Three Eagles Leftovers
From sports science to QB prospects, here are three leftovers from my week in Mobile, Ala.
1. Thanks to all who e-mailed about the knee and wrist measurements. For those who missed the initial post, the Eagles had multiple members of their staff going up to prospects after practices and measuring their wrists and knees. I surmised that the process probably had something to do with seeing how much weight each guy could put on. But now we have some more details.
From what I can gather, the measurements are used for two primary purposes. One is to measure body fat percentage. The prospects were trotted out in their skivvies for height and weight measurements early in the week. But the wrist and knee calculations take those numbers a step further and provide body-type information.
The other important factor is ideal body size. Or said in another way, how much weight the prospects can realistically be asked to add.
We know from the season that Eagles players had their weights calculated frequently, and they had specific targets.
Some college prospects are already doing the right things from a nutrition standpoint. But many are not. For example, Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward talked about how he didn’t know how to put on “good weight” in the past. Leading up to the scouting combine, prospects spend time at various training facilities across the nation (arranged by their agents), and nutrition is a big focus. Ward said he already put on 9 pounds of good weight in just over two weeks.
So as the Eagles try to project how players will perform on the field at the NFL level, they’re also trying to project body size and type.
Once again, thanks to all who responded with information from the original post.
2. You’ll notice that we didn’t write much about quarterbacks in this space last week. That’s because it was largely an unimpressive group. However, it’s also not a great atmosphere for quarterbacks to thrive.
Howie Roseman explained that Nick Foles did not have a great week of practice at the Senior Bowl. The signal-callers are asked to play with a new set of teammates and in a scheme that may be unfamiliar to them. Coaches try to keep things simple, but something like taking the snap from a new center can take time to get used to. That’s why the QB play is often choppy during Senior Bowl practices.
One quarterback in attendance was Clemson’s Tahj Boyd. Here’s what Greg A. Bedard of The MMQB wrote about Boyd:
Clemson QB Tajh Boyd would be a perfect developmental player for a team like the Eagles, who will probably need to keep a stable of passers in that offense. He’s a great athlete and has a good arm. Accuracy will always be the thing he needs to overcome, and that’s tough.
I can see why people would link Boyd to the Eagles, but I wonder how much Chip Kelly and company like him as a developmental prospect. Boyd measured in at just under 6-1. And his hands are 9 3/8 inches. From my understanding, 10 inches is considered good hand size for a QB.
The Eagles could take a developmental QB at some point, and we’re still early in the process, but I’m not sure Boyd will end up being a guy they have on their list.
3. And finally, a couple notes from casual conversations I had with NFL people.
One concerns the Wes Welker–Aqib Talib pick play that Bill Belichick complained about. One assistant coach’s take: Every defense in the league gets picked. No one makes a big deal about it after the fact.
And we saw that every week with the Eagles’ offense. The “mesh” concept was one they used frequently to beat man coverage. I don’t recall anyone complaining during the regular season.
The second point is about the Eagles’ expectations. Players and coaches preached “one day at a time” all season long, but the sense I got in Mobile is that the team felt it really had a chance to make a run. The Eagles thought the draw set up nicely for them. They liked their chances in Carolina against the Panthers and were hoping for a home matchup against the 49ers in the NFC title game.
Of course, in the end, the two best teams made the NFC championship game. But the feeling among some Eagles players and coaches was one of disappointment, not accomplishment, following the loss to the Saints.