Once a week, we’ll take a spin around the NFC East to check in on what’s going on with the Eagles’ division rivals.
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:
Geno has become mystery man in draft If not in top 8,it could be a long 1st round RT @larrygravy52:what about geno smith?
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) April 21, 2013
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.
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.
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:
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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