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 »
Moments before the media made a mad rush towards the podium to listen to Michael Sam speak, Missouri teammate Kony Ealy took to the same mic and addressed a much more modest gathering of reporters.
“I mean, I’m fine,” said Ealy of the spotlight shining elsewhere. “The whole decision with Mike Sam, he’s got his own thing going, I got my own thing going.”
Sam has garnered most of the media attention for obvious reasons, but it’s Ealy — who played right defensive end opposite Sam at Mizzou — that is largely considered the better pro prospect. Read more »
INDIANAPOLIS — Hopes for a Jairus Byrd-Eagles union are fading fast.
It is questionable whether the Eagles would pony up the necessary coin to land the top safety on the market. It could be that Byrd never makes it onto the market in the first place. Read more »
A few notes to pass along after wandering around the combine for a couple days:
“The Eagles won’t spend.”
That was a quote from the representative of a free-agent defensive player, whose client will likely command somewhere between mid-level and high-end money. Asked for his reasoning, he said that was the general understanding out there about the team’s approach to free agency. Read more »
INDIANAPOLIS – The quality of this wide receiver class is impacting the Eagles thinking. There’s no denying that.
Analysts and general managers alike are raving about the talent in this draft, and receiver is the first position they cite to illustrate their point. If you’re in need of a wideout, chances are you’ll be able to find one come May.
“I think we’re going to be sitting there in every round and there’s going to be a receiver we like,”said Howie Roseman. “It’s just going to happen that way…Guys will be pushed back because of the quality and the depth of the class.”
The question is: how much will that factor into their stance when it comes to free agents Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin? Read more »
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 »
INDIANAPOLIS — Hopes are high that the Eagles will finally find the solution to their safety problems this offseason. But it is certainly possible — perhaps even likely — that they’ll fall short of those aspirations. It may be another year of survival at the safety spot.
Howie Roseman painted that as a possible scenario when speaking with a handful of reporters at the combine Thursday afternoon. Read more »
INDIANAPOLIS – Billy Davis began his professional coaching career in Pittsburgh, learning from the likes of Dom Capers and Dick LeBeau, and in some respects is trying to build the Eagles defense in the Steelers likeness. To do so, he will have to bolster the outside linebacker position, which has long been a critical component of Pittsburgh’s attack.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert has had a hand in the assembly of the Steelers’ roster since 2000. We asked him what he looks for in an outside linebacker. Read more »
Indianapolis — Just getting settled in here at the combine. It feels like the NFL has just taken over the city. There were several Eagles assistant coaches on my flight; sat across the way from a couple Philly scouts while grabbing a bite to eat downtown; even had a conversation with Juan Castillo at baggage claim. Coaches, agents and personnel men everywhere. It’s all happening.
We’ll have plenty of notes and nuggets to pass along in the coming days. Meanwhile, wanted to touch on a series of tweets from former Eagles director of pro personnel Louis Riddick that caught my attention while waiting for the plane to take off. Read more »
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 »