Wake Up Call: Three Fits For the Eagles
During the run-up to the draft, we’re asking a handful of experts to identify three players from this class that they believe are fits for Chip Kelly and the Eagles. Today, we turn to former Eagles scout turned media personality John Middlekauff for guidance.
Middlekauff brings an informed perspective. Serving as the Eagles’ West Coast area scout from 2012-13, he was responsible for tracking Oregon (and much of the Pac 12) while Kelly was still in Eugene, and remained in that role through Kelly’s first draft as head coach of the Eagles.
“[The requirements under Kelly] were much more specific,” said Middlekauff. “With Coach Reid, it was a little more open in terms of receiver or corner, there wasn’t height-specific stuff. Size wasn’t as big of a detractor if the kid could play. In Philly, just because the guy is a second-rounder for most teams, they might not mess with him if he’s a 5-8 corner or a defensive lineman that is six-foot-one. It helps narrow it down for the scouts, the way Chip does it. But also, sometimes you circumvent certain players that would fit. But every coach is different.
“And as far as character goes, I think they are a little more strict on the guys’ background and some of that stuff.”
Which players check the boxes in Middlekauff’s view?
1) DL Arik Armstead, Oregon
Height/weight: 6-7, 292
Projected round: 1
Middlekauff’s take: “[Kelly] likes long, big defensive linemen. They like those body types. So I think when you look at pick 20, the long defensive linemen are just hard to find, so if a guy like Armstead is there…It’s not just one of those, ‘Oh, it’s an Oregon guy.’ Armstead might not even be there at pick 20. But that would be a guy that you would have to consider because it’s hard to find those bodies.
“He has all the potential in the world. It’s hard to find a guy that is six-foot-six, six-foot-seven that has the ability to bull rush, speed rush. You really can line him up anywhere — kind of like a Fletcher Cox — and can really put him over any offensive lineman. I think the more players you have like that, the more unique your defense is. It’s obviously a quarterback-oriented league but I still think the game is won and lost inside in the trenches, and the more elite defensive linemen you have [the better off you are].
“I just don’t think you can ever have enough potential elite bodies up there and guys that have Pro Bowl type potential.”
2) CB Byron Jones, UCONN
Height/weight: 6-1, 199
Projected round: 1
Middlekauff’s take: “He’s a physical corner. When you can find the big bodies that also have the corner skills in terms of the feet, the ability to transition…He definitely has what they’re looking for in terms of getting up into a wide receiver, being physical at the line and then he has the mirror skills.
“When you leave those guys in one-on-one coverage, when you press a lot, you have to be pretty damn good. Seattle is able to get away with it because Richard Sherman can run and he has good ball skills. The Eagles the last couple years have been beat a couple times because the [corner] can’t run with the guy. If you do miss him at the line, you have to be able to recover, and this kid can really run.”
3) WR/RB Ty Montgomery, Stanford
Height/weight: 6-0, 221
Projected round: 5-6
Middlekauff’s take: “I’ll lean Pac 12 because it’s pretty clear [Kelly] likes those guys.
“He’s a versatile player. He can kick return, punt return for Chip. He’s played in a Wildcat. He played receiver but some people think he might end up being a running back. He’s like one of those chess pieces that you can move and play all over the place. If a guy like that goes in the fifth round — he’s been one of those guys whose stock has dropped a lot as the season went on — that might be good value. And he’s a Stanford guy, and I know Chip and Coach [David] Shaw are close.”
Middlekauff said Montgomery’s stock dropped in part because he suffered a shoulder injury that kept him on the sidelines for a few games last season, and also because he did not shine at the Senior Bowl or combine.
“Two years ago, he was borderline All-American, he had 10 touchdowns. Good body type. He looks more like an SEC guy than a Pac 12 guy to be honest with you.”
To read the first installment of our “Three Fits” series featuring Josh Norris, click here.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Five thoughts on the Eagles 2015 schedule.
Another visit and another name connected to the Eagles at number 20 in yesterday’s draft buzz thread.
According to Peter King, the Pope played a role in determining the Eagles schedule.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Jimmy Kempski of Philly Voice weighs the pros and cons of the Eagles schedule:
Six of the Eagles’ first seven opponents had losing records in 2014. In theory, it’s better to get the bad teams on your schedule early. You already know they’ll likely be bad, whether they’re banged up or not. Meanwhile, when you play the better teams later, there’s an increased chance you’ll play a team missing a key player on their roster, like the Eagles had in 2013 when they beat the Packers sans Aaron Rodgers. (Not that we’d ever advocate rooting for injuries, of course).
Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz names some of his favorite defensive prospects, including Washington’s Shaq Thompson:
Thompson played LB, RB and even some DB for Washington this year. He is a good athlete and an instinctive playmaker. Mike Mayock lists him as a Safety. Thompson wants to be a LB. I’d love to know how Chip Kelly sees him.
He is 6-0, 228. That’s the same size as Landon Collins, the star SS from ‘Bama. They have similar builds, but different games. Collins is a downhill thumper. He loves to punish runners and receivers. Thompson is an athlete. He can hit and be physical, but is more agile, which should make him more effective in coverage.
Maybe Chip Kelly thinks Thompson could be an ILB if he adds 15 or so pounds. He has a slightly bigger frame and more length than Mychal Kendricks, but not by much.
Ed Marynowitz meets with the media this morning. We’ll have all the details for you.