We asked NFL analyst Brian Baldinger to identify three free agents that are a match for the Eagles in terms of both need and scheme fit. Here are the three players he would go after (assuming they hit the market):
OLB Brian Orakpo
Baldinger: I think he’s just a solid outside linebacker. I believe he’d be a great fit opposite Connor Barwin. He plays the run well, he’s strong at the point. I know in 2012 he got hurt but for the most part he’s been very durable. And when he’s durable he’s giving you 10 sacks or more a year and I think that’s what you’re looking at. I think Connor and Orakpo, if they lined up and played 80 percent of the snaps next year, I think you would get 20 sacks out of those guys. Read more »
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From @pmeredith77: Why are people saying the Eagles won’t pursue Jairus Byrd or TJ Ward when mid-level safeties haven’t gotten it done in the past?
Many view the message coming out of the NovaCare as a smokescreen, but I really believe the Eagles have changed their thinking when it comes to free agency. They’re wary of sinking a large chunk of their available cash into a single player. On multiple occasions, Howie Roseman has likened free agency to an arranged marriage: you don’t know whether team and player are truly compatible until after pen has gone to paper.
The fact that Chip Kelly‘s time at Oregon overlapped with both Byrd and Ward’s takes some of the guesswork out of it. He has spent time around the players, and has a basic understanding of how they would fit into the Eagles’ defense and culture. That alleviates some of the concern. Read more »
Chip Kelly likes him some Oregon players, you may have heard.
From Dennis Dixon to Jeff Maehl, he brought in plenty of familiar faces to play a variety roles as he transitioned from college to the pro game. There are six Ducks currently on the roster (DE Brandon Bair, S Patrick Chung, LB Josh Kaddu, Maehl, LB Casey Matthews and WR Will Murphy), which is the most players from any one university on the squad.
Safe to say Kelly will have some opinions on the Oregon players that have declared for the 2014 draft, seeing as he recruited and coached them in a former life. It’s probably a good idea that we become familiar with them. Read more »
If you’re like me, you find Joe Banner to be an oddly fascinating study. If so, you’ll especially enjoy the anecdotes that Peter King unearthed about Banner’s final days as boss in Cleveland.
The scene is set around the interview Banner and the rest of the Browns’ brass held with head coaching candidate Ken Whisenhunt this offseason. Whisenhunt interviewed for the same position last year but the gig instead went to Rob Chudzinski, who was promptly fired after a 4-12 campaign. He wanted to know why he didn’t get the job the first time around. Read more »
A record 98 underclassmen have declared for the 2014 NFL Draft. Within that wave lies a group of talented receivers that has enriched the position significantly.
“When you talk about the underclassmen, that’s where the guts of this draft is. Last year was more senior-heavy,” said Daniel Jeremiah, a former scout for the Eagles. “This year we’re talking about 9-10 underclass wide receivers that are first, second-round players in my opinion.”
Jeremiah sees seven receivers being selected in the first round, which would be the most since 2004. And they are: Sammy Watkins (junior, Clemson), Mike Evans (redshirt sophomore, Texas A&M), Kelvin Benjamin (redshirt sophomore, Florida State), Marqise Lee (junior, USC), Paul Richardson (redshirt junior, Colorado), Jarvis Landry (junior, LSU) and Davante Adams (redshirt sophomore, Fresno State).
Mel Kiper, incredibly, has nine going in the first round in his latest mock draft. (He projects LSU junior Odell Beckham, Jr. to the Eagles at 22.)
Howie Roseman agrees with the sentiment that this is a strong class of wideouts, and must decide how much — if at all — that will impact some key decisions that are before him.
Read more »
The Jets are interested in free-agent wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, according to a report.
Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News writes that the Jets “covet” Maclin and view him as a No. 1 receiver when healthy. New York, which had the 31st-ranked passing offense in 2013, is apparently interested in Pittsburgh’s Emmanuel Sanders as well.
Former Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhingweg is the Jets’ OC and certainly knows what Maclin is capable of. Put need position + former coach together, and the interest makes perfect sense. (Hence why Kansas City will likely come calling before it’s all said and done.) Read more »
This week, we’ll continue to offer offseason outlooks for the Eagles, position-by-position. Each day, we’ll answer a pressing question and rank the position on the priority scale. First up was quarterback. We covered running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, offensive line, defensive line, outside linebackers, inside linebackers and cornerbacks. Now let’s look at the safeties.
PRESSING QUESTION: Should the Eagles make a splash in free agency at this spot?
Kapadia: The signals coming out of the NovaCare Complex in regards to free agency so far have been fascinating. The company line (and take that for what it’s worth) is that the team is not looking to go big in free agency. They’ll follow the same methods as a year ago: see how the market plays out, add some mid-tier guys who fit the scheme/culture and are willing to compete, and go from there.
But I think safety has to be an exception. Read more »
Mel Kiper Jr. held a conference call with media members Thursday and touched on several subjects that could interest Eagles fans. Some highlights:
(Note: I linked to some film of each of the players mentioned, courtesy of DraftBreakdown, in case you want to study any of them a bit more.)
– Kiper is very high on this wide receiver class. He has nine going in the first round alone, and thinks quality will still be there later in the draft.
“There’s going to be an opportunity I think at wide receiver to see guys in the third, fourth, fifth round get it done. That’s going to be a very deep position with 19 underclassmen coming out at that spot.” Read more »
Dec 29, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin (22) celebrates with his teammates on the field after making an interception in the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. The Eagle beat the Cowboys 24-22. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
This week, we’ll continue to offer offseason outlooks for the Eagles, position-by-position. Each day, we’ll answer a pressing question and rank the position on the priority scale. First up was quarterback. We covered running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, offensive line, defensive line, outside linebackers and inside linebackers. Now let’s look at their cornerbacks. Read more »
Mike Neal is the fourth-best outside linebacker 0n the free agent market, according to Rotoworld. It’s a bit of a feat that he is listed as an outside linebacker at all.
A four-year down lineman at Purdue, the Packers selected Neal with the 56th overall pick in 2010. He weighed a shade over 300 pounds when he entered the league, and was used as a rush defensive tackle in Green Bay. His career got off to a slow start. He appeared in less than half of the Packers’ games over his first three seasons, in part because of injury, in part because of a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances. (He claims it was for taking Adderrall).
Things turned around for the 26-year old in 2013. Knowing that he had good feet and mobility for a big man, the coaching staff made a pretty bold move and asked him to switch to outside linebacker. The gamble paid off. Read more »