some Mel Kiper draft nuggets, along with Sheil’s reaction to them.

DeMeco Ryans insists that he can operate at a high level in a 3-4.

In the latest Twitter Mailbag, I answer questions about Star, Foles and more.

Now just three weeks out from the draft, Kapadia offers three Eagles-related thoughts.

It’s early, but so far players are embracing the change that Chip Kelly brings.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

The Eagles preseason schedule is out. They are home against New England (Aug 8-11) and Carolina (Aug 15-19), and will play at Jacksonville (Aug 22-25) and the Jets (Aug 29-30).

In his latest mock draft, Kiper has the Eagles selecting Geno Smith.

There are two realities the Eagles must face in evaluating their future at quarterback. One is that Michael Vick, while an intriguing fit under Chip Kelly, isn’t a long-term solution, even if we’re optimistic. Two, there’s no such thing as a useful free-agent market of starting quarterbacks in this league. If you have a great quarterback, or even a pretty good one, you’re going to lock him up. In drafting Smith, the Eagles are in a good position to develop an athletic, talented thrower to succeed specifically in Kelly’s offense, but without the requirement that he must start from day one. I don’t like the idea of Smith as a Week 1 starter in 2013 — but for a roster that’s already in a good position to compete this season, he could be a great fit for the franchise in 2014, and most importantly, a great fit for the coach.

Mike Garafolo writes about the new scene at the NovaCare.

Howie Roseman had just come back into the building after the workout of local draft hopefuls the other day when the Philadelphia Eagles’ general manager heard the thumping bass of hip-hop music coming from down the hall.

Roseman walked into the auditorium, where he found special teams coordinator Dave Fipp.

“Welcome to my meeting room,” Fipp yelled over the music to Roseman. “I’m playing music because I want to get their neurological pathways open in the morning to get them going.”

COMING UP

Clock is ticking towards April 25. Much to do…

The EJ Manuel Diaries: My Workout With the Eagles

Quarterback EJ Manuel is doing a weekly diary here on Birds 24/7 as we count down to the draft. In this installment, he details his private workout with the Eagles on Thursday.

Hey guys, been a busy week so I apologize for the late post. Worked out for the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday, and it went great. Coach Lazor came into town Wednesday night and we met up for a casual dinner. I was able to really pick his brain about his coaching history, his expectations from his quarterbacks, his coaching philosophies, etc. I also learned that Coach is a family man, as his kids both called him to say goodnight. Very good man as well as coach, so whoever you all draft as a quarterback (should be me) will definitely enjoy working with Coach Lazor.

The next morning, coach and I met to watch film and go over play installments. He was testing how I learned best and how fast I was able to retain information. I impressed him, just as I did at the combine and the Senior Bowl interviews. One thing that goes unnoticed in all of this, how much football do you really know, and how much of that knowledge is applicable to the NFL? This is an added value I have coming from FSU. WE LEARNED FOOTBALL. Trust me.

From the film room, we headed to the field to work out. I killed it. The ball came out of my hand great. Weather was chilly so it gave a realistic feel of how it’ll be in the fall in Philly. Coach gave me a few things to try out and I was able to perform those techniques after he gave his initial instruction.

Overall, coach left with a great impression. The ball may have touched the grass once. I really liked Coach Lazor. I think I will have a lot of success learning and working with him and within the Eagles offensive system!

Cleveland and Cincinnati are up next, so I’m going to prepare for them! Catch you guys later.

EJ Manuel

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