Twitter Mailbag: Biggest Surprises Of Camp

Vinny CurryEvery Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @InsultComicDog: What players have exceeded your expectations for them in camp so far? And who has disappointed the most?

Chris Polk has definitely exceeded expectations. It’s not easy to distinguish yourself as a running back in a non-tackling environment, but he’s done it. He came in 15 pounds lighter than his 2012 playing weight of 230 and is looking nimble and explosive. He says he hasn’t felt this fast since high school.

“I feel way faster, especially coming in and out of my cuts, being able to run away, pick up the legs. I just feel way better.”‘

Let’s wait for some live action before we get carried away, but he has nudged himself into the competition for the No. 2 running back spot with Bryce Brown.

Polk, who played receiver in high school, has lined up in the slot at times. He has an advantage in the pass-catching area over Brown, who has dropped several passes in camp.

On the defensive side, Brandon Boykin looks better than I anticipated.

As far as disappointments? Not sure I had super high expectations, but receiver Ifeanyi Momah has not had many standout moments. Cary Williams hasn’t participated hardly at all, which is a downer, and Kenny Phillips still isn’t moving very well from what I can tell.

From @Ngu_Year: With Benn out now with an ACL injury, what are your predictions for which wide receivers make the team?

Four seem like locks: DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant, Damaris Johnson and Riley Cooper.

Nick Miller, Ifeanyi Momah, Will Murphy, Greg Salas and Russell Shepard will be competing for the last couple of slots. I can’t see the Eagles keeping more than two from this group on the 53-man. Too many other needs across the roster to justify it. My picks would be Shepard and Salas.

Howie Roseman will try to bolster this position between now and Week 1. If it stays the same, I predict Jackson, Avant, Johnson, Cooper, Shepard and Salas. And no, I’m not doing back flips over this corps if I’m the Eagles.

From @NateCalvanese: Any news on Vinny Curry? Haven’t heard much of anything about him from camp.

Curry is listed behind his good friend Fletcher Cox at right defensive end on the unofficial depth chart. The transition to playing 3-4 end is a fairly easy one for Cox but not for Curry, who is more of a natural 4-3 edge rusher. Curry may very well be struggling with some of the two-gap principles and other nuances that come with the position.

 Billy Davis is trying to figure out how to best utilize the talent at his disposal, and will have to get creative when it comes to the former second-round pick. Seems like deploying him in some four-man fronts would be a decent option. It’s yet to be seen whether Curry can fit into this scheme long-term.

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Twitter Mailbag: Vick Given Lead Role In Handling Cooper Issue

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From jmbostick: did the response to the Cooper incident give any insight into the QB competition? (i.e. Vick sure looked like the clubhouse leader in responding to the media.)

It is not lost on me that Chip Kelly had Michael Vick address the team and lead five minutes of open dialogue following Riley Cooper‘s apology Wednesday evening. If there was any question whether the new head coach sees Vick as a team leader, it has been answered. I do find significance in the gesture. A big part of the quarterback position is about being out in front and getting the team to follow you. Vick commands the room. He is the team’s voice. That’s no small thing.

We’ve written before about the challenge that faces Nick Foles in this respect. A lot of the players on this team, from LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson all the way to Russell Shepard, grew up idolizing No. 7. It’s natural for a lot of these players to look up to him. And he’s further earned their affection by the way he’s handled himself since his prison stint.

Foles can win this job, but might have to do so convincingly for everyone to buy in. Then there’s this dilemma: if he wins it and struggles, how quickly will the eyes in the locker room turn right back to Vick? It seems more natural for Vick to start off the year under center. If the offense fails to take off under him, there’s a better chance of everyone turning the page collectively. Then the search for a new leader begins.

From@theHerbacious: If Boykin makes the move to outside corner, does Poyer take over the slot and is he good enough to handle it?

We had the chance to talk to a bunch of the scouts yesterday and I poked around about Boykin. Seems like the Eagles would prefer to keep him inside. That makes sense, given both his height (5’9) and his skill set. The other issue, as you bring up, is who would replace him? Too early to know whether Jordan Poyer is ready for prime time. Brandon Hughes is a potential option, but it’s unlikely anyone who takes over that role would match Boykin’s production.

Ideally, the Eagles would like Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher to win the outside spots. But Boykin has looked really good so far and Williams (hamstring) has been sidelined for almost all of camp. Even if he does stay as the nickel corner, Boykin could definitely see some looks outside this season.

From @hense83: Any indications of them running 2-pt conversions or 4th and short plays?

As Sheil wrote about yesterday, Kelly simulated a two-point conversion to start Wednesday’s practice. So to answer your question, yes.

I don’t expect him to go crazy with fourth-and-shorts and two-point conversions in the NFL. Part of the reason he did that so much at Oregon is because he didn’t have great faith in his special teams, apparently. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gambles more than most, though, especially in Year One when he might have to compensate for a leaky defense.

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Twitter Mailbag: Who Has Pro Bowl Promise Under Chip?

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @heemy224: who do you believe has the best shot at becoming a pro bowler in this chip offense. Shady? Djack? the qb whoeverthtwillb? other?

Oregon averaged 537 yards and 53 points a game under Chip Kelly last season. If he can get this offense humming anywhere close to the way he did while with the Ducks, the Eagles will be well-represented at the Pro Bowl. This isn’t college, of course, and there is likely to be some real growing pains while players get acclimated to this system.

LeSean McCoy appears best set-up for an All-Pro campaign. Oregon ran the ball 53 times a game last season, and early indications are that Kelly will continue to rely heavily on the ground game. According to the team’s stats, Kenjon Barner rushed for 1,849 yards with 21 touchdowns in 13 games last season. That’s with De’Anthony Thomas receiving 92 carries and Byron Marshall 87.

DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are both capable of big seasons, though it should be noted that the wealth was spread around in the passing game at Oregon. Thomas led the way with 45 catches for 445 yards and five scores in 2012. There were a total of nine Duck players who caught 19-plus passes.

Remember that Kelly is big on the tight end position. It’s possible that one member of the tight-end trio posts big numbers.

From @JeBradSus: How much did special teams contribute to the Eagles struggles last year and do we have reason to expect improvement?

Special teams crushed the Eagles last season, no question. They were dead last in the punt game, mediocre to sub-mediocre across the board, and finished 24th as a unit, according to Football Outsiders.

The Eagles are hopeful that either Donnie Jones or Brad Wing can provide an upgrade at the punter position, and it seems like Jackson — who returned just one punt last season — will be utilized more this year. New special teams coach Dave Fipp has a solid resume. While serving as an assistant special teams coach in Miami in 2011 and 2012, the Dolphins’ units ranked second and fourth in the NFL, respectively.

Kelly definitely recognizes the value of strong special teams play. We’ll see what kind of improvements they can make in Year One.

From @BCKapler17: with all the issues we’ve had historically stopping the run the past few years, why switch to a 3-4? We aren’t ‘stacked’ at LB.

A lot of the moves are being made with the big picture in mind. Kelly prefers the 3-4 (in part because he believes having more linebackers on the roster helps with special teams, actually) and the Eagles eventually want to bring in personnel so they can run that defense effectively.

But you are circling around an important point: fact is, the Eagles don’t have the ideal personnel now. Kelly and the coaching staff have been adamant that they will tailor their schemes to match the strengths of their players, and the strengths of several of their players appear best suited for a 4-3. The conclusion to draw, then, is that we can anticipate a healthy dose of 4-3 looks in the first year — more than we’ll probably see going forward.

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Twitter Mailbag: Is There A Lack Of Unity Under Chip Kelly?

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @Mikeaka: With the recent comments by Jackson & tweets by Weaver, do you give any credence to the notion of a lack of unity on the team?

I don’t.

I recently wrote about the difficulty of holding a quarterback competition that involves Michael Vick. When you have a player that answers questions candidly based off his emotions in the moment, there are going to be some quotes that open the door to a QB controversy. We are already seeing evidence of that. DeSean Jackson caught wind of Vick’s comments about wanting to have a starter named before training camp and echoed the sentiment on national television. If Vick wasn’t so honest, he never makes the comments in the first place. Then Jackson has nothing to react to. Instead, there is now a perception that some veterans are trying to force Chip Kelly‘s hand and are not buying into the program.

I believe most of the players recognize that the QB race is way too close to call right now, and that it would be premature to name a starter before Vick and Nick Foles have a chance to compete in training camp and in preseason games.

Those that feel differently really have no choice but to accept Kelly’s decision. Vick is on a one-year deal and Jackson is in a virtual contract year, as we have explained before. It makes no sense for either of them — or any player on the team for that matter — to show defiance. This is a new coach with new methods, and he will keep around only those that buy in.

Despite the recent comments, the sense internally is that the vets are on board.

From @seaneham73: my kid wants to know who the fastest player on the Eagles is??????

Are you sure they’re not just setting you up for a Jason Peters joke?

Vick was asked if he was the fastest player on the team the other day and he said no, but that he was in the top 5. Tell the kids I would put my money on Jackson. After that, tough to say. Maybe Damaris Johnson,  Bryce Brown and Brandon Boykin would round out the top 5 with Vick and Jackson. (Am I missing anyone?)

From @dwr8810: Is there anything in Vick’s contract that if he’s named starter he gets $ added to it?

Not exactly, but there is language in the contract that gives him money based on playing time. PFT has the breakdown.

He gets $31,250 for each game he’s on the 53-man roster.  Vick gets another $1.5 million if he participates in 90 percent of the offensive snaps, and $1 million if the Eagles win the Super Bowl (and if he plays in it).

The play-time incentive has lower levels, with $1.2 available if he participates in 80 percent of the snaps, $900,000 if Vick participates in 70 percent of the snaps, $700,000 for 60 percent of the snaps, and $500,000 for 50 percent.

Vick received a $3.5 million signing bonus and his base salary for 2013 is an additional $3.5. He can make a total of $10 million if he hits all of the incentives.

From @James_Fayleez: When will the #Eagles name a starting QB? (trying to plan my vacation)

Based on his experience at Oregon, Dennis Dixon thinks we’ll go the whole summer without an answer.

“A couple days before [the first game],” said Dixon. “That’s what Chip Kelly is. Throughout training camp, throughout everything, throughout preseason games, you won’t know until September 9 comes.”

Vacation away.

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

 

Twitter Mailbag: On Vick, DeSean And the Secondary

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @perdeep007: how does the eagles secondary seem like and how has been mike Vicks demeanor? Any body language changes or dissatisfaction?

Chip Kelly talked yesterday about the difficulty of evaluating the corners in this environment.

“With our defensive backs we really can’t make any judgment until we are out of this part of the [collective bargaining agreement] because you can’t play man coverage, can’t do one-on-ones, can’t play press man, so for us to make an evaluation on where our guys actually fit right now it would be unfair to them,” he said.  “They have been forced and handcuffed by whatever the rules are, we just can’t play [press man], everything has got to be off, so it’s really tough to say where a guy fits and where a guy doesn’t fit.”

The question was specifically about Brandon Boykin, who would like a shot on the outside, but you get the idea. Kelly needs to see these guys in a more realistic football atmosphere before he can formulate any concrete opinions. Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher will probably head into training camp as the favorites to start outside, and we’ll see how it unfolds from there.

Safeties Nate Allen and Patrick Chung have been running with the first team the most. Kenny Phillips has been taking it slow because of his past knee issues. Again, it’s tough to judge players in shorts, but I will say that I’ve been encouraged by what I’ve seen out of Allen so far. He’s been around the ball a lot.

As for Michael Vick, I haven’t seen anything in his body language or demeanor that suggests he’s upset about the quarterback competition. At some point, though, you wonder if some frustration will build in him. He playfully called all the questions about the starting job “very annoying” the other day, and you can see how it may become a serious  irritant as we march closer towards the season. Right now everybody is fairly loose and focused on learning the system. I’m curious to see how Vick responds if the competition is still open deep into training camp.

From @Jonzee72: Now that all mini-camps are over until TC, what am I gonna spend my spare time reading about?

Thank God for Dom Brown.

From @tomlindlar: Which 6-7th round picks/UDFAs do you think has the best chance of making the team?

I think Jordan Poyer has a good shot of making it, and I’d imagine they would try and hold onto Joe Kruger as well.

The list of undrafted free-agents I am interested in watching includes Alabama defensive lineman Damion Square, Tulsa running back Matt Tucker, LSU punter Brad Wing and LSU wide receiver Russell Sheppard.

As Sheil has pointed out a couple times during practice, Matt Barkley seems to target Sheppard quite a bit when they are teamed up. Kapadia develops a training camp crush every year. All signs point to Sheppard being his guy this season.

From @penseur76: Do you think all the DeSean Jackson media attention will be a distraction moving forward?

To me, it’s less about the media attention and more about whether Jackson and Kelly are a fit. The two appear to be in sync after Jackson went into Kelly’s office for a talk. You can choose to be 1) concerned that such a conversation was already needed or 2) encouraged that the receiver reached out to his coach to figure out how to get on the same page.

Regardless, there are tests still to come. Kelly wants his players to go about their business in a certain way, and Jackson will have to stay on board with his coach’s way of doing things, even during the inevitable rocky times ahead. It’s in both of their interests to make it work, and I think they both understand that.

 

 

Twitter Mailbag: What If You Could Choose Just One?

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @MarkDawson_: What do you think is Chip Kelly’s current biggest area of concern with his team?

Honestly, I think his biggest obstacle/concern is time. He’s overhauling the entire operation, and will still be asked to field a competitive football team come September. Tuesday gave us a feel for how difficult a task that will be. The first time we got a chance to watch practice there were some miscues, but everything went pretty smoothly considering the crazy-fast pace and newness of it all. The next time out was a bit more rough around the edges. And Tuesday was pretty sloppy. That had less to do with the rain coming down and more to do with the fact that Kelly is ramping up the installations, giving the players a lot more to think about.

“We’re really starting to pile on now,” said Kelly. “And especially for some of the these young guys that piling on process…I think you can hit a wall a little bit, but they’ve got to fight their way through it.”

There is just so much to teach and learn; entirely new schemes being  implemented on both sides of the ball. And the clock ticks toward Opening Day…

From @penseur76: Do you think Kenny Phillips will even make the roster? Seems like Steve Smith 2.0.

Both are ex-Giants, both have had microfracture knee surgery, so I understand where the thought comes from. Phillips bounced back from the surgery better than Smith, who just retired after six seasons because he couldn’t get right. Phillips played 31 of a possible 32 games the two seasons following the operation on his left knee.  He started having issues with his opposite knee last year, and appeared in just seven games for New York in 2012.

I can’t say I’m encouraged at this point. The fact that the Eagles were able to sign him to a one-year deal with no guaranteed money was the first clue that the league had concerns about his health. Now he’s missing time for an injury that Kelly says he’s had “for a couple of years.”

It’s important to remember that it is May, and there is every reason to take it easy on a player with an injury history. Maybe he pans out. But I definitely have my doubts.

From @TAF_Podcast:  if you could have 1 current Eagle for the rest of their career, who would you pick?

Good one.

I think you could make some kind of reasonable case for LeSean McCoy (24), Nick Foles (24), Lane Johnson (23), Zach Ertz (22), Fletcher Cox (22), Matt Barkley (22) and maybe Mychal Kendricks (22). (Am I missing anyone?)

For me, it would come down to Cox and Barkley. (I wouldn’t take McCoy simply because a running back’s shelf life is so short.) If you want to play it safe you go Cox, because there is a good chance that he will be an impact player for a lot of years, and he has Pro Bowl potential. But I would probably go Barkley simply because of the value of his position. Maybe you end up with nothing more than a backup or an average starter, but you risk it on the possibility that he becomes a franchise-changer.

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Twitter Mailbag: What Does A Chip Kelly Defense Look Like?

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @russman30: Any idea if they will sign Felix Jones? I guess they do need a vet behind McCoy. Last yr McCoy was injured.

The Eagles believe Felix Jones is a solid player, and were doing due diligence by bringing him in. Nothing imminent as of last night, but I think they would consider adding him if the price is right.  Jones is visiting with New England today.

It looks like Chip Kelly wants to build some competition at the running back position. The Eagles signed a pair of undrafted free-agent backs in Stony Brook’s Miguel Maysonet and TCU’s Matt Tucker, then took a look at Jones. That’s not to say that he is unhappy with the LeSean McCoy-Bryce Brown-Chris Polk triumvirate. But this is an offense that will lean on the ground game. Oregon ran the ball an average of 53 times per game last season under Kelly. Kenjon Barner finished with 278 attempts. De’Anthony Thomas carried the ball 92 times; Byron Marshall 87. It’s not enough to have a premiere back in this system. You need multiple reliable options.

From @jkh_76: will this new offense help mike vick play an entire season at 2010 level?

I recently wrote about the challenges that face Vick in a Chip Kelly offense. I’m not only curious about whether he can play an entire season at the 2010 level (a lofty goal, no doubt), but whether he can play an entire season, period. He has appeared in no more than 13 games in a season since joining the Eagles, and has played in all 16 games just once in his career (2006).

With all the read-option talk, you wonder if Vick’s 33-year-old body can absorb all the blows. But according to the quarterback, Kelly’s system will not open him up to much punishment at all.

“You’ll understand why when you see us practice or when you see us play,” he said. “You don’t have to take a hit.”

There is an argument to be made that Vick will actually end up on his back less under Kelly than he did Andy Reid. Where Reid designed plays that often took time to develop, Kelly seems intent on getting the ball out quickly. But can he really avoid taking hits in read-option situations? I’m anxious to see how it all works.

From @MacStewie: Does Dixon have a realistic chance at getting the starting job?

No sir, I do not believe he does.

From @PHLFour: We’ve heard a lot about Kelly’s offense, but what is his defensive philosophy? Score the most points? Leave it to the D Cord?

Kelly prefers the 3-4. More specifically, a hybrid 3-4. That’s what he used at Oregon, and that’s what you can expect come September. He explained his defensive philosophy at his introductory press conference.

“In terms of what we want to be, we’re going to be an attacking style defense. It’s going to be a group of people who dictates the tempo of the game,” he said. “I can’t tell you that we’re going to be this or going to be that, but I know the style of football that we’re going to play and I know the style of players that I want to have out there. We’re going to play fast, we’re going to play hard, and we’re going to finish plays.”

Kelly has a scheme and style preference, but that’s about where he leaves it. He is not into micromanagement, and will let Billy Davis steer the ‘D’.

“When I was an offensive coordinator, I was fortunate that the two head coaches that I coached for allowed me to work,” said Kelly. “We’ll have discussions during the week about where we’re going with things, but on game day, those guys have to be able to not worry about who is second guessing them and who is over their shoulder. If I do have to second guess them and I do have to look over their shoulder, then I hired the wrong person.”

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

 

Twitter Mailbag: On Vick, Foles And the Secondary

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @ZainSaleh24: how do you feel the eagles did in the draft? Any picks you would change?

Overall, feel pretty good about it. So much rests on that Lane Johnson pick. The words “raw” and “upside” were some of the first out of Chip Kelly‘s mouth when officially announcing the selection. You would prefer a more sure-fire prospect at No. 4. But there were no players on the board that fit that description. Ziggy Ansah has only been playing football since 2010. Star Lotulelei had the heart-condition scare. Tavon Austin is only 5-8, etc. Everyone had some kind of question mark attached.

I like Zach Ertz‘s chances of thriving in this system.  He is the type of chess piece that Kelly can use to create all sorts of matchup problems.

Then there is Matt Barkley. Fourth-round picks can definitely help your team. Brandon Boykin and Alex Henery were both recently found in Round 4. Jason Avant and Todd Herremans before them. Howie Roseman used a fourth-rounder to net DeMeco Ryans. Another was sent in a package to Buffalo for Jason Peters. It’s not like they can be treated as throw-a-ways. That said, there is no guarantee that you will land an impact player. Think Trey Darilek or Jamaal Green. Your odds decrease the further you get into the draft.

Could be that Barkley never pans out. There is also chance, however remote, that he can be a franchise-changer. Even if it’s a longshot, it’s worth the bet that late in the draft.

From @DJ_Hardy009:  your gut feeling, week 1 the eagles starting qb will be _____________.

Michael Vick.

Talk to some of the people around the signal-caller, and you’ll walk away with the impression that the 32-year-old is dialed in. He is aware that the end is near, and is motivated by the challenges that both Kelly and Father Time are presenting to him. The best Michael Vick is the one who needs to prove himself. The early word is that he looks very good on the practice field.

Kelly may not need his quarterback to be mobile, but he sure would prefer it. All things considered I think Vick does enough to win the starting job. Whether he can hold onto it is an entirely different conversation.

From @TheFortycent: no trade of Foles yet, any chance they’re holding him as trade bait during the season when a starter gets hurt to up his value?

No, if he was going to be traded I think it would have been done by now. Kelly has publicly stated that he likes Nick Foles and wants a chance to work with him. I was told Howie Roseman personally called Foles amid all the trade speculation to express that the team wanted to keep him. From what I gather the Eagles were approached by at least one team regarding a potential trade, and weren’t all that interested in engaging in talks.

Vick is only a short-term option and Barkley hasn’t played a snap. I believe Kelly when he says that he wants to see what he has in Foles.

From @PerfectionistPA: who will start in the secondary?

Good question. Right now I would pencil in the free-agent acquisitions as the starters: Kenny Phillips and Patrick Chung at safety, Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams at corner. I am anxious to get a look at Phillips in action to see if he is still dealing with knee issues. The fact that the Eagles got him for so cheap raises some concerns.

I’m curious to see if fifth-round draft choice Earl Wolff can get in the mix for playing time. Also, it’s worth noting that seventh-rounder Jordan Poyer played inside a bunch at Oregon State. Could he put the heat on Boykin?

“I think he had six picks this year as a nickel,” said Kelly. “He has a lot of experience playing inside and covering slot receivers. He’s a tough, physical, hard-nosed player.”

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Twitter Mailbag: On Geno, Manti Te’o And the Honey Badger

A day late on the Twitter Mailbag this week. A little busy yesterday. But that turned out to be a good thing because there is a ton of intrigue and several big names tied to rounds two and three. Much to chomp on, so let’s get to it.

From @TomWelke: Will Geno not coming back to the green room cause mental makeup questions and cause him to drop more?

I would hope that the Eagles — or any team in the NFL — would rely on the information they have been gathering over time, and wouldn’t be swayed by something like that. If that moves you off your position, then you didn’t have much conviction regarding Geno Smith to begin with.

If I am honest, some of what I have seen/read in the run-up to the draft has given me pause when it comes to Smith. I know Philadelphia, I know the scrutiny that the quarterback position receives, and I know that Nolan Nawrocki’s evaluation will seem like a four-star review compared to what Smith is going to hear in this town (or elsewhere) after a couple down Sundays.

We take those 140 character bites, or watch his body language through the television, and draw sweeping conclusions. But the truth is, it is unfair to judge a man’s character based off such limited evidence. He could very well have an iron will, and may turn a few moments of adversity into years of fuel to the benefit of the franchise that drafts him.

The Eagles have met with him, analyzed his game, talked to people around him. They should have a sound understanding by now of who Geno Smith is, and likely don’t care whether or not he shows up to Radio City Music Hall tonight.

[The latest report suggests he will be in attendance.]

From @penseur76: Will the Eagles select Jonathan Cyprien? Geno Smith? “Tank” Carradine? or surprise pick with Te’o? in 2nd.

I would imagine Smith is in play assuming he’s still on the board at 35. They made an organizational decision to pass on him at 4 and probably thought he would land elsewhere. But at this point, it might just be considered a good value pick. Would you doubt that the Eagles have a first-round grade on him? And how many other of the remaining players could you say that about?

I’m not ruling  Manti Te’o out, either. This guy was recently regarded as one of the top players in the country. Then came the championship game and the stories about his personal life, and that stock plunged big time. Two questions: Is he a fit for Chip Kelly‘s defensive scheme, and does he have thick enough skin to endure all the attention/ribbing he’ll receive in a major market? If the answer is yes on both fronts, then you might be getting a steal.

Outside of those two marquee names, I could see the Eagles going with Stanford tight end  Zach Ertz, Florida International safety Jonathan Cyprien, Florida State DL/OLB Tank Carradine, Texas A&M DE/OLB Damontre Moore,  or Mississippi State corner Johnthan Banks.

From @Jfr1978Josh: Any chance we select the Honey Badger?

The Eagles believe Tyrann Mathieu is a draftable player, but you really have to do your homework on this guy and figure out where you would be willing to pull the trigger. This is a first-round talent with red flags coming out of his pockets. Is he on the straight and narrow? If so, what are the chances he stays there? Big questions that I am sure every team has looked into. The answers mean everything when it comes to this prospect.

There is a point where he probably becomes too enticing to pass up. But I’m not sure that point comes on Day 2.

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

 

 

Twitter Mailbag: Tackles, Trades And Dion Jordan

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @ChefOrnicador_: Is Miami a true candidate to trade up if Eric Fisher is still there at #4?? They have two second round picks.

I can see the Dolphins trying to trade up, definitely. They hold the 12th overall pick and will likely have to move into the top seven to grab one of the three coveted tackles (Luke Joeckel, Fisher and Lane Johnson). But honestly? I’m starting to have my doubts that Fisher will still be there at 4. In a first round full of question marks, one thing that teams seem to agree on is that the tackles are quality options. Maybe Jacksonville or Oakland takes Fisher. Maybe a team leaps into the No. 2 or three hole and snatches him (the Raiders apparently wouldn’t mind trading out),  but it’s quite plausible that two of the tackles are off the board by the time Philly is on the clock.

From @Ryeboat: with talk of the top 3 OT going possibly in the top 8 picks, what are the chances the Eagles trade down for more picks?

If the tackles are as hot as insiders seem to think they are, then you probably stay put at 4 if you want one. If Fisher and Joeckel are both taken with the first three picks, it won’t be long before Johnson (and maybe D.J. Fluker?) are picked off.  I can see the Eagles moving back if Joeckel and Fisher are gone and they aren’t as high on Johnson, or if tackle isn’t the target in Round 1. I don’t anticipate them trading out of the top-10, whatever the case may be.

Howie Roseman seems to think that there are quality tackles sprinkled through the latter rounds. He also seems to think (as others do) that pass-rushers will be harder to find outside of the first round. Maybe that influences their decision if they are choosing between two players with similar grades.

From @aerelorn: What do you make of Dion Jordan’s career stats: 0 interceptions and only 2 pass breakups. Is his coverage ability overrated?

Jordan is one of those pass rushers that could be available at 4. I have concerns about him being overrated, period. He had a total of 14.5 sacks at Oregon. (Jarvis Jones, by comparison, had 14.5 last season alone). Yes, Jordan was dealing with a shoulder injury for much of last year and had to transition from the offensive side of the ball to defense early on, but you would prefer that your top-5 pick had better numbers overall. With Jordan, you have to project. But as Chip Kelly points out, that is true to a degree for all draft picks.

“It’s easy to go hindsight and say we knew this draft was this.  But you really don’t know,” said Kelly. “It’s the same process that we went through in college.  If you look at what are the top 5 or six players in the draft, they weren’t the top 5 or six high school players five years ago.  Dion Jordan is one of the top players out there, and we were smart enough at Oregon to recruit him as a wide receiver.  Now he’s going to play outside linebacker, defensive end in the NFL.  You look at Lane Johnson, who was a high school quarterback, and now he’s an offensive tackle who is a top pick, the list goes on and on.  And Ziggy Ansah was playing basketball and went to BYU to play basketball, and now he may be a Top 10 pick.”

The key is trying to figure out which players have the best chance of developing, and eventually thriving at this level. Kelly will surely have an opinion or two on Jordan in that respect, having coached him at Oregon.

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

« Older Posts  |  Newer Posts »