Eagles Wake-Up Call: Senior Bowl Primer
MOBILE, AL — It’s a party, and I’m driving around in a minivan.
I booked my rental car late, and this was the wrong week to book a rental car late in Mobile. Half the NFL world is here for the Senior Bowl, and it also happens to be Mardi Gras. Lots of people. Not as many cars. And so all that was left was this boxy, space-aged, eight-passenger nightmare.
But hey, it runs, and got me from the airport to downtown just fine.
Once I made it to my room, I was greeted by a note on the bed that read:
Welcome to Mardi Gras 2016!
We know there is often a request for an additional towel in the room so we have provided an extra one for your convenience. If you need to refresh your towels after hours, please bring them to the front desk and we will exchange them for a fresh set.
In the past we found our trash cans were often too small to meet the needs of this fun Mardi Gras event. In an effort to assist you as you prepare to ready your belongings to leave us, we have provided a large trash bag. If you find yourself with trash that does not fit within the trash cans in your room you may use this bag.
Enjoy your stay.
A few questions:
1)What’s going to be happening in this hotel where I need specific instructions on where to get extra towels in a pinch beyond the additional one that has already been provided?
2)The large trash bag would be for beer cans, right?
3) I’m not getting any sleep, am I?
Guess I’ll be a bit bleary-eyed rolling up to Ladd Pebbles Stadium for practice this week, but at least I’ll be rolling in style. Here’s who I’ll be focusing in on after a couple cups of coffee:
Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
Projected round: 1
Wentz is the headliner. The 6-5, 235-pound signal caller comes in with a good deal of momentum and can continue his ascension with a strong showing this week.
“I think there’s obviously a lot of doubt coming from the FCS level and I just want to address that right away, prove that I can play at a high level, play at a fast level, compete with these guys and really excel,” he said Monday evening. “I have the mental and physical abilities to play at this level and I’m really excited to prove it.”
Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
Projected round: 2
Tony Pauline evoked the name of Lane Johnson when talking about the athletic Spriggs (6-6, 305). The former tight end is currently projected as a second-rounder by CBS Sports. Perhaps, like Johnson, he rises into the first with a strong pre-draft showing.
Willie Beavers, OT, Western Michigan
Projected round: 3
The Eagles need to replenish at offensive line in a major way. Have to think they’ll be focused on the big men this week. Beavers (6-5, 312) was a three-year starter at Western Michigan and could be a Day 2 pick.
Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech
Projected round: 2
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com listed Muhahammad Wilkerson as his NFL comparison. Here’s more on Butler (6-3, 316):
Athletic interior lineman with long arms and outstanding athleticism that allows him to work on offensive linemen with a combination of power and quickness. Butler has a raw but diverse skill set as a pass rusher that should excite NFL evaluators who see the potential of what he can be with more coaching and experience. With his effort and defensive ball awareness, his ceiling appears to be high with a chance to become a high level starter for an odd or even front defense.
Jeremy Cash, SS, Duke
Projected round: 2
Curious to hear Jim Schwartz talk about the type of safety play he prefers. Does his system work best with a more traditional strong/free safety pairing as opposed to the mirror look that Billy Davis deployed? An important question, particularly as the team decides how to proceed with free-agent to be Walter Thurmond. If they’re in the market for a thumper, Cash (6-1, 208) could be appealing.
Noah Spence, DE/OLB, Eastern Kentucky
Projected round: 1-2
With Chip Kelly, it was relatively easy to hone in on prospects that might be appealing to him. He’s a measurables guy and a #culture guy. If a prospect fell short in either category, there was a good chance that he wasn’t for the Eagles.
Now that Howie Roseman is back in charge, will they relax those parameters some?
Spence could be an interesting test in that regard. The former Ohio State Buckeye was banned from the Big Ten because of drug issues. He is a top-end talent who rebounded to finish his college career strong, but could be taken off some teams’ boards because of his past. Where do the Eagles stand?
WHAT YOU MISSED
Zach Ertz gets a five-year extension.
“I think [Sam Bradford] is excited. He wants to be in Philadelphia.” Ertz talks about his deal and the QB position.
Which Eagles will benefit from Schwartz’s scheme? WTS.
Josh pulls out the All-22 to take a closer look at Jim Schwartz’s defense.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Malcolm Jenkins received some good news Monday night.
Could Lane Johnson be the next to get locked up? He hinted at that in a conversation with Joe Santoloquito for the Philly Voice.
“I’m talking to the Eagles (about a contract extension) and I want to stay here and retire an Eagle,” said Johnson, from Groveton, in southeast Texas, who has a two-year-old son and a daughter due in February. “I love Philadelphia. It’s a hard-working city that has passionate fans who care about sports, and reminds me a whole lot of the town I grew up in. I know Texas is a lot different from Philly, but I know there are a lot of similarities, too.
“I want to be able to play long enough so my son can see me play and remember. Being a dad has put me in a different place in my life and it’s made me a better player. You know you’re playing for more than just yourself. I want to leave a good, solid legacy for my kids as an NFL player.”
Senior Bowl practices begin today. Roseman and Doug Pederson are expected to talk Wednesday.