Weekend Reading: Golson Fighting the Odds

Plus, more 2016 draft evaluations.



Here are some Eagles-related links as rookie minicamp is underway.

Dave Zangaro of CSN Philly shines the spotlight on former Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson, who is taking part in the Eagles’ rookie camp on a tryout basis.

At some point during the three-day rookie camp this weekend, the quarterback, who is on a tryout with the Eagles, will look across the locker room and see the three lockers on a row that say Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel and Carson Wentz.

Golson, of Notre Dame and Florida State fame, knows his chances of making the Eagles aren’t very good. In fact, his chances are microscopic.

But he doesn’t care; he can’t.

“Anything can happen and that’s my mindset,” Golson said in the Eagles’ locker room on Friday afternoon. “I know they have a pretty solid quarterback room, but I just want to come out here and showcase my talents as well.”

Golson is one of 26 players with the Eagles on a tryout basis for this weekend’s rookie minicamp. But unlike the 25 others, Golson has reached a top peak of football performance.


Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk examines the issue of whether the Eagles committed a possible violation by speaking with incoming rookies’ representation before the draft.

On Thursday, PFT reported that the Eagles secured a verbal commitment from quarterbacks Jared Goff and Carson Wentz that both would accept offsets if the Eagles traded up to No. 2 and made one of them the selection.

Some have suggested that the Eagles violated the rules by engaging in pre-draft discussions with agents representing incoming rookies, pointing out that only the team that holds the first overall pick may negotiate terms before the draft.

The NFL declined comment on the situation. Whether the NFL actually does anything about it becomes a question for the vague, arbitrary process that arises from a habit widespread violations of the rules and limited, selective enforcement.

Regardless, the discussions occurred. And surely other similar discussions have occurred and will continue to occur. Maybe the league will take action, maybe it won’t.

Jason La Canfora lists the Eagles as the number two team that could have a new quarterback by 2017.

Frankly, by Week 8, Sam Bradford could be holding the clipboard. His bizarre trade demand/holdout did him no favors.

Carson Wentz is the guy for 2017, but barring a sweeping run of injuries there is no way he’s starting this September.

I have a very difficult time seeing Bradford having so transcendent a season that he’s around a year from now, despite already having a well compensated backup on the roster in Chase Daniel. Not to mention that gave up a bevy to jump up to second overall pick via two trades to be able to draft Wentz.

Aaron Schatz of ESPN.com brings us Football Outsiders’ evaluation of the NFC East.

NFC East
1. Dallas Cowboys: 10-6 (9.6 mean wins, SOS: 30)
2. New York Giants: 6-10 (6.3 mean wins, SOS: 17)
3. Philadelphia Eagles: 6-10 (6.3 mean wins, SOS: 11)
4. Washington Redskins: 6-10 (6.0 mean wins, SOS: 9)

Without Tony Romo, the Cowboys finished 31st last year in offensive DVOA, suffering one of the 10 largest year-to-year drops in offensive DVOA since 1989. With Romo back and a healthier Dez Bryant on the field, they’re almost guaranteed to rebound in 2016. Meanwhile, the Dallas defense ended just 6.0 percent of opposing drives with takeaways last season. That was dead last in the NFL and the fourth-lowest rate of any team since 1998. There’s a lot of year-to-year regression in turnovers, so there’s a strong chance that improves in 2016. (In 2014, the lowest teams in this stat were the Jets and Chiefs, who both turned their defenses around significantly in 2015.)

Our projections are also down on the Eagles. Their offensive DVOA dropped from 13th to 26th last year, but the expected rebound is somewhat blunted by the fact that our system penalizes offenses that are learning a new system from new coaches. The defense has to replace four regular starters.

The MMBQ’s Andy Benoit lists wide receiver as a glaring hole on the Eagles’ roster.

Since the dismissals of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, the Eagles have become collectively slow at wide receiver. Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor are both methodical movers who must rely on body positioning. A lack of speed and quickness is not a crippling handicap in new head coach Doug Pederson’s West Coast style scheme, which relies more on shrewd route combinations and play design. But even in that system, the X-iso receiver (the receiver aligned alone on the weak side) often has the “man-beater” route, making him the primary read if the QB gets to the line of scrimmage and identifies man coverage. The less dynamic a runner you are, the harder it is to beat man coverage. Plus, the less likely you are to draw a safety over the top, which makes life harder for receivers on the other side.

Philly did add a burner this offseason in Chris Givens, but for various reasons he hasn’t carved out a niche at previous stops. Same with T.J. Graham. It’s likely that Rueben Randle will share the No. 3 duties with Josh Huff. Randle, with his history of knee trouble, is about as methodical as they come. Huff can dart around but only when aligned inside and aided by the play design.

Lance Zierlein gives his best and worst draft picks for the Eagles.

Best pick:Carson Wentz, QB (Round 1, No. 2 overall)
Skinny: While the verdict is certainly not in with Wentz, the Eagles were able to pull off not one, but two trades that allowed them to move up in Round 1 and land the guy who was at the top of their draft boards. Of course, Wentz could be listed on the “worst pick” list within three or four years, so stay tuned.

Worst pick:Wendell Smallwood, RB (Round 5, No. 153 overall)
Skinny: While I will admit that this is nit-picking and a matter of taste, Arkansas’ Jonathan Williams was still on the board and could have handled not only some third-down duties, but potentially primary ball-carrying responsibilities if needed, which is something that Smallwood likely won’t be able to do because of his size.

Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus does the same.

Best: Isaac Seumalo, G, Oregon State (Rd. 3, No. 79)

Seumalo is a close second in this class to Cody Whitehair for the title of smoothest-moving guard. He won’t overpower you, but Seumalo has amazing feet and the sixth-highest grade of any guard in the FBS last year.

Worst: Halapoulivaati Vaitai, OL, TCU (Rd. 5, No. 164)

We didn’t see much from Vaitai that made us think he’d be drafted. His athletic traits, though, are intriguing for a late round pick.

Jimmy Kempski re-examines the trade that ultimately enabled the Eagles to land Wentz: Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso to Miami for the 8th overall pick.

Some believe the cost was too high. Others believe that the cost was appropriate for a franchise quarterback. Whatever the case, the above trade would not have been possible without the Eagles having first moved from the 13th overall pick to pick No. 8.

To move from 13 to 8, the Eagles gave up next to nothing. They traded disappointing cornerback Byron Maxwell, while also shaving nearly $5 million off their salary cap in the process, as well as an ineffective Kiko Alonso. Honestly, would anyone really care all that much if either of those players just gone with no compensation in return?

That trade was absolute robbery, especially when you compare it to a similar trade involving the No. 8 overall pick that happened during the draft itself.