Eagles Wake-Up Call: Mayock On Wentz

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

No analyst has been higher on Carson Wentz than Mike Mayock.

The respected NFL Network draft expert had Wentz as his top quarterback coming out. Called him “every bit as athletic as Andrew Luck or Cam Newton.” Said he has the upside to reach the highest of heights of his profession.

Months removed from the pre-draft hype, Mayock — who has spent time around the practice facility in recent days — is still firmly in the Wentz camp, even if it is a bit of a construction site at the moment.

“There’s nothing that I’ve seen that makes me think he’s not going to be the quarterback of the future and the guy I thought he’d be,” Mayock said in a conversation with Birds 24/7 following Monday’s practice. “All the intangibles, I think the Eagles love what he’s brought to the table. Now it’s just a matter of, he’s gotta work on some technique.” Read more »

Mike Mayock: Paxton Lynch Is A ‘Project’

Mike Mayock. (USA Today Sports)

Mike Mayock. (USA Today Sports)

The most likely scenario, it seems, in which the Eagles draft a quarterback in the first round is if Sam Bradford doesn’t return, leaving Philadelphia without a clear-cut starter next season.

However, according to NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, the quarterback the Eagles would likely select at No. 13 overall, Memphis’ Paxton Lynch, probably isn’t prepared to immediately start.

“They’re rebuilding him from the ground up. He’s never been under center in his life. He’s got a lot that he’s got to learn,” Mayock told reporters at the NFL Combine on Saturday. “He’s working hard at it, and when he gets his footwork lined up the correct way, that arm strength is elite. It’s really cool. But that’s a work in progress. I still think he’s a first round pick, but he’s a little bit of a project. He’s a year or two away.” Read more »

Mike Mayock: Quarterback Top Priority For Eagles

Paxton Lynch. (USA Today Sports Images)

Paxton Lynch. (USA Today Sports Images)

During a nearly two-hour NFL Draft conference call Tuesday afternoon, much of which was spent discussing quarterbacks, NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said he believes finding a quarterback should be the Eagles’ No. 1 priority heading into the draft.

“If I’m the Eagles, my priority list is quarterback at No. 1,” Mayock said. “I don’t know what they’re going to do with Sam Bradford, but they’d better figure it out.”

Mayock then spent a good chunk of time talking about the Eagles’ potential interest in Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch.

“If they think there’s a franchise quarterback at No. 13, they’d better take him,” he said. “My belief is that [Jared] Goff and [Carson] Wentz will be gone. The question is, is Paxton Lynch there? And if Paxton Lynch is there at No. 13, if they believe he’s the guy, they’d better take him. Read more »

Mayock, Kiper On Rowe And Hicks

Eagles Draft 2015
Rick Osentoski / USA TODAY Sports

Rick Osentoski / USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles traded up five spots to grab Utah DB Eric Rowe in the second round. In the third, they grabbed Texas ILB Jordan Hicks.

Here’s a roundup of what the analysts on ESPN and NFL Network had to say about the selections, starting with Rowe. Read more »

Mayock: Thompson, Collins Fits For Eagles

Shaq Thompson. Courtesy of USA Today

Shaq Thompson. Courtesy of USA Today

Mike Mayock took part in a conference call with the media in front of this week’s Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, and was asked about potential fits for the Eagles in the first round (assuming they stay put at No. 20).

Mayock mentioned Washington safety/linebacker Shaq Thompson and LSU cornerback Jalen Collins as two viable options. Read more »

Mayock Compares Marcus Smith To Timmons

NFL: Preseason-Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles

When Mike Mayock watches Marcus Smith II, he’s reminded of another linebacker who was a first-round pick.

“The more I watch him get frustrated trying to rush the quarterback, [he] reminds me of Lawrence Timmons,” Mayock said during an interview on 97.5 The Fanatic with Mike Missanelli. “With the Steelers, he was an outside edge guy out of Florida State. Couldn’t get it done on the edge, but has become one of the better inside linebackers in football. And it wouldn’t surprise me if I saw them move him inside… if he ultimately ended up there.” Read more »

Mayock: Forget WR, Eagles Should Draft ‘D’

NCAA Football: Russell Athletic Bowl-Miami vs Louisville

By all accounts, this year’s wide receiver class is loaded.

With DeSean Jackson gone, the Eagles will undoubtedly end up with at least one new pass-catcher in May’s draft. But according to NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, the team would be wise to address the other side of the ball in the first round.

“Forget wide receiver and the whole DeSean Jackson thing,” Mayock said, per NFL.com. “Whoever is the highest-rated defensive player on their board, they have to draft him.” Read more »

Wake-Up Call: ‘Best Draft In Ten Years’

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NFL analyst Mike Mayock opened his conference call with reporters Tuesday by offering the following:

“From my perspective, this is the deepest and best draft class I’ve seen in probably 10 years. That’s been reinforced by most of the general managers and scouts that I’ve talked to throughout the league. I had one GM tell me the other day that having a top 20 pick this year is very similar to having a top-10 pick last year,” he said. “I think there is more depth. I think there are certain positions that are stacked.” Read more »

Draft Buzz: Mayock Releases Top-100 List

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock recently released his list of the top-100 prospects in this year’s draft.

You can check out the whole thing for yourself, but here are a few things that stood out.

* Houston’s D.J. Hayden is Mayock’s top cornerback (No. 14 overall), ahead of Alabama’s Dee Milliner. Hayden has probably the most remarkable story of any prospect in the draft. During a practice last November, he collided with a teammate and nearly lost his life.

From NFL.com’s Andrea Kremer:

“The main blood vessel, the vena cava, bringing blood from the lower extremities back to the heart, was nearly completely torn off the back of the heart,” [Dr. Ron] Albarado said.

“It’s an unusual day at work to have a guy rushed to your surgical suite right off the football field with an injury we’re used to seeing coming from a major trauma setting,” said Dr. Walter Lowe, team doctor for the University of Houston and the Houston Texans. “There’s no precedent on the athletic field. There’s car wrecks and those kinds of things, but not in an athletic event — in explosions, war or other places.”

Per Mayock, as teams have done their homework on Hayden, they’ve reached the conclusion that his medical is not a concern.

“Most of the teams have come to the conclusion that it was a once-in-a-gazillion situation,” Mayock said. “That has no more chance of happening than it did in the first place.”

Greg Cosell of NFL Films also has Hayden ranked as his top corner, telling Yahoo Sports he’s “the most physically gifted cornerback in this class.”

If you think Alabama’s Milliner could be an option for the Eagles in the first round, you have to include Hayden in the mix too. I think it’s unlikely that the Birds go with either guy at No. 4, but if they trade down, corner is a possibility.

* Mayock has Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher as his top player. The guess here is that the Chiefs still go with Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel. Fisher is an option for the Eagles at No. 4, but a team might want to move up (either with the Eagles or the Raiders at No. 3) to take him.

* Star Lotulelei is down at No. 11. If the Eagles really like him, perhaps Lotulelei is a trade-down candidate.

* Geno Smith is down at 21, but he’ll likely still go in the top-10, and quite possibly, in the top-five. Mayock’s No. 2 quarterback is E.J. Manuel, who he ranks 41st overall. If NFL teams agree with him, chances are, Manuel won’t be around when the Eagles are on the clock with the 35th pick (second round).

* I fully expect the Eagles to add more pieces to their secondary in the first three rounds. Mayock has 14 cornerbacks and six safeties in his top-100.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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Eagles Wake-Up Call: The EJ Manuel Diaries, Part I

Quarterback EJ Manuel will be doing a weekly diary here on Birds 24/7 as we count down to the draft. It should be a very cool feature and we’re excited to have him.

As it just so happens, his first entry comes on the heels of Mike Mayock declaring Manuel the second best quarterback  in this draft class, moving him past Matt Barkley. That’s where we started the Q&A:

Mike Mayock just put you ahead of Matt Barkley on his board and now has you as the No. 2 QB in the draft. What is your response to that?

EM: The most important thing to me about pre-draft rankings are that they are opinionated. The low rankings only motivated me, so I won’t lose that edge. I liked the doubt, it’s that much sweeter when you prove people wrong. What matters most to me is that I continue to get better, day in and day out throughout this process.

Are there any steps you are taking this offseason to get ready to potentially run the read-option in the NFL?

EM: From the teams I met with, they all know I can orchestrate any type of offense. At Florida State, we ran multiple formations, schemes, pass concepts, run checks, kill checks, and declaration of the protections. The coaches were able to get a sense of my intellect and my football IQ in the meetings, while also seeing what kind of person I am.

How much did coaches and scouts ask you about the read option in Indy, and how did you find the experience at the Combine overall? What stood out?

EM: Not very much, many of the coaches asked me more about declaring mikes and setting protections. Get my offense into positive plays, how I read certain play concepts, and other questions about my background. The running ability is only an added weapon to what I can do and they embraced that.

The combine experience was very unique. Although I wasn’t able to get more than 15 hours of total sleep in 4 days, I enjoyed the moment. Meeting with team officials, getting to know other guys and forming relationships made it priceless. We’ll always look back at the combine as a grind and just another opportunity to show what we could do in front of the biggest audience on one of the biggest stages in this process. I love those moments when everyone is watching! I feel in my comfort zone. Just let it flyyyy!

Plenty more from Manuel moving forward. If you have a question for him let us know and maybe we can get it answered for you.

WHAT YOU MISSED

The Eagles will meet with Arizona QB Matt Scott Monday.

Greg Cosell talks about Chip Kelly and the impact of a mobile quarterback.

In the latest Twitter Mailbag, I try to answer questions on Jared Cook, Dee Milliner and more.

Sheil looks at some possible options at nose tackle for the Eagles.

Howie Roseman says the Eagles won’t necessarily hold age against a free agent if he can improve the team’s culture.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

ESPN Insider lists the five best fits for Wes Welker. The Eagles are one of them.

System coaches such as Chip Kelly often get typecast as being inflexible when it comes to adjusting their system to the talent on their roster, but Kelly’s history at Oregon indicates he is actually quite adept at altering his approach to the skill set available to him.

…If the Eagles were fortunate enough to sign Welker, Kelly would be able to alter his system to get the most out of Welker’s abilities.

Mayock talks about why he moved Manuel ahead of Barkley:

“The first three tapes I saw of Manuel prior to the Senior Bowl included the Florida game, and that’s probably the worst game he ever played … so I had a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth heading into the Senior Bowl,” Mayock told NFL Network’s “Path to the Draft” on Thursday. “I thought he had a solid Senior Bowl week, and coming out of the combine, I felt like there was a quiet buzz among some of the teams. Not just his workout. More importantly to me, they like the kid, they think he’s smart and in the meeting rooms at night, he passed that test.”

Peter King and some of the other writers over at SI.com did a free-agent fantasy draft. King took OLB Paul Kruger with his first pick.

COMING UP

Four days until free agency opens. We have lots to get to between now and then.

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

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