Eagles Wake-Up Call: If Not Bradford, Then…
Now that the head coach and most of the staff is in place, the focus will begin to shift more to the quarterback position.
Doug Pederson spoke highly of Sam Bradford at his introductory press conference and made it known that he thought the QB would “fit perfectly” in his system. Seems that the Eagles will at least explore the possibility of keeping Bradford in the fold. But they know it will be expensive. Whether it’s a long-term deal that could end up in the $18 million per year range or a franchise tag that would cost them 20-plus million in 2016, Bradford is going to eat up a major chunk of the budget if retained. There is a serious discussion to be had about whether that’s a worthwhile investment.
If the answer ends up being that it’s not (or if the Eagles decide not to play tag and Bradford leaves via free agency), the question becomes: then who?
Ideally, the Eagles would grab a stud quarterback in the draft to pair with Pederson like they did in Andy Reid‘s first year with Donovan McNabb. Find an inexpensive vet to play the role of, well, Pederson, groom the young quarterback, and allow the coach and QB to grow side-by-side as the team develops into a contender. Problem is, the Eagles are picking 13th, not second, and there’s certainly no guarantee that they’ll hit on a quarterback like they did with No. 5.
Three quarterbacks are currently being mentioned as possible first-round selections by most analysts we’ve read: Cal’s Jared Goff, North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz and Paxton Lynch of Memphis. As an evaluator once told us, quarterbacks get built up this time of year to get knocked down. Could be that the perceived value of these quarterbacks will be different in April than they are here in January.
Wentz seems to be a wild card in all of this. The 6-5, 235-pound prospect opened some eyes with a strong performance in North Dakota State’s 37-10 win over Jacksonville State in the FCS title game, and appears to have some wind in his sails.
DJ- he’s totally legit… In the conversation with goff, lynch and cook…arm talent, accuracy , size and athletic https://t.co/ZFcwi3gV4p
— Mike Mayock (@MikeMayock) January 9, 2016
I’m saying he’s in the conversation to be the 1st qb taken…if he checks all the intangible boxes- watch out ! https://t.co/X48iTx5HgV
— Mike Mayock (@MikeMayock) January 9, 2016
Opinions vary on where Wentz will end up being taken. Daniel Jeremiah, for instance, currently has Goff going No. 2 overall to the Browns, Wentz going fourth to the Cowboys and Lynch falling to the Rams at 15. (He has the Eagles selecting Notre Dame OT Ronnie Stanley, by the way.) His colleague Bucky Brooks, meanwhile, has Goff going No. 2, Wentz being drafted 15 and Lynch falling out of the first round altogether.
The pre-draft process will help determine where their stock ends up. Wentz is scheduled to be in Mobile, Alabama beginning early next week for the Senior Bowl. We’ll be there, too, to get an up-close look at Wentz and some of the other QBs, a list that includes Brandon Allen of Arkansas, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott and USC’s Cody Kessler. (You can find the Senior Bowl rosters here).
Pederson is expected to be in attendance as well. Maybe he’ll get a glimpse of his quarterback of the future.
WHAT YOU MISSED
The Eagles officially name a quarterbacks coach and sign two players.
“It was simultaneously puzzling, humorous and, at times, flat out bizarre.” WTS.
“Think: slants, sticks, flats, shallow crosses, and running back swing routes.” Josh with some good All-22 work on the offense that’s likely coming to town.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Looks like Chip Kelly‘s search for a defensive coordinator will continue.
Mike Vrabel has turned down the #49ers DC job & will stay in Houston per source
— John Middlekauff (@JohnMiddlekauff) January 22, 2016
Mel Kiper went back and re-graded team’s performances in the 2015 draft. He dropped the Eagles a full letter grade.
Post-draft grade: B-plus
Here’s a draft class that could look a whole lot better in a couple years than it does right now. Start with Nelson Agholor, a talented kid who was just way too inconsistent in 2015 and is going to get better; or Eric Rowe, who had a tough transition, but could get much better. Then there’s Jordan Hicks, who was outstanding until he got hurt. There’s also JaCorey Shepherd, who I thought could have played immediately in nickel looks but got hurt. Based on where things are now, the class doesn’t look so great, but there’s a lot of potential.
New grade: C-plus
A look at new offensive coordinator Frank Reich, by the numbers.