Weekend Reading: Draft Buzz And Kelly’s Power

Crystal LoGiudice / USA Today

Crystal LoGiudice / USA Today

Here are some Eagles-related links for you to check out this weekend.

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com released his first mock draft and has the Eagles selecting CB Jalen Collins of LSU at No. 20:

The Eagles know Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham are going to be issues within the division, and finding a cornerback with size and speed matters.

In case you’re wondering, Zierlein has Marcus Mariota going sixth to the Jets.

Paul Domowitch of the Daily News wonders if Chip Kelly will be successful as a talent evaluator:

When owner Jeff Lurie hired Kelly in January 2013, he said the coach and then-general manager Howie Roseman would both report to him and that they would “collaborate” on personnel decisions. Said Lurie: “Howie’s job and his staff’s job will be to find the players at every position that Chip is looking for.”

It became pretty clear last offseason that Kelly enjoyed the scouting process and was going to take a proactive approach in finding “his” players. No coach in the league attended more predraft Pro Days than Kelly.

What isn’t clear is how much influence Kelly let those “shorts and shoes” Pro Days have on the Eagles’ draft decisions. Roseman was big on building the draft board before the combine and Pro Days based on what he and his scouts saw in the fall and then making minimal changes to the board in February, March and April.

Chris Wesseling of NFL.com ranked the top 25 free agents of 2015. Two Eagles made the list: Jeremy Maclin at No. 16 and Brandon Graham at No. 17. Seahawks CB Byron Maxwell comes in at No. 20.

Field Yates of ESPN.com pegged the Eagles as a team that should move up in the draft for a quarterback:

Take this to the bank: We’ll likely hear plenty of discussion about the idea of Philadelphia trading up in the draft to select [Marcus] Mariota, something that would reunite him with head coach Chip Kelly, who coached Mariota at Oregon and with whom he has a close relationship. It would cost a fortune, and the Eagles have other needs besides quarterback (they need to address the cornerback position, for example), but the thought of Kelly and Mariota paired up again is tantalizing.

Kelly’s system has been effective at the pro level, but it’s fair to say he has not had a quarterback who profiles as an ideal fit for it yet. Mariota, with his unique combination of throwing skills inside and out of the pocket, athleticism, ability to innovate in open space and knowledge of how Kelly’s system works, would be a strong fit in Philadelphia.

Eric Galko of Optimum Scouting took an in-depth look at what it would take to get Mariota into midnight green:

If the Eagles coveted Mariota over having the ability to add depth across their roster, they’ll likely need to find a match with the Titans, Jaguars or Raiders, and more than one if possible as to reduce the potential mortgage they’ll need to enact.

If they move into the top-four picks, the Eagles would need to offer their 2015 and 2016 first rounders, their 2015 second, and either their 2016 second or multiple picks in 2016 to make it work. That’s an awful lot for a team with glaring needs for the future at multiple positions.

The key also is finding a suitor, where the teams in the top-four picks will have to see what the Browns received from their Julio Jones trade and evaluate if they could do much better.

In the end, the trade seems unlikely. At least two teams in the top-7 picks need to have interest in moving to pick #20 and sacrificing a top-end talent. The Eagles need to be willing to forgo the early rounds of the next two drafts. And they’ll be competing with other quarterback needy teams like the Bucs, Jets, Saints, Browns, Texans and Broncos throughout.

Here is a feel-good story from Sarah Kogod of SB Nation about Darren Sproles overcoming his speech impediment and helping a high school girl do the same:

Sproles is addressing his stutter publicly in an effort to help kids who are dealing with the same struggle that has kept him largely silent until now. He is a part of USA’s NFL Characters Unite documentary, a film designed to pair football players who have faced challenges with children going through similar difficulties in an effort to address issues with bullying, prejudice and discrimination. The running back was paired with 16-year-old Sheila Smith, a high school student who has been teased for her stutter so often she decided not to speak at all in school to protect herself from bullying.

“I was teased every day,” she said in the documentary. According to the filmmakers, she has become increasingly anti-social and refuses to participate in school activities. “It’s a difficult thing to have to deal with in life.”

Sproles spent time with the teen as cameras followed, giving her advice and encouraging her to not let the stutter get in the way of life experiences. Smith admitted her fear of speaking to people was preventing her from pursuing her love of fashion design, so Sproles introduced her to the fashion program at the Philadelphia YMCA and helped her design an anti-bullying t-shirt. He also introduced her to a local fashion designer, who has a stutter, to encourage the teen not to give up.

Todd Lyght, who left the Eagles earlier this offseason to join Vanderbilt’s staff, is apparently taking his talents to South Bend, according to Notre Dame 24/7.

Lyght, who played at Notre Dame from 1987-90, was the No. 5 overall pick by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1991 NFL Draft. He played 12 years in the league, was the Rams Rookie of the Year, a Pro Bowler in 2000 and was a part of the Rams Super Bowl XXXIV victory over the Tennessee Titans, 23-16.

As a coach, Lyght started coaching in 2009 as an assistant at Las Vegas Bishop Gorman high school. He joined the University of Oregon staff as a defensive assistant in 2011. In 2013, Lyght was named the assistant defensive backs caoch for the Philadelphia Eagles. Following the 2014 season, Lyght was recently hired by Vanderbilt as their cornerbacks coach.

Tucker Bagley is a Temple student and an intern at Birds 24/7.