Eagles Notes: Mariota’s Stock And Grading the ’14 Draft

Matthew Emmons / USA Today

Matthew Emmons / USA Today

MOBILE, Ala. — There seems to be a new Marcus Mariota rumor every day.

The latest has an AFC scout telling NFL.com that he expects Mariota to slide on draft day:

The scoop: “All these teams high in the draft are all going to see the same things on tape with Mariota, and I’ll bet he starts to fall on draft day. Once that happens, (Philadelphia Eagles coach) Chip (Kelly) will mortgage the future to go get him. If he misses on him, (Kelly) can just bolt back to college.” — AFC scout.

It’s worth keeping in mind that this is just one man’s opinion, but there have been multiple suggestions that Mariota might not end up being a top-five pick. Read more »

A Different Side Of Marcus Smith

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

MOBILE, Ala. — When Lorenzo Mauldin thinks about his former roommate at Louisville, Marcus Smith, he doesn’t see a first-round pick who couldn’t get on the field as a rookie.

He doesn’t see a bust or a player who is destined to fail at the NFL level. Rather, he thinks of former walk-on Dominique Dishman.

The way Mauldin tells it, things weren’t going well for Dishman at Louisville, and he wasn’t sure if he wanted to continue playing football. That’s when Smith stepped in.

“We actually had a walk-on on our team, and he quit,” Mauldin explined. “Marcus got into his head a little bit and started talking to him about how God has a plan for him and everything. He had the talent, so he had to go out there and show it. He had to work a little harder because he was a walk-on. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Clinton-Dix And the Six

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Photo courtesy of USA Today

We were reminded during Sunday’s NFC Championship Game of the Eagles’ pre-draft flirtations with Green Bay safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

Ed Maryonwitz, the Eagles’ assistant director of player of personnel who once led Alabama’s recruiting efforts, sent Clinton-Dix an article about the team’s interest in him during the lead-up to the draft, to which the safety replied, ‘Come get me, please. Whatever it takes.’ ”

Clinton-Dix was still available when Arizona — holding the 20th pick — went on the clock. Receiver Brandin Cooks was, too. Those were the only two of the Eagles’ targeted six still remaining. (Most agree that the desirable six were Cooks, Clinton-Dix, Anthony Barr, Odell Beckham, Jr., Kyle Fuller and C.J. Mosley). To ensure they landed one of them, the Eagles would have to part with a third-round pick to move into the Cardinals’ spot. Instead, they stood pat. The Saints offered their third to get from 27 to 20 and grabbed Cooks. Green Bay followed by taking Clinton-Dix. And the Eagles went to Plan B, which included trading back and selecting Marcus Smith. Read more »

An Eagles Slant To the Wild Card Round

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Like many of you, I spent the weekend watching four playoff games and fell into the habit of viewing many things through an Eagles lens.

Keeping that in mind, here are five thoughts, along with a flurry of observations. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: An Opportunity For Graham

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline - USA Today

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline – USA Today

Brandon Graham‘s fifth season with the Eagles is nearing its end. The rookie contract that has tied him to Philadelphia — for better or for worse, in good times and in bad — is about to expire.

Most of the good has come of late.  Graham has made peace with the ghosts of expectations unmet and has adapted to his new position to become a productive part of the Eagles’  attack. He has 5.5 sacks, 13.5 tackles for a loss, 14 quarterback hurries and four forced fumbles on the season while playing a shade under 40 percent of the snaps.

Somewhat apropos of the way his pro career has gone, Graham’s playing time is set to spike just as the sand threatens to drain out of the hourglass. Trent Cole is expected to miss at least one week with a broken hand, meaning Graham jumps into the starting lineup for the first time since 2012.

“This is a big opportunity for me to really show what I can do with more snaps. I’m excited to just be able to go compete and get better with my teammates,” said Graham. Read more »

Smith’s Development “Stifled” By Switch

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

It was out of necessity that Marcus Smith II was shuffled from outside linebacker to inside linebacker earlier this year, and it is out of necessity that he is now being shuffled back to his original position.

Trent Cole broke his hand against Dallas and is expected to be sidelined for at least one week. That means Brandon Graham steps into the starter’s role while Smith figures to be the next man in.

“I expect to get some snaps. I’m not sure how many snaps I’ll get but I’m sure to get action,” said Smith. “Hopefully go out there, run around and just make a play.”

Smith is currently practicing at the Predator position, so he’ll likely rotate in for Graham at times. Bryan Braman is the other option at outside linebacker.

Smith was moved inside back in September after Mychal Kendricks and Najee Goode went down with injuries. He was already having a difficult time acclimating to the pro level, and now had to do so while learning a new position. The results haven’t been good. Smith has appeared in six games and has played just 74 snaps, totaling one tackle and one quarterback hurry.

“We set him back by moving him inside, but we needed that because of all the injuries we had at inside,” said Billy Davis. Read more »

Game Review: Eagles Defense Vs. Titans

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Philadelphia Eagles

Here’s a player-by-player review of the Eagles’ defense after having re-watched Sunday’s game against the Titans.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Fletcher Cox – Another solid game out of Cox. The coaches credited him with one tackle, one sack and one hurry. Cox stopped Shonn Greene after a 4-yard run in the first. He disrupted a run play that gained 3. Good rush late in the first half, but Zach Mettenberger reset and completed a pass. Got some help from the coverage in the back end, slipped inside the offensive lineman and sacked Mettenberger in the second. Cox batted a pass on the next play. Drew a holding call on a run play in the third. Fought off defenders and stopped Bishop Sankey after a 4-yard run in the third. He played 62 percent of the snaps. Announcers made it a point to mention how much Chip Kelly praised Cox during production meetings. He’s had a great season. The Eagles need him to be disruptive against Dallas. Read more »

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