What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Rob Kinnan / USA TODAY Sports

Rob Kinnan / USA TODAY Sports

Here is a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week:

Nate Davis of USA Today has the Eagles taking Ohio State WR Devin Smith at No. 20:

He would provide the true deep strike capability lost when DeSean Jackson was cut last year. And Smith could be starting alongside sophomore Jordan Matthews if Jeremy Maclin gets out the door in March.

The Eagles will have some competition for Byron Maxwell, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post:

The Jets are expected to be one of the primary suitors for Seahawks free agent Byron Maxwell. The talk in Indy was that the Jets and Eagles would be the two teams fighting for him.

ESPN.com has Jeremy Maclin ranked 13th among free agents. From analyst Matt Williamson:

“Maclin is a tough one. I wouldn’t be super-excited about investing in him. He’s a good player but not great. He’s not a pure speed guy, but he’s fast. He’s not a ‘possession guy,’ but he can move the chains. But the way free agency works is that he’s ultimately a No. 2 wideout who’ll probably have a chance to be paid like a No. 1. He’s a player everyone wants, and if you could put him across from Larry Fitzgerald or Andre Johnson in their primes, then now you’re talking. If you have Andre Holmes on other side, well, he’ll be a different guy.”

In its analytics study, ESPN The Magazine looked at Chip Kelly’s reluctance to take chances on fourth down at the NFL level:

While Kelly was expected to innovate on and off the field in Philly, he hasn’t asked the Eagles to convert fourth downs as frequently as he did at Oregon. Then again, the Ducks’ potent offense was facing college defenses.

As one informed member of the NFL analytics community put it, “You can arrive at the same answer through math or through experience. I think he arrived at those answers at Oregon through experience. He has an open mind, but he lets the situation dictate what he does.”

Peter Schrager of FoxSports.com has the Eagles taking Washington CB Marcus Peters in the first round:

Peters had multiple confrontations with a new coaching staff in Washington last year, escalating to the point where he was ultimately removed from the team. He was upfront, honest, and regretful in interviews with the media. I’m told he was the same — and actually quite impressive — in interviews with teams during the week, as well. He’s 6-foot, 198 pounds, and looks longer than you’d expect. He didn’t run a lights out 40-yard dash, but he’s a top press corner. Philadelphia could go a variety of ways at 20, but I like Peters with Chip Kelly.

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports mocked the top 10 picks in the 2015 draft. He has Marcus Mariota going sixth to the Jets:

Could this be a spot the Eagles target if this plays, giving Chip Kelly the opening to trade up and get his former Oregon quarterback? For now, I’ll leave Mariota with the Jets, even though they have Geno Smith. Like the Titans, they would have to decide if Mariota is a better long-term answer than Smith. Smith showed well in his 2014 season finale, so I would let it play out with him for another year. But this is certainly a possibility.

FoxSports.com released its first power rankings of 2015 and put the Eagles at 12:

You can expect another low-key free agency period for the Eagles, and the biggest question mark is whether or not they will meet wide receiver Jeremy Maclin’s contract demands. With uncertainty about which version of Nick Foles we will see, it’ll be interesting to see if Chip Kelly goes after his former quarterback Marcus Mariota in the NFL Draft.

Rob Rang of CBSSports.com has the Eagles going with UCLA QB Brett Hundley at No. 20:

With Chip Kelly in complete control of the roster, the Eagles are one of the more unpredictable teams. Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez have fared reasonably well in Kelly’s system but neither possesses the preferred athleticism. Hundley is a project in most schemes but perhaps not so much for Kelly. The 6-3, 226-pounder has terrific speed, a big arm and a career 3-to-1 TD-INT (75-25). The drop-off in talent after the top three quarterbacks is significant enough to push Hundley into the first round, even though many clubs view him as a second-round value.

Mike Wilkening of Rotoworld listed the top 100 free agents and included six Eagles: Jeremy Maclin (14), Brandon Graham (26), Mark Sanchez (50), Nate Allen (72), Bradley Fletcher (82) and Cedric Thornton (92).

Kenneth Arthur of Sports on Earth also ranked the top 2015 free agents, and he believes that Sanchez is the top quarterback option:

[Jake] Locker and Sanchez lead the free-agent quarterback market, which just goes to show how impossible it is to find a franchise quarterback in free agency. Sanchez has much more experience, with some success, while Locker is only 26 and could still potentially succeed if he’s playing with a team much better than the Tennessee Titans.

Sheil Kapadia and Tucker Bagley contributed to this article.