Weekend Reading: Cardale Jones In the Third?
Hope everyone is having a great weekend. Here are some links to pass along as we inch closer to the draft.
According to Kevin Weidl of Scouts, Inc. (for ESPN Insider), the Eagles should target Ezekiel Elliott on Day 1, Ohio State insider linebacker Joshua Perry on Day 2 and South Carolina OT Brandon Shell on Day 3.
Day 2*: Joshua Perry, ILB, Ohio State
Philadelphia signed Nigel Bradham in free agency to try to fill the void left by Kiko Alonso, who was recently traded to the Dolphins. But Bradham doesn’t appear to be the long-term answer, and Perry would be a quality fit next toJordan Hicks and Mychal Kendricks at the Sam LB position. Perry shows some tightness in space, but he has outstanding size and natural instincts and is a physical run defender. The Eagles could use one of those after ranking dead last in run defense last season (134.6 ypg).
Day 3: Brandon Shell, OT, South Carolina
Left tackle Jason Peters is entering his 13th season and getting close to the end of his career. The likely plan is to move Lane Johnson from his right tackle position to replace Peters, so looking for a developmental right tackle makes sense. Shell, the son of former Raiders head coach Art Shell, doesn’t have ideal athleticism and needs to work on his technique. But his 6-foot-5 frame, 34¾-inch arms and natural power provide him with some upside.
Chris Wesseling and Marc Sessler were on the NFL network joined forces with Kevin Patra to elaborate on six trades they’d like to see happen, one of which involves the Eagles.
Ryan Mathews to Miami after Eagles draft Ezekiel Elliott–When the Eagles and Dolphins were discussing their earlier offseason swap, it would make sense if Miami’s Mike Tannenbaum had inquired about Ryan Mathews. The running back would fit nicely next to Jay Ajayi in South Beach. At the time, Eagles executive Howie Roseman was more interested in unloading DeMarco Murray. After saddling the Titans with that contract, Howie let it be known he planned to hang onto Mathews. Ol’ Mastermind Roseman, however, was just slow playing his hand. All along he coveted Ezekiel Elliott, the flashy running back out of Ohio State. After Chip Kelly traded away LeSean McCoy, Elliot will refill the missing backfield pizzazz.
When Elliot falls to the Eagles at No. 8 — genius moving up by Howie — Roseman will be free to put Mathews back on the trade block. After the first round ends on Thursday, April 28, Roseman will immediately call Tannenbaum and the two will hash out a late-night deal to send Mathews to Miami for a conditional third- or fourth-round pick. Philadelphia will throw Roseman a mid-May parade.
Eliot Shorr-Parks ranks the quarterback prospects in this year’s draft in terms of what value they could provide to the Eagles. Cardale Jones tops the list.
Why Jones first?
To start the Eagles could probably get him in the third round, meaning they won’t have to use the 8th overall pick on a quarterback worth developing.
Is Jones a risk? Yes. Is he better than the quarterbacks behind him on the list? No.
But when you combine his body, potential, value in the third round and his intangibles, Jones makes the most sense if the Eagles are going to take a quarterback.
On Friday, the Eagles signed former Chargers linebacker Ryan Mueller to play fullback. Kellis Robinett wrote a profile on him for the Kansas City Star back when Mueller was a defensive end for Kansas State.
The story began on a hot day at Blue Valley High School, near Mueller’s home in Leawood. Mueller was hoping to volunteer at a Kansas State football camp taking place there. He thought it was for children. Instead, it was a showcase for top area talent.
He showed up uninvited, but the K-State coaches on hand allowed Muller, a 6-foot-2, 245-pound senior from St. Thomas Aquinas, to work out with the recruits they were there to see. They made him run longer and harder than anyone else, expecting him to quit. When he was still standing four hours later, they told Mueller to enroll at K-State and join the football team as a walk-on.
Everyone who knows Mueller talks about his “motor.” It is a clichéd way to say that he is full of energy, and that he will come at you with maximum effort on every play. He would rather line up at fullback than rest while the offense is on the field.
“He practices like you would want everybody to practice in terms of his effort, and it’s consistent,” [Bill] Snyder said. “When you are on the field for 10 hours, his last effort is as good as his first. That carries over to the performance level on game day. He is going to play 60 snaps and he is going to play all of them as hard as he can possibly play.”
Tommy Lawlor cautions against putting too much importance on the Mueller signing, however.
Don’t read too much into the team adding a FB. The Eagles will have practices before the draft and need depth to run through plays. Trey Burton will get a chance to do that, but he needs someone else to help with the reps. Mueller, a former LB, will get a chance to show what he can do.
Pederson would like to keep a FB, but that isn’t set in stone. He is looking for the best 53 players more than anything.
On the defensive side of the ball, Joe Benne of SB Nation writes that the acquisition of Leodis McKelvin could be a steal for the Eagles in his list of best veteran free agent signings.
McKelvin has been a reliable presence for eight seasons with the Buffalo Bills, but in 2015 he saw a diminished role as Stephon Gilmore and Ronald Darby emerged as one of the best corner duos in the league. McKelvin was a cap casualty and soon found a home with the Eagles, who are rebuilding their secondary. With Byron Maxwell and his bloated contract shipped off to Miami, McKelvin has a prime opportunity to win back a starting job. The 30-year-old has long been one of the more underrated corners in the league, and Philadelphia could have a free agency steal here. He’ll also be working with Jim Schwartz again, who was the Bills’ defensive coordinator in 2014.